The final balance-due came today and had just $175 total remaining to be paid. Between our etsy stores and other donations we had enough to pay that off and still have a balance of donations/etsy sales to use toward things like shoes, pants, her admission to the zoo and science museum, a turn on the rock wall or ropes course if we're feeling like a little adventure, a handful of trips to some local restaurants and many other experiences. And printing about 150 photos in her final few days!
We will, of course, be using a lot of the extra donation money to buy things that she says they need at the orphanage that we can reasonably fit in her limited checked luggage. No washing machines will be coming home with her! But hopefully we can help her bring back things like bandaids, gloves, toothbrushes, feminine products, or whatever else would be most meaningful to the day-to-day comfort of the kids. She'll also be bringing back the winter coat we already bought her, any of the sweaters and tshirts (bought) and pants (yet to buy) that she wants to keep, winter boots (yet to buy) and sneakers (yet to buy) and slippers, socks and other undergarments, and any small toys, games, or souvenirs she gets as gifts.
Most things at her orphanage become community property pretty quickly, so much of the clothing is really serving the entire teen-girl wing. They are allowed to claim things as their own, but from what we've heard they tend to share most things and keep just a few of the most special things--especially if someone else has very little of her "own". She has a 30" rolling duffle bag that can be up to 50 pounds as her checked luggage, and a backpack that has no technical weight limit but has to be reasonable for her to carry around for 24+ hours of travel home, too. My master-efficiency packing skills will be in full force by January!
And from what we've heard, the kids that are hosted and funded are going to the capital city to get visas later this week. So, if they have not yet told her she's hosted, she'll figure it out this week. They may have already shared this information and even shared the translated letter we wrote introducing ourselves and our family and including pictures of us, the house, the dog, etc. But they often wait until the last minute --even giving them the introduction letters on the plane!--so that if something falls through or changes they don't have to upset the kids with those details. If for some reason a family had to cancel the day before arrival (pray that doesn't happen, of course, but natural disasters take out homes, sickness and death and accidents happen and change a family's availability dramatically, etc), it's easier to just substitute in the new family's letter and the kid never knows the difference versus having them already thinking about this specific version of their trip and having it taken away and replaced with something different. So she may not know about our family specifically yet, but she should know very soon that she's coming to the US. Pray for her heart to be brave and excited and peaceful. And for her to start cramming English even better than we are cramming Russian right now!