Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Desparate times need desparate measures.

So here I am. 10 days until our host kids arrive and it hits me like a ton of bricks that Bogdon is not only NOT coming for hosting, but I have also NOT found his forever family yet. He would have come but his region in Ukraine refused to let any children come for winter hosting. So now it's even harder to find his family because he isn't here to show everyone how amazing he is.

I got another email from him this morning. We have a family at his orphanage adopting his 16 year old friend and we are sending little messages back and forth until I get a translator to help me call his cell phone. The email was again very simple but makes me cry non the less. A quick "hello, I miss you, please tell me how you are doing."

I called my friend Cara from Angel's Haven who is the middle woman for the messages. She helped found our hosting program and does all our adoptions. I feel like Google Translate is not correcting translating all he is saying to me so I told her I feel like I am missing something. Cara thinks that he is just trying to stay connected, even if it is just a simple little hello.. :,(

I shared a little story with her and thought it was something that would be good to share with everyone to show the kind of boy he is. Again, everyone who has met this child has been blown away by him. He is just so very special.

When I was in Ukraine the orphanage let me take him and his friend out for the evening. We got in the car and Bogdon said he wanted to go to Yalta so I could see it. This was a nice 1 hour drive over mountains and it was a beautiful and unique place that I was so happy to see. It was a waterfront wharf with shops, unique people, and an amazing restaurant that was a ship above water.

We ate and talked and had an amazing time together. As we were walking back in the dark to the car and enjoying all the amazing things going on around us, my translator got a call from the orphanage director and told us to rush back, that the police were there and they were coming back to do a bed count.

We all start to freak out and have no idea what is going on. My first though is someone was mad that the kids came with us and turned us in to the police. We had permission so not sure what was going on except to rush back. We had a total of 1.5 hours to get back before the police showed up.

We then get another call from the director instructing us to get other kids that were in the area. We were given the address and told to go get them and rush back. We have 5 of us and have no idea who we are picking up and no room in the small car we were in. All I am thinking about is a 15 year old kid on my lap in a small car, over a mountain, for over an hour. Yay! UGH!

We are not given ages or why the kids were there, just that they came over on a bus. We are thinking these kids snuck out and are parting in Yalta but not sure how the orphanage director knew where they were. We have no idea what we are getting ourselves into. Bogdon is freaking out on us. He is mad because he wants nothing to do with these kids and why do we have to do this. He says the kids are bad, he is not, and he will not look like he is a part of it. My translator is laughing at him and saying he acts like a little old man. That sounds bad but she was saying it in a cute way, that he is so worried and complaining and complaining about getting in trouble. I mean he was literally sick to his stomach about getting in trouble.

My translator and travel buddy went up the stairs of this run down apartment building while I sat outside with the kids. By this time I was really freaking out because I was just sick out about what  they were about to walk into. By this time Bogdon is by himself pacing the yard and just so upset because he didn't want anything to do with this. His friend kept looking at me saying "bad kids" as she shook her head. I am thinking OMG, they must be doing drugs for these two to be acting so scared..

I must add also that the translator will not go against the director who is telling us to get these kids. I am assuming at this point that she is not worried about the kids we have, the cops are coming for the kids that are missing. Well turns out they were 8 and 10 year old girls who ran away from the orphanage and this was their aunts house. The heard we were coming so left. We had to just go back without them. The police were called about the girls. All that worry for nothing. We rushed home and got there right before the police arrived, thank God. Not sure how we did it.

Just wanted to show how Bogdon is such a good kid. He does not like trouble, drugs, smoking, or anything like that. We were told he is the alien of the orphanage and such a mentor. Top of the class, has the best grades in the school, and just a very cool kid. Love him! We were just so impressed how hard he tried to be so good.

