If our experts had magic wands, it would have been possible to change orphans’ lives much swifter and easier. But in reality, working with blood parents of the children demands paying constant attention and being consistent, using many different spheres of knowledge and, most importantly, believing that changes are actually possible. Here are several examples from our work with Andrey*.
Everybody was glad that Andrey’s father and his new wife had managed to come to the orphanage. Experts carefully planned all the work with this particular case. The plan included continued work with the boy’s adult relatives. Unfortunately, however, no one came to visit the boy since last December, in spite of all the efforts of our experts who regularly contacted the boy’s family. This made Andrey suffer deeply and naturally affected his behaviour. Then our supervisor Ekaterina Zhuykova found out that the boy’s birthday was coming and suggested celebrating it by arranging a party and inviting the boy’s mother, grandmother and father with his new wife. Andrey showed a lot of enthusiasm for the idea. He wrote and painted invitations for his family himself, and our experts delivered them by mail or in person. Sadly, nobody came. But the party was still arranged! Our experts brought a cake, lit candles, and played interesting games with the children who were also invited.
When Ekaterina Zhuykova, a family psychologist, was visiting Smolensk Oblast with a seminar focused on rebuilding relationships between children from orphanages and their families, she devoted two days of her seminar to practical work with kids. At Safonovo orphanage she met Andrey who was by that time considered a “problem child”. Ekaterina used the family constellations method to work with Andrey. The headmaster of the orphanage was the boy’s “father”, and a social teacher was his “stepmother”. Everyone noticed that the boy was looking straight ahead and not at them. It was likely the cause of all problems and hardships Andrey had when he was still living with his father’s new family. Ekaterina realized that Andrey was looking at his absent mother… The longer they worked, the clearer the problem became: it was difficult for Andrey to communicate with his father normally. Even though their relationships were very important to the boy, he didn’t want to “betray” his mother… Our experts had met the woman several times (for example, when they delivered Andrey’s invitation), but she is not ready to rebuild her relationships with her son because of her addiction and health problems. But she did help him! It is difficult to believe in but it is true!!! At the end of the constellation, the headmaster of the facility handed Andrey a newly delivered letter from his mother who has not contacted him for years. The letter arrived right on the day of the training! It wouldn’t be too much to say that the constellation changed the attitude of the orphanage workers towards the boy.
Using this method to work with orphaned children is an invaluable way to understand another person’s feelings and to see the tragedy of rejection. We will continue our work with Andrey’s family. We need to believe that changes for the better are possible!
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* The name of the child has been changed