(we have put no picture of Katya to protect her privacy)
We have had many requests for an update on the story we reported about Katya. She was adopted from a Ukraine orphanage when she was 12 years old. She lived with her adoptive family until she turned 18. Two months after her 18th birthday, she was sent back to Ukraine. We want to update you now on the facts, the progress and the plan.
Imagine first that you are a 12 year old - leaving a country, culture, and a life in an orphanage. You are adopted by a wonderful Christian family and are taken to a country where you will need to learn the language, culture and how to live in a family versus an orphanage. As time passes you learn and yearn. The yearning is often demonstrated with angry words everytime you get into an argument with your parents - words are spoken such as, "send me back to Ukraine!" Your adoptive parents are not equipped to deal with your emotions, needs and your confusion.
After 6 years, things escalate to the point your parents just decide to give you your wishes. They make arrangements with the previous orphanage in which you lived, take you shopping and buy you some new clothes, purchase a ticket that leaves two days later and then put you on an airplane. You are now heading "home". But this is not home, it is a foreign land and you are only a child. You are smart, beautiful and very confused.
Arriving in Kiev, someone is there to meet you and take you back to the orphanage. You travel on the train, anxious to meet your new life. At the orphanage the director greets you and tells you this is a new chance for you. She tells you that you must give up your US citizenship and she will help you get into school, etc. She tells you that this is a wonderful time for your life, back in Ukraine where everything will be better for you. She tells you that it is never good to be adopted to an American family. She tells you that your new life starts with getting back your Ukrainian citizenship. BUT WAIT.....
You have the Russian language at a 12 year old level; people cannot understand you, laugh at you privately for your level of language and what you do not know and understand about the culture. You find out you MUST have the Ukrainian language to study, go to university or even get a decent job. You enter an English contest (set up by the orphanage director) and do well. Yes, English is your language. You are successful here. A teacher recognizes something is amiss and asks where you learned your language? The story begins to surface. You tell her all, and about giving up citizenship for another. The teacher says - WHOA! She contacts others and the story begins to be known by professionals who want to help you. You attempt to study, learn, but once again you are yearning and now even more lost!
Who am I? Where do I belong? Do I have anyone who loves me?
Others begin to help and the US Embassy hears of the situation and gets involved, much is then discovered. The orphange was wrong in agreeing to do this, you should not give up citizenship and you would be repatriated. The US Embassy called the orphanage and was totally in agreement of the wrong doing of this situation and worked with the US Department of State, Health and Human Services to work out are repatriation plan. Finally the plan is in place. Since you are a resident of a certain state - Georgia - you will need to return to that state. They set it up. Others have done so much...since you had NO MONEY - NO RESOURCES AND NO HELP TO SURVIVE.
*An American in Ukraine gave you shelter away from the orphanage
*a Ukrainian government leader brought others together to help you
*a Ukrainian NGO director gave you funds to go out of Ukraine for long enough to get a re-entry and keep you legal in the country (foreigners can only stay three months before needing to re-enter)
*another Ukrainian NGO team worked together to coordinate the US Embassy and help with your return home
*and LAMb has kept the story alive to get help and to give assurance something would be done and will be ensuring your flight home.
YOU OUR SUPPORTERS HAVE DONE MORE -
*you came to the surface and we had 10 families willing to receive Katya and give her a home to help her get settled.
WHERE WE ARE NOW -
Katya is approved to travel and will do so within the next several weeks. She will return to her home state of Georgia and study there - complete her grade 12. We will be calling persons we know in the area she returns to and will be getting her connected to caring adults who will help her settle and get started. If you are from Georgia (Atlanta) and want to help - contact us.
She has been tossed into adulthood before her time. She has no connections, no friends, no family. She is a bright and beautiful young woman, a victim of life's circumstances. Her first 12 years of life were without family, and her last 6 years of life were learning about family. Maybe she did not know how to be in a family and the family did not know how to help her. All we know is there was conflict, yet there is conflict in every family and yet we use tough love and at the same time do not deny our children forever. Many parents have felt at a loss of how to manage a teen and many parents have thought about "sending" their child somewhere - yet commitment means commitment. Katya did not have the benefit of that commitment.
Lost in a country where she would most likely become one of the statistics - 2/3 of the orphans in Ukraine end up in being trafficked, suicide, in prison, pushing drugs, or living on the street. Only 1/3 are successful and we can be sure those successful - know the language, culture and have been successful with integrating into the community. Katya had little chance for this success.
Yet we praise God - He is faithful and she is coming home. We will update you here on Katya's return.
FINALLY - WE NEED A SPONSOR FOR HER FLIGHT. The US Embassy will make the arrangements, but we will need to pay for the ticket. Is there anyone out there that would like to help this way - and is there anyone in Atlanta, Georgia that would want to contact us and help us by meeting her when she arrives into Atlanta later this month. Let us know.
Please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
KATYA IS COMING HOME!