So my dilemma about finding him a family is now turned to desperate measure as the headline states. Bogdon ages out of his orphanage in March. His director will let him stay until he graduates in June.  I am willing to help an amazing family fundraise for his adoption. I got a note the Cara from Angel's Haven will also help fundraise for the adoption. We have until March to have a famiy submit to imigration. As long as it happens before he is 16 the adoption can happen even though he is 16. Cara has just done a couple adoptions for children over 16 from our hosting program and it is such a blessing. Families and children are thrilled. Such a blessing. To get more information about adoption in Ukraine, please contact Cara at www.angelshaven.org.

If you would like to help us raise money for Bogdon's adoption, please email me at GuglielmosHope@gmail.com or go to www.heartforhosting.org and hit the donate button.

I am also getting ready to fundraise for a safe house in Ukraine. This will be a place for amazing kids to live who age out of the orphanage. They will have a safe place to live as they go to school.  Please look for posts for this major fundraise in January. I hope to make the purchase in March when my hubby and I go to Ukraine for the summer hosting preparation. Again, to donate to theGuglielmo's Hope Safe House fundraiser, please email me or send a check to Ginger Guglielmo, 1480 E. Main Ave.,, Morgan Hill, CA 95037.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Update on Winter Hosting and Fundraising

Wow, lots of things going on.

First off, please send prayers to all CCC host families in Ukraine adopting right now. I am getting daily emails from our families and I can tell you, I cry at each one. This is my favorite part of hosting, the adoption of all these older children who would have never had a chance. Ages 8, 11, 13, (2)16 year olds and (2) 17 year olds, children with HIV, and sibling sets of 4. Tell me God is not at work here! My heart fills with joy and love and I thank God every day for letting me be a part of this. It is amazing feeling to help change lives and build families. The emails I get help give me strength to continue this amazing work and remind me why I do this. People ask me why I go to Ukraine.... I go to meet these children and bring donations to help the orphanages. Meeting the children helps me connect them with families. The children who come are so wonderful and it is very hard sometimes but I don't give up finding them host families. Hosting alone is amazing experience, but when adoption come from them, it's an amazing blessing.

It's not too late to host this winter. We have over 20 children hosted so far and the last few days have been crazy for me and my coordinators. We still have many amazing children on our photo listing and the hardest part of my job is leaving them behind. We all know winter is harder to host because of Christmas, so I am very thankful for those families who are able to help the children have an amazing holiday. If you would like to send a grant, please email me at GuglielmosHope@gmail.com. Your donation will be 100% tax deductible. You can also use this link to Pay Pal https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_donations&business=P98E58TVSEG32&lc=US&item_name=Guglielmo%27s%20Hope%20Inc%2e&currency_code=USD&bn=PP%2dDonationsBF%3abtn_donateCC_LG%2egif%3aNonHosted

I have started a few online fundraisers for my host families. 100% of all proceeds will go toward hosting with Guglielmo's Hope, Inc. and children in need. Stella and Dot is one of them and I will also be adding 31 Bags soon. Here is our first one for the Johnson family.  http://www.stelladot.com/ts/is4l5  They hosted an 8 year old boy last summer and hope to bring his brothers for Christmas. The boys were found in the streets, thin and starving. Erin and her family have already started changing their lives but need help to finish it. Please keep posted as I add links to help my families and friends fundraise for amazing causes. Erin's trunk show will end next week. Please think of Christmas presents and parties you may be attending. Maybe you need a stunning accessory to go with your amazing dress. Or a gift for that special woman in your life. Helping us change lives while you shop. If you would like to do a Trunk show to help me fundraise for others or to raise money for hosting, please email me.

I did a Stella and Dot fundraiser for my friend last night. Kristen Schoepe's niece has a rare brain cancer. Aliza Jean's parents have been off work and at her bed side while they search the world for a doctor who will help her. Kristen does so much for Guglielmo's Hope and the community and I wanted to let her and her family know they are not alone in this battle. Her fundraiser will end tonight so please consider helping.  We have already sold over $2000 in product. THANK YOU ALL who have bought items. http://www.stelladot.com/ts/il3l5

Well that is enough emotional writing I can do for today. Check back soon. :)

Love and Blessings,

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Fall trip to Ukraine.

