Both times Dave and I flew into Kyiv and then drove 2 hours to Cherkasy were emotionally-charged excursions. During those trips, we were anxious to meet, adopt and then bring our daughter Katja home to Canada.
That feels like a lifetime ago when I see the heartbreaking pictures in Ukraine. I can’t help but think of our host family who did not have much to give, but who were so generous and kind with what they had during a very stressful time in our lives.
I was amazed at their resourcefulness. No food went to waste, which was disconcerting for Dave (aka “picky eater”) when he saw the leftover fish head from the previous evening was kept in the fridge for future use! He also tried to help by continually fixing the lightbulbs that kept getting unscrewed… until he was told by Andrei, the teenage son, that they kept half the lightbulbs unscrewed to save electricity!
There was only one family member that made me nervous, and that was Petrushka, the pet parrot. Petrushka was free to fly around the small apartment and would land on anyone’s shoulder without warning. At mealtime, he would choose someone’s plate to perch beside and help himself to snacks. If I wasn’t already on edge, I sure was when Petrushka was near me!
With mom Vera, we traded a few broken words in both of our native languages. Somehow, we communicated and shared many laughs along the way. Every morning, she left early for work, and we always returned to a home cooked meal after a day of battling adoption bureaucracy.
We have not communicated with this beautiful family for years. However, to me they are the faces of this awful war along with the other amazing Ukrainians we met during our time there. My heart hurts for them.
If you are in the middle of a Ukrainian orphanage, please feel free to send me a private message. (is this possible on IG? Where should I lead them? Should I even make this offer?). I would love to help in any way that I can.