Today, we received letters all the way from Ukraine, from our loving Maya’s Hope caregivers at Kalinovka orphanage! (Our three caregivers in our Guardian Angel program so far are Raisa, Valya and Lilya.) They wrote to update us on how things are going at the orphanage, especially after Julie’s visit and Lyosha’s adoption.
Here are the letters below (translated to English by our wonderful Kat Dudina):
From Valya (account of group caretaker Kara V.V.):
“How are things? What are you doing these days? Everything is fine here. I have seen a change for the better in the children. We hold lessons every day: reading, writing, drawing, going out for walks around the group home territory (campus); the kids play with toys, in the sandbox, with a ball.
In the house, the children keep everything in order, help each other dress, wash up, brush their teeth.
During the lessons all the children diligently write and draw. Serezha Paluhin, Misha Romanov, Artem Nianov (sp?) began reading. Serezha is very active during the lessons. He and Oleg Solov’ev started learning letters. Yura Chebakov and Vladik are learning to hold a pen and draw sticks.
In September we had both a happy and a sad event:
Misha Makarenko was adopted by a family in America. It is great that the boy found a family, but sad wondering how he is adapting to everything over there.
Throughout the month we cleaned up the house and the territory – plucked the grass, swept the alley. The children were happy to be working, even Oleg and Rusik (Ruslan??), who normally don’t like to work.
Everything is going well with my family. My grandchildren are keeping me happy: the oldest became a Berdyansk city-wide champion in boxing – received a gold medal, and the youngest, 4 months, started turning onto his side and stomach. In general my family life is not reflected in the children.”
From Raisa (group leader account; group #3, Gudenko R.I.):
“Things are moving well in our dorm, there are some changes. Some children learned to hold a pen, to color, and they are learning letters. Dima (Bima??) Saychak, Maxim Balabas, Vanya Pozdnyakov, Oleg Seregin, Ilya Simano.
Some news from the home – Alesha Makarenko was adopted into an American family.
We do drawing on the asphalt as well as take long walks outside in the fresh air with a ball.
Our dorm was renovated – added euro-windows on our veranda. Funny story – Every morning Ilya Simano goes in the shower and showers independently. No sad ones.
Everything is fine in my family. My daughter is studying at the Berdyansk Institute; my son is in the 11th grade, my husband and I are working.”
From Lilya (a caregiver and their art teacher!)
(Lilya addressed her letter to Tanya, who is an old friend. It was easier for her to address it to a friend rather than write to everyone in our Maya’s Hope family!)
“Hi, my dear Tanya!
How is everything? How is your health? What’s new?
Everything is good here. Everyone is alive and well. Recently, a long awaited event finally took place, which excited everyone.
Our little Alesha found a family. It’s a miracle! His future mother had stayed in Kalinovka for a while. All the children constantly fought for her attention, but Alesha immediately felt that she belonged to him (which is typical for kids) and jealously pushed the others away. Now Alesha is far away from us, but I am sure that over there he is surrounded by loving and caring parents and siblings!
All the children often remember him with a smile. This story had an impression on a little boy, Serezha. There was suddenly hope in his eyes. Sometimes my heart breaks when I see him sitting away from others, looking in the distance. As though at any moment on the horizon there will appear someone who will need no one but him. He is not exactly an angel, but it’s worth noting that lives in a group home for children, where there are many others like him, experiencing a lack of attention. But he is still special. He really wants to be needed! Tries to help everyone, to be involved in everything.
Most of the guys in our group already perform their duties without being reminded to do so. They help each other dress, make the bed, set the table.
Especially endearing is when you arrive to the house in the morning and you are greeted by sunny smiles, all covered in toothpaste! These guys can easily be in a toothpaste commercial! And some try to brush more than their teeth…
Yesterday the guys and I finished making the tree out of beads. Everyone strung the beads, Serezha collected the parts, Artem painted the trunk, and Sasha glazed it. He is proud when he is allowed to be the one to finish the job. He is almost ready to make the entire model. Serezha already learned to make the parts and put them together into a finished product. I am proud of him. I also love the fact that the guys have a natural feeling of unity. I think in a year no one will even recognize them anymore. These boys are showing interest in art and music! Some of them are even trying to dance. So funny! Some are shy. But it will come to them in time.
At home everything is fine. Everything is moving along as it should. We’re gradually preparing for the winter. Collecting the harvest, canning the vegetables. The girls are going to school. Helping out with everything. Sometimes they come with me to work. My youngest really cares for the boys in Kalinovka. She makes drawings for them, collects fruits and passes to them through me. Even sacrificed all her toys – I never expected that of her! She says she is now too old for them.
I’ll wrap up for now. My girlfriend just came to visit, so we’re getting ready to have some tea!
I wish you health and happiness!”