More Than 415 Children and Families Entrusted to the Social Services Provided by For Our Children Foundation during the First Quarter of 2017

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Over 415 children and families entrusted to For Our Children Foundation in the first quarter of the year.   Our experts worked with 315 children and families in our community support centers in Sofia and Plovdiv, the foster care center and Children`s House. We supported 276 children in biological, adoptive and expanded families, 32 children in foster families, 7 children went through our family house.   Our experts saved 27 children from abandonment thanks to the active cooperation with hospitals, on-time intervention and the support we provided to parents. 38 are the cases we worked on during the first three months of the year on the “Prevention of Abandonment of Newborns” program. We are proud that 34 of these children were not placed in an institution.   25 children aged 0 to 7, living with their families, received our professional help and support in our early childhood intervention program. We also supported 14 children placed in families of relatives, 6 children in adoptive families, 21 children in process of re-integration in other programs of our community support centers.   We expanded our support for the children and their families with new services that we are developing in our project Care in Early Age – consultations, trainings and fieldwork. 176 are the consultations we provided in the project, 69 of which to children, 87 to parents and 20 to specialists.   The research the foundation conducts on the effect of the support to biological, relative or adoptive families the children are based on established methods. It undoubtedly shows the positive effect on the child. 59% of all 69 children showed positive change, their parents take the necessary cares for them and they are at no risk of abandonment any more. The work in 10 of the cases on the programs “Children with Difficult Behavior”, “Children Placed in Families of Relatives” continues. 64 of the children have access to a general practitioner and receive adequate health cares.   The interest of the parents and future parents towards the free courses for parental skills organized by the foundation is getting bigger. Nearly 100 moms and dads have taken part in the courses since the beginning of the year. The courses and consultations on the primary prevention of separation of children from their families and those for candidates for adopters are also gaining popularity….

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The Child that Draws Robots

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The parents of a 3-years-old boy turned to our Community Support Center “St. Sofia” with the request for consulting and support in the cares for their son.   They were worried of little Stanimir`s behavior – he was nervous, had difficulties keeping his attention on one thing, he was often angry and refused to communicate with others. His mother told us he had problems with his speaking development – he could connect words into sentences, he talked fast, but could not articulate properly and people could not understand most of the things he said. He even did not allow his brother to touch the toys he played with – he crushed him, got angry and started crying.   We included the family in our Early Intervention program and started work with them.   Our Early Intervention specialist prepared an assessment of Stanimir`s development, with which we established the capacity and the opportunities for the child`s more active development. We prepared an individual program for work with him and goals the child has to achieve. We offered him interesting home activities he can do with his mom and dad`s help. – to string beads, to shape out of plasticine, to cut and stick paper, to do gymnastics with his fingers, because the development of the motor skills of his hands helps for the development of his speech and thoughts. In order to develop his speaking skills, we recommended that he tell a short story of photo, to share his emotions after a walk or his visit at the kindergarten. We trained his mother how to draw together with him at home, so that Stanimir could learn the colors and shapes.   We supported the parents, whose contrast parenting models led to a controversial behavior and attitude towards the children, as well as to conflicts in the united family. With our assistant, a psychologist consulted them on the features of the age, gender and temper of the child, as well as the effective instructive measurements. As a result of the consultations, Stanimir`s parents now manage to find more balanced communication approaches between each other, as well as in their children`s upbringing. And, all of this has a positive effect on the boys` development.   The change in Stanimir`s behavior is tangible. He is calmer and more concentrated, with an enriched vocabulary. He can string beads, draws a line and a circle, discerns and names a few colors, counts to five, tells a story of a picture in a book, plays with his brother. We likes to draw robots very much and shares what he has drawn with excitement.   The support we offered Stanimir and his family gave him good results. The boy`s parents are calmer, more balanced and understanding towards each other and their children, which not only improved the atmosphere, but also stimulates the adequate development of their two children.   We are certain that with the everyday support and love of his family, Stanimir will have a happy and adequate…

