Move over Duggars – a couple from Eastern Ukraine have a vision of a world without orphans, and they have started that dream by becoming parents to 32 children, most of whom are adopted. Pastor Gennadiy Mokhnenko and his wife Lena, who became parents to their 32 children over 18 years, have made it their life mission to give every orphan in the world a home, and they are asking for help from other Christian families. Gennadiy says it is an ambitious vision and told CBN News how his dream of a world without orphans could be realized.
“The statistics show that if one or two Christian families will take one orphan, we will have a world without orphans.”
An estimated 8 million children live in orphanages around the world, and the pastor and his wife are just one couple in a movement led primarily by Christians to give each of these children a safe and stable home where they can be nurtured and loved. In 1998, Mokhnenko said he saw “first-hand the plight of children living on the streets and in orphanages in his hometown of Mariupol.”
“I just didn’t know how I could have left them on the streets,” the pastor said.
“When I saw their eyes, I understood the Father’s heart of God. It was a crazy idea, but I knew we had to do something.”
Gennadiy, who runs the Republic Pilgrim, the largest rehab program for street youth in Ukraine, told CBN that his adopted children were living on the streets, and that “some of them were as young as 4 and 5, some as young as 2, but we knew if we didn’t take them off the streets, most of them would be dead or in prison.”
“Nobody needs to adopt 32 children like we did. My family is not the norm,” the pastor stated.
“But I strongly believe there are enough Christian families in the world who can adopt one, maybe two and then there will not be any orphans left in this world!”
Mokhnenko took his message to Chiang Mai, Thailand, and met with 450 key care leaders for the first Global Forum for a World Without Orphans. The international director of WWO is Ruslan Maliuta, who helped organize the forum gathering.
“Our purpose is very simple: It is to activate, connect and equip the Body of Christ to this vision of every child having a permanent, nurturing and safe family,” said Maliuta.
Craig Greenfield, the founder of Alongsiders International, works with at-risk children in Asia and says the change has to start with “faith-based groups.”
“Unfortunately, it is still Christian missions and Christian organizations that are perpetuating this model of orphanages. Large secular development organizations, they’ve not supported or done orphanages for many, many years.”
A family in the U.S. have more children than the Mokhnenkos; Paul and Jeane Briggs from West Virginia have 34 children, five biological children and 29 adopted ones as of 2014, and they were in the process of bringing more into the fold. An Inquisitr article reported in 2014 that the Briggs family were about to make a trip to Africa in order to add to their family, it was a trip like they made several times. The Briggs family has adopted children from Mexico, Ukraine, Bulgaria, and Ghana; they started this nearly 30 years ago according to The Inquisitr.
Their goal for the trip to Africa was to adopt a baby with no legs and hands who had been abandoned. The Briggs family said that they specifically sought out and adopted older children and special-needs children, who were typically hard to place. As shown in the tweet above, in 2015, the Briggs had 36 children!
Jeane Briggs told the Daily News in 2014 that they felt called to this mission because of their faith. Briggs, a devout Christian, said that she had always dreamed of having a large family.
Could you have 32 children or more if it meant a world without orphans? Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments below.
[Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images]