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A letter from the mother of “special children”

This is a letter from me – Olga and the kids, girls from dorm #6. This week I worked at the new dormitory – it is beautiful and cozy, a huge thanks to the ‎charity and to the people who are not indifferent and care about children.

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Olya and Olya

This week we were basically getting used to each other. ‎I observed the girls and how they interact with each other to learn what they enjoy doing. I helped Larisa and Artem memorize some poems for the grand opening of the new home. I haven’t figured out how to organize our work day here – the children are all different and each one needs a special approach. I have also come to the realization that I do dedicate more time and attention to Olya, Anzhela and Varya, especially because they had been really ill with a fever and cough in all three of them.

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Olya and Anzhela

 I was also a bit ill, but I had to hang in there, because tomorrow I have a hard day – my kids are being transferred. ‎Until the very last day I still held on to hopes, deep inside my conscience – what if something happens and the kids will stay? But alas! I watch Katya and Larisa, they came back home, but keep reminiscing about the friends they left behind, they call them by name and I think they miss them. So what about my kids? How will they feel while getting used to the new place?

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Olya and Varya

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Maxim and Olya

Maksim, for instance, refuses to eat with the arrival of a new caregiver, I’ve always been the one to feed him, and on my days off, the girls whom he already knows feed him.

Yegor

Yegor

Egor does not like fish soup, everyone already knows this so he was secretly given milk cereal or mashed potatoes, otherwise he screams for everyone to hear.

Lena

Lena

And Lena S. is terrified of strangers – she looks at them with fear and begins to cry.

Snezhanna needs to be carried out immediately after breakfast and to the playroom, where we turn on music, otherwise she’ll scream for the rest of the day. Tanya can recognize the voices of people in the room by sound and begins to laugh and stretch her arms to the person.

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Yulia

Yulia is the opposite – does not like being touched, but listens when you speak to her and watches toys.

Danil

Danil

Danil is an even more special case – he ordered me around any way he wanted – wants to go to the playroom – and then 15 minutes later he wants to watch TV.  The girls say I spoiled him.

I don’t know what I’ll do without these children. Every morning, on my way to dorm 6, when I go in and greet them, my eyes fill with tears, I can’t control myself.‎ Maksim also tightens his lips – his face looks so vulnerable, as if he understands.

When I came for the job interview and Anya showed me the kids – I was crying. I had only seen these special children for the first time and they haunted my dreams long after that, almost every day. Now so many of them have been under my care – learning, moving to other locations, some transferred to different dorms.

Oleg S. has learned to walk here, to hold a spoon, and eat independently. Andrei Z. has learned to stand and walk with the help of a walker. We’ve lost many too – Nadya S. – I was the one who dressed her for the hospital and hoped that everything would work out, but alas…

Sergey M, Andrei B, Nastya F. Some were also transferred to other orphanages: Roma, Nastya L, Anton P. Anton kept saying “Olya, you are so nice.” How are they now?

I remember as if it was yesterday. We didn’t have a playroom yet and together with the kids ‎we would gather in the hallway, some kids sat in strollers, some in laps and some on the floor. Then we were given half of a bedroom and the volunteers brought over toys and tables and we started to learn to pick up toys with our hands; to stand and to sit. Through play we learned about the world. I think within the year our playroom was completed.

From what I gathered from the girls who worked here before me, the kids were not taken outside for years at a time. So from day to day we learned more about each other. Now I am able to understand who wants what and who needs to go where, but in the beginning it was far from easy! Each day I learned how to dress them correctly, to sit them up, to feed them, to pick a comfortable position for them to play.

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I am grateful to the charity, Happy Child, – they’ve organized trips to Kharkiv, L’viv and Zaporizhia. I really liked the rehabilitation center in L’viv – thanks to them we’ve seen results. They may be small accomplishments but if you come in and the child is happy to see you, then, I think, I have not spent these years with them in vain.

Now, as 6 years ago, I’m getting this feeling again – will I be able do anything with these kids? I will love them, no doubt.

Maybe this isn’t a perfect letter and for that I’m sorry. My thoughts take me places and the tears fall like rain. That’s how we are, my friend.

I wish you all the best.

Olga