The joy of adoption is always accompanied by suffering...

Everyone should consider adoption?
Well, perhaps if you are ready to go through some agony.
Orphan care and adoption almost always involve suffering. Just ask any birthmother or a child who is one of three hundred orphans in a Chinese orphanage or a family that is experiencing the high-ups and low-downs of the adoption process or the adoptive family that is overwhelmed by the challenges of the post-adoption journey. 
There is no such thing as orphan care and adoption without suffering, according to Together for Adoption.
The upcoming national conference of Together for Adoptionwill focus on both the joys and sufferings involved with adoption.
The primary objective of this organization’s September 14-15 (in Atlanta) national conference is to take Christians deeper into God’s story of adoption to give hope and practical tools to walk with deep joy through “the sufferings of this present time” (Romans 8:18-23) for God’s glory and the good of orphans around the world.
God’s work of adoption within the world is a story that encompasses all of human history, from its pre-temporal beginnings when God predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to the renewal of the heavens and the earth. From the Apostle Paul’s perspective, adoption is the story that makes sense of the universe, that makes sense of our broken lives and gives the existence of all creation ultimate meaning.

Big Family Mission helps families in Russia adopt orphans

FosterClub: you have the power to change the life of a young person in foster care

Celeste Bodner, executive director of FosterClub, is excited when "grownups" visit their website.  She writes:
"While FosterClub is the national network for young people in foster care, we are excited to have you here, too! (on their website)
"I’m sure you agree — all children deserve a safe, happy life, including the 513,000 American children and youth in foster care. Every two minutes, a child’s life changes as they enter the foster care system and FosterClub is their club — a place to turn for advice, information, and hope.
"The difference between triumph and tragedy for young people in foster care is clear to us at FosterClub. Success stories come about when someone takes the time to offer comfort, provide support, give advice, or simply share a milestone moment with a young person. No matter what their age, every young person in foster care benefits from a meaningful connection to a caring adult who becomes a supportive and lasting presence in his or her life.
"The members of FosterClub are resilient young people determined to build a better future for themselves and for other kids coming up through the system behind them. Their success depends on the generosity of concerned people like you.
"Now is the time to get involved. No matter how much time you have to give or your level of contribution, you have the power to do something positive that will change life for a young person in foster care."

Big Family Mission helps foster families in Russia

Adopting from U.S. foster care often costs little or nothing

     Adopting from the U.S. foster care system is generally the least expensive type of adoption, usually involving little or no cost, and states often provide subsidies to adoptive parents.
     If you are considering adoption (either domestic or foreign), Adoptive Families has posted an interesting decision matrix to help guide your decision-making process.
     There are thousands of children in the U.S. foster care system, awaiting adoption.  You can find a lot of information and resources about adopting from the foster care system on this website published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

Older orphans in Russia are rarely adopted.  Big Family Mission volunteers become "family" for  these children.

Is your church a member of Christian Alliance for Orphans?

According to some estimates, there may be more than 300,000 churches in America.
At last count, it appears that about 300 of those churches have orphan ministries and belong to the Christian Alliance for Orphans.
Let's see:  that's 0.001 of the churches in America that belong to the Alliance... about 1/10 of one per cent.
And, it cannot be because of the high price of church membership in the Alliance:  IT'S FREE!
If you church has an orphan ministry and is not a member, encourage your church to explore membership.
And, if your church doesn't have an orphan ministry, let us know how we can help you get started!

Jesus:  "Bring the little children unto me."

NCFA conference for adoptive parents and those who plan to adopt

"Working together to get back to the 'Heart of the Matter'", the National Council for Adoption's annual conference, will be held near Washington, DC, June 13 - 16, at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.
This year’s conference will be centered around how adoption service providers, adoptive parents, government officials, and others can work together to get back to the HEART OF THE MATTER - children who need families! 
The sessions will be child-focused and client-centered. 
NCFA states:  "We’ll ask all participants to lay aside self-interests, collaborate, and do whatever it takes to fix what is wrong and fight for what is right. We want this conference to be one of excellence where we provide hope-filled strategies, prepare agencies and families for success, and celebrate adoption and its core values/roots."
For more information, follow this link:  Heart of the Matter .

Big Family Mission encourages adoptions and foster families in Russia

Are you experiencing "compassionate living" today?

