Dec 5, 2017

A separation due to work

Frequently, the reason for removing a child from a family is that the parents are unemployed, but the following story is about how work became the reason for separation.
Vadim entered an orphanage a year and half ago. His mother, Irina, had a job as a milkmaid. She left for work between 4 and 5 in the morning, leaving her three-year-old son alone until noon. The situation in the evening was similar. The woman also drank alcohol occasionally. Neighbors concerned about the lack of proper care for the child turned to child protective services.

The boy was three years eight months old when he arrived at the orphanage. His mother visited him regularly for the first six months but then stopped coming. Vadim was initially placed in the institution on a temporary basis, but because Irina was not visiting him, the question of terminating her parental rights was raised.
But then experts from Homelike project took on the case, and Pavel, our social worker, visited Irina at home. Talking with Irina, Pavel realized that Irina missed her son very much, but she could not get by without working and she had no other job option. Also, there was no one to help her. Irina lived alone and did not interact with her neighbors. Even when the Fund gave her a way to pay for a babysitter who could take the child to kindergarten and bring him home, local residents refused to help.

Having established a channel of communication with Irina, we negotiated with the specialists at child protective services, and the child’s stay in the institution was extended by another six months without the mother losing her parental rights. After talking with a specialist from the Fund, Irina began visiting her son again. And the orphanage staff later gave her permission to take him home for holidays and weekends.
Oksana Reshetova, an educational psychologist at the orphanage, worked one-on-one with Vadim’s mother. This helped Irina make changes in her life. She has now changed jobs and has begun receiving support. She took her son home in August and enrolled him in a kindergarten.
After living without his mother for a year and a half of his life, Vadim is now five years old. That is quite a long while at his age, but we hope time will be on their side. Our experts will keep in touch with the family!

Sep 14, 2017



Sometimes parents become hostages of their past and cannot get the relationships with their children back on track because of shame or fear of social embarrassment. Here is one of the stories of 'Homelike Project. Smolensk region'

Victoria is 40 years old, she lives in a village. While her husband works, Victoria keeps the house and the garden. This fall their daughter starts school. Such a decent, friendly family of three. Meanwhile, in the next village orphanage there is a boy named Vasya. Victoria is Vasya's mom.

When our Smolensk team took Vasya's case, the boy's personal data file proved that his mother is deprived of parental rights due to an antisocial lifestyle and alcoholism.

It turned out that the woman actually behaved immorally in her youth, and due to this, the custody authorities seized her son from her.  Eight years have passed since then; Victoria has completely changed, but could not get back together with her son since then.

She was scared to death to go to the custody, as she understood that no one had forgotten anything in their small village. Moreover, every time she met someone from them accidentally, the custody officers reminded of her past, adding to her guilt feeling.

However, Victoria never forgot about her son. Before we took Vasya’s case, the woman kept track of his life on her own.  For several years that the boy lived in a foster family, Victoria timidly asked friends in common of how he was doing. But recently the boy was returned to the orphanage, got into our program and soon afterwards we found his mother.

Victoria gladly shared memories of her son with us, and together we made a detailed family genogram- a technique that helps a child to better know his family, and also helps a specialist to better see family "scenarios" and find positive stories from the child relatives’ life.

Our specialists have conducted psychological therapy with Victoria, thanks to which the woman has overcome her shame about the past, and, on the contrary, realized that she has every right to be proud of having independently overcome the crisis and changed for the better. She gave up alcohol, created a strong family with a worthy person, carefully runs the house, and educates her daughter, who, according to our psychologists, is harmoniously developed.

Our social teacher Alina Kiprich accompanied Victoria to the custody authorities to find out what documents were needed to resume the relationship with her son. After the visit, Victoria and her husband became determined to get back together with Vasya.

Unfortunately, the psychologist in  the orphanage was also aware of Viktoria’s wild youth, and firstly refused to organize a meeting with Vasya. At that point, our foundation organized a meeting with the orphanage director to assure her in Victoria’s reliability and the seriousness of her commitment.

The meeting went well, Victoria made a right impression, and a longed-for permission was received! The most important thing for now is to prepare Vasya.  From his personal data file we know that the boy was seized even without an opportunity to say goodbye to his mother.

Ulyana Sorokina, the psychologist of the project is actively working with Vasya now. The meeting is coming soon!

Jun 19, 2017

How we find parents

'Homelike Project. Smolensk region' helps children in orphanages remember their roots and get in touch with their family. This is a story about how our specialists found “lost” parents.

Practically since birth, 12-year-old Kirill was raised by his great grandmother. His mother suffers from alcoholism. His father had never even seen him; he ended up in jail before the boy was born and, according to the boy’s guardian, he never got in contact.

The boy and his great grandmother lived in his aunt’s apartment, who, according to his personal file, was not fond of the boy. Their host’s poor attitude towards him became the reason why his great grandmother gave little Kirill to the Safonovo orphanage.

Whenever a child leaves their family or foster care for the orphanage, our specialists are sure to always meet with them. After examining and talking with Kirill, it became clear that his family is very important to him. The Homelike project team got to work on the case and started to look for his family.

The address of Kirill’s grandmother on his father’s side was given in his personal file. This is where Alina Kiprich, the project’s conselor, headed.

The boy’s uncle was living in the apartment. For a long while, the man couldn’t understand who she was talking about – he had never seen Kirill – but when he figured it out, he helped find Dmitry, the boy’s father.

His father was overjoyed to hear news of his son. Dmitry told us that he had tried to see his boy, but due to the strained relationship with Kirill’s mother, nothing ever worked out. When Alina told him that the boy was fine and they could meet (for the first time in his life!), his father was truly happy.

Work is now underway to prepare the boy to meet his father.

In these cases, children oftentimes may harbor resentment towards their parents, not wish to talk to them, or simply not understand. Using special techniques, the project’s psychologists are helping the boy sort out his emotions, understand the situation, and prepare for the meet up.

Of course, there hasn’t been any talk of Dmitry taking Kirill from the orphanage, but we hope that the family reunion and long-awaited meeting will soon take place!

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