"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything,
but I can do something; I will not refuse to do something I can do."

~ Helen Keller

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Second Day with Vova

Today was another wonderful day with our son. We drove up to the orphanage and went straight to the office to check in. They told us Vova was in a different building, so we walked across the parking lot to where Vova was. We walked up the steps, opened the door, and found Vova right there waiting for us! We aren't sure if someone saw us drive up, and told Vova we were there, or if he had been waiting all day for us to visit again. In any case, as soon as he saw us, he ran up and gave us both big hugs. (My heart still melts for him).

Next he ran upstairs to show us his bedroom. It was a small room with three beds in it. I was impressed that all the beds were made up, and that nothing was lying around. He cracked us up, though, because he reached in a little cabinet and brought out the remote control car we had given him the day before. He said the batteries were already worn out! Wow! He and his friends must have played with that thing all night!! We told him we had extra batteries at the apartment, and would bring them to him tomorrow.

It was a beautiful day, so on our way to the orphanage, we stopped at an open-air market and bought a soccer ball and a frisbee to play with Vova. But he did not want to go outside; he wanted to go back to the room where we hung out yesterday. At first I was a little puzzled about that, but then it dawned on me that that room was used for adoptive parents and their children to spend time together. Chances are, ever since he had been in the orphanage, he had dreamed of being able to go in that room with new parents, rather than just peek in the door like he had done so many times before. So, meeting in this room held much more significance to him than meeting out in the courtyard where he can go every day.

We talked a lot today (with the interpreter). We found out that his favorite colors are blue and yellow, that he likes the teenage mutant ninja turtles, that he likes to use lots of different colors when he does a drawing, that he likes to keep his things neat and organized, that he likes all sorts of food (but is allergic to oranges), that he can swim, but not very good, that he enjoys playing games on Jeff's phone, and that he is fantastic at completing puzzles!

At one point I asked him what he liked and didn't like about the orphanage. He only made one comment to that: He said that an orphanage is not a home. I think that many of us think that if a child has a bed, clothes and food, then he is being taken care of, and that he must think of the orphanage as his home and family. But if you ask the orphan, he will tell you otherwise. How could I have been so blind to this for so many years? How could I have been indifferent to orphans? I don't know. But what I DO know is that from this point forward, I will be keenly aware of the plight of the orphans, and I will do all I can do to help them!

When it was time for us to leave today, Vova came up to me and grabbed my hand. Then he reached out for Jeff's hand. And that's the way we walked all the way to the front door. Vova let go of Jeff's hand only so Jeff could hold the door open for us, but he held onto mine until we got to the car. As it turned out, Vova knew our driver, so they talked for a minute. Then Vova gave Jeff and me another extended hug goodbye. Now I am counting the hours until we can return tomorrow.


  1. So amazing to hear all about your sweet boy - how poignant what he said about an orphanage not being a home. I've heard it often that what all orphans desire is a family, even ones that are well fed and cared for... Nothing like a mom and dad who treasure you!

  2. Beautiful...Twila, I was so touched by Vova's comment about the orphanage not being a home. It reminded me of how I feel when I visit nursing homes. I always wish I could provide a home--full of warmth, love, and "pleasant chaos" for the lonely souls I meet there. I am guessing that you will always feel that way about orphans, in general. What a blessing that one day soon, Vova will indeed have a home.:)
    We saw your beautiful family last night at the festival and will be sending you a picture K took of the festive group ASAP via email. Love you guys!

  3. oh Twila....please keep the updates coming....my heart is so heavy tonight...He must be the most excited he has ever been in his whole life...I do pray for him however when he has to leave his friends....with a heart as big as his...he will only feel sad for those left behind instead of focusing on himself in those final good by's....I am so happy for this wonderful time that you and Jeff have to spend this one on one time with him....This makes so much other "stuff" just seem so unimportant....thanks for the reminder! Love you guys!!


  4. Twila -- We so very much enjoy reading your updates and learning more about Vova! Thank you for fitting in the time to write (we're sure the days are long and emotionally and physically exhausting). Your firsthand insights of what's happening with Vova are truly heartwarming! Prayers are with all of you! (And THANKS for delivering Galya's boots! We owe you BIG!)

    Robin & Joseph Gaitens