April 9 was a very important date for our Fund. We finally received a court order to reinstate Sasha’s* mother as his legal guardian. It meant that the boy would leave the orphanage (overseen by our foundation) and return to his family.
Before social workers (hired by our Fund) began to work with Sasha’s mother, he had already lived at the orphanage for a year, and being a well behaved little boy and a talented student, he was the perfect candidate for adoption. However, there is nothing more important for a child than his own family, and our specialists knew that. Sasha’s mother used to visit the boy regularly when he lived in the orphanage located in Smolensk city. Then he was transferred 100 kilometers away from Smolensk, and thus the likelihood that the family would be reunited someday was significantly reduced.
Sasha’s mother demonstrated the intention to bring her son back. At the same time, she didn’t know how to do that and was close to give up. She truly wanted Sasha to be with her, but she perceived it like something impossible. It took a lot of efforts of our social workers to find the right words and convince her to continue the fight. We organized the meeting for Sasha and his mother; it became a significant motivation for her. Then it turned out that some other family considered adopting Sasha and moving him to a different city. After all that, Sasha’s mother started to act at last: she got a permanent job, found a new apartment to live in, and gathered all necessary documents for court. And our specialists were in touch with the woman providing her juridical and psychological support.
The first court hearing was scheduled for March 23. Then it was postponed to April 9, as the court requested to present the evidences of the new lifestyle of Sasha’s mother. Two employees of the Fund, a social care teacher and a psychologist, acted as witnesses on the case. They told the court that the boy had a strong desire to return home. Psychodiagnostic tests conducted just before the hearing revealed that despite his cheerful look, the boy was deeply lonely inside and he desperately needed an adult close to him.
We are happy to see Sasha and his mother together again! We will continue to visit and support them in constructing a stable and happy family life so that none risk of return to the orphanage will be left.
The year 2015 began with one of the most wonderful stories in our foundation's history!
Polina and Oleg are both 15 years old. They live and study at the Safonovo state boarding school. They have been in a relationship for nearly 2 years now, and this past Christmas, their daughter Sofia was born.
Oleg and Polina were determined to stay together as a couple and to be with their daughter. But according to the laws of the Russian Federation, the newborn had to be taken to a special orphanage for babies since the child’s parents are orphans, and moreover, under 18 years old. It was unlikely that the young mother would return for her daughter in 3 years, and there would appear one more orphan.
We needed to find a family that was willing to take and help bring up three children at once. Just imagine—two teenagers and a baby! It seemed like an impossible task.
The foundation convinced the management of the children's institution to raise attention in the media, and the foundation's psychologists helped the young people deal with stress and prepared Polina for childbirth. Yulia, a psychologist and experienced foster mother who had raised four children, contacted us in December. She promptly collected all the documents required in order to become a foster mother to the children and on January 26th she took all three of them home.
A miracle happened, and thanks to many caring people, the young family got the chance to stay together, to take care of each other, and most importantly, to understand what being a family is all about. We are happy to celebrate minus three orphans in Russia!
Your support is especially important now, in these tough days for the Russian financial system. And due to the US Dollar’s rate growth your help becomes much more appreciable than usually.
Christmas and New Year holidays are coming, and each of us is waiting for them and believe in miracles. Sometimes miracles happen not only in fairy tales or dreams, but in real life as well. We would like to tell you one of such stories:
Slava was put into an orphanage at the age of 6. For nine years no one came to visit the boy on holidays and on birthdays. At some point, the teenager gave up hoping to see his family. However, social care teachers, hired by our foundation to make every effort to restore the blood ties between children and their families, managed to find Slava’s aunt! And soon the boy could meet his aunt, uncle and his full sister. All of them were very excited and impatiently waited for the meeting, because they had not seen Slava for most of his life. Slava’s sister was brought up in the aunt’s family. Now she studies at university, she has become a beautiful young lady, clever and housewifely. While Slava, who is the younger nephew, due to imperfections of Russian social support system was deprived of the family care and love.
The family warmly greeted Slava at home with the table set for dinner. The aunt was noticeably nervous at first. But soon uncertainty and confusion passed, and she embraced Slava like a caring mother missing her child after a long separation, she couldn’t take her eyes of him!
In the near future Slava will go to visit his aunt again for a few days, he is anticipating to know his sister better and to get acquainted with uncle’s large farm.
Maksim* is a newcomer to the orphanage. He still has vivid memories of his mother and the challenges he had to face. The boy admits that his mother used to give him a hard time, but without her, it is much worse...
In the orphanage, everyone was a stranger to him. Everyone seemed to be uncaring and unsympathetic to his needs. During his session with our psychologist, the boy literally cried for help! And his wish has come true. Thanks to our remote staff, a meeting between the boy and his mother was arranged.
Maksim’s mother confesses that due to difficult times in her life she “lost” her only son, and now she wants to set things right and bring the boy home.
There is no doubt that she speaks sincerely. For the entire meeting she looked tenderly at her son and held his hand. Our employees will help Maksim and his mother to reunite their family.
One of the main objectives of the remote team of our Fund is to find blood relatives of the children in the Safonovo Orphanage, meet them, and try to re-establish a contact between them and the children. For this purpose, our social workers have to travel to many different areas of Smolensk region, sometimes rather remote. Many parents are not visiting their children for years; a frequent reason for such stay-away is a feeling of guilt before the child and fear (unfortunately, not always unreasonable) of a negative attitude on the part of the orphanage staff. That is why the remote employees of the fund have to reach out to such parents, tell them about the children, deal with the anxiety and misconceptions of the parents. And this hard work does not always lead to success.
On these days, Pavel, social worker, and Ulyana, psychologist, met the mother of three girls (13, 15 and 16 years of age) living at the orphanage. The girls have been in the orphanage for four years, and the mother has not visited them even once. Neither is she going to… “Why? They like it there!”, she says. Although the mother insisted on this point of view, the experts did not give up (they are real Experts anyway!)
A day of intensive search operation (across people of the same surname in several small villages) brought its results! Our team managed to find the girl’s aunt who was thinking of taking her nieces from Safonovo. She is confident the girls will be happier at home!
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