Monday morning the train arrives with the kids, and my nerves don’t allow me breakfast. The host families and I take the metro to meet them, ending at a station commemorating the contributions of the Communist Youth League. We are early.
Aching for the Right Soul, 12/10/09). Alexander is back from last time to spend more time with Trevor, his dad-to-be. Alexandra stands tentative, and I’m transported back to meeting her, so demure in her orphanage room. She’ll always hold an oddly sentimental place in my heart as the first child I met on my first orphanage visit (Mission: Never Accomplished, 2/10/10). Zulya and Lora are here, too, and I feel an immediate connection. I’d never promoted kids as fervently as I did them, or cared as deeply if a child found a family. As Zulya sweetly counters my smile with a grin that makes her look Asian, I know I failed them, even if she doesn’t. No one here came to meet them, and she’ll never know the prayers and care that went into the effort (Her Lora, 4/9/10).
After dinner we attend the Nikulin Circus. Passing through the distracting gauntlet of plastic trinkets vying for the kids’ attention makes us late. Groping in the dark toward our seats, we merit the disapproval of several spectators whose views we obstruct. The show is the same as in March; a few times, I catch myself just before playing the spoiler. Overall, the circus is a hit, with the tigers especially favored, though their act feels demeaning, which depresses me. When it’s over, the children helpfully point out the toys again, hoping in vain we’ll buy some.
If only I knew what more I could do.