Winners announced in Our Stories foster family diaries competition

Nov 07, 2017 at 17:38 • Family and Children

The third all-Russian Our Stories foster family diaries competition is over: the jury has identified the winners in the main categories and named the winner by popular vote.

The meeting was no walk in the park, everybody wanted to support not one, but several authors.

Elvira Garifulina
head of the Family and Children programme of the Charitable Foundation of Elena and Gennady Timchenko

This means that the works submitted by entrants are not just interesting to read; though no literary gems – there are no professional writers or journalists among the authors – they strike you at the very heart with the sincerity of the true life of a foster family, where love triumphs every day in a small but significant way over fears and grievances, malice and misunderstanding, distrust and baleful looks from certain people… Our Stories prove the most important thing: there is always hope. You can love a child with disabilities, special needs and other developmental challenges, enjoy life together, overcome difficulties – and build a happy family.

The jury meeting was not only about voting on the major competition categories; the experts introduced six special categories, the winners in which will be invited to attend the award presentation ceremony.

The Grand Prix of the Our Stories competition went to Victoria Strizhak, the author of the story

«My Hard-Won Happiness».

In the main categories, the winners are:

The judges also singled out the following entries:

  1. «Sem Ya [lit. Famil Y = Seven I’s (in Russian)]» by Kirill Osipov. For his daring dreams, awareness and dignity, he won in the special category “Facets of Soul”.
  2. «Sketches from the Life of a Foster Family in All Its Manifestations» by Olga Romanova. For its merciless critique of living arrangements in a foster family, review of problems and inexhaustible humour, the entry was awarded in the special category «Realistic views».
  3. «Epic Milestones» by Anzhelika Titova. According to the jury, Anzhelika submitted the best family epic and demonstrated her commitment to her goals and the chosen way forward, and for this she won in the special category «Legendary Strength».
  4. «Opened Envelope» by Irina Kazakova. For an attempt at an honest conversation with the biological mother of a foster child, the entry was awarded in the special nomination «From Mother to Mother».
  5. «If You Have God in Your Heart» by Aleksandr Zhukov. For his poem about how «to kindle a fire of love in a child’s heart and fill it with love and warmth», Aleksandr won in the special category «Daddy is Our Be-all and End-all».
  6. «Don’t Abandon Me, Mummy! And Don’t Give Me Away — Ever!» — the diary of 5 years in the life of Tatyana Padalko and her foster son was awarded in the special category «Foster Family Value».


The meeting also reviewed the votes cast by readers on the project’s website and named the winner by Popular Vote. She is Olesya Likhunova, who submitted a competition entry entitled «Battery Girl».

In all, more than 100 diaries have been entered into the competition this year. You can read about their authors and heroes on the website of the competition 2017.

The awards ceremony for the winners will take place in the Moscow Planetarium 24 November.

The third foster family diary competition, organized by the Charitable Foundation of Elena and Gennady Timchenko, got underway 01 June 2017. Like last year, the competition was open not only to foster parents, but also to mid-teens aged 14–18 and being raised in foster families, and to young people up to 25 years old, raised by foster parents. The purpose of the competition is to change public attitudes towards families raising children with disabilities, and we can see that society is ceasing to sympathize and is learning to accept. Our Stories are indeed ours: true stories that we all know.

Sitting on the competition’s Panel of Judges are experts in psychology, sociology, social work, fostering, childhood protection, literature and journalism, cultural and academic figures, the winners of and participants in previous Our Stories foster family diaries competitions, as well as former foster children aged between 18 and 25 who stand on their own two feet.