By Jenny Pope
A group of Russian orphans will make the trip of a lifetime as they travel across the world to stay with American host families this August.
The program, called Angels from Abroad, provides older children who are available for international adoption a chance to learn about American culture, share their Russian culture and experience living in a family. It also helps raise awareness about the need for adopting older children, said Debbie Wynne, director of adoption for Dillon International's Dallas office.
“Older children in Russian orphanages face a bleak future if they aren’t adopted,” she said. At the age of 16, children are forced to leave the orphanage system and many fall into alcohol, drugs, prostitution and crime. It is estimated nearly 10 percent commit suicide within the first three years.
“We have the opportunity to change these children’s lives dramatically through adoption,” Wynne said.
On April 27 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Buckner will hold a meeting in Dallas for families interested in hosting a Russian orphan through Angels from Abroad. Interested families can contact Sharon Hedrick at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-866-236-7823 to attend.
A total of 10 children, including three sibling sets, and three caregivers will arrive in August. All of the children are between the ages of 6 and 12.
Buckner is currently working to identify host families and find support for the children’s activities. In the past, volunteers have provided free makeovers, medical and dental checkups, photography, water activities and more.
Tiffany Wilkins, coordinator for the Angels from Abroad program, and her husband Garth adopted their son Vlad, now 13, after he stayed in their home in 2005.
“It was the best three weeks of my life,” she said. “Seeing how God has protected Vlad through his life, and how he’s changing him… I just feel like Vlad is so loved by the Lord and it reminds me how much the Lord loves me.”
Buckner started the Angels from Abroad program in 2004, and since then more than 80 percent of the children have been adopted into Christian families in Texas. This is the first year Buckner has hosted the program since 2006.
Buckner is seeking financial support to pay for the expenses to bring these children to the United States. The total cost is around $27,000.
Donors who would like to contribute to the program can call Buckner Foundation at 214-758-8050. To learn more about the program or to volunteer services or activities for the children, please contact Tiffany Wilkins at email@example.com.
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