Revelation 3:8 (New International Version)
I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.

The child is the beauty of God present in the world – that greatest gift to a family.” (Blessed Teresa of Calcutta)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sat and Sunday






Hi Everyone,

We have been visiting the kids everyday while our facilitator has been doing some of the needed paperwork. We take 2 buses in the morning to get to the orphanages. One bus is more like a van and as long as the door closes your in. I am not kidding you will see a small van pass by and people smooched up against the glass. My husband turns to me and says....You think we can squish in ?? You also do an honour system with paying for the bus. You just tap the person in front of you and pass up the money. You will see the money going from the back of the bus to the front and then if someone needs change you just keep passing it back until it falls in the right person's hands. It is actually funny that no one pockets the money. Sometimes there are older women and they get on the bus...I motion quietly to Steven and he offers his seat to the older lady. Not one will sit down. I guess that is why I see no young men ask these older women as they get on the bus if they want their seat. I think these older women are very tough and strong.
Everyday we stop at the corner store and buy cookies (they usually are not chocolate) but this time I decided to give the kids a special treat... Chocolate cookies! Yahoo right?? NOT! let's just say never again. First of all the kids in these 2 groups (classrooms) of the orphanage had chocolate all over their mouths and hands but the worst part was poor Ellia broke out in some hives! It was not bad but still I felt horrible. Great job Jenny! She had the hives on her theighs and stomach. Let me just stick to the good old Maria crackers.
After our visit on Saturday, we went to the park in the center. Elijah had so much fun. I will download some pictures later. I will post some more of the kids. I love Black and white pictures and I will post them too.
Today is Sunday and it is gray here but warm. We are getting ready to go to the apartment and I think we might go see a basketball game but just not sure. Nicholas is an American and he lives here. He is 28 or so and married. Last year we met him and over the year have all kept contact. He is the one who showed us around the center yesterday. He has lived here with his wife for a few years now so he really knows how to get around and speak.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thurs and Fri Visits with the children.




I am at the mall now updating this blog. We come here after our morning visits with the children. Every morning we arrive and hand in our passports to the orphanage and then we go get the kids. Yesterday we went to the children's shop and bought some toys. We must have stayed in the toy store for over an hour trying to figure out what would be best to buy. We bought pots and pans (play dishes), more coloring books, and an ABC (leap frog type of toy) but in Russian. We also bought some floor puzzles and a blanket to put on the ground. We always bring the other children cookies and give them to the Nannies to pass around. It is so difficult to see so many beautiful children coming around you and knowing that when most of them grow up...many will be homeless on the street and some sent to institutions. Right now though they are smiling and so happy to watch the staff open the cookies that we brought. We will do this everyday because this is all we can offer all these children right now.
It is so funny, the moment we enter the orphanage gates...the children who are playing outside stop what they are doing and run up to Ian jumping up and down and pointing telling him "Mama, Papa, Mama, Papa!!" He gets this big big smile and you could see how he just became "the most popular boy in his group". He knows it too. Ok everyone reading this if you have been thinking of adopting...do it...there are so many kids who need you.

Wed morning: We are here






Ok I know the suspense is getting to you but I really wanted those who are reading about this journey to really experience what we are.
So Wed am as the train arrived, we were met there by our new taxi driver. He was a young man who spoke no English at all. Niko shook hands with Serge the taxi driver and off we went to the children's protective services to go get our paperwork and the social worker. We all squeezed in the car...it was a 4 passenger car (that includes driver) and it was 6 of us and tons of luggage. The back end of the car pratically dragged but this was custom and as long as everyone sat on everyone's lap and the doors closed that was all that mattered. The worst part was the back passenger windows did not roll down and their was no AC! It was all good though because...we are going straight to the orphanage! Yahoo! It would only be an hour or so until we were able to hug our children and see them after a year.

So once we arrived to the orphanage the doctor sat down and told us about each child. Each child's folder was old and all documentation was hand written, not one empty spot on those papers. I guess 4 years of living in the orphanage there has got to be alot of writing. Ian's folder was 4 inches thick and Ellia's was half of that. Niko did his best translating and in a nut shell....the children have been at the orphanage since they were born and no one has ever visited them. They are very particular about documenting the times a parent or relative visits and both these children had no recorded visits EVER. In regards to medical honestly there was not much that can be understood and as we have learned from our previous children...it is important to get a pediatrician who is familiar with international adoptions because you basically arrive to the USA with very little info other then gestation age and Apgar scores. Does it really matter anyways?? Would I change my mind at this point? No not at all. Even if they told us that there was a possibility that one of these children would probably pass away soon....I would say what I said last year when they said that about Nicholas...ok then he will die with a mom and dad. He will not die alone. These children need a chance of living they all need someone who will love them unconditionally...through good and bad, sickness and health and life and death. That is why we are here. Anyways returning back to Wed.
As the doctor was talking...their was a knock and turning of the door knob....I knew it had to be one of the children...I knew it and who was it? Ian!! He came in holding the nanny's hand very shy but with an excited look on his face. I just went to my knees so I could look straight at him and said hello and cupped his face in my hands kissing him on the forehead. They then translated that this was Momma and Papa and brother. He had such a cute smile...I think he remembered us from last year just by the way he looked at us. He then stood next to the doctor as she finished talking about him and he understood everything she said. I wish i could speak Russian. I wish I had a Russian friend at home. Ian then came and sat on my lap as we started to discuss Ellia. The knock on the door again and here was little Ellia!! She saw all of us in the room, and she covered her eyes but peaked through them (she is extremely shy). I felt as if she had not grown at all in one year and she was so tiny. Steven got up and picked her up. It didn't take long before she was playing with his go-tee.(hope I spelled that right). How can I tell you what I was feeling? I am so glad that I had no eye makeup on because if I did....well I would have had it all smudged. I could not stop tearing. To be here, one year later and to come back to get these children who stared at me last year as I loved on Oksana and Nicholas and who called me Mama as I walked by them...is amazing. Without God we could not have done this. If you honestly let God help you take care of these orphans....He will.
At this meeting we set up times to visit everyday except Sundays. We did not take pictures on that first meeting but we knew tomorrow we would return.

