Happy almost Christmas! I hope your upcoming celebration is filled with so much joy.
Today I'm here to talk about something hard. I'm here to talk about Russia. This country has many, many children in need. It has one of the worst orphanage systems in the world, and very few Russians are willing to adopt. It's estimated that 300,000 children languish in about 3,000 institutions across Russia. (LA Times)
This month is the two year anniversary of the Russian ban on adoptions, the Dima Yakovlev Law. This horrible, life altering bill was passed on December 28th 2012. It banned Americans from adopting from Russia, including families who had met and loved on their children. I remember being horrified into silence as I read article after article on this ban late that night. It seemed like an awful nightmare, and I couldn't believe it was true. I read until the tears pouring out of my eyes prevented me from reading any more.
More than three hundred Russian orphans had American families working to bring them home. Those children remain in Russia today. Their families are heartbroken. The beautiful little angel you see pictured below is Natasha. Today she celebrated her ninth birthday in an orphanage, despite having a family that is desperate to see her in their arms. Her family had already met her when the ban was put into place.
This beautiful girl met her would-be adoptive family when she was six. She has spent an extra *unnecessary* two and a half years in an orphanage, and will most likely spend the rest of her life in state care if changes are not made. Children with disabilities are rarely adopted in Russia. Many are sent to adult institutions where malnutrition and neglect are the leading causes of death.
In these past two years, these 300 plus parents have screamed for their children. Their cries alone aren't enough to get their children home, though. You can help them. Go "like" the Facebook page Parents United for Russian Orphans. Their goal is to bring about change for the better in Russia, and to get these remaining children who had families home to them. If this isn't possible, their prayer is for Natasha and children in similar situations to find loving families in Russia. You can join them with your prayers, and write an encouraging note on their Facebook page. Please also share the group, share this blog post, share Natasha's picture...whatever you can to keep these children on the forefront of your prayer list! Once you've "liked" the page, you will find many more opportunities will be posted with ideas to help.
I have been blessed with the opportunity to watch (thanks to the internet) not one, but TWO precious little ones with special needs find families in Russia. Russia is a beautiful country with a beautiful culture and people. The thought of these children getting to stay in their homeland, growing up with their language and people is a lovely one. Many Russians flooded the streets of Moscow in January 2013 in defiance of this bill. I get goosebumps envisioning so many people standing up for Natasha, for all of these children. Sadly, though, there are just too many orphans and not enough people able/willing to adopt.
Please never forget the children who are locked away. Just because you don't see them everyday, don't forget their suffering. Please pray for them. Pray for the Russians who are risking everything by fighting for these children's rights. Please pray for the families in the States who are still heartbroken, especially Natasha's mama. Please never stop praying for Russia.