Katie was an orphan in Bulgaria, and at the age of nine, she weighed just 10.5 pounds. She and the other children in the orphanage were left in cribs at all times, fed a liquid diet (on which many choked, and some even aspirated it to the point of death).
Because of this abuse, Katie had severe protein-energy malnutrition, severe anemia, severe osteoporosis, multiple spinal compression fractures, scurvy, and atrophic skin. But even with all of these medical concerns, Katie was still a wanted child.
She now lives the United States with her adoptive family and is receiving proper medical care as well as an abundance of love and kindness. Children like Katie are able to find homes thanks to the generous devotion of organizations like Eli Project.
A non-profit, Christian organization, Eli Project is a part of Ukraine Ministries of Oklahoma and was created in order to find forever families for children with special needs around the world, but more specifically from Ukraine.
It can be tricky to navigate the international adoption process, as there are a multitude of rules and regulations for each country. Eli Project works with families to help them find their child and complete the paperwork, and to provide them with any assistance necessary. Through hard work and dedication, Eli Project saves these children from lives of loneliness and mistreatment and places them in loving, supportive homes.
But in addition to connecting children like Katie to adoptive families, Eli Project raises money to help the families afford adoption, to cover transportation costs to move children from their orphanage to hospitals for medical testing and treatment, and to ensure that children are properly cared for. They want not only to bring these children home, but to make a positive impact on their home countries so that future children living in these orphanages will have better lives and stronger health.
According to Eli Project’s website, children born with special needs in Eastern Europe “rarely leave the hospital with their family.” These families are told by society that they are unable to raise their own children at home because there are no programs or resources and only inadequate medical care.
But life in the orphanage is harsh for all children – especially those with special needs. The children with special needs are often neglected. They sit in dirty diapers all day and receive little to no attention. Once they leave the home for babies, around age four or five, they are sent to mental institutions. According to Eli Project, 50-80% of these children die within the first year at the institutions because their basic needs are not met. In some institutions, children are tied to their beds twenty-four hours a day.
These children are much like those who are aborted each day. Either their birth parents were unable to care for them or the children were abandoned because of their special needs. But for every child whose birth parents either don’t want her or can’t handle the responsibility, there is a family waiting to call that child their own.
Eli Project is one group whose work proves that every child is a wanted child and that being pro-life isn’t just about being anti-abortion. With every dollar they raise and every child’s life they positively affect, Eli Project is spreading the pro-life message that everyone is deserving of their life, and that every life has value.
Editor’s Note: This summer, we will be providing you with a Life of the Week story every Friday. Our previous Life of the Week articles are here:
- Life of the Week: Coming your way soon
- Life of the Week: Marlena Diedrich and the Acts of Grace Foundation
- Life of the Week: One mom’s hopeful journey from infertility to fulfilled dreams
- Life of the Week: Rapper’s heartbreaking video on regretting abortion has 6+million views
- Life of the Week: From abortion to pro-life speaker
- Life of the Week: Two students bike to save unborn babies
- Life of the Week: Standing for life in Texas
- Life of the Week: Midwife fights against describing children as “monsters”
Please come back each Friday to find a new featured Life of the Week!