Yuriy and Svitlana Fritz are people who do not consider themselves special or talented. When they first obeyed God’s call to care for orphans, however, they had no idea of the impact it would have on so many young lives. This story is a small part of their journey as a foster family in Ukraine.
“It was a long time ago,” Yuri said, “but I had never cried in my life. But in ’93 during my very first visit to a church, I suddenly found myself kneeling down and crying my heart out to God.”
Fast forward 10 years and Yuriy felt God speaking to him again from the book of James 1:27: “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
With the words of scripture ringing in their hearts, both Yuriy and Svitlana knew that God was speaking to them. In Ukraine, the official designation for families who foster multiple children is a “family-type orphanage.” The Fritz family, however, is just a loving family where kids find a permanent home.
Yuriy said: “I understood that it’s us who have to care about orphans and widows. Not some other more talented or wealthy people. No, it was us, me and Svitlana.”
Ira’s birth mother was an alcoholic who didn’t take care of her daughter. She found out about the Fritz family and decided she would give her daughter away without telling anyone.
“Ira’s mother never told us, or her, about the plan to give her away,” Svitlana said. “We met the mother at the railway station to learn more about her situation. The mother simply abandoned Ira there with us. We had just come to talk and learn more. Ira was terrified of course but never said a word. We didn’t have clothes or bed sheets for her at home. So right from the railway station, we went to the village outdoor market. Most of the sellers at the market were gypsies. I later found out that the poor girl was convinced that we were going to sell her to the gypsies!”
Read the full story from Mercy Projects online at www.mercyprojects.org.