There are things I saw there I will never fully understand. I knew while we were at Sveta's orphanage God was telling us we were there for more than fulfilling our adoption of Sveta.
There were children literally everywhere. Children of all ages up to about age 5, babies, toddlers, children like Sveta, longing for attention.
They would cling to our hands, begging to be shown any amount of love.
There was a playground - the one above, with swings, a slide, sandboxes, teeter totter, and merry go rounds.
Do you how many times I saw children playing there the three weeks we were there?
Unless it was another adoptive family or volunteers who had brought the children out to play.
Maybe it was just our experience but I never saw children like Sveta's friend above playing outside unless she was with one of the weekly volunteers. The day the photo above was taken she was so excited by the toys we had for Sveta. Sveta was more than willing to share her bubbles, a $1etch a sketch type toy, coloring books and cookies with her friend.
Small things, simple things that brought so much joy.
Oh, we saw children outside - every day.
But they were being pushed in large strollers or walking in circles around the orphanage.
Sometimes the nannies would stop under a tree for about 45 minutes.
The children would remain in the stroller.
Sitting, staring into space.
Staring at Eli and I with Sveta, on that big playground.
I always wondered why?
Maybe there were too many children and not enough workers.
Honestly, I don't know. I know the children are cared for and clean.
There has to be order and structure.
The empty playground was just a glimpse into the workings of an orphanage.
We watched as Sveta's face would light up over the tiniest thing - things we take for granted. Like bouncing a ball, blowing bubbles, coloring, playdough.
We watched as her face lit up one morning when a nanny tried to put a new pair of shiny red shoes on her feet because her sandals were so threadbare they were no longer keeping her foot inside. Oh how she smiled when she saw those shiny red shoes. Excitement danced in her eyes as the nanny began placing them on her foot.
They were too small.
There was nothing else for Sveta to put on.
We put the sandals back on her little feet as disappointment shadowed her face, but she never shed a tear.
Internally I promised myself Sveta would never, ever be without a beautiful pair of shoes that fit.
It would be easy to just put all this in the back of my mind, to focus on life here at home with Sveta.
But there are 115 other children, just like Sveta, left in the baby house in Nikolaev, Ukraine.
This Christmas we want to send each one of them a wrapped gift box filled with things that will bring a smile to their faces.
In conjunction with Circle of Hope, a charity located in Huntsville, Alabama, we are working to bring Christmas to the children of baby house 19 in Nikolaev. Local orphanage volunteers will be delivering the gifts to the children for their Christmas which is January 7th.
This is an easy thing to do and we are
begging asking for your help!
Here's Different Ways You Can Help:
If you are in the Huntsville, Alabama area please email me for drop off information! (click on the contact tab above)