Special Theme Edition on the Current Ukrainian Crisis: Volume 22, No. 3 (Summer 2014)
The East West Church & Ministry Report has issued a special theme edition examining the impact of the current Ukrainian crisis on the church and ministries in Ukraine and Russia.
This theme issue is now available in pdf format in English, Russian, and Ukrainian.
Read more about the East West Church & Ministry Report in English, Russian, or Ukrainian
Vol. 19, No. 1
A Home for Every Orphan: An Interview with Anita Deyneka
Editor’s Note: Anita Deyneka and her husband, Peter Deneyka, Jr., headed Slavic Gospel Association, Wheaton, IL, from 1975 to 1991 and founded Peter Deyneka Russian Ministries (PDRM), Wheaton, IL, in 1991. Following the death of her husband in 2000, Anita Deyneka was elected president of Russian Ministries in 2002. (For tributes and commentary on Peter Deyneka, Jr.’s ministry, see the East-West Church and Ministry Report 9 [Winter 2001], 4-6.) In September 2010 Anita Deyneka retired as president after a decade of exemplary service, passing the reigns of leadership to the Deynekas’ longtime coworker, Senior Vice-President Sergey Rakhuba.
Editor: I understand you now plan to devote your energies to children at risk in the former Soviet Union. How did this concern become such a passion?
Knowing the ongoing plight of orphans and street children in the former Soviet Union (FSU), three years ago PDRM initiated “Home for Every Orphan” to promote adoption and foster care within Russia and Ukraine. We had always attempted to help children at risk, but as the Russian and Ukrainian governments began to encourage domestic adoption and foster care, a wide and wonderful door opened for Christians in those countries to care for orphans as never before. During the past three years, “Home for Every Orphan” has become an informal alliance with three American Christian organizations and nine Russian and Ukrainian groups. (See accompanying list.)
“Home for Every Orphan” has now helped place over 1,000 children in caring Christian homes in Russia and Ukraine. I will work as a missionary of PDRM, helping to coordinate the “Home for Every Orphan” partnership. I have always hoped to be able to do more to help orphans in the former Soviet Union. Having more time to focus on orphan ministry is especially meaningful to me because my children, Mark and Lily, were once in orphanages in Colombia. To the joy of Peter and me, God brought them to our home—and now I even have five grandchildren! Both Lily and Mark and their spouses and children have a heart to help orphans.
Editor: For decades you and your husband enjoyed a deserved reputation as gifted facilitators and networkers. Can you share the ministry philosophy that has informed your approach to working with others?
Peter and I always believed that being part of the body of Christ and seeking to follow Christ’s Great Commission mandated partnership, networking, and appreciating all parts of the body. Assisting some of the many organizations entering the former Soviet Union after the collapse of Communism was a primary purpose for starting PDRM in 1991. In the 1990s we had the privilege and pleasure of working in some way with at least 300 western organizations and, of course, many national churches and parachurch groups.
Editor: And can you illustrate Russian Ministries’ networking for the benefit of orphans and street children?
I am so encouraged by the “Home for Every Orphan” partnership, a network which PDRM helped form. Now a network of 12 organizations in America, Russia, and Ukraine work together to help orphans find homes in their own countries with Christian families. In our “Home for Every Orphan” partnership, CoMission for Children at Risk has connections through its network with over 400 organizations working to serve children at risk in Russia and Eastern Europe. Doorways to Hope in the West is an organization founded and led by young Americans who are networking to help find other Americans who want to help orphans in Russia and Ukraine find homes. Risk Network in Russia, also a part of the “Home for Every Orphan” partnership, is an alliance of over 200 Russian Christian organizations working with children at risk. The Alliance for Ukraine Without Orphans is an umbrella for many other groups. So just in our informal “Home for Every Orphan” partnership, several regional networks and partnerships work to help orphans. While we all praise God for every child who has been adopted or placed in foster care with a Christian family in Russia and Ukraine, many thousands more children need homes.
Editor: What prompted your August 2010 visit to children at risk ministries in Ukraine?
Although I spend much time traveling in the U.S. and working at the Russian Ministries office in Wheaton, it is always a privilege to be able to spend time with national partners in Russia and Ukraine—and especially to be with the children.
Editor: Is Kyiv an important center for outreach to children at risk?
Yes. For example, Kyiv is the headquarters for the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) in the former Soviet Union. CBN in Kyiv is headed by Steve Weber, a Seattle Pacific University graduate who oversees a (mostly) national staff of 120. CBN has multiple and widespread ministries, including television, humanitarian assistance, and an orphan ministry, Gift of Adoption, headed by Karen Springs who has lived in Ukraine for six years. Karen shared with me that Gift of Adoption has established six orphan transition centers and is involved in the production of literature and films promoting orphan care and adoption.
CBN also sponsors conferences such as a meeting in April 2010 for 200 adoptive parents. Participants paid their own travel expenses while Christian Vision from England subsidized reduced hotel rates for attendees. It was a huge blessing for the adoptive parents to be able to share their experiences.
Editor: Are there other groups based in Kyiv?
Yes. Another important one is International Leadership Development Center (ILDC) headed by Oleg Shelashsky. ILDC’s primary emphasis is training and orientation including conferences, literature, and other activities for actual and prospective adoptive and foster care parents and orphan caregivers. Oleg shared with me that ILDC is an interdenominational ministry with ties to CBN, Christian Vision, the Ukrainian government, and the Ukraine Without Orphans Alliance.
Editor: Is the Alliance for Ukraine Without Orphans an organization or a movement?
I believe it is both. It is an alliance of Christian ministries whose main goal is to cast a vision for adoption and foster care by Christians. Its members envision Ukraine becoming a model of a country where Christians make it possible for every orphan available for adoption to have a Christian home. While in Kyiv I had a chance to meet with Ruslan Malyuta from Ukraine Without Orphans who has this amazing vision for a home for every Ukrainian orphan eligible for adoption.
Editor: Is there some shift in emphasis in helping children at risk?
With the Ukrainian and Russian governments currently encouraging domestic adoption, we find a growing movement among Christians in the former Soviet Union (FSU) to adopt and provide foster care for orphans, even though this has not been the tradition in the past. Often Christians in Russia and Ukraine have small homes, but they have huge hearts. Ever since it became possible, Christians East and West have been working with orphans in the FSU in many ways, such as organizing summer camps and other activities, giving food, toys, and love to the children.
This is a very important focus as there are thousands of children who cannot yet be legally adopted or placed in foster care for various reasons—such as having surviving parents, although the parents may have abandoned or been unable to care for their children. Ultimately, however, it is vital for children to have families. Sadly we know in Russia that when children leave orphanages, 40 percent become alcoholics or drug addicts, 40 percent become involved in crime, and 10 percent commit suicide. In addition, statistics show that roughly half of the girls are forced into prostitution.
It is essential to work with parents so they don’t abandon their children. It is essential to promote adoption care. It is essential to help the next generation of Christians think differently about adoption and foster care. And this is what I was so encouraged to see happening with the outstanding Christian groups I recently visited in Ukraine.
For example, I was encouraged by my meeting with Lubov Nesteruk, wife of the president of the Evangelical Christian-Baptist denomination in Ukraine, who has become mother to 17 older orphans after they left state care, including Anya who works in our PDRM office in Irpen. Lubov is a remarkable woman with a great heart for children. She has done so much for orphans individually and now feels God is calling her to help spread the word and motivate Evangelical Christians-Baptists in Ukraine to adopt, provide foster care, or help orphans after they leave the orphanage.
Ukrainian Baptists are widely helping orphans in orphanages, bringing gifts and organizing camps, along with many other worthwhile activities, including establishment of a few Christian orphanages such as the one I visited in August in Odessa. Lubov is especially working and praying to encourage many more Baptists to adopt and to provide foster care
Editor: Do any other outstanding programs in Kyiv come to mind?
Another dynamic outreach is Father’s House which operates a marvelous orphanage, a foster care ministry, and an outreach to street children to help them acclimate to life in an orphanage or with adoptive or foster families. President Viktor Yushchenko’s government (2005-2010) donated land to Father’s House which I learned was later confiscated by officials working for Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko (2007-2010). Father’s House has received national and international commendation and funding not only from the Ukrainian government but also from the U.S. and England.
Editor: Is there good news to report outside Kyiv?
I believe so. I was deeply impressed by the compassion for children at risk I discovered among Christians in Mariupol (on the Sea of Azov) and Slavyansk (in eastern Ukraine north of Donetsk). One excellent example is the Pilgrim Foundation launched in 1998 by Gennady Makhnienko, pastor of the interdenominational Good News Church (Church of Good Changes), which is loosely affiliated with the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee. The Pilgrim Foundation, which originally focused on drug rehabilitation centers (27 launched to date in Ukraine and Russia!), opened its Pilgrim Republic Children’s Rehabilitation Center in 2001. Pastor Gennady and his church members began simply by driving the streets of Mariupol rescuing homeless children. Pastor Gennady says that in life-and-death situations, you don’t stop to debate if you should help. And many of the street children are facing life-and-death choices. Initially, Good News Church members were gathering as many as 30 children a day. Their new charges slept on mattresses on the floor or anywhere possible since the church did not have enough room. The first three years they cared for as many as 100 children at a time. The orphanage now averages 50, and Pilgrim staff is picking up fewer children, which they believe has something to do with their work in the past.
Editor: What were your firsthand impressions of the Republic’s orphanage?
When three other American Christians and I visited the Pilgrim Republic Rehabilitation Center this past August, we were met by about 30 orphan “citizens” of the republic. As we entered the front walkway, we were flanked on either side by children who hoisted their flag, stood at attention, and welcomed us. They brought us the traditional Ukrainian symbols of hospitality, bread and salt, and four or five children had even formed a small brass band and were playing a march as we approached. We also met fourteen-year-old Yury, who was elected to serve a term as “president” of the Republic.
Many of the orphans, who range in age from 7 to 17, have parents who are HIV-positive and alcoholic. When the children first come to the orphanage, many are already addicts themselves. Often they also arrive undernourished. That was clear to us as we saw how small for their age many were. As former street children, Pilgrim “citizens” are at high risk for running away. Learning more of the stories of some of the children and seeing the miraculous transformation that happens in the orphanage, we came to appreciate why few of the children return to the streets.
Editor: Did you have a chance to visit any Pilgrim-sponsored foster care homes?
Yes, I did. A Pilgrim staffer drove us to a village outside Mariupol where the Foundation sponsors three foster families and where Pastor Gennady Makhnienko and his wife live with their three biological and ten foster children. Although we did not meet the pastor—he was out of town—we saw Gennady’s footprints of good deeds everywhere we went.
Near the Makhnienko family home we visited the Pilgrim Foundation’s modest foster home, House of Dreams, for HIV-positive children. House parents Evgeny and Svetlana, who themselves are HIV-positive, have one biological child who is not HIV-positive and eight foster children. Their ten-year-old Sasha is most on my mind. She was adopted in December 2009, the same month as her birthday. The doctor at the orphanage told Evgeny and Sveta that because Sasha was HIV-positive and had been diagnosed with bone TB as well, she might have only six to twelve months to live. Though frail and fragile, she is a beautiful little girl who plays well with the other children. Sasha and her new siblings are all obviously loved by their remarkable parents, who were the first family in Ukraine, and maybe in Russia as well, to adopt HIV-positive children.
Editor: I understand Gennady Makhnienko has visited Africa. How did that trip relate to his ministry?
Pastor Gennady believes that the Pilgrim Foundation should not just be receiving financial support—although it certainly does need it—but should also reach out to help addiction ministries in other countries. Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church encouraged Gennady to travel to Africa to meet with Christian addiction ministries there. Before he departed, the orphans and rehab center community members gave $100 to buy a bicycle for an orphanage in Africa. After this happened, someone in Ukraine donated 46 bikes for Pilgrim orphans. Good News Church and its Pilgrim Foundation certainly have been a blessing to many, but the staff observed that their orphans also blessed them by helping revitalize their church.
Editor: After two days in Mariupol, you next traveled to Slavyansk. Is that correct?
We were in Slavyansk for just two days, but we saw a great deal in that time. The first day there we had the privilege of meeting with five adoptive and foster care families with diverse and inspiring stories. First we visited the home of Pyotr and Tamara Dudnik who have five adopted and two biological children. Pyotr, a former businessman and now a pastor, was traveling so we spent most of the day with Tamara, who somehow manages to raise all these children. Her phone often rings many times during the day as adoptive and foster care parents in their circle are constantly calling her for advice and assistance.
The Dudniks found their adopted son, Sergey, now 21, when his mother, a prostitute, propositioned Pyotr one evening on the street. When Sergey’s mother learned that Pyotr was one of the pastors of Good News Church, she asked if he would take her eleven-year-old son to the church’s orphanage. Then the Dudniks adopted him. Pyotr and Tamara and Good News members continue to help Sergey’s mother, who has been in and out of prison, but is now attending the church.
Tamara also shared with us how their seven-year-old daughter, Ramina, came to accept being adopted. When she saw a photo from the children’s hospital with an empty metal crib and realized that this was the place where her parents had found her, she curled up and wept. Even though she now has a loving family, she was only comforted when her older sister told her that God had put her in their family for a purpose—so that she could grow up and help other orphans.
During our visit, we also met Sergey Demidovich, the affable, energetic senior pastor of Good News Church. He and the Dudniks spearheaded the adoption movement in Slavyansk that has resulted in 100 children finding homes in families from their church. Both families, and Sergey’s older brother, Alexey, who also is a pastor, are involved not only with the church, adoption, foster care, and addiction ministries, but they also are helping to start a new church.
Editor: What is the origin of the Good News Church, and how did it come to be involved in outreach to children at risk?
This church, which started in 1980 with 15 people, now has 600 members and 1,000 in attendance on Sundays. It also has four daughter churches in Slavyansk, one of which has an attendance of 250. The mother church’s ministry to street children began in 1999 with meals for four glue-sniffing waifs living at the train station. As their feeding program grew to 46, then 60, children per day, Good News sought help from other churches. As a result 17 churches now feed 1,000 children daily.
This was the Soup Project. But the question was, where could the children sleep at night? They were just going back to the sewers, railroad stations, and other terrible places. The church began to wonder whether the Soup Project was even of any use if the children were just going back to their street lives. One afternoon, however, as they were feeding the children, it started raining. Four little ones said, “Please don’t send us back!” The church workers decided to let them sleep on the same tables where they had been fed. This was the beginning of You Shall Be Found Orphanage, which I had the opportunity to visit with Tamara. Now housed in a renovated kindergarten, it currently is home to 50 orphans. The day we visited, the children were away at camps, or were spending the summer with church families, many of which end up adopting the orphans they care for during school vacation.
Editor: You shared with me previously that Good News Church has broadened its understanding of its responsibility to children at risk. Can you explain?
As much as orphans need help, Good News Church concluded that orphan graduates also need assistance. Good News workers observed that many of the youth, after leaving the orphanage at age 18, do not survive. They asked God what they should do. The model they follow today is to take children from crisis families where they are on the brink of orphanhood, but only if their parents want them to take the children. Their main vision comes from Malachi 4:6 where God promises to turn the hearts of children toward their fathers and fathers toward their children. Whenever possible they try to restore biological families and help them to become a family again. Otherwise they take them to the orphanage or work to remove parental rights of abandoned children so that the children can be adopted or placed in foster care. Often the mother (usually only the mother is in the picture) dies from HIV and/or tuberculosis. Even in the week we were in Slavyansk the mother of one of the boys in the orphanage died from tuberculosis, and Tamara began looking for a home for him.
Together with the government, Tamara and other Christians run seminars for adoptive and foster care parents. Tamara also volunteers with city social services, even using her own car to accompany social workers to appointments. They are amazed she cares enough for the children to do this for free.
Editor: And has the Good News Church been able to convince other congregations of the importance of adoption?
It has. For example, we visited a Good News daughter church in Mariupol which believes strongly in the culture of adoption and spreading the movement to other Christians. Evgeny Isaev and his wife, Sveta, a psychologist at Sails of Hope Orphanage—which You Will Be Found Orphanage started—have two biological sons and a five-year-old adopted daughter, Masha. Sveta told us that, at first, church members kept their distance from little Masha, as some disapproved of adoption. However, the situation has changed radically and now many families have adopted, which has brought growth and vitality to the church. Amazingly, their church members (54 in number) have so far adopted 24 children! The church, incidentally, purchased a building that originally was owned by Gypsies who were dealing drugs. Sveta told us that when they purchased the church, they had to haul away sacks of hypodermic needles used by the addicts. Although most of the Gypsies moved away, some started coming to the church and were converted.
Editor: How did the adoption movement get started in the Good News Church?
It began when God spoke to Tamara Dudnik and other women in the church, directing them to volunteer in a children’s hospital that included 17 abandoned orphans. Tamara had been in the hospital earlier when she was pregnant but lost her child. At that time she received a revelation that God would give her many children. She and Pyotr immediately started sharing this vision in their churches and with other churches.
Pastor Sergey Demidovich and his wife, Anya, were one of the first families to adopt as a result of Tamara’s vision. Now more than 100 children have been adopted by Good News Church members. In addition, the Dudniks connect with adoptive families far and wide. In May 2010 they decided to take a trip to meet with adoptive families all over Ukraine. Before their return to Slavyansk they drove some 3,000 miles visiting 22 families who care for 84 adoptive and foster care children. Tamara and Pyotr have noticed that when a family adopts a child, it typically shares the vision with people around them, spreading the word and the movement. Good News keeps in touch with these people so they can encourage them, invite them to conferences, and help build an adoption network. The church sees its task as supporting families who have adopted. The church gives orientation and emotional support, and when there is a need, financial support. Because parents face many difficulties raising these children, adoptive families need a great deal of help.
Editor: The Good News Church obviously is thinking way beyond children at risk in Slavyansk.
You’re right. Good News Church and its leaders are remarkably active nationwide in promoting adoption and foster care by Christians. In addition to their numerous local ministries, they have a highly visionary outreach through television, radio, and other media, especially in Ukraine, but in many other places as well, including among Slavic immigrants in America.
Pastor Sergey Demidovich (Good News Church) and Pastor Gennady Makhnienko (Pilgrim Foundation) regularly produce six television programs promoting adoption—with plans for at least three more. They also have produced a large number of short films, and they travel widely in Ukraine, Russia, and the U.S. Trinity Broadcasting Network and CBN distribute their TV programs and films, and Steve Weber has given them a free studio room in CBN’s large office building in Kyiv.
Pastor Sergey also dreams of producing TV dramas to help change Ukraine’s overall negative attitude toward adoption, with the hope of convincing thousands of Christian families to adopt. He points out that Ukrainians love soap operas. Women who come to Good News Church have even asked for prayer for fictional characters on TV serials!
Editor: What are the biggest obstacles facing the Christian adoption movement?
Mindset and money, I would say. Sergey said he has discovered that while it is relatively easy to raise money to feed orphans, it is extremely difficult to raise funds to buy equipment to produce media that can change the mindset of the whole country. Humanitarian assistance is very important. But it is also essential to change the system—a change of consciousness. Sergey explained that most Christians in Ukraine have not had the vision for adopting. Even in his case, when Pyotr and Tamara adopted their first child, Sergey thought they had “gone nuts.” Why should they do that, he wondered, when they already had children. Then when Sergey and his wife Anya adopted their first child, other pastors would ask him pityingly, “Why are you adopting? Can’t you have more children?” Even when Sergey and Anya brought their baby Nikita home, his mother-in-law asked, “Why did you take this baby who is just trash that others threw out?” For six months she didn’t want to touch her adopted grandson. Nikita would crawl up to her and say “grandma,” and her heart started to change. Now if a week goes by without seeing him, she calls and asks, “Where is my grandson?”
Sergey said that one of the most terrible aspects of life in Communist days was the punishment meted out to people who took initiative. During those times people became accustomed to thinking someone above them would make all the decisions, and they did not have to think. It is very difficult to change that mindset. Sergey said that the people of the former Soviet Union struggle with a deep-seated inability to change their outlook and to take responsibility. After the Soviet Union collapsed, many people fell apart. They turned even more to alcohol and drugs, and a high percentage of people were depressed.
Editor: Do you really believe the Christian adoption movement in Ukraine can be significant on a national scale?
I believe it already is. Time and time again during my August trip to Ukraine I was confronted by believers dreaming seemingly impossible dreams, but acting on their faith and on their visions of a Ukraine without orphans. Pyotr and Tamara Dudnik, for example, are deeply convinced that if their vision spreads throughout Ukraine, their land really could become a country without orphans. They believe Christians in Ukraine could lead the world as a country without orphans. Ukraine has only 30,000 children who are legally adoptable or eligible for foster care. Their nation has 30,000 churches of all denominations. So if every church adopted only one child, every orphan in Ukraine would have a home.
In 2003 Tamara had a vision of people waiting in line to adopt children and, at that time, it didn’t seem possible that Christians knew or cared that much about adoption. Now her vision has really happened, and a waiting list exists for Ukrainian Christian families wanting to adopt children under four. Such an encouragement!
Editor: What about beyond Ukraine?
I’m glad you asked. “Home for Every Orphan” already has five Russian partners.
• My friend Galina Obrovets of Orphan Initiative based in Moscow—with her colleague, Irina Kabanova—is spearheading an adoption and foster care movement that is spreading among Christians across Russia. Galina helped coordinate the production of a documentary in 2009 promoting Christian adoption that has now been viewed by over 182,000 people, leading to many adoptions.
• Matts Ola, the Norwegian pastor of Word of Life Church in Moscow, and his Russian wife have adopted three Russian orphans, and his church helped sponsor a conference on adoption in Moscow in 2010 in partnership with Risk Network.
• Light of Love, located in St. Petersburg, provides training for potential foster parents, support for those who have already adopted, and advocacy on behalf of orphans at the local governmental level.
• Family Fund, through its School for Adoptive/Foster Families, provides training seminars and produces training resources in the form of booklets, journals, and DVDs for Russian families who have adopted orphans or are considering adoption/foster care.
• During 2009, Vladimir Foster Homes constructed two foster homes in Vladimir, enabling two Christian foster families to take in additional foster/adoptive children. The Vladimir House is able to accommodate up to 22 foster children, while the Shkurikhin Foster Home is now able to accommodate more than the ten children who currently live there with their parents. These foster homes serve as models which can be replicated in other regions of Russia and Ukraine in order to meet the growing needs of homeless children.
Editor: Your enthusiasm is infectious. What about beyond Ukraine and Russia?
In September 2010 I attended a children’s ministry summit in New York City sponsored by the 4/14 Window Movement headed by Luis Bush. This movement, which was just launched in 2008, focuses on the evangelization and equipping of children worldwide to be followers of Christ. Luis Bush and the 4/14 Window Movement deplore the fact that 1.2 billion of the world’s two-and-a-half billion children live in poverty, that more slavery and sexual trafficking exist today than at any time in human history, that many of the victims are children, and that the most predictable victims are defenseless orphans.
At this New York summit 22 delegates attended the regional East European and former Soviet Union meeting, with representatives from Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Poland, and Bulgaria. I was encouraged to see that most were in their 20s to early 40s. The leader of this regional movement, a dynamic Polish man, Maui Dwalat, is president of a parachurch youth movement which owns a camp with capacity for 200 children at a time, among its other ministries. It was a surprising, humbling, and heartening experience for me to meet these new friends from different countries and diverse Christian denominations—now all united around a common concern and commitment to children. They constantly spoke about the importance of the “Next Generation” and their particular passion for orphans and street children. The 4/14 Window Movement also understands that children are not only recipients of ministry but partners in ministry. Repeatedly I have seen children come to Christ and then share the good news of the gospel with their family and friends.
Editor: Can you summarize some key observations that you have drawn from your recent travels and experiences regarding outreach to children at risk?
With pleasure. I appreciate the chance to do so.
• It makes most sense, I believe, for Western Christians to support existing, on-the-ground-and-running, already-motivated-and-moving ministries to children at risk, like the groups I visited in Ukraine—ILDC, Pilgrim, CBN, and Ukraine Without Orphans—rather than start new programs.
• While some denominations in Ukraine and Russia quite actively promote adoption and foster care, much more can be done to support Christian family adoptions and foster care placements through all Christian confessions and denominations in the former Soviet Union. While many state orphanage staff in the former Soviet Union are honest and caring, it is also a sad reality that considerable waste and corruption exist in some orphanages, including overstaffing (sometimes up to one worker per orphan) and theft of funds by orphanage staff. Also, orphanage directors generally are not eager to see a decrease in the number of orphans in their charge because their budgets depend upon a per-child government subsidy.
• Being a blessing blesses the giver as well as the receiver. Repeatedly, we heard in Kyiv, Mariupol, and Slavyansk that adoption and foster care have not only brought blessings to the orphans, but growth and vitality to the Christians and churches involved.
• Oleg Shelashsky, ILDC, believes that currently about 80 percent of all adoptions and foster care placements in Ukraine are with Christian families. If that is so—as apparently even the Ukrainian government acknowledges—a Ukraine without orphans could become a reality. Perhaps God will use Ukraine and Russia to become a model to churches and Christians worldwide and motivate a movement in every country where the church is found to help provide a passport out of the orphan nation through adoption and foster care. We consider it a privilege for our Home for Every Orphan Alliance (CoMission for Children at Risk, Doorways of Hope, and Russian Ministries) in the West to partner with our Christian brothers and sisters in Ukraine and Russia in this great cause.
Singer Steven Curtis Chapman has said that if only seven percent of the world’s population who claim to be Christians would adopt or give foster care, there would be no more orphans. Much that is negative has come from 72 years of Soviet power. Now maybe in God’s amazing sovereignty, Ukrainians and Russians will lead the nations in helping orphans! F