Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Just chatting

Right now I have one four-year-old napping (ours), but I still have one chattering at me (neighbors'). She is very concerned that some day her Bobo is going to go away to that place where Jaan and Raia and Asya are, and she really, really, really loves Bobo, you know? And when will Bobo ever wake up? Very cute and sweet. Bogdan has been much happier today, with her around!

Yesterday he was happy, too, though. He went to work with Papa, he says. He worked and worked and worked at the office. (What is it with four-year-olds and repeating words three times over? And asking questions; why do they do that? Why? Why? Why? )

While Bogdan was working so hard yesterday, I got to travel with Alys and a team visiting her to go around to the institutions where boys who have aged out of "our" orphanage live now. I'll probably write more about that later.

Photo from the picnic, by David
Last night when we talked to Asya, I asked her if she wanted us to come bring her home, and she was horrified at the very thought. She has gotten over all her fears of sleeping out in a tent, without Mama.

Monday, June 29, 2015

First camp day

First thing this morning
Our neighbors finally came out of their Ramadan and rainy day hibernation, so some one else is listening to Bogdan for a little while. Hurrah! I had forgotten what having only one child is like. Also, I realized that I've never had just one at this stage. By the time Jaan was Bogdan's current age, we already had three children. Plus, Bogdan is used to having three playmates all the time, and he's wanting me to replace them. This could be a very long week. A fun week, though. He and I did have a great long walk together today. I'm loving hearing his opinion about everything, too, just his own thoughts without everyone else's thrown into the mix.

Late afternoon
Also, I just talked to Asya. They do an evening phone call time when we can call the counselors' phones and talk to our kids. Asya sounded great! It's cold and rainy-ish, but they're having fun. She was almost too busy to stop and talk to me. Nights were what she was most worried about, so that's still ahead, but so far she's fine.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Seven quick takes on Lera, picnic, camp, etc

Since Brandy lists what her takes are about in the title, I should do that, too. It's a good idea if I'm going to do this with any regularity.

:: 1 ::

Little Lera came through surgery well and is recovering. I still haven't heard if the surgery was successful in correcting what was wrong with her heart, but I'm loving the updates and photos of her looking so good already! This is the most recent update. (Although, I just checked the auto translate, and it says that she's "in the House." Not quite. It means that she's in a regular hospital room.)

:: 2 ::

The annual orphanage picnic was yesterday, and it was WONDERFUL! It was a very wet, rainy day, but we stayed under shelter, and the kids seemed to really enjoy themselves. We did crafts, a Bible story, songs, games, food, and lots of playing together. Seventeen kids came: most of the ones I have regularly for Bible lessons, plus some from a group that gets out even less than "mine" do. Pray with us that none of them get sick now, after having been out all day in damp, cool weather.

:: 3 ::

Our older three children are going to camp tomorrow. Jaan and Raia went last year and loved it; they can't wait! Asya alternates between their same excitement and dread. She was really excited about it, so we signed her up, but then she decided that she just can't do it. So, we've come to the point where she'll go and try it out. If she can't handle it, we'll bring her home. I really think she'll love every minute of it, though. It's a small camp for kids from our church, so she knows everyone. They'll be sleeping in tents out on the property of the local Christian college, not far from us at all.

:: 4 ::

Electricity. It's really nice. There's a big construction project in our neighborhood that seems to go on and on. It's had our power off for the working hours of most days lately. At least we've (usually) had mornings and evenings to charge everything. But, I've probably been quieter online than usual, because of this.

:: 5 ::

On Monday we had a good trip out to Kahkovka to do paperwork for Oksana. I was really apprehensive about it, because last time was terrible. This time we dealt with the director of the institution, though, not the vice-director, and all went well. I had been praying that she would be there and that people would be nice, and God answered. On the way back I got to see a bird that I had just learned about at the museum, and it was way more beautiful in real life than stuffed in a glass case.

:: 6 ::

Museum... our family went to another great summer program on Friday. I assumed they would have a photographer there again, so I didn't take our camera. But there was no photographer. Boo. This would have been even more picturesque than before. The kids got a tour, focusing on the flora and fauna of Kherson region, had a little lesson in botanical and entomological drawing, and then they each got to choose a specimen to draw. Even Bogdan really got into the observing and drawing part.

