By Margaret Stokes & Chris Howell NewsOn6.com
TULSA, OK --Fourteen Russian Orphans with the Russian Orphan Lighthouse Project are in Green Country for ten days. Each child hoping for the same thing. A family.
"We bring older Russian orphans to the United States for a ten day trip. While they're here the kids will attend a vacation bible school that's run in Russian. They'll also receive love and attention from the host family that they're certainly not getting at the orphanage. The hope is that while they're here they will find a forever family that would like to adopt them," said Becky
De Nooy, the Tulsa Lighthouse Project Coordinator.
Lynna and her brother Austin were adopted a few years back. Now they're family is hosting orphan Katarina. For Lynna the experience is all too familiar.
"It's kind of sad. I'm remembering myself being them. Its way better having a family then staying in an orphanage where you don't even have a family," said Lynna.
De Nooy says it's more than sad, children who are not adopted, face a grim reality.
"The children will age out of the system somewhere between fifteen and eighteen. Typically they'll end up on the streets of Russia. The life expectancy of an orphan in Russia is about 18 months. Girls will turn to a life of prostitution. Boys to a life of crime. They are not doing these things because they want to. It's because they don't have other options," said Becky.
"It would be easy to say there are millions of orphans we can't help them all. But the one you are helping it makes a difference in that life. It makes a difference that is a life and death difference," said host mother Julie Duncan.
Julie Duncan hosted an orphan in November and said, "we were not planning international adoption but I just got so attached to Dima I consider him mine. I cannot wait to have him home. We had been planning to adopt we knew we wanted an older child we were looking for a sibling group. They're so willing to learn, they want to learn everything new. They are trying to learn English. They're learning English faster than we can learn Russian. There's never enough money there's never the right timing. Just do it. These kids are so very precious."
Julie is currently waiting for the adoption process to come through. The boy she hosted and his brother she has never met will join their family soon.
The children will be attending Vacation Bible School in Russian at 7:00 Pm at Grace Baptist Church in Owasso on Monday, January 12.
Tuesday, January 13, at 7:00 p.m. the orphans will present a free cultural program for the community at The Church at Battle Creek in Broken Arrow.
For more information on the Lighthouse Project call Becky De Nooy at (918) 939-8325 or visit the Lighthouse Project website.