My friends, I have to admit, that being involved in the stories of so many adoptive parents in US, especially those that adopt children with special needs from Russia, I often find myself asking - what is Russia doing? Do the people of Russia and other EE countries simply not care? Is there no living breathing human beings left, who are heartbroken for those who are left to live out their short lives in the orphanages?
The answer presented itself. I would like to introduce you to Natalya Vodyanova.
Beslan , was aching to help the children who survived the nightmare. She also knows all too well the struggles of those children, who were born "less than perfect", according to the general opinion of the people. She helped organize the Naked Hearts Foundation.
The foundation is dedication to not only build parks for children of all socioeconomic levels to have a safe place to learn, heal and grow emotionally, but also educate families with Russia that special needs child is not a curse, but a blessing. They also work with government officials to provide education and financial help to those families, that either adopt a special needs child or decide to raise him/her themselves, instead of sending the child off to an orphanage.
Just last week, the foundation raised 3.2Mil Euros for financial help for the families, who are raising kids with Special needs. One of the foundation's missions are:
"We aim to make sure that no child with living parents ends up in an orphanage or a children’s home. We are working to tackle the stigma of disability, so that no parent feels pressured to give up a disabled child. And we’re working with families who have made the challenging decision to keep their disabled child at home, in order to give them free access to a full range of services and the support of specialists familiar with international best practice and modern technology."
My heart rejoices. There is hope. My dream is that one day there would be no need for adoption. That the kids with special needs, born into poverty, born in families with substance abuse, those bereaved of family, have a chance to find a loving family within their own country.
There are people with open hearts towards orphans in Russia, just like there are everywhere in the world. They are fighting on the front-lines just like us, educating, standing their ground, and using their God-given gifts to truly make a difference in this world. My prayers go out to Natalya and her team at the NHO. May there be no orphanages one day.