This summer Joby and I decided to offer our volunteer services at Bridgestone Prayer and Retreat Center. Bridgestone is host to Bridges of Faith (BOF), which organizes orphanage Bible camps bringing orphans from the Ukraine 3-4 times per year for cultural exchange and to teach them about God’s love. Joby began by helping with building repair needs on site and I would meet him out at Bridges Saturday nights for pot luck and devotions with the staff. We met some fantastic people there who also volunteered but, they served as house parents to the orphans.
After learning more about Bridges of Faith we began to pray about spending time with the orphans and being house parents. We decided to leave our comfort zones and spend 3 days and nights, living with the children. They spoke very little to no English, so other than what we could have interpreted, the only thing we understood from each other were body language and facial expressions. The longer we were there the more we began to understand the personalities of each child and their needs for love. Hugs and kisses began to come more freely and we really began to get attached to these orphans, these precious gifts that God created in his image. When we put our feelings and our sincere love for these children together with the heart wrenching statistics, we became overwhelmed.
Statistically, 60-70% of all boys “graduating” from an orphanage in Ukraine will become involved in crime for survival. 1 in 6 of these children will commit suicide before their mid twenties. 25% of orphanage graduates will gain stable employment and 1% will obtain a college (university) education. 1 in 3 girls will be trafficked or be prostituted. As we looked into the faces of these 13 orphans, we questioned ourselves, which of these 8 children will become involved in crime to survive? Which 2 would commit suicide? And of the 3 girls, which would end up trafficked?
On the way home from our 72 hour blessing, our hearts broke a little more with each mile. We knew our lives had been changed forever. We couldn’t wait until the weekend so we could go back out to Bridges of Faith and see them all. I cried from Thursday until Saturday. Wondering about them, who were house-parenting them? What were they doing? Were they getting enough love and hugs?
One child in particular caught our attention. Alex. This 15 year old young man was polite and considerate. His favorite color is green. This young athlete, who loves track and soccer, doesn’t smoke, drink or eat junk food because in his words, he is “an athlete”. He has a sincere love of Jesus and reads his Bible every day. When I asked him what he wanted to be when he “grows up” he stated he would like to coach soccer and/or be a pastor.
How can we let this young person become a horrible statistic? Would he have to turn to illegal activities to survive? Will he commit suicide due to hopelessness? We can’t allow this to happen to him. He has stolen our hearts and the hearts of our two grown children and our grand-daughter.
When Joby and I went to BOF we had no intention of adopting. (And if we had chosen a child ourselves, it would have been a younger girl to be best friends with our grand-daughter). However, God had other plans for us. So, we are leaving our comfort zones behind and doing what we have been led to do. We do need your help though. International adoptions are very expensive and since this was not our plan, we do not have thousands of dollars stashed away to pay for it. Alex will be 16 in January. When a child reaches 16 the US does not see the child as adoptable. So time is not on our side. If our story has touched your heart in the smallest of ways, we are asking for your financial help to bring Alex home. We ask also, for your prayers that the finances will be provided and that we can have safe travel to and from the Ukraine, and safety the 8 weeks we have to live there to complete the adoption process.
Thank you for reading our story. May God bless and keep you.
- Amberly Peavy
- Sabrina Vazquez
- Victoria Moore
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more