Russian Church opens school to prepare parents adopting children with disabilities

A new “school” for parents preparing to adopt children with disabilities has opened in St. Petersburg under the auspices of the Charity Department of the St. Petersburg Diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Psychologists, social workers, lawyers, doctors, and priests, many of whom are adoptive parents themselves, will conduct individual and group training at the “Tenderness” school, the second such institution operated by the Russian Church, reports the Department’s press service, quoted by Orthochristian.

Candidates for adopting children with disabilities will take regular classes for two months, studying the needs of the child, the structure of family roles, the stages of adaptation, medical aspects of child care, and the basics of legislation and interaction with the bodies governing guardianship and custody.

The school is officially licensed by the state and its program was approved by the St. Petersburg Committee for Social Policy. Upon successful completion of the course, the prospective parents will have the opportunity to adopt a child. Eight potential parents have already begun classes at the school.

While the number of orphans is decreasing in Russia, children with disabilities are rarely placed in homes, noted Fr. Theodosius Ambartsumov, the father of 9 adopted children with disabilities. “We have created a school for adoptive parents to help orphans, children with disabilities, and those who want to be parents of these children but don’t know how to do it,” Fr. Theodosius said.

In addition to the mandatory program for the preparation of adoptive parents, the school will also offer classes on the education of children with disabilities, and the school’s specialists will continue to work with families after the completion of the program. Material assistance to such families will be provided by the St. Seraphim of Vyritsa Children’s Orthodox Mission.

The Russian Church’s first such school opened in 2011 at the Sts. Martha and Mary Monastery in Moscow. Over the past 8 years, 448 people have graduated and 122 children were placed with families.

Photo courtesy of Orthochristian

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