Bright Side

A Foster Mother Reveals How It Feels to Adopt a Child


Who adopts children? People who can’t have their own babies? Kind and wealthy people? Celebs? No. As a rule, ordinary families usually adopt children from orphanages. They simply understand that kids shouldn’t grow up behind high fences, they realize that children should live in comfort and love, and they want to at least give one orphan a chance to live a normal life.

One of these people is Daria Moguchaya. She adopted Vasilisa when she was 2 years old. Daria doesn’t think she’s a hero or a superwoman. She doesn’t exaggerate or diminish her merits, she just talks about the life of her family after making this brave decision. She also helps disadvantaged moms overcome difficulties without having to leave their kids alone. Bright Side couldn’t help but share her story.

In my diary, there are notes that go back to 2008 that say I want to adopt a child.

I was 21 then. I don’t know where this decision came from. Maybe it’s all because of my grandparents. They used to work with orphans and I was always around.

When I was almost 25 and already married, I started volunteering at a local orphanage. I sent letters and packages to a girl.

Then I read different stories about adoption on the internet, but they all looked fake, and I didn’t trust them. Then I found an internet forum with real moms, children, and their stories. I read them, learned from, and even met these people together with my husband.

I looked through databases, watched documentary films, and was still a volunteer at an orphanage. Then my husband and I graduated from adoption school. By the way, he wasn’t obligated to do that.

Then our first son Luka was born, and I forgot about this idea for a while.

Then his first teeth started to come in, and I thought, “Who comforts orphans when they suffer from pain?” When Luka woke up at night, he was scared and started crying if I wasn’t by his side. What do orphans feel in situations like that? They also cry. But Luka always knows that I’ll come and be there for him. And what about orphans? Their mothers won’t come.

Then, I started thinking about it again.

When I got pregnant, I found a photo of an 8-year-old girl. The caption said she was deaf.

It turned out that she had a hearing aid in one of her ears, so she could at least hear something.

I decided to try to adopt her. But my request was rejected. They were like, “Are you crazy? Give birth to your own child first, don’t mess around.” I was 7 months pregnant at the time.

Then they called and offered me an 8-month-old boy and his 10-year-old sister. We met the boy but refused the offer: his age wasn’t suitable for us, we didn’t feel he could be a member of our family, and we didn’t think we could cope with his sister. There were no psychologists in our town who could help us with her psychological trauma.

My husband said he probably wasn’t ready for this step. I also calmed down, though I still continued to call different orphanages.

By the way, my husband was always neutral, but supportive.

He said he wanted to adopt children, but not now. He was more rational than I was: we had a one bedroom apartment, a baby, and I wasn’t employed.

Eventually, we moved and rented 2 bedroom apartment (we’d have gone crazy with an adopted child in a small apartment) and I started working as a freelancer.

We learned about Vasilisa from my forum acquaintance.

She gave me the link and recommended that I have a look at her, but she also said she had a brother.

Yes, the database said she had siblings. But when I called the orphanage, they said that her brother was already adopted. As a rule, siblings are not supposed to be separated, but when one of them is disabled, their brother or sister is given a chance to find a family. The girl had cerebral palsy and many other diseases. I asked if she could stand, but they said she couldn’t...

But I’d spent too much time reading stories on the forum: experienced moms said that you had to go and have a look at the children with your own eyes. I asked my husband if we could and promised to forget about this idea for one year. Well... 6 months, at least.

So there we were. My husband and Luka were waiting in the hall, I was listening to the head physician tell me about her diagnoses. I was keeping calm and nodding my head.

I was afraid to turn around. But when I did turn around, I realized she looked like Luka. We went to a playroom and Vasilisa was totally walking on her own.

— So she can stand and even walk?

— She’s started walking recently, right?

Well, we had finally met her. My husband had seen her once when we met her, then in a video I sent to him, and when we were bringing her home. I saw her 5 times in total and nothing special had happened. We just thought we could become her parents. And we actually did it!

At first, of course, I wanted to save an orphan because they suffer! I had to at least try to make one of them happy with a family!

Theoretically, I knew everything. I thought I wouldn’t have to face any impossible tasks — I just had to give her love...

