This morning we had the opportunity to go through the files of each girl at the Internat, through the help of Luba (staff) and Orest (translation allstar). Personally, I had been surprised when Irena (supervisor) gave us permission to access these documents - girls who have spent time at the Internat in past summers did not seem to have a lot of background information on any of the girls.
These beautiful, beautiful kids have arrived at the Internat through a wide variety of heartbreaking circumstances. Compiling records on nearly seventy girls, and finding out how they individually arrived at the Internat was a huge task. Again and again, Orest would translate stories of dysfunction and brokenness, of pain and loss.
"Her parents are dead."
"Her mother is mentally ill."
"Their mother was in prison, and their father is dead."
"The custody rights of her parents were taken away by the authorities."
"Both of her parents are alcoholics."
"Her fathers whereabouts are unknown."
"Her parents were junkies."
"Her mother abandoned her when she was born; the abortion had been unsuccessful."
I don't think that I can comprehend these realities just yet. There hasn't been time to process what each girl has been through, how they have been affected by things far beyond their control. Maybe it isn't real to me right now. Maybe it won't even really hit me until I'm home. There is so much more that I'd like to say and express about this experience, I hope in time I'll find the right words.