USA (MNN) — High school graduation marked an important milestone for a Texas girl this
summer. For her, this milestone is
especially important: eight years ago, she was an orphan in Russia. Her family adopted her through Buckner
"She has thrived and grown in this family," said Debbie
Wynne, Director of Buckner Adoption and Maternity Services. "Eight years ago in the Russian
orphanage, at ten years of age, there was not a lot of hope. Now she's preparing to go off to college, and
she's so proud of all she's accomplished."
According to UNICEF, Russian institutions house more than
700,000 children teenagers. Every year,
about 15,000 of them graduate from the orphanages and start life on their
own. 40 percent of the graduates end up
in prisons, and 10 percent commit suicide.
"When the child is released from the orphanage at the age of
16, there's just not much support," Wynne explained. "They might not have any family to go to, and
children can become homeless, get into criminal activity and prostitution. And
so it's just a real uncertain, scary future."
Churches can get involved by starting adoption ministries to
support adoptive families, Wynne said. They can also host "Be a Family" meetings, offered by Buckner's Foster
Care and Adoption Network.
"Be a Family" meetings empower church congregations with
current information on the needs of children in foster care and adoption, as
well as the various ways someone can "be a family" for a season or a
lifetime. Churches can sign up to host these
meetings on the Be a Family website.
"We've been given so much, and we're so blessed here in the United States. And
the church has so much ability to give back," Wynne explained. "Our hope is that churches will really
consider standing up and supporting those members in their church family,
helping to support their adoption, either through prayers, or financially."
"We can even connect you with churches that have adoption
and orphan ministries and that are really walking that walk," Wynne said.
Buckner offers international adoption services for Ethiopia, China,
and Russia, as well as
foster care and domestic adoption in Texas. For Texas
residents, two workshops on international and domestic infant adoption will be
held on July 25 on Buckner's Dallas-Fort Worth campus.