I looked through the cute kids only and made sure their parents were already deprived of parental rights. I cried when orphans I liked were adopted. This was even before I had gotten all the necessary documents, and even before I graduated from adoption school.

I didn’t judge, but I think I just didn’t understand those foster moms who didn’t love their children, but still raised them. Now I think, “So what do you mean? Do you want them to live together for a month and be like, ’OK, I wasn’t able to fall in love with this baby, I have to return them back and take another one’?”

I thought love came by default. Then I started paying attention to children who weren’t that cute, then even disabled kids didn’t scare me anymore.

Someone should adopt disabled orphans. Why not adopt these children?

I also thought that I’d adopt a child and teach them everything, and that they’d be excited.

I thought I’d share my love and cuddles, and that they’d appreciate it and love me back.

I didn’t think about where this love would come from. In my dreams, I’d feel that it was my baby or at least I’d have a prophetic dream. I was so silly.

Everything turned out to be more simple, without any romantic moments or prophetic signs. I saw her photo, called the orphanage, met her 5 times, signed a form, and took her home. Now I wash, feed, cuddle, teach, and socialize her.

This is what our life looks like.

Vasilisa and I met 5 times only and I didn’t have time to discover her.

I needed as much information as possible. Does she suffer from autism? Will she be able to learn? Will we be able to live with her?

Nowadays, even before getting married, we find out everything about each other, we live together, and then we make a decision. An orphan is like a husband from the past: here you are, live together. Learn to understand and love them, and discover their character traits.

With a husband, there’s chemistry between you, with a child, hormones play no role in your relationship. It might work with a baby, but I’m not sure.

Be realistic. Yes, love is a goal. But it also requires hard work and daily effort.

Go and love.

The more she loves us back, the easier it is.

Let’s admit that it’s really difficult when someone doesn’t respond to your attempts to love them.

She now usually runs up to me and says, “Let’s hug!”, “Let’s kiss!” She doesn’t repeat it as if she were a robot, she shows her own urge. And one cheek won’t do, you have to kiss Vasilisa on both.

She also kisses our youngest son and my husband. Sometimes she even hugs Luka.

So our girl is really nice and tender.

Orphans do differ from kids who live in families.

And I often hear people say, “What do they do to them that they behave like this?!”

We won’t talk about the horrible child abuse, let’s talk about an average orphanage. Actually, in fact, it’s not even about an institution.

Imagine that I take you from your husband and kids and put you in a different situation. You get food and clothes, but you still feel sad. Is it right to say, “What an awful place! What kind of people work there?” No. It’s not even about the people around you, it’s more about those who are absent in your life. No one can replace a mother. Even if she’s not an exemplary mother.

Until she was 4 months old, Vasilisa was developing normally. When she was taken from her home, apparently, she “fell into suspended animation.” She didn’t start walking until the age of 2. And she didn’t speak.

Many children think, “No mother — no reason to live.” There’s no one to keep trying for.

Vasilisa’s biological mother is almost my age. She’s had 4 children. She was deprived of her parental rights due to her alcohol abuse.

It’s not difficult to not get angry with her: as far as I know, she didn’t do any intentional harm to Vasilisa. As for judging... In the past, I’d have said, “If she wouldn’t stop drinking, then she didn’t want her children.” But I’m not 21 or 25, my life has already taught me some lessons, and I’ve found myself in situations I thought I’d be judgmental of. To be able to not judge is a really useful skill. And it’s really difficult to learn how to not judge, right.

It’s easy to be kind when you have a husband. Could I find and help her? I could. But I don’t do this. I don’t want her to take Vasilisa away. And I’d experience unpleasant emotions if she wanted to be with a woman who’d never taken part in her life.

But it’s not about my feelings. It’s all about Vasilisa’s decisions. If at some point she wants to meet, communicate, and take care of her biological mother, it’d mean that we’ve raised a good person. A person who can forgive, be caring, and who has the capacity to love.

Don’t be afraid of adopting children.

We have to do as much as possible while we’re alive. This is what I want to convey to you and to myself.

Around 500,000 people follow Daria on Instagram. Many people have decided to adopt a child thanks to her support. Have you ever thought about adopting an orphan? Do you know anyone who’s already dared to take this step?