This weekend we celebrated the high school graduations of Kirsten and Matthew. Both of these kiddos are among the nine we've adopted from Russia. Both have been home schooled since the day we brought them home.
We adopted Kirsten Nadezhda in November 2010. She has no biological siblings, although now she has a houseful of siblings though adoption!
Kirsten is the only one of our nine Russian adoptees to have started high school in Russia and finished in America, and she didn't speak any English when she arrived. What an accomplishment! We're very proud of her!
Kirsten has had a lifelong passion for horses since living with her grandmother on a small farm in rural Russia as a little girl.
Kirsten's dream now that she's completed high school is to become a horse trainer. She hasn't yet settled on which school would be the best fit for her. As she continues her research, the Lord has provided a wonderful opportunity. Kirsten will be working for about two months this summer at a Christian Guest Ranch that is also a full time cattle spread with over 35,000 acres in western Nebraska. Most of her duties will include caring for the guests who come from around the world to ride in this "old west" setting.
|Photo Credit ~ Faith Reynolds|
Matthew Vladislav's adoptive story is nearly the opposite of Kirsten's. He was adopted at age five way back in 2001. He was the youngest of a trio of siblings. Zhenya and Sarah are his biological siblings. They were eight and seven, respectively.
When we began educating Matthew, we were scared! He was so far behind on what we thought every five-year-old should know. The most basic concepts eluded our new little boy. We wrestled with hopelessness and projected the worst in our minds. Math was by far his weakest subject.
That was Matt then. What a work the Lord has done in this young man! Matt is now a strong academic who loves to learn. Mathematics is now his strongest subject.
Matthew plays the piano but is an accomplished guitarist. He's also a vocalist and a song writer. He just plain loves to make music!
Despite his love of music, the yearning of Matt's heart will take him in a far different direction than the music field. Since he was a little boy, Matthew has dreamed of being a U.S. Marine Officer. Like Kirsten and her plans, we're not completely certain what the immediate path to the goal should be. We'll use this next year to solidify his plans. In the meantime, Matt would like to spend at least a couple of months on the missions field overseas. We figure this will be great preparation for the rigors of military life.