We will help
After reading the article in “Latvijas Avīze” about orphanages and the children who have grown up in them, I wanted to share my views, because at last there was an article that emphasized the idea that love, a sense of belonging, being loved and needed, cannot be provided or given by any orphanage.
The director of the orphanage speaks openly about the lack of emotional bonding and love that children experience:
“Unfortunately, it is impossible in orphanages. The staff members are able to show attention, hug, and talk. But we cannot replace the love of parents,” says Nellija.
A lot of children start to build relationships too early; others develop very close friendships to compensate for the deficit of love and emotional closeness that has resulted from living in an orphanage.
What the children say:
“The living conditions were good. There was warmth, food, we had activities and slept well. The worst thing I experienced was knowing that there was nobody who loves me and is waiting to care for me. There was no sense of belonging.” – says Dzintars. He affirms with confidence that all children in orphanages dream about having parents, though not necessarily biological ones, but ones who make you feel loved. That is the reason why he is thankful for his foster parents, who have helped him a lot, because finding his place in the life has been difficult.
Santa has observed that the circumstances and the environment of where a child comes from are essential. Those who live in orphanage since early childhood and come from problematic families have developed an almost animal-like instinct to survive. For example, if there is one bowl of salad on the table, they would not consider sharing it. The main thing for them is that their plate is full and it is not a problem if others have nothing to eat.
Now Santa herself works in an orphanage as a caretaker. Her experience shows that the main focus in orphanages is on the physical needs, but the emotional support is not provided. “The staff members of course are trying to create a family-like atmosphere and to provide the psychological support as much as they can. However, no matter how hard they try, it will never be what the children really need.” – concludes Santa.
Foster parents from Norway emphasized that the children that are left without care from their biological parents can be integrated in society only through a family environment. Thus we would like to express our deepest gratitude to everyone who has supported the families in our organization. These are families who have taken children into guardianship, which is the major form of care outside the family in Latvia. About 5000 children aged 1 to 18 live in this kind of family. However, it is the least financially supported by the government and municipalities (only 45 EUR per month for a child, whereas it is 657.49 EUR per month in an orphanage). The discussions about increasing this amount of financial support have been held. Nevertheless, nothing seems to change. 70 % of family care providers in our organization are legal guardians, who are not doing very well. During organized events, our goal is to provide every member family with a food basket; as well as looking for support to in providing children with school supplies. We believe that every one of us needs loving people in our lives. It is a pleasure that there are others who understand, appreciate and support these families in order to raise happy children. I want to thank those who have understood this situation and have given their support!