Monday, May 10, 2010

Russian Adoptive Parents Fear for Their Safety

Many people have been following the story of Artyom Savelyev (Artyem Saveliev). This incident also shed a spotlight on the difficulties adoptive parents face. Parents fearful for the safety of other family members or their communities have spoken out about some of the challenges they’ve confronted with their adopted children. One mother profiled on The Stir: A CafĂ© Mom Blog sleeps with a lock on her door, and another warned school officials her son was violent before the eighth grader pulled out a gun at school (Star Tribune, MN,  4/8/10).

Many children in Russian orphanages suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause attachment disorders and developmental delays. So living with and loving these children can be difficult. One organization that offers support for these parents is the Ranch for Kids Project, which helps adopted children, especially those from Russia. Its equine therapy and outdoor program provide healing benefits for these "at risk" kids.

Leap Books author Jacqueline Horsfall also explores the ties between Russian adoptees and nature through the eyes of her 16-year-old protagonist, Darya, who was adopted from Russia and brought to America as a child. Darya feels a strange, mystical connection to the deer the rest of the town is intent on hunting. But is that tie strong enough to fight her whole community, especially when she is struggling to overcome deep feelings of isolation and insecurity?

Watch for Horsfall’s timely book, For the Love of Strangers, coming from Leap Books in Fall 2010.

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