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Anya was abandoned by her mother at the age of 14. Now an orphan and still a child, Anya’s heart was broken and feelings of loneliness, neglect, and self-doubt replaced feelings of happiness, love and family.
With no one to turn to, Anya was uncertain of her future and what lay ahead, but Anya’s life would soon turn around. After graduating from the orphanage, Anya was invited by a friend to stay at Ruth’s House, a Heart for Orphans Transition Home, for the summer. Since then her life has not been the same.
Anya is just one example of what the Heart for Orphans staff sees in Ukraine on a daily basis. Children’s lives turned upside down because their own family cannot take care of them. Yet family is what keeps us all going. Families are the glue to our existence…the support system we all crave and need.
The minute Anya walked into Ruth’s House she knew she was home. “I immediately felt welcome,” said Anya, remembering how house parents Tonia and Vova greeted her. “They showed me I was important. They cared for and loved me with patience and the understanding I needed.” Anya loves both Tonia and Vova like they were her own parents. She even calls them “mama and papa” and has taken their last name! The love Tonia and Vova share with each other, and with the orphans who live there, has profoundly affected this 19 year old. One day she, too, would love to be a housemother just like Tonia!
Anya loves to cook for family and guests. “Many times, she prepares something special just for Vova and me, which is such a treat,” said Tonia. Anya is also part of the puppet ministry at church. She records the voices of the puppets and then as a puppeteer brings them to life, all because she loves bringing smiles to the faces of children. Additionally, Anya enjoys going to summer camp and helping with the children in any way she can. Needless to say, Anya loves children!
Anya is a sweet, humble girl who loves to help others without calling attention to herself. She has come to learn that when you are loved and when you belong, you stop being an orphan.
Our Transition Home Program is the missing link in an orphan’s life. Here they learn about family and what it truly means to be loved. It’s a ripple effect because now they want to share this love. They want to give back which in essence has become the seed that keeps on giving.
“The harvest you reap reveals the seed that was planted.” Galatians 6:8
by Roma Frye, a Ukrainian-American and member of the Heart for Orphans staff