The Summer of 2014 was very special for 18 young orphans from Ukraine. They were received by American families, to spend Summer in the U.S. The Dallas Telegraph met them all at DFW airport two month ago, as they arrived, and came to see Ukrainian children as they were leaving the country. It was a day of sorrow and tears for both, families and guests.
First we spoke to Jason Wiswall.
— It was quite an experience. It was a good experience, I think, for Christina and a good experience for our family as well. I think it exposed us to the blessings that we have and our ability to share those blessings with a child that doesn’t have as many blessings as we have. It really opened our eyes to the gentleness and the sweetness of this Ukrainian girl. We had quite a busy summer. We went to the gold shores of Alabama to the beach, did a number of activities such as: zip-lining, fishing, para-sailing, spent a day at the beach and pool, we just had fun all around water-parks, miniature golf, go-karting, (lots of go-karting!). When we were at the beach, we had a great experience hanging around our house, swimming at our country club, doing a number of different activities. Christina and my kids went shopping a lot, so it was just all around of good experience.
— You mentioned the church and “God’s blessings.” What church are you going to?
— We go to the Gateway Church.
— What was your final words to your guest Christina, when she was leaving for Ukraine?
— Just that she continue to walk with her faith and be strong and confident. She is very smart and bright young lady, and I know she would grow up to be a very important person.
The Dallas Telegraph spoke to Sharine Nelson from Nebraska.
— Did you came all the way from Nebraska here to Dallas receive the girl and now to send her back home?
— Yes, we did. We had Marina and Bogdan, two children from Western Ukraine. We just had a great time with kids — a lot of swimming, going places, and living like regular american family. After all, it was very joyful experience. They taught us some Russian, and we taught them some English.
— Do you remember any Russian words?
— Да, спасибо, молодец, добре.
Another family of Tyler and Audrey Sams wanted to share.
— We live in Gladewater, Texas. Our Ukrainian children went to church with us, and they actually really enjoyed church. It is Judson Road Church of Christ in Longview, Texas. This was our first time hosting foreign children. We were receiving Vlad and Sophiya, a brother and a sister, twelve and nine. They are sweet and very energetic. They are from the western part of the country, near Poland. We made trips to Arkansas and to the lake and had the blast with the kids. We went to the lake, and we rode on the inner-tube, and it was their first time on a motorboat, and Vlad, a twelve year-old-boy was screaming like a little girl, he had so much fun. At the lake definitely swimming in general riding horses.
— What was the unexpected observation or conclusion with children?
— Food was always interesting. Mayonnaise and ketchup on everything, mayonnaise and ketchup in macaroni in cheese, mayonnaise and ketchup on pizza, on everything.
Kelly Rasmussen was also wiping the tears.
— Alyona was absolutely wonderful. She is 12 years old. She has filled our hearts with feelings we didn’t know even exist. Alyona is from Kyiv region of Ukraine. We took Alyona to many places. We went up to Oklahoma a couple of times, to a cabin on the lake. We took her to the water park. Alyona loves to swim. She swam in our pool a lot. We went to the Zoo — oh, she loved the zoo — and fed the birds and to the Perot Museum, and all kinds of fun!
—Tell us about your family.
—Well, we have 5 people in my family. My medium family: myself — Kelly, my wife is Summer, I have Kathleen as my oldest daughter, Chloe is my middle daughter and Keyton is my youngest son.
— And my question would be — isn’t it enough?
— Definitely not! (Laughing).
— What was the reason that you brought the girl from overseas instead of taking care of some local kids?
— Honestly, I think it was a God’s thing. The way it came together in the way we have gotten into this program and there is no way we could have done it by ourselves. So, I really think that God put her in our lives. We go to Still Water Community Church in Rockwall, TX.
— Is it your first experience with Ukrainian children?
— Yes, it is. Alyona is just absolutely wonderful.
— What was any problems in communication? Tell us some funny story when she didn’t understand something, and when you didn’t understand her.
— Oh, there have been many of those (laughing). We were just mis-communicating on lot of things, but we laughed about them. Alyona is so smart though. She has picked up so much English, by a couple of weeks after she was here, we didn’t have to use a translator. Most of the trips we have been able to communicate in English.
— Are you planning any follow up with Alyona?
— It is definitely! We are gonna try and communicate through the hosting program. We will see if we can write letters, so we will try to stay in touch.
Another receiving family of Wendy Ferrel was willing to speak to The Dallas Telegraph:
— We had a twelve-year-old girl from Ukraine stay with us this summer, and we adopted our seventeen year-old daughter from Ukraine last summer. We had a wonderful time having another one at our home, and our daughter from Ukraine has enjoyed given to speak Ukrainian and Russian. It has been a wonderful summer. Our adopted daughter’s name is Alyona. She is from Crimea. And the girl who came this Summer is from Western part of this country. Her name is Vaselina. Vaselina was a wonderful addition to our family this summer. We have 4 little girls at home: our biological and Alyona. All of them were having so much fun together! They enjoyed swimming, riding horses, going places. Vaselina just enjoyed having our home.
— Do you speak Ukrainian?
— Так. Добрий день. (Yes. Good day: DT)
— Tell to our Russian-speaking audience, why these “crazy” Americans spend money on foreign guests, instead of spending money on their own kids? (Laughing).
— Well, we like spending money on our girls too, but we fell in love with the country of Ukraine, and my husband and I did last summer when we were adopting our daughter, and I have got to spend six weeks there. So, we wanted to find the way to continue to help children who needed families and parents, and we thought this is a wonderful chance to bring one over from the summer and to experience the love that the family can offer.
— How was Vaselina impressed by America? What was her reaction to a new country?
— Vaselina loved being in America. She really just enjoyed everything. She likes staying up late, watching movies, eating popcorn, getting supply on an iPad, and going to church with us on every Sunday. She enjoyed going just being around some American kids of her age.
— What church are you going to?
— We are from Little Rock, Arkansas. We go to the Main Baptist Church in Little Rock.
Украинские дети об Америке и американских семьях
— Василина, как далеко твой город от Киева?
— Очень далеко.
— Это восток или запад Украины?
— Ты говоришь по-русски?
— Да, і по-українськи.
— А у вас в городе не запрещают говорить по-русски?
— Ничего не запрещают!
— Ну, а что больше всего тебе понравилось в Америке, что было «самое-самое»?
— Семья и лошади.
— Какой подарок тебе понравился?
— Планшет. Я везу для дівчат креми, помади, різні подарунки.
Поговорил The Dallas Telegraph и по-украински.
— Христина, а що вам сподобалось в Америці?
— Мені все сподобалось. Я в перший раз, і я дуже вражена. Сім’я дуже хороша. Мама добра. Маму звати Джессіка, брат Джексон, сестра Джейден, ще молодший брат Джед и тато Джейсон. Перше, ми були дома. А потім їздили на Алабаму, це на море. І ми ще так їздили всюди: і на каток, і в аквапарк. Всюди були.
— Повернешся додому, дівчата спитають: «Як там Америка?»
— Скажу, що класно.
— А як тобі американці?
— Дуже добрі люди. Приємніші, ніж в Україні.
— Як ти називала Джессіку?
By Serge Taran