Destinies of children

For a long time (almost six years) we have served as chaplains in the Central Regional Hospital of the village Chervona Sloboda, and have constantly visited their Children’s Department. Last year the hospital received an award from an international organization entitled “The Hospital of Tolerant Attitude Towards Children”. The head physician at the hospital also shared these kind words to us, “There is also your merit in it.”

In the department we face visiting children with various problems arising from birth. Children, who more often go to hospital, are orphans, children from dysfunctional families, as well as those abandoned from birth. The hospital makes many efforts to help these children. Although the medical staff shows maternal care and love to such children, it is not enough for the children’s full growth and development. This category of children still requires financial support expressed in timely food, clothes, medicines (sometimes expensive), and many other things. We chaplains serving at the hospital sincerely thank those who support these children. May God bless you and your family.

Vitaly Strizhak, 2 years old, from the village Khats’ky in Cherkassk region

I will tell you about one boy who was called “the son of the hospital”. When he was 7 months old he and his mother were admitted to the hospital diagnosed with pneumonia and anemia. The head office immediately informed us.

The boy was orphaned with no father, and his mother was alcohol dependent. The boy was in very old and dirty clothes, and in very bad condition. We immediately bought him everything necessary according to the list the manager had written, and more. A few days later it was evident the boy was recovering and beginning to gain weight. But his mother left. And, unfortunately, she was absent for two and a half months—the whole time the child was in hospital and under our care. The mother eventually came back, took the child, and went home.

A year and a half later we met with Vitalik and his mother, who was in bad condition. It was evident her dependency had progressed and alcohol had taken her health away. But, she recognized me. She began to tell me the courts wanted to deprive her maternal rights.

The boy was in terrible condition. When somebody approached him, he would cover his face with his hands. It seemed that he was constantly beaten. He had probably slept in a box because when he saw a bedside table, he crawled inside, closed his eyes, which showed us how he sleeps.

As we expected a few days later his mother left and Vitalik was alone again. Several times his mother came (drunk) below the windows of the children’s department. She probably wanted to see her son. Her parental feeling had remained, but by that time the courts had already decided the mother would be denied her parental rights. We were concerned she would steal the child. Two weeks later we were told the mother died of alcohol poisoning.

The boy became the floor orphan. The hospital began to prepare documents transferring him to the “House of Babes”. By that time he had become ill with all illnesses other department children had. He had been living in the department for 5 months, and constant contact with sick children led to new diseases. Several times he was moved to the infectious department for the fact he was ill with pox. It was painful to watch while he was bedridden in solitary confinement and pointing his finger towards the window, desiring to be outside. Such quarantine lasted twenty-one days. We sent him toys, juice, meals and all necessary items. When his quarantine ended, we walked with great pleasure with him outside, saw what pleasure was on his face, and rejoiced together with him.

In conversations with other Believers we constantly spoke about Vitalik—a very good boy, and that maybe someone would adopt him. Such a family was found! We met a couple and visited their home. They were not able to have children of their own, and decided to adopt Vitalik. The husband, wife, grandmother and grandfather arrived to take him home. All the staff of the Children’s and Infections Departments came out to accompany him. Now Vitaly Strizhak (probably has a new last name today) lives with his family in the village called Yasnozir’ja of the Cherkassk region. His pictures are in our memorial album, and it would be great to meet him years in the future.

Nastia Suprun, 4 years old, and her brother, Timor, 1 year and 7 months, from the village of Khudyaky, in the Cherkassk region.

Children arrived in the Infections Department. They were brought by representatives of the village council. Parents had been deprived of their parental rights. There had been full indifference to children, as well as drunkenness and drugs. There was one grandmother who lived in Italy. She had refused her grandchildren as well. The children were brought to the hospital, because there was no other place for them. In the house where they lived—if it is possible to call it a house—there was no heat or light because of non-payment.

The children were glad when they got to the hospital. This was especially visible with Nastia. All scrapes on her face and body passed as she cared for her brother while in hospital. She loved him very much. While papers in the “House of Babes” were prepared, the children stayed in the hospital. The greatest trauma for the children was when they were put in different Children’s Homes. Oh how Nastia cried when Timor was taken away… She seized his hands and did not allow anyone to touch him. A few days later Nastia was taken to another Children’s Home.

That is how the Children’s Destinies have been dispersed. They may never meet, though they will live in one country, and possibly one city. Our country has no system for tracing or accounting for siblings. In consequence, it may not be possible to find and reconnect this brother and sister.

