So yesterday was basically amazing.
We had the extreme honor and pleasure of meeting with a woman in Kyiv who has worked for twenty years to provide rights for, and secure the rights of people with disabilities. She and her team have worked tirelessly to rewrite laws and create legislation and lobby for the ones we love. This incredible woman was fighting for our Boys before we even had a clue they existed. This incredible woman deserves a standing ovation.
As a mother of an adult son with disabilities she recognized the holes in the social system of Ukraine. She saw how her own son would fall between those cracks. She knew the value of his life and decided to do something about it.
As Ukraine attempts to move toward European Standards of Care for institutionalized children and adults it has become obvious that the current model of care can not continue “as is”. Major overhauls must happen. Major change must come. And it will have to be MAJOR.
Before we moved here we told people that the whole social system here in Ukraine would have to change in order for the dreams God has given us to come about. We dream of community living for people of all abilities where they are not isolated, but are active members of society. We dream of homes where children are not confined to their beds, but they are truly living and thriving, surrounded by loving support for all their days. Those dreams are legally impossible with the current system. BUT, change is coming. We don’t know when (but we do know it will be soon), we don’t now how, but now we know the people who have been dreaming this dream long before we arrived.
Timing is everything. The harvest is so ripe. How can we honor those who have gone before us? How can we thank them enough for their tireless, unrecognized efforts? It’s truly humbling and so encouraging! I mean, think about this: we knew at some point we would have to hire a legal team to dig in to, and fight to change the laws here concerning people with disabilities. Then yesterday we learned that there are people here already doing that- and with much success!
There is much, much work to be done, and many battles yet to be fought, but we are not alone. We are a teeny-tiny piece of a great big puzzle here in Ukraine. There are others who care, and it is personal to them. We met one of them yesterday.
I’m a concrete thinker. I like to know what to do next. All these policies and plans and multi-year projects are nearly impossible for me to wrap my brain around. But, in our meeting we were given a solid next step to work toward. We learned that it is important to register Wide Awake International as an NGO here in Ukraine. That will be to our benefit once the big changes start to take place. So, we’ll get working on that right away.
In the meantime we’ll keep in touch with our new contact in Kyiv, and faithfully serve the Boys God has put right in front of us. It’s more and more obvious as time goes by that this is the exact place we are supposed to be at this exact time in history. Because of that we can rest. Even though Ukraine is at war and the task before us seems insurmountable, we can be confident that God is truly in control. Yay for that!!!! Thank you all for your continued prayers and support. You are making a difference in many lives!
The photos are from last week at Romaniv. Little Ilya was cracking us up with his absolute love for music. It really helps him to regulate. He even tried to climb inside the guitar! Don’t miss him on Jed’s lap in the pics. Hilarious and awesome.