Where I fit in the box of crayons....

Do you ever get that feeling like there's more out there? That's the feeling that brought me to beyond borders. The global community is growing, and I have not yet become a part of it. I want to be a contributing citizen to the global community through participation and action. Over the years, I have developed an appreciation for diversity and difference, and look for other ways that people are doing things. There’s a whole world out there beyond our North American perspective that has the potential to change the way I see things, and to change my life. Gahndi said, "Be the change you want to see in the world." I think we should not only find the change within ourselves, but also take part in the change we want to see in the world. I hope that Beyond Borders will offer a medium in which I can be the change I want to see in the world, and also take part in that change.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

They all placed bets….

My friends and family (yes you!) all placed bets wagering on how long it would take me to decide to bring home an orphan, and also how many I would come home with… most were utterly astonished that it has taken me this long to profess my intention to bring home an orphan. I wanna know who won what....

It took me 59 days – just under two months – to post that I wanted to bring home (at least) one of the kids from the Internat – and there are two that if given the opportunity, I would pack in my suitcase.

There are two valid questions here 1) why did it take me this long, and 2)why would I like to bring home an orphan.

The first question is what everyone is wondering. I am not sure I can fully answer that right now and I think I will suggest that you stay tuned to future posts because there’s something big brewing; I’m just waiting to my brain to finish processing…. But I will say that this is partially due to a language barrier that has prevented the type of bonding I was initially expecting, and it has taken this long (2 months) for strong bonds and connections to really come to fruition… but more on this upcoming…

The second question. This will also make much more sense after the next couple blogs but I am ready to post this one, not those ones…

So the two girls I would bring home with me are Ira, and Rosa. Who they are is intertwined with why I want to bring them home. I do not feel a strong “family” type connection with these girls. I care about them but not any more that the other girls (ok, maybe a LITTLE bit) but there is something special about these two. I think it’s partially their receptiveness to learning, their ability to problem solve, and be flexible, and how they perform when given a task. They are bright, trusting, and most importantly willing.

Ira has been my life line. She sticks close by me and helps to break down some of the language barriers. She is always looking for ways to help explain words that I don’t understand and simplifies things that the other kids say to me. She is there to help explain activities, and has taught me quite a few new words and concepts. This is a challenging task for a 13 year old. You need to have a grasp of the language and be flexible in your usage of words and meanings. I think she is one of very few of the girls that has this level of mental functioning. I am very much concerned that she is not being stimulated enough at the Internat.

As for Rosa, she is quiet, but keen. She is interested in learning new things and always seeks reassurance and approval. She does not have Ira’s level of mental functioning, but what she lacks in ability she makes up for with tenacity. I enjoy teaching her new things and watching her gain confidence as she struggles, learns and masters whatever it is she is doing. The thing that pulls at my heart the most is that (I am going out on a HUGE limb here) in watching Rosa I think that living in a hetronormative/homonegative environment may be problematic for Rosa as she ages.

Wanting to bring these two girls home is not because I want to collect a gaggle of international children (a la Angelina), and it’s not even because I’m DYING to be a parent; it is really more for their own sake. I think that these are the two girls, out of all of the children at the Internat, that have the ability to adapt to the move and possess the qualities necessary for them to flourish in Canadian society. To bring them to Canada would be opening up a world of possibility for them, and allowing them opportunities that they can not even dream about while living in an institution in Ukraine. For Ira it is the potential for mental stimulation, and perhaps even a long an fruitful educational career. For Rosa it is partially the mental stimulation, but also being able to live in a culture that allows her to express herself, and encourages her to become herown person. This isn’t to say that the other girls are not worth of opportunity, but I don’t think all of them are capable of making the same kind of drastic life change (i.e. moving to a whole different country/life/family…).

The Internat is a place that, in my mind, is devoid of anything remotely resembling opportunity. It is the antithesis of opportunity. I feel like there is a great big neon sign at the driveway flashing a garish “DEAD END” to anyone who cares to steal a glance. It would be my greatest joy to be able to liberate all of the girls from their purgative sentences there, but there seems to be a greater urgency for some, like Ira and Rosa, than others.

Felix made it very clear that the only things allowed I my suitcase were non living items, and I have no choice but to listen at this point… BUT let it be know that if I had the means of supporting these two wonderful girls, I would be filling in adoption papers rather than posting this blog.


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