Russia (MNN) — The Dima Yakovlev Law has prevented Americans from adopting Russian orphans for nearly three years.
“It’s affecting the orphanages over there,” says Kim Blount with Orphan Outreach.
“They’re much more crowded than they were in years when we were there, just because less children are able to be adopted,”
Along with the crowding, horror stories of orphans being ignored and living in horrible conditions have been reported. But that’s not necessarily the case, says Blount.
“The caregivers that we come in contact with have been very caring, very supportive, [and] do what they can,” she explains. “The places are run down, they won’t necessarily have a fresh coat of paint on them. But [the caregivers] take care of [the orphans], in my opinion, as well as they can with the resources that they do have.”
Since orphanages have become overcrowded, more kids are being put in foster care systems, “with a family instead of in the institution,” says Blount.
But kids who are in the orphanages don’t get much one-on-one attention. This is just one of the reasons an Orphan Outreach team is heading to Russia next week.
“Basically, what we do is come in and spend time with the children,” Blount explains.
“[We’ll be] doing games, and crafts, and…mainly getting to know them and getting a relationship with them so we are able to share the stories of Jesus and His love for the children.”
Orphan Outreach has done this for several years, and this is one of the smallest groups yet–which Blount says could be an advantage
“I think we’ll be able to forge relationships a little closer because we are a small group. and [we’ll] be able to kind of just blend in with them.”
The group of 10 will be visiting and assisting camps and orphanages throughout several parts of the country.
“In particular, we do visit a special needs orphanage–I should say we visit them at their camp. We’ve been there for the last four years,” Blount says.
“The caretakers there are phenomenal. Those kids remember us when we come back and are happy to see us. They’re just happy children in spite of the lives that they have.”
The team also visits graduated orphans in Orphan Outreach’s sponsorship program.
“We have a designated time to have dinner with some of them,” says Blount. “In the five years that I’ve gone, we’ve visited several kids twice or three times.”
Between the ages of 15 to 18, these kids age out of the orphan care system and are considered “graduates.” Unfortunately, many of them have very little hope for a successful future.
“They still, quite frankly, are children from ages 15 to 18. They do leave the system, though with nothing. They get very little support from the government itself.”
Fortunately, Orphan Outreach has a sponsorship program that helps graduates get jobs, find a place to live, and get an education. And there are many success stories!
Your help is needed to help Orphan Outreach continue this vital outreach. Sponsor a graduated orphan here! Pray for safety for the team and for their effectiveness in sharing the love of Christ with orphans in Russia.