Andrei’s Story: Lost, Found, and Rescued!


Rescued from Death

In October 2017 a few of our Ukraine Without Orphans (UWO) partners were volunteering at an orphanage for children with special needs when they found six-year-old Andrei—in a room, alone and dying. The nurse at the orphanage had noted his 105-degree temperature and quarantined him to die.

When the volunteers asked tube nurse what was going on, she became defiant, referring to Andrei as a “plant” that must be allowed to die because he was “diseased” (Andrei also has cerebral palsy). She refused to call an ambulance or allow them to enter the room. They insisted and eventually called an ambulance themselves, but when the paramedics arrived, they refused to take Andrei to the hospital, saying he was already too far gone.

Refusing to give up, the volunteers contacted fellow UWO member Nikolai Kuleba, the Commissioner for Children’s Rights for the President of Ukraine. Their hope was that he could use his influence to leverage the situation. Andrei was then transferred to a hospital where he was closely monitored until his temperature returned to normal. But Andrei wasn’t out of the woods yet. Continue reading these blogs and our prayer posts to see how God miraculously intervened for Andrei.


Heading Home!

After rescuing Andrei from a near-death situation last October, the Ukraine Without Orphans (UWO) team who found him began an investigation. Given his treatment at the orphanage, the team was very concerned and wanted to find out more about his family situation, whether there was a possibility of reunification, or perhaps placement into a foster or adoptive family.

They found out that Andrei’s mother and father were still living, and had sent him to the orphanage not because they wanted to relinquish their son, but because the had been persuaded by their doctors and social workers that he would be better provided for by the “specialized” caregivers and medical staff at this special needs orphanage. The family lived in a rural village where there were no doctors or specialists who were equipped to help Andrei. So with heavy hearts, but thinking they were doing the best for their son, they sent Andrei to the orphanage.

Within months, Andrei’s health had deteriorated. It is suspected that the orphanage did not want their reputation to be darkened by the situation, so the staff transferred Andrei to a state-run orphanage. Andrei’s family was not informed. When they found out, they immediately began the legal process of being reunited with him (required because they had sent him to the orphanage). But much damage (emotional and physical) had already been done to both Andrei and his parents through this time of separation. Further treatment was needed for his cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and respiratory disease, as he’d experienced a childhood with lack of medicine, poor care and poor nutrition. Andrei was transferred to a regional children’s hospital where he was taken care of properly for the first time in years.

However, two weeks later, after he had stabilized a bit, the local authorities issued orders to send him back to the orphanage that had sequestered him in that room to die. Although stabilized, he had all the signs of atrophy and malnutrition. Providentially, enough concern was generated that, instead of going back to the orphanage, he was transferred to a special pediatric hospital unit in Kiev where he was properly diagnosed and attended to.

Andrei Healing

During that time, our UWO partners hired nurses to provide round-the-clock care for Andrei. He gained 11 pounds and began sleeping for several contiguous hours. His mother visited him multiple times a week. He began recognizing and responding positively to his mother and his caregivers.

Although our UWO partners worked to rehabilitate Andrei’s family and reunite them with their son, because of the lack of medical support in their area, Andrei’s biological family ultimately decided it was best to relinquish their rights and give him up for adoption. During this time of waiting, a team was assembled to thoroughly investigate the situation of Andrei’s original orphanage and others in the region, and criminal investigative proceedings were initiated so that this story will not be repeated with another child.

Be sure to read the August 15, 2020 prayer post to see the heartwarming conclusion to Andrei’s story!

Share this post

Scroll to Top
Scroll to Top