Our apartment was filled with the citrus smell of home this morning. We deceided to take oranges to the children today. In order to have enough, we purchased three bags and then peeled and quarterd them for easy distribution. Michelle offered to go with us on the public transportation system again, so we headed out to the internot midmorning. The children are on autumn break this week and so there are no classes. Typically, they would be in school all day and we could only visit between 2-5, but they are free all day and we have the advantage of visiting at any time. Its always funny to see how our arrival will be announced. Inevitably, one of the children will spot us coming in the gate or up the main hall and they will race to wherever Kristina is shouting, "something, something, something, Mama and Papa!" In addition to the oranges, I picked up a Spiderman comic in Russian for the boys and a Barbie and Disney Princesses comic for the girls. They were so excited to have the reading material. The boys piled onto the rug in a semi-circle so they could all get a good view of the book. Leana, or as we have been calling her "Blue Eyes", squeezed onto the couch next to me and oohed and ahhed over Cinderella's dress. She punched out the paperdolls I brought and presented each doll in a new outfit for my inspection. Sasha challenged me to a rematch at Connect FOur and we played a few rounds again until Seroja offered to take me on. What a character he is! Missionary Lela Steele invited us to lunch, so we checked Kristina out and went to eat. What Kristina didn't finish, she brought back to share with her class.
We leave each day with the anticipation of going back the next day. Oddly, its not simply about seeing our daughter. We will be taking her home to America soon and will have all the time in the world with her. But our hearts have been captured by the children in her class. Exceptional children, beautiful children, children that no one knows about. But they are perfect and funny and deserving of their own family. No child deserves to be in an orphanage. And if you spent 10 minutes with any of these kids, you would fall head over heels in love too. Tonight, set aside your prayers for Roma, Sasha, Seroja, Aloyna, Karina, Leana, Adik, Kola, Sergi, and the others who need a bed of their own, a family of their own.
In the slideshow, I am including some pictures of the Odessa we walk through every day. This is a beautiful city filled with beautiful people. We have fallen in love with all of it.