Thursday, February 28, 2008

Sweet Tatiana

We got some wonderful news yesterday. We have been sponsoring two children through Life2Orphans for a few years now. The boy and girl that we sponsor are both teenagers now and they live at an orphanage/boarding school called Mykolaivka Internat in Ukraine. The orphanage where they live is the only home they know, they rarely ever even leave the orphanage grounds and the other orphans, teachers, and caretakers are the only family they have.

Over the past few years Tatiana (now 13 years old) and I have become pretty close. We send her school supplies, toiletries, clothes, and toys a few times a year and write many letters back and forth. We exchange pictures as well. Tatiana is a very sweet girl and I often worried about her for what her future would bring. When orphans age out of the adoption system (sometime between ages 16 and 18) they generally have to place to go and often times with a poor education and no adult support they end up in lives of drugs, prostitution, and a large percentage of them even choose to end their lives. Through our communication and support we hoped and prayed that we would be able to give Mihailo (the boy) and Tatiana the encouragement they would need to face the tough road ahead of them.

Tatiana, or Tonya, as she liked to be called is a very special kid. She and about 15 others were chosen from her orphanage of about 200 hundred kids to go on a special trip last year as a special privilege. We got to pay $40 for her and she was able to go to Kiev and sightsee, go to the zoo, ride on a train, eat in a real restaurant, and go to McDonald's! We were so excited for her. She had a great time. She was also recently baptized and we were so proud of her as we were both baptized at about the same age that she is.

Well yesterday I received a letter from Tatiana that said that she had been adopted and that her new parents were going to be taking her home to Greece where she will live with her new family! This is such a blessing and a huge answer to prayer. I think the statistics are really poor, probably less than 1% of teenage orphans in Ukraine get adopted. Tatiana now has parents who will love her! I just know that she will thrive in a family. Of course I cried for an hour because I am so happy for her but it will be bittersweet for me as I am not sure we will be able to stay in touch. But Tatiana has a future now! She told me that she is already starting to learn some Greek and that it is very hard! She can't wait to see the sea for the first time and swim in it. She said that where she is moving it is even warm in the winter. Of course she thanked us for all we have done for her and said her goodbyes to us. We are hoping that we can still write to her, but even if we never hear from her again we are so happy for her. She has been a blessing to us and we will never forget our little sweetie. My favorite Tatiana memory is when I wrote her a letter and said something like, "Hi Sweetie!" She wrote back and I guess it didn't translate exactly because she said that no one had ever called her "their candy sweetheart" before and that now everyone at the orpahange was calling her that. She loved it. How cute is that?

So goodbye sweet Tatiana! I hope that you have a wonderful life in Greece. Every child deserves to live in family who loves them and takes care of them!

I would encourage anyone who wants to be part of an awesome charity to look into Life2Orphans. We have been so lucky to be part of these two special lives because of them.

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