Once upon a time in a faraway kingdom there lived a family in a small village. It was a rather poor family but they had something better than money – they had love. The family was made up of three boys and a beautiful girl named Anna*… Their father died defending their kingdom in a war. But they had a mother who cared for them and loved them so much. <…>
There is a story behind every child’s arrival in the village, and it usually isn’t a happy one. ‘I remember clearly the day we welcomed Anna* and Maxim* into our family. It was three years ago. Anna was nine and Maxim was eight. Even though the sun shone that day, their eyes were full of uncertainty and fear’ SOS mother, Galina, recalls. Anna and Maxim’s biological mother was unable to care for them and the siblings were placed in a foster home. After five years, the foster parents gave up on them and sent them to a temporary home for orphans. A few months later they moved to the SOS Children’s Village.
‘Maxim blamed himself. He thought he wasn’t good enough for that foster family and that’s why they didn’t want them to stay’ – says Galina. ‘He was angry at himself. When he initially joined the family he didn’t know how to handle these negative feelings and would simply wrap himself in a blanket and lie in bed crying’. Though Anna was just a year older than Maxim, she took her responsibilities towards her brother very seriously. ‘Then, Anna* was very determined, passionate and smart, just as she is now. She grew up too fast and got used to being her brother’s main protector, friend and source of support. She had no choice. I still remember Anna* tightly holding Maxim’s hand when they went for walks together. I remember her reading him stories before going to sleep. At the dinner table she would share her food and sweet stuff with Maxim using encouraging words like: ‘Maxim you need to eat well’. She was always there for him. In fact at that time she was more of a mother to him than a sister’ – says Galina. Continue reading