08 January 2008

simple wishes

I haven't felt very bloggy lately. And, I've been busy--on the road travelling to various orphanages to distribute donations. But, now that I've got a free day, I need to tell you about the results of Rachael's Simple Wishes project.

I've been busy shopping ever since sales closed in the shop. Rachael and I had agreed to get some toys for the younger children and something practical for all the children at Lopukhinka. I found out there were about 70 children there. SEVENTY! I shopped around and found four baby dolls (It's incredibly difficult to find baby dolls here that are both sweet-faced and inexpensive. Incredibly.difficult.), two doll strollers, a fake Lego castle and two castle accessory kits, and gloves or hats for everyone. I got an orange, a snickers and some shower gel (in the shape of cats, frogs or ducks) to stuff them. If Santa stuffs stockings and Sankt Nikolas fills shoes, why couldn't I stuff gloves?

So, that's just what I did. (note to Ukrainian adopters: I bought this tablecloth from the street market in Kyiv. I use it every Christmas.) I stuffed the gloves and hats and then tied them with a ribbon. Not only did this allow choice (and I thing giving these children choices is empowering) but it meant I didn't have to wrap 70 gifts. ;> I'd looked for clear, plastic gift bags that I'm often given a gift in, but I didn't find them. So--a ribbon seemed a good solution. I think these were my favorite gloves:

When I was finished, I loaded them all into two IKEA bags (still happy with IKEA) and headed out. This way, the children could choose which they liked best.

We got there after visiting a baby home earlier in the day. A teacher, M, went with us from room to room as we delivered the gifts. The toys were divided between the different groups. The dolls were presented as a matter of course to the youngest member of each group. In two groups, this was not a problem. The groups were mostly boys and the lone girls were happy. But, in my favorite group from last time, the doll being presented to the youngest child resulted in five very glum faces. I asked if we couldn't leave doll number four for the group as well. They agreed--and then did ahti-bahti ( like eeny-meeny-miney-mo) and gave the last doll to one of the girls, K. Four very glum faces were presented to me. I promised, PROMISED to be back with dolls for everyone. They nodded but didn't cheer up very much. I asked the remaining girls if they wanted baby dolls or girl dolls with hair. All asked for baby dolls--and they asked for two girl dolls for missing group members. Those girls were home with family for the holidays. Here they are bent over the bag choosing their gloves:
The last group loved their gifts. They were the youngest in the orphanage. And, when a little boy asked if they could have a hat and gloves, and I saw we had enough for that and said they could, they were so excited. They loved opening them up and comparing the contents. (The pix have identifiable faces in them so I won't post them.)

Everyone seemed pleased. Our teenagers were less enthusiastic and typically teen-aged. But, I saw many oranges quickly peeled and much thought put into some of the glove choices. The teenaged boys enthusiastically claimed a train set for their group. One of the boys had carried the bags around to all the groups just so that he could choose the train for his group. A, the bag-carrier and train-chooser, is a winner of a winter Olympics for held amongst Russian orphanages.

We found out later that Ka, the girl who had received the final doll, had been very upset over the holidays, crying many tears. Her grandmother wanted her to come visit for the holidays, but the director, not knowing the character of the grandparents, had denied the visit. After she got her doll she said that she was glad she had stayed at school because they had done many fun things and she had gotten a present.

I think Rachael's simple wish was granted. Many thanks, Rach, for letting me be a part of this wonderful day.


Anonymous said...


You are doing such wonderful things for those children! Thank you.

We take so much for granted here, even after seeing the orphanage conditions while we're over there and most likely vowing to help out after we get home with our precious children. We get preoccupied (and understandably so) with our day-to-day lives with our little ones that we tend to forget where our children came from and the conditions they had lived in.

I am calling our agency TODAY to see what we can do from here to help out the children left behind.

May God bless you, Kate.


6blessings said...

Wow! What a blessing to have been able to deliver all of the goods! Thanks for making their day so special.

kim said...

How did I completely miss the "simple wishes" project??? That is wonderful. Is there any way to purchase baby dolls over here and then send them to you to distribute? Does it need to wait until next year? What a neat thing and I know you mean a lot to these kids. I love the idea of stuffed gloves.

Rachael said...


I couldn't have enlisted a more capably creative and generously spirited snegoritchka.

My heart is warm 70 times over.

Bloggy hugs to you.

ferenge mama said...

Wow - that is incredible!! Thanks so much for posting the photos, too.

What a blessing to get to play Santa to so many kids!

Anonymous said...

somehow I missed simple wishes too and am sad but I am on the bandwagon now...I just wish I could get you out to Griffins baby home...I love that place and wish I could do more for them...
Kate you are the greatest...and Rachael too for the start of SIMPLE WISHES

A Room to Grow said...

This is wonderful. I would like to be involved with this next year... put me on the list!

BTW - we may be coming to St. Petersburg in February during our 10-day wait. I will email you separately ... would like to get your advice on where to stay; and maybe meet up?

Jim said...

What a neat thing you got to do. Stuffed gloves and hats were a great idea!

How did the fake-lego Viking fort go over with the boys? That looks like a really cool toy!

MoscowMom said...

Way to go, Kate!!!! Thanks for sharing with us!!! Any way you could upload those pics to a hosting site and share them by invitation? Sending you lots of smiles and encouragement as you keep waiting for the bus...

Yeah So said...

Thank you for helping Rachael make her wish come true!

Tina in CT said...

I just read your blog to my girlfriend. I can't imagine how you felt shopping for the toys and delivering them to the children and seeing how happy they were. It must have wanted to make you burst. I wish I could run out to Wal-mart and buy the extra dolls and more trains for the kids. Our children here have so, so much and don't realize how fortunate they are to have a home with family.

What a wonderful thing for Rachel to raise the money through her ETSY store and for you to purchase and deliver all the gifts. Your selections were perfect and I love your idea of stuffing the gloves like Santa does Christmas stockings.

I hope that soon you'll be blogging good news about your adoption.

Annie said...

Dear Kate! How wonderful! What joy! You've made all those children, Rachael and all of us happy, too! And I'm sure you could hardly stand it. Though how pained-of-heart you must feel to see these sweet children needing homes; have one; and you know..... I am certain God has His own time, though.

Tami said...

Hats (and gloves) off to you and Rachel. What a GREAT project. You have gave those kid's more than a stuffed gloves and dolls for Christmas. You gave them the gift of friendship. Blessings to both of you! :)