Russia (MNN) — In the past several years, adoption has become a touchy subject between the U.S. and Russia. Some U.S. parents who adopted Russian children abused them and “cast a shadow” on the U.S. as a whole; although they are not the norm, it caused a rift nonetheless.
Last year, Russia put an official stop to U.S. adoptions of Russian children.
“[Adoption] became basically a political football, and the children have suffered for it,” says Joel Griffith of Slavic Gospel Association (SGA).
Griffith says there are between 500,000 and 700,000 orphans in Russia alone, not to mention those in states formerly belonging to the Soviet Union: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine.
“The vast majority of those children will never be adopted out,” Griffith explains. “Many of them end up in crimes and drugs and prostitution; it’s just heartbreaking.”
SGA supports churches ministering to kids in Russia and the former Soviet Union. They address the orphan crisis through their Orphans Reborn program.
“It involves the churches sending teams of workers into the children’s homes, where they can spend quality time with the kids; they’re able to hold Bible lessons,” says Griffith.
Each Christmas, Orphans Reborn holds a special Christmas outreach called Immanuel’s Child. Gospel workers deliver gift packages donated by Western believers to children and their families.
Gifts include a Star of Bethlehem ornament signed by the donor; a special gift chosen by Russian church workers; food, warm clothes, or other toiletry items; and Russian-language children’s literature and discipleship materials.
“I can’t stress enough the vital importance of prayer in this…asking for God’s direction on how they should approach these children,” Griffith states.
Pray that gifts are seen as a tangible expression of God’s love. Pray that discipleship efforts of local workers bear much fruit.
To learn more about SGA and their work in Russia and the Former Soviet Union (FSU), click here.