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Siyana – the princess-fighter who remained in her birth family through the efforts of the Community Support Centre For Children and Parents

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Siyana…a little girl, born on the eve of the most magical of all Christian holidays – Christmas. Mummy Iva and daddy Vasil already have two older children and are looking forward to their third being born in the end of February this year, but…the baby decides to surprise them by arriving earlier.   On Christmas Eve, a little fighter is born into the world, weighing just over three pounds – Siyana. Placed in the Department of Neonatology of the University Multi-profile Hospital for Active Treatment “Plovdiv”, under the watchful eye of Dr. Diana Argirova, the tiny Siyana fights for her life for 40 days. She is given strength by mummy Iva, who is there with her little hero every day. However, Iva is at the end of her tether, overwhelmed by her emotions and fears, which only a mother who has been confronted with the same situation can understand. Her husband – abandoned by his mother as a child and raised by his grandmother and grandfather – struggles with self-doubt and insecurity, which leaves him reeling with guilt. He is seldom at home, does not come back until late in the night so that he won’t have to see Iva’s face while she’s crying… from helplessness. The fear of losing their child, rather than bringing them together, tears them apart. Entrapped by their chaotic thoughts and consumed by their own fears, in their powerlessness, they make an emotional decision – to abandon Siyana…   They announce their decision to the doctors in the Department of Neonatology who are taking care of Siyana and with whom we from the Community Support Centre “For Children and Parents” cooperate in translating our mission – not to allow a single child to be separated from its family – into reality.   When we learnt about the risk at which Siyana found herself, we immediately sought to make contact with the family. The case was entrusted to Stela Alexandrova, social worker, and Mariyana Kostadinova, manager of the team “Social Work”. Whom our specialists met and spoke with were two insecure and confused parents – the mother was in postnatal depression and the father was at a loss as to how to help her. From the onset of the conversation, it became clear that their decision to abandon their child was in actuality an emotional one – that they did not want to leave their baby but were simply afraid. “Siyana was born early, we are not ready to take care of her, what if she has disabilities and I am not capable of looking after her…”, Iva shared her fears with us. A myriad of questions whose answers we began to seek. And we did find answers and solutions.   Over the course of the next 30 days, our team remained by Iva and Vasil’s side. We helped them begin to feel more sure of themselves and maintained close contact with the experts who were taking care of our little fighter so that she could leave the Department of Neonatology healthy and come home to mummy, daddy and her two older sisters. We supported the family emotionally and materially: we provided them with a baby bed and a newborn baby set – clothes, towels, a baby bathing tub, skin care products, bottles, a dummy, etc. We also provided adapted milk for premature babies so that the little girl could gain weight and overcome the need to be given enzymes to support the work of her digestive organs.   We were by their side on the day when Siyana was released from the hospital: she was the very picture of a Grim Brothers’ heroine – “Hair as black as ebony, skin as white as snow, and lips as red as blood” – and weighed almost 5.3 pounds. We continued to support the family and the development of the child. Together with Dr. Argirova, we will monitor the little girl’s growth and state of health until she becomes a year old and, if necessary, she will benefit from the rehabilitation therapy offered by the kinesitherapist who works at our Centre, Hristo Spasov. With the help of the American nonprofit organization “Rays of Hope for Bulgaria”, which supports children in need, we provided the family with a baby stroller, a feeding chair, and a baby walker.   As of today, Siyana is a seven-month-old baby girl who is just like all other babies her age – smiley, happy to be with her mummy, daddy and two sisters. We continue to be there for them because we believe that every child deserves to live in a secure family environment and to have its chance to reach its full potential.   From January this year until now, thanks to the coordinated efforts of our team at the Community Support Centre ‘For Children and Parents’ and the teams of 3 hospitals in Plovdiv, 9 children were saved from being abandoned and are now living and growing surrounded by the love of their birth mum and…

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Life in an institution – a scar that never disappears

