Today was a very exciting day even though the skies were quite gray and the weather was dreary. We were up early and dressed and headed to Molly's orphanage. We took the bus (like old times) and went the exact track. I took video of our journey, even our walk through the woods that we did every day for over 5 weeks. It was very cold and very different than 6 years ago in the heat of the summer. We were bundled up with heavy coats, scarves, hats and gloves. When we approached the building, I had a wave of emotion. I can't believe that this is the place that my child called "home" for 17 months of her life! The outside of the building and the smell as we stepped foot into it, was the same. However, the walls had been painted and new couches had been placed in the LONG hallway. It looked very different inside and much better than 6 years ago. We went upstairs to meet with Svetlana, the orphanage director. It was great to hug her neck and show her pictures of Molly from the last 6 years. None of Molly's caregivers were there because of changes at the orphanage. There are only 60 children there and most of them are not adoptable. There were 180 children when Molly was there in 2004. Apparently, Svetlana had a dream of opening up a rehabilitation center for children with special needs. And, her dream has come true! Its the only rehab center in the whole country of Ukraine! The equipment was purchased by a family in Germany that adopted from that orphanage many, many years ago. Their son is now 18. Its state of the art rehab equipment and its all kids' size! Its ADORABLE - pictures below. Svetlana then showed us an "aromatherapy" room for the children and a place for them to lay down and relax! It was soooo cool and I was tempted to stay and let my family go on the rest of the tour alone. It smelled heavenly! She also has a wing where mothers with children with special needs can come there and receive therapy at no charge. This helps with those mothers that abandon their children because they are born with abnormalities. The mothers can stay with their children as they receive the necessary treatment/rehab. These mothers learn to cope with their special needs and provide for them rather than leaving them on doorsteps of baby houses. Its a GREAT program!
We then went into the special needs part of the orphanage and we met Sasha! He melted our heart immediately and he loved Craig! He has Down's but is very high functioning. He is extremely smart and he's only 2 1/2. Madeline loved him too. I was so happy to hear that two American families had adopted out of that room this past summer.
We got to see Luba, the orphanage attorney. She was so special to us and was at our court hearing in 2004. She is a lovely person and it was great to see her face and hug her neck. It was actually great to be back and they loved that we brought Molly to visit them! So many families promise to bring the children back and never come. We left photos and chocolate!
The orphanage is in need of roof repairs. It will take about $2000 to repair so we are praying that maybe our marathon (www.marathonforadoption.com) will help accomplish that goal in the future.
We pick up our girls one week from today! We are excited to see them this weekend and pray that they are doing okay without us. We have enjoyed our time in Dnepropetrovsk and look forward to meeting Molly's biological mother this week. Molly will not be going with us but Craig and I plan on meeting with her. We will get the opportunity to ask about her family, medical history, and get to know her personally.
Thanks for all your prayers! We are so thankful for ALL of you!
The Hills (all 6 of us)!!!