MOSCOW, December 2 (Sputnik) — The book is called ‘If You Did Not Exist’, and will be distributed at special schools for adoptive parents. Thanks to 230 people who supported the initiative, Diana raised enough money to publish 2,000 copies, each book saying: “This copy is not for sale. It is a present to future adoptive parents. We wish you health and happiness and hope you find your child”.
A World Without Unwanted Children
Every child needs a family to be happy. Ideally, the family he was born into, but sometimes, if that’s not possible for one reason or another, an adoptive family is a good option. Unfortunately, not everyone understands how important this is. Many people think that a child can happily live in a state orphanage, provided he/she has access to healthcare and professional help from psychologists and teachers. Moreover, the amount of money poured into modern orphanages exceeds the amount of money spent on 2-3 kids in a typical Russian family. Yet, the important psychological aspect is largely overlooked. A child is in desperate need of daily support from his own family. Only then can he/she grow up to be mentally and physically healthy, happy and self-confident. Even the best orphanages cannot provide that for children. A child feels deprived, lonely and unwanted.
Adoption Difficulties Before and After
The first problem with adoption in our country is the unwillingness to accept someone else’s child into the family. There are more children seeking families today than people willing to adopt. This will remain a burning issue as long as the number of orphans exceeds the number of families willing to take them.
“The attitude towards adoptive children in Russia has to change,” Diana Mashkova told Sputnik, “We have to learn that giving birth and adopting are two equal ways of growing a family.”
The second problem is the ongoing issue of adaptation in a new family. Many families return children back to orphanages within the first year of adoption. Why? Because potential parents are not prepared to handle a new child. They didn’t secure enough support from other family members and friends, they did not consult experts, and haven’t done enough counselling with doctors and psychologists. Adoption cannot be based on pure emotions. Parenthood is a hard job, it’s a profession, it requires substantial skills.
Children sometimes act in ways that may be shocking, but rarely does a family consider throwing them out. Adoptive parents must be patient and remember that all difficulties can be overcome. Hard-working parents will be rewarded with the best there is – happiness and love in the family.
Self-education is also an important part of preparing yourself to become a new parent. Books can tell you about experiences and changes that wait ahead. ‘If You Did Not Exist’ tells the story of parents who decide to adopt a child, and the challenges and stereotypes they encounter.
Sputnik spoke to Diana Mashkova ahead of the official presentation of the free book ‘If You Did Not Exist’, which will take place in Moscow on December 3:
Have you met the people who supported your crowd funding campaign? Who are they?
Diana Mashkova: I have already spoken to some of my supporters – through email or phone. I will meet others at the book presentation: on December 3. The people who supported the project are all very different. Some have adopted children, some consider adopting in the nearest future. Others are parents, who understand that a child cannot live at an orphanage and needs a family. I am fortunate enough to have met wonderful people, who think deeply about what they contribute to the world.
Have you encountered any difficulties while trying to distribute the book through schools? Schools for adoptive parents are all state-backed. Did they have any special requirements?
Diana Mashkova: The state is not involved in the censorship of books. Publishers release books which they find interesting. The gift edition of the book is still in the printing office. Only 500 books have been released so far. When all copies are released, I will take them to schools for adoptive parents.
What do you think about the law banning US adoption of Russian children?
Diana Mashkova: Regarding the ban on US adoption of Russian children, I will reiterate that a child is better off in a family, not an orphanage. I think it is shameful that in Russia we cannot find families for all our children. We must make every effort to change that as soon as possible.
What can ordinary people do to help orphaned children?
Diana Mashkova: The only way to help children in orphanages is to take them home. All other options create no positive impact, although many mistakenly disagree with this statement. They think that if a child is fed and clothed, that automatically makes him or her happy. This is one of the most dangerous, the most obnoxious, but widespread misconceptions in our society. Lack of a close person, attention, love, warmth, hugs and kisses, bedtime songs, etc. can ruin a child’s mental health. A half a year without a relative leads to developmental multiplication and neurological diseases.
‘If You Did Not Exist’ has been released by Eksmo publishing house and is also available in bookstores and through online retailers.