Nastia is a vivacious girl who says what she means. She considers herself a Christian, but refuses to attend church, and we often argue about what it means to be a Christian. She is very open to fellowship with Christians from the U.S. and Finland, but claims that there are no Russians with whom she can have fellowship on the same level. She takes care of everyone, from pregnant peers to her beloved cat.
Vika, a graduate of the same orphanage, has a little boy, whose father died when the child was an infant. I was surprised to run into Vika recently in the metro since she lives outside of the city.
When spending time with orphanage graduates, they are on the one hand independent adults. We all grow up and become adults. But on the other hand, though beyond adoptable age, they still long for a mother and father. Maybe they are “managing” and going to their job every day and paying their rent. But there are still many of life’s milestones that are hard to face alone: birthdays and other holidays; falling in love; breaking up; having a baby. And even the smaller tasks that no one taught them: checking the expiration date on groceries, what to do when the electricity goes out. A young adult raised by loving parents is ready to face the world. But the fatherless live in an institution, waiting and waiting for someone to claim them. The institution becomes a substitute. And when the time comes to go out into the world, they leave behind both the dream of a family and the substitute that helped to fill the gaps. It’s like a second rejection.
Nastia and Vika both keep in touch with girls from their orphanage, and this helps curb their loneliness. They are both very social. But there is clearly a longing there to be loved, that hasn't been fulfilled.