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Thanks to the professional support of our Center “Saint Sofia” Chrissy’s Parents are getting more confident in properly taking care for her

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Chrissy is 5-year-old, charming, blue eyed girl with lively character. She conquered her adoptive parent’s hearts since they first met her at about 4 years ago. Unfortunately they lost their grown up son and although in general they are experienced parents it does not help them setting boundaries and introducing rules into everyday life. Rules, boundaries, health limitations and upbringing are constantly postponed for some time in the future and this is how the time goes… Chrissy’s parents are intelligent people, they are well aware of potential risks and challenges they have to face revealing a well-kept secret that Chrissy is adopted. This subject, however, seems too complicated for them at that particular moment so they keep postponing it.   Their desire to make it in the best possible and most painless way took them to our Community Support Center “ Sveta Sofia”.   Together we have developed a supporting program that includes everything that is directly related to the way the child is raised. Parents have been trained on how to deal with the specifics on a child the spent part on their life in institution. We raised their awareness of the patient approach they need to take as well as choosing the best moment to tell Chrissy that she has been adopted.   The girl had no traces on abandonment or trauma on rejection due to the fact she spent time in institution. That is why in the sessions, we got focused on the development and upbringing on a healthy, well integrated child trying to minimize the behavior downflows, specific for adopted children. We helped them reconsider the need of setting up a framework for Chrissy in order to establish adult authority in the family. We also advised them on technics, themed tales and stories which can naturally introduce and make the well-kept secret of her adoption acceptable.   We monitored Chrissy, assessing how does she respond to new environment, new faces,how she reacts to new stimulus. How she explores surroundings, how often she seeks her parents for help. What kind of attachment she has developed with them and also how she plays and engages with children her age.   Chrissy is also attending a music therapy group as to develop her communication skills with other well-integrated children. We’ve been working with her to raise her attention on topics which later will help uncover the secret. Part on the family sessions with Chrissy are including games and painting activities to again introduce adoptive theme and help her accepts with ease the secret to adoption. At first, Chrissy ignored her parents’ attempts to talk about her background and past.   Today she opens the book with the tale on the “adopted little fox” and wants to talk openly about it.   Chrissy’s parents met other families with adopted children the felt well and fulfilled because they managed to overcome the specific chalenges of raising an adopted child. They talk, help each other and exchange experiences.   Today, Chrissy’s parents are much more confident trying to gradually reveal the secret about her background. We are sure they will do it the best possible way and we will always be there for…

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Our Experts Relate: There is no nobler mission than the one to support a mother not to abandon her child, so that it will not be without its mother`s love

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On a cold February morning, in the beginning of the workday, the phone at our Community Support Center “St. Sofia” rang. It was a call from the hospital – a young mother intended to abandon her newborn and they were looking for our help so that the newborn will not miss mother`s love. I immediately went to the maternity ward . When I entered the room of the mother, a beautiful, young, well-mannered and educated woman welcomed me – the 23rd years-old Galya. She was expecting me, the doctors had told her that a specialist of For Our Children Foundation was going to come and talk to her if she wanted to. She thanked me. The woman started relating. She lived together with her sister, her two own children – aged five and three, and her sister`s child in a municipal apartment, poorly furnished but with the necessary furniture and electric appliances. She was unemployed and relied only on the government subsidy to take care for her children. Despite her limited financial possibilities, she had managed to cope up with the provision of the daily needs of her two children. When she was five months pregnant, the father of the newborn she intended to abandon, left her and she had no contact with him since then. Galya shared that without the constant support of her relatives, and without a partner who can provide the family with financial stability, it would be hard for her to raise another child. Galya obviously got upset while explaining to me because she could not take care of her newborn, and unless she leaved her daughter, she would cause loss to her other children. “I feel sad that I will leave my daughter, but I will keep her always in my thoughts and in my heart. If she lives with another family, she will get the chance for a better life that I will not be able to provide to her”, shared Galya. I calmed her and told her that I understand she is in a difficult situation and this decision is not easy. I told her that I would be there to support her emotionally, to offer her alternatives so that she can take care of her daughter in a family environment. I introduced her with the consequences of abandonment on the child and the effects that the separation with her biological mother has on the psychological and emotional development I presented her the opportunities for support and the services our center offers so she does not feel alone in the cares for her daughter. I could feel that Galya was starting to have doubts about the decision for her little daughter and that she could manage to overcome the separation with her. I let her stabilize emotionally and rethink the future of her little girl. In the end of our talk, we agreed to continue talking on the phone until she made her final decision for the baby. Two days after Galya was discharged from the hospital, she told us about her decision not to abandon the child and despite all difficulties, to take care of it and do everything she can so that it could grow up happy and loved. She thanked us for the support to feel more confident and secure in her and her children`s future. Today, the little girl feels well among the attention and love of her mom and her big brother and sister. Galya now takes good care of her children, and all of us, from the Community Support Center are glad that another baby is together with its biological family. We remain avaliable to support Galya with everything we can. Dimitrina Hristova Social Worker at the Community Support Center “St. Sofia”…

