Sunday, September 30, 2012

Yaroslav is a 14 year old young man.  He has lived in an orphanage near the town of Vinnytsya, Ukraine since he was 3 years old.

Currently, there are estimated to be more than 100,000 children living in orphanages in the Ukraine.  The Ukraine has open adoption policies with the US and has high success rates of placing young children with US adoptive families; however, older children face much harder circumstances.  Children age out of the orphanage system at 16 due to a shortage of funds, and overcrowding.  They must leave the orphanage and do their best to become independent.  The vast majority of them end up living on the streets.
Orphanage Statistics:-

70% of boys leaving the orphanage will become involved in crime

70% of girls leaving the orphanage will become involved in prostitution

About 1 in 6 of these children will commit suicide before their mid-20’s

We Are Adopting Yaroslov

This summer our family had the privilege of hosting Yaroslav for 8 weeks.  Our family:  Me - Karen (Mom), Lance (Dad)  three children:  Aiden <16>, Brennan <14>, Sophie <11>, 1 dog, 2 cats, 2 bearded dragons, and two fish.   Yaro fit well in the zoo/mix.  
He loves soccer, video games, swimming, soccer, table tennis, soccer, and did I mention soccer? 
Yaro was great!  We shared the joy of new experiences which we frequently take for granted:  eating chocolate chip cookies, jumping on a trampoline, and being able to pick out a new shirt at the store.  At first, Yaro was a bit shy and hesitant, but it wasn’t long before he claimed a couch as his own, started wrestling with the dog, and discovered the joy of Netflix.  He learned to make his own ham sandwiches, rummage through the pantry for snacks, and enjoy a snuggle on the couch with the very large black cat named Gunther.  Yaro established himself as a formidable foe in Aiden’s video games (actually not really.  No one can beat Aiden), a formidable goalie on Brennan’s soccer team, and a formidable looser in squirt bottle fights with Sophie. 

 We don’t deny that there were moments of frustration.  The language barrier was very challenging.  We worked on ESL and made use of computer based Ukranian translators, but had a hard time persuading a 14 year old to tell us what he was experiencing. Yaroslav’s interactive skills had a wide range, from those of a child who has had no parenting to those of a more mature person.  We continuously reminded ourselves that Yaroslav was raised in an orphanage rather than a family.  Challenges aside, we came to really love and care for this wonderful young man.  When the time came to send him back to Ukraine, his sorrow was almost more than we could bear. It was with very heavy hearts that we said our goodbyes and put him on the plane.  Now that he is gone, there is emptiness in our home and in our hearts. 

Since Yaro’s departure, we have prayed and searched our souls, asking if we, as individuals, and as a family are willing to accept the challenge of adding a non-English speaking, orphanage raised, teenager, Yaro, to our family.  We have come to the conclusion that if Yaro wants to do this, we want him to be part of our family.

The “wild card” in our decision was “What does Yaro want?”  While participating in the hosting program, families are told not to speak of adoption with the child they are hosting.  Life is too uncertain, and the children shouldn’t be set up for disappointment.  When the adoption program facilitator spoke with Yaro, she told him that we would like to adopt him, and asked him how he felt about that.  We are told that he couldn’t stop smiling and said, “I thought maybe they would forget about me. Yes I really want to be adopted!”

We Need Your Support 

Now the challenge!  We feel an urgency give Yarslov a home.  The cost of adopting a child from The Ukraine is approximately $25,000.  We, as a family, are committed to the long term familial support of this young man, but request your assistance in the upfront cost of adoption and US Citizenship. 100% of your contribution will go to the adoption and naturalization process. 

Tax deductible donations can be made online or by check:

Hope for Children
3496 N 160th Avenue
Holland, MI 49424

Please state that it is for the Buxton Family Adoption.  The organization will respond with receipts of your contribution.