Jed came back to Oregon on Friday after spending the last month in Ukraine. He had a great, full time working with our church community, interns, spending time with the boys, working on a special project, meeting with partners, and generally just gettin’ stuff done.
One HUGE, major, important thing he has been working on during his last two trips has been scouting out land for us to purchase. The dream of Wide Awake is deinstitutionalization. We want our boys out. In order to get them out we have to have somewhere for them to live, right? Right. We don’t want them to live just anywhere. We want them to live in nature, surrounded by beauty and land and gardens and fruit trees and people who love them. We want them in a neighborhood, not in isolation. We want them to have occupation, purpose: working the land to help provide for themselves as they are able. That dream requires a special piece of land, and Jed has been on the hunt for the perfect place.
We think he’s found it!
The land he found is approximately 1.3 acres and will be a great beginning spot for our first three Wide Awake homes. It is in a village a couple kilometers from Zhytomyr, has an existing reeeeeeeally old home on it, and space to build 2 other cottages. Thanks to our outrageously generous donors and outlandish end-of-the-year giving, we have the funds to purchase the land and renovate the house (it has no indoor plumbing…yikes!). We plan to add an ADA standard addition to the house as soon as we have the money for it.
Things are getting very, very exciting.
The current plan is that Jed will return to Ukraine mid-June to purchase the land on behalf of Wide Awake. We are also beginning the process, as a family, to obtain Ukrainian permanent residency. Because we are the parents of a Ukrainian citizen, we have the possibility of permanent residency, and that will work in our favor on many levels.
As a family, we are planning to return to Ukraine at the end of July or the first week of August. The idea is that we will live in the old house and four boys will live in the addition with loving caretakers. There are four boys, actually men, who turn 35 this year. We need to be ready to intercept them before they are sent to an adult institution. That means we need to move quickly and be ready for them come winter.
It’s crazy. It’s all becoming more real every day. There are many, many logistics to work out as far as care of the boys goes. Three of the boys we hope to bring home are non-interactive. If you were to visit Romaniv you would not notice them. We weren’t even confident of their names until they were confirmed on paper. The nannies didn’t know their names. They are some of the ones who sit on benches all day every day, alone in their own minds. They are not very receptive to human touch and do not respond much to interaction of any kind. The fourth boy is social and interactive. Everyone knows him and loves him. They are all survivors. Anyone who has lived that long in Romaniv is a survivor and we believe their potential is great. You know, we are ready to love them just as they are. We have hopes and dreams for them: hope for healing, dreams for full lives, but if all they ever know is that they are safe and loved and they never resp0nd to us as we dream- that’s okay. They are our sweet boys and we love them. They deserve the best.
So, one step at a time we move forward. There are many unknowns, so please pray for us that we are not fearful and that we will simply listen and obey. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when we think of the big picture. We really need to hear from God.
We can not thank you enough for giving of your love, your finances, and your prayers. This would be absolutely impossible without people praying and giving money. There is no way we could do any of this on our own. THANK YOU for journeying with us. It’s about to get crazy up in here, so stick around and enjoy the ride!
If you would like to give a donation specifically for the Wide Awake Building Fund you can do so here.