Wednesday, February 6, 2013

If the Russians love their children too

In 1985, the English musician and songwriter, Sting, released a song entitled Russians (song and lyrics found here). I remember where I was when I first heard the chilling lyrics that ended, "What might save us, me and you is if the Russians love their children too."  Sting was writing about the threat of nuclear war, but the plague of being orphaned has devastated the children of Russian far more than war. The song's mournful chords and poignant words brought quick tears to my eyes. It also apparently planted a seed deep in my heart. It would take 17 years for the seed to germinate and deliver, at the age of seven, my youngest son, Roma from Russia.

In 1992, at their annual Spring concert, my eldest daughter's fifth grade chorus sang Song for a Russian Child, (found here) commemorating the fall of Communism. I stifled sobs, thankful for the dim lights. No one around me seemed so "touched." (Admittedly, I am a crier!) I think God was foreshadowing what was to come, softening my heart for the children of Russian. The particular Russia child He would send to me wouldn't be born for another two and a half years, but He watered the seed.

When Godless Communism inevitably failed, generations of Russians were optimistic, but untrained in love and altruism. (During the height of Communism, only 6-10 % of the population could be labeled as "believers in God.") Almost 800,000 Russian orphans are the consequence. Ninety-five percent are "social" orphans, meaning they have at least one parent who has either voluntarily turned them over to the state-run orphan system, or who has had their parental rights terminated by the courts. Less than 3%  are considered for adoption by Russian families.

Orphan Care Resources (OCR) is equipping believers to care for orphans, and thus, correcting the broken system. In light of Putin's pending ban on American adoptions, the success of OCR is just in the nick of time, as if God has heard the cry of his people and devised an alternate plan for His cast-off children. With the help of OCR, Russian and Ukrainian Christians are stepping up and being trained to answer God's call to take care of their country's forsaken children.

Recently compiled 2012 data (from the Russian OCR website) reveals hopeful news:
  • 60 new training events advertised
  • 67,862 potential adoptive parents who attended motivational events

  • 24,000 prints resources distributed
  • 3,049,434 hits on website, compared to 671,000 in 2011
  • 1,150 people receiving regular resource and event updates, up from 400 in 2011
  • 1,554 prospective parents attended pre-adoption training.
  • 561 children placed with families
  • 948 parents received post-adoption counseling


I pray the 3% of Russian adoptions by Russian parents mushrooms at such a rate that we cannot miss God's hand in the transformation.  As these new parents embrace God's call to take care of the "least of these," they will discover what Godless Communism could never teach them: the joy that comes from love, sacrifice, and obedience to God's call, when the Russians love their children too.