Future of Ukraine Orphans (double click for full view, turn off music below)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Life of Special Needs Orphans in Ukraine

Stephanie over at Jewels in My Crown (click the name to visit her blog)blogged about the living conditions of children in the special needs facility. I wanted to share her experience since there's nothing like one's personal experience to get the word about how important that people follow through when God calls them to do something, like adopt from another country. I'm so glad to know that there is an organization like Reece's Rainbow who advocates for special needs orphans.
Here is Stephanie's post.

Friday, October 1, 2010
My heart. Yep, this is long...

I've been thinking about this post for days. Like, obsessing! How do I communicate what is on my heart? How do I make you see and understand? And I think I've come to this conclusion, I can show you my heart, but only God can make you see and understand. So here I go...

I spent six weeks in the darkest place I've ever experienced. My journey in Eastern Europe was exciting and even fun at times, but darkness and hopelessness hangs over the place...especially in the orphanages, mental institutions, and nursing homes. I had the opportunity to visit a nursing home, but I chickened out. Not too proud of that.

The run down building where my boys lived was built in the late 1970's. Honestly, being there felt like being transported back to the 1930's. The wooden bars of the huge communal playpens are all gnarly from children gnawing on them out of boredom. Disposable diapers hang on the clotheslines to be used over again. Flies everywhere. Many children laying quietly in their cribs all day long.

Somehow...someway...many of the children retain a little spark of life. I was blessed to be able to talk and sing to them and witness that spark, though I was never permitted to touch or hold any of them. Not sure I could have handled snuggling with them anyway. It was bad enough to have to walk away from them after singing Jesus Loves the Little Children.

How do you do that? How do you tell a child in that place that Jesus loves them and then turn around and go back to your comfortable life? I promised in my heart that I would do what I could to bring attention to them and find loving families for them. And as neglected as these children are, there is something worse in their future if that doesn't happen. The institution.

Called the House for Invalids by the locals, the institution, or mental hospital, is the next stop for these children when they turn four years old. For many of them it will be their last stop for many of them do not survive the first year. The mortality rate is high and this is where many of our Reece's Rainbow children have died. Imagine tiny four year old children competing for food and attention. If the children do not yet walk or feed themselves how will they survive?

My little 14 pound Theodore was scheduled to be transferred to this place when he turned four years old in June. By the grace of God the director was able to keep him at the baby house until we arrived. I have no doubt that he would not have survived even a month if he were to have been moved. He can't walk, talk or eat on his own! Some of the children that I met and fell in love with will be transferred. Some of them will not survive long. It's only a matter of time and no one has adopted from the mental institution there.


Heidi said...

Hi Sheryl! My name is Heidi, I am in the process of creating a fundraising blog for 2 sisters from RR (Samantha & Kristina) who have recently been transferred to the mental institute. My heart aches for these girls, yet I'm sure many who don't know the extent of this situation can't grasp the urgency. Your entry very eloquently describes what these children are facing, could I use it for my site?

Sheryl said...

Hi Heidi. I actually reposted from Stephanie at Jewels in My Crown. You can click on the name in my post to go to her blog. Ive been to Ukraine on mission trips but I've never adopted. I wanted to share about the conditions that exist there, but Stephanie did it so well. I did give her credit at the beginning of the post. :)