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SOS Mother and baby at CV Vilnius
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Moments make families: Ties for life

Danute and her children
Danute and her children

Danute is an SOS mother from SOS Children's Village Vilnius, Lithuania. She has a family of 11, who live together in a large house, with many books and toys. With so many children, the house is never quiet.

Danute's children joined her SOS family at different times. Some younger, some older, some biological brothers and sisters, they have all enjoyed growing up together.

The family have their own routine, which includes having meals together every evening. Danute and the family helper, SOS ‘aunt’ Genute, invite everybody to the table, where all 11 children sit next to each other and share what they have done that day. Danute also has seven children who have grown up and left the SOS Village to start independent lives, and they often come home for dinner. They bring their partners and their children, Danute's grandchildren, so the table is often full!

Vytas came to Danute's family when he was just three years old; now 13, he is the oldest in the family. Juozokas, who is seven, is the youngest. He arrived when he was a two-year-old together with his biological sisters Evelina and Loreta. Juozokas has a special bond with his mother, and talks to her about all his problems. "My mother is the best in the world," he says.

All of the children call Danute ‘mummy’. The house is never quiet, with calls of ‘mummy-mummy’ from every corner. There are eleven portraits on the wall of the dining room; and Danute can endlessly talk about every one. A Lithuanian tradition, she calls all her children by pet-names (not Juozokas, but Juozolis; not Loreta, but Loretuke).

The whole family enjoy sports and often go on sporting trips together. Every winter, they go skiing together. Juozukas also loves to sledge in the snow to school, which he thinks is much more interesting than taking the trip by car. In spring, the family go on cycle rides together in the countryside. Dozens of photos around the house show the children together with Danute, hiking, bicycling, skiing, running and even participating in marathons. Sometimes the children go to sports clubs, but they also have a large garden where they can practice their favourite sports.

Danute and her family are like any other, experiencing moments that make them a family everyday. Find out how you can give a child family moments to remember.