Olya’s Story: No longer a mother in crisis

A primary focus of Children’s HopeChest’s work is to help bring restoration and healing to broken relationships.

HopeChest programs work toward keeping families together by equipping mothers and fathers to be healthy and conscientious parents; providing resources for parents to gain income and take care of their families; walking through marital and family conflict; discipling children to respect and communicate with their parents; and offering grief counseling for children who have experienced pain and loss.

In Russia, the Young Mothers Program provides psychological, social, pedagogical, and financial aid to young, single mothers in crisis situations. The young mothers acquire childcare skills, build awareness of child health-related issues and proper medicines, learn how to budget finances, and learn how to resolve conflicts within their relationships.

There are countless stories of lives that have been transformed by the Young Mothers Program. One of these, is the story of Olya.

Olya and her son at the CarePoint

Growing up, she was raised in a foster home, but unfortunately her foster parents did not encourage her or show her love and compassion. As a result of not receiving loving affirmation from her foster parents, Olya struggled with her identity as she grew older and was desperately looking for love, or for what she thought love was. She became pregnant and was kicked out of her foster home.

While she was pregnant, she was attending a technical school and her social worker suggested that she go to HopeChest’s Vladimir CarePoint to check out the resources offered there.

Olya recalls her first visit to the CarePoint, saying, “I had no idea such kind people even existed. I was welcomed with so much love. I knew that nobody was judging me there, but they were ready to help. I didn’t have to pretend. Finally I could be myself.” Olya began to participate in the Young Mothers Program while she was pregnant. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy, who since day one has been bringing an abundance of joy to his mother and everybody else around him.

Although she was thrilled with the birth of her son, Olya had to face her biggest fear. She lost the apartment she had been renting, and had to see a specialist from Child Protective Services about the possibility of receiving her own apartment from the government. Fear of state social workers took root during her childhood, and now she was especially afraid that they might take her baby away from her. She was willing to pay the rent, stay with her sister, and do whatever it took to avoid a meeting with the specialist.

Tatyana, the Vladimir CarePoint psychologist, worked hard with Olya to help her overcome this fear. When Olya completed therapy, and she was ready, she went to the Child Protective Services, and had a great meeting. She found out that, indeed, she was entitled to an apartment and completed all the paperwork.

Vladimir CarePoint staff (Tatyana on the left)

It might take a while before she receives the apartment, but we hope and pray it happens soon. The CarePoint staff have said that It has been wonderful to support Olya, and watch her grow to become a healthy person and a loving mother.

The Young Mothers Program has helped to transform the lives of young women, like Olya, from stories of despair and fear into stories of hope and a bright future. Through psychological, educational, and financial support, young mothers in Russia are growing to become healthier versions of themselves and overcoming their personal crises with dignity and strength.