Last weekend we accompanied a group of kids to Vyborg. It was our first get-together for the kids and the Russian families that may bond with them and become long-term mentors.
I was a little annoyed at having to go on a Sunday and miss church, but the situation was ameliorated by the fact that the kids were my own students from one of my regular orphanages.
When I got on the bus, the kids all shouted my name excitedly. But before I send the wrong idea here, let me just say that they do not shout excitedly when I show up for English class! :) They are pretty comfortable with me, but I don't usually come to entertain them, although they are happy to do English if they have a lot of homework in other classes. I'd rather be a caring (if boring) adult than a fun "babysitter"! But it was nice to have a chance to be in a more relaxing environment...
On the way to Vyborg we played games and chatted with the kids. The time passed fairly quickly. Once in Vyborg, it was a bit cold, so we huddled together for warmth as we explored museums and other sights. The kids especially enjoyed trying to shoot with a bow and modeling Medieval costumes.
I tried to interact with everyone, but one child who wouldn't leave my side was a 6th grade boy from one of my English groups. He's also one of the boys who was afraid of me last year! And now I have a little "shadow." These personal bonds are the ones I wait for. I would continue to do the work even if just for the sake of helping one of these kids or adults. But my heart aches to
see the kids find homes and not just friends with whom to spend a day or two.