‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Orphanage Visit #5!

Nastia and I will be heading over to Siberia in the next few weeks. Aside from comforting Anya and spending every second with her that we can, we have another priority --to visit Nastia's former orphanage to the south and bring them supplies and hope.

Nastia's orphanage is in the middle of nowhere. In fact, every year that I go back, the driver gets lost in the hills around the orphanage for a good hour before we find it. All dirt roads. All leading up and down into little hillside villages made up of severely impoverished families living in dilapidated houses the size of a small shed.

Each year,  I see more drunken men sitting outdoors in the early morning than I'd care to admit. Children covered in dirt and threadbare clothes wandering around the roads by themselves. A few hardworking old women tending to their potatoes in their postage-stamp gardens. Dogs with protruding ribs chained to the side of  houses or running wild in and out of the streets. This is the world these children live in, the world my daughter grew up in.

Each year I bring a giant duffle bag full of clothes and toys from home. I also buy 75-100 pairs of shoes in country ( depending on how many funds I'm able to raise)  and set up a little 'store' in the main hall of the orphanage. We let the kids come in, by group, and choose a pair.
These are some of the shoes we bought last summer. Anya and her friends picked them all out, at less than $8 a pair. We ended up with over 50 pairs. Fifty happy kids with new shoes for the summer!

Above are some of the hundred children that still live there, patiently waiting for a chance to pick out a gift from the toys we brought. (I wish I could hand each of them a family instead.)

 This post was actually my friend's idea. She suggested there may be many readers who want to help, and every bit makes a difference to these kids! Here's how you can: If you send a donation of any size,  I promise that every cent of it will be spent on the children at Nastia's orphanage. If you have a specific desire for something  -- shampoo or art supplies or even bikes and bigger things -- just mention that in your email or snail mail letter and I will see it done. I will even take photos of what I bought with your funds!

I would prefer funds be sent through the existing fund set up for Anya, but you can designate what the money is for so I will know it is for the orphanage. You can send funds via paypal here, or simply send a snail-mail check to: 

 Bring Anya Home Fund
 National Grand Bank
 93 Pleasant Street
 Marblehead, MA 01945
(Please be sure to mention what the funds are for!)

I plan to leave about the 23rd or 24th so you'd need to send snail-mail checks pretty soon, but paypal can be accepted up until the 21st. If you are so inclined to pass this post on to others who might want to contribute, I'd be most grateful. There is a link at the bottom of the post to make it easy to share on facebook and other sites.

If you have ANY questions or concerns, do not hesitate to ask me.
Every penny makes a difference to these kids!


  1. keri - i have a huge bag of beanie babies that my boy scout troop gave me, mittens, hats, and some shoes. i can get them to you before you leave. and take you to the howling wolf for lunch.

  2. Keri I think you are wonderful and remarkable. I will continue to be in prayer for more miracles for Anya. It is a privilege to know you.

  3. Chris -- thanks! beanie babies & gloves = good. Shoes + not good. it costs too much in weight. Its easier for me to buy them there.
    Allyson, the feeling is sooo mutual:)

  4. Where is Nastia's orphanage, by the way? I'm just curious.

    I envy you getting a trip to Russia, and am SO glad you are seeing Anya. I started praying for you and Anya whenever I stop at a light (with a bit of Dasha prayer thrown in, too). After your recent miracle, it seemed the least I could do!

  5. Shared a link to your blog Keri. I hope the donations come rolling in. It's so hard when you've seen the horrible conditions these kids live in, that so few give anything. I always have the hope that if they only knew they too would step up to help ... even a little. Hugs and safe travels.

  6. I totally agree with Allyson, you are a remarkable woman. Many will be praying for you as you make your journey to Russia. Use the donation I just made for whatever they need most. God Bless.

  7. Thank you Mary, Mary & Annie! Annie, her orphanage is at the foot of a teeny village that is a little bit removed from a town called Prokopyevsk. It is quite the hike! If you look on a map, you'll see it waaay down near Mongolia & China!

  8. Love your strength and desire to help children. Sharing your link everywhere I can! Facebook and my own blog.

  9. Just sent $50 your way. Spend it however you see fit. It's a bit more than I can afford, but my not-quite-having-the-money is nothing compared to these kids not having what they need.

    And thank you Keri. It's not often that we can share with people who need help, and know that all the $$ will really get there, really. So thank you.

  10. Thanks Jen. I'm smiling bc I'm in the same boat. I honestly dont know how I'm going to even cover MY expenses while there, but I'm just trusting. I'm keeping a close tally on every dollar that is being donated for the orphanage kids, and every penny of it will go to them. I CANT WAIT to see the look on their faces when I drive up with a van full of stuff! Last time I was unable to bring toys. Back in May 2006, with my brothers help. we brough a van full of stuff -- even 4 bikes! I cant even tell you how excited they were. It was magic. I'll be sure to take lots of photos. I'm almost as excited to go there as I am to see Anya!!!


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