She has been home for not even a year-and-a-half and she is reading Charlotte’s Web. Today she rollerbladed, rip-sticked, and piled her plate with shrimp, coleslaw, and cornbread made by her Nana. Tonight she will sleep with her sister nearby, in confidence that in tomorrow she will laugh and play in safety.
Unlike many girls in her situation in Eastern Europe, the Lord brought Katya into a family, into our family. As I have reported many times before, 60% of girls who “graduate” from orphanages end up as prostitutes. How do 15 and 16 year old girls end up as prostitutes? Little girls don’t dream of growing up to be prostitutes, and I can tell you, neither do teenage girls.
As bad as it is for orphanage graduates in Ukraine, indications are strong that it is much worse for orphans in Moldova where girls are sold for $3,500, earn their buyer 100 times that amount, and then discarded as the ravages of HIV and other STDs claim their beauty, their health, their lives.
Stella was a young girl in a Moldovan orphanage. She was visited often by Philip Cameron who discovered his mission in making improvements in state-run orphanages in this former Soviet block country. Stella became a favorite of Philip. She had a disability, but her huge personality and spirit endeared her to Philip as she helped him deliver gifts to the other kids.
Philip watched Stella grow into a young lady, and then one day, he walked into this Moldovan orphanage and she was gone. She has been sold as a sex slave. Used again and again, Stella was infected with HIV, contracted AIDS, and was thrown onto the streets. Homeless and helpless, Stella died.
This could have been Katya’s fate, and yet she is now snuggled in bed with her own American Girl and dreaming of the birthday party her Nana has planned tomorrow for her and her sister. She is our daughter. She is home safely, and still, our hearts continue to be stirred, continue to be broken for the hundreds of thousands of girls who we left behind in Ukraine and who are just across the border in Moldova.
We must provide safe havens for girls coming out of orphanages, places where they can learn skills, receive an education, and experience the redemptive heart of Christ. We must fight to rescue girls who have become the prey of the traffickers. And we must bring them into houses of hope where they can heal and come face to face with the One, the only One, who can exchange their ashes for beauty
Not everyone will adopt. Not everyone should adopt. From countries, like Moldova, it is virtually impossible to adopt. So, we have to find another way.
Stella’s Voice is one of these ways and I am thrilled to do what I can to support this ministry, tell you about it, and encourage you to spread the word.
Would you join me in spreading the word and supporting Stella’s Voice? If your answer is “YES!” here’s what you can do:
1. “Like” Stella’s Voice on Facebook.
2. Write a post highlighting Stella’s Voice, or link this post on your blog.
3. Donate money with a one time gift or a monthly gift to Stella’s Voice.
4. Follow Stella’s Voice on Twitter.
5. Subscribe to Stella’s Voice so that you can keep the work of this ministry before you and before those in your sphere.
6. Join the Stella’s Voice support team and get their e-newsletter, consider a trip to Moldova, pray for them regularly, and/or start a gifts drive for these young girls of Moldova.
Join with me in doing what you can to rescue girls like Stella … and Katya.