The following letter is not all that our missionary friend wrote to me after her trip to Katerina’s orphanage, but this is the part that we are posting publicly for now. Stephanie Carpenter has advised us to be exceedingly careful, so we will not be able to post any of the wealth of photos or videos that S**** captured.
Joe had already been teasing me that when he takes me to Katie’s country, I won’t come back home again unless I can bring all the rest of the children with me. Our attorney told us that Katerina’s orphanage is considered one of the better ones. “Better” in Eastern Europe means that the caregivers try to care for the children instead of drugging or abusing them.
After seeing the pictures S**** sent us, and reading all she wrote about her visit so far, oh how I pray that God will allow us to help these precious little ones come home to their own families. An institution is no place for a human being to live.
In order to give them families, He will have to move mountains, including some human hearts. But look at what God has done for these little ones in such a short time! He is on their side, and He can do anything, yes, even move hearts!
I had a great trip today. I am full of all kinds of emotions that will take time to process. We left early this morning and after about a three hour bus ride, me and a friend of mine (another American missionary) arrived in Katerina’s town. When we got to the orphanage we met with the director.
She informed us that there was a great need for walkers at the center. After taking a tour of the facility, it was obvious that she was right. Many of the children could not walk and spent almost all of their day in cribs. Both the missionary who accompanied me and I were in a position where we had to make an on-the-spot decision as your agents as we had no way to contact you to ask for your opinion.
We spent the money as follows:
1,000 [currency] on nutritional supplies
400 [currency] to purchase 9 walkers
The director quickly made arrangements to have the orphanage driver take us to the wholesale vendors where we would buy the needed nutrition and supplies for the orphanage. But before that she let us make a short visit to Katerina’s floor for mentally disabled children.
Katerina’s room is at the end of a hallway. And when we got there I knew right away who she was because of the pictures on your blog. It’s hard not to fall in love with her as soon as you see her. She is beautiful, sweet and absolutely precious. She was very calm and alert the whole time. She definitely has a personality though. At first she didn’t want us to touch her much and was irritated because she didn’t know us. But later she got used to us and became very calm and content. I was amazed at how aware she was of everything around her.
After we spent some time with Katerina we left with the driver to go to the wholesale vendors and buy the food (mostly baby jars and cereal) and the rest of the supplies that were requested by the director. This only took about an hour. After that we went back to the orphanage. This time when Katerina saw us she was all smiles and was super happy to see us. She was changed into another outfit and looked very cute.
I got to hold her a few times. It was great fun. She really is precious. She doesn’t like to be held for long periods of time though. I think she is so used to being in that crib that it’s almost unnatural for her to be out of it. :( Or she just feels safe there.
She looks so alert and aware of everything. It almost seemed like if she could talk she would let us know what is going on.
We also got to see and visit with some of the other children there. There is a program called granny/child where some of the children including Katerina get to spend four hours a day one on one with an older lady. The ladies there said they have seen a significant improvement in the kids that do the program. I can just imagine how great Katerina will do when she meets her family that loves and cares about her.
Toward the end of our visit I also had the chance to [bottle]feed Katerina. It was really fun and she ate very well. She ate a blended potato and meat puree and she seemed to really enjoy it.
[Look at her!!! Isn’t she precious!]
It was so hard to leave there today. I felt better about leaving Katerina because I knew good things are coming for her. She already has a loving family that can’t wait to bring her home. But these other kids have no hope. I would bring them all home too if I could.
I also took some videos and more pictures that I am going to send you. Thank you so much for the privilege of meeting your sweet girl. What a blessing.