Okay, so the mystery is solved, camping in Ukraine is just like Camping in the US. We arrived in the region late the Sunday. Then we woke up early Monday morning and headed out. We first walked about a 1/2 mile down the road and caught a train to the city, then another train for about an hour. Then we had to walk about two miles to the camp site. I suggested that we walk half way and camp, and then do the other half the next day. I only received laughter in response. I wonder if they thought i was kidding?
Juliana's (The Orphanage director) Husband Vova is amazing at cooking on an open fire. I think he spent the entire day cooking. there were about 20 of us on the first day and i think 8 departed the next morning. About 5 of the older children had other obligations and didn't go with us. When we weren't sure what camping in Ukraine was we asked our friend Alex, and said "If there are boys with you it surely involves a soccer ball". He was so right. I played more soccer in two days than i had in the past ten years. It was a great time and i'm glad for the experience.
Masha is graduating High School. This past Thursday was a small celebration at the school. All the girls were dressed in traditional clothing with bows in their hair like Masha is in this picture. Although we didn't understand all that was going on, it appeared to be a ceremony where the teachers and others gave rememberences of the past year and advice for the future. There were times that everyone was tearing up. Next Saturday is the big party where Masha dresses up in a nice dress. She wanted to have her hair done with flowers, so we are going this morning to set the appointment to have this done for next Saturday morning.
Now an update on the progress. We originally thought we would have our first appointment at the SDA on the 1st or 2nd of May. But it seems there have been some changes in the process and so we are still waiting to hear of our appointment. Not how we would have planned it, but maybe for the best. We are finding the children a little distant so bonding time is probably for the best. I know, it is different for an orphan to be distant to an adoptive parent. But as i seen from the very first day we met them, these children are different. They were raised in an orphanage that is much more like a family than anything else. They get love, hugs and kisses on a regular basis. This is Christ in his Holy Dwelling! So, if i had to put myself in their mindset i would imagine they are conflicted because they have it pretty good here. Truth be told, if there were better financial support and the threat of the orphanage having to close not always looming overhead, I believe they would rather just stay here. It is kind of sad when you think about it. These children have what so many others do not, yet lack of funding puts them in a position to have to choose between two families.
Please keep praying for Gods hand and direction in all of this!
Love, Shane & Diana