Liz Hulley has news —

Sick again

In the fall I was constantly checking my tonsils, looking for those telltale spots that told me I was sick again. This time, the tonsils are clear! But I’ve been fighting a cough for the past few days. It’s a little frustrating since I just started tutoring some new students in English, and I’m eager to continue. Maybe God is giving me a lesson in patience.

One of the women I’m now tutoring is my roommate’s boss (at a florist shop), and NOT a believer. It will be interesting to see how the lessons will allow us to get to know each other and maybe talk about some life issues, since I don ‘t have the same professional relationship to her as my roommate does.

Another woman is probably early 20’s, does art with kids, and is very sweet. She wants to learn English so she can get out of Russia, which is what a lot of people say. I hope that I can be an encouragement to her of Whom to depend on, rather than advocating for fleeing from problems.


Many of the girls that in past years I had sought to encourage spiritually are now married. In the past I would try to advise them in dating relationships, and now they need a different kind of wisdom. Now that I’m engaged, we once more have a common point for conversation. There is spiritual hunger: one girl is into Astrology; another’s new husband is not a believer, though she is Orthodox.

Close fellowship with orphanage counselors continues to shed light on needs in the orphanage and how some Russians feel about adoption…

One sweet, semi-retired orphanage staff member, was distraught over recent behavior witnessed in the children’s home. I was surprised because I had always admired the relatively decent behavior of the kids and their respect towards adults. So when this nice lady, full of experience, related stories of the kids’ antics with tears in her eyes, I was sad for her. They had been disobedient and laughed in her face. I was very sad for this woman whom I look up to.

We talked about the problems that kids get into currently. Lots of kids in the orphanage smoke, drink, have sexual relations, etc. “This never would have happened in the old days.” But I pointed out that humans are always looking for instant gratification. If it weren’t the Internet, then it would be something else. These issues are a sign of the times and at the same time the root of evil is always present. This is where child psychology books fail, in my opinion. Is there any way to see these children change without their caregivers surrendering to Christ and leading them to Him? Will God give me an opportunity and the boldness to witness about this? As someone who has no children and is from a different culture, what is my witness?

The next surprising revelation came through discussion of potential motives for adoption. V. (the staff worker) didn’t understand why a young Russian woman was seeking foster care of a few children in the orphanage. We talked about them living together and how it would be more like a family. But the children (teens and a pre-teen) would grow up soon and would get their separate room assignment from the government, and the foster mom would be left with “nothing,” since she didn’t own an apartment. And what did she really have to “gain”?

“But I don’t think she’s doing it for herself,” I explained, still shocked that fostering a child for “gain” could even be suggested. I knew that some people did it for money or to fill a void, but I knew this potential foster mom and had had faith that her good character and love of the children would be evident to all. Interesting that there was still a gap in understanding.

That opened the door to discussing the motivations for adoption in the first place. V. thought it made sense for families to raise their biological children, and then adopt when they have an empty nest and need to find fulfillment in life. I was surprised that she seemed to suggest that her American acquaintances (whom she mentioned) were adopting out of simple boredom or a rite of passage….take care of your “own” children, and then take care of other people’s.

I’ve spoken to young/middle-aged Russian families who are interested in adopting, but lack of suitable housing usually means that they’re not eligible. Until housing becomes more affordable, there’s no easy solution there. But I’m wondering now if I should advocate for orphans among a different audience-among empty-nesters who could become wonderful foster parents.