Friday, October 1, 2010

The Special Needs Orphanage

This week I was finally able to begin volunteering at the special needs orphanage. As you may remember, the director had been open to us coming but originally asked that we come between 10:00-12:00, the same time that I was allowed to be at the babies’ orphanage. So, we spoke to the director again and she invited us to come in the evenings from 6:00-7:00 to work with a group of older children. Lienna is not available in the evenings but I was able to find another translator to go with me. This is Natasha’s first time translating and her English is not nearly as good as Lienna’s but she is working hard to do the best job she can, grateful for the opportunity to practice her English and very enthusiastic about working with the kids.

I decided that we would go to the special needs orphanage Monday, Wednesday and Friday, leaving Tuesday and Thursday open for spending extended time in the babies’ orphanage. The director had asked us to work with a very specific group of older girls who she had described as very high functioning so when we went for the first time on Monday I told Natasha to tell the receptionist that we were there to visit Group 8. We were ushered in to a group of older children but I was surprised to see that the group was co-ed. Although I would describe some as fairly high functioning, there were others who were more significantly delayed but I’ve learned that things here are often not as you were told they would be so I didn’t say anything. The kids appeared to be between 10-14 years old and had needs ranging from mild to more severe down syndrome, varying degrees of arthrogryposis, and other intellectual handicaps. They were absolutely precious and I couldn’t go more than two minutes without receiving at least a couple hugs. The worker was really nice and very happy to have us there. We spent the hour loving on the kids and discussing things we could do with them during our visits. Then at 7:00 we left, promising that we would be back soon. After we left however, I commented to Natasha that the group wasn’t quite what the director had described and I discovered that something had been lost in translation and that that was actually Group 9, not Group 8. Oops…

So on Wednesday we found Group 8. They are indeed all girls, I’d say between the ages of 12-17, all able-bodied with mild intellectual handicaps. They too are sweethearts but oh my goodness, are they ever chatty! They were all vying for my attention, asking all kinds of questions that I didn’t understand while poor Natasha tried to come up with the right words to translate while at the same time having her own conversations with some of the girls. To be honest, that first night was very overwhelming and a little discouraging. Tonight we regrouped however and sat all the girls down and had a group discussion about Canada, Ukraine, etc. and it went a lot better. We also got a chance to talk to the worker about what we can do with the girls and she was really open to everything we suggested – games, songs, bible stories, crafts, snacks, etc. Now I’m excited… my new “girls’ group” :)

We also talked to the director about visiting with Group 9 since I was feeling really bad about the mix-up (although I don’t really believe in mix-ups… I’m sure it was a God-thing, an opportunity to spend time with those sweet kids too). So, on Mondays we will spend time with Group 9, maybe singing some simple songs, teaching short bible lessons with puppets and giving lots of hugs. Then on Wednesdays & Fridays we will be with Group 8, doing bible study on Wednesdays and games, crafts, etc. on Fridays. Yes, I am excited about this new opportunity God has given me and would be open to any ideas any of you may have for either group.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

Keep up the GOoD work! Found your blog through Leza's adoption and am loving it! Wish I could be there with you. Praying that you are blazing a much needed trail over there in regards to the value of life of these rejected precious ones - that you will be the one to inspire other girls to raise up to help/fight and that due to your work statistics of drugs, prostitution and suicide will drop assoc to orphans and that new leaders in the country will be raised (themselves) due to your love and encouragement. And truly your favor of God!