Stephanie and I
subscribe to the Eastern Europe Adoption Coalition (EEAC),
information is shared about Russian orphanages. In May, a lady from
Israel posted a letter about her experience with a Baby House in Tikhvin,
Russia. Tikhvin is a small logging village in
northeast Leningrad Province, 125 miles east of St. Petersburg. She
May 14, 2004
My recent experience in the Detsky dom in Tikhvin opened
my eyes (well, my nose) to the stench of starvation. On our first trip,
exact date was March 11 of this year, we were allowed to spend two hours
with our then daughter-to-be in a toy room. Being as they used panties
and tights on her, then 16.5 months old, she peed on me - not once, but
twice. Both times, I left the room in order to find a change of clothing
for her. Once, wandering in the hallway, I went into a room to see if
there was anyone inside. Upon opening the door, I absolutely gagged in
disgust, gasping for breath, lest I puke - the odor was not one I'd ever
smelled, but it wasn't of urine & feces, it was something I'd never
smelled before. The walls were lined with children in cribs. I showed
the caretaker the wet clothing and she gave me different garments. The
second time she peed, I knocked on the Director's door for help.
A few weeks later, when we came to bring her home, we were again allowed
into the 'internal rooms' in order to film where she'd been living those
last six months of her life. Less bright & cheery, but the facilities
again seemed 'adequate.' But there was, in that room, a more faint odor
of the one I'd previously gagged on. On our way to St. Petersburg, this
time bundled into a diaper and layers of clothing, I asked the driver
twice to stop so I could diaper her - I was sure the stink was a bowel
movement. Nope, just urine. But it was the same smell I'd smelled in
that foul room. It took almost 24 hrs. for her urine to lose that odor.
Upon returning home, when I described it to a nurse friend of mine, she
said, "Oh, sure, that's advanced ketosis - the smell of starvation."
On our first trip, I saw a 2 yr. old boy from Tikhvin
who was about the size of a 1 yr. old. On our second trip, while we were
spending time with our new daughter before removing her from the detsky
dom, we saw a group of about 8 or 10 impossibly tiny children ( as in, it
defied logic that they could be upright!) walking in a row, not making a
Please do not misunderstand me: this is NOT to say
don't accept a referral from Tikhvin. If anything, RUN to get those
children out of there as quickly as possible.
Needless to say, her letter lit a fire down deep in us. I immediately
emailed the lady asking for the director’s name and phone number. We wanted
to send Vitaly to make a preliminary visit with them until we could make the
trip ourselves. To our shock and disbelief, the lady would not help us.
contacted her again, explaining our nine years of dealing with officials.
Even after explaining how God opens doors of opportunity, as well as closing
doors when our help has been misappropriated, I was unable to convince her
we are not Christian Pollyanna's. Again, she said no. Well, we were sure
this was our job.
Satan has been working overtime to prevent us from finding these children.
We sent out dozens of emails to mayors, agencies, and anyone we could think
of, all to no avail.
July 25, we posted on Prayer Beacon about the hunt, requesting prayer that
we would find the orphanage, and be able to work with them. On July 30, from
the tiny country of Moldova, where he is translating for an American pastor,
Vitaly made contact with the Education Director for the Tikhvin region!
Education Director requested a meeting with Vitaly, about Treasures, before
he would approve our visit. Oh, did I mention, funds are already coming in
earmarked for baby needs?
Hopefully, Vitaly can give him our Russian references by phone, saving us
traveling expenses to send him to the region. If the Lord allows, we will
be in Tikhvin on January 4 - 5. We have found it is better to
personally deliver formula, food,
medicines, and critical needs, than to leave money trusting the purchases
will be made.
are so excited about the prospects of new horizons. Please, pray with us
- Vitaly can make all
contact by phone to cut down on the expenses.
- The director to be
open to our visit.
- Protection as we
travel on the winter roads.
- Funds to accomplish