Following our $7 equivalent lunch at a local cafe we've been frequenting where the servers start to giggle when they see us two "American-skees" coming back for more, we made a quick pit-stop at a little shop to find some Easter eggs. We bought a couple bags of Orthodox eggs on strings (ha ha) along with some stickers for the eggs that read (in Russian) "Christ is Risen". We were set for another adventure to the orphanage.
Today, all the fourth grade and older were shuttled off campus to a football game (i.e. soccer) so the place was pretty quiet. We went upstairs to find James and Grace first. Their two classes were gathered around the television watching "The Sword in the Stone" cartoon in Russian. Grace immediately ran to grab her shoes and then we were all off to the playground. After ten minutes or so outside, James became aloof. He had found a stick with string tied to it that apparently had been his and was now broken. After that he began wandering around some of the buildings exploring. We followed close behind to the edge of the playground. I wish I had taken pictures. The outskirts of the playground have all sorts of broken glass, bottles, rusty bars, etc... It is no place for children, yet it is a part of their playground. James wandered around playing with his broken stick with string not wishing to engage with anyone. He bore a sad smile. Grace, meanwhile, was in great spirits running and playing. For five minutes or so, James came over and sat next to Tony and let him put his arms around him. Grace crawled up to him and began trying to cheer James up. It was adorable and very sweet to watch. Our interpreter told us that there was evidently something from before that was bothering him. Something unrelated to us but that oftentimes the coping mechanism is a bit of a 'shutdown'. James is such a sweet boy. It breaks me heart to see him struggle and not be able to comfort him. So, I pray that our Heavenly Father will speak peace to his heart and mind tonight. Despite his being aloof socially, he still wanted to be in the general vicinity we were in which was nice to still have him around.
"Grace & Tony with tangled eggs on strings..."
We went inside close to 4 PM to get the little ones, Sophia and Joy. They had just had baths and were full of life. I had the girls all wait out in the hall with papa while I hid some Ukrainian Easter eggs around their sleep room. It was hilarious to hear them in the hall asking "are you ready yet?" When I opened to door the three of them rushed in with laughter and on the prowl. Each time they would find one they would announce it aloud to the others. After the hunt was over I passed out a sheet of stickers to continue decorating their eggs. They were captivated. It was fabulous. I also pulled out a bag of cheerios cereal. They loved having me pour some in their hands and then devour them. After a couple handfuls, they asked if they could share with their classmates. One by one I filled their cupped hands with cereal and they went into the other room to share with their classmates until it was all gone. What joy. All the while, precious James stood with his head peeking in the doorway.
Before leaving, Grace had me braid her hair. Then each of them asked "how much longer until we can go?" We told them that Tuesday was a very important day and that we hope to be able to leave in two weeks... Lord willing. Then James attempted to explain the process to the girls. He is a good big brother. We said our farewells and exchanged hugs and kisses and then we were off. Please continue to pray for us as we walk this journey. Thank you...