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The citizens of Zaporozhya Svetlana and Victor Ivanovy: "We are ready to adopt from 5 to 10 orphans more"

October 16, 2009, 13:00 4034 Author: Albert Pavlov, translated by Tatiana Bychak www.deti.zp.ua The family of Victor and Svetlana are taking care of 11 children. The housing problem prevents them from helping more orphans

According to official data, there are no Family-Type Children's Homes (FTCH) in Zaporozhye. But, in the Shevchenkovsky district of our city, there is a wonderful family of Svetlana and Victor Ivanovy*, that take care of 11 (!!!) children deprived of parental care. Recently we have visited this family.

It is known that the status of FTCH can be given to the foster family, which brings up more than 5 children (own and adoptive). By law, the state provides FTCH with accommodation together with social and financial support (allowance of 2 minimum living wages for each child + salary for foster parents).

Why then Ivanovy has no FTCH status? The point is that it was difficult to create FTCH when the children were adopted, as that time such children’s houses didn’t have a priority status among other shelters. To avoid these difficulties, the children were taken by adoption or guardianship program. So it happened that de facto FTCH exists, and according to the documents – there is a family in which children were adopted or taken under care.

This situation not only reduces government subsidies for the children, but also leads to other difficulties.

Many of us don’t understand people like Victor and Svetlana. They may be praised in newspapers or TV reports, but at the same time the majority of Ukrainians simply cannot fit in their heads – how is it possible to find the forces for upbringing of more than a dozen children?! Since lots of people treat their only child like an excess load and a burden.

With such thoughts we drove to the Ivanov’s house, situated on the outskirts of the city, near the bypass road. We were cordially welcomed by both parents. Some of children haven’t returned from school yet. Svetlana showed us everything around the house. Svetlana and Victor has a two-storey house, quite suitable for 5-6 persons, but not for a family of 13. Some of children sleep on bunk beds, and the hall is divided into two rooms by the partition. At the same time, the atmosphere in the house is very agreeable; everything is clean and well maintained. Children have their own home, much more comfortable than a barrack-type building of a boarding school.

We sat down on a cosy couch and start talking with spouses about how it all began.

- My husband and I had no children, and in 1989 we adopted two female twins from an orphanage - Svetlana begins the story - The girl were 4.5 years old.

For almost ten years they were the only children in the family, getting all the attention and care of parents. Despite this, relations with the daughters were not always good. Sometimes children came into conflicts with their foster parents. In 1999, Svetlana and Victor decided to adopt another child - Irina, who at that time was ten years old. With Ira everything was different, the girl obeyed her parents and practically didn’t deliver any problems. Now Ira is 19 years old, she is a student of Zaporozhsky National University and a bid helper in children upbringing.

In 2003, Ivanovy at once took custody of 4 children from Zaporozhye Baby's home "Sun" ("Solnishko"). They thought it would be their last adoption. “But, - Svetlana says, - God led us along the path of children care”. Once Svetlana and Victor saw the TV report about 3 children from Berdyansk orphanage. The couple immediately sought out the children, and were ready to take them into care. However, the Department for children insisted on adoption. Ivanovy couldn’t adopt, because of modest means insufficient for bringing up of 10 children. Whereas guardianship guaranteed at least state subsidies. As a result, Svetlana and Victor managed to take custody of 5 children from Berdyansky and Matveevsky orphanage. The age of new members of the family ranged from 5 to 8 years. After attaining majority, two adoptee girls left the family, they began to live separately. At the same time, Victor and Svetlana adopted one more little child - Karinka, which was only a month. Thus, at the time of our arrival, there were 11 children under the roof of Ivanov’s house. 9 children study in a music school – the family has 3 violins, 3 pianos, 2 accordion, saxophone - and dad Victor is dreaming of a family orchestra.

The family has 3 violins, 3 pianos, 2 accordion, saxophone - and dad Victor is dreaming of a family orchestra

I can not resist to put a question that is very common among visitors of Ivanov’s family:

- How do you cope with everything?

- Of course, it is difficult, but we handle it with God's help. The management of company, at which Victor used to work, always made concessions and allowed Victor to finish his work earlier, so he could pick up children from the kindergarten. An essential help we receive from Christian Evangelistic Church, which we attend. They gave us children's beds, toys and computer, - Svetlana says.

- A couple of years ago, The Party of Regions presented us a minivan "Gazel", but because of bureaucratic difficulties, we still can not complete the ownership documents - Victor adds.

- In a family where I was born, we had 11 children - Victor continued, - and no one was odd, everyone was under care. My mother survived 3 hungers, and at the same time, she coped with our upbringing. Now those mothers that abandon their children, may explain their behaviour by financial difficulties. But even birds do not abandon their nestlings! I think that only faith in God can help the orphans to find a family and consequently stop the orphanhood.

Victor: "In a family where I was born, we had 11 children"

The answer of Victor was somewhat unusual:

- Not everyone is ready to ensure that foster children may not say "thank you" for everything that was done for them.

Indeed, it’s not common to say a lot about this aspect of adoption. There is a stereotype that since a child is adopted, he instantly becomes happy and extremely grateful to his adopters. But in reality it’s different. Actually, the problem is very serious: what parents feel when all their sacrifices for the education of foster children are resulted in ingratitude and reproaches?

Victor and Svetlana experienced such situation on their life way. It wasn’t easy to cope with, but parents were supported by ... children! As new members joined the family, it appeared that some of children love and appreciate the care of their parents, while others have always gone their own way, even if it's not a right one. This situation is as old as the sea. The Bible says "many people hear the word of truth, but not all follow it."

Now Ivanovy treat problem philosophically - they just give love to their children, and pray that they were always able to distinguish light from darkness.


Victor and Svetlana are ready to give shelter to an additional 5-10 orphans. Unfortunately, the current living space does not allow to accept new children. But if there is a larger house that can accommodate such a large family, Ivanovy are ready to accept new children. The house can be used by the FTCH until children attain majority. Then this house can be settled down by another foster family. Those wishing to help the family to accept new children can contact Svetlana by phone. 050 084 80 92 (cell) or 0612 67-94-21 (home) or "Happy Child" foundation by phone. 0612 701-32-86

*- The surname is changed – Author’s note

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