Mar 14, 2017

Good news from Shatalovo orphanage!

A brother and a sister have returned to their family after six months in the orphanage. This happened thanks to the sincere desire of their parents to turn things around, the careful work of the orphanage psychologist, and the Deti Nashi Foundation.

Six months ago, the children were removed from their family by court order and were placed in Shatalovo orphanage. The poor financial standing of the family, the employment difficulties of the mother, unsatisfactory living conditions, and arrears in rent served as the pretext for that situation.

Statistically, the majority of parents dramatically reduce the frequency of communication with children who stay in a residential care facility for more than two months. As a rule, time works against the reunification of the family.

However, in the described case, the mother regularly visited her son and daughter, and their stepfather also kept in touch. The orphanage psychologist conducted a series of tests with the children, which showed that:

- the children really missed their mother;

- the children are attached to their stepfather and he plays an important role in their lives;

- the children's stay in the orphanage was causing them far greater harm than the conditions in which they lived at home.

Of course, the experts of the Deti Nashi Foundation took on this case!

After three months of working together with parents, the situation of the family is as follows: the issues with employment have been resolved, cosmetic repairs have been made to the apartment, and the family is being provided with psychological support.

The children are home; the family is reunited; and we do hope that everything will be all right!

Jul 20, 2016

A dream to live with mom

We have already spoken about the very complicated life circumstances that Misha found himself in, and how specialists have been working with him and his family. This is already the third year the boy has been living in an orphanage, but he dreams about living with his mom. Recently there was a court case to decide whether Misha would stay in the institution or go back home.

Over the past six months, our specialists have been working with Misha’s mom, Nadezhda*. During this time, she has started to work and has even visited her son in the orphanage. But she still hadn’t been able to open up emotionally, in order to understand the root cause of the problem. However, just a few days before the trial, a specialist managed to develop a deep personal connection with Nadezhda and get a glimpse of what is hiding behind that facade of outward calm.

It turns out that the mother of several children is still struggling with the tragic death of her own parents and has not allowed herself to openly deal with this emotional trauma, which, as is well known, always makes such feelings worse. Nadezhda blames herself for the death of her parents, and conversations about her mother and father, with whom she spent a carefree and happy childhood, cause her to break down in tears. Of course, when one has such deep and unhealed wounds, it is difficult to build proper relationships with one’s own children. However, after working on these psychological traumas, Nadezhda started to have more confidence in her abilities.

On the day of the hearing, everyone was visibly nervous: both Misha, who looked as if he wanted to hug his mom, and Nadezhda, who finally understood how she could change her life. The court issued the most favorable decision in such a case: a temporary restriction of parental rights. After the judgment, Nadezhda explained to her son that, right now, she had to work on her problems and really get back on her feet, and that he needed to wait for her in the orphanage. Misha took the court ruling and his mom’s words in stride. He only started to cry when he told her that he loved her and wanted time to fly by as quickly as possible.

In the photo on the left: Misha right after the court ruling, somewhat bewildered. In the photo on the right: the boy smiling happily. This means that this vital sense of childhood and joy is still alive in Misha.

Mar 29, 2016

The importance of maintaining family ties

Vanya* came to the Safonovo orphanage in September 2013 – prior to this he had spent 9 years living in different institutions for orphans.

In the previous orphanages, Vanya had a possibility to meet his relatives, but not in Safonovo. This location is a long way away from Smolensk city (where the boy is from) and it is both difficult and expensive to get there. Vanya’s aunt first stopped coming to visit him, and then stopped phoning. He is now very upset with his relatives and has a reputation for being an ‘aggressive teenager’ at the children’s home.

It is vitally important that children who were removed from their families keep in touch with their relatives. Even if it is not possible to return home, these contacts help to reduce stress and aggression in children and thus enable their development. The work of specialists such as psychologists and counsellors undoubtedly play an important role in this: without their professional help, working on the education and development of children at orphanages would be pointless.

Specialists from our foundation started to work with Vanya and faced serious difficulties when the conversation turned to the boy’s relatives. It immediately became clear that this was the reason for his aggression. Since December 2014, they have been working on rebuilding Vanya’s relationship with his family.

A counsellor from the foundation met Vanya’s brother who also lived in an orphanage but, unlike Vanya, his aunt regularly took him home during school holidays. Specialists also met the boys’ mother, but she was not prepared to see her sons as she already had another family. They also met the boys’ aunt.

At the end of 2014, a psychologist conducted a therapy session with Vanya. He refused point-blank to talk about his family. It was difficult to reduce his level of aggression, but Ekaterina managed to get through to the boy, and unexpectedly he admitted that felt angry towards the whole world because he was unable to communicate with his family and knew absolutely nothing about them.

Our specialists did a lot of work with Vanya and collected photographs of his family (his mother, father, brother and sister who was living in an adoptive family). Vanya discovered for the first time how his father looked like! At last, his aunt and brother have started to visit him again.

According to orphanage personnel, Vanya has become calmer and more confident. He loves doing physical work and attending thecarpentry workshop and can spend hours in doing crafts from wood.


*the name of the child has been changed

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