Since this week marks the ninth anniversary of my adoption, I wanted to share some of my past.
Janie, Speedy and I lived in this orphanage in Zhukovka, Russia, after our parents' rights were terminated for failure to care for us. We were really blessed. We had a wonderful director named Valentina, who loved us kids. The facilities were well cared for and clean.
The building on the left was our meal hall where we ate three meals a day. You picked up a filled tray on your way in. No "seconds" were allowed. We ate mashed potatoes and gravy, fish, bread, cucumbers, apples, pickles, radishes, beets, watermelon (called arbus in Russian with a strong roll of the "R"). We also ate Pelmeni, meat or fish dumplings served in soup. Everyone except the younger children (babies through age five) ate in this hall. Jaynie and I would save some bread from our meals for Speedy (who was in the younger kids' room) and take it to him. The building on the right was where we slept.
Jaynie and I slept in bunk beds. I slept on the other side of the room. The orphanage director's goal was to make the children's home feel more like a family than an institution so she mixed up the ages. We slept with 16-year-old Marina.
The big building on the right housed the directors' offices and the class rooms. The building you see here, next to Dad, was the small apartment in which they stayed when they came to meet us in July and also when they came back to pick us up in September.