Archive for the ‘orphanage’ Category

Will Russians Adopt Russian Children?

It will be interesting to see if the Russian government comes up with a plan to replace the foreign adopters, but there likely won’t be one since a good number of children adopted by Americans were special needs kids.  These kids simply are not adopted or taken in by foster families because the Russian government doesn’t provide the financial support families would need to care for these kids.  Special needs kids will likely spend their lives bouncing from one orphanage to another.


The foster care system has improved a lot since its beginning in Russia.  As was pointed out, many foster families initially took in kids to get the financial incentives offered by the government, then they quickly returned the kids to the orphanages.  While that still occurs, it is less common than it once was.  The main reason kids are returned now is the fact that these families are ill-prepared to take care of a kid with the emotional issues that nearly every kid living in an orphanage has.  Most were abused by their parents, then they were shipped off to an orphanage.  Few foster parents have the experience and training to deal with the fallout from such things.  So, they feel overwhelmed, and they eventually send the kid back to the orphanage.  Americans who adopt these kids tend to have the financial resources to get additional help and services when problems occur.  Most foster families simply don’t have the financial resources or access to any support network.


But, there are some amazing foster parents out there.  I work with several during my summer program, and it truly is amazing how they’ve created real families for these kids.  The two I work with most often adopted 4 boys and the other adopted 6 boys and girls.  The kids call the foster parents grandma and grandpa since they are older, having raised their own biological kids.  All of the kids are thriving, but the parents do struggle financially because the kids’ needs exceed the limited amount the government provides, and the foster parents have limited incomes themselves.  In Russia, students are required to pay for all of their textbooks and other school supplies each year.  You can imagine the financial impact on foster parents who take in several kids.  Clothing is another issue.


I’ve directed more of our programs to focus on the foster families rather than just the orphanages over the past couple years because kids in foster families really do have a much better chance for a normal life, but those families do need more support than the government provides and they can provide themselves.  Hopefully other small charities will see the benefits of working with foster families rather than just focusing on capital projects at orphanages that would actually be financed in many cases by the Russian government (which has directed a substantial sum to improving the housing at orphanages, though many other needs still are underfunded).  A little additional assistance goes a very long way with foster families, and the results are immediate and tangible.  While small charities can only do so much, they can have a pretty dramatic impact on a couple families that have made the choice to take in kids and give them a real chance at a normal life.


My hope is that parents who have adopted from Russia don’t give up on the kids left behind despite the decisions made by the Russian government.  Many of us working to help these kids have seen donations reduced by folks who want to send a message to President Putin.  Unfortunately, it will only be the kids that receive that message.  Putin has no interest in what foreigners think of his policies.  The kids, the orphanage directors, the orphanage staffs, and the foster families really do appreciate everything that charities and individuals do for them, even more so when their government makes these decisions.  Hopefully things will change soon in regard to foreign adoptions, but until then, those kids still need our thoughts, our prayers, and our support.


Jody Payne

Director, Kostroma Kids Program

Ascent Russian Orphan Aid Foundation

Info sent by: Deborah Mumm, Everything For Adoption


WKRS Radio Adoption Show

Alex at orphanage

Today Alex and I were guests on the Personal Best Show on WKRS Radio. We shared our adoption story. Here is the link to it if you would like to hear us! Let me know what you think.

Russian Adoption Story

Deborah Mumm
Everything for Adoption

Should International Adoptions be Encouraged?

The debate over International Adoption is a passionate one. Some countries believe their children should stay in the country of their heritage. Supporters of adoption argue that the well-being of the child should come first. Living in a loving permanent home is far better than living a life in an orphanage or foster care that are under-resourced.

In 2004, the year we adopted our two from Russia, the number of foreign children adopted by US families was 22,990. In 2009, the number was only 12,753. Why the big drop in adoptions?
1) The number of countries allowing international adoptions has dropped.
2) Many countries have stiffened up the requirements and paperwork to adopt, making it more difficult.
3) The economy has made the high expenses involved in an adoption too difficult for families to afford.

It is discouraging to think that over 6 million children wait in orphanages for a family of their own. Many have parents living in nearby towns, too poor to feed them…hence, they are not adoptable. These children live a life with no options, because a biological parent refuses for their child to be adopted…but will not care for that child themselves. We saw a lot of that in Russia. Sad.

So…should Int’l Adoption be encouraged?

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach
Everything for Adoption

They Chose Me – Adoption Video


Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach

Presents for Poor Kids?

Gifts for Needy Kids


We went to church this morning and brought along our gift of Legos for a little boy named Nicholas. Alex had helped me pick them out and then we wrapped them to take to church. Our church has a huge congregation…about 5000 families! About 2100 name tags had been placed on tables at the back of church the past few weeks filled with names of people who wanted Christmas gifts this year. All the tags had been taken. Being a little tight on funds this year we had Alex pick out just one tag he could relate to and when I saw the tag for a boy who loved Legos, I knew this would be the gift he could help with.

