Zhanna was adopted from an orphanage in the Karelia region of Russia when she was 2 years old. As she has gotten older, she has thought about the children who remain in the “baby home” back in Russia. She wanted to do something for those children. So last summer, when she was 10 years old, Zhanna held a yard sale. She sold many of her old toys and clothes to raise money for the children back in the baby home. Through her yard sale, Zhanna raised $500!
Zhanna prepared a letter to be delivered with her donation, as well as a photo of herself taken soon after her adoption, photos of the yard sale and current photos of herself. We then worked out a plan to get all of this to the baby home. Our agency closed our Russian adoption program two years ago, and the Russian government has recently banned adoptions from Russia. So there are no families traveling to Russia to hand-carry donations, as was done in the past. We do, however, still have contact with “Sasha” who assisted with our adoptions from the Karelia region. With Sasha’s help, we were able to make arrangements to get everything delivered to the orphanage.
Not long after the package with the photos, letter and funds was delivered, we received messages from the baby home showing the toys, books and cassette player that had been purchased with Zhanna’s donation There was a letter of appreciation for Zhanna. Zhanna was very happy to see photos of the children playing with the toys that had been purchased through her efforts.
In addition to helping the children who remain in the baby home, Zhanna re-connected with her early childhood. As children reach the ages of about seven and older, their cognitive development enables them to understand adoption on a deeper level. They often have more questions about their birthparents and the circumstances that led to their adoption. They begin to comprehend that there were other significant people from their beginnings who are no longer in their lives. Children adopted from overseas may wonder about their orphanage and their country of origin.
Zhanna found a way to re-connect with her past and to reach out to the children who were not fortunate enough to be adopted by a family.