Well we had an amazing trip to Ukraine. My good friend Marya and I left a week ago for yet another fast filled whirlwind trip through the country.

It started out not so hot. I had 5 suitcases full of donations and gift for the kids and orphanages and two of those were carry ons. Well KLM got us because they made us weigh our "purses" with our carry ons. It made them go over "carry on" weight so we had to check them even though they were all of 13 lbs. They then sent us down to a cashier and told us to ask her all the questions, that she didn't know how to handle it. Well down at the cashier they took our carry ons as our check in, then first two bags at $100 then the third bag......$285...are you kidding me. Total $485 for our luggage, despite the fact that they were full of donations for orphanage. Needless to say, we will never us KLM again. Delta checked a bunch of extra bags for our orphans at summer hosting and didn't charge us a dime. When we tried to fight it the cashier told us she didn't know and that she was just doing what the check in lady told her to do on the paperwork. So they just pointed the finger at each other. After all that drama we find out they didn't even get our seats together so we had a 10 hour flight at different parts of the airplane. I was not a happy camper! Ugh!

When we arrived, our wonderful hosting partners from Viant International CharityIlona Khryapina and  Elena Iashchyk welcomed us at the airport. We had a wonderful dinner by the river in Kiev and talked the night away. We were joined by Ilona's wonderful husband who I was thrilled and honored to finally meet. He graciously put us up in his corporate apartment so we felt very spoiled.

The next morning all four of us girls set off to our first orphanage. After lots of driving and our one stop for yummy Ukraine coffee and pastries at one of the gas stations, we finally arrived at our destination. The town was beautiful but as always, the orphanage was not easy to find. Thank you GPS and cell phones.

We were welcomed by the director and as the routine goes, went straight in his office for the intimidating interview. We supplied the proper documents needed before he is allowed to talk to us. He started out by asking us the age range we wanted as he held the sacred piece of paper holding the names of all the children allowed to come for hosting. Before we got there he promised us 10 children.

After many trips to Ukraine this seems to be the same routine at every orphanage. He asked us why we would not take 17 year old children and explained to us about a group of boys he had, one in particular was a boy who was always overlooked for hosting while he watched all his friends go for holidays to Italy and the US for the last 8 years. It was obvious that he had a lot of compassion for his children, especially this boy. He had a lot of amazing things to say about him. He further explained to us that the boy was always rejected by host companies because he had three fingers on one hand. I, being extremely proud of the fact that we take children with disabilities, said of course we would take him. Marya and I both instantly could not wait to meet this boy.

The director could not believe we agreed to take him and the other older children who have aged out of other host programs. He handed Ilona his list of children and told us to take as many and whoever else we wished to take. Of course we want to help ALL OF THEM. He asked us where we have been all these years :). He then read us an email from the previous host company he used saying they were not going to do hosting so to give us their kids. The director was such a wonderful man and this was such a refreshing change from many of our other "first" interviews. Even though we could not understand what he was saying, both Marya and I just loved him. He laughed a lot and Ilona translated all the wonderful things he said about his kids.

He then sent us off to have lunch at a wonderful restaurant while the kids finished school and he gathered them all to meet us. When we got back from our amazing meal we were welcomed into a room of over 35 children. The director got up and introduced us as he smiled and joked. He was just adorable. We then got to meet the children and he was right, they were all just beautiful and perfect. Especially the boy he talked so much about. He made eye contact with us right away and didn't let it go. I have seen this before in the children who really long to be selected. This boy was very special to all of us. He was precious. All of them were precious and we are just overwhelmed and excited at this point.

The director them met us again in his office to finish up paperwork then walked us to our car. This was an amazing place and we are so blessed to be able to help these kids come to America. Now my job is to not let any of them down!

The next morning we were greeted at our apartment by Ilona and she introduced us to our new driver, Oleg. Marya and I were completely suffering from lack of sleep and jet lag and poor Oleg got the best of our giggles and delirium....and Marya's need for coffee. Luckily he didn't think we were too out of our minds. He is a very sweet and humble man that we were so lucky to meet. He also took us to McDonald's for coffee before we got to the airport ;).

