Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Home for Eleven Months

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.

This room was the younger kids play room, but I liked to go in there and play with Speedy. The room didn't have many toys, but there was a doll that I loved to play with. In this picture I have a giant blue bunny on my head that was supposed to be a decoration rather than a toy.
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.

The door to the apartment is just behind us in this photo. On one of the nights that Dad and Mom stayed there, they asked if we wanted to sleep with them. I was the only one who said yes. The other two slept in their dormitories.
We had a large outdoor recreation area, but most of the equipment was just rusted bars.
However, this swing still worked great and was a favorite of the three of us. Although we
really appreciated the attention he was giving us, we didn't need our future dad to push
because we'd worked out a system for working together that made the thing fly!

This was another part of the playground. This photo is one of my mom's favorites. She gets a kick out of how Dad is entertaining us early Saturday morning while still managing to drink coffee. She also loves that a Babushka was cutting across the orphanage grounds behind us.



James said...

Dearest Cassandra,

We love you and are delighted God blessed us with you. We are the ones who have really benefited from God's grace in placing you in our home. Your servant's heart and sweet nature bless you entire family. Happy anniversary!

Love Mom and Dad

Kawaii said...

Oh I am so happy to find this blog, my name is Helen and I was working in the orphanage when you lived there. I am in touch with loads of people who used to live there through facebook. I speak to Valentina most weeks. It's lovely to read your story and to see how God is blessing you.

Emily said...

Wow- I stumbled across your blog and was so surprised, since we just adopted from Zhukovka in May of this year. I would love to have your email. What a beautiful story. Here is our blog...