Monday, September 24, 2012

Guest Post by: Uncle Mike

I find myself in Ukraine for the 2nd time in less than a year.  I've just experienced my 2nd  "Gotcha Day".  It's powerful stuff to walk out of an orphanage with a mother & daughter.  My 1st Gotcha Girl was Mila Basile, last November.  This time I'm traveling with Summer and now I too, am Lucky To Love Lyla.

I read Summer's previous post about the need for diapers in the orphanage.  I was even able to scrape up $100 from friends in Erie.  So now, amidst all the running around that goes with gotcha week, we have another job.  Diaper Delivery.  There is a desperate need for diapers here.  This is not a wealthy place and we learn that at times the nannies will buy diapers with money out of their own pocket.  It's one thing to read about the need, but now I see it first hand.  Summer, Dave & and trusted Ukrainian friend, Anya, have already spent $400 on diapers for the the orphanage.  Now we have to change money to buy and deliver another $800 worth of diapers.  This is logistically difficult.  It will be around 80 packs of diapers.  It's not easy to do that using only Ukrainian Mass Transit.  So we have help and the whole thing makes me feel like I'm in an old cold war era spy movie.  The mission is financed by the Americans, we have contacts on the Ukrainian side. There is a tight deadline and for reasons I don't fully understand we have to kind of sneak the diapers into the special needs groupas.  Every time we go to the store we buy diapers, every time we go to the orphanage we drop them off.

The nannies are on to us though.  At the infirmary, where Lyla is a nanny takes Summer aside and asks "pampers?".  Summer says "da".  Then the nanny hands her an empty plastic jar and makes a gesture.  Through the language barrier, we have figured out that whatever this stuff is, they need some of it.  Later our translator solves the mystery for us.  The stuff is diaper rash cream.  makes sense, if you don't have enough diapers there's going to be diaper rash.

The real bonus from doing this is that the nannies let us into the groupas when we deliver the goods.  We hear "spah-see-bah" (Thank You) over and over and most importantly we get to hold babies.

If I were not with Summer, I would not even be allowed to enter the front gate of the orphanage.  Now, because of the diapers I have access to places that very few people, especially Americans, ever get to see.  There are babies with Down syndrome, Dwarfism, paralyzed children, visually impaired kids, you name it, they've got it.  When you hold these children it is impossible not to be moved by them.  I use to think I was tough, a firefighter, hockey player and all that.  But when one of these kids looks into my eyes I start to break.  My nose runs, my eyes water.  Allergies I tell people.  Must be the pollen.  But it's not.  It's these brave, incredible children.  Like I said, it's one thing to read about the need, but to be here with a baby in your arms is a whole other thing.  The need is very real.

But there are hero's out there.  Summer & Dave have adopted 3 of these kids, the Basiles 2.  You know who you are.  But there are other Hero's out there too.  If you are one of the people who gave Summer money for diapers - Thanks!!!  That's the best 12 bucks you have ever spent.

So here's the run down, but remember I was a Fireman, not an accountant so I may be off a bit.

Money Raised:  $1,200
Spent on Diapers:  $1,100
Spent on Cream:  $100

That's 20 jars of diaper rash cream and about 100 packs of diapers with an average of 68 diapers per pack.  That's 6,800 dry bums in the orphanage.

Is it working you ask?  Well, when Summer & Dave were here last month every baby they picked up was wet.  This trip, every baby has been dry.  So, Yeah, It's Working!!!

Summer's original plan was to just give the diapers to the special needs groupas but nannies from the infirmary and 3 other groupas also asked for them.  Naturally, we hooked them up.


  1. Mike you did very well on your guest post! Summer I am so happy to see all what you are able to give those babies! I know that feeling as we did the same in Bulgaria (only we brought the diapers in our suitcases and smuggled them in as well). Just knowing their little tushies are dry for a bit is sure worth it. Thank you for doing that!

  2. Great post Uncle Mike!!! :) It was great to meet you and hear about your time traveling with Summer! Lyla changed soo much from her first few days home to even when I left last week, can't wait for you to see her again!!!

    Love the pictures, esp the one of Summer!! ;)

  3. I wonder how we can continue to provide these babes with dry bums and diaper rash relief? Can we continue to donate to a fund and is there someone trusted there who can make a monthly donation? Or?? I just hate to think that they will run out soon and have wet babes again. I feel so badly for the little ones having to sit in soiled diapers for hours on end.

    Lovely post.