Saturday, November 22, 2008

The numbers

Yesterday my team in Kiev had a very encouraging meeting with some of the key leaders in Ukraine who are working in the realm of orphan rights, foster care and adoption promotion. There were 12 of us meeting and we are praying about the ways that God will unite our efforts to bring the highest impact to reforming the system in Ukraine and bringing families to children.

Here are some interesting statistics and numbers that were shared yesterday--

*30,000 official orphans in Ukraine (these are kids with orphan status)

*Over 70,000 children who are in orphanages or on the streets and without official orphan status (meaning no potential for adoption)

*29,000 registered churches in Ukraine

*2,750 official orphans in the city of Kiev

*Out of the 2,750 orphans in Kiev- only 470 are in orphanages-- the rest are in foster care or are living with guardians.

*There are 1,500 people who have jobs because of these 470 orphans in Kiev (teachers, directors, admin, etc)- which totals 5 million dollars of expense per year.

*In the city of Kiev there were 100 abandoned babies last year. Only 23 of those went into the official system. The others were adopted by Ukrainian families. Of the 23 that were not adopted half were HIV + and half had downs syndrome.

These statistics are sobering to some degree. Especially the fact that there are practically as many registered churches as there are registered orphans. It seems only a little too obvious about how those numbers could work together. The statistics for Kiev are obviously not reflective of the rest of the country- I did find them interesting though. Kiev has the goal of having no orphanages within 5 years- which is very possible, given the fact that there are only 470 in the system now. But the ministry of education here is also resistant to this plan- as you can see by the 1,500 people that are employed. They are fearful of losing jobs. Numerous jobs have been created to perpetuate the orphanage system in Ukraine, and many do not want to see the end of this system. The idea of foster care and adoption is still foreign to many.

Ukraine still has a long way to go- but be encouraged that there are some passionate nationals here that have a heart for the fatherless and vision to see change. I was in their midst on Friday and was very humbled to be dreaming along with them. God will bring justice to His children. He is raising up an army.


Annie said...

All I can say is...I hope that if they go to a foster care system, it is better than ours. I look at children I know in foster care, and contrast that with the loving and consistent care that my children had in their Russian orphanages and the orphanages win out. Completely. As a foster parent I feel used and abused by the system. Too many kids, in too many places; they have no way of supervising appropriately, and probably a good idea that many of the foster homes are unfit....but they just can't quite prove it - and if they did there's no place for the kids to go. It is crazy. Stranger yet is the way some kids are in abusive situations and are ignored, whereas I feel we are harassed by our most recent worker.... There is undoubtedly a "downside" to orphanages, but kids know that foster families aren't "their" families whereas my children still have such warm and fond thoughts about their orphanage sand their caregivers.

ukrainiac said...

I am so encouraged by your heart and the passion of those with whom you met. I'm confused about the numbers within Kyiv, though...any statistics I may have known are surely outdated! At one point there were 30ish orphanages in Kyiv. Are they ALL still functioning? PLUS the foster care/guardianship.

The orphanages also house numbers of children whose parents haven't given up their parental rights. Are they part of the 470? And I am so impressed that 2300 children are living in foster care/guardianship. Wow! That whole concept is fairly recent here, isn't it?

Praying for your ministry. And for the churches to have ears that hear.

SET said...

Wow... sobering, yet hopeful! Thanks for continuing to share these stories Karen!

Natasha said...

Karen - thank you for all you do; for your heart for those kiddos!!! I'm hoping and praying that people that want to foster children (in Ukraine as well as US) do it for the right reasons! That's all we can do, is pray...for those little souls to be touched by caregivers; for them to find God and how much He has to offer for us.
God Bless you, Karen.