Igor takes a father's love to Vika & other Russian orphans: we are the only ones who visit

   Meet Vika (in orphanage photos below).  Vika is typical of the orphans who have “family” through the ministry of Igor Klishchenko and his family. 
   Igor tells Vika’s story:  “She is an 11-year-old girl who we met and spent time with at our camp two years ago.  She is what is called a “social orphan”.  She does not have a mother, and her father is an alcoholic and does not take care of her.  She now spends most of her time in a special orphan camp for children who have a known history of tuberculosis.  We have visited Vika in her hometown several times, and now we visit with her at the orphanage.  We bring her clothing and toys each time we visit with her. 
   “Vika is always very glad to see us and introduces us to her friends.  Nobody visits her except us.  She looks up to us as the only people that show her any kind of love and considers us as her only family.   She always asks us to bring her books to read as she loves to read.  We maintain relationships with many children such as Vika to show them love, and encourage them as we know they will face many hardships, loneliness and difficulties in the future.
Give to Igor's ministry
   "I am in need of future support to provide these children with Russian Christian books and Bibles as well as general expenses such a gas to visit with these children on a consistent basis.  We are often asked to organize parties for these children, and the directors often ask us to come and to sponsor and organize such parties.  
   “In the year ahead, we will be faced with many needs and many opportunities to be God’s witness and the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.  A child like Vika wants to see us more often. 
   “Our visits give these children hope for the future!”
   Thank you, Igor, for taking a Father’s love to His special children in Russian orphanages!

   Would you consider partnering with Igor in his ministry to Russian orphans?  Igor is one of the few men in Russia who are involved in full-time ministry to orphans.  The children are blessed so much to have a father figure they can look to.  Get started now!

Keeping her children from going to an orphanage seemed impossible…

   It’s always amazing to see how God comes into a person’s life and turns the impossible into a very real and awesome blessing!
   When Lisa came to the Grace Center in St. Petersburg, Russia, she was desperate. One of her children was already in an orphanage.  She was expecting a second child, who would be taken to that same orphanage.  She had no place to go, nothing to eat, and no way to care for her soon-to-be-born child.
   The Grace Center beams God’s grace into lives like Lisa’s.  And, God’s grace flows through those who are obedient to His call.
   Natasha from Grace Center writes:  “Two years ago, it seemed  impossible.  The small flat Lisa  inherited from her parents was turned into a garbage place. Authorities didn't think she could change the situation: her first son was at the orphanage and no hope for the second baby to be allowed to stay with her. We wanted to help, but had no funds to let her live at Grace Center.”
Give and you will receive!
   About the same time Lisa came to Grace Center for help, Big Family received a generous gift in memory of Jesse, a long-time supporter of Big Family.  The donors were happy to hear that their gift could be used to give Lisa and her family a new start.
   While Lisa was living at Grace Center, another miracle occurred: authorities allowed her son to be released from the orphanage and come live with Lisa and his baby sister.
   Then, everyone prayed for another miracle:  that the totally wrecked apartment could be restored and Lisa would be able to move her family there. Again, Grace Center did not have the funds for such an expensive project.
   Natasha writes: “Good news was that God sent us Leo, another faithful supporter from Finland.  He passed away and gave all his money to the ministry of orphans. His gift was used to rebuild and furnish the apartment, and please have a look at the photos.  What a big change!”
   Lisa now studies and works part-time.  Grace Center will continue to help her in 2013.  Natasha reports that Lisa is inspired to know that other people care for her and she is not alone. Through God’s grace, Lisa has accepted Jesus Christ as her savior, and she will never be alone again!
   Thank you Jesse and Leo for your faithful support!  Your heritage lives on!
   Did you know that you partner with the Grace Center and Help for Children orphan ministry with a contribution of as little as $5 per month?  Your contribution of just $5 or $10 each month encourages us... and you will reap the blessing of helping God's special children in Russia!  Click here to get started today!

Before:  Lisa outside the door of her flat before renovations

You Can Light Up the Life of One Orphan: Send A Valentine!

