The buildings of the orphanage have been converted into family centers or administrative offices.
The kids were leaving for the summer, but the house parents took time to speak with us.
The orphanage workshops are still open and available for kids who want to come and develop their creative skills.
I had already visited Lakinsk in the fall, but this time they treated us more like ministry partners and gave us the inside tour. We met the orphanage director and other administrators. We had a discussion with one of the psychologists on staff, who explained how they screen foster parents and prepare them and children for the children joining the family. She gave us many documents that they have and a training manual.
We also met with a social worker who takes care of the legal issues. She was able to advise us on getting permission to place children in families and on some of the terminology that is applied to this kind of work. She also mentioned the possibility of trying to locate the child's relatives first to see if they would be capable of fostering the child, before going outside of the family. They were all quite positive about our endeavors, especially as we're so "young and inexperienced." :) But we kept saying, "We are here to learn," thus inviting them to share their knowledge with us.
It was a long day, but we accomplished a lot.