I don't blog often. Usually not until something grabs me around the throat and won't let go. Well something, or rather someONE, has grabbed me. And her name is Luda. She is my daughter's best friend. They lived together in an orphanage in Ukraine. Luda's mother is still alive but her rights were long ago terminated. Luda has tried to initiate contact with her but her mother does not want anything to do with her; her mother DOES NOT WANT HER.
Grace to Ukraine hosted Luda last summer along with her brother, Zhenya. They met many families while they were here, but none were "their" family. You see, Luda and Zhenya want to be adopted. They have asked every American they know "Will you please find us a family?" They WANT TO BE WANTED.
Luda is 17. Zhenya is 15. In November, they will turn 18 and 16 and no longer be eligible for international adoption. Some might say that Luda and Zhenya have been their own worst enemies. When they were here last summer, Luda stuck like glue to my daughter. She let few others in. She had a chance to stay with one family but that family had one younger child and Luda and Zhenya were bored and felt they did not fit in. They were blessed to spend the rest of the summer with a family who had previously adopted a Ukrainian teen. The father stayed home and Zhenya loved hanging out with him on their farm, caring for the horses and releasing his penned up energy. But that family was already committed to adopting another older girl. When Zhenya came to America again in the winter, without Luda, he was a little more difficult. He stole some money from his host family. Money and an Ipad. "He did what?!" you ask. Yes, he stole.
My daughter talked to Luda today. She was distraught. A facilitator from another organization had recently told her "Oh I could find YOU a family, but not your bad brother. Sorry." Well, I have a few words for that facilitator. One, Vova. This boy right here, with his Mama.
We hosted Vova last summer and he stole from his host family. A few months later they went to Ukraine to make him their son. He recently spent a few days in my home. I would catch myself just staring at him in amazement at times, rejoicing in what God had done in his life. Vova was WANTED.
Another word for 'ya: Kostya, pictured below with his Mama. We hosted him 2 summers ago. He spent some time with a family. Were things perfect? By no means! And when Kostya returned to Ukraine, he appeared to be headed down the path of wrong choices. But today, he lives in America, has his driver's license, is working at McDonalds, and is still WANTED.
Might I mention some of my own children? Regarding one, I was told by the director "He is a bad boy; why would you adopt him?" "I love him" was my reply. "Then love is blind," she retorted. Regarding others I was told "thank you for taking these kids out of our orphanage". I apparently was relieving them of a great burden. These children have been pure joy to me. I WANTED THEM. No matter what they had done. Perfect? No. But who is?
You want to hear what I did as a child, as a teenager? Stealing is the tip of the iceburg. I doubt there is anyone reading this blog who has done anything worse than me. And yet, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, reached down into my sinful, imperfect life and redeemed me. HE WANTED ME. And His love changed me.
So why would you want to host Luda and Zhenya? Why would you want to advocate for them a family? Luda is studious, easy going, good with younger children. Zhenya is outgoing, athletic, happy in nature. Neither has shown any violent tendencies. They are both expressive, affectionate and super smart (coming from their host family). But the real reason you should want to host them : YOU WANT THEM. If you don't, this blog is NOT for you.
But I believe there is a family out there for Luda and Zhenya. There is someone reading this blog right now, who does not care what Zhenya has done, but they see with a redemptive eye what he can become. There is someone who will go to bed tonight and not be able to forget Luda's face. There is a father, a Dad, who wants to play soccer with Zhenya and teach him right from wrong. There is a Mom who longs to be the mother Luda has never had but so desperately wants. If that is you, contact me. Let's work together to raise their hosting fees and get them here for hosting July 8th - August 28th. If it's not you, please share this blog. Vova and Kostya found their forever families because someone shared a blog about them. The more this blog is shared, the greater the chance, "their" family will find Luda and Zhenya.