Saturday, December 24, 2011

2011 Fall Trip - part four

After accompanying us into the valley of despair, the Lord graciously guided Project TLC to a mountaintop that afternoon. A place where we could see great things that are happening and wonderful things that are possible. Hope Haven.

We learned about this place in October, seemingly by accident - a single little Facebook post that could easily have been missed. Since I, Stephanie, don't believe in accidents, I give credit to God for pointing this place out to us.

Hope Haven, is a school for children with special needs. I hope that you will take the time to read through their website and see all the ambitious plans they have. I also hope that you will consider sponsoring a child at Hope Haven.

They have lots of great equipment for the children, all donated and shipped from the U.S.A. 

Look! An indoor play area! The children can get some sunshine and play, even when the weather is too cold or wet to go outside.

The facility has heated floors, which we greatly appreciated! We all took our shoes off at the door and walked around with toasty toes. I'm sure the children enjoy this as well. What a bright and pretty music room!

AFO's for all!

Therapy room that actually gets used!

Walkers anyone?

Here you are privileged to witness the absolute cleanest and most accessible restroom in the entire nation of Ukraine. If you have ever been to Eastern Europe, you will understand what a monument this is! And there are a couple of other restrooms in this school that are just as beautiful.

Look! An American school bus! This bus is equipped with a lift that makes it possible for the children in wheelchairs to attend.

Visiting this rare and wonderful school was an uplifting experience for us. We will share more about the school and their needs in the future.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2011 Fall Trip - part three

After the fabulously successful visit to the invalid home, the Project TLC ladies regrouped for the next leg of the trip: the baby house. This is what the Ukrainians call the baby orphanage. According to one adoption facilitator, "it sounds nicer that way."

From Stephanie, "It is difficult to express my feelings about going back to this place. On one hand, this is the place where Theo suffered neglect and starvation. On the other, I fell in love with the children there and promised them that I would not forget them. How could I not go back?"

First stop, the director's office. We brought many updated photos of children adopted from this place over the past few years and hoped to be well received. We asked for permission to visit with the caregivers in our children's old grouppas and show them our photos.

Unfortunately, some of the workers that we had hoped to see were not around. However, we were able to visit and snuggle with some familiar children. This was a sweet opportunity for us and a big eye opener for our interpreter. We make a quick decision to ignore the leaky, wet diapers and the smell of spit-up and make the most of this opportunity to show love and care. We were disappointed, but not surprised, to find untreated medical conditions such as hydrocephalus and very little interaction between caregivers and children.

On a brighter note, we were happy to do some shopping for this facility. Thanks to a designated contribution by another adoptive family, we were able to purchase some medicine and supplies for the neediest of the grouppas and a basic digital camera for the music director.

Project TLC is hopeful that we can do more for these children in the future and is exploring various ways to make that happen. Of course, we will keep you informed of our progress. Will you pray for God to open heavy doors for the sake of His precious children?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Quick Update

Thanks to the amazing support that Project TLC has received over the past six months, the process of replacing 10-15 antiquated, drafty windows in the mental internat at Belogorsk has begun. We cannot wait to have some photos to share with you!

Project TLC has also been given the go-ahead to provide a Christmas gift to each child residing in the Belogorsk internat. This last minute project came together quite unexpectedly and we presently have all the items we need to send. All that is left is to find the funding for the required shipping. In addition, a sweet group of youngsters has made 35 tied fleece blankets to send!

As an ongoing project, we are looking for individuals who are willing to sew bibs and sheets and/or bedspreads for the internat. We are requesting matching sets of four bedspreads. If you have sewing skills or fabric to donate, please contact Shelly at She has the exact dimensions and required specs.

We are so humbled to have the opportunity to serve these children in this way. Thank you for the ways that you encourage us.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

2011 Fall Trip - part two

Project TLC must thank a wonderful group called The Least of These for accompanying us to visit the invalid home in Crimea and assisting us with logistics for our November trip to Ukraine. They sat in on our discussions with the director and their Ukrainian National Director even served as our primary interpreter that first morning.

We were impressed by the open and cooperative attitude of the director. Many of our ideas were met with a "Yes, please!" We learned that there are 20 children "laying" in this facility. We expressed concern for their possible feeding and comfort issues. We hope to assess these children and their needs on a future trip. We have no experience with any sort of medical mission trip, but are trusting God to provide what we need to reach out to these bedridden children and the people who care for them.

The director of an orphanage really sets the tone for the whole facility. Though the hallways and rooms were quite dark (saving $$ on electricity?) the tone of this place was one of respect and care for the children. The atmosphere was warm and inviting enough that we didn't realize until later that many of us never removed our coats.

Inside view - 60 years old and many layers of paint.
That's right. The whole time we were inside the building, playing with children, doing crafts, blowing bubbles, many of us didn't remove our coats. It was that chilly inside the building. We arranged to meet with the director again a few days later. She gave us a better look around the building, focusing on the drafty windows which are about 60 years old. 

She claimed to be able to heat the building but that the windows let too much air move. I could feel the cold air pouring into the building with my hand. I looked around and took lots of photos of the windows. The older children didn't seem to mind the cold, but I could only wonder about the bedridden children. If we could help to keep their facility warm, we could improve their comfort and quality of life.

Transom possibly stuck open?

In the next few weeks, Project TLC will replace as many windows as possible. We have funds to replace 10-12 of the large windows with priority being given to the bedridden children and other sleeping areas. However, I counted 25 older windows needing to be updated on the front side of the building alone. 

Two newer windows pictured here. Six more need replacement.
Incidentally, there are a few newer windows in the building, you can tell by the white frame. To her credit, the director does not yet have new windows in her office.  

Next time...Christmas gifts for the children and other practical ways you can touch their lives.