Happy Child logo

Children to Live in Families, Not Orphanages

June 14, 2005, 0:00 3083 Author: Liudmyla RIABOKON, The Day The Day

THE BOSTAN FAMILY GOES FOR A WALK WITH MOTHER LIUDMYLA AND FATHER VIKTOR WITH THE YOUNGEST, ALINA AND NASTIA. IN FRONT ARE PRIMARY SCHOOLBOYS VLADYSLAV, PAVLO, AND MYKOLA LOOKED AFTER BY ALREADY BIG LESIA. DASHA, MAKSYM, AND ANATOLY ARE HAVING A GOOD TIME OUT OF CAMERA’S VIEW, WHILE THE FAMILY’S OLDEST OFFSPRING, MAYA, IS IN THE UNIVERSITY

The number of orphan and half- orphan children deprived of parental care and living on the street is increasing in Ukraine with every year. Child care agencies usually send most of such children to boarding schools, but the boarding school system is unlikely to be able to adequately prepare a child for self-sufficient life in society. To solve this problem, Ukraine has been paying more and more attention recently to the development of family- type orphanages.

15 family-type orphanages have been set up in Kyiv oblast and are already taking care of 185 children, including 125 adopted ones. All these families gathered the week before last at the Kosmos Health Camp (Pukhivka, Brovary district) for the We Are Mom and Pop’s Family local festival. The function was organized and conducted by the family and youth department of the Kyiv Oblast Administration, the Hope Children’s Home International Foundation, and the Hope and Good All-Ukrainian Charitable Foundation. The children were offered entertainment programs, the adults lectures, workshops, psychological advice, and round tables to exchange experience. Another six families, which had expressed a desire to set up family-type orphanages, came to attend the festival. The Day’s correspondents visited this festival and met these unusual large families.

Serhiy and Tetiana Abayev have four children of their own: two sons, aged 21 and 10, and two daughters, aged 18 and 15. Two years ago they adopted another eight children, including four of preschool age. At the beginning of every weekday all family members go “to work,” i.e., to kindergarten and school. Mother stays behind at home with the two year-old Raya. Father, having a job of his own, is also responsible for winning his large family its daily bread. Mrs. Abayev said the first thing she and her husband began to do after their family became an orphanage was to raise the children as a single close-knit team. This knitting was done by trying to play more with the kids. 15 year-old Serhiy was the last to get into this family, but it was decided to transfer him to his own grandmother to be looked after. On his way to granny, the boy ran away and came back the Abayevs’ foster family. He gave no answer to the correspondent’s question about his return: he only kept hugging his foster mom and smiling embarrassingly.

Moreover, the legitimate children did not object to their parents also raising others, because they considered themselves grown-up. Today, the Abayevs’ eldest daughter Maryna is a psychology student at a teachers college and dreams of becoming a child-care employee.

What drew special care of The Day’s correspondents at the festival was a family in which almost all children were very young. This was the Bostan family consisting of four foster children, five adopted children, and one biological daughter, now a collegian. The family’s seven year-old boys would open the doors to women and invite them in, as befits gallant adult men. Leaving apart the older student daughter and adopted 15 year-old Lesia, the three elementary-school pupils will be the oldest. These first-graders, who could not speak two years ago, have now achieved the level of their peers at school. Three year- old Alina, who was almost dying in a hospital eighteen months ago, was a lively little beauty at the festival. This family has gained unique experience not only in improving the health of destitute children but also in their intellectual and spiritual development.

Ukraine has today a total 91 family-type orphanages, and the experience of each family of this type deserves close attention. A family-type orphanage is a relatively new form of care for orphaned and abandoned children. The ten year experience of such orphanages in Ukraine demonstrates that this is quite an effective way to solve the problem of orphans.

Since the current practice calls for adopting five to ten children (plus biological ones) to set up a family-type orphanage, it was decided to hold an experiment to form adopted families, which will have a total five children at most and may adopt as few as one child. These forms of orphan care differ from traditional foster care and custody in the fact that the state channels the child-raising funds direct to the adopting family or the family-type orphanage. Obviously, implementing something new always implies solving a host of problems. In this case, these are such problems as housing for those who turn eighteen, for at this age they lose the status of orphan, drawing up the methods of selection and the procedure of adoption, and others. All these issues should be taken into account by lawmakers.

Happy Child foundation - effective help to the most needy children of the Zaporozhye region, Ukraine, since 2004

They need help:
Marianna Zhmurina
Marianna Zhmurina

Bronchial asthma

Help now

You donated in 2022

$ 957 518

Our expenses in 2022
To 162 sick children $121 860
Medical equipment: $17 402
Humanitarian help: $325 253
To disabled children: $326 475
To children's village: $18 979
To orphans and poor children: $38 389
"Helpus" - help to adults: $3 775
Service expenses: $37 620
Total sum of expenses: $893 610

$6 176 569

donated since 2007