:: 7 ::

Today we're on one down-day in the midst of a few very busy ones:
Friday--our last day of school, museum program, and Constitution Day celebration
Saturday--the picnic
Today--rest, pack
Monday--take everyone to camp
Tuesday--big trip to visit kids at post-Tsyurupinsk institutions
And then it's going to be very quiet around here. Bogdan thinks he will be bored. We'll see.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Little Lera

About this time two years ago, I got to travel to Donetsk region, to visit with a friend who was adopting. I fell in love with a sweet little girl in my friend's son's group while I was there. She was like a fragile little bird; she doesn't speak, but she made sweet little singing noises. Because of her serious heart condition, I thought that she really needed an American family. (She is available for adoption.) But no one has come for her yet.

About this time one year ago, I sat in a hotel in Zakarpatia and cried as I read about soldiers in her orphanage. A little later, I saw her face again in video of the evacuation from there, and I rejoiced. I followed every bit of information I could get, and found out that she didn't stop at the Kharkov #1 orphanage, like "Little S." did. (I still see him quite often in their photos.) But I couldn't find where she had ended up.

This year I finally thought to look her up on an adoption listing. I found her profile, so I was pretty sure that she was still alive, but that's all. I kept asking people to look for her. Then, a few days ago Life2Orphans posted about a little girl going to Kyiv for heart surgery. I thought it would be her, and they confirmed that right away. Then this morning I saw her face again! An organization that helps "my" orphanage (and Antoshka in Kramatorsk) was asking for help buying diapers for her in Kyiv.

So, for now that's where she is, undergoing treatment and preparation for "a very serious operation" on her heart. I was thrilled to read that she has volunteers taking care of her and bringing in food and other supplies. Please pray with me for her health. Obviously, I'm not a professional, but she seemed very frail to me when I met her. I haven't talked to the doctors, and I don't even know exactly what procedures she is facing, but I am still very concerned about her, of course. She does look really good in today's pictures; she's grown and filled out a bit. I don't even know when the surgery will be, but we can already be praying that it will be successful.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

7 quick takes

My friend Brandy does "7 quick takes" every week on her blog. Here are seven quick takes from me. (What are takes?)

:: 1 ::

The professional conference photos are already online! However, they're so big, that it's hard for us even to move through them. Also, one of the fun activities during free time was photo shoots with the photographers, so there are tons of individual portraits mixed in with the rest of the pictures. But, if you have some free time now, go ahead and take a look at the conference we enjoyed so much. I'm collecting photos from there to post here later on, too.

:: 2 ::

Saturday I had a great visit at the orphanage. My Bible lesson just went really smoothly, and the kids seemed interested and engaged. And then I got to spend bits of individual time with others afterward.

:: 3 ::

Saturday evening we had our first outdoor English-speaking fellowship of the year. We meet outside during the summer months, and it's so nice! (I love the indoor fellowships, too, of course.)

:: 4 ::

Sunday, after church was the girls' art school "Last Bell." It was really fun and exciting, and they both got awards. Raia won the older age division art contest from Family Day! (Remember her picture?) Asya was recognized for faithful attendance. We have loved this first year of art school and are already looking forward to next year. The director made a point of telling me that we should sign Bogdan up for their preschool classes, too, and we were already planning on that. He can't wait.

:: 5 ::

Sunday evening:

:: 6 ::

Monday was Children's Day. We attended a production put on by our church and Agape together. They bused in kids from the orphanages for a concert and elaborate theatrical and puppet show and more.

:: 7 ::

Today Will has been at all-day working meetings for Agape. I know he was giving a presentation at some point. We're doing school until the end of June, so we had a normal school morning, and then a Junior United Nations meeting afterwards. Not really. Just playing outside, but especially now, when our neighbors have friends with children visiting, that's what it seems like: five little Crimean Tatars, our four Americans, two Buryat neighbors, and the one lonely Ukrainian boy from across the street. At least everyone can speak Russian, so they communicate well. They all (usually) get along with each other beautifully. We were painting and playing board games, but now they've moved on to some kind of pretend play, so I'm taking a break.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Conference photos

They announced that the professional photographers' pictures from the conference will be available in three weeks. Our few photos might be online before then. The one above is my favorite.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Nice neighbors

We're back from a very wonderful conference and very difficult trip. Yesterday, just after we had arrived and while we were all lying around, trying to recover, Bogdan was outside running around. (He slept on the Odessa to Nikolaev leg of the trip.) He came in and told me, "Babushka Olga is here." I asked him if she was just there outside, or if she was actually asking for me. He insisted that she wanted to see me. So, I went out to talk to her. No, she hadn't called me, but she said that since I was out there, why not cut some peonies for me? And now those peonies are sitting by me here, where I can smell them as I write.