This is a nice time to explain that Marya and I were so tired that every flight and just about everything we did made us crack up hysterically. In Ukraine not many people smile at each other, let alone laugh out loud in public so of course the people looked at us like we were crazy. I think it was very obvious we were Americans and we had lots of stares coming our way. :)

We were then met at the next airport by our stunning driver and translator who would take care of us the next couple days. She is young and full of energy and Marya and I had met our match. She was great and we had many laughs, great meals, and long deep conversations during our long drives. She kept saying "you ladies are so funny". I think this made us laugh even more. We had a blast with her. She was very protective of us and also amazing with the kids. She took very good care of us.

We met many more beautiful children, did our humanitarian visits and gave donations, and had more meetings with directors. Some meetings starting very intense but always ended in hand shakes, smiles, and hugs. Just the way it is and I am so use to it now. Earning trust is first and foremost and if they don't like you or what you have to say, they will send you packing. We met some amazing and sweet orphanage personnel and knew all these kids we were getting were well cared for and loved. We really see it when the kids themselves tell us how much they love their directors and fly into their arms when they walk in the room. It's so awesome to know these beautiful children have something good in their lives. You can also see it in all the smiles we have in our photos.

Then came our last orphanage of the trip. It was of course the one with the boy we hosted for a week last summer, Bogdon. If you don't know about him read a few of my older blogs. He and I are very bonded and he was so happy to see us. After our interviews we went to lunch and came back to watch him in a school play. We then headed out to dinner with him and another girl we had in our last summer hosting, Liza. Both kids are teens and getting ready to age out. Bogdon had to make sure to let me know that usually he does more in all the school plays and he was sorry he just did narrating this time. He is just so cute. As if I was disappointed in him, geezo.

It was really nice to spend the time with Bogdon and we had a nice heart to heart with the translator. I learned so much more about him and we were so much more impressed by him....if that was even possible. He is 1 in a million. He doesn't get in trouble and at the top of his school with grades and studies. He also told me a lot about his summer hosting trip and I learned how deep he is and how observent and just so much more amazing than I could even imagine. I would adopt this child in a second. He is the type of child who will not only bless a family, but I really believe improve a family. He is a blessing to this world and anyone he meets. We had a wonderful dinner and time and then had to take him home. I had to do my cry on the way home while he slept because I didn't want to have a hard goodbye again. I did tell him I cried the whole day after he left and he was sad and said he was so sorry. Just the sweetest kid. He also told me he was for sure 100% ready to be adopted and his brother was 100% supportive and proud of him :). I asked him why and he said he wants a family and a good life. I also asked him what he wanted for Christmas and he said he just wanted the attention of a family. He said he has learned that gifts are not what's important. Hmmmmm, just fills my heart with joy like a proud Mama. I told him I had to find him a family who lived close to me so I could help raise him :).

We then stayed in a hotel only to have me sick as a dog. The next couple days were just very hard. We went back to Ilona's after being greeted at the airport by our driver, Oleg. He is so cute...he says "sorry to be late, I have a little surprize for you" as he holds up his fingers to show us little. He had coffee and muffins for us. I guess Marya's demands for coffee last time made a lasting impression. :) Just a wonderful man!

At Ilona's I just curled up in a ball on her couch suffering while Marya raided her refrigator. I was so jealous, everything looked so yummy and Marya seemed to be enjoying her homemade Ukrainian food. LUCKY!  I was sure a fever was coming on. I could hardly move but finally had to get up and repack all the luggage I had so I didn't get charges for empty suitcases since all my donations where now gone.

Finally Igor, the expert and one we trust to refer adoptions to, came to pick us up. He is a super sweet and quiet man. We had a nice talk with him as he drove us to the hotel airport. We had a quick bite to eat and I had to rush back to bed. 4pm I was out for the night. Early flight back to the states 12 hours later.

