Where Go the Children?

oksana, natasha, tanya

Many people think we are crazy for agreeing to host four brothers from an orphanage in Ukraine for 9 weeks this summer. We’re just hosting. Above, I’ve shared the link to a family who are fundraising to host 3 girls- sisters- who are part of a sibling group of 7, and the family is willing to see about adopting all 7 kids in the family! Won’t you please consider helping them, even if it is only by sharing the link?


‘Wasn’t it a funny dream!–perfectly bewild’rin’!–
Last night, and night before, and night before that,
Seemed like I saw the march o’ regiments o’ children,
Marching to the robin’s fife and cricket’s rat-ta-tat!
Lily-banners overhead, with the dew upon ’em,
On flashed the little army, as with sword and flame;
Like the buzz o’ bumble-wings, with the honey on ’em,
Came an eerie, cheery chant, chiming as it came:–

Where go the children? Travelling! Travelling!
Where go the children, travelling ahead?
Some go to kindergarten; some go to day-school;
Some go to night-school; and some go to bed!

Here are some of the places these kids go to bed:

Ukraine bed

Not too bad, right?  It’s even pretty.

Ukraine bedroom 2

Four teenage boys share this room. See how wide it is (look at the chair at the end for scale), and note the storage.  What storage? Indeed.

Nothing you see here is theirs. I doubt this is how these teen boys chose to decorate their room.   None of it will go with them when they age out.


Smooth roads or rough roads, warm or winter weather,
On go the children, tow-head and brown,
Brave boys and brave girls, rank and file together,
Marching out of Morning-Land, over dale and down:

Some go a-gypsying out in country places–
Out through the orchards, with blossoms on the boughs
Wild, sweet, and pink and white as their own glad faces;
And some go, at evening, calling home the cows.

Where go the children? Travelling! Travelling!
Where go the children, travelling ahead?
Some go to foreign wars, and camps by the firelight–
Some go to glory so; and some go to bed!

But these children are Ukrainian orphans, and 10-15% will commit suicide within 2 or 3 years of aging out of the orphanage (‘aging out happens at 16 or 17)- leaving everything they may have ever known, going on with all they own in a knapsack. There are no orchards for them.   “Leaving Day” is when the children must leave their orphanages, and criminals wait outside the gates to tell them lies about good jobs.  More than half of the girls will be prostitutes within a year or two- some will be fooled into travelling, travelling to foreign countries, told they will have good jobs; they arrive, their passports are taken, and they are sold.
Over half the boys will be in jail w/n a couple years of leaving the orphanage. they have no life-skills to speak of, and they have no support system, no loving adults they can ask for advice- unless, somebody chooses love, and hosts them.  Hosting can make a huge difference in their lives. 

Ukraine bedroom 8Ukraine bedroom 7Ukraine bedroom 4Ukraine bedroom 3

these rooms are for children of all ages – this is what many of them know from the time they leave a crib until the time they leave an orphanage.  their home is an institution, and they live there 24 and 7, with nobody to call or send birthday cards and holiday treats or pocket money- unless they are lucky enough to be hosted.

Some go through grassy lanes leading to the city–
Thinner grow the green trees and thicker grows the dust;
Ever, though, to little people any path is pretty
So it leads to newer lands, as they know it must.
Some go to singing less; some go to list’ning;
Some go to thinking over ever-nobler themes;
Some go anhungered, but ever bravely whistling,
Turning never home again only in their dreams.

Will it hurt?  Yes.   However, we have a choice, and they do not.  And once they have aged out, they will have no home to return to.  Once aged out, they are cut off from the place of their childhood forever.  No matter how bad the outside world gets, they cannot go home for a respite. 

And even though home looks like this- many of them will die of longing for a return.

Ukraine bathroom 5
You can pretty up the bedrooms, and clearly, some have tried to do that for the children.  But institutional bathrooms are institutional bathrooms, and you cannot do much to fix that. Ukraine bathroom 3Ukraine bathroom 2Ukraine bathroom
For some reason, this picture breaks my heart the most.  It feels so cold and lonely.  Here is where they wash their feet before bed, and sponge bathe when they need a bath.  No wonder they loved soaking in hot water in our deep, luxurious bathtubs every night.

Where go the children? Travelling! Travelling!
Where go the children, travelling ahead?
Some go to conquer things; some go to try them;
Some go to dream them; and some go to bed!

James Whitcomb Riley
James Whitcomb Riley also wrote Little Orphan Annie, which includes these lines in the last stanza:
 You better mind yer parunts, an’ yer teachurs fond an’ dear,
An’ cherish them ‘at loves you, an’ dry the orphant’s tear,
An’ he’p the pore an’ needy ones ‘at clusters all about…
oksana, natasha, tanya are longing for home and have a chance at a family with all 7 sibling in their family.  
Burden bearing- you can be a blessing and join in bearing burdens for some precious, dear children.
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