4. Won’t this permanently change the dynamics of your family? Are the kids onboard?
Definitely! Our family will be different. Every child who comes into our family changes the dynamics. Each child has his/her own preference, personality, and problems. Katya will be no different in that regard. And yet we are very much aware that Katya will be come with wounds that need healing and habits that need shaping. We’re anticipating that we will face some intense challenges, but believe that God doesn’t call us to something that He won’t also enable. Regarding the kids? Well, the short answer is that they are thrilled. They have been asking us to adopt for several years. It just took us a little while to catch on. If you’d like to see their individual answers, check out their posts from December 2008. Each of the children shares their thoughts about adoption here.
5. What is life like for Katya in the orphanage?
Katya’s situation is a bit unique. She was abandoned by her mother at birth as a 2.2 lb preemie. Her grandmother, Tamara, took her home and cared for her for 6 years. When Katya turned six, Tamara took her to the orphanage because she could no longer care for her. Katya still stays with her grandmother on the weekends and holidays. We are committed to caring for Tamara to the best of our ability and through some folks in Ukraine are hoping to connect her to a local church where she can experience community. At the orphanage, Katya’s basic needs are met. The caregivers at the orphanages are usually very loving, but there are just too many kids. And for them, this is a job. You can read more about daily life in a typical orphanage here or you can read this post by Rhya Stoesz, who was adopted from a Ukrainian orphanage when she was 10.
Here’s one of the bedrooms from Katya’s orphanage:
6. If Katya’s in a safe place that cares for her needs, why not just let her stay there in her own culture, with her grandmother in the picture, grow up, and live a productive life in Ukraine?
Although Katya’s safe, for now, and even sees her grandmother regularly, the reality is that her grandmother is not able to care for her on a daily basis, and foresees the day when she will not be around. At that time, Katya will be older and the likelihood of her being adopted will decrease. Orphanage culture is tough. The girls often learn to dress provocatively to get attention from guys at an early age. Even this kind of attention is better than no attention, they reason. But then life beyond the orphanage is pretty much a dead-end road. Most kids leave the orphanage at 15 or 16, but if they choose to stay in a state-run facility, they have much less supervision than at the orphanage and their education doesn’t come close to equipping them for a productive life. Not only this, but more and more evidence is arising that indicates that sex traffickers prey upon these girls who are orphanage graduates. These girls are desperate, needy, and lack discernment. 70% of the girls who leave the orphanage enter the sex trade.
The reality is that when Katya leaves Ukraine and comes home with us, she will experience loss. She’ll lose her familiar culture. She’ll lose her weekly relationship with her grandmother. She’ll most likely even lose her language. We’ll do what we can to help her stay connected with her grandmother and remember her heritage, yet we know that there will be loss.
Tune in tomorrow for more burning questions …