Fast and Furious but so worth it. I was so lucky and thankful to have Marya with me and of course to have Ilona and all her friends and associates take good care of us. She is amazing and has found us the best kids. All of them are perfect. I am so excited to work with my volunteers and advocates to find them all host families. Not one of them am I worried about. Good orphanges, great directors, great kids. Very successful and meaningful trip!

Friday, September 21, 2012

We have our photo listing.

We are excited to announce that we now have our photo list for winter hosting. I plan to travel to Ukraine the first week of October and will be adding even more children. Please visit our website at www.HeartForHosting.org to register for the link.

The children we have available are girls and boys with ages ranging from 6 to 16. We are excited to announce that we have worked hard to now include children with special needs including Cerebral Palsy, HIV, Hearing Impaired, and FAS.

We fly children into multiple areas depending on how many children get hosted. We now have 5 coordinators who are each in charge of multiple states. Our directors and coordinator visit Ukraine multiple times a year to meet children and build relationships with the orphanages that we work with
We are a hosting company that started with the idea of doing a small West Coast hosting program because we didn't have many options and most programs only flew children to the East Coast. We quickly grew from 7 orphans visiting the West Coast to 61 orphans flying all over the US last summer. We are growing and will have over 100 orphans to choose from for winter hosting.
All of the work we do is done by volunteers who have a heart for Ukraine Orphans. Grants for children help us have a successful program and give us the ability to bring children that would otherwise have no chance. Hosting changes the lives of the orphans who get selected as well as the sponsors and host families. It is an amazing program and we are lucky to have an amazing group of people in the US ad Ukraine that we work with.
Please visit our website to learn more about dates and prices. www.HeartForHosting.org

Ginger Guglielmo, Director of Hosting Program and contact for
(CA, AZ, NM, NV, UT, CO, TX, OK)
Jo Hershon, Assistant Director of Hosting Program and contact for (WA, ID, OR, WY, & MT)
Ibby Hopper, East Coast Coordinator and contact for
Melaney Sems contact for
(GA, SC, NC, FL, AL, & TN)
Corbett Burick contact for
Brooke Newsome contact for
(RI, NY, NJ, MD, DE, CT, MA, NH, PA, VA, VT, ME)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Meet Bogdon,

He is a 15 year old orphan from Ukraine. Bogdon came to America for winter hosting summer of 2012. His first family was not a match for him so he was moved to Ginger Guglielmo’s house for the final week of hosting.  Ginger is the director of Children’s Cultural Connection Host Program and the Founder of Guglielmo’s Hope. Here is her story about the one special week she shared with Bogdon.

“I know when Bogdon first got here he kept telling me my 3 year old was hard for him. She was just in love with him and kept saying his name over and over and he didn't know what to do...lol. I told him to just do what I do with Slavic, the 6 year old we hosted who was more like 3. I told him to just say "yes Giuliana". He laughed and all was good from then on. He would say "yes Giuliana" and look at her while she rattled on then look at me and laugh with comfort knowing he was making her happy. The first night he was here Giuliana brought him a Russian bible and he was shocked when he saw it. He took her over to the couch and sat and read it to all the kids. First priceless moment.

I took him to meet another friend and told him he was welcome to stay with them if my kids were bothering him and he told me "no no, Giuliana good, Gregor good" :). I wasn't sure if he felt bad leaving or he just really liked us. I told him that family invited him to stay with them at Christmas and he seemed happy about that also.
He was a wonderful friend to my 7 y/o son Gregorio. They would spend hours on the trampoline together as Bogdon was trying to teach him how to do flips. Grego taught him how to play all the video games. He bonded with both my kids and my son keeps begging me to adopt him.

I love how Bogdon wants to be well dressed and how school is so important to him. He has a lot of ambition and he is proud of the fact that he is good at school and sports. He is a very good role model. He is at the top of his class and even Ilona, my facilitator in Ukraine, confirmed that.
He is rough around the edges when it came to little manners, like eating a piece of chicken by stabbing the whole thing with a fork and bending over his plate to chomp on it instead of using a knife to cut it up ....and going out to dinner with his shirt open...lol....then sit and look at his iphone all the time.  We knew these were thing we needed to teach him gently, but it was so hard for us with such a short time to find a way to do it without embarrassing him. He wants nothing more than to help and be good. He needs guidance for  those basic things we teach our kids that are not taught in an orphanage. We were very understanding of that.

