03 August, 2012
Well the power was back on today which meant that we could stop by the Children’s Services Office first thing to finalize some documents. That was a good thing for us since we bought the Director a basket of flowers last night, but left them at the apartment in our haste to get out the door. While Luda was in the CSO, Erika and I went on a short walk in search of replacement flowers. We found what amounts to a Ukrainian strip mall and, as we were walking up to the doors, saw a women coming out with a beautiful bunch of flowers. Success! … Or so we thought … We went in and explored the whole area and while we did find some great shoes and fishing gear, no flowers. We checked outside with the street vendors and still no luck. In desperation we went inside and Erika began asking the shopkeepers “English…?” After a couple unsuccessful attempts we found one shopkeeper who was willing to try her limited English. Fortunately there were some fake flowers on the counter so Erika pointed to them, pantomimed growing with her hands and said “alive”. She only had to do it three times before the lady had an “Aha!” moment and understood what the crazy Americans were after. After conferring with another shopkeeper she left her shop, led us outside and across the square to a building that looked like anything but a florist, but it was. We thanked her and she seemed tickled to death that she was able to help us. This is the type of attitude we have come to expect here in Ukraine. We were able to replace our humble (and forgotten) basket of flowers with a beautiful living orchid and went back to the car. Luda joined us a short time later and it was off to the orphanage. We started as usual with a visit to the Director’s office. I don’t think the Director initially realized that the orchid was for her since it appeared that she was asking Luda who it was for. When she was told that we had brought it for her as a symbol of our gratitude, she became uncomfortable and in a very humble manner explained that she was grateful but it was unnecessary. We let her know that we were so impressed by the way in which she genuinely cared for the children in her orphanage (she knows every one of them by name and will not pass any of them by without greeting and conversing with them) that we wanted to give her something to show our appreciation. Once again we went to the psychologist’s office for our meeting with the kids. Jessa was in first and came over and gave Erika a hug and kiss, I got a smile and a wave. The first thing she was interested in was the water that was left in a bottle that Erika had brought. These kids seem to be chronically dehydrated and will suck down whatever liquids you are able to provide. We spent a little time putting some puzzle pieces back into their box, Jessa showed great dexterity and care, and then we sat on the floor and played with some Duplo blocks. Jessa seems to have a great ability for initially mimicking an action, and then applying it appropriately later. We had also bought a couple of sensory balls during our flower search so we broke those out as well. About that time Caleb was brought in. You could tell that he recognized us, but he waited for me to go over to him and take his hand before he moved. Still no sounds other than growls and raspberries. He seemed to like having one of the sensory balls rolled against him, especially his tummy which brought a small giggle and a big smile. I started bouncing the balls to him as he sat on the couch next to Erika and he seemed to enjoy that quite a bit for a short time. Unfortunately that inspired Jessa to try and toss the balls to me. Let’s just say …Great enthusiasm, rotten aim! I did manage to catch a couple of them which brought laughter from her, and she did manage to catch a couple that I had tossed. Her depth perception and coordination seem to be pretty close to typical. About then the caregivers came in and took them off to lunch. Unfortunately we don’t get to visit again until Tuesday since we don’t get weekend visits and Luda will be working the court proceedings for another family on Monday.