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Another Baby is With Its Family Thanks to The Support of Our Community Support Center

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Radost is a 6-months-old baby, born after another unplanned and unfollowed pregnancy of her mother, underweight and with a health problem. The family already has five children and lives in a poorly furnished, but well-maintained house. The parents are not married, but have been together for a long time now, they support and help each other. The mother takes care of the children, the father works in the construction sector, their income is hardly enough for the monthly costs of the big family. Their relatives cannot help them financially, but the grandmother often takes care of the children. The children are attached to both their parents despite the poor living conditions, the relationships between the members of the family are stable.   The family was directed to our Community Support Center “St. Sofia” by the Social Protection Department. Radost`s helath problem forced her to stay longer at the hospital. We accompanied the mother, who is illiterate, at the hospital so that she can be informed about the child`s condition, where she was told about the specific cares she has to take for her child. The doctors had doubts about the family`s capability to provide appropriate environment for Radost, but we actively spoke up for the biological family as it is the best environment for the child`s development, and declared our willingness to support the mother.   During the two months Radost was under treatment by a serious infection, we provided emotional and material support to her mother. We discussed the difficulties she faces while bringing up her children, what is necessary to be done and how we can help her. We gave her directions about the child`s bringing up, bathing and hygiene procedures. We accompanied her during her visits to the doctor and assisted her in the contacts with the institutions.   As a result, after she was discharged from the hospital, Radost went back to her biological family. She still needs specific cares to avoid a new infection. That is why we continue our support to the family – financial for the medicines the child needs, as well as material – adapted milk, clothes, blankets and diapers.   Now, the child is in good helath, without complications after her stay at the hospital and is being fed well.   We believe that she will grow up a healthy and happy baby, surrounded by the love of her biological…

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Another baby is growing up happy and loved by his native family thanks to the support of Community Support Center “For Children and Parents”

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Iliyan was born prematurely in November, last year. His weight was only 1400 grams and he was also having difficulties to take his first breath. Doctors from Neonatology Ward at University Hospital “Plovdiv”, have managed to stabilise him after his health deteriorated due to pneumonia, but after he boy got released from the hospital, doctors warned the family that if the child lives in unsuitable home conditions he might develop a serious chronic lung disease.   Iliyan’s mum is 29-year-old Polina who lives in a small village outside Plovdiv, she has split up with the boy’s father, but still has the support of her family. While in the hospital with the new born she expresses her concerns about baby’s health and her as a mother being uncertain of whether she will cope with his fragile health and whether she will be able to take care for Iliyan in general.   Our Community Support Centre was approached by the health institution with a request to investigate the resources and capacity of the family to take a proper care for the premature born child, also monitoring his health and meet up his specific needs. We met Polina and her family while still in the maternity ward where our social worker advised them on baby’s current needs and provided them with much needed emotional support.   Our team have checked living conditions at Iliyan’s home. We spoke with family’s GP about his view on whether Polly will manage to take care of a child in his fragile health condition. Doctor’s only concern was that the family will struggle financially to provide extra funds for medicines, supplies and that they will be able to stay persistent in taking the boy for specialised regular check ups outside the place they live.   As soon as the baby went home we have informed the local department “Social protection” about his specific case. At our request GP has committed for more intensive monitoring of Iliyan”s health status, as a beginning – at least once every 10 days.   Today Iliyan enjoys his mum’s care and love. We continued supporting Polly and her family by providing them with clothes, diapers, cosmetics, baby toys. The family is delighted by the fact that the baby continuously gaining weight. Mum Polly does not miss a visit to the doctor and all the follow-ups with medical specialists – neonatologist, ophthalmologist..etc.   Polly is happy that she kept her child and that the family supports her but she is still facing daily financial challenges to buy Iliyan the quantity of adopted milk he needs.   Trying to help her we have organised a charity campaign which already ensured Iliyan’s food by the end of April.   We believe that with the help of Polly’s family and our support she will always find strength to face the challenges of motherhood and Iliyan will grow up in his native family surrounded by love and…