   If you haven't read Fields of the Fatherless by Tom Davis, put it on your "next books to read" list.
God has much to say in His word about caring for orphans.  From Proverbs 23:10:  "Do not move an ancient boundary stone or encroach on the fields of the fatherless".  
    In Bible times, God maintained a special provision for the less fortunate. As His people harvested their fields, they were instructed to always leave a portion of the crops for those in need. 
    Today, God's heart continues to beat for the poor, the widows, and the fatherless. And as His children, our divine commission remains the same, a directive that's nothing less than the heart of the Chrisitan message. 
    Tom Davis, now the CEO of Children's HopeChest,  encourages us to move beyond words and become Christ to those in need. 
    Fields of the Fatherless is filled with remarkable stories of hope and mercy.  It will inspire you to become the hands and feet of Christ and to experience the peace and joy of compassionate living.

Experience compassionate living:  help Russian orphans!

The slow, dark tsunami in Russia...

(Note: the following article is from one of our newsletters in 2007.  Things have changed some, but not a lot.  Much prayer still needed.)
After the fall of Communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union, most Americans have lost track of what is happening in Russia. Before starting our mission work in Russia, our image of Russia was:  big, strong, powerful, progressive.
Although some of the wealthiest people in the world live in Russia and Moscow has the highest cost of living for any city in the world, today’s Russia is an ailing country.
Consider these facts and observations about today’s Russia:
• Russia is rapidly losing population (700,000 people each year since 1991). Why? Because of one of the world’s fastest-growing AIDS epidemics; tuberculosis; rampant heart disease; alcohol and drug abuse; suicide; and air pollution.
• The average Russian man can expect to live about 59 years, 16 years less than an American man.
• Abortions outpaced births last year by more than 100,000.
• Tens of millions of Russians live in poverty; one fifth of all Russians live on less than $38 per month.
• Estimates of the number of orphans and children at risk range from 700,000 to over 3 million. The number of orphans continues to grow.
• Corruption in business and in government is rampant.
• Many cities with 50,000 or more people have only one church.
• Churches do not have buildings to meet in; they rent public facilities or meet in homes.
• Roads and highways outside the major cities are full of potholes and in bad need of repair.
• Many apartment buildings (most Russians live in apartment buildings constructed during the days of Communism) have not been maintained and are in bad need of repair.
• Most day-to-day economic transactions are conducted using cash. There is no personal checking system as we know it in the U.S. (For example, government pensions are paid once per month, in cash, at the Post Office.  And, we in America complain when we have to stand in a line!)
• Many Russians have given up hope and drown their days in a bottle of vodka (or homemade alcohol).
We sometimes say that the iron curtain has been replaced by a slow dark tsunami.
Our Christian friends in Russia are people of deep faith. They are the light and the salt in a very dark land. Boldly and courageously they lift high the banner of God. Please pray fervently and frequently for more Light and Love to sweep through Russia and set the captives free!

Orphan children in Russia enjoy summer church camp

Pavel Astakhov: Russia with no orphans!

   Russia’s Ombudsman for Children’s Rights Pavel Astakhov and I agree on at least one objective: “Russia with no orphans!”
   “Russia needs 5 years to do away with orphanhood”, Astakhov says, adding that “only specialized orphanages for children who need a complex medical care will remain in this country”.
    On the other hand, Astakhov is a strong proponent of ending adoptions by families who do not live in Russia.  He is extremely vocal in his opposition to adoption of Russian orphans by families in the U.S.
    Of course, my view is that orphans from any country should be able to be adopted by families from any country, and that it should not cost a fortune to accomplish the adoption.
    Big Family Mission in encouraging Russian Christians to become more active in adopting orphans and reaching the goal that is impossible to reach without God's help: "Russia with No Orphans"!

Young Russian couple has brought several orphan children into their family

Be Prepared! A guide to adopting from the U.S. foster care system

    All adoptions are not "warm and fuzzy".  If you adopted before, this is certainly "no news" to you.
    However, if your family is considering adopting and you have no experience with adopting a child, you may want to check out this online book about adopting.  It's written by a mother who works with adoptions everyday.  It is a very detailed walk through the long path that leads to adoption, specifically geared to adoption from the U.S. foster care system.
    The author advices in the book's introduction:  "While at times, this book may sound anti-adoption, it is anything but. What this is really about is honesty in adoption. Showing you some pictures of happy families, and giving you “warm, fuzzy” stories about adoption, could ultimately do you, and your future family, a great disservice. When dealing with traumatized children, knowing what could lie ahead will be your greatest asset. Be prepared for the worst, and hopefully, you will never have to use your knowledge, but as the Boy Scouts say, Be Prepared.” 

