Monday, October 4, 2010

Olga - The first GIRL!

Ugly, unkempt, stupid, disaster-finder. This is how Olga would have described herself before she met Lena Borblick. "I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you." John 14:18

Olga began her life in the orphanage at a very early age. At 2 years old, her youngest sister died because her mother did not take care of her. When social workers came to the home, Olga was lying in a child’s bed with no bed clothes and cock roaches crawling all over her. She was quickly taken from the home and placed in the orphanage. Both the mother and the grandmother were alcoholics and parental rights were removed. Minimal contact has been maintained by the mother and grandmother Olga since was removed from her their care.

Olga was at the same orphanage where Lena had taken both Sergey and Yuri into her home. In her visits there, Lena had established a connection with young Olga. But she was a child who was full of defeat and a continual liar. One day when Lena was visiting the orphanage, Olga asked her, “Don’t you like girls? Why do you take only boys?” Being moved by this, Lena began to spend time with Olga. But it was difficult because Olga was a very unattractive child. She never took care of herself, like combing her hair or brushing her teeth, and she had ears that stuck out on each side of her head. Her teeth were unhealthy and uneven.

In addition, bad things always happened to Olga. If a brick were to fall from a roof, Olga would find a way to be hit by it. She was a magnet that attracted every type of problem. Lena really struggled to find something positive in her. Eventually, she found that Olga greatly desired to be trusted. She was also fond of working with younger children and was very hard working. In this photo, she is watching 3 year old Masha play.

When Olga was 11 years old, Lena took her home to live with the family, Lena soon discovered that even with Olga’s positive features, there were problems. For example, though she loved working with younger children, her goal was to control and manipulate them. She would notice them doing wrong things, point those things out, and then tell them to keep it a secret from Mom (Lena). In this way, she had a means to control them when she wanted to use it.

Although Olga was a hard worker and would gladly volunteer for various tasks, she would not do a thorough job and sometimes would even cause problems for others with her lack of thoroughness. An example was when she would wash the floor but leave it unclean and very slippery causing others to fall. One worker at the orphanage, who liked Olga a great deal and even interceded for her to be taken home by Lena, was a victim of Olga’s sloppy and slippery floor washing. As a result, she fell down a flight of stairs and injured her back very severely. Another example was when Lena asked Olga to get something from the cellar. She obediently did this task, but left the ladder exposed which created a serious danger with the younger children around.

Lena continued trying to find something positive that Olga could do and be successful with. Within a short period of time, Olga began to know more about keeping the house than Lena did and Lena began using her in this way. Olga was a big help with the younger children who came to live in Lena's home. Eventually she began taking Olga with her when she visited the various government offices she needed to frequent regarding the foster children she was caring for in her home. Olga was quite helpful because she was a good example of a child who had been helped and was showing good signs of becoming a useful person because of it.

Her academic abilities were very, very poor. It was so bad, that while in the orphanage, they had wanted to put her into a mental institution for the educationally handicapped. Twice she had to repeat the previous school year and still knew very little at the age of 11. She was around the 2nd form (equivalent to 3rd grade) in her learning to that point. Before taking her home, Lena had told her that one of the reasons she could not take her was because her academics were so poor. Olga responded to that in a very positive manner by learning ALL of the times tables, 2 through 9, in a matter of 2 weeks. This determination convinced Lena that this girl was teachable and could learn what ever was needed.

As a result, Lena had a very serious talk with Olga and told her that she would end up in an asylum if she did not become motivated to learn. Olga again responded in hope and was willing to have Lena spend long hours with her doing home schooling as well as attending regular school. After some time, Olga brought home excellent marks. Then it happened again and still again. At one point Lena asked Olga if she understood that she was not stupid. Olga answered that she, indeed, did not see herself as stupid any longer. So then Lena offered her a choice. She told Olga that it was up to her as to how she wanted people to see her, stupid or not. She used Jesus as the example of someone who made a decision as to how He wanted people to see Him. At that point, she asked Olga to make a choice as to how she wanted to learn, as a normal person in school, or as a handicapped person. Olga made the decision to learn at school like a normal child and Lena no longer had to worry about her.

When the issue of education had been closed, another had to be dealt with. Olga, as mentioned previously, had a bad habit of wanting to control people. Although she was only 12 years old, she controlled everyone, children and adults, by knowing their secrets. She even attempted to do this with Lena.

Each day, the family would have one hour of Bible study and each child would do their own study in a different corner of the house. Olga did not like to do this daily task and would often try to avoid it. This particular day, she asked to go upstairs to Lena’s sewing room to do her study. After a short time, Lena heard a terrible scream from upstairs. She froze and at that moment, the Holy Spirit revealed to her exactly what had taken place. When the rest of the family heard this scream they all rushed to help Olga, even the father, Sergey. Olga was in the hallway with a very pale face, fear in her eyes, and blood dripping down her leg. Everyone was in shock wanting to know what had happened to her. Nobody knew what to do. So Lena approached her and instead of talking in soft, comforting soothing tones, Lena confronted her asking, “How dare you do this!” Olga immediately tried to blame Lena saying that she did not take care of things and that was why she had gotten hurt. Lena, who was confident in what the Holy Spirit had shown her, said, “No, it was not me.” She asked Olga, “Do you want to hear the real story?” Olga foolishly said, “Yes, I do.” Lena said, “You were in my sewing room, not reading the Bible as you were told to do. Instead you began to look through my things and found a razor blade. You were afraid to cut your leg with a whole blade, so you broke it into two parts. You were still afraid, so you broke it, still smaller, into two more parts. Then you took that tiny piece of blade and made the cut on your leg. But not very deep and little blood came out. So then you began to squeeze and shake your leg to make the blood flow more freely and then you began to scream.” Olga was in shock. The other kids were too. One of the younger girls tried to side with Olga and asked Lena why she was so angry. She tried to argue that Olga could have accidentally cut herself. Lena responded to her, “My dear daughter, I would give you $10 if you could do this (accidentally cut yourself with this tiny blade).” So Olga learned that day that Lena could not be controlled by her, although several more attempts were made to do so. Eventually, with much time and prayer on Lena’s part, and explaining to Olga each time it would happen how she herself had to take responsibility for her actions, change began to happen. Lena made a big effort to direct Olga’s ability to lead and direct into right actions and directions. For a certain period of time, the control issues at home stopped.

Olga graduated from 9th form (high school) as a normal student and with good academics. She also graduated from technical school and enrolled in a university in another city (Kharkhiv) to become a social worker. Now Olga is 22 years old, serious and choosing the standards and values that she will live by. She has two more years before she completes her degree program. Unfortunately, the changes Lena was able to help Olga make in the family are now coming back to Olga as ways of coping in her new environment. Lena has, in conversation with other students, learned that Olga is once again using her controlling strategies and causing problems among her friends. Lena, of course, continues to pray for Olga to make these changes permanent in her life through her relationship with Jesus Christ.

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