Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Orphanage graduates

Rather than present the situation with grim statistics, allow me to introduce a few of our friends, who, like all Russian orphans, had to face the day when they left the orphanage behind and went out into the world. For most of us the transition to adulthood is hard enough, but imagine having to do it alone...

This is Nastia. She is a very affectionate young lady and enjoys smiling at you and staring into your eyes intently about 80% of the time. After graduating from technical school, Nastia moved into a room in a communal apartment. Many Russians live in these conditions, but for a young lady alone it is not a very safe situation.

Nastia is faithful at her job and can follow a routine very well, but sometimes makes spontaneous decisions that have dire consequences. She also has been swindled several times and calls me sometimes in a bind....the latest was renting out her room to 10 or so gypsies. She called me as she was signing the papers....Thankfully the tenants have now moved out, after a few months of negotiations. Unfortunately, as many orphans come of age, they are tricked into signing away their rights to an apartment which belongs to them, and it then becomes impossible to find housing.

Vika and Nastia were in the same orphanage. Vika had a child, whose father died. In contrast to many unwed single mothers, Vika has been fighting to keep the child and not put him in an orphanage. Motherhood has perhaps enabled her to mature faster than other orphanage graduates. But she still faces many difficult decisions. Vika has some living relatives, but the wounds run deep and there has been no reconciliation. She and her son are currently living with her late boyfriend's mother, the child's grandmother.


  1. Nastia hasn't changed at all since I knew her.
    How old are they by now?

  2. I think they're both around 26. We met them in 1997.


Note: Comments aren't proofread, but I will delete them if they seem inappropriate.

You’re welcome to leave a link to your own blog here if it's relevant to this blog.

Please make sure that your comments are 1) relevant and 2) respectful (i.e. no cuss words, attacks on individuals).