Oh my goodness, have I got a doozy for you today. I was trying to think of a clever title, but decided to just go with the obvious. You are seriously not going to believe this story, but I promise it’s true.
I’m not sure if you know this, but we have a team of builders who live here and do all the constant building and repairing on our property. They built the duplex and are now finishing up the barn and making accessible walkways around the property. We have a goal that all the construction on the Homestead will be done in the next three years and won’t that be a grand day! But until then, our building team of 5 men is a constant fixture on the Homestead. During the week they live in the old house at the front of the property and on the weekends they go home to their village about 50km away. They don’t have a ton of interaction with our boys, but they are always kind to them and the boys know them.
So, a few weeks ago one of the builders, a young guy named Vadim, was cleaning out the boiler room of the duplex. The duplex is heated with a wood boiler and every Friday one of the builders cleans it out. In the boiler room was a box of recycled documents from our office set aside to be burned. Vadim saw on the top of the pile of documents a copy of our Yaroslav’s passport and noticed that Yarik’s last name and patronymic were the same as his girlfriend’s. He snapped a photo of the document with his phone and texted his girlfriend, Vlada. “Hey look, this guy has your same last name. Weird, right?” (It’s not a common last name) Vlada looked at the name and birthdate and was shocked to put two and two together: Yaroslav is her long lost brother. I.Kid.You.Not. The girlfriend of our builder is Yaroslav’s sister!!! What the heck even??? It’s like a Hallmark movie!
This is how it all went down. When Yarik was small and it was discovered that he had a disability his mother put him in an institution. He is 8 years older than Vlada and she never met him, but she always knew she had an older brother with a disability. Yarik and Vlada’s mother was/is an alcoholic and her parental rights were removed when Vlada was small and Vlada was placed in an orphanage. She was typically developing, so she was not placed with Yaroslav. When she was 4 years old she was adopted by a good, loving family. Vlada always remembered she had a brother and when she was a teenager she decided to try to find him. She contacted her birth mother and was told that Yaroslav had died. She was too late. We don’t know why the mother told her that because we all know that Yarik is very much alive and well with us here on the Homestead. Imagine Vlada’s surprise when she got that text from her boyfriend! Ha!
The discovery about the relationship was made on a Friday afternoon and that very Sunday Vadim and Vlada showed up here on the Homestead. She just couldn’t wait to meet her long lost brother. Over the past month Vlada has visited Yarik here several times. She comes just to be with him, to sit with him, to get to know him. We don’t know if Yaroslav understands what a sister is, but he 100% understands that Vlada is someone special in his life. He asks for her almost every day and cries when she leaves to go home. He showers her with kisses and basks in her attention. He understands that she is there just for him and he adores her. For our Yarik, who’s need for love and attention is like a bottomless pit, Vlada’s presence in his life is a most beautiful, unexpected gift. And for Vlada to know her brother and to have a safe, warm, inviting place to build relationship with him- well, it’s just all around amazing.
Today we will celebrate Yaroslav’s 28th birthday and his sister, Vlada, will be joining us. He will be surrounded by all the people who love him: his big Wide Awake family and his very own sister. God’s love for Yarik and Vlada is just crazy big and we are thankful to be witnesses to it.