Friday, January 14, 2011

Christmas Parties!

What a crazy, hectic, wonderful week it has been! I found out on Tuesday that quarantine had been lifted at the special needs orphanage and that they would like me to do all three of my Christmas parties this week. So, the next few days were a whirl of packing gifts and buying juice and fruit for the parties (buying 42 bananas and 84 oranges on foot from small, independent fruit stands requires a bit of running around!). I ended up having two parties yesterday morning and one more this morning and all three were phenomenal…

I started off yesterday morning with group nine – here’s a look at what went in their stockings (yes, they are santa hats, not stockings… they don’t have stockings here so I had to get creative!)...


For the boys...

For the girls...
 

Group nine is without a doubt my favourite as I am convinced that some of the sweetest kids on the entire planet live in that room. I think of group 9 as my miracle group… You may remember that I actually originally ended up there by “accident” as my translator mistakenly told the receptionist that we were there to see group 9 when we were really supposed to go to group 8. The truth is, I know that it was no accident and I thank God for the blessing and the privilege it has been to spend time with these kids. They are my joy and my light. No matter how hard my day/week may have been, even on days when I didn’t feel like going out to the orphanage at night in the dark or in the rain, etc., the second I saw them my spirit was lifted. In the 45-60 minutes that I would spend with them I would receive no less a dozen kisses and countless hugs. This group does not normally receive visitors which made them extra excited to see me but I promise you that I loved seeing them just as much as they loved seeing me. Anyway, the party yesterday was great. Because of the quarantine I hadn’t seen them in over a month, nevertheless several of them shouted out my name as I walked through the door. They listened attentively as “Sasha the Pig” told about how her great, great, great grandfather was there to witness the birth of Jesus (I know, I’ve never seen any pigs in the manger scene but I don’t have that many puppets and I figured a pig was more likely than an elephant…) and then came the presents! The kids were so excited and for most of them, it appeared that their favourite item was the noisemaker (my apologies to the workers!). After the gifts I spent the next 30 minutes with kids clambering all over my lap and covering me with slobbery kisses as I soaked in every second of it. The only downside was saying goodbye, when I couldn’t help the couple of tears that escaped…













Then it was on to group five – here’s what was in their stockings…

 

Group five is the group I spent several weeks visiting while my other two groups were sick. Because I did not spend that much time with them, I didn’t connect with them as much as I did with my other two groups. Still, they are sweet kids and I was glad to see them again. This group is generally fairly low-functioning but you could still see the joy and excitement on many of their faces as they received their gifts. There was one boy in particular who you’ll see in the pictures below… His name is Andriy and he is the highest functioning in the group. He was soooo happy with his present and must have said thank you at least a dozen times! He kept saying, “I love this!”, “I love this!” referring to just about every item he pulled out of his stocking. My favourite however was when shortly after I had finished telling the Christmas story, he came over to Lienna and I and proudly announced, “I believe in Jesus!”. Oh, how my heart swelled…









Finally, this morning was the party for group eight – here’s what went in their stockings…




Group eight, also known as everyone’s favourite princesses… it was great to see them again. This is my highest functioning group and as such, they were definitely the ones who had the most fun opening their stockings. It was like Christmas morning with 13 kids and I loved it! The girls were thrilled with their headbands and bracelets and immediately put them on, modelling them proudly. They also loved the socks (as I knew they would), and kept telling me how nice they were. Truth be told, they loved everything in their stockings and they had so much fun spending an entire hour going through them, smelling the soap and toothpaste, blowing their noisemakers, sticking stickers on their hands, having me “read” their books to them and of course sampling the chocolate…



















It has been a great couple of days. I am exhausted but oh-so-happy. Because it looks like there may be another quarantine starting and because I wanted to make sure I had a chance to say goodbye to my kids, I decided that these Christmas parties would be the end of my time at the special needs orphanage, finishing on a high note. It was hard to say goodbye to all my kids but I thank God for the opportunity I’ve had to spend time with them and I especially thank Him for allowing the quarantine to be lifted long enough for us to have this one last hurrah.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

you are a God-send!! They all look so happy and so do you. Can't believe it is time to start saying goodbye
L

Amanda said...

Oh wow, you have been soooo busy. I am so sorry to take even one min of your time away from them. The little girl with an orange in each hand.....so precious!!! She looks so happy:o)Those kids are going to miss you just as much as you will miss them. Glad you got to say goodbye to them.

Melissa said...

Oh Andrea!! My heart is broken and so full at the same time. I am so thankful for you and what you have been able to bring to these kids. I couldn't help, looking at these pics, but to think over and over "that could have been Liza". Just more reason to keep pushing, keep yelling, keep "offending" those who don't want to be shown the need. I will be praying for you as you prepare to leave. Much love!! :)