Russia (MNN) — In Russia today 750,000 children are considered orphans. These are children who have either been totally abandoned at birth, their parents have died, parental rights have been terminated, or parents simply can't afford to take care of their children. These kids are institutionalized, and many have little hope.
Children's Hope International wants to give them hope. Mary House with Children's Hope says children in orphanages in large cities have good shelter, food, and clothing. However, "The orphanages in the outlying areas are pretty bad. They don't have warm clothes. They don't have good formula for the babies. They maybe have enough food to keep body and soul together, but not enough to thrive."
According to House, there's something worse than that. "The worst part of it is they have no hope because they are not prepared for life in the way that we prepare our children. They're fed and they're clothed, but they have no understanding of what's going on."
Unfortunately, at 18 these young people are put out on the streets, many times to fend for themselves. Children's Hope is helping prepare these kids with life skills training, says House, "so that these kids can make their way in the world. It will still be a poor life, but at least it will be a productive life where they can have some kind of a job and take care of themselves."
House says, "Without this training, often the boys turn to crime, often they get on drugs. The girls: the only thing they can turn to is prostitution."
There are two ways to help Children's Hope International rescue these kids. The first is to sponsor a child for $32 a month. "There are children they can choose to sponsor, children of all ages. They can see a picture and pick out a child and correspond with that child and send messages of encouragement." That encouragement can be a means of outreach.
The other way is adopting older children from Russia. House says, "We are active in 10 or 11 regions in Russia. It isn't easy. It's expensive." Unfortunately, children aren't usually available until they're almost a year old.
The bottom line is that Christians need to do what it says in James 1:27 — take care of orphans. House says, "How can we turn our backs on children? We are here to love one another. That is the thing that Jesus told us to do: Love one another. There is no excuse for not helping."