I was trying very hard to get him to just be a kid. You can see the little kid come out once in a while but not enough...like he loves to ride a bike fast then skid out....lol. He does go hard core when it comes to thrill seeking. He also will never dive into the pool the same way twice. He has to sit and think for a second on how he will dive or jump in different or better than the time before.

He is very much a sharp dresser and wants to look and smell good. He even asked me for an iron so he could iron his shirts. :) I did it for him.  I have a 22 y/o so it was just like having another teen son here. Loved it and didn't realize how much I miss it!
He is a bit material and told me he likes "things" :). Of course he does...lol. What 15 year old boy doesn't. He asked if at Christmas families gave presents. I said yes and he asked if he could for sure come for Christmas...lol. This may seem shallow but it so wasn't. It was very innocent and you have to remember, this boy has never had "things". I could see he wanted the experience Christmas with a family very bad and this was his way of saying it. I asked him if he got presents for Christmas and he said yes, something small from his brother.

Taking him shopping was priceless. He was very aware of "big money" and never asked for expensive things and he would put together outfits with ease. He was so proud of how he looked and was so thankful. He thanked me over and over again for everything. Just a humble child. He asked to be taken everywhere with me so he could just see America and "help me".

The before departure night I took them to the hotel and they had their own room. I went to their room at 10pm and asked him to come to the bank with me because it was late and I didn't want to go to the ATM by myself in San Francisco. Vova jumped up and said "me me me". Just like a little kid. It was precious. I said "of course you too". You could just feel from them that being asked to be a help and my "security" was an honor to them both. Again, a priceless moment that is hard to describe. Had to be there and know these great boys.
Bogdon did bond with me fast and told me about his past. I asked him if he wanted to be adopted and he said he was confused by it and that he would have to consult with his brother. I asked if his brother would fight it if he wanted to be adopted and he said "no, never" as he made a dirty look on his face and shook his head and waved his arms NO. He told me a lot about his childhood and about how his mother passed away :( He then went to talk about his dad and how he abandoned him and this is when he turned is head to stop his tears and take a breath. Ugh. I wanted to cry. He is a very brave child with a lot of pain. :(.

Bogdon ages out of this orphanage in spring. He say the director will let him stay until May when he graduates. He says he has hopes and dreams and wants to be an attorney but that orphans are labeled in Ukraine and they don't have the same opportunities or chance. He says he will go direct to a "vocational school" which he will learn a labor or clerk type job and work a hard labor job to support himself while he goes to school. He will not be able to go to college because it is too expensive. I told him he deserved more and that he needs to go to college. He says it costs $100 a month for school and to live and he would never be able to afford it because he had to work to live. Not sure if those numbers are correct. He even asked me if he could pick the grapes from our vineyard for work, and who we paid to do it. He is not afraid to work and just expects that he will do it without any fuss about it. 
This boy deserve an amazing family who will nurture and love him and support him in his sports and school. He will be worth every bit of it and return the love and devotion to his family.  He has never had a real family and grew up in an orphanage since he was 6. Even before that he was alone a lot. 

In just the short few days we had him, he got closer and closer to us and more comfortable ever day. He puts on a huge "tough guy" exterior but I was able to break through that. He is naturally confident but he really let his wall down here. He really liked when the kids went to bed and we got to sit on google translate and talk at night. He just NEEDED someone to talk to who would really sit and listen.
When it was time to say goodbye at the airport, this is when I really saw how much he bonded to me. When I hugged him he didn't want to let go and he showed instant concern when that made me start crying. Even though we always talked about him coming back to another family, he asked me right then and there if he could come back to us for Christmas. Ugh, so hard. He then walked through security and stared back at me with such a sad face while he waved every few seconds. He just looked so concerned which made me cry even more. He even got on his tippy toes to do a final wave to me over the security scanner. Even Vova kept looking at him and then at me like he was so surprised by how Bogdon was acting. I cried to whole day. This child really touched my heart. I still can't even look at his pictures. I feel worse than I did when my oldest son moved out. I think it is because he couldn't wait to get out...lol. I just want so much better for this young man and his future. 

