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BellaOnline's Adoption Editor

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Dasha: Orphans in Mental Institutions

Guest Author - Mindy Graham

I am late writing this article. I am fully aware of this and I do greatly apologize. It has also been pointed out that there is a lack of content for birth parents – stay tuned it will come.

Not today.

I experienced what I consider a personal loss today, one that expresses the intense urgency and importance of adoption. Especially special needs adoption. I hope not to sound like a broken record while talking about mental institutions and five year olds, but I find myself unable to write anything else this week.

I do my best to stay very actively involved in various projects and adoption communities and two years ago I received word of a girl named Alina, but who went by Dasha. She was tiny no where near the size of a normal two and half year old and she was still bottle fed. This girl had no health condition outside of down syndrome.

There was a burst of excitement for this girl a small battle waged on. We did not find her a family and other causes came to light and she became just a file on my computer. One I happened upon several time, one that made me smile with her platinum blonde hair and ice blue eyes.

In fact I happened upon that picture last week and for some reason this time viewing that picture was different. I felt an urgency to do something. It had been years I tried to calculate how old would be now.

“Five, she would be five”

My heart raced in a way I can’t explain as I thought “the transfer age is five”.

This country doesn’t allow photolisting and there is no public viewing of available children. I had to inquire with a friend of a friend who has contacts at that orphanage. A woman who I am sure has the kindest heart but her blunt and uncomforting response left me floored.

“Dasha the girl you inquired about died two weeks ago.”

Two weeks.

I have no way to know how she died, if she was sick, hurting, if she suffered. I will never have these answers.

All I can know is there was a girl who I knew of, who I looked over when families were searching for their children, a child I didn’t do justice to.

I have struggled with this for over a week now, and friends have comforted me reminding me that it isn’t my fault and their was little I could do here thousands of miles away.

Someone has to take responsibility for that girl, someone has to love her enough to grieve for her.


I grieve for sweet Alina, sweet Dasha.

While I am certainly advocate for saving these kids *before* they ever get to the institution this is my first real expierence with the results of them. I had seen pictures of children who had passed away from “questionable” causes before and pictures of children suffering within the walls of these places. But never a child I had seen a picture of, one who I saw a video of in a swing giggling as she threw stuffed animals on the floor hoping someone would place them back.

None that had touched my own heart.

I invite you at this time to go to the adoption forum. There you will a letter that I wrote to Dasha herself (to late).
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Content copyright © 2014 by Mindy Graham. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Mindy Graham. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Deanna Kahler for details.

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