Thursday, January 3, 2008

You are always on your way to a miracle. -Sark

In October of 2005 my parents hosted 2 Ukrainian orphans who were here with the Save a Child Foundation, a foundation that my uncle started to help families become more aware of the need for older kids to be adopted. Neither of the girls that stayed with my family were adoptable. One of the girls, Vika, had several siblings at the orphanage and her mother and other family members came to visit her on a regular basis. The other little girl Katia, didn’t have anyone who would come visit and we weren’t sure if she had siblings. We found out during her time in Utah that her mom was in prison and was suppose to be getting out within a year and was coming to get her daughter. We tried to stay in contact with Katia, but shortly after her return to Sumy she was taken from the orphanage and put into a foster care program. We tried to find her but were unsuccessful. We heard different stories, that she’d been adopted by a Ukrainian family, that her mom had her, that she was at a different orphanage. We were never sure where she was. Well, at the beginning of December when I got to Ukraine I got in contact with the translator for Adoption Way and asked her if she could try and find anything out for me. She said she would but I wasn’t too hopeful.

The weekend before Christmas, Zhenya and I rented a car and drove to Sumy, (about 4 hours away from Kiev.) Sumy is the city I spent all of my time when I was in Ukraine in June. We went to visit the kids at the orphanage and drop off some Christmas gifts. It was a really good weekend. During that weekend I got a call from Natasha from Adoption Way, and she had an address for Katia. I couldn’t believe it. She was in a village right near Sumy. On December 23rd when Zhenya and I were leaving Sumy we found the village and the house she was living in. I was so nervous. I couldn’t believe I might get to see her. The home didn’t have a phone so they didn’t know we were coming and I had no idea what to expect. Zhenya was so great during all of this. He went to the door and talked to a boy who went in the house and got the man who lives there. They talked a minute and we were told that Katia was at an apartment down the street visiting an older girl who use to live at this house but was now married. The first boy Zhenya talked to came with us to show us to the apartment. We knocked on the door, and were let in by a young lady who had 2 small children with her. Zhenya explained who we were and she led us to a bedroom. Katia was sitting on the bed in the room. I can’t explain all the emotions that went through me at that moment, so I’m not even going to try. I was overwhelmed. She remembered who I was and came up and hugged me. We were there for less than an hour, but it was so good to see her. I gave her a Christmas present, we looked at pictures of our family when she was in Utah with us, and I just sat and held her in my arms. I wanted to take her with me. It was so hard to say good-bye, again, but I held back the tears until we were driving away.

From the moment I saw this girl almost 2 and a half years ago, I felt like she was a part of our family. And seeing her again didn’t change those feelings, if anything, it made them stronger. As we were driving away I felt sick to my stomach. What did my visit do to her? She hadn’t seen or heard from me in over 2 years and then one afternoon I randomly show up at her door in Ukraine and visit for a few minutes and then leave. Children need consistency in there lives. They need to feel safe and loved. And seeing the situation she was living in, I’m sure she doesn’t feel any of those much. Was it a bad thing that I saw her? Is she sadder now than she looked when I first saw her sitting on the bed? Is she confused and wondering why I was there and if she’ll ever see me again? Katia is 10 years old and she has an 8 year old brother who also lives at that house with her. Isn’t she beautiful.

I’m not sure yet what my next step will be…
Posted by Picasa


Jeri said...


What a gift you gave this child. That she meant enough for you to find her after all of that time. We adopted our son from Sumy and went back in 2003 to meet his grandmother, half-brother and sister. Being in Ukraine made me so embarassed about how much we have and don't appreciate. If you have someone in Sumy that can keep contact going with her and maybe help support her, that would be wonderful! I have tried to find a way to order online and have things delivered directly to Alex's family without success, but I won't give up!

Are you still in Ukraine? Take care, Jeri aka Alex's mom in Texas

Jeri said...

Oops, read another post and you're not there anymore. You might ask Jhenya? (I know I spelled it wrong) if there is a way to help Katia's mom from here. I know of a woman who arranged to have her daughter's grandmother's utilities and rent paid in advance. (Sadly, the woman was a serious alcoholic and she was afraid the money would not be used appropriately. Just an idea, jeri