Times have changed since the great depression, the time when the last orphan trains rode. Nowadays it's the Siberian express and the means of transportation has changed to airplanes, but other than that it looks exactly the same to me.
Lighthouse project links Russian orphans, American families
Friday, April 04, 2008
BY ROBYN PANGI
Family Talk Magazine
Fourteen children recently made the long journey from Russia to southwestern Michigan. They brought clothes and keepsakes in hopes of securing the one thing missing from their lives: parents.
The youngsters hope to join the 500 orphans who have already found adoptive homes in America through the Russian Orphan Lighthouse Project, founded in 1993.
``What we're really after long-term is adoptive families,'' said Becky De Nooy, Grand Rapids Lighthouse Project coordinator.
Russian adoptions require two trips to Russia -- one to meet their child and another to finalize the adoption.
But when families work through the Lighthouse Project, the Russian government generally counts the time spent with the child in America as the first visit, so families typically only need to go to Russia one time. It can take as little as three to nine months after the children return to Russia for the families to be invited to finalize the adoption.
During the periodic trips of Russian orphans to the U.S. in search of permanent homes, host families are needed, who often end up providing more than temporary housing for the program.
About 40 percent of host families ultimately become adoptive families, according to De Nooy.
Family Talk magazine appears in the Kalamazoo Gazette on the first Friday of every month. Look for a family-related story every Friday in the Today section.