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Lazar has a big dream – he wants to go to school, and it is about to come true with the support of the Community Support Center “For Children and Parents”

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His name is Lazar, he is a desired and eagerly wanted child. After the first breath he takes, doctors find out that he is going to have serious health problems. At first they tried do not frighten the parents. For Mum and Dad, Lazar is the most special child in the world, the dream come true and all the hope, happiness and love with it.   The boy arrived with many serious diagnoses. He spent a lot of time in hospital beds, most of it while being a tiny little baby.   It is an enourmous achievement for him that he can walk, talk and play. It has been a result of efforts which healthy born human being do not know and probably cannot comprehend. It took Lazar three years and endless hours of painful rehabilitation to start walking supported by his loving parents. Speaking took him as much time and lots of tears until he was able to pronounce words and express himself. He learned how to feed himself . His Mum doesn’t mind the food spots on clothes and blankets as long as Lasar enjoys eating by himself.   The family have two  more young boys – Yani and Pepi. Yani is already a student and Pepi is just 3 years old. Their family unit is the most united team I have ever met – they often find time to spend together, taking care and appreciate each another’s presence . Lazar‘s entire world is presented by Mom, Dad and the brothers. He doesn’t know any other people but immediate neighbours, he has never been in a kindergarten or a classroom. Numerous attempts to enroll Lazar in kindergarten failed.   Lazar is already 9 years old, he perceives and process the world in his own way. Lazar has desires and dreams. His biggest dream was to walk  first grade at school together with his brother Yani – learning the alphabet, numbers, write and read, draw, run and sing along. Lazar is dreaming for friends with whom to play and have fun. But the reality is that every single day he sends Yani to school with pain in his heart because he can’t leave home yet   Lazar and his family came to our Community Support Center “For Children and Parents,” directed by the Department for Child Protection – Plovdiv. His stipulated professional history and special needs scared even our professionals. First time we visited  his home, we found him alone with his father – they were playing, laughing and having fun as if there was nothing to worry and be scared about. A little later we met the mother – a sensible parent who is there to make sure life goes smooth and all the problems are solved.   Our visits were frequent and in different configurations – all together, in smaller groups, with or without Lazar, with little Pepi, Mom  and Dad, or just one parent. Each and every time they the parents were high in spirit,  with smile and willingness to bring change. They were open to share with us their innermost dreams and experiences, their daily struggles, personal stories and feelings.   We worked out a plan to help Lazar all together. Soon we were ready with the documentation required for him to get accepted in the educational system. Good news from mum Polya are expected any moment from now. We are waiting for her to tell us the date on which Lazar will be able to participate school activities with the full range of supporting help adequate to his condition.   Lazar keeps asking about school and is looking forward to the day he will wear his backpack and take the way to the classroom along with his brother Yani. He dreams about having his own notebooks, pencils, books, paints, his own desk and teacher   Lazar is about to enter the classroom as a first grade student after years of dreaming it . It is going to be just the beginning of a very challenging road that leads to a fulfillment of a very big dream. The dream of a very special child and its parents. In fact, most extraordinary…

