You’ve been asking and wondering, so I won’t leave you in anticipation any longer.
Everyone’s been asking, “How are the Littles???”
(You can also read about them here: https://wideawakefamily.com/2014/07/04/it-just-keeps-getting-better/)
Okay, you’ve twisted my arm. I guess I can spare a few to chat about the sweetest little babies you ever did see. 😉
The Littles are doing really well. I’ll tell you that it was obvious to us right away that they looked physically healthier. A small church here in Zhytomyr that does great orphan care here in our region went to Romaniv while we were in Lviv. They also saw the need for more nannies and donated money to hire another nanny for the Littles! With our forces combined, we now have a nanny with the Littles 7 days a week from 7am-7pm. This is HUGE. How can they not improve?? Impossible.
Jed and I go to Romaniv twice a week now. We go on Friday with the team, like usual, but we also go on Tuesdays. Our dream is to form another Isolation Room team for Tuesdays, but we just don’t have the manpower for it right now. There is a church from another city that has joined MTU at Romaniv on Fridays for years. They bring a group to Romaniv on Tuesdays as well, and they mostly work with the older boys. We are so thankful for them! They are absolutely fabulous people. So, for the last two weeks while they work with the older boys, Jed and I have taken aside a couple of our Isolation Boys to work with them more individually. In the group setting on Fridays it’s really difficult to connect well with each individual boy. We are really excited about this time on Tuesdays to observe and connect with boys more strategically.
Yesterday I got to spend some very quality time with “Little #1” (the bigger of the two) and one of our nannies. The other Little, was with the orphanage nurses, so I didn’t get to interact with him. The time was awesome! Our friend Alosha came along to translate and I got to talk with the nanny very freely about the boys and their care. We discussed feeding progresss and difficulties and I learned that it takes her over an hour to feed the boys at each meal. Little #1 eats well and is improving his feeding skills with the spoon (yay!), but #2’s reflux is still a big problem. Thank The Lord we have those nannies! The other nannies do not have near that amount of time to spend feeding just two boys. Our nannies are able to feed them slowly enough that they finally hold down 100% of every meal. WOOHOO! They are not losing more weight, but are now maintaining. The next step will be working toward weight gain.
I got to work with Little #1 on the floor, showing the nanny how to do some stretches and exercises with him. I was amazed to see that he is now able to briefly lift his head while lying on his tummy! This is huge. I can tell that our nannies really work with the boys and want them to grow and improve.
I think the biggest and best thing that I noticed during my time with him was the change in his socialization. These boys get 2 to 1 attention all day long and IT SHOWS. He would turn to look for his nanny when she spoke. She reported that the boys each cry when she is giving attention to the other one. THIS IS GREAT! These are Littles who were silent when they arrived at Romaniv. They weren’t silent because they had no needs. They were silent because they had learned that crying got them nowhere. There would not be a response, so why cry out? A silent orphanage is not a good sign. It is healthy and right that children should cry out or call out when they have a need. I was ecstatic to hear that the boys cry for their nanny. Woot! My heart was full to hear her talk about their likes and dislikes. She described how Little #1 reaches for his mobile that we brought him before we left in August. She reported that he loves it, but his greatest love is going for walks outside. Every day the boys get to go out for a walk. Every day!!!! She laughed as she described how all the orphanage staff from maintenance men to cooks have to stop and ooh and aaah over the Littles when they see them outside. Of course a family is their very best option, but if that can not be at this time, then we will work with what is possible. I’m so thankful this is possible.
Praise God. Praise God that He made a way for these two lives to be saved. Praise God that he put a dream to help our Boys in the heart of a 13 year old boy all the way back in Oregon. Praise God for the church here in Zhytomyr that also saw the need and joined in to help. Praise God for nannies who truly love our Boys. Praise God that we have the funds to continue this care for 4 more months.
There is so much need at Romaniv. There is so much injustice and sadness. The need can be overwhelming and suffocating, but yesterday I got to see a glimmer of things to come. There is one room in that building where joy abounds. May it continue and spread and grow like wildfire. May God grant us abundant wisdom beyond ourselves to know what steps come next. Seventy-eight other boys sit and wait day after day for their turn. The same God who saw the Littles and made a way for them will make a way for the rest. We are confident of that!
P.S. We will share more about our work at Romaniv in our September newsletter. If you would like to receive our newsletters in your inbox you can subscribe here!
P.P.S. Sorry about the lack of pictures. We’re finishing up some discussions about posting pics of the Boys. I’ll post more as soon as I can!