March 25 Day 14 of Journey

March 25, 2011 Day 14 of Journey

By Tony:

You may wonder what the orpahage is like where the children are staying. Their orphanage is located in the small village of Veeshehtarasivka which is just north of the Dneper River. I think that there is one small store (I use that word generously) and probably several hundred small homes with small farms. The surrounding countryside is all farm land so I would assume that most if not all the people are working somewhere on a farm during the growing season.

The road to the orpanage is off the main road and runs perpendicular to the river. The orphanage is on a hill so as you turn off the main road you can see the orphanage standing proud about 400 yards away. It sort of reminds one of the assylum in the movie “Random Harvest”, which is a movie you should see if you have not yet.

The orphanage is no newer than 50 years old. While it is old, it is kept very clean. Since the kids really don’t have anything, there is no clutter around. Their rooms are clean, beds are made, and the kids generally look well cared for. Compared to everything else I have seen here in Ukraine, I could not think of a safer, cleaner place for these kids to be staying. They are well fed, seem to care for one another, and there is seems to be some adult supervision. In addition to all of this the kids seem genuinely happy.

Picture of man working in his yard near orphanage

 Note from Anne:

In regards to the orphanage, these kids may have adults around, but they have no mom and no dad. Adult supervision is not the same as the love of a parent. Most of the older boys appear to smoke. There is a spot on the side of the school house and just outside the gate where the boys and girls go to smoke. We are so grateful that our Yuri does not smoke. That is huge to me, that so many of his peers and adults smoke and yet he chooses to not smoke.

One of the first days we arrived at the orphanage, one of the girls wanted to take me into the orphanage dormitory. Tony is correct that it is neatly kept, and yet as I saw the rooms lined with beds, my heart just went out to these kids. I am very grateful to the ladies and teachers that work at the orphanage, for trying to do the best they can. The orphans biggest struggle is not when they are in the orphange, but when they age out of the orphanage. They usually begin a two year technical school at the age of 16. Some children wait another year and go to the university. The government says they will pay many of the expences at the university for the orphans, the problem is that these kids are not academically prepared to compete at the university level and end out flunking out not long after commencing their studies, that is when life becomes bad for them. Tony and I have been able to associate with the children in the orphanage. As I look at these children that are going to be leaving the orphanage at the end of this school year, I wonder what life will hold for them. I am so grateful that we will be able to help three of these children.

2 Responses to “March 25 Day 14 of Journey”
  1. Wendy says:

    I agree with you both! Orphanages are clean and tidy and WAY better than other options -like living on the streets-BUT they are nothing like having a home and a family and are much lonelier than they appear. I don’t think I still know the loneliness and hurt our son experienced. I get bits and pieces but for the most part he doesn’t like to talk about it and/or revisit it. It’s a chapter in his life he’d prefer to close but every so often I’ll get a story about this or that and more often then not, it’s something scary and cruel or just plain inappropriate. (Like watching horror movies for Christmas, walking naked through your class room with your underwear on your head as a form of punishment. Having your Christmas candy withheld for not being in the right place at the right time.) Not all orphanages are like this but ours was.
    It’s heart breaking to realize that you can’t save them all, but you are making a difference. You are making a difference for these three!
    Hang in there!

  2. Andreas Horlacher says:

    Anne’s last paragraph is so accurate. It’s so sad to see such wonderful kids with so little direction. As you bring these kids home and you begin to see them transform into the kids they can and should be, there will be days you will wonder what if you have not rescued these kids and gave them a chance at life. That thought is scary, and it helps you realize the as tough as adoption is, you are changing 3 generations forever. You and Tony are amazing people. Please give all 3 kids hugs from all of us here in the USA.

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