For three weeks now, I've been staying with a very dear foster family here in Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, part of Ukraine. Zhenya and Elena have adopted five teenagers from a local orphanage and life here with them is quite lively.
Things got particularly lively when Petya was fanning himself and everybody else with a fish tail snatched from dinner-in-progress.
But several evenings a week, the household shifts from fun and games into an academic mode. I caught our high schoolers above one evening recently when mama Elena was tutoring kids on Shakespeare. That went on for 90 minutes and nobody budged. Elena made it fun somehow and the next day, everybody got good grades in literature. Other evenings, papa Zhenya tutors them in algebra or physics.
But the previous Sunday evening, Jay - a favorite visitor from Atlanta, invited me to the nearby village orphanage in which these dear children were raised.
Our hero, Jay is in there somewhere. He's the big kid and he's great at rumbling with the rest of them.
I'm really great at being on the sidelines and shooting at people. With the camera of course.
Jay and his ball-playing buddies. Wonder if they really like him. They could be pretending just for appearances sake. Or maybe not.
Our kids were once part of this group. Their care-taker, the blond lady in back, really misses her favorite kids.
Jay and buddies inside just heading into the dining hall. You can bet these guys would give their right arms, hidden from view here, to be taken into a foster family. Neat kids with lots of needs.