The thought of graduating is usually a joyous one. It’s a time to celebrate a great accomplishment and to begin launching into a new phase of life. It’s often a time that we are encouraged to live our dreams, and one where we look back and thank those who have helped us along the way.
August 31 is Graduation Day in many Eastern European countries.
But it’s not a joyous day. It’s a day filled with fear and dread.
See, it’s a different kind of graduation. It’s the day when children, aged 16-18 (depending on the country and circumstances) graduate from the orphanage they’ve been living in. They pack their few belongings, hug their friends, and walk out the door. They’re expected to make a way for themselves, with no training, little education, little to no money, no place to live, and no hope. They have no family to fall back on or to encourage them in their journey. And at this point, they are no longer even eligible to be adopted.
It’s a day of true loneliness.
The statistics are bleak.
“After leaving the care of the state orphanage system, 30% of the children become vagrants, 20% become criminals and 10% commit suicide. Only 40% go on to live some kind of ‘normal’ life.” (Source: Adopting in Russia by Irina M. O’Rear, p. 45). Other countries have reported things like 70-80% will turn to crime or become victims of the sex trade, or that close to 50% of these will die before turning 21, many at their own hand.
So what can we do?
1. Please pray for these children. Pray also for those for whom it is not too late, that they will be chosen and given a home, and pray for those walking the road to changing the future for just one or two of these precious kids (including us!). Pray for a miracle.
2. Consider at least hosting an orphan child. Contact New Horizons for Children and see how you could be a part of changing a child’s life, even if only for a few weeks. These kids learn so much in such a short time… they learn about family, and see that the violence isn’t the only way to solve a problem. They experience love and the joy of actually being chosen. They are exposed to the Gospel and given hope, for many, for the first time in their life. And then, stay open to how God may have you be a part of their lives in the future.
3. Help us bring two of these precious children to the US this Christmas, with the chance of finding a forever family of their own. We are still raising funds to bring N & A to America for Christmas, with the hope of us becoming their forever family. We can’t do this on our own, but if many come together, we can possibly give them best Christmas gift ever. You can make a donation to the cause by clicking here. Or, if you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, please contact me for details.
Graduation Day. Please remember the least of these.