10 August, 2012
We arrived in our old region after a 12 hour train ride. The ride was uneventful except for one section of track that had the car rocking so severely we thought that we would derail. Of course we hit this part of the track around 02:00 so it startled us out of what had been a very sound sleep. Oleg, a family friend, met us at the station and we went to his home for a quick lunch. It was quick only due to the fact that we had an appointment with the director of our old orphanage, not due to any lack of food. Elena knows how to put out a spread!! There was quite the feeling of nostalgia as we made our way to the appointment. Only nine months ago we traveled that route twice a day, every day for nearly three weeks. The changes to the orphanage, all good, were apparent immediately upon our arrival. Several of the projects that the Director had told us were in her plans had been completed and a few new ones had been started. The Director was waiting for us outside so she could show us what she had been able to get done as we walked to her office. Once there, with Oleg acting as interpreter, we were brought up to speed on what had happened at the orphanage since we were there last, and we filled the director in on what had been happening with us, it was all polite and professional. Once we brought out the photo book however, things changed quickly. The Director alternated from amazement, to disbelief, to gratitude and back again. She couldn’t believe that these were the same children that we had taken from the orphanage only nine months earlier. One of the orphanage staff came in to look at the pictures as well. I’m not sure what was said, but there were more “thank yous” given to us then was comfortable. We also dropped off a photo album for Malachi’s Babushka, which the Director thought was really great and told the staff member to call her and let her know it was there. The Director called in the doctor and had her take us to “our” old groupa. Unfortunately it was nap time so we didn’t get a chance to see anyone except for baby Niko. Was he cute? Let’s just say I felt it necessary to frisk Erika before we left. We spent the rest of the weekend visiting with our friends. There was lots of food, Erika managed a fair amount of shopping, learned to make borsht, and taught Elena how to make banana bread; I managed to get in a fishing trip. Sunday evening we jumped on the train to return to our current region to pick up our adoption adventure where we had left off.