So here are the pictures of the next visit. We play with them outside.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The train Trip Tueday night to Wed Am


Here are the train pictures; I was having a tough time putting the video up.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday night: The call

So as you have seen and read below, Tuesday was a very busy walking day. My hair was a mess (the sweater I was wearing in my head didn't help either). We headed back to the apartment and as I was just about to fall asleep...we got the call we had been waiting for. "Steven Jenny get ready I will be there in less than 2 hours, the train leaves at 11pm tonight we have to be at the train station aound 10p to get the tickets" Oh my, we all took turns taking a shower eating, cleaning the apartment and packing. You could not even tell we were tired. We drank all the juice and had some bread and butter knowing we would probably get hungry on the train. The train would leave the capitol at 11pm and arrive at our childrens hometown at 7am. Our taxi driver, translator uncle Niko said he would also be going with us. He said "We are going to pick up teh social worker first and then go to the orphanage to meet the kids". We are going to see the kids on Wednesday!! Yahooo Yahooo. We were running around talking so excited when finally the door bell rang. It was Uncle Niko "ready, lets go". Well, we were not that ready so he helped us zipper the suitcases and carry them where our taxi driver was waiting for us. Off to the train station! The train station was very busy...so many people. I tried to post a video but it was dark Here are some pictures.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tuesday: Touring and waiting






We knew that there was a possibility of leaving the capitol on Wednesday so I wanted to make sure that we really stopped being in "waiting mode" and get in gear of "touring mode". So I googled some things to do and wrote them down. We started with going to drink some coffee (ugh told you about that coffee addiction). Then we went to the Church next to our apartment. We had heard the bells ring everyday but were not sure if we would be allowed. Well, as long as women and men are not wearing shorts and women have their heads covered you are allowed. We spent 1 hour at the church because we arrived and they were having a "service'. Next thing we knew we were getting water poured on our heads and drinking water and also having Holy oil made in the sign of the Cross. I really enjoyed the time of praying and even though I did not understand their singing chanting hymns, it was beautiful. The sisters of the Church made us feel very welcomed.
After the service we went to see the "caves" it is the Holiest place where Monks are buried. It was a place I googled and showed the taxi driver. He dropped us off and we walked around. It was Independence Day here so not only are the Churches crouded but there are many flee market set-ups outside. We walked around and eventually took a taxi back to the apartment. It was a lovely day. To Debbie my friend who has been waiting for her shot glass: I finally found one with the country written on it!!.
Here are pictures.



























We went to have some food at the local restaurant. It was delicious. All this food that you see was 16 dollars (by the time you convert it). Elijah loved the chicken Kiev.





Here are some pictures of us at the coffee shop, Elijah and a car he would like.



Monday, August 23, 2010

Monday:












So last night I could not sleep. I tossed and turned and even went to the window a few times. The breeze was so nice. The sky was clear with a few stars, the street light was not far from the window the crickets were so loud but peaceful. I looked at a few couples walking by, they didn't even notice much because they were so in love giggling, holding hands and walking in step. There were cars driving by but not as fast as they usually do. The city was asleep. Why couldn't I go to sleep?? Well, I just could not stop thinking about the kids at home wondering if they were ok. I was wondering if my mom remembered that Noah was lactose intolerant...if she didn't she would soon find out. I wondered if Nicholas even knew we were gone. My mind would then go to the children here waiting...did they know we were here? We know the orphanages have been told that we are in the country but did they tell the children? I returned back to bed and wondered if I should get up and take a shower...the water had been off the day before for 5 hours and I knew from my trip to the kitchen it was on right now. I looked at the time and it was only 2 am. so I returned back to bed and decided to just pray and send all my worries to God. I worry the longer we are in the capitol city the more it will cost but besides ice cream (it is a dollar) we do not do much. Every time I come here to the cafe it does cost about 5-6 dollars so we will only come here once a day to update everyone. I love to get emails from the kids but I always wish they were longer emails. Hint Claudia please write more rather then "we are all good mom". I am currently reading 3 books at the same time. 2 of them are journey books with the Lord and the last one is about a couple who started an orphanage. I am learning one common theme in all of them.... His timing is always perfect! God loves each and everyone of us especially the orphans and He is with us in this journey. Wednesday will arrive soon and we just have to be patient. I will bring the books to the cafe next time and write them here in case any of you are interested. Well, yesterday we walked around the city again and so I am posting some more pictures. It is a beautiful city. Remember I said before that the women seem to have jumped out of a magazine...well yesterday we were watching a commercial being made. It was some fur coat commercial and the women were in a red car". I will try to post the video.
video