Mother for HIre Antonina Patoka, age 49, wears the ring gifted to her by the organization for her ten year mark on the job. Patoka offically became a certified S.O.S. mother at the age of 36 and has been mothering for 13 years. The following photo essay “Mother For Hire” (2013) is a window into the lives of a children’s orphanage in St. Petersburg, Russia which uses a unique family-based village model to provide homes for orphaned youth. Roman, age 10, in his bedroom. Mama Antonina has photographs of her children who have aged out of the village framed on a wall in her home. Patoka proudly maintains strong relationships with her grown children whom still consider her mama. Typically children leave the village and move into transitional housing in the city at age 18. However, S.O.S. maintains that they cater to each child’s personal needs so that if a child wanted to, he or she could remain in the village up to age 23. Denis, 12, changes into play clothes in the bedroom he shares with his brothers Roman and Roman. Antonina, age 12, dances in her bedroom. Dancing is one of her favorite hobbies that she picked up from summer camp. Roman, age 10, sits at the Patoka family kitchen table. Roman moved to the village with his older brother Denis, 12, when he was 7 years-old. The five Patoka children run upstairs to play in their bedrooms. Antonina Patoka’s family currently consists of Roman, 13, Antonina, 12, Denis, 12, Roman, 10, and Tamara 9. During the school months, the children have strict curfew and wake-up times. In addition to their chores and going to school, the children enjoy helping their mama garden vegetables, cooking, and visiting the ocean. A Barbie doll waits to be played with in the girls bedroom. Biological sisters Tamara, 9, and Antonina, 12, look out their bedroom window inside their home in the Pushkin S.O.S. Children’s Village. One of the benefits for children entering an S.O.S. Children’s village is that they are not separated from their biological siblings as they normally would be in a state facility or state foster care system in Russia. Antonina and Tamara were placed in the S.O.S village with “mama” Antonina two years ago. A view of the Pushkin S.O.S. Children’s Village from the Patoka family residence. On the property, a large grass field decorated with play structures is surrounded by twelve two-story cottages, all constructed thanks to private funders.The village was founded and built in 2000 making it a relatively new facility and the only of its kind in St. Petersburg, Russia.