Over the last 20 years in Bulgaria there has been going on a process of deinstitutionalisation. Its main goal is children, who were unfortunate to be separated from their parents for different reasons, to have the best possible childhood up to the moment when they will be reunited with their family (biological or foster). We all know this period is extremely difficult and traumatizing for such children and may turn into a devastating one if they are sent to an institution (the orphanages called “Children’s homes”). This is where our (the system for child protection’s) main goal stems from – to provide care for such children, so they feel loved and appreciated, as well as to be healthy and emotionally stable until they are reunited with their parents.
The “Hope for the little ones” Foundation functions so successfully because the people working for it have dedicated their lives to children’s wellbeing. So, drawing from the energy coming from thinking and doing good, we’ve created two small “oases” – two small houses. They are the first centres of a family type in Bulgaria, in which babies and young children receive unconditional love and the best possible care from women, so eventually, when their parents have them again, they are healthy, smiling, lively, physically and emotionally well and ready to achieve their potential.
However, our main focus is on restoring the family, so here comes to help the “Together with hope” Consultation centre. Why? Because regardless of all efforts we put into substituting a child’s family, we will never be able to compensate for its loss in his soul. Therefore, we are determined to use all our strength, efforts, knowledge, and resources for the following:
- to keep and restore the wholeness of the biological family – we are convinced that it is not important only to organize working solutions for children to be looked after outside of their family. It is of utmost importance to strive to never come to this end. If this is inevitable, there should be created real possibilities for the parents to come back to their original role. Both goals are extremely difficult for implementation, often requiring long term commitment of time and effort without a guarantee that real results will be achieved. Nevertheless, it’s our understanding that without striving for success in this area, the future of these Bulgarian children will be doomed. Family is the greatest value in life and we will always work for restoring and protecting it to the best of our abilities.
- helping families in unexpected critical situations – post-delivery period, single or teenage parenting, having a baby with disabilities, sudden health problems in the family, crises in child development, social inequality of the family, economic bankruptcy, etc. These are just some of the hardships a family can face, which require immediate and effective intervention, so difficult and unfavourable consequences for the children are avoided.
- to help in the restoration process and functioning of the foster family – this is a complicated and difficult process, which includes psychological, emotional and practical assistance to both the child and the parents to enter a family, overcoming the consequent specific hardships and solving challenging situations in the long run. Children and their foster parents need continuous support and assistance during the long time from the appearance of an opportunity (for the child) and a desire (in the adults) for adoption to the establishing of long term stability within the family.
To facilitate the transition, adaptation period and development of the child in the foster family – we can’t even begin to imagine how hard it is for a child, who has once lost the connection with his mother, to experience a new connection to a family, from which he will be separated again after a certain time. The foster family needs dedicated support in the uneasy task to maintain and strengthen the emotional and psychological wellbeing of the little human being placed in their care, until the world of the adults finally decides what his fate will be.