The children have gone to the beach, the zoo, a professional soccer game, bowling, Boeing's museum of flight and other Seattle attractions. They have learned to wash dishes in a dishwasher, clothes in a washing machine, to have a family meal around the table, and how it feels to have someone tuck them in at night.
We took the children to Chuck E. Cheese's and celebrated each child's birthday. The children got their own cake with candle to blow out and individual presents. They were so surprised and very grateful!
The Fourth of July was celebrated with the individual families as the more the children are here, the more the families want to do one on one activities with them rather than group things - a natural part of the family hosting process.
Already people are talking about whether or not we can do this next summer, make it longer and involve more families. Each host family has friends, family and neighbors that have met the children and are interested in helping the orphans in some way.
We are excited for the possibilities of more supporters and volunteers, but saddened at the reality of the children returning to the orphanage, the older ones graduating to an institution for the rest of their lives.
Bogdan wrote to let us know that he and the Tsurupinsk director and children arrived safely back in Ukraine after their amazing visit to the US. Special Thanks to Debbie and Jerry and the whole Walker family for organizing the in-country portion of the trip. They and the host families were amazing. Also special thanks to Xavier University Orphan Smiles club and to Artful Giver whose fundraising also helped make this trip possible. And of course Bogdan had to do so much paperwork in Ukraine to get the necessary approvals.