Abandoned and orphaned babies continue to be a heartbreaking side effect of sin and broken societies around the world. Ukraine is no exception. Over the past several years, weekly trips to a local hospital to care for abandoned babies have become one of the longest running and successful programs we have been involved with. We partner with the local Reformed high school in this endeavor. We bring students from the school every Wednesday afternoon and every other Friday to the Children’s Hospital. During our months spent in the States, a teacher from the school drives the students weekly to the hospital. These orphaned babies are abandoned and left in the care of the hospital.
While not yet official orphans, the babies, ages six months to two years, spend their days lying in a crib while papers and legal status are determined. Most spend at least a few months, some up to a year in the hospital, but babies come and go. With the exception of feedings and scheduled diaper changes, the babies do not leave their cribs and receive very little human touch or interaction. This lack of contact and long hours spent in a crib often leave them underdeveloped in muscle strength, walking ability, and speech development. The high school girls (and occasional boys) are compassionate and gentle with these babies. The students bring toys which they store in their dorm rooms and baby wipes to clean the babies. They hold and talk to them and spend time with older babies, helping them walk.
These trips can produce a multitude of emotions for us. It brings heart break and sadness at the thought of these precious children and their future plight, along with a realization of the hardships they have already experienced at their young age. But it also brings inspiration and pride from watching the students week after week grow and mature, spending their meager free time loving these children. Erika, the girl on the right in the picture above, is the student coordinator for the trips. She does a wonderful job organizing and finding students to go every week, taking toys, and going every possible time herself. Winter has left the hospital with an epidemic of some kind and under a quarantine leaving us unable to go for the past several weeks. Hopefully, sometime this month we will be able to return.