Big Family Mission encourages Russian families to adopt from  the orphanages.

Taking the Light and Love of Jesus to Russian orphans!

    Igor Klishchenko and his family dedicate their time and resources to becoming friends and family for Russian orphans in the Kaluga region.
    Igor is a talented musician, and he enjoys sharing his talent with children in orphanages, who love to sign, dance, and perform.
    Igor posted a video of children in one orphanage singing and dancing... performing for the video camera.  He shared it on Facebook and you can enjoy the fun and excitement that Igor and his family brought to the orphanage.
    Big Family Mission is trying to help Igor find financial support for his ministry.  He is indeed a missionary who has been sent in his own country to carry the Light and Love of Jesus to orphans.  We have two families who are helping now, but we need 15 more faithful partners who are willing to donate $50 each month (or 30 who will donate $25 each month) to help keep Igor's mission running.   You can find more information on Big Family Mission's website. 

Vicki is learning to play guitar and Igor is recording her music, which he will share soon

Finding Amazing Grace at the Supermarket

    Sonya is a teen-ager with a disability who lives in St. Petersburg, Russia.
    She has had a very difficult life, but now she is able to participate in some of the ministry programs of Help for Children at the Grace Center in St. Petersburg.
    Workers at the Grace Center were really surprised to learn that Sonya had never been to a supermarket.
    Read about Sonya's "amazing" shopping experience!

Sonya at the supermarket for the first time in her life!

Why should Christians give to help orphans?

   Some good reasons NOT to give to orphan ministries:

  • Because you saw a video of sad and hungry children and felt sorry for them;
  • Because you feel guilty since you have so many blessings;
  • Because you have thoroughly analyzed the work of the ministry and feel that your donation will help carry out the work of the ministry;
  • Because you always wished that you had another child.
   Perhaps there are some good intentions and thoughts woven into the reasons listed above, but I would like to suggest that the main reason Christians should give to help orphans is:  because God commands it!
   God's word, in Deuteronomy 24:19:  “When you reap your harvest in your field and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it. It shall be for the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hands."
   In today's world, not many of us have fields to harvest, but we do have income (the field) and what we forget (our spare change and frivolous spending).
   Most of us would very much welcome God blessing all the works of our hands (everything we do) in 2012.  Don't give to get the blessing... that doesn't work.  Give because God commanded that we do so!

Big Family Mission ministers to orphans with disabilities in Belarus 

Today is Christmas Day in Russia!

   Today is Christmas in Russia... traditionally celebrated on January 7! 
   We are really blessed that teams of church members and volunteers can still celebrate Christmas in orphanages run by the Russian government.  Christmas was definitely not a popular holiday during the days of Communism, and even today, Christmas is not widely celebrated by Russians.  Instead, New Year's Day is the "big event" day, and many Russian businesses close down the entire first week of the New Year.
   In case you missed it earlier, today we share with you in this video the joy in a Russian orphanage as children receive gifts from Big Family Mission team. 
   Merry Christmas!  (And, after all, Christmas occurs on every day of the year!)