A Gift on March 8th – Women’s Day

On March 8th last year, in a hospital reception, a call arrived: “We congratulate you on this holiday and have sent you a gift. It lies on the administration entry threshold.” When the doctor on duty came to the specified place, he found a parcel with a small girl inside. At once the child was taken to the Children’s Department. Experts decided the girl was five days old. Midwifes examined her, and concluded that the child had been born outside of a hospital, because the umbilical cord had not been professionally fastened. They started an unsuccessful search for the child’s parents, and the child was in hospital for two months. All this time we assisted. We had already started legal papers in the “House of Babes”. At this time the best decision came from the Lord. One family decided to adopt the girl. They had not had children for a long time. The nurse from the same hospital’s Surgical Department became the foster mother. She immediately issued maternity leave to herself! Now the family lives happily in the village of Chervona Sloboda, and thanks God for the gift.

The Klimenko family of the village of Chervona Sloboda. (In-home visits to children being cared for by the hospital)

The Klimenko family has 5 children, and do not own their own home. They rent an apartment. One boy in the family is named Andrusha. He is an invalid of the first order. He doesn’t walk, talk, recognize anyone, and is completely deaf. He is 12 years old. The father’s primary job does not earn very much, and he supplements where possible. The family conducts a normal way of life—as much as their prosperity allows. We took this family under care and repeatedly visit them. We render financial support and purchase household products and clothing.

Oksana Kramnaja, 32 years old, of the village Chervona Sloboda. Her child is 8 months old.

Oksana was in hospital with her child who had been diagnosed with pneumonia. For a long time she did not want to leave the hospital, the whole time saying the child still had a cough, was not healthy, etc.

We assisted the child and Oksana received foodstuff. As a result in one and a half months the child was signed out of the hospital. Anna Vasilevna Uspensky, of the Management Department, requested we perform house visits to Oksana and her child. Anna told us, “I have reason to believe she has very bad living conditions.” That same day we went to the specified address. We found the house. It was an old two storied hostel. The room was on the first floor. We rang the room’s doorbell, but it did not work. We knocked and Oksana opened the door. She was delighted, but confused when she saw us.

The apartment consisted of two rooms. Under one table there was a sleeping dog along with some of its mess where it had not been taken outside. On a bed, in another room, the child slept completely dressed as in winter because the temperature in the apartment was not much warmer than outside. The only light in the rooms came from outside. When I asked Oksana to switch on light, she replied, “Our light and heat has been disconnected for non-payment since autumn.”

We spoke with Oksana for a long time. I do not know what is truth concerning Oksana’s life, but my heart was heavy with pain and pity for this woman and the child which peacefully slept in the cold, dark apartment. We bought her macaroni, sugar, flour, and still give a small sum of money.

For a second time we spoke with the Managing Department, and a week later Oksana and her child were accepted into hospital where they spent an entire month.

Larissa Pisakina, 46 years old, from the village of Khutory in Cherkassk region.

In the village of Pisakiny is known a friendly and hardworking family. There are 9 children in this family. Three years ago the father left the family and now lives separately. Some fellow villagers living near Pisakiny say he lives at the village station.

Last week the woman came to us in the chaplaincy room and told us with tears on her face, “If there is a possibility, please help.” Larissa was the mother of 9 children. Looking at her hands, it is unmistakable they did not know rest. Larissa also told us the reason she was now in hospital.

Her oldest daughter had given birth to her granddaughter, who had a vascular tumor. The child is now 7 months old. Already one operation had been completed, but the tumor again appeared. The doctors were perplexed at the child’s persistent bronchitis and constant cough. There is probability that the tumor will grow inside the lungs. The girl is being prepared for the next operation, but they need money.

After hearing this story from the crying mother and grandmother, we prayed for the girl, their family, and for the doctors who will operate. In the department we visited mother and daughter, bringing pampers for the daughter and foodstuffs for Larissa.

Why food for the mother? The grandmother explained they have had to avoid baby food because it is too expensive and the child refuses to eat it. The child prefers her mother’s milk so we purchase food for the mother. She gave thanks to the Lord for such people who help children.

Children from a Boarding School

In October of last year boarding school children arrived in the Infections Department. There were three girls age seven to ten years, and one five year old boy. There were orphans, and children whose parents were deprived parent and fatherly rights. They had had contact with a boy who was ill with measles. In order to keep other children from being made ill, the children were isolated in quarantine, but in a stock room for boxes.