   Most orphans have never heard of Valentine's Day... and have never received a valentine that says: "I love you... and you are special!"
   You can change that!  Send a valentine to one orphan in India or Russia... and let one child know that he or she is loved!
   Just let us know that you would like to participate, and we will send you information on where and how to send your valentine.  (You will be mailing the valentine directly to Russia or India, and the current cost for mailing a card from the USA is $1.10.)
   We look forward to hearing from you!

Russia: Yes, we have an agreement, but all U.S. adoptions are banned

What did Russia change with its announcement on Thursday that the adoption agreement between Russia and USA will continue in effect until January 1, 2014?
Based on reports from Moscow, it appears that the Russian government is stating that the adoption agreement will remain in effect until January 1, 2014... however, all adoptions which had not been completed before January 1 of this year will be banned.
As reported by the Associated Press:
"Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on independent Dozhd (Rain) TV that the adoptions agreement will remain in force until Jan. 1, 2014 due to its provision that it should be valid for a year after one of the parties terminates it, which Russia did on Jan. 1. But he added that all new adoptions and also those which hadn't been completed before the new law took effect will be banned."
So, it seems that the Russian government is saying that "yes, we know we have this adoption agreement with the U.S."... but all adoptions not completed are banned anyway.
Click here to read the full report.

You can help Russian orphans who have no chance for adoption.  Click to learn more.

U.S. Adoption Tax Credit Is Made Permanent as part of "fiscal cliff" legislation

Some great news from Washington, DC!  When Congress passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (averting the so-called fiscal cliff),  the adoption tax credit was made permanent.
Since it was established in 1997, the adoption tax credit has helped thousands of American families offset the high cost of adoption or meet their adopted children’s special needs. The credit was set to virtually disappear as of December 31, 2012.
The bill signed into law by President Obama on Wednesday permanently extends the adoption tax credit and income exclusion for employer paid or reimbursed adoption expenses.  The projected maximum amount of the adoption credit for 2013 is expected to be around $12,770.
The benefits of the adoption tax credit reach beyond the children who are adopted.  A 2006 study cited by the Children’s Bureau found that taxpayers save as much as $126,000 for every child who is adopted instead of remaining in long-term foster care.  Significant savings to society are also achieved because children who are adopted fare better than those who live out their childhood in foster care.  
With more than 100,000 children in U.S. foster care waiting to be adopted, and countless millions of children worldwide without families, the continuation of the adoption tax credit helps provide love, safety, and permanency to many of these children.
For more information on the adoption tax credit, visit the website of Save the Adoption Tax Credit

Christian Alliance for Orphans: Russia's Adoption Ban Has Little to Do with Adoptions

Don't miss Jedd Medefind's insightful post on the Christian Alliance for Orphans' blog: "Russia's Adoption Ban Has Very Little to Do with Adoptions".

Jedd provides some excellent background on the changes in Russia that led to the recent ban on adoptions by families who live in the United States.

Also, he outlines "what we can do now":

"1) Pray. Ultimately, the ability to decisively change Russia’s new law rests far beyond the capacity of those who desire to do so. Pray that the hearts of Russian leaders would come to place greater priority upon the well-being of children than any competing consideration.

"2) Support In-Country Adoption & Orphan Care. The ultimate desire of the Christian Alliance for Orphans is to see the local church in every nation would rise as the primary answer for the orphans in their midst. (See more on this HERE.) Russia is a very long way from this now. Yet truly meaningful efforts are stirring. Americans who care deeply for Russian orphans can pray for and support the growing Christian adoption and orphan care efforts within Russia.

"3) Encourage Family-Centered Priorities in the U.S. Government. While overt U.S. government actions certainly can’t alter Russia’s laws, there’s reason to hope that quiet diplomacy may be able to shift or soften Russia’s stance on this issue over time as part of broader negotiations on a range of issues. Meanwhile, beyond Russia, the policies and foreign aid investments of the U.S. government worldwide can serve to cultivate family-based solutions as the priority for orphans–including family preservation efforts and both local and inter-country adoption."

Big Family Mission was instrumental in starting the Russia with No Orphans movement in 2011.  Russia with No Orphans encourages Russian churches to get involved in encouraging the adoption of Russian orphans by families in Russia.

Russian family who adopted children from the local orphanage