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One Christian Organization is Making a Difference for Children Often Forgotten

One Christian Organization is Making a Difference for Children Often Forgotten Read Transcript

In 2012, Russia banned US citizens

from adopting orphans in response

to American sanctions over human rights violations.

But could that be changing?

President Trump says he and Russian President Putin

discussed the issue at the recent G20 summit.

Don Horwitz is executive director

for Christians Care International, a group that

assists needy Jewish families and orphans

in the former Soviet Union.

He's also the adoptive father of three daughters, all of whom

are from Russia, and he joins us now for more.

Don, thanks a lot for joining us.

Hi, Heather.

Thanks for having me on today.

Don, talk about what you have seen in

regards to the impact of this adoption ban.

It's been four or five years now.

What has it been like?

Well, I've been working in the former Soviet

Union, in particular Russia and Ukraine, for over 20 years now.

And I've spent the majority of that time working

in Russian orphanages and with the children there.

At Christians Care International,

we have over 1,700 children in our program

that have been severely abused, neglected, and abandoned.

And we use advanced therapeutic techniques

that rehabilitate the children by combining neuroscience

with advanced psychotherapy.

Now, the ban that has gone into effect

has severely affected children living in these orphanages.

The orphanages range from acceptable

to horrific conditions.

The further you get away from the major cities,

the worse the orphanages are for the children.

So try to imagine a group of 30 children with one caretaker,

and that caretaker is their parent, basically,

and that parent is responsible for taking care of 30 children.

It's nearly impossible to provide the care

that those children need.

So that's basically what you're looking at.

Is there any hope for these children

as it stands right now?

I mean, are there parents in Russia, Ukraine, who

will potentially adopt them?

What does their future look like?

You know, there's a stigma with families

in the former Soviet Union, parents.

They view children who have been abandoned,

who have done nothing wrong in their life,

have done nothing wrong at all, but because of their parents

have become drug addicted, they abuse alcohol.

There's a stigma attached to these children

where Russian families and Ukrainian families

don't want to adopt them because they

think they're damaged goods.

And it's the furthest thing from the truth,

but that is the stigma they're facing.

So when you look at in-country adoptions,

the outlook is pretty bleak.

So when you look at the fact that the president

of the United States and the president of Russia

spoke at the recent summit, does that encourage you?

Do you think there's any reason to be

hopeful about this ban on adoptions being lifted?

Well, we're definitely praying.

I mean, the ban needs to be lifted because the children are

being caught in the middle of a horrific political situation.

But unfortunately, because as we see the events unfold

on the political side of things, especially

with the new sanctions being introduced now,

I think that it's not looking so great right now, in my opinion.

At this point in time, what can Christians in the US

do to help these orphans, given the ban that

is in place right now?

Well, there's no borders when it comes to children.

A child in need is a child in need,

whether they live in the US, whether they live in Russia.

Christians need to stand up and wrap our loving

arms around these children and give them

the support that they need.

That's the only hope that these children have.

We need to have more rehabilitative programs

like the programs that we implement in the former Soviet


But we need a lot of support to do that,

because we're overwhelmed with the amount of children

that are out there that need our services.

And politically speaking, is there

anything that average Americans can do to help,

that your organization is doing right now to encourage this ban

to be lifted?

Well, we're not a political organization.

We focus on taking care of the children.

But on a personal side, I encourage my congressmen,

my senators to do whatever they can do to lift the ban.

And I urge everybody to write their congressmen and senators

and stand up for these children, because these children

are the future of the world.

It doesn't matter if they live across the seas,

it doesn't matter if they live in the US,

we are one big world that affect each other.

So we must stand up for these children.

All right.

And Don, I know you yourself adopted three Russian girls.

Just tell us a little bit about how that has changed your life.

Well, it was a life-changing experience.

I adopted my daughters when they were older, which

is not the typical adoption.

I adopted them when they were eight, 10, and 14.

They were all severely abused and neglected.

And I brought them home to the US

and they had a lot of problems.

But, thank God, because we are loving parents,

because we were able to provide them with the services

that they needed, today they're young women.

They're married, they're in careers,

and that would not have been possible

if we didn't adopt them.

I hate to think of what would have happened.

Because what people don't understand with these children

is 90% of the children who age out

leave the orphanage between the age of 16 and 18 years old,

either turn to crime, prostitution,

commit suicide, become homeless, become

drug or alcohol addicted.

Only 10% of the children have any kind of meaningful life.

So this is why it's so critical that we stand up

for these children.

Yeah, it really--

if you're a parent or just love children in general,

it's so heartbreaking.

All right, well, thanks for the update, Don Horwitz.

Thanks for your time and your insights.

Thank you for having me on.

God bless you.



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