The ban of adoption of Russian orphans by Americans has headlined news with the passing of a law by the Russian parliament and President Putin, which will punish an entire population of orphans in Russia who have become the pawns in a political battle between the Russian and American governments. Although its significance is not yet clear, the latest news from the Russian government that implementation of the new law will not happen until 2014 may give a short-term reprieve—possibly to the 46 orphans already assigned American parents. But punishing the children for purposes of political posturing cannot be good for anyone in any year.
Most of the 1,000 Russian orphans who might have found a home in America during 2013, will probably remain in orphanages in Russia. There has been much concern about what will happen to orphans with disabilities, especially considering that American adoptions “are common, especially of children with serious disabilities, who have little chance of being adopted by Russian families.”
Statistics show that only ten percent of orphan graduates will have a successful life, after they leave the orphanage where they were raised. As many as 80 percent may become alcoholics and drug addicts. Thousands of Russian girls will turn to prostitution. Ten percent of Russian orphanage graduates commit suicide.
But all hope is not lost. God is working through this injustice, and many Russian Christians are becoming more aware of the orphan crisis in their country and acting to adopt or foster. Often Russian Christians have small homes, but they have huge hearts for adoption and are reaching out to adopt and foster orphans in unprecedented numbers. The Russian government, which previously did not promote adoption, is now encouraging its citizens to adopt and provide foster care. Our Home for Every Orphan partners in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are fanning the flames of adoption movements by national Christians in these countries. And national Christians are increasingly advocating on behalf of orphans to their governments. For example, our partner, Russia Without Orphans, has presented a petition to the Russian government, to exclude disabled orphans from the adoption ban by Americans.
As never before, there is need and opportunity for Christians in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus to step forward to care for the orphans in their countries. And this is happening. Although Americans (who have adopted 60,000 Russian orphans in the past twenty years) can themselves no longer adopt Russian children, there is so much Americans can do to stand with Christians in Russia and Ukraine to help make it possible for them to adopt and foster the thousands of orphans in their countries.
In a few weeks I will be traveling to Ukraine for a conference organized by Ukraine Without Orphans, one of our Home for Every Orphan partner organizations. Six hundred pastors and their wives from Ukraine, and also Russia, Belarus and some of the other FSU countries, will be attending this conference to motivate, mobilize and provide training to encourage thousands of Christians in their countries to adopt orphans. I would be especially grateful for your prayers for this conference—defending the Fatherless and Changing the Nation.
|IF YOU WOULD WISH TO HELP:PRAY—Join the Pray for Every Orphan network. Sign up for prayer updates at prayforeveryorphan.orgGIVE to help find caring Christian homes with families in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus—Join hands with Christians in Russia to help them lobby for the disabled children but above all be able to adopt their own children. See more information at doorwaystohope.org—a partner organization of Russian Ministries.
GIVE to help orphans who are in orphanages—Help Russian Ministries reach out to orphans who are living in orphanages as Russian Ministries provides Bibles and Christian books and special gifts at holidays, as well as helping children in orphanages experience a Christian summer camp. Find out more at russian-ministries.org.
STAY INFORMED—Follow orphan ban updates on doorwaystohope.org/blog.