In June 2017 we met this sweet face for the first time and instantly fell in love. Through New Horizons for Children, an international hosting agency for orphans, we met "I" (we call him I-man). We were drawn to his sweet smile. We were not originally to have I-man, we had chosen a little girl from Latvia but her new foster family pulled her from the program. We were drawn to I-man's photo again and again. When he came to live with us for the summer we fell in love. He fit right into our family. He has a great sense of humor and a quick wit. We loved watching him bond with our older children.
We tried to learn as much as we could about I-man's background and environment. What we found out was very sad. Orphans in Eastern Europe have a dim future, especially those like I-man with medical issues. There are about 750 institutions housing 106,000 orphans in Ukraine, with the majority of them being “social orphans” who were abused or abandoned by their parents and were placed in the care of others. Every three days an orphan with a disability /illness dies, usually because they don’t get the necessary medical attention.
In Ukraine, I-man shares a large room with eight other orphans and uses the communal bathroom down the hall, where he may have a shower once a week. (During the day hours, the children use outhouses.) In Ukraine, orphans are given bunks to sleep on and donated clothing to wear. Orphanages, known as Internats in Ukraine, provide schooling, but the lessons are often outdated, given by teachers who would rather be somewhere else. Meals are high in carbohydrates, low in protein with virtually no fresh fruits or vegetables served. After school, the caregivers keep the children occupied with chores, homework tasks and busywork.
Around the age of 16, orphans in Ukraine must leave the orphanage. There is no funding for them to remain and most leave without the basic skills to protect or provide for themselves. For "I" that means he would be responsible for his medication as well, without which he would die. The number of children in orphan care is rising. On average, 250 children enter the system each day, significantly more than the number graduating. The government says there are now 9,000 more Ukraine Orphans in internats than there were two years ago.
After our first hosting we knew we wanted to make I-man a permanent part of our family and the chaperone spoke with him on the trip home and asked if would like to be adopted by us. According to the chaperone, I-man grinned and said "Yes Please" (Please was the word of the summer!!). When she called us to tell us that he was interested we were elated! Then the reality set in - how are we going to come up with the funds to give him his forever family and home? An international adoption like this one runs approximately $40,000. We have spent about $7,000 so far. In the near future there will be program fees and three trips to the Ukraine with the third trip lasting at the most 12 weeks if there are set backs getting I-man cleared to enter the US after all his testing. The first two trips Ralph and I have to go together but the third trip will be just one of us to bring I-man home for good. Once "I" is adopted by us then we apply for US passports and citizenship. Because of his chronic illness he has to undergo several repeated tests that can take up to 12 weeks to get results - all the while he is a Goodberlet and now our responsibility.
To cover the remaining costs we have opened this fundraising site to give the opportunity for people to help bring "I" home for good. More importantly, please pray with us as there is still so much that needs to be done. Our paperwork is in the process of being approved by our adoption agency and the US before it can go over for final approval from Ukraine and we make our first trip. We are praying for a smooth and expedient process. "I" will turn 14 this October and we hope to have him home before he is 15.
If you would like more information or have specific questions, please do not hesitate to contact us! We would love to discuss any questions you may have. If you too would like to join in hosting an Eastern European orphan we would love to talk about that as well. Our lives have been forever changed because of that one tiny leap of faith and bringing "I" here as a host son.
If you would give to our family and share in the joy of giving this special, sweet, loving young man a forever home it would mean so much to us. Every gift brings "I-man" one step closer to joining out family. Thank you!!
Love Denise and Ralph Goodberlet
"I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18
- Victoria Bida
- J. Meyers
- Linda Lou Wilson
- Hany Nissiem
#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