Where My Heart Is

When P143 asked me if we could add an orphanage visit into our court trip, I practically jumped at the chance. It wasn’t going to be a particularly convenient or easy trip, but there are few things more special to me than the opportunity to love on kids who need it most. The simple gestures of being present, making a joke, squeezing a shoulder, can mean so much to a kid who isn’t used to the loving attention of an adult.
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It’s a bit nerve wracking walking into a room with 10 kids, all eagerly anticipating your visit… and with whom you lack a common language. The orphanage director  introduced us. These children had already been interviewed for hosting, so our main purpose was to get to know them in a more relaxed setting.
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Snacks were passed out, and then I pulled out one of our favorite games, Spot It.
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The kids caught on very fast, as I showed them how the game worked.
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I don’t usually relate to the older kids as a parent, I’m guessing due to my age. But one boy instantly had my heart. He was smiling and sweet, reminding me a bit of a young Leonard from the Big Bang Theory. I’m guessing it was just the glasses and how he tilted his head to keep them on.

“Можна фотографувати?” May I take pictures, I asked, gesturing towards him. He nodded and giggled nervously.
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“Ти маєш зуби?” Do you have teeth? I asked.

And we both laughed.
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At the other end of the table, Aaron broke out Uno. The language barrier is almost always a big concern of potential host parents. While I’ve learned some Ukrainian, Aaron only knows a few words. But, it wasn’t an issue. When you have a pack of Uno cards and the willingness to spend time, the language doesn’t matter.
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This sweet girl was shy with me. I asked her questions like name, age, favorite color, and her answers were barely above a whisper. She doesn’t have a favorite color, in case you were wondering. She reminded me quite a bit of N, who we hosted last summer.

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This is her older (yes, older) brother. He is spunky and sweet, and smiles all the time. I think he’d really benefit from a loving mom and dad this summer, as well as a trip to the dentist.
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Our time at the orphanage was limited, which was disappointing for me. I could have spent all night there talking to each of the kids, searching for the anticdote or the snapshot that would help their mom and dad find them.
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The boy on the right is available for hosting alone. We didn’t interact with him much one on one, but he played Uno with Aaron. He was quiet, but friendly with us. The boy on the left is available with his two younger brothers. I don’t have a great photo of the middle brother (you can find him a plaid shirt in some of the group photos above). When the group was asked who knew any English, his middle brother was quick to say “My name is…” in English.

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This is the youngest brother. Quiet and adorable.
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This girl is already hosted. The boy is available with his younger sister, who we didn’t meet. This boy was fun– he wasn’t shy with us at all, just jumped right into our games.
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I hardly talked to this handsome little guy. He’s one of the youngest we met. He was more shy with us, but social with the rest of the kids.
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These sisters were chatty with our Ukrainian team member. The one on the left had some questions for me, like what my occupation is.
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When we were leaving, she gave us all hugs. I think she and her sister would really benefit from a loving family this summer.
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This is their friend. She was shy with us, including when I went to take this picture. Like a lot of teenage girls, she seemed a bit self conscious. I think she would do well in a family that could breathe some confidence into her. Her dream is to becoming a lawyer! She already conducts herself professionally.
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And this boy, I saved him for last. He was shy with us, but I saw him sitting alone on the floor with a toy, so I sat down with him and started a little conversation. He hardly looked at me, so I let it go after a couple of minutes.
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Then, he went into a cabinet and pulled out a piece of paper. He started drawing and slide a picture over to me. He proceeded to do the same with Aaron. He shyly smiled his delight as I told him how good it was and how talented he is. His orphanage director nodded enthusiastically, saying how he is an exceptional artist.
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I didn’t realize until later that he was the younger brother of the first boy that I shared about, with the glasses. They are an exceptional pair of wonderful brothers!

These children are no longer strangers to me. On the contrary– I think I handed out a piece of my heart to each of them just as easily as we handed out candy. They aren’t just photos to me anymore. They are real, delightful, fun people who I’ve met and hugged and laughed with. They’re all looking for a family who can invest in them and help change their lives. Will you help me find them ALL families this summer?

Maybe one of them even tugged at your heartstrings and you’d like to learn more? Please reach out to me or another P143 representative, even if you aren’t certain hosting is for you.

I have two action items for you. They’ll only take a few minutes and these children are worth it.

  1. Share this post. Share it on Facebook. Email it to a friend who you know is interested in hosting, adoption or just loves kids.
  2. Register for P143 photolisting. Take a few minutes to learn more about the kids.

3 thoughts on “Where My Heart Is”

  1. Ohhhhh…… The sweet kids… I easily understand why you were thrilled to get the opportunity to go there and meet them. I could hardly read your descriptions of them, knowing I would fall for them. Hope they will all get families! Wish my family could be one of them….

  2. Needed a good cry. This is where my heart is as well. Advocating for the kiddos in the orphanages to find families is one of the most important things we’ll ever do in our lives. I’d love to read your adoption updates!

  3. Such a small world! We will be hosting one of the girls on your pictures. Would love to know if you remember anything about her. I sent you an email a few day ago…not sure if you received it.
    Also, could we have the password so that we could read your journey in Ukraine?
    Thanks!!

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