In case you didn’t already know, Daniel and I are visiting family friends (from my mom’s side) in L’viv, Ukraine. They are a servant family who gave up their lives in America in 1993 to do full time missions here. Mark and Rhonda along with their daughters Bria, who currently is visiting the states, Lindsey and Krista work hard at varies ministries all over the city. Some of those ministries include hosting an English club, visiting an orphanage twice a week, feeding the elderly, all while running their church of about 50 members. They have taken Daniel and I under their wing this week and have been showing us the ropes!
Today we visited the orphanage for those aged 0-3 and was able to play with them outside for about 2 hours. They each had their own little playground we could cross back and forth from. Three year olds were the most interactive with us. The nurses have blue sacks filled with all kinds of toys. These toys are definitely used and goodness knows how old they are. After seeing a play gun in all three age groups I assumed they take whatever they can get. The play equipment is not adequate for their ages. The children are unable to enjoy what little they have because of their physical limitations due to their age. We were told that a Bulgarian team came in and painted the equipment in the last week to make it look a little nicer. This orphanage is actually one of the nicer ones in Ukraine because it has many donors.
There are a number of children who have parents but for whatever they circumstance they are unable to care for them. In this case, the parents bring them to the orphanage and in order keep them from being adopted they are required to make one visit a month. I watched as a family came to visit their 3 year old. They were sitting with her and taking pictures and eating. When ready to leave, they placed the little girl in the fence and I watched while they desperately tried to get her attention to wave goodbye. Trying to take pictures of her playing, yelling her name, telling her to look and wave goodbye, but the girl just went on playing with her friends. I had mixed feelings. What can the parents expect if they only see their child once a month, does she really know who they are? Do I feel bad for them? Are they being loving towards her because they don’t want anyone to think differently? I have no idea how often they really visit or not. It hurt my heart to think that parent’s leave their children in the orphanage ‘hoping’ for their situation to change thus keeping their children from being adopted. The likelihood for the situation to change in this country is so slim. The more I thought about it, I had to remember I am not the one to judge someone else’s situation. All we could do was play and love on the kids, which wasn’t hard. They are beautiful creations that just want to be loved.
“If I can speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy
But I don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate
If I speak God’s word with power, revealing all His mysteries
And making everything as plain as day
And if I say to a mountain jump and it jumps
But I don’t love, I’m nothing
If i give all I own to the poor
Or if I even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr
But I don’t have love, I’ve gotten nowhere
So, no matter what we say, no matter what we believe, no matter what we do
We’re bankrupt without love” 1 Corinthians 13: 1-3
“Let my life be the proof of Your love” -For King and Country-thewoodalls