For months, I’ve thought about tying a fund-raising cause into the 3rd Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway. I considered raising money for libraries, to address violence against women, and all kinds of other good causes. But then I came home from vacation to a sick dog followed by a sick kid followed by a sick mom (that’s still me). So I felt like I needed to let the good cause idea go this time around.
But then, over the weekend, Jen Applin, a former student and current Writing for the Web instructor, shared a very inspiring story with me. In fact, it was so inspiring I thought, “Now THIS is a perfect cause for the giveaway.”
So, I’m asking participants in the Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway to make a small donation to Jen’s family’s cause and hoping we can drum up something like the cost of two round-trip tickets from Ohio to Russia. Don’t feel pressured to make a large donation—no one will know how much you give except you and Jen. I hope if most people who participate make a small donation of say 3 or 5 or 10 bucks, we can really make a difference in one heroic family’s good cause.
I’ll let Jen tell you the story. And if you feel moved to give, feel free..but no pressure.
How the Applin Family Spent Their Summer Vacation:
This summer we participated in a Russian orphan hosting program. Through a local charity thirteen Russian children between the ages of 4-14 were hosted by ten different families for almost three weeks. We were matched with a spunky little girl who turned five just two days after she left. We also got to spend time with the other Russian children, who were visiting, including a sweet little boy who turns five this fall. [The names and photos of the children cannot be shared to protect their privacy.]
The purpose of the program was to provide a sort of vacation and adventure for children who have only known abandonment, rejection, and loneliness in their short lives. Like most orphans, the future for these Russian children looks pretty bleak when the day finally arrives for them to leave the orphanage. They are literally kicked out around the age of 17 without adequate resources (money, food, job, housing, family support, etc.). Only about 10% typically are able to make anything of their lives. Statistics say the other 90% turn to a life of crime, drugs/alcohol, prostitution/sex trade, or commit suicide.
Through this program we tried to show the children that there is a world beyond the orphanage doors. We wanted them to know that there are people who care about them so hopefully they will strive to “make it.”
For our family, as well as some of the others, this hosting experience turned into something entirely different. To put it simply, we fell in love! The children became a part of our families and now we’re trying to make it official.
We didn’t plan on adopting two children from Russia (one of the most expensive adoption programs around). But that is where we are. Some of you may recall that we already have four children between the ages of 3-8. So this will give us six children in a 5-year-span! We said “yes” with our hearts, not entirely sure how this is going to work out.
I’m busy working on the massive list of adoption paperwork and teaching my current Writing for the Web course. I’ll also be teaching the October 7th session, but that will be the last one, at least for a while, since sometime after the first of the year we’ll be traveling to Russia 2-3 times and then adjusting to our new family life.
Through research I’ve learned that globally there are over 143 million orphans, and this number increases by the thousands daily. I know that when it comes to the orphan crisis we can’t change the world. But I am hoping that at least for these two children, we can change their world. I know they’ve already changed ours.
It’s funny how you can be cruising along in life with plans made, working towards your goals and then BAM!!…everything changes. That is what we’re experiencing in the Applin household. Thanks for your support!
Our first goal is two round-trip tickets to Russia for Jen and her husband. Approximate cost: $3,000.00.
If 20 people donate $5 each day. In 30 days, we’d reach that goal, no problem.
There are only six people in the Applin family (soon to be eight) but thousands will visit this site during the Writer Mama Back-To-School Giveaway. I think we can do this. Thanks in advance for your generosity!