You Are Not Going to Believe This.

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.


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  1. Julie · March 17

    Yay!! What a beautiful story!! Our God is so amazing and creative! I found my half-siblings just 4 years ago, when I was 48, and it’s been such a blessing. I’m so happy for Yarik & Vlada! ❀️

    • kimnjed · April 13

      Ooooh then you know how wonderful it is! I’m happy for you too!

  2. Jackie Askvig · March 17

    OH MY WORD. GOD IS SO GOOD! Sitting here sobbing and rejoicing with you.

    • kimnjed · April 13

      I KNOW! It’s just really precious and surprising and wonderful.

  3. Therese · March 17

    Absolutely love the way God moves and restores what was lost <3 thanks for sharing!

    • kimnjed · April 13

      Yes! He loves our boys so much.

  4. Victoria Dickinson · March 17

    Totally the best story!,,,Only God knew that before the papers were burned they had precious information and truth. πŸ’ž

    • kimnjed · April 13

      Yes! God doesn’t miss a detail.

  5. Robin Sturm · March 17

    what a BEAUTIFUL story to start my day!
    what a reminder that God is so big and His plans are so perfectly intertwined and that He is about redemption and love and family and hope and miracles and surprises and NOTHING with our great God is a coincidence!!!

    • kimnjed · April 13

      Yes! He is doing things behind the scenes and we don’t realize it or remember. It’s just crazy good!

  6. Janet Johnson · March 17

    What an amazing story!! I have tears in my eyes!!! πŸ’•πŸ’•πŸ’•Thank you for sharing it with us! You oughta have your Board contact someone and make a movie!!!

    • kimnjed · April 13

      I know!! It’s a story for the big screen πŸ™‚

  7. Stephanie Bacica · March 17

    This is incredibly awesome. Our God is an awesome God for sure. The smile on their faces is a perfect gift. God bless you all.

  8. crystalkupper · March 17

    I feel like I (or someone bigger) needs to write about this! How awesome!

    • kimnjed · April 13

      It’s definitely story-worthy. It’s so good!

  9. Christina · March 17

    Such an amazing story! Just wonderful!

    • kimnjed · April 13

      Yes! It is truly wonderful

  10. Kathy Ellis · March 17

    As the song proclaims, our God is an awesome God. Praise His Holy name.

  11. Christina Lindseth · March 17

    Wow- this made me cry! What a loss for every member of the family when children are split up and institutionalized, but God is the great redeemer!

    • kimnjed · April 13

      Yes he is! Crazy that he was doing that and we weren’t even aware. It’s so great.

  12. clararidings · March 17

    That’s crazy amazing! So beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I love the work you’re doing.

    • kimnjed · April 13

      Thank you so much for the encouragement.

  13. SaraAnn · March 17

    Wow. Tears rolling for this sweet reunion. Thanks for taking time to share this beautiful story! God is so good!

    • kimnjed · April 13

      Yes, He is. He really surprised us this time.

  14. Dianne · March 17

    Oh my gosh, what a fantastic story.

    • kimnjed · April 13

      I KNOW. It’s just the best!

  15. Margaret · March 17

    Fantastic! What a blessing from God for both of them!

    • kimnjed · April 13

      It really is. Yarik’s sister really loves him. You can see it.

  16. NOELLE MYERS · March 17

    So so wonderful. God is Good. Continuing in prayer for all of you, the boys, and all of Ukraine.

    • kimnjed · April 13

      Thank you so much for remembering us and for praying.

  17. Angelina · March 18

    This is awesome!!!!
    So beautiful!!!!
    You can definitely make a movie out of this story.
    I am crying here reading it!!!! Wow!!!! πŸ₯°πŸ˜­

    • kimnjed · April 13

      I know! It’s movie material for sure!

  18. Diane Dahlin · March 19

    Thank you for sharing this heartfelt story. God is always at work and when he shows us it is truly amazing.

    • kimnjed · April 13

      It’s true. We can forget all he is doing that we don’t see. This was a great reminder.

  19. Vanessa Katzenberger · March 19

    So beautiful and powerful because it’s true! What an amazing gift for Yarik!

    • kimnjed · April 13

      Yes!! It’s just the best.

  20. Gloria Hsu · March 20

    WOW!!!! God’s love!!

    • kimnjed · April 13

      I know! Sometimes I underestimate God’s love for our boys.

  21. Brigid · March 20

    What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing with us! Praying for an end to the war and safety for you all.

    • kimnjed · April 13

      Thank you so much for your continued prayers. πŸ™‚

  22. Shari · March 31

    This is crazy good. God knew just the right time.

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