Angelina's long way home
Angelina was separated from her mother for two years. In childhood, when each day is a little life, even a year feels like an eternity.
All throughout those painful days, weeks, months, the girl lived in a state-run orphanage while her mother was in prison. This is when the specialists of the Foundation began to work with Angelina, found out the circumstances of her life and outlined the opportunity for returning her to the family. Now everything depended on the girl's mother.
When working with families in crisis, we appreciate the parents' desire to keep the family together. Our specialists communicate with a variety of families experiencing different vulnerable situations, and not all the parents are willing to raise their children. Helping to mend a stove, making home renovations, going through the paperwork and documents - all this helps the family only if the adults want to be parents. Fortunately for Angelina, her mother had a great desire to raise her child as she maintained affection for her daughter.
Having been released from prison Angelina's mother Lyudmila got actively involved in the process of returning her daughter home. Together with Lyudmila, our social educator Kristina Umnikhina developed an action plan to meet the requirements of the Child Protection Services. With the assistance of the Foundation Lyudmila got a job, made renovations in the house, bought a refrigerator and other household items. She regularly called Angelina and visited her at the orphanage which is 300 kilometers away from home.
The mother and daughter were counting the days until the end of the bad streak in their lives, but when everything seemed to be over and the time had come to reunite and start a new life together another misfortune clouded the existence of this small family. The Child Protection Services had filed a lawsuit to deprive Lyudmila of her parental rights before she could get her daughter out of the orphanage. The mother was charged with unwillingness to take her daughter out of the institution.
At this stage Lyudmila Dergacheva, the Foundation lawyer, got involved in Lyudmila’s story. With her help, Lyudmila set up a counterclaim demanding that the child be returned legally. Lyudmila won the court case and in January, after the court decision came into legal force, the woman was to take her daughter from the orphanage. By that time the girl had almost lost her patience: she had packed her few belongings to leave the orphanage as soon as possible, but as in a bad dream her departure was delayed again.
The litigation dragged on: in response to the court's decision in favor of Lyudmila, the Child Protection Services filed an appeal with the court; more time passed and finally the regional court also dismissed the Child Protection Service’s claim to deprive Lyudmila of her parental rights. Inspired by the hope for an imminent reunion, Lyudmila and Angelina prepared for reunification again, but then due to the COVID pandemic the quarantine began, and State institutions including courts closed or limited their work. So, it became impossible to obtain documents in court, and the orphanage would not release the child without documents. Then the Foundation specialists addressed Natalya Aleksandrovna Mikhailova, the Ombudswoman for Children’s Rights in the Smolensk Region. The Ombudswoman’s intervention helped, and in May Angelina finally returned home to her mother!
At the moment the Foundation specialists continue supporting the family, helping the mother and daughter to understand each other better. Both of them really need the support, as they are learning to live together again. We believe that everything will work out for them and that joy will dwell in this house forever.
Join our contributors, support the work of Our Children Charity Foundation!
Our foster families with children really need your contribution right now!