When it came time for people to bring their gifts to the front of church, a huge mass of men, women and children lined the aisles with wrapped gifts, bikes and more. When they sat down the front of church was ablaze with colorfully wrapped presents, almost to the ceiling. It touched me with emotion and, I admit, I teared up. Father had us imagine 2100 people all happy on Christmas because they had a gift to open. I couldn’t help but think of the millions of kids around the world, and especially in orphanages, that never get a present. When we brought Alex and Tatiana home we had to show Alex how to open a present as he had never seen one before.

The first Christmas they were with us and they saw the massive pile of gifts at the church alter, I remember Alex tugging on my sleeve and asking who all the presents were for. I told him they were for poor kids who didn’t have any toys. Just a few months before this, Alex was one of those kids….living in a Russian orphanage…with no toys of his own. So, he looked at me and said, “Am I a poor kid?” I was happy to tell him that ‘No, you are not a poor kid anymore.’ I think at that moment he may have been a bit disappointed he wasn’t poor, since the amazing church full of presents was overwhelming to this little boy who had never seen a present until a few months before.

So…yes…we did help one more boy this Christmas to get something he had on his list. Did we help hundreds of people? least not this year! But we did make a difference to that one boy and that is what matters.

Are you making a difference to someone in need this holiday season? A gift, food or friendly words are important to many people in need. See if you can make someone’s holiday a bit brighter.

If you want to give to a great organization that actually gets 100% of their gifts or money directly to the most desperate orphanages, then go to….

Help Orphans

Take care—-

Deborah Mumm

Facing Difficulties with Adopted Kids

Adopting Older Kids


Children who were abused, removed from a family or and orphanage they knew, and then adopted into a strange home do often have difficulty adjusting. Should we blame them? In my opinion, it has nothing to do with international adoption. It has to do with the struggles these kids endured. I have seen this happen with children who were abused here in the States and then adopted out of the foster care system. It really bothers me that people say things like “I was so close to sending her back to Russia” like she is an inanimate object. These parents were looking for a story book ending. Raising children, adopted or not, is challenging. It does not matter how you choose to build a family, you need to be prepared for anything. Adopting an older child out of an orphanage who was abused will definitely have risks. No person should be able to adopt such a child if they are not aware of the risks and prepared to manage them once they appear. This is just my opinion.

What do you think? Should more educational programs be available for prospective adoptive parents?

Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach
Everything for Adoption

Adoption Day– 5 Years Later

Wow! Can it really be 5 years ago we were standing in a small Russian courtroom arguing with a very stubborn Russian judge? We weren’t arguing as much as he was YELLING at us…’Why did we want to adopt this Russian girl? She would always be a Russian girl, never an American girl?’ He wasn’t bothered by us wanting Alex, a small 5 yr. old boy. But, this 10 yr. old girl…WHY? He asked us repeatedly until I looked at the translator in frustration and asked her, “What does he want me to say?” She looked at me in wonder and said she had no idea. It was a scary moment.
The judge talked with Tania for a moment and asked her if she wanted to go to America to live. She was actually stammering and didn’t seem to understand what he was asking. This made me nervous.
However, I will always remember Tania’s caregivers from her orphanage. Several of these women traveled 7 hours by train to this courthouse to stand up for Tania and her need to be adopted. They stood up to this judge and told him that she needed to leave this orphanage. She was not safe in the orphanage and they felt she’d have a better life in America.
We all went out into the hall and waited for about 30 minutes for his decision. Once we came back in he actually smiled when he read that Tania and Alex were now our children. We were not allowed to take any photos in the courthouse so we will just have to remember how it looked and how foreign we felt in this very Russian building.
We went out and had a nice little lunch at a nearby cafe to celebrate with our translator and facilitator. Alex was still back in Komsomolsk at the orphanage since he was too young to come to court. We got back into the van and headed back the 5 hours to see him and tell him the good news.
I remember 3 weeks later how good it felt to have them home…and have all of us back in the USA. It is funny that Alex, just yesterday, asked how far it was to Russia. When I told him it was very, very far, he told me he’d like to go back and see his friends in the orphanage. Tania mentions this every now and then, but I think this is the first time Alex asked about it on his own.
Right now, I don’t see this happening. 1- It’s very expensive. 2- The city in Russia they lived in is a Closed City…and only people on business are allowed in. 3-It is not an American-friendly area and the fact we don’t speak Russian would not help.
But for today….I made a cake that says Adoption Day on it. We’ll honor their parents and remember their 3 biological brothers that are still living in Komsomolsk…and thank God for adding them to our family.

Deborah Mumm

The Adoption Coach

Adoption Day 7-7-04

Adoption Day 7-7-04