He will be an amazing son, brother, student, and friend. There is so much to this child. It will just take the perfect family to let him shine. He is a golden boy and a gift from God. I feel so blessed that he was a part of our lives, even if it was just for a week. I miss him terribly.
My only regret is that my husband wasn't able to spend enough time with him to see who he really is. Between work and still grieving over the recent loss of his mother, it was hard for him to spend a lot of extra time with Bogdon . If there is anything I know about this boy, a man like my husband, who shares so many of the same qualities as Bogdon, would have completed his security about being adopted by an American family. 

Christmas will be the last chance for this child to find his forever family. I really need to find the family who will reach him like we did and be open to learning enough about him to know what he wants in life.... nurture that instead of trying to change him into what a family wants and/or expects from him. He needs a family who will guide him and help him make his own dreams come true....including having a real family and a secure place to call home. When we talked about his perfect family, he asked me to look through all of them and pick one for him. Qualities being, not greedy, kind...one like mine.  His words J.

He is naturally funny and good natured. Smiles and laughs all the time. Easy to please, humble, sweet, loving, and caring. Open to learning, fair, and focused. He is also not afraid to help with little children and softy corrects them and/or redirects bad behavior.
I do not have anything bad to say about him except that he just needs to be taught the little normal things he wasn't taught as a young child. He loves soccer, ping pong, volleyball, swimming and tumbling (he can do back and front flips with ease). He also loves sweets..too much. He would even ask me for a Sprite when he woke up in the morning.

He has two families who will host him at Christmas but I really need to find him a forever family. I will see him  next month when I visit his orphanage for our Winter Host Program. My hopes are to find families who have it in their hearts to adopt him. The perfect family will be paper ready to go back and adopt after winter hosting because he ages out soon after and a family will not have time to prepare if they are not ready by the time he comes. I want to bring family information with me to show him that I have been thinking of him and following through with my promise.

He is my bud and I am on a mission to help him have an amazing future.”

Ginger Guglielmo

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Auction Items Online for the Event this Weekend!

As many of you know, we are having our big fundraiser this Saturday that will benefit our host program, Project Ladyzhyn, and also a portion of the proceeds will go to the Sierra LaMar fund. It is going to be an amazing Cinco de Mayo party at the winery.

And for those that can't attend, we have set up an online auction that ties to the event http://www.biddingforgood.com/Guglielmoshope so that you can still be a part of all the fun supporting orphans! Just go on the site and bid for whatever you like. If you win, we will contact you next week. You don't have to be present to bid OR to win! I will be also adding will be adding more items over the next 24 hours. We already have amazing trips, sporting events, sports memorabilia, and so much more available to bid on!

We will also keep adding throughout the year to continue to raise money for our host program. This will be a good way for families to raise money for their own hosting. They can find items to auction and the proceeds from the win will go toward their hosting. If you would like to donate an item for them to auction, please let me know. So what are you waiting for?...Bid Now! 

Whether you're looking for something unique for yourself, searching for a gift for a special someone, or looking to add a little adventure to your life, you're sure to find something at the auction. Every bid helps support our cause. The success of this online auction depends on spreading the word to as many people as possible. We need your help. Please refer your friends, and share the link on FB, twitter, via e-mail, etc, and encourage them to participate so they don't miss a single moment of the fun and excitement!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Project Ladyzhyn Meeting Pavel

We arrived in Ladyzhyn and met our guide, Pavel. He is an official in a different region of Ukraine. I was told Pavel found this orphanage through personal reasons. Ilona from Viant set up the meeting because I have been trying to start a hosting program for children with disabilities and Pavel is connected to these orphanages. She informed me that he is also doing lots of changes and may be looking for some type of help with the orphanages. Seems like a good fit for her to bring us together. Win Win. Her hopes are that we can help each other.

