On Dec. 25, 2012, I thought I'd heard the worst news of my life. You can read about it here: Death Would Be Better. After posting this blog, the world reached out and things turned around for us. Polina came home in February of 2013, but others were left behind and I was forever committed to helping orphans reach freedom with forever families.
Fast forward nearly a decade and here I am again, on my knees with tears free-falling from my swollen eyes, stuck on the other side of the world from a child who calls me "Mom."
But this time is different. I know I'm not powerless because of the way God moved through this blog a decade ago bringing awareness to the world of the crisis of the orphan.
This time, I know I can do more than pray. I have worked feverishly in the previous days. Searching. Connecting. Planning. I am fighting with everything that I am to get not only my "daughter" to safety and ultimately home with us as this war plays out, but for more than 200 other orphans.
The fact is, we are further behind in the adoption process than we were a decade ago, and I didn't have a lot of hope for our girl, but progress has been made among those of us fighting for the orphans across several organizations and countries to bring these kids to safety. I knew I would fight for each and every one them, even if it meant my own wasn't included - even if the child I love had to be left behind in a war-torn country.
We call her Masha.
She is 13 years old.
My children call her "sister."
Things have begun to change in recent years with a re-haul of the system, but the plight of the Ukrainian orphan is historically poor. The figure of Ukrainian orphans is over 100,000. The older they get, the less likely they are to be adopted and once they turn 16, they can not be adopted internationally and are typically released from the orphanage without a support system or the skills required to survive, much less thrive. About 10% will commit suicide after leaving the orphanage before their 18th birthday. Approximately 60% of the girls find themselves in prostitution and 70% of the boys turn to a life of crime. Overall, less than 30% find work.
And now, they are in a country being attacked for it's land and for the pride of dictator that didn't get what he wanted over 30 years ago.
Some orphanages are out of food. Some are out of medicine. Some are out of both. Children are in freezing basements listening with terror as bombs and missiles are dropping above them. Some have been evacuated onto trains. I even know of some in a van in the forrest.
Many of these children, like Masha, have homes in America they have visited on hosting trips. Families are lining up to host them as refugees. They have a place to go. They do not have to stay and suffer the consequences of this war without a support system.
I can't reveal the details of what God has put in the works to rescue these children. But I can tell you that we need the American government to reissue visas for these children with American host families ready to provide for them as long as necessary. Please join me, and the other families, as we write our representatives pleading for their help in this matter.
America can do more. America can do better. We need to unite as a nation around this cause. Christ calls us to care for the least of these and that is the Ukrainian orphan refugees.
We will come to you. We will not leave you as orphans.