Today I would like to introduce you to Denis. Denis turned 10 in May. Can you believe those eyes? And that impish look on his face? You can tell by looking that this child is fun to be with.
Denis lives in an Eastern European orphanage. He has a chronic, manageable illness and is otherwise healthy.
Denis is described as well-behaved, kind, caring, and gentle. When another child from his group was adopted, Denis became teary and wished the child good luck. He has no delays and lives in a facility that is reported to provide excellent care.
Denis wants a family.
I think that it is important to remember that, even for kids who have never lived in a family, never experienced the love of a mom or a dad, never belonged to a family that calls them "mine" and cares for them more than anyone else in the world, these kids know what a mom and dad are, they know what a mom and dad do, and they know, to some degree, what they are missing. It is a human instinct to want the love of a mother; it is a human instinct to want to belong to a family.
When my husband and I traveled to adopt our children, many of the kids we met in our childrens' orphanages called us Mom and Dad. Even if they didn't know any English, they knew the words Mom and Dad. They wanted us to take their photos ("Photo me? Photo me?" they would ask, repeatedly) and, more importantly, they wanted us to take photos of them with us. These pictures of the children sitting on our laps, with our arms around them, smiling at each other, were very important to the children. For a moment, they belonged to someone.
Denis wants to belong to someone.
These photos were taken recently by an adoptive family at Denis' orphanage. I have smudged the faces of the adoptive parents so they are not identifiable. But you can see the look on Denis' face. You can see how much it means to him to be with these people.
Denis is almost the age that one of my children was when adopted. As I have mentioned before, it was not always easy. That child's adjustment to the family, and our adjustment to that child, was sometimes rocky. But we built our family by adoption, and we live together in love, and I can say without any shadow of a doubt that adopting an older child has its own rewards and that older children need the love and stability of a family every bit as much as younger children. No one outgrows the need for a family, ever.
An adoptive family who recently met Denis had this to say about him:
Denis is a wonderful boy with very good manners, excellent social skills, and VERY bright (tries some English!) He very much wants a family and has enjoyed interacting with [my husband] and I! I believe he will be an easy fit into a family and he has a huge desire for a Mom and Dad. He is both a gentlemen and will shake your hand upon an introduction and a playful little boy when the time comes. We observed him taking pride and initiative with things such as clearing his dishes and taking out the trash. He has an excellent attitude and is outgoing without being obtrusive.
Denis' future, if he is not adopted, is bleak. According to Haven Bridge, an organization that helps teens as they age out of orphanages, children who graduate from orphanages lack the basic life skills, critical thinking skills, decision-making skills, and educational skills to create a life for themselves beyond the orphanage environment. Additionally, the stigma of being an orphan follows these children and can hinder their ability to integrate into society. More than 10% percent of these children commit suicide within a few years of graduation from an orphanage; more than half are recruited into a life of prostitution or crime. More than 30% of recently-released orphans become addicted to drugs and alcohol. One-third of all released orphans end up in prison, making the journey from one state institution (orphanage) to another (prison).
And even if none of these horrible things that, statistically, are likely to happen to Denis, actually happen to him, he still deserves better than a life spent believing no one ever wanted him.
Denis is not listed on Reece's Rainbow. I am working to set up fundraising for him. If you are interested in adopting Denis, I can point you in the direction of people who can help make that happen. If you are interested in helping to raise funds for an adoption grant for Denis, I would love to work with you on that. For any of these reasons, please email me through the Contact Me button on the right sidebar of my blog. Please share Denis' information so that his forever family can find him.
Please do not forget about Denis.
Please also revisit my post about Kristopher, a 7 year old boy who still waits for his family.