Greetings from Elbasan Albania. We have been here for 3 full weeks already and most likely have about 3 or more to go! Kiara now gets to come to the apartment every day from 9am to 6pm. It is bittersweet having her with us all the time. It is sweet because she belongs with us but the bitter part is that every day we have to take her back to the orphanage at bedtime and usually she cries when I put her to bed. I can’t stay because that would mess up the routine. She is so adorable and easy going. She loves to explore the apartment and play with all her siblings. She is dearly loved by us all. We will Lord willing get to keep her with us all of the time in about 10 more days. We can’t wait! She is so beautiful and charming and we absolutely can’t wait to share some photos of her.
Apparently Tim took the sun with him when he left for PA early Sunday morning. It has been raining since he left and has turned a bit colder….Lauren even broke out the space heaters to get warm and I am wearing my tall boots. Glad that we have only a 10 minute walk to the orphanage!
Because we don’t have a dryer and we need to hang all of our laundry the rain has put a damper on getting anything dry. We are trying to dry things inside on drying racks but that is proving to be unsuccessful. We realize just how blessed we are at home to have a dryer. We realize that there are so many things that we take for granted. We are thankful for the opportunity to see how people on the other side of the world live.
The one thing we quickly noticed is that people throw their trash on the ground all the time! The streets and alleys are covered in litter. For such a beautiful country it is covered in trash…so so sad! Also there are Roma gypsies in the town who daily stop at all the dumpsters on the side of the roads. They pick through the garbage which includes wastepaper from the bathroom since toilet paper can't be flushed. They pick through it with bare hands in search of plastic bottles and plastic bags that they can use to sell to earn a few cents to buy some food. They are very poor people. Conner had the opportunity on Sunday evening to share our adoption journey as well as the gospel at a church for the Roma people. Praying for seeds to have been planted.
There are stray dogs absolutely everywhere. They are so pathetic. Covered in fleas, lacking fur, walking around looking for a drink from a dirty puddle and some leftover trash to eat. The other night one was hit by a car. He seemed to survive. Not sure how they stay alive. They are not aggressive, and they don’t bark. I told the kids only the fed dogs bark…those are the watch dogs. The strays don’t have nearly enough energy to bark. Last night Christian noticed a kind old man with 3 strays around him. He was giving them some bread and they were all wagging their tails so excited by his kindness toward them. I even shared the end of my dish of gelato with one of the dogs!
Believe it or not we are kitten sitting! A sweet missionary family who minister to the Roma gypsies has headed off to a mission conference and we are kitten sitting their tiny orange kitten, Ginger. He is adorable and Juliana is thrilled to have a pet for a few days!
Now that Kiara comes to the apartment for the day we so miss spending time with the rest of the orphans. We have decided to have the 4 older kids go over in groups of two for 2 and 1/2 hours every afternoon to spend time loving on these precious children. Over the past 3 weeks we have taught them Wheels On the Bus, This Little Light of Mine, and Head Shoulders, Knees and Toes. They are quick little learners and have caught on quickly to learning English. They are always anxious to share what they have learned with us.
We are continuing to homeschool our kiddos while we are here in Albania. Part of our homeschool day includes shopping at the fruit and veggie market, hand washing dishes (we miss our two dishwashers) and visiting orphans. We are thankful for the opportunity to get to know Kiara’s culture and all of the kids are keeping journals of the trip!
We thank you all for your prayers for Kiara, and for our family. Please keep praying that God (Zot in Albanian) would strengthen us during these final 3 or more weeks. Thank you!
Mother of 13 and writes this blog.