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True wealth is to be loved, or how Family love and our Community Support Center helps Angel to grow happier

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Angel is 12 years, he has been destined with a difficult childhood, he lost his mother and shortly after he lost his grandmother. Angel lives in a social housing in a small neighborhood, surrounded by his closest relatives’s love and care – Zlatina, his aunt and her husband, their sons, spouses and their children. “We are short on money but rich in heart,” – says proudly Zlatina. They take care of Angel since he was a baby and right after the loss of his Mum and Grandma. Angel is well taking care of and gets everything needed for a liitle boy to feel good.   Zlatina asked for help from our Community Support Center “For Children and Parents,”  She was frightened after Angel`s monthly government benefits were cancelled. The new support system, reported that the pension for this child is more than he needs, and that led to discontinuation of the money his closest family relied on. Zlatina came confused and worried because the pension of 90.00 Leva was essential for basically all the needs a growing boy would have. She couldn’t provide him with daily allowances and school supplies.   Our team supported the family as a mediator and advocacy family and  institutions, we helped with clothes and school supplies for Angel. We worked to develop greater sensitivity towards his emotional needs and traced his development at school. We are more than happy that he is doing well in mastering his learning skills, he is socialized, communicates adequately with children his age and his class leader defines him as one of the best and most outstanding students. Angel has a strong emotional connection with all members of his family. The most special, however, is his aunt – they discuss important issues together, topics like –  how is it to go on a date?  He stays in touch with his Mum’s and Dad’s relatives. He calls them “My people.”   Our team works with Angel’s aunt Zlatina, helping her avoid negative comments towards Angel’s father who has problem with alcohol abuse. Seems like our help achieved results in the way she perceives the problem. Zlatina is also participating a group for supporting children and families where she can freely express her emotions and experiences which helps her avoid negative comments in front of Angel. We are also discussing the possibility of providing Angel some personal space at home.   Government subsidy for Angel suspended by mistake was restored thanks to the efforts of our team and the social worker from “Child Protection” Department.   We are optimistic that surrounded by the love of his relatives, Angel is going to have a promising future and will be able to achieve his dreams.   Our Team will continue to support Angel and his family, because we believe that every child has a right to…

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Baby Lily got home, love, family and chance for a better future

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Her name is Lilly. She was born a month before her due date. While pregnant Lilly’s Mum – Galya, was left all alone, her husband disappeared, she didn’t have any income, her apartment wasn‘t heated. Galya’s father offered his help and support but he was too old to actually give her the help she needed for raising her baby girl.   We got informed by the hospital about the pregnant mother who is at risk to abandon her child. We met Galiya on several occasions. We talked about her life, her little baby’s life, baby’s father, about the difficult past and a new future.   Supported by specialists from our Community Support Center “For Children and Parents,” Galya got a better perception about what is ahead of her as a mother.   Unfortunately, despite all our efforts and all the warm feelings Galya was experiencing at the time toward her future baby she took her decision – to part with the child for the sake of a  better future  for both of them.   Just few hours after Lilly was born she was moved to another hospital in another city, away from her mother.   We kept supporting Galya over the phone. She would always ask with a trembliing notes in her voice about the baby’s health, weather she is gaining weight, when she is going to be displaced. She wanted her baby to have a family – parents who are able to provide her with love, care, opportunities, future, and dreams. All those things which Galya could not give her baby. The mother was in tears: I feel guilty about what is happening to my baby, that she was born premature, she is under weight and weather she will find a family soon.   A few weeks after birth, Lilly was discharged from the hospital and was placed in a foster family home. Galyia got calmer, knowing that her child is getting better and will be well taken care of.   Lily was already a month old when Galya with the help of her father prepared all the necessary documentation for Lilly’s adoption. Her new family appeared very soon.   Lilly has a family- her happy parents have dreamt and waited for her a long time. They will give Lilly everything which her native mother could not provide – home, love and family … These three such an important things for each one of…

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