I've received alot of emails and facebook messages with questions concerning the orphanage, why I go there, who is there, etc. so I thought I'd tell you some facts about it, and the children there, and then you can ask any questions you'd like to in the comment area. No question is off limits. I'm happy to tell you all I know! So, here's a start:
1. There are currently 100 children living here from ages 4 to 16.
2. The director allows some of the older children (over 16) to remain, because otherwise they would be homeless.
3. The orphanage is located in an extremely remote area.
4. Only 7 adoptions have ever happened here, mostly because it is in such an isolated area. (Most adoption facilitators in Russia do not want to work there. They told me this directly.)
5. Their entire monthly budget right now goes towards food, and they still do not have enough to go around.
6. Many of the children do not have shoes. (They often share a pair with others.)
7. Many, at my last visit, did not have any underwear or socks.
8. They wear the same clothing every day.
9. They must wash their own clothing, by hand. Yes, even the four-year-olds.
10. They all sleep either nude or in underpants - no money for pjs.
11. They sleep 16-20 to a room, in a series of bunk beds.
12. Their diet is very limited, and pretty much all the children are anemic, have a vitamin c deficiency and have giardia. (My daughter weighed 72 lbs at adoption, and she was almost 13.)
13. They have a rotation of caretakers, always changing every few days. No consistency. Some good, some bad. And there are no male role models for the boys.
14. Many have spent their life here without ever getting a letter or phone call from anyone. Ever.
15. They own NO personal property - no toys, no books, no clothing.
16. Most admit to still hoping to hear from a parent one of these days. All I spoke to dream of being adopted, second only to a dream of being reunited with their birth parent.
17. You have the power to change a life with just some spare change! I have seen the shock and joy on their faces. You will literally CHANGE THEIR LIVES by showing your care. How lucky is that?
If you donate even $5 to paypal, a child can get soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and a toothbrush!
If you donate even $1, that's a pack of pencils for school and paper to boot!
I hope no one feels offended at my asking. Please do not feel obligated in any way! I just want to offer the opportunity to anyone who has some extra change and wants to support this particular venture. I certainly understand not everyone can, or wants to. to each his own!
So, ask away. Ask any questions you might have about this orphanage and these kids, and I'll answer. And don't worry, I will take lots of photos while I'm there!