Orphans from Ukraine in North Carolina

A group of 38 orphans from the city of Berdyansk, Zaporizhsjka oblastj in
Ukraine visited the Raleigh area during November 28-December 2, 2005. The
children were accompanied by four staff members of the orphanage. Also
seven adults from Kiev staged, together with some of the orphans, the play
“The Russian (??) Shoemaker”. The trip was organized by the Christian
Broadcasting Network – Operation Blessing (700 Club), and the children were
hosted by parishioners from several Baptist churches in the Raleigh area.
The play was presented in three Baptist churches and after each presentation
the orphanage choir performed Ukrainian songs and carols.

We were very pleasantly surprised that, although Berdyansk is located in
heavily russified Eastern Ukraine, most children spoke perfect Ukrainian, as
well as three out of the four adult chaperons from the orphanage. We were
told that a good part of teaching in their school is in Ukrainian. Coordination
with the children and translation from English to Ukrainian was admirable
handled by Natalya Khomyak, one of the many new immigrants from Ukraine,
who works at the Christian Broadcasting Network and is a member of the
Tidewater Ukrainian Cultural Association in Virginia Beach, VA.

Our Association had a chance to make a modest contribution to the orphan’s
visit. We helped their American organizers and hosts communicate with the
children, solve problems and make their stay more pleasant. The Association
bought small presents for each child and for each of the four chaperons, and
gave each chaperon a small cash donation. We had a chance to interact with
the children, tell them a little about Ukrainians in the United States, and hear
from them about their plans and dreams. We would like to thank the
parishioners from several Baptist churches in the Raleigh area for the
wonderful jobs they did in hosting the children. Special thanks to Deacon Dick
Hilliard, from the Bay Leaf Baptist church, who has made a tremendous
contribution to the cause of adopting orphans from Ukraine.