Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Precious Moment

Throughout our time here, we have had the privilege of meeting many social workers, orphanage directors and workers. Following a visit one afternoon to a local orphanage, the assistant director asked me if I would help her do something - tell her eight year old daughter she was adopted. I was absolutely thrilled as adoption is kept a major secret in this country.

On Tuesday morning, she came over to meet us at Mercy Foundation and for two hours I talked with her about her daughter's story. We made a timeline of events in her daughter's life, events that she has never mentioned to her. I heard the story of her daughter's birth, how she was taken to an orphanage after just a few days and of her adoption at 18 months old. I heard her story of how she came to adoption and the wonderful journey it has been for them both. I heard her struggles and fears about telling her daughter the truth and what may happen when she does. During our conversation, I clearly understood from what she said that her daughter has pre-verbal memories of the time at the orphanage because she makes vague references to it. I told this adoptive mother, it is time to give words to those vague emotional memories.

I have never experienced such an unfolding of a story. I listened to the heart cry of an adoptive mother who wants to do the right thing for her daughter. I saw so clearly the immense relief felt by this Kyryz mother when we were finished. This precious adoptive mother cried and told us, "I know I haven't told her any of this yet, but I feel so free, like a major burden has been lifted." What a joy for us!

On Wednesday, we had our weekly social work training and she came in. Her expression on her face reflected deep gratitude. Because she had others around her, I didn't get a chance to talk with her, but I know she did or soon will do the best thing for her daughter.

I wanted to share this here, so I wouldn't forget this special memory. These experiences don't come every day.

We have a short four weeks left and David and I are praying that God will continue to use our time here to the maximum.

Thank you for all your continued support and prayers...the journey continues

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Back to School Party with the Tokmok Kids

In April, we met the kids from the Tokmok orphanage and absolutely fell in love with every one of them. The Wright family invited us along on their weekly outings with the kids and when they left at the end of July, we kept going. Twice a week, David, Natalia and I go over to the orphanage - one day to work on crafts, and one day to work on English. While we are with the kids, David spends time talking to them individually.

With school starting, we won't be able to see them as much as we do now, so we had a back-to-school party with them last week. We walked with them nearly a mile to a children's playground, took all 14 of them to lunch - only shasleek would do - and then went back to the orphanage to begin decorating their photo albums.

While out with the kids, Bekah and I took many, many pictures of each one and had them developed and ready to put in their albums today. The kids were absolutely delighted at their own pictures. Those pictures, many of which are below, tell the story of an absolutely fun day. One of the workers joked with us when we got back, "You all come so full of energy when you come to be with the kids and look tired out when you leave." That's true in one sense - we give it our all with them while with them. It one of our most favorite places to be!

Enjoy the pictures....

On the road to the park...Dennis, the young man in blue, is the spiritual coordinator for the orphanage.

L to r, a young man in the park we didn't know, Victor, age 7, Dema, 8, Dennis and Nastya, who is 12.

There are just four girls at the orphanage - in the front, Azat and Angelina, and in the back, Anya and Nastya. Of course, Argen, far right and Maksat, in the back, had to get in the picture, too!

Azat, Albeck, 11 and Colya, 15

Bekah and Dema

Two young brothers, Albeck, 11 and Maksat, 13

Dema and Victor

The kids were excited about shasleek...

Dema kept telling us he wasn't hungry...but ate two full plates of shasleek, (meat kabob's), five watermelon slices, lots of tomatoes, cucumbers, but he wasn't hungry!
David really enjoys visiting with these fun-loving young boys...They have just finished a very big lunch and are getting ready to return to the orphanage for more activities.