by McKennaugh


Dear Friends,

My column is called Laughter, Tears, and Our Teen Years. Well, this month it’s on tears. Yuri and Viktor’s tears. Some of you may have read Teri Olsen’s article that spoke of my site and the children that I was trying to advocate for. One of them, Levina, had received a family awhile before the article went into Homeschooling Teen. Today, her family will be meeting her for the first time. They will hold her and kiss her and love her like she has never been loved. They will try to give her back all the life that she was denied in the Ukrainian orphanage. Levina has so many special needs you can’t pronounce them. She is as stiff as a board. She can’t even bend at the waist from lying in a crib for over 7 years. She is 15 pounds from starvation. She will never walk or speak or play. Her gorgeous eyes will never see. Despite all this, a family chose to bring her home. She is one of the very few Ukrainian special needs children who will be rescued from a life—and death—in a crib.

I came home from Ukraine with the goal to find families for three, though, not one.

The other two are boys, Viktor and Yuri. In the next 2 months, both of them will turn six. Last year, I held these little guys and made them laugh in a world where there’s nothing to laugh at.

Due to Teri’s article in March, a family decided they would try to adopt Yuri. However, they are missionaries, and thus have very low income. Because of this, they were not allowed to proceed with his adoption. (Ukraine has no income requirements, but the US does.)


Yuri, with his sparkling brown eyes and beautiful smile, is still living behind bars. And soon he will be sent to a mental institution. Almost all children with ANY special need in Ukraine (even if it is not a mental disability) are sent to these institutions at age four to seven, depending on the orphanage. At Yuri and Viktor’s orphanage, the children are lucky; they usually get to stay until age 6 or 7. Yuri was due to be transferred already, however. He has microcephally and other special needs. Because the family was coming, the orphanage tried to put a hold on the transfer. But now they can’t come. What will happen to Yuri? Will he go to a mental institution? If so, there is a chance that he will soon die, due to the terrible conditions there.


Viktor will also be transferred before long. He has microcephally, spastic tetraparesis, and partial atrophy of the optic nerves. We were also told at the orphanage that he had Down Syndrome. I believe his ankles are deformed and he cannot walk. Perhaps in the US he could get an operation that will allow him to run across the room. He desperately needs the love that a mommy and daddy can give him. He needs someone who can be patient and willing to help him with all the problems he has. Someone who has lots of time to teach him how to cuddle and walk and enjoy life.

There are approximately 2,000 people who receive this e-zine. If half of those people were willing to share the stories of these two boys, they would have 1,000 more chances at life. Sadly, not even a fraction of that many will. I’d be thrilled if I got just 10 people to tell Yuri and Viktor’s story.

Will you be the first one to share? Call a friend! Post on your website, blog or Facebook! Send out an email to all the contacts in your email account and ask them to pass it along, as well!

If you decide to help get the word out, can you please let me know that you are telling their story? Email me at

You can go to my site, to find out more about these two children. Remember, there ARE people out there that would be willing to adopt them… it’s just up to us to reach those people. Levina’s family didn’t fall into my lap. It took months of advocating, hours and hours and hours of computer time, exhausting failures, and never giving up, to finally have someone read her story and say, “Yes. I can do this. I can take her home.” Somewhere, someone would be willing to give these little guys life—but on my own, I can’t find the family that will say, “Yes.” I need you. Please help me.  –McKennaugh

Download a flyer to print out and distribute at your church or in your homeschool group:

McKennaugh Kelley ( is fifteen years old. She lives in Troy, Pennsylvania with a handful of crazy, creative, but mostly wonderful little brothers.

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