Monday, November 17, 2008

Day 23

Julia loved her purse! We had bought a few little things to go in it, such as a pack of gum, a little mirror, a hairbrush, sunglasses, etc. She was just delighted and carried it with pride the rest of our visit.

This was a very special visit, actually, as it was the day we re-visited the Preschool Orphanage. We were able to meet with the music teacher, and the orphanage director, Valentina. We went to the music room which was still decorated for an autumn presentation they had just completed, and had a photo op there. Both ladies were so sweet, and glad to see both girls, and to hear how Bella has been doing in America. I also told Valentina of several other children that had been adopted from her school that are now in America and I could tell she was so hapy to hear they were doing well. She wrote down the school's address and asked if I could have some of the parents send pictures and letters of how their children are doing. I would be happy to give that out off-line to anyone who would like it. Sadly, the orphanage does not receive copies of the post-placement reports, so once the children leave here, they often never hear anymore about them, and they worry.

Best of all, when we went outside to revisit the playground where Bella and I spent so much time years ago, there was only one caregiver with her group of kids out at the time, and who do you think it was but Mama Lena! She was Bella's caregiver when we were here in '03, and she remembered her! There were hugs all around, and she asked if I remembered our walks into the surrounding hills. How could I ever forget? Her charges today are younger than when she was Bella's groupa's Mama, they are maybe 3 or 4 yrs old. So little! As we were talking, a tot waddled up, bundled from head to toe, and stood toe-to-toe with Bella, staring up into her face. Bella stared down at the child, not knowing what to say, and simply patted her on the head. She then wobbled over to me and put her arms up to be picked up. Fred muttered, "Watch it!", but I picked her up anyway and stared into her blue eyes while the tears slid out of mine. After a bit, I put her down, and she walked over to each person in our circle, arms outstretched, to be picked up. Even Bella and Julia took their turns. For all his gruff exterior, even Fred couldn't help smiling into her little face as he held her. By the time we left I was a wreck; crying over the memory of my little Bella running around in the dirt of the play yard so many summers ago, crying over the love Mama Lena had then and still has today for the little ones under her watch, crying for the children so desperate for the love of a family, or the fleeting embrace and gaze of strangers. Fred worries needlessly about me asking him to do this again, but the truth is, my poor heart can't take it!

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