We’re down to the last few days of Igor’s visit.
This is the hardest part. He pushes us away by acting rude on purpose. It’s difficult not to take it personally, but since this is the third time we’ve hosted I’ve gained some wisdom. It’s just his way to make it easier for him to say goodbye. Sad, but true.
He alternates pushing us away with being extra clingy. Earlier tonight he was laying in my arms stroking my cheek whispering, “Mam I lahve you zo much.”
Igor is such a sweet boy. Everyone who meets him just loves him.
He lavishes in the attention we give him. Can you imagine what it would be like growing up, going through childhood without having the direct attention of a caring adult? The reality of it is sobering.
A teenager being hosted from the orphanage where Igor now lives told her family that she hates the new orphanage because every night they are sedated and then locked in their bedrooms in the dark. She says that kids fight and get hurt, or get sick, but they don’t open the doors or turn on the lights for any reason at all.
Igor is telling us that he has a mom in Ukraine. That her name is Valya. (He laughs at the way I pronounce that.)
He has her phone number, and he misses her. He says she’s very sick. We told him we were sad he has to go back to Ukraine and we wished he could stay with us forever. He said he was sad too, but he had to go back to his sick mother. He’s clearly torn, wanting to be a part of a family and also having ties there.
At Walmart the other night he told me his mother loves to wear nail polish and make-up. So he picked her out a bottle of red nail polish to take back to Ukraine. I’m not sure if this is actually his mother or what the deal is. Obviously she cannot take care of him. It’s possible she is only in his imagination. Wishful thinking on his part. Whoever Valya is, she’s getting a bottle of nail polish and he has already carefully packed it away for her along with a silver Toyota key chain for his dad.
He also keeps telling me details about how his mom, dad, and siblings were in a bad car accident. He says he rolled out of the car door and the car flipped over. He says they were going too fast, his dad was driving 110 km.
I have no idea if this is all true, or if it’s just a story, but he has strange thin scars all over his face and legs, plus some burn marks on his arm. Could be from being in a crash. His skull is also weird. The part where a baby’s soft spot would be is a huge dip on Igor’s skull. It’s hard, but indented. Who knows, right? He’s very smart, I don’t think what ever caused the dip damaged his brain. I also have no idea how old he was when this all happened.
I’m afraid the sad part is that they don’t visit him at the orphanage. I don’t know for sure, but the kids who come for hosting are ones who do not have parents or involved family members.
I’m hoping to figure out more about everything after hosting is over. Somehow.
Everyone keeps asking if we can adopt Igor.
We would love to adopt him.
I don’t know if he would want to live here forever, though he does say that he likes America. I don’t think that’s important right now, anyway. What’s important is just to build a loving relationship with him, to be the people who love him unconditionally and don’t just disappear from his life.
The rest of it will fall into place, however it’s meant to be.
On Monday I’ll rip out a piece of my heart and put it on a plane to a Ukrainian orphanage.
And then we’ll all wait to see what happens next.
People keep on telling me that they just don’t know how we do this. It’s too hard, too sad. Isn’t it too hard for the kids to come here and then leave?
Yes, it’s hard for them to come and leave. But it’s even harder for them to never know the love of an adult. It’s harder for them to not get one-on-one attention. It’s harder for them to never be kissed goodnight, comforted when they have nightmares, or snuggled. It’s harder for them to not have happy memories to sustain them when they’re alone and sad.
Being loved on, even for a short time, changes their lives.
And you know what? It’s always worth it to choose love.
Always. Even when it’s hard.
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.