The infection doctor told us about it, and asked if we could provide children with games, books, and especially winter clothes. We were able to provide all necessary items for the children. And glory to the Lord, the children passed 20-day quarantine, and no one remained ill. In two weeks we came to them. What cheers they met us with as we brought gifts and candy. But, there were also other desires in their eyes as one uncle said, “I am now your daddy and you will live in our family. Come with me!”

Kostya, who earlier lived in a Boarding School, writes a letter to God.

“Thank You for giving me rich parents. Though they are my foster parents, and not my real mom and dad, they have chosen me from all the boarding school children. I have pretended to be the one, and they have been very kind and generous. They took me from the boarding school, and now I study at a regular school. I secretly visit my birth mother. In the beginning I came to her to brag as if I was getting something over on people. She would cry from pleasure and laugh. It became a terrible pity to me as I slyly took food from my new parents to her. She calls me “getter” and “supporter.” No, You arranged me greatly; in one house I am the “eater”, and in other the “getter”. And all of us are happy. Are You?” Kostya, 3rd Grade

The mother is a 12 year old, 5th Grade school girl from the village of Yasnozir’ya in the Cherkassk region

Having come to the chaplaincy room, we found a note lying under the door. Such mode of notification is normal in the hospital. In the note was written, “Encourage morally and spiritually mother with the child. Mother is 12 years old. Children’s Department”. When I came into the Children’s Department it was not clear where the mother was. Two young boys, the female teenager, and the six-week old newborn slept on the bed.

The girl was an orphan. Her mother had died and the girl had lived with her father who was an alcoholic. The girl gave birth in our hospital. After the delivery there was a strong psychosis, and she attempted to throw herself from the 5th floor. Unfortunately, we heard this history after the girl had gotten to the Children’s Department with the child. The hospital manager told us the diagnosis for these children. The newborn has bronchitis and his young mother mastitis.

I asked the girl what her living conditions were and how she copes with the child. From conversing I learned she is strongly offended by her father. He forces her to work by carrying heavy loads of water and cutting firewood. He also told her that any money she receives for the child he is to give it all to him because he wants to buy a good scooter (small motorcycle).

Of course we took these children on support as soon as we found them in the hospital. When the young mother and child had recovered, her mother-in-law arrived to take them home. We were assured they will live in her house. Thank God the woman’s heart was opened, and she accepted the children into her home.

RESPONSES ABOUT CHAPLAIN SERVICE from DOCTORS OF HOSPITAL.

Galina Andreevna Aza, Lead Doctor, Manager of Infections Department.

In the practice I constantly meet seriously ill patients. Each time after such meetings remains a heavy deposit. There is a big desire to assist such people. But, unfortunately, in these cases the medicine is powerless and sometimes disappointment comes. But meeting with chaplains, I come to a conclusion that desperate situations do not have to happen, and there is hope of recovery. God has the last word.

Recently I myself appeared on a hospital cot. There despair had set in. My state of health did not improve. I realized it is important to have moral and spiritual support during such moments. But, I was in a clinic where there were no chaplains or counselors. Thank God I am now healthy, have returned to my former work, and have even more appreciation and friendship with our chaplaincy service. Now I wish to give words of gratitude to chaplains for repeatedly rendering help to patients in our department. And especially to those our society looks on with fear: HIV infected children. I thank chaplains for rendering help to such children by purchasing polyvitamins and medicines that maintain function of their livers.

The inquiry in the department on the account of HIV-infected children of the Cherkassk area consists: For August, 2008 there were 5 children. 11 children are presently under supervision. In deterioration of state of health, they receive treatments in Infections Department of the hospital.

Anna Vasilevna Uspensky, Lead Doctor, Manager of Children’s Department

Already for five years our Children’s Department has co-operated with chaplains. And, we are glad for this cooperation. Almost daily these people come to our department. In summertime there are often cases when mothers leave children for two to three months at a time. We wait expectantly for mothers to return and take back their child. All this time children are without mothers to care for them, chaplains are engaged. They buy necessary food, pampers and clothes. This is but one example.

And there are children who have been completely abandoned by their mothers. Two to four such children arrive each year. And while legal papers are prepared in Children’s Homes, chaplains help the children with all that is necessary. For children on Christmas holidays chaplains bring a puppet theatre and distribute gifts to children, to orphans, and children from needy families. Last year our department very much required children’s scales. Under my request, chaplains have presented such scales to us. Huge thanks to you, and thanks to the management from Kiev which also repeatedly visits us. Respected chaplains we wait for you in our Children’s Department.

Yours faithfully,

The medical personnel of Children’s Department
Manager, Anna Vasil’evna.