Hi everyone. I know it has been a few days since my last post. I'm sorry. Honestly, I have been struggling with what to write. Rarely do I have little to say, but I feel the Lord telling me to be still... be quiet... and lean on only a few right now. There are so many amazing and wonderful things to share but they are often overshadowed by discouragement, disappointment, talk of further delays, and an overall ache to be back home with my family. I sure miss them, that the thought of even talking to them right now would probably have me crying buckets. Yet, I still can't wait to hear their voices and better yet. . . see their faces.
We are in our 10 day wait and the thought of being home around June 30th has been a beacon of light at the end of this tunnel. It has been my hope that we would all be together in another week or so.
Yesterday, I learned of an upcoming holiday that will delay things a week, unless certain things happen. I won't elaborate, but I will ask for prayer that the Lord works on the hearts of the people who will help with Nolan and Oliver's birth certificates. Please pray with me.
I will also add that funds are really tight here. We are having to spend more than I imagined, and that is above and beyond the nice cushion I brought. I hope to figure out how to withdraw money from a bank and to find one with the lowest fees.
But enough time spent on worrying about tomorrow. Let me share about our last few days.
On Sunday we stayed home. The babyhouse seems to be on lockdown during the weekend so we decided to have a down day. We washed some clothes and watched a few movies on youtube.
We watched Believe in Me, Cutback, and The Wish List. Actually we watched one of those the previous day but I still wanted to mention it.
On Monday we visited the boys. Nolan is behaving much better now, although he did throw sand. But he is also a kid. . . an excited kid, and a boy so I didn't make too big of a deal out of it.
Nolan always manages to end up with a few pieces of candy. I don't know if it is because he is a favorite or if the caretakers are handing it to him with the expectation that he behaves for us. Either way, it doesn't hurt anything. He does end up with sticky hands, but I bought some wet wipes for 1 grivna.
After an hour, I had to take Oliver back up to his room to eat. It was Malto Meal type kasha again with a little brown spoonful of who knows what. After guessing it was pureed meat or bulgar I finally asked. It was mush made from "pachenya" which is a biscuit cookie. As I fed Oliver, another caretaker began to feed another little boy. In order to shovel it in faster, the caretaker pushed his head back against the blanketed back of the chair. This method was not something I would use, but it certainly worked. I think that kiddo broke a new world's record as fastest eater!
Sorry, I do not mean to make light of the situation as I find it very sad that these kids are not talked to, played with, or encouraged to feed themselves, but what else is there for me to do. I tried to talk and play with Oliver as I fed him so they could see from example how much more pleasurable feeding time can be for these babies, but at the same time I tried not to go overboard as to have my feeding duties taken away.
I saw two new babies in the groupa. One little boy looks very sickly with purple fingertips so I assumed that he was at the hospital receiving treatment and had just gotten back. The other baby is a little girl with DS who was born in September. Both of them are cuties!
After I tucked Oliver in his bed, I went over to comfort two other little babies who were still waiting to be fed. Amazing what just a touch of the hand will do. I was with the other babies long enough for Oliver to fall asleep. As I left the room I saw him sweetly sleeping with his chubby little legs hanging out through the bars.
That afternoon we went to another missionary friends' home outside the city. I was not sure what to expect but Rachel and I were excited to be around other Americans. The family has twelve kids with five still at home so I knew we would have something in common. The family actually has a team of four from the states with them for another week, plus a Peace Corp volunteer so it was quite the party. These missionaries have been here for 7 years. The gave me a tour of their home which they built to American standards as close as possible so when other Americans come here they can have the comforts of home. After being here for nearly 4 weeks, I have to admit that I found comfort in flushing my toilet paper.
We had barbecued chicken, pickled red tomatoes, freshly picked berries, tomato juice, summer salads, and stewed sweet peppers. I ate raw garlic and onion fresh from the garden. It was all very delicious. A neighbor came over and joined the party and later took me for a tour of his garden. I ate gooseberries for the first time and boy were they yummy!
The two oldest boys reminded me of Adam and Caleb, and their little 5 year old girl made me think of Dennis. It felt as close to home away from home as possible.
We were having such a good time that it was after 10pm before I looked at my watch. We ended up spending the night.
The next day we rode a marshootka back into town with their oldest son Tim who still lives at home. It was sad to leave, but what a huge blessing it was to get that time with them. They filled up our emotional tank and gave us a break from the normal day to day activities.
The next day we went to the open market. I wanted to buy a bag to carry our things home. When I asked the old babooshka who was selling them how much they were, I was surprised when she said three grivna. I was very thankful and actually tried to offer her an extra grivna. She asked, "What is this?" and seemed genuinely offended that I was offering her charity. I was apologetic but at the same time I tried to show my appreciation for her and her honesty and hard work. I guess love needs no spoken language because she understood my heart and gave me a great big hug and a kiss! It was wild.
But she never did take that grivna.
As I walked away, I felt certain that we had both blessed each other.
At the end of today's visit, Nolan did not want us to leave. He did not want to go back to his groupa. He did not cry, but he shook his head no to us leaving. Finally with the promise to be back tomorrow, he waved to us good bye.
Oliver continues to have a snot nose and sounds congested. I hope it is just allergies. I seem to be more accepted by the caretakers since I have began showing them the photo album I brought. Maybe this Mom of 17 actually knows something about taking care of a baby. :)
On the walk to the bus stop, I saw a man touching up the paint on his car with a bottle of nail polish. Nice.