Thursday, January 31, 2008

Monday visit to the orphanage

The ride to the orphanage seemed to take forever even though we were trying to stay focused on the town and all the interesting things we were seeing in this poor and very old part of Perm. The entire area just before getting to the orphanage looked like a nativity; small wooden homes with about 2 feet of snow on the roofs. There seemed to be people walking everywhere and a lot of them congregated on street corners and bus stops. Roma commented that a lot of the people are too poor to afford a car yet the traffic was also very heavy. I noticed that the majority of the people at the bus stops and walking really fast all over the place were mainly woman and we rarely saw woman at the wheel.

We arrived at the orphanage right on time for our 11:30 appointment. Roma showed the guard the permit from the MOE to visit the orphanage and we were let through about a minute later. For just a moment we joked as we wondered out loud if the writing at the gate sign read some sort of warning such as: Americans: Keep-Out. I waived at the little guard man but he gave me the “who the heck are you” look and just stared back; I decided to assume that he was probably just tired of waving back at all the foreigners that passed through those gates.

A nurse standing in the vicinity of the front door guided Roma, Tatiana the social worker and us to the Director’s office upstairs. We had to wait for a single American woman to come out then Tatiana went in first. Ten minutes later we were called in. The Director had a large book open and started to flip pages and tell us – or tell Roma – this little child’s history, or as much as she knew about it. She would only pause for seconds while she flipped through page after page. Poor Roma, he was translating like crazy. This is the first time I actually saw him somewhat apprehensive but I figured it was due to all the medical terminology been discussed. As Roma translated my frown kept getting tighter. The director explained that the mother’s rights were legally terminated – God only knows why…the director didn’t speculate on this one. This poor little angel was in the hospital the first four month of his life, then transferred to the orphanage where he had been since. The story of his first twelve months only took her about forty minutes to relate. It was extremely sad for us to think that this was all there was to say about the first year of his life. God bless him!