‘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, November 21, 2012

'Orphanage Invasion' Update

Ksusha on the left, and the Assistant Director, Katya R, in the center.
This morning I was able to chat online with three of the girls who aged out of the orphanage in June -- for two whole hours! Ksusha Novikova, Nastya Krasilova and Natasha Chernova were all on at the same time via a school computer! I was able to ask them many questions about the current state of things at the orphanage and what they need.
Nastya Krasilova, who is acting as the main 'messenger' to the orphanage for me. She aged out in June and is currently trying to find a place to live. She is attending church weekly and says it helps her
to keep perspective when things are bad.

All three girls said there is a great need for shoes right now. There are not enough shoes to go around once again, and there is simply no money there to buy new pairs. Second to that they said there is a need (as always) for warm socks, hats and gloves. So if you are sending a Christmas package, please include some of these items if you can.
Natasha Chernova on the left, with one of her teachers, at her graduation in June 2012.
She keeps an eye on Daniel for me.

Sadly, they told me that multiple staff members had quit the orphanage recently. They couldn't speak to 'why', and my guess is the girls were scared of speaking about something they shouldn't. But they did say that they were all still in touch with Ekaterina R, the Assistant Director, and that - though she quit this week,too - she promises to pick up all the packages at the post office and deliver them to the children directly, as long as needed. I have known Katya for 8 years. She is a woman of her word who simply adores the children. I know they will receive everything if Katya is in charge. (She is in the top photo.)

They relayed that things are not great at the orphanage, but that they all visit often to check up on the kids and relay messages. These girls are so thoughtful, that they refused to tell me anything they might need or want and instead kept urging me to 'please send shoes' to the kids at their former orphanage. I hope to send these girls all care packages of their own soon. If you'd like to join me, I can share their address with you via email. I just don't want their public address listed here.

All the girls were delighted to hear that many of you will be sending care packages to the kids for Christmas. They know too well how lonely Christmas usually is. The only gifts they will receive are the ones you send. Please remember that photos and cards mean almost more to them than anything else. Consider adding a few family photos and a simple card in Russian to your box. (You can use google translate.)

The address to use when sending your package is listed in my last blog post. Please be SURE to include a copy of the Russian letter I mentioned! I have only received three requests for it via email. I cannot post it here because it contains personal information that shouldn't be shared publicly. but if you email me, I will send it to you!

On a final note: thank you to the 5 people who sent donations for the Thanksgiving Feast to be held at the orphanage next week! $283 has come in!
I sent them $500 this morning, and Katya R is scheduled to pick it up Friday, so the Feast may not happen until Monday. I'll keep you posted about when it occurs.

Thank you to all of you who are taking the time to send a package. I know it was much easier to get people on board with this in past years when I could post photos of the children, but until I go back there again, you'll just have to imagine the joy you're creating:) I can't tell you what a difference it makes in their lives to know someone cares. This morning Natasha ended our conversation with "Thank you for being so faithful in your care of us. It was not expected. We feel very grateful to you."  So -- Know that your care really does make a difference!


  1. Thank you for the update. I have a package ready to send. So glad you are not giving up on these kids.

    1. THank you! It is impossible to give up on them once you meet them!

  2. Anonymous1:42 AM

    Thank you. I'd like to email you, and get the instructions on where to send the care packages. Do you suggest new items only, or is "gently used" okay? I'm just thinking that our $ will go further, if I can shop at thrift stores for some items. Soooo, could you post your email address, where we can contact you?? Thanks!!

    1. Hi! Thank you! Yes, gently used is more than okay! My email address is:


  3. Do I wrap the stuff up for different children ... or do I send stuff in a box and the director divides it more or less equally? I cannot imagine different kids getting boxes and others are left out or that one child gets a lot while another doesn't. KWIM?

  4. Anonymous11:14 PM

    Do you know if the children ever received packages? We sent a big box, and would love to know if gifts ever arrived!

    1. Yes, though they were not given out immediately as I had hoped. I heard first from some of the older kids that not everytihng was given out, so I contacted a journalist in the town that I knew and she went in person and made sure the rest of the packages were distributed. I had asked the new director to photograph each box and send me a copy of the photo so I could post them online...but she has turned out to be nothing like the old Director. I am hoping to find a new way to reach the kids, via one of the caretakers. We'll see!


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