‘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

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Orphange Trip Three: Countdown

Early Friday morning, Nastia and I leave for our third trip to the orphanage. I had already packed up most of the bags when Nastia reminded me that I wanted to post photos on my blog of all the 'goodies'. So, thanks to Nastia's quick thinking, here is a photo of one third of the goods before they got packed up!

I think those of you who donated would be VERY proud of me! It took me three weeks to amass these piles, because I was a bargain hunter! See those stuffed animals? I hunted down the cheapest ones I could find in Kemerovo that were also well-made. I am happy to announce I paid no more than 200 rubles tops for each one! (That's about $6). The little ones at the orphanage (kids under 6) had requested  'something soft to hold at night.' That is a request impossible NOT to fulfill -- am I right?

I've been very lucky with books. I bought a second entire set of the whole Harry Potter series, as there was huge interest in that. I also scrounged around enough in the few local bookstores to find: Charlotte's Web,  Huckleberry Finn, Pippi Longstocking,  Hardy boys, Boxcar Children, Indiana Jones books, Little Women, Shakespeare (of course), books of poetry, some graphic novels, Spiderman comic books, lots of fairy-tales, two atlases, a child's introduction to how the human body works, and countless board books for the little ones.

As I have a repeat donor who requests I buy DVDs, I bought: Peter Pan, Finding Nemo, Night at the Museum, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland (old version), and a dozen Russian made fairy-tale films that are exquisite!

Also got two sets of checkers, chess, cards, Monopoly, Candyland, Russian "Battleship", and other board games to keep their minds occupied. There is a babydoll at little Polina's request . (I would buy her the world if she asked...) And 'a big girl doll with hair' at Veronika's request. ( The barbies I brought in early September just didn't suit her...lol)

Also, Nastia and I went through all our clothes and are donating everything we have not yet worn. We figured that if we have been here over six weeks and have not yet worn it, we don't need it. We ended up with an entire suitcase of shirts, socks, pants, shoes and such! 

Finally, we are bringing twelve pairs of winter boots -- six for girls and six for boys -- in sizes 34-39. As Nadezhda the director put it when I asked her what sizes to buy...' Keri, if you buy it, not matter the size, there will be a leg to put in it here!'

Lastly, I bought (with my own funds) a winter coat and new sneakers for Daniel. Nastia bought him a battery operated truck. I didn't want to go overboard, because I am sure there is already alot of jealousy in the air since word is out I have started  the adoption process for him. I have no doubt that many of the kids will be  "mom shopping" when I get there Friday. ( 'parent shopping' or 'mom shopping' is a term used in the adoption community. It is when I child tried to win you over with their charm, in hopes that you will want them. It's very sad, but very, very common.)

I'm also bringing them over 100 photos that I took on my last two visits to them in Sept and Oct. I made sure to make triple copies: one set for the director, one set for the caretakers to share, and one for me to give out to the children.

I wish it were Friday right now....


  1. Your blog is interesting. I hope to come back often.
    Good luck

  2. Best wishes from the Murray's. We know the emotions of visiting the orphanage can be overwhelming. May God give you the strength to endure the travel and to deal with so many needy children. You are a hero to those who know what it is like there; to those who have experienced being there; and to those who have adopted children with no hope.

    God Bless - the Murray's

  3. Wow, wonderful! So many gifts for them! Thank God there are people like you in this world!

  4. so beautiful.
    i have a ton of beanie babies that were donated by my boy scout troop but don't have the money to ship them just yet.

  5. That brings back memories of the orphanage I spent a lot of time at when I was in Viet Nam back in 1969-1970. It was filled with children that were products of GI & Vietnamese women and were considered outcasts. Some were blonde and blue eyed. I would go there on my off time and they would pile on top of me craving attention. I went home on a 30 day leave and posted an article in the newspaper and got many donations so when I went back I had boxes of clothes and can goods. The food they had was can goods that was bloated with botchulism. I have pictures of children wearing new clothes for the first time in their lives. It was such a rewarding experience for me and I often wonder what happened to those children. Thank you for all you do for those children you are helping.

  6. Keri, I have a renewed awe of the amazing way you care for these children every time I visit your blog. Your love and excitement at giving the gifts and the excitement pictured when they receive them is absolutely palpable! I can feel it all the way over here! :)

  7. Awww... Everything is so cute and special and I'm certain the children will so love each thing they receive.

    I feel honored that you commented at my blog yesterday. I discovered your blog last week, even mentioned it in one of my posts, and it's my new favorite. I especially loved your older 'warm oil' post--it was just like that, just like liquid love, when I felt it in 1994. And I have never been the same. From one lover of God to another....Debra

  8. I love the items you picked out and I am sure that the children will as well!! How much longer will you be over there? Is it possible to ship anything to you while you are there? I had hoped to be in Biro by December but still no word on court so I am guessing it won't be until January.

    Sending tons of good thoughts and prayers your way.

  9. Amazing!
    I was wondering if you (or any of your students) would possibly have the time to help me with a paper I am writing for a college course. It's a group paper on Russian and US American cultures. Kind of a compare and contrast using the GLOBE taxonomy. My sections are on Power Distance and Uncertainty Avoidance. I am having the most difficult time finding any references. Would you have any time? If not I totally get it. I was trying to find a way to email you. You can email me at brennka@yahoo.com
    THANKS! - Kerry

  10. How fantastic!!! I love what you got! I would agree that the request of "Something soft to hold at night" can NOT be ignored. How sweet and completely symbolic, right?

    As for the books, what classics! Did you know (I just found out) that Pippi Longstocking is Swedish and the author who wrote "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" based his main character on what he thought Pippi would be like as a grown up.



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