After a fun-filled night aboard a Ukrainian national railways glorious 2nd class carriage, we arrived at our destination tired and ruffled.  Sasha, our new driver, met us at the station and took us, along with Leonid, our agency director, straight to the baby home.  It quickly became apparent that Sasha spoke not a word of English.   Luckily, our agency guy was still with us.  It also became clear that Leonid was totally unfamiliar with the system in Lugansk and that we were all at the mercy of Sasha.  

The baby home was absolutely stunning.  I say this without an ounce of sarcasm.  We went to the baby home director’s office and after some sweet talk between her and our team, a little boy was brought in and our doctor, who met us at the baby home, began his examination.  The child was tiny, and even the Christmas candy the director gave him, didn’t seem to excite him much. 

As the exam progressed, Karen started crying.  The boy, nicknamed Slavi (short for some very long Russian name that I will not try to write out until I get a translated document to work from), also started to tear up.  He didn’t cry, but his chin trembled, and he looked about to gush.  I was hugging Karen, and whispered to her that if she kept crying, he was going to cry too.  Like magic, she quickly got control and he also seemed less unhappy. 

 The baby home director then let us hold him, and play with him a bit.  Karen joined in and the four of us were quickly huddled around a hobby horse that Slavi really seemed to enjoy because he finally smiled directly at me!

Karen loved the Christmas decorations and this is the first photo we took of her in front of a Christmas tree there.

The first visit was cut short as Slavi was taken to have blood drawn.  We also had to run to some government office to file paperwork immediately.  After wards, we returned for a more lengthy visit.  I’ll update shortly with details and photos…..to be continued.