I am introduced to as soon as we get out of the car from a three hour drive. He asks if we want to get cleaned up and have dinner or go straight to the orphanage. The problem is the director is no longer there for the day so we all decide to wait until the next morning. Pavel takes us to our rooms and we all decide to meet in ½ hour for dinner. Pavel does not speak English and I do not speak Russian so Ilona has arranged for Roman to come with us on this trip to be our translator.

We are at a really nice hotel on a river. The owner must be a hunter because the restaurant is full of animals that have met with a hunter’s rifle and taxidermist. When I enter the room they were all there and Pavel immediately shows what a gentleman he is by standing up as I approach the table and pull out my chair. This trait shows itself throughout our visit.
We sit down and start what ends up being a 5 hour dinner meeting. First Pavel asks me what my intentions are and I tell him about our hosting program and our connections with summer camps for children with disabilities and the benefits. He asks many questions and seems to think it’s an amazing idea. He also hears about the current children we host and the experiences they have.

He then starts to describe the children and conditions we are about to see tomorrow. I am realizing he didn’t want to just take me to the orphanage. He wanted to know more about me and my intentions and see if this could be a good relationship moving forward. He then pulls out his Ipad and show photos of the children and things he has done at the orphanage we are about to visit.

I am starting to love this man. I am watching his personality and passion unfold before my eyes. I first notice he is a deeply religious man, he wouldn’t even eat meat for dinner because he is honoring his religious belief of “Lent”. He would later show more of his devotion to God that I will show thorough this story.

As I watched him describe each photo and I could feel his pain as he looked at the kids. He would all of a sudden stop for a few minutes, wrap his arms around his stomach like he was sick, rock and gentle shake his head. He did this a few times showing his deep passion for these kids and the changes he was making. This was not act and it was almost like he would go into a trance and forget we were even there. Maybe he was praying. I don’t know but it was deep meditation whether he knew it or not.

He also showed me all the things he has done to the orphanage with his own money. He has gone to local business men for financial help to change the conditions for these kids. He is an amazing person but he needs much more help and he is tapping out.
He has put two new roofs on two buildings, started changing the doors into rooms, had volunteers come in and paint happy scenes on the walls, cleaned up the grounds, purchased rehabilitation equipment, and built two rehab rooms, one in each building, and hired a therapist to work with the children, most of this out of his own pocket.

When I asked him if he had a list of things that still needed to be done and purchased he said of course and showed me the chairs he has bought for the kids that are $1200 US each. Based on the photos it looks like he has made a huge difference for the children. When you here about my visit the next day you will realize there is a lot more need than what I can imagine.
The meeting was amazing and we toast to a relationship that looks like it’s a good fit. When we click glasses he says in Russian and he looks me in the eyes “It always starts with a woman”. It was very touching to hear Roman translate that.  Like I said, Pavel is a complete gentleman.

I can tell you at this point many questions are running through my head and I am genuinely afraid of what I am about to experience. It’s fear of the unknown and how it will affect me to see people suffering first hand, not just on TV. And for all of you who know me, children suffering is very hard for me and I want to help all of them. Even during hosting, I beg my husband to host the rest of all the kids I have not found families for.

People are not normally allowed in these institutions and it is something I never imagined myself to ever witness fist hand, especially at this level. But the strength God gave me to get this far this fast is by far stronger than my fear of the unknown.

For those of you who are wondering what my experience is with children with disabilities, I can tell you now I have none. Do I know what I am doing? No. Why here and now? I have no idea. Am I good at building teams and raising awareness? Yes. All I know is God brought me to this place with Pavel through Ilona and my relationship with Viant. As I write about this experience that has touched my heart I can tell you, it was meant to be for some reason. Why Ukraine, why this orphanage? Like my husband tells me with hosting, one at a time Ginger, one at a time. This is just the start of something new for us and this is the first one. It will not end here.

To Be continued……