Changing a life is serious work.
Orphanhood, as described by orphans, sounds a lot like walking down an unlit alley, alone, at night. Isolated. Unprotected. Scared. At Orphan’s Tree, we’re on a mission to bring orphans out of isolation, one life at a time. Our work is to turn on the lights and walk shoulder-to-shoulder with each of the orphans we serve.
About Orphan’s Tree
Founded in 2008, Orphan’s Tree is an alliance of Americans and Russians who want to change life for orphans, ages 16 and older.
We are driven by God’s call to look after orphans and to be a father to the fatherless. While adoption is wonderful, in reality most orphans are never adopted. Orphan’s Tree focuses exclusively on the unadoptable population. Our role is to be a consistent, positive presence in lives of orphans whose best opportunity for family is to create healthy families of their own.
Our Russian and American staff members, volunteers, and the orphans themselves are the hands and faces of our ministry.
A Holistic Strategy
Mirroring the educational experience of a family setting, Orphan’s Tree extends physical, emotional, and spiritual education to orphans. In all that we do:
- We believe no one volunteers to be an orphan
- We believe when we serve orphans we are joining the heart of God
- We believe orphans can attain family life and develop healthy relationships
- We believe love never fails, regardless of geography or politics
What We Do
Most of the orphans we encounter are not prepared for life on their own. From cooking to conflict resolution, personal hygiene to work ethic, they are missing so many of the skills needed to be a part of their community. Without help, most orphans statistically end up taking their own life or living in prison or prostitution.
Starting the first days they leave the orphanage, Orphan’s Tree reaches out to orphans to set them on a healthy course—away from the terrible statistics and towards healthy relationships.
Our priorities include:
- Supporting physical safety and well-being
- Enabling maturity and productivity
- Preventing future generations from becoming orphans
- Saving lives
Orphan’s Tree recognizes that becoming a healthy adult doesn’t happen during an afternoon seminar. Instead, our programs deliver lessons in a variety of settings and use an array of voices:
- We have country houses where we cook, garden, and build together
- Young mothers come to ministry centers to learn parenting skills and receive encouragement
- Older orphans connect with younger orphans in peer-to-peer mentorship for mutual benefit
- American volunteers travel and share their own struggles and strategies
It’s an educational model designed to encourage learning at key stages—from living on one’s own to being in community and raising a family.
Where We Work
Orphan’s Tree focuses 100% of our efforts on Russia and Russian orphans. Some question why we go so far or why we don’t serve in other countries. To us, the answer is simple: Because we have been called to Russia.
Members of our Russian and American staff have been working with orphans in Russia since 1993. In that time, Russia has seen many changes and many non-profits have shut their doors. Yet we continue to believe that love never fails, regardless of geography or politics.
Because Russia is a massive country with 144 million people spanning 11 time zones, we focus most of our efforts in the capital cities of three regions: Ivanovo, Kostroma, and Vladimir. In each of these regions Orphan’s Tree has a physical presence and full-time staff.
Located six hours outside of Moscow, Ivanovo was created in the late 19th century. Today, Ivanovo has one of our most active orphan communities, and Orphan’s Tree has a ministry center and greenhouse located there.
A historic golden ring city, Kostroma is considered the birthplace of the Romanov dynasty. Located six hours northeast of Moscow, Kostroma has both a ministry center and dacha that works with recent orphanage graduates, young mothers, and young families.
An early capital city of Russia, Vladimir was founded in the year 990. Due east of Moscow and a four-hour drive from the city, Vladimir has an active ministry center and dacha that welcome orphans every week of the year.