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18 Jun, 2007 10:45

Russian foster family lives close to nature

The Kortov family lives in a remote village near the northern town of Belozersk, in Russia's Vologda region, in a wooden house with no phone, no Internet or music system. Apart from TV, there are no modern gadgets in the house which has three bedrooms and

Four of the siblings, playing and bickering as any other children, have been fostered. Their natural mothers were alcoholics, meaning they were stripped of their parental rights and made to give up their kids.

After staying at an orphanage, each child was individually fostered into the Kortovs’ home. And they are happy to have each of them, Natalya Kortova says.

“I really want every child to have their own family – people they can come to with all their joys and sorrows. I think that is what moved us to do what we did. And I think we made the right choice, because each child brings something special into our family,” she explained.

Meanwhile, the Kortovs have two children of their own and since 2002 have fostered five more.

As it is customary in this family, the Kortovs have their own calf for milk, grow their own fruit and vegetables and cut firewood to stoke the Russian stove which heats the entire house.

Although two children have already flown the nest, taking care of the family is not simple. Nevertheless, Evgeny Kortov said for him it is just a part of normal life.

“I am used to this type of work because I’ve done it since I was a child. My parents had a big family. I was the youngest of four children, so we decided to make our family larger too,” he noted.

In return for being foster parents, the Kortovs get some help from the local government, a total of about 20,000 rubles or $US 770 per month. This might not amount to much, but in this family money doesn’t appear to be important. With seven children already, the Kortovs haven’t ruled out fostering one more kid.