It is the weekend and we are waiting for tommorow morning to travel back to Kiev for more tests. Please be patient, we will post more information when we feel more comfortable.
For now, a little about our first visit to the orphanage:
Our first day was amazing. I am sure you have preconceived notions just like we did. It was actually one of the nicest orphanges in the country so, we got lucky! There were flowers everywhere and playgrounds with painted tires with flowers planted inside (I think we may consider adding tire planters to our landscape in San Diego.) There are many different playgrounds, much like a school. However, some of the equiptment was a little precarious. Many made with metal with sharp corners and pealing paint (lead-based I am sure). I think it would make most American mothers shudder.
The kids are amazingly well behaved. They crave attention but are also taught to keep their emotions in for the most part. Their days are regimented and it seems like they just coast through most days. We have been dubbed Mama and Papa because that is what the caregivers have labelled us.
When we went inside, we were brought to the main directors office. She was really sweet and started to give us "molanky hlopich's" medical information. In the middle of this conversation, "molanky" came in with his care giver. He was visibly scared as his eyes were huge and halfway behind the caregiver's leg. She told him to come in and he said, "No!" She pulled him in and he grabbed a chair and tried to get behind it. Needless to say, the chair didn't help so he was dragged into the room with the chair dragging behind him. He then turned his back on us and ignored everything everyone said for the rest of the time.
We all went back down to the play area and he continued to ignore us. He was pretending to be engrossed in his wagon, but he was really trying to come closer to get better look. This went on for some time. Zenon finally decided to pull out our secret stash of alphabet crackers ( that Alissa picked out) and started to shovel them into his mouth like we were going to take them back. Then, Zenon pulled out the big guns and got the banana! Again, his eyes got really big and he attacked! Zenon could barely peel the banana fast enough. At one point, Zenon went to peel it a little more so he could get to it and he almost had his finger bit off! Within 30 seconds, the whole banana was stuffed into his cheeks and he was looking for more! This was our first interaction for the day.
He then started to look at my bag. I had several toys and colorful stuff inside (that Rachel picked out) and he went straight for the ball. After two seconds, he was bored with the ball and went back to the bag to see what else was in there. As he was rummaging through my bag, a few other orphans saw this cornocopia of colors and next thing I know, I have about 14 hands going into my bag grabbing anything and everything and it got really noisy. I am not sure what happened next, it was kindof a blurr, but I was laying on the ground without my bag and footprints allover my shirt. As it turns out, Zenon had to rescue the bag and my sunglasses that were about to run off into the playground with our guy.
We decided to leave so we said goodbye to "molanky." He still had my scarf in his hand and was not wanting to give it up. I finally got it back but, he was not happy. He saw us leaving and he started to yell at us as we were walking away. I guess this is a normal reaction? They get attention from someone and then get mad when they leave.
We have been visiting about twice a day since and the interactions have gotten better. He really is a little independent little guy. Our time is spent interacting with all the kids. Yesterday a pack of travelling ants interrupted the play so we went for a walk around the orphanage grounds. All the kids want to hold our hands. It is really cute.
Right now we are sitting in an internet cafe. They charge about 1 cent a minute to use the computers. Ukraine seems to be a culture of extremes. Our lunch cost 6 dollars for 2 crepes, a chicken bake, and 2 cappucinos. On the other hand we walked into an electronics store and a compact dishwasher was $400 and a compact washing machine was $700 (these seem to be the cheapest models). Or another example being the horse and cart on one side of the street and the BMW on the other side.