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A trip to Odessa is never complete without visiting the orphanages for the smaller children. In total, there are over 70 orphanages in Odessa - impossible to be able to visit them all in a month's time. We try to visit and spend as much as time as possible with the smaller children who are so hungry for affection. Puppets are used to reach the children, as well as simple hand games. The children love the interaction and the attention. We are known as Babushka and Gedushka (Grandma & Grandpa).
We make sure that we bring along special treats for the children. On one rare occasion, we were allowed to enter the nursery. Several newborn were brought in straight from the hospital. The mothers did not want the children. The staff left us alone, which was very unusual. What a blessing it was to pray and dedicate these babies to the Lord.
At a different orphanage, the children are kept in two separate groups. When we visit during the week, the director takes us to the one group that receives a better education, and better care. Computers have been donated to this orphanage, and the children are learning to first play games on the computers. The director is hoping to have a teacher that will teach the children to use the computers in their studies.
On Saturday afternoons, we make a special trip to visit the other group of children that are not visible when Americans come to visit. These children have developmental learning issues. Some have been abused and severely traumatized. These children have little supervision.
The older ones take care of the younger ones making sure they wash, etc. Some of the small children have been diagnosed with the HIV virus. Unfortunately, the children share toothbrushes, etc. spreading the disease.
The children love Bazooka bubble gum. We usually bring a good supply of Bazooka to give out. The first time we came to visit these children they were very quiet, shy and withdrawn. When we distributed the bubble gum, a game "of who can make the largest bubble" started. Before long, we heard giggles and laughter. It was amazing to see them change right before our eyes.
Right before we finish with our visit, we ask if the children would like to be prayed for. We would then find a quite corner where no one could hear, and children would whisper their request. They are full of fear and pain. Some just breakdown, cry, and are not able to express themselves. We pray with them ever so softly holding each one so close to our hearts
We met Sasha on first trip to Odessa. He was only 4 years old at a different orphanage. Once he was a little older, he was transferred to this orphanage. He saw friend after friend being adopted and taken to America. He wanted so much to go to America.
Sasha's parents are deceased, but he has a grandmother. She does not want him nor will she sign release papers for adoption because she is living in the apartment Sasha's parent had owned. As long as she is legally his guardian, she does not have to give up the apartment. The staff lied to Sasha that soon he would be adopted. He ran away from the orphanage trying to get to America. Each time he was caught, he was beaten and warned not to do that again. Finally, someone told him he could swim to America. So he headed out to the Black Sea to swim over. He was caught, and this time the police beat him so badly he almost died.
On our last trip, we learned that Sasha was finally transferred to an orphanage in Kiev where the conditions were much better. Please pray for Sasha that the seeds that had been planted would come to fruition and that the Lord would continually keep and protect him.
By clicking on the button below your donation will go to this orphanage
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