Christmas gifts in a Russian orphanage

There are millions of orphans in Russia, but they come into families just one or two at a time.  Our vision is a “Russia with No Orphans”, and the vision comes about when God touches the hearts of families like the Drobyshevskys who are members of our partner church in Kommunar, Russia.
    We asked Tatyana, mom of the family, to tell their story.  She writes:
     “I want to tell you how adopted children came to our family. Since my childhood I have been dreaming to have children who don`t have their own parents in my family. I always had this thought in my heart – to become mamma for a child who doesn`t have one. A year and a half after we got married with my husband Denis, doctors diagnosed me with infertility. I underwent an operation and was preparing for the second one. I took treatments but no one guaranteed any positive result. At our family council we decided that if we wouldn`t have our own children it didn`t mean that we wouldn`t have children at all. I started to study about foster parents. We finished a school for foster parents and started gathering all the necessary documents. And once I saw a boy on one of special foster parent’s sites, and I liked the boy very much. That boy lived in an orphanage at Lomonosov, Russia, and had a very beautiful name: Irakli. His mother rejected him at a maternity hospital. The boy had a pre-natal HIV and hepatitis C contact; later these diagnoses were removed. 
     “We had some difficulties with the documents.  All the procedure lasted for 9 months, and during that period of time some other people were about to take our boy but he waited for us.  We started visiting Irakli in October, 2008, and in December we had a hearing to get permission to adopt him. Three days before I brought all the documents to the court, I found out that I was pregnant!  God made a miracle! So during half a year, we had already 2 children, a boy and a girl! 
     “I am so thankful to God for our children. I know that if Irakli had not come into our family, we wouldn`t have our daughter Emiliya. He was destined to become the first child in our family. 
     “Two and half years later we realized we were ready to take more children to our family. We met Aleksandr during a celebration we made at Siversky orphanage, and later we met his sister Natalya. We started visiting with them, and then made a decision to take them to our family. 
     “That is how God blessed our family!”
Please meet the Drobyshevsky family:  Mom and Dad Tatyana and Denis, and children, left to right, Aleksandr, age 13, Emiliya, age 2, Natalya, age 12, and Irakli, age 5. Big Family Mission and the Word of Faith Church in Kommunar, Russia, are now helping with financial and prayer support for this family who brought three orphans into their family.  Aleksandr, Natalya, and Irakli are the adopted children in the family.

Which country in the world has the highest percentage of orphans?

   Would you be surprised to learn that Russia has more orphans, based on percent of total children population, than any country in the world?
   Statistics about the number of Russian orphans are somewhat unreliable, simply because there is no official recognized way of compiling the statistics.  

   In Ludmila Shipitsyna's book Psychology of Orphans, published in 2008, she writes that the official number of orphans in Russia at the end of 2004 was 699,200, but that police files state 2.5 million.   Dr. Shipitsyna, a noted psychologist who resides in St. Petersburg, Russia,  writes that "Russia occupies first place in the world by number of orphans per 10,000 children" and that nearly 50 percent of Russia's children (18 million) "belong to the social risk zone".
   Dr. Shipitsyna's book, available on Google's ebooks as well as on, is a "recommended read" for anyone who is adopting an orphan from Russia or Eastern Europe.
   You can find more statistics on Russian orphans on the website of Big Family Mission. 

It's estimated that Russia has more than 3 million orphans

Meet some of the children from Latvia and Ukraine

Our prayers are with the orphans from Latvia and Ukraine, and the U.S. families who have been hosting them during the Christmas/New Year holidays.
What an adventure for an orphan from Eastern Europe:  come and stay for 4 weeks with a Christian family in the United States!
What an adventure for the families who are hosting!  A Christmas time of giving to remember forever.
And, some of the children who are being hosted will eventually be adopted by families they meet during their visit to the U.S.

Meet Vlad, a special needs child, and other children here from Latvia and Ukraine.

What we wished we would have known about adopting an older orphan

     Adopting an older orphan can create significant challenges for the child and the family who is adopting the child.
     We recently read an interesting article about some of the challenges and experiences.  The article is unique because it includes the mother's perspective, as well as the now-older child's perspectives.
     You can read the article on Adoptive Families Magazine's website:

What We Wish We Had Known Adoption Information from Adoptive Families Magazine: Domestic, International, Foster and Embryo Adoption Resources

Big Family Mission encourages adoption of older orphans from Latvia, Ukraine, and Russia

A wonderful opportunity to share God's love in 2012

     We need 50 more partners for our ministry to orphans in India, under the direction of Pastor George Fernandes.  Many children at the New Hope for Children Orphanage are not yet sponsored.
     Your gift of $29 per month provides all of your child's needs:  food, clothing, shelter, education, and most importantly your love and prayers.  You can write to and send little gifts directly to your child in India if you wish.  Your child will write to you at your home address, with the mail coming from India.  This form of sponsorship is very much like a "long-distance" adoption.
     You can learn more about the New Hope for Children Orphanage and how you can become a sponsor by clicking on this link.
     This is Monica. She is 6 years old. She loves to color and draw. One of her favorite activities is blowing bubbles. Her brothers Thomas and Joseph also live at NHCH. 

To begin sponsoring Monica, click here.