M.K. learned of a sad situation in which orphaned children with birth defects have been kept in terrible circumstances in some Eastern European orphanages. (I'll let her tell you about it). She also learned about a family that adopted one of these children and about organizations that are trying to help.
Coincidentally, about 10 years ago, M.K. wrote a children's story that had aspects with an eerie similarity. She has decided now to use all proceeds from the sale of her book to charities that are helping with the adoption and care of the abused orphans.
Please read on to learn more about it, about M.K.'s book, and how you can help.
M.K., this is like "A Tale of Two Stories," in that the story line of your book interconnects with a sad-but-true story that you came upon in the real world. First, tell us a little about your book.
Three Against the Dark is a children’s chapter book about 3 siblings who have just moved to Georgia. In exploring their new house, they discover ways to travel to two other houses that are portals to other worlds. One world is beautiful, the other evil. They find children in the evil world who need rescuing, kidnapped children who are hungry, abused, neglected. The book tells their attempt to help these children escape to safety, without being caught themselves.
Now tell us about the real life tragedy that you uncovered, and how it connects with your story.
I wrote Three Against the Dark about ten years ago. But in 2012 I started reading online about orphans in an institution in an Eastern European country, who suffer with birth defects like Down Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy.
The sickest of these children are left in their cribs all day and all night, on what is called the “baby floor.” Never loved, never taught to speak or walk. They’re so malnourished that their growth hormone shuts down, and they are tiny. Some are teenagers but weigh less than 20 pounds. Their bones are brittle and delicate. The hopeless condition of these children, and how small they remain for many years, reminded me instantly of the children in my book, who also are trapped and helpless, abused, and never age in order to escape their situation.
I read about the Mussers, a U.S. family who adopted a little girl from this orphanage, and the phenomenal improvement she’s made in just a year. They tell about their adoption story at The Blessing of Verity, their blog. Through their blog, I became acquainted with the story of the real orphans.
You plan to donate all proceeds from sales of your book to these children - what is the charity you'll be donating to?
Yes. I decided this when I read that these children were possibly kept this small – starved deliberately – so they would remain tiny, not be removed from the orphanage, and the institution would continue to collect its government funds. I was appalled. Families in the United States are trying to adopt these children, giving them loving, nurturing homes. But international adoption is expensive. I’ve decided that all profits from the sale of Three Against the Dark will go to help families adopt the children from the baby floor at the Pleven Orphanage, until all those children have homes.
The Mussers regularly hold fund-raisers and online auctions to raise money for adopting families, and can direct me to the family most in need of funds for the neediest child. Some of the older children are in danger of “aging-out” and no longer being available for adoption, so their situation is dire. Some of these families adopt through About a Child, which handles international adoptions, or Reece’s Rainbow, which specializes in Down Syndrome adoptions. I would donate my funds directly to the family, giving to each family until the final child has come home.
Where can people find out more about the Pleven Orphanage and this sad situation?
The Mussers’ blog is TheBlessing of Verity. About a Child and Reece’s Rainbow both have good adoption websites. The online auction site is called Hidden Treasures.
My blog is called Through a Glass, Darkly. I have a direct link from there to Amazon, where Three Against the Dark is for sale as an ebook only. Or you can go directly to my Amazon book page.
Thank you, Melissa! I hope many people will enjoy my book and help the children at the Pleven Orphanage.
I hope so too, M.K!