when do we go home As a foster mother with 10 children from Zaporizhzhia, they are trying to settle in Poland

when do we go home  As a foster mother with 10 children from Zaporizhzhia, they are trying to settle in Poland

Nadiya and Oleksandr Dmitrieva are parents-educators in a family-type orphanage. They took their first child into custody 23 years ago. During this long time, the Dmitrievs became parents to 19 children. When the full-scale invasion of the Russians began, Nadia had to leave her native Zaporizhzhia with 10 children by evacuation train. Her large family left for the safety of Europe, as the house in the middle of the city shook from the explosions on the front line several tens of kilometers away. Two days on the road, several temporary shelters in a few months, and later – a big house in which this big friendly family managed to create coziness and comfort. This idyll was not destroyed in Poland either, although the family had to face a difficult move, search for housing and arrangement in a new house. Nadiya Dmitrieva told about this for “UP. Life”. The large family of Istria, the family-type house of the Dmitrievs, began in 2000. Oleksandr and Nadiya were going through the children’s things that had been given to their little son. Most of the clothes and toys did not even have time to open – the boy was growing fast. The couple took part of the belongings to the “Sonechko” orphanage in Zaporizhzhia. She returned with a confident decision to adopt a girl. Olenka appeared in the family – the first of 19 adopted children. The couple came to the orphanage and chose children who needed help. Victoria, Bohdana, Yaroslav, Daniyil, Gleb and others became part of the Dmitriev family, and Nadia and Oleksandr were called mother and father by new voices. Three pupils are now in the ranks of the Armed Forces. One of them – Ivan – defended Mariupol and is now in captivity. Half of the children from the family-type home have already reached adulthood, some have even created their own family. Nadiya talks about children with real warmth and admiration, there is a lot of kindness in her voice. She notes that there have never been any problems or scandals in the family and there will never be any, because all communication is built on trust and mutual love. The Dmitriyev family is a large foster family. Photo from the archive “Children are very grateful that they have a family, because they also want to be loved, to have parents and a home. My husband and I do not adopt ordinary children. For example, we never aimed to adopt a small child in diapers with white curls and blue eyes. We choose those who really need help. Or teenagers, because no one wants to take them,” says the educator of the family-type orphanage. She says that the main principle of communication is to speak more quietly to be heard better. Therefore, this family has certain arrangements regarding duties and leisure time. For example, homework is done first, and then they have a free evening for board games or watching movies. The house in Zaporizhzhia has a large yard and a room for games, separate places for studying. But due to the Russian aggression, the family-type home and all the minor pupils had to leave their native home. Read also: “Dad, you have to come or we will be adopted.” Terrible wartime saga of one Ukrainian family Evacuation train to Poland On March 9, Nadiya and her 10 children left on the Zaporizhzhia-Khelm evacuation train. Carriages for families with a large number of children were sent to a separate platform so that they could get on the train without rushing and crowding. “There were 20 people and a small dog traveling in one compartment of the reserved seat, where there are 4 shelves. I had two children with disabilities. They were in diapers, they did not eat and drank very little during the journey. It was very, very difficult for me, because there was nowhere sit down, don’t lie down: I stood almost the whole way,” recalls Nadiya. She explains: 2 children with serious diagnoses – twins Vika and Dima – are under care. At the age of 6, they are just learning to walk, eat and speak. Their older 9-year-old sister Bohdana developed an immune disease after the move, which kept her bedridden. The biological parents of these children used alcohol and drugs, which is why the children have significant developmental abnormalities and difficult concomitant diagnoses. A family on a long walk The road took 2 days without sleep, food and almost without water. Several cities in Poland refused to accept the evacuation flight. In the end, they were brought to the city of Staleva Volya and taken to a large indoor stadium, where there were booths, showers, and food. “There I found out that you can go to Italy to a special center. I had to go to it for a few more days by bus. But since I have 5 children with disabilities and 2 of them with severe disabilities, and almost all of them got sick, I refused.” Nadiya’s mother says. Temporary housing Within a week, they were offered a house at a tourist base near the mountains. “There were wooden houses with finger-sized gaps between the rooms. A family lived next to us, where they used to play very hard. My children did not know how to do this, but they quickly learned in two weeks,” says the woman. She explains: in Poland, certain social benefits were introduced for people who protected Ukrainians. A certain amount was paid for each person, so many apartment owners “clung” to such guests. But they really didn’t want to let them go from that house. Read also: Hiding for three months in the room for money. As a foster mother with 14 children, they escaped from the war in Dnipropetrovsk region. However, the temporary housing was located several kilometers from other houses, which “cut off” Nadiya from the opportunity to go with the children to the doctor or to buy groceries. So in order to move to another house, we even had to involve the police. “Then we lived in a hotel for another 2-3 months. We were allocated an entire two-story room. There were 3 rooms and a living room, the children played there. We were fed, then things for children and hygiene products. But we were looking for a house! I have a special family, and I want every adopted child to feel comfort and coziness. Yes, in another country, but not a hotel or a boarding school, but a full-fledged home,” says Nadiya. A full-fledged home She notes that she was looking for it for a long time, but in the end she found it. “They help us pay for the house itself, but we pay for utilities, heating, internet and other costs ourselves. In Europe, it’s super expensive! For example, 580 zlotys a month goes for electricity. About 600-800 zlotys for water and internet up to 500 zlotys. I paid this kind of money for communal services in Ukraine in one year,” shares the adoptive mother. A family rents a two-story house in the town of Bila Podlyaska. There are 6 rooms, a living room, a kitchen, and two bathrooms. Heating and hot water are autonomous. “The light is being turned off, by the way. Today (January 26 – ed.) we had it turned off twice, yesterday – once. But we have already found a schedule, the previous shutdown will continue for a few more days. Due to the lack of electricity, the children were late for online classes, because learn from the mobile Internet. And when there is no light, there is no connection. And to make a fixed Internet, you need a residence card. We only have a document on temporary protection,” says Nadiya. Nadiya, Oleksandr and their pupils The Dmitriev family has been living in this house for six months. Nadiya notes that the household has already been arranged. They master the Polish language on their own, because it is far and inconvenient to go to the courses. In the town, Nadia met several Polish foster families. They help the woman with shopping trips or to the doctor. “I call and say – I need to go there, can you help me? They say there – today we can’t, but tomorrow – please. For example, you definitely won’t go to rehabilitation with Vika and Dima by bus. But people are very responsive, they treat me well, they help me. I am once again convinced that the way you treat people, the same way they treat you,” says Nadiya. Children study in an online Ukrainian school, pupils with disabilities attend rehabilitation procedures and, if necessary, doctors. “Everyone visited the dentist! – the woman laughs. – Someone’s milk teeth were falling out, someone was already having constant repairs. I took the children for almost a month, taking notes one by one.” Assistance and family values ​​In Poland, only a few months ago, they began to pay assistance for a large family, so now it has become easier to pay for utilities and food. However, as Nadiya notes, no one canceled payments for communal services and house maintenance in Zaporizhzhia. Oleksandr’s husband remained in his hometown. He comes to Poland from time to time, but he has a job in Ukraine. Nadiya says that during visits, he helps with household issues and greatly simplifies logistics, because the woman does not have a car. And the nearest town is 7 km away. “Even if you go shopping – can you imagine how many products need to be bought and delivered? At least 3 kg of meat, cereals, vegetables, and also some goodies… And a man has physical strength,” explains the mother of many children. She adds that when Oleksandr goes, her older boys, 18-year-old Daniil and 15-year-old Nikita, help her. Excursion to the rocks “Actually, all the children help me. We do everything together. For example, if the children want pies, they offer them, and then everyone rushes to the kitchen. And everyone has to mold at least one pie,” Nadiya says with warmth in her voice. She adds that most adopted children come from difficult families. Some were treated badly by their parents – some were beaten, thrown, humiliated. Someone had no brothers or sisters, and most importantly, no support. “Now they know that we are a family, we stand for each other and we have to protect and help each other. They grow up like that, adopting new patterns of behavior in their lives,” says the mother of many children. Children’s leisure Nadiya says that they have the biggest house in the town, with a big yard. “The children have a place to run, ride those scooters and scooters. Even now, because the winter turned out to be warm,” the woman notes. She adds that Polish children sometimes come to play with them. Nadia and the children treat them to sweets, cookies or other goodies. “They can come, knock on the door, ask if the children will come out. They went inside several times. But there is not enough room for anyone else to come. We had such an area in our house in Zaporizhzhia where children could play. Here, in the living room, I arranged they have a corner where they can also play board games, draw, sculpt, put together puzzles. But take turns, because there is not enough space,” says the mother. She notes that the children know why they had to leave Zaporizhzhia: they heard the explosions and felt the house shaking. “No matter how good they are here, they still ask, ‘Mom, when are we going home?’ and “When will the war end?”. And even the youngest children say: “Ukraine is in my heart.” And I completely agree with them,” adds the mother of many children. Viktoriya Andreeva, UP.Zhyttia. Read also: “If we perish, then we are all together”: the story of the rescue of a foster family from Mariupol

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