22 Jul Little Milana Popovych’s Story – Capturing Grace on a 23 day journey through Ukraine and Greece, Photographing at Sails of Hope for SOW (Serving Orphans Worldwide)
The following is the backdrop of events that forever changed the lives of the Popovych family.
On July 24th 2014, the American government stated it had evidence that the Russian military was firing on Ukrainian territory from across the border. A spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense stated that there was “no question” as to Russia’s involvement in the attacks on Ukrainian Armed Forces.
On July 27th 2014, U.S. officials confirmed Russia had shelled Ukrainian territory. At the time, Russian government spokesmen denied these allegations.
On July 28th, U.S. State Department published satellite photos showing heavy artillery shelling Ukrainian positions from Russian territory.
In 2014, Marina was a happy mom with a husband, four children and two more on the way. Life was good here in Slavyansk and the future was bright for this sweet family.
After the borders of Ukraine were breached just miles from Slavyansk, everything in the lives of the Popovych family changed.
Marina gave birth to Milana and her twin sister Arina but this happy event was marred by the fact that Arina was born with cerebral palsy and a war had just broken out.
Thousands were killed during this attack and Slavyansk suffered deeply from foreign occupation.
Working on this story from my room at Sails of Hope, it was easy to forget that the lovely pastoral view from my window was once an area of enemy occupation, often bombarded by artillery fire.
It was during this time that the father