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Nevena is a “child of nobody”. Born by a mother but raised by the state. She doesn’t know maternal love, dad’s embrace. Instead, she spent all her life in childcare homes along with other boys and girls like her – abandoned. During her time there were no foster parents to replace loneliness and isolation with true love and care. So there was no way out for her and for the thousands of other children like her.   Life in a home has left its heavy scar on the heart, soul, behavior and habits of Nevena. She is 35 years old, mature woman, but only at age. Some daily tasks and activities are a challenge for her – it’s difficult, sometimes impossible for her to get close to somebody, to build a friendship and a complete connection. Accustomed to institutional life, even today, after so many years, she can’t get away from it – for 5 years she lives in a Temporary Placement Center in a small town with her husband, who is rarely coming home and constantly working so they can get out of there. Despite all the challenges, they both dream of a child and decide that despite the difficulties, they will make their dream come true.   Two years ago, Hristo was born – a wanted and waited boy. Nevena and her husband are in the seventh sky, but the mother’s euphoria passes quickly. A few days after they get home, she falls into a deep postpartum depression. She doesn’t know how to care for her child, her husband is not at home and there is no one to support her.   “The depression just stirred me. It took my throat and didn’t want to let me go”, said Nevena.   Frightened and confronted by the challenge, Nevena feels like she can’t cope with the child, and maybe it is better to separate it from her. Then the Center connected our Community Support Center “St. Sofia” and our specialist in early childhood intervention Petya Uzunova started to work with the family.   In the beginning, Petya’s meetings with the mother are weekly and the conversations are almost daily. They talk about many different topics, discussing the stages of each child’s development, for which Nevena knew almost nothing. The mother says she didn’t expect the child to need constant attention and care and Petya tells her that she can’t expect at three months the child to be able to take care of itself – to eat alone, to be alone. They talk a lot about the whole life of Nevena, who, after the first meeting, understands that she can trust Petya and she is there only to help her. She shares a lot of things with her – she remembers her childhood and gradually, encouraged by Petya’s advice and comments, she starts to understand herself, her reactions to her child and her fears.   Nevena realizes the truth – she never had a family, a mother and a dad to love her and that this, after 35 years, affects her relationship with her child.   But she realizes something else – she couldn’t cause this life to her own child, and whatever it costs, she and her husband will do it and they will not be separated from their child.   Meanwhile, Petya makes a screening assessment of the child to make sure it is growing up normally. She says that despite her fears, Nevi takes good care of the child, it is always dressed well, fed and despite all the challenges – it grows up well.   “The biggest challenge for Nevena now is to overcome her inability to attach to Hristo, to devote herself entirely to love, to let it embrace her without any fear”, said Petya.”   Our support for Nevena and her family continues. Petya keeps visit them at the Center and together they go on a walk – Nevena tells her about her daily life and about Hristo, who has already walked, and soon she is expecting to hear his first words. They were even our guests at our Day of the Child holiday. Petya guides her, gives her advice on how to stimulate his development. He also talks to his dad, whom she encourages, despite his busy schedule, to be more active in the care for his son. Petya recently shared another joyful moment from their family life – their refurbished room at the Center, which is now much more welcoming, better furnished and better for the little Hristo, for whom is yet to “conquer peaks”. Nevena and her husband are encouraged that they will soon have their own home.   Yes, the consequences of living in the institution leave traces, always lurking and choose the “most appropriate” moment to remind about themselves. But the story of Nevena and her son is another example of how with proper support given on time, the tracks are slowly erased, and someday – maybe they will be erased…

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Vyara and Nadezhda … and the Love between them

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Vyara was 29 when she get divorced with her husband. She was alone in raising her daughter. Like any young woman, even after the disappointment of her first marriage, she dreams for a relationship with a happy end – a family in a home, where she can raise her child in love and understanding.   After the divorce, Vyara and her daughter start living in Vyara’s mother’s place – Mariya. The three quickly get used to living together. Vyara finds work next to her home and slowly but confidently she begins to arrange her life. At her workplace she often talks to an older man – in her words “gallant” and “a real gentleman”. Gradually, the feelings between them become more and more ignited. They understand each other, he helps her in the care of the home and the child. He shows her how to live a peaceful life and enjoy everything she has.   When Vyara’s mother finds out about her relationship with Dimitar, shares her unwillingness for her daughter to communicate and to be with a person older than her. In love, Vyara refuses to listen to her mother, their relationship is getting worse and Mariya decides to go abroad.   After her mother’s departure, Vyara finds out that she is expecting a child – result of her love with Dimitar – a child who is going to erase the bitter memories of her previous marriage. Her happiness is over when Dimitar leaves her – he refuses to take care of a child at his age and he can’t believe the child is his.   Fear starts to occupy Vyara – is she going to handle it by herself? The time passes, but doesn’t heal – her love for Dimitar is still strong. Lonely, without support, without a job. Vyara loses her faith, her hope. Her love. From the social media she finds out about our team from the Community Support Center “For Children and Parents” in Plovdiv and connects immediately with our specialists.   Our social worker meets Vyara at her home almost the same moment we understood she needs help. She talks with her, gives her advices, tries to encourage and support her in order not to give up on her baby, who was going to be born soon.   And really, a few weeks later Nadezhda was born – with the birth of Nadezhda – a blonde, blue-eyed beautiful girl, the hope and faith returned to Vyara’s heart. Right after the discharge from the hospital we provided clothes, diapers, adapted milk, cosmetics and a new baby cart for the little lady. We also continued to support the mother Vyara, who was really scared and worried after the birth. For one year we were helping the mother in the care of her two little girls – with her, we experienced all of the difficulties – small and big. With every single day she was getting more and more confident as a parent. Her fear disappeared.   With our support and with the love of her mother and her older sister, today Nadezhda grows up in a peaceful environment, good care and attention. And to be full of happiness, realizing his mistake, the father of the girl came back, accepted her, Vyara forgave him and now they are taking care for their family together. Grandmother Mariya, though from a distance, regularly spoils the girls with beautiful clothes and presents.   “To believe there is a way out, to be able to support a mother you don’t know – that’s impossible. But you showed me there is hope, there is faith and good people who believe in me.” – shares with gratitude Vyara.         With you support we’ll make it possible more children to grow up in a security family environment! Make your contribution today by sending SMS with text DMS DETSTVO to a short number 17 777 for all mobile operators or online…

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Adoption – the long way home

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You know when we are looking forward for something to happen, it is slowing down.. When we are waiting for our favorite person to come back from a long trip – we are sitting by the window and waiting – minute after minute, with each inhalation, we take another dose of impatience.. and that’s how it is until the craving moment comes.   It’s the same feeling with children. First, you ask yourself if you can handle it, then you wonder when to start “trying”, then “why is it not happening”, and you wonder, and wonder, and wonder. Asking and wondering are transforming into a dream – “when will I FINALLY have a child”. Why is it taking so long..   That’s how it is with the characters of our story today. Mariya and her husband Asen have gone through the whole process – wondering, asking, negotiating of the requests.. waiting. Until today. Today their waiting is over. Their dream came true. And her name is Martina.   Martina was special even before her birth. Her biological mother didn’t realize she was expecting her until the 5th month –she had no symptoms like when she was pregnant with her other two children.   She abandoned her child immediately after birth. The reason – the poverty they live in, with which so many families struggle.   Martina? It’s been one year since Martina came in our Family Type Placement Center “Family House”. We welcomed her with a lot of love and celebrated together her first birthday – we were happy when she made her first steps. We loved her, hugged her, took care of her just as her real family would. Together we were waiting the day when her mother and father would come to hug her. And would never let her go.   With a brisk breath, we met Mariya and Asen at the end of the last year – are they going to be the ones.. or we will wait a little bit longer..   They are.   Martina is highly desired from her adopters. Like a real “mistress”, she took their hearts from the first moment – after all, that’s what her name means. For Mariya and Asen, Martina is special – not only because she is beautiful, little and a capricious lady. It’s because she made their purest dream come true.   The long journey is over. For the three of them. They went…

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The little Yanislav was welcomed with lot of love and hugs by his family.. at home

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Today, one more child has returned home with its mom and dad. Yanislav left the Family Type Placement Center “Family House” of “For Our Children” Foundation in the warm hugs of his parents – Anita and Mladen. They told us there were a lot of surprises for him at home – presents, his own toys, a new room, a happy grandmother and two older brothers, who were looking forward to see the young boy.   Yani was abandoned right after his birth. When he was born, he was in a bad condition and special care and medicine were needed. The mother was afraid of being alone – she didn’t have the support of the father, with whom she divorced during her pregnancy, she didn’t have the support of her parents too – she needed money, so under the influence of her strong emotions, Anita felt compelled to leave her little boy, with hope another family would take better care of him.   One day has passed. Two. A week. Ana’s mind was obsessed with one thought – Yani. Her little tiny boy, with big round brown eyes and nose, which he inherited by her. Her little boy, who was in the hospital, among strangers.   The father also couldn’t stop thinking about his son, even though he didn’t know if he was born. He didn’t heard from Anita for months. They didn’t see each other and he didn’t know anything about her. The thought of Yani didn’t go away – the father began to walk around the hospitals, asking for his son, looking for him but without any result. He was not his father by documents and he didn’t have the rights to know anything about his child.   Three months was like this. After three months the common thought – Yani – again gathered his parents. Anita and Mladen have once again saw each other, talked and decided they want their child back more than anything, no matter who is going to be behind their backs. The most important thing for them was to be together and to raise their child. They went to department “Child Protection”, in order to try to get back Yani, who in the meantime was accommodated in our Family Type Placement Center “Family House”. There, in a family environment, under the care and love of Korneliya, Zlatka, Geri, Rosi, Snezhi, Ginka and Antoaneta, he grew up and changed every single day.   The department directed Anita and Mladen to our Community Support Center “St. Sofia” – to work on their relationship, to strengthen their relation in order to be the mother and father that Yani needed. Our social worker – Vyara Panayotova worked with them. From the first meeting with the young parents, she saw the impatience in their eyes – more than anything they wanted to go home with Yani.   Almost every day they were in the Family Type Placement Center “Family House” to see Yani, to play with him and to build the relationship between each other. The father even had a few interesting games to play with his son. And Anita.. “she counted the days to the moment when she will go home with her child” shares Vyara.   Today, this finally happened. We said goodbye to this wonderful family, and Anita wished us to continue helping to another parents and children to find the way to each other.   Yanislav is one of the 11 children who found love and warmth in our Family Type Placement Center “Family House” through the past year. He is also one of the 60 children in process of reintegration, who were supported by the team of “For Our Children” Foundation in order to go back to their real…

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Nothing happens by accident

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You know how sometimes you find yourself in the right place on the right time.. by “accident”? Or how you find yourself in the worst situation at the worst moment.. again quite “accidentally”.   “It happened by accident”, “I met her by accident”, “I learned about it by accident” are the phrases we use the most when we express our surprise if something happens unexpectedly.   Do accidents really exist or everything is programmed to happen in a well-established way? Maybe the world is full of invisible threads that connect everything around us – all people, all places, all information. Maybe the “coincidences” are one of the tools, with which the Faith works?   Are coincidences phenomenal or is it the Faith that arranges everything the way it has to be?   One of these “accidents” led us to the happy end of one more story.     “We were in “Vesela” hospital for a complete different reason. We were just getting ready to go back to the office, when the senior midwife came to us and asked for help. One mother was about to abandon her child,” Mariyana Kostadionova, head of the social work team in The Community Support Center “For Children and Parents” in Plovdiv, starts her story.   She and the social worker Margarita immediately went to the mother’s room, where they saw her with sadness in her eyes holding her father’s hand, who, like her, stood with her head down, staring at the floor.   “The sadness of a family, illustrated by the most sincere way,” Mariyana remembers.   The two women presented themselves to the family. The father’s name was Dimitar.. his daughter raised her hands silently, pointed to herself and after that to her lips and made a few gestures with her fingers – ZHENI.     “She lost her hearing when she was young.” – her father said.   Zheni has another two children, whose voices she had never heard. She hadn’t heard their laugh, their tears, she had never heard “I love you, mom”. When they were babies, she was afraid all the time that something bad can happen to them because she can’t hear. She didn’t want to go through the same thing with her newborn daughter.     Dimitar told Mariyana and Margarita everything about their family – he was a driver and he was the only one who took care of the family. The father of the children had been hurting Zheni for years until one day she left him. She couldn’t take her children, but she knew that he was taking care of them – she knew he loves them. Her grandmother was the only one who supported her, but she was too old and recently had a surgery. They didn’t know if she was going to keep helping her granddaughter, especially when the little Kristina appeared in their lives.   “Dimitar told us every detail of their lives, with the strength and courage inherent only to a caring father and dedicated grandfather. He hid his feelings, but what he couldn’t hide from us, was the love for his granddaughter. And the sadness because of the difficult situation they were stuck in.”   Mariyana and Margarita realized this family needed a friendly advice, kind words, confidence that they can handle it and support to continue.   “We told them even though the child was unplanned, it came to their family at the right moment with a mission. What is the mission – we said we don’t know, but the only way to find out was to go home with the baby, take care of it, so it can grow up.. and show them itself.”   Our team assured them they would be there until they need it. Margarita will visit them in their home, she will learn Zheni and her granddaughter how to take care of the little blue-eyed girl and how to help each other.   “Of course, we gave them the set “First care for the newborn” with which to meet Krisi after discharge from the hospital.”   For Dimitar and his daughter these kind words and promises were enough to change their decision. By gratitude, Zheni couldn’t hold back her happiness and her tears flowed. The purest tears – those of maternal love.   In addition to preventing an abandonment, the team from the Community Support Center “For children and parents” hope that this will be a new beginning for our partnership with “Vesela” Hospital, an affiliate of the “St. Mina” Hospital.   “So far, we haven’t received any signals from there, but we hope after that successful prevention we will continue to work with the hospital’s staff. And not to rely only on coincidence.” Mariana shared her expectations.   The same “coincidence”, because of which we were in the right time on the right place. Because of it, Kristina will grow up loved and happy in her own family.   And after all.. did it really happen by accident?   The little Krisi is one of the three babies, born in January, who, thanks to our team from the Community Support Center “For Children and Parents”, went home with their…

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It Is Never A Bad Day That Hath A Good Night

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“It is never a bad day that hath a good night,” says an old Bulgarian proverb.   In the “For Our Children” Foundation, we interpret these words in a slightly different way. We believe that when the year starts with a real success, it is more than certain that the remaining 364 days will be booming with positive results. This is the hope shared by Fickrie Baydakova, a social worker at our Community Support Center “St. Sofia”….

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