Thursday night was the annual art auction hosted by Patch Adams featuring paintings, ceramics, sculptures and crafts by the talented orphans helped by Maria's Children. All money goes towards the work done by Maria's Children to reach out to needy orphans--and other children in need--through art therapy, summer camp, monetary help for medical care, and MANY other programs that let these children feel loved and learn how to prepare for post-institutional life.
I wrote about Maria's Children, Patch Adams, and the auction in 2007 here--and the auction in 2008 here.
The girls had fun painting before the auction began. We also picked out countless magnets, greeting cards and calendars for the upcoming holidays (including two teachers' birthdays). In addition, each girl relished secretly buying ceramic animals (Mmm... as if we don't already have a ton of those!) and necklaces for each other for Christmas.
It was wonderful to catch up with older teens I've known for three years through the organization, in particular with Aslan, a boy from Chechnya who really found a place in our hearts three years ago--along with his sister Heda. You might remember how last year Patch Adams raised enough money to rebuild Aslan and Heda's home; it had been destroyed during the war when Aslan was just a baby. Construction is almost complete and their parents will finally be able to move out of the refugee camp!
The other highlight of the evening came towards the end... The girls were having fun playing with another boy, and Amina was resting in the lounge area with them. I went over to ask her if she'd like something to drink, and called her by name. A woman was seated across from Amina, and she heard me.
It caught her attention, and she commented, "Amina... Not a common name here in Moscow! I heard it once before when I was trying to connect with a woman here in Moscow about a package for relatives of children who had been adopted in America... I never did get to meet her, though, Tamara..."
Amina quickly asked, "Tamara (and my last name)?"
She replied, "Why, yes! Do you know her?"
And Amina pointed to me, standing behind them!
Soooo... Annie... Alla and I have finally met! Can you believe it? For all of you who aren't quite following, Annie is a "blog friend" I've never actually met but have gotten to know well since starting this blog. She has a son and daughter (actual brother and sister) adopted from Ivanovo (and two other lovely boys from Russia, in addition to her grown son and daughter). Alla and Annie met while Annie was in the process of adopting her daughter, Anastasia; Alla helps orphans in Ivanovo.
Her son, Andrei, and my girls get along really well.
Not only did we have fun Thursday night, but we also got together on Saturday to attend a Maria's Children exhibit at the Dom Khudozhnikov (across from Gorky Park). I'll write more about that tomorrow!