Caring for the orphans didn't stop with our adoption of Darya into our family. The desire to continue to serve "the least of these" has been on my heart continually. It's a feeling I can't brush off. If you have followed my blog for a little while, you may remember my post that while in Ukraine, I had the opportunity to visit the older girls' invalid institute where Darya would likely have been sent. That experience will always remain with me. Our translator in Odessa, Alyona, and her husband, Slavik, serve the orphans in the area and continually poor their lives into serving them. It is a lot of work, sacrifice, and dedication. They could spend their Saturday mornings at home but instead they spend time with the orphans. One such a Saturday morning, is when I got to go along with them and see them "in action". They give sacrificially and joyfully and truly love these children! Many people would prefer to look the other way, but they are dedicated to making a difference in the lives of the children, however painful the experience must be for them (in seeing the conditions).
Another family who adopted a little boy from a secluded and poor institution outside of Odessa was recently put into contact with them. Alyona and Slavik drove in the snow for 3 hours each way (Alyona's pregnant, mind you) to visit these boys and bring some much needed supplies. You can read about how this providentially came about here: http://covenantbuilders.blogspot.com/2010/12/found.html
It is still my desire to go back to Ukraine to serve the orphans. I don't know how or when or if it will happen. But even if I can't get back, at the very least I can do something to help those who can. Recently Alyona told me of some boys that they minister to were in need of socks and gloves (about 50 of them). So I posted about it on Facebook and had several people send me socks and gloves that we in turn sent to Alyona! My son, Sam, even bought a few pairs of gloves with his own money. It may not be much in the big scheme of things, but it is something. I am so thankful to my friends who contributed! In fact, it was upon hearing about these boys that my son Ben wanted to help fundraise for orphans (see previous posts on the ABC-shells). It saddened him to hear about boys just like him who would be glad to receive gloves and socks, when other kids like him here in the States would take it for granted.
If anyone would like to help Alyona and Slavik in their ministry to the orphans please let me know! I know that Julia Nalle (see the above blog link) is trying to figure out how we can support them. In the meantime, they always ask for prayer which is something we can all certainly do!