Our group brought watermelons for the kids and I am pretty sure they ate their weight.

We had the opportunity to go to one of the village orphanages with Forrest and his family today and it was interesting. It’s not the invalid orphanage (we’re still hoping to get to visit that later in the week); this is one for 8-15 year olds and it houses about 40 true orphans and 80 who live there during the week because they don’t have family to take care of them most of the time. It’s hard to tell how much structure is really there because it was a Saturday and that’s obviously a relaxed day for them, but we didn’t see many adults and the kids were free to play outside or watch TV. We chose to stay outside, hoping they would come out and play and it didn’t take them long to join us. Forrest’s family has spent each Saturday with them for the past several years, playing and doing Bible lessons, so they have pretty good relationships there and the kids warmed up to us pretty well. I played Frisbee, jump rope and tug of war with Vanya and Nastya while Philip showed some of the older boys tricks he could do on the pull-up bar. Once they saw some of the games on his phone he had them hooked (Josiah, they loved your coloring game!). We’d brought watermelons with us so we got to eat ‘2nd breakfast’ with them and the boys ate an astonishing amount of melon! This is a real treat for them and the kids ate so much they weren’t hungry for lunch. We went back out and Darcy handed out some little toys she’d brought and we played volleyball with a beach ball she’d brought too. The kids here don’t have much interaction with males and it was obvious they wanted Forrests’ attention and just kind of hovered around him all day. This was a very different orphanage than what Grace is in…certainly not the worst, but a far cry from hers. I teared up having to leave Vanya and Nastya as they had been my buddies most of the morning and I was already trying to figure out how we could fit 2 more kids in our house, knowing that there’s no way we could just take them home with us. I know we’re blessed to have this kind of access to different orphanages and I’m not sure what God wants us to do with it yet, but I know it’s changing me…there’s just no way to be there and know that they have no family and not have it affect you. It hit hard again after our visit with Grace when we hesitated outside one of the other doors. From the sound of the cries it was obvious these were younger children and then we realized one of them had to be newborn because it still had that ‘waaaa’ kind of cry that only the smallest babies have. I got choked up again thinking about this little baby in there, being taken care of, but not being loved by a parent.

I’m sorry, I didn’t mean this post to be so depressing. We had a great visit with Grace today and had a wonderful dinner with 2 other RR families (one of whom is on their way home Monday!), but at the end of the day I keep getting those kids faces in my head and wondering why there aren’t parents here to take them home.

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