Alone in the World age 4
Samuil is just 4. His story is so sad, you may want to sit with a cuppa (and a tissue) before you read on.
Two weeks before coming to the crisis centre, Samuil had witnessed a tragedy so awful it will undoubtedly affect him for the rest of his life.
Samuil’s mum was a drug addict. Alone with him in their flat, she overdosed and died in front of him. Thinking she was frozen, Samuil sat with her body for 24 hours hoping she would wake up.
At the time, Samuil's dad Piotr, was in rehab for drug and alcohol addiction. Hearing what had happened, Piotr left treatment and collected Samuil from the orphanage where he'd been taken. Piotr had nowhere permanent to live but knew that if he didn’t maintain positive steps to change his life, Samuil would be taken and lost to the orphanage system permanently. He approached the crisis centres for help knowing there, they could be together. They were taken in and Piotr was given a bed at the men’s centre and Samuil, a bed in the women’s centre with the other children.
Things seemed to be going well. Piotr was a loving and caring father; he was attending meetings and getting the counselling he needed in order to get well. Samuil, however, became non-responsive. For weeks he stared out of the window waiting for his mum; not understanding that she was never coming to get him.
After a time, Samuil formed an attachment with Larisa, another of the mums living at the centre with her daughter. He started to smile and interact a little; it was a glimmer of hope.
Recovering from addiction is hard and the odds of success are against anyone who tries. According to an Alcoholics Anonymous survey, 75% will relapse during their first year of recovery.
Sadly, Piotr quickly became one of the 75%. He left the centre and returned to drink and intravenous drug use.
The general approach to drug addiction in Russia is to treat users like criminals instead of people needing treatment. It’s estimated that more than a quarter of Russia’s prison population is there for drug-related crimes. Piotr has now become one of them, leaving Samuil as a social orphan.
With his mum dead and his father in jail, the normal next step would be to place Samuil into an orphanage. Alina could not bring herself to do this because she knows that growing up in an orphanage will damage him further and almost guarantee he will face the same fate as his parents. Thankfully, Alina has now been awarded temporary custody.
Samuil has resumed standing at the window…. now, waiting for his dad.
To hear of a 4-year-old suffering such deep depression and pain is heart-breaking. Please pray for him and for Alina, that she’ll be equipped to cope with his care.
If you’d like to bless Samuil or the other children living at the WCC this Christmas, consider buying an 'Outreach Extras' gift for practical extras like food and clothes.