Monday, January 22, 2007

At the Tokmok Orphanage

“An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet, regardless of time, place or circumstance. The thread may stretch, or tangle, but it will never break…” -An ancient Chinese belief

Well, as I suspected, it has been hard to post to this blog regularly, but I will attempt to bring you up-to-date over the next couple of nights. The truth is, the week has been an emotional roller coaster and we find ourselves mentally exhausted in the evenings. But tonight let me get to the important part--the children and where we are in the process of finding the rest of our family….

We met both Aigul and Aibek at the Tokmok orphanage (1 hour’s drive from Bishkek) on Tuesday morning, after finally escaping Moscow airport and arriving in Bishkek on Monday. We determined after that first day that Aibek was not meant for us. There is no real specific reason--I can only tell you that it is something you know in your heart right away. I know there is a family out there somewhere for him and I pray that they come to get him soon. Aigul, on the other hand, is a tiny, tiny little bundle of smiles and we have happily played with her every day since our arrival. She was 6-7 weeks premature when born, and that fact combined with the reality of her institutionalism, means that she is developmentally delayed to some extent. Not much, in my estimation--her muscle tone and strength is below that of a non-institutionalized child, but that is because there are so many babies in her “group” and only a few caretakers. These women do a wonderful job with what they have, but they can’t spend much one-on-one time with the little ones. Other than that, she is doing most of the things she should be doing at this point. Most orphanage children catch up in their delayed development within a few months after adoption, so we have no worries. We weren't really looking for an infant referral, but she sort of dropped in our lap--and how could you not go and meet such a cutie?

Then, the most amazing thing happened…

I’ll digress to tell you that, almost a year ago, even before we finished our Kyrgyzstan paperwork, we received a referral for a sibling group, a brother and sister, 3 and 5 years old. Some of you saw the photos. We really had a connection to these kids right away, and waited and waited on additional details about them. After carrying their photos around in our wallets for 4-5 months, we were told that there had been a mistake and that these kids were not available for adoption after all--the father had not relinquished his rights. It was suggested that we “move on” and consider other referrals. We were bitterly disappointed--we had such special feelings for these two--but after another month or so of waiting for additional news, we did decide to look at other referrals.

The first day in the Tokmok orphanage, who did we see in the toddler room? Yes, of course, it was little Sergey, the brother of the sibling group shown to us last year. Was his sister Rita there?, we asked. Yes, although she’s old enough to be moved to the “next” orphanage (they are segregated by age), she is being kept there until both can move over together, we were told. Were they available now for adoption?, we asked. No, not really, but…maybe we could work something out...

Tomorrow, the rest of the story of Rita and Sergey…

Love to all!


Hannah said...


I am trying to organise charity work for two groups which are visiting Kyrgyzstan this Summer. I read your blog and saw that you visited tokmok orphanage and adpoted! Congratulations.

Do you have any contacts that I would be able to use to organise charity work at tokmok or another orphanage that you may know of in the area?

Many Thanks,

debbie stall said...

Hi Hannah, please contact me at and I will be able to give you some further details. -Debbie