I've known Illya for a couple years through various ministry we have done in Kherson (Illya grew up in the main Kherson orphanage). However I didn't get to know him better until this past summer at camp, when he was in my English group. I always make kids sing silly songs in English and it seems to make us connect! He went along with it anyway-- good sport that he is. We had a lot of good laughs in the process.
Illya is just the sweetest most polite kid! He was one of my 'best' students and I quickly learned it was because he had spent the Christmas holidays in the US, with an American family. I also soon learned that this family was amidst the paperwork process and would soon be traveling to adopt him! I was so excited when I found this out! A 16-year-old boy-- on the verge of aging out, would be given a family-- just in time.
I knew that Illya would do well in America. I also knew that a boy who is biracial would be accepted better in the US- then he ever would amidst the racism that is so prevalent in Ukraine. I asked Illya all about his soon to be family and made a point to remember their names so I could track them down and connect with them.
After camp I searched all over the internet and could not find this couple who Illya said was going to adopt him. It seemed I must have had the name wrong or something!
Well about 2 weeks after returning from camp I get an email from....you guessed it-- Illya's adoptive mom! Apparently she has been a blog follower of mine for awhile and when she saw Illya's picture posted along with the story I had written about camp she figured I must know her son and decided to write me and connect! I just love when God allows connections like this to happen-- just too cool. The woman I was looking for had found me!
So all this back story to say....Illya's family finally got their adoption appointment to travel over and get him this fall. His parents stayed with me on their way to the region so I got to hear more of their story and how adoption was the last thing on their mind....until they met Illya! I love when God moves like that!
This past week Illya and his mom stayed with me again as they were finishing up at the embassy and getting ready to head home today. The other night as we were all hanging out in the living room I looked at Illya and I looked at his mom and I couldn't help but smile. I love when life comes full circle like this. A boy I meet and get to work with at summer camp winds up being an adopted child that I get to see placed in a family-- a family that I then am able to open up my home to.
It really doesn't get much sweeter than that!