Children's Paths Home
“Nobody loved me…
On December 11, 2017, a minor boy - Joseph, who is 14 years old, was arranged at the Social and Rehabilitation Center for Child Welfare "Children's Footpaths", located in Lviv in the city of Velyki Mosty. The boy has the status of a child deprived of parental care. Joseph was abandoned by his mother immediately after birth. It was an extremely difficult life to go through Joseph! From the maternity hospital, Joseph was transferred to the state house of the baby, where he was until he was three years old. After three years of age, the boy was in other state institutions and boarding schools, where he lived and studied until he was fourteen. The boarding school brought up Joseph's sense of loneliness, needlessness, and, most importantly, disbelief in people and God. In early December, I met with Joseph at the state asylum, where he was after the disbanding of the Chervonograd boarding school. He was like a little wolf. Look with disbelief, suspicion. His first words were: "I don't believe in anyone, I don't believe in God either." I tried to explain to him where I wanted to take him that our children's center was not a boarding school. We have as close as possible to living conditions for a family, to which he replied: "I do not know what a family is." After getting acquainted with Joseph, I arrived home. Sadness overwhelmed my heart. The soul shouted, "Lord, how can I help this child?" For some days I hesitated, prayed, consulted with my wife, the staff of the children's center, how to do the right thing, so as not to harm the other children we are raising, and at that time there were twenty of them. After thinking and praying, I made the decision to pick up this baby.
For the first month, Joseph was "closed", looked after, studied the situation, studied the children, me, my wife and employees. A month passed and Joseph "surrendered." About midnight, one of the caregivers called me and said that Joseph had left the house without permission. I, with anxiety in my heart, went out to look for him. Where can he be? Where and why did I go? For about three hours I searched for it and did not find it. Sadly returning to the children's center I prayed: "Lord, where is he? Help him find and return! Why did he do that? ” When I approached the children's center, I did not believe my eyes, and Joseph stood at the gate. My heart was full of joy and gratitude to God. Putting the car in the garage, I went with Joseph to the house. Almost in the morning we had a long conversation as a father with a son. The fact that Joseph told me why he had done so, leaving the children's center unauthorized, made me sad and pleased. He was saddened by his previous life story, and pleased that Joseph had opened up. "Nobody loved me, I didn't need anyone, I wasn't interested in anyone, I never looked for me when I ran away!" With love as a father, I explained to Joseph that our children's center is not a boarding school, it is a large family where you are always waiting and loved, that I do not care where you are, that you are with me, because for me you are now as a son. After a long and frank conversation, I hugged him and prayed for him. Joseph forcibly restrained himself not to cry. He was broken by a love he had never felt, "wounded", in a good sense of the word, in an attitude he had never seen before. After talking to Joseph, I thought for a long time how many children today are like him who need our attention and love. I thank God for helping me reach Joseph's heart. It's been three months since Joseph's placement at the Children's Center. Today he prays, reads the Bible, helps with household chores. Joy radiates on his face. He was recently praised at school for improving his academic performance. I believe that God has prepared a wonderful future for Joseph.
The Bible says 40 times that God is the father of the orphans. God is interested in being near the orphan, in defense of the orphan, in becoming the father of the orphan. Psalm 67: 6 says, "The father of fathers and widows is the judge, God is ...". God is against orphans, but He is for orphans, He is for a healthy and prosperous family. The adversary of God, the devil, has especially now stepped up his efforts to destroy the institution of the family, to destroy family values.
Ukraine ranks 186th in the world in terms of fertility and 13th in the world in terms of extinction. Today there are almost 80,000 orphans in Ukraine. Of these, only 20% are biological orphans, the other 80% are children deprived of parental care, ie social orphans. In Ukraine, there are 770 boarding schools with 106 thousand children, of which only 8 thousand are biological orphans. The consequences of raising a child in a boarding school are catastrophic. 90% of boarding school graduates are not ready for independent life. Of these: 53% are prone to crime, 23% are homeless, 14% commit suicide, and only 10% of boarding school graduates are satisfied with their lives.
Every three days, in Ukraine, 250 children go to boarding schools, mainly due to parents' inability to provide basic living conditions for their families. At least 600,000 children are living in disadvantaged families, 250,000 children are suffering from heartburn.
During the two and a half years of work of the Social and Rehabilitation Center for Child Welfare, the Children's Paths, thirty-nine children have undergone social rehabilitation. Eighteen children were placed in a family education. Of these, five children were accommodated in the DBST (family-type orphanage), six children returned to their families, and one child was taken into care by her relatives. Two children were transferred to other institutions, two children were adopted, two children were placed in foster care. In addition, eight children deprived of parental care were taken by me as the caregiver.
Every child who has been placed in a social rehabilitation center has experienced physical or moral abuse in his or her family. We are working to ensure that the child can forgive his parents. It's not easy, but there are results.
In our large family, the Children's Paths, children see the example of a true Christian life. Subdued with love and attention, they regularly give love cards that describe their feelings for me, my wife, and our caregivers.
Our primary task is to conduct social and psychological rehabilitation of the child, to help her to adapt to the environment and to further prepare the child for placement in a family form of upbringing or adoption.
We also have material needs. We need to purchase a laundry room that costs about $ 1,000. Also, because of the intermittent supply of electricity, which from time to time occurs for various reasons, we need to buy a mini-power plant, the cost of which is about $ 5,000. For us, these are significant amounts, because the budget of the Social Rehabilitation Center alone is about $ 6,000 a month.
We hope that through this article, God will touch hearts that are not indifferent to the issue of orphanhood and will be willing to help us in the important social service to children who are deprived of the parental care that God has charged us to fulfill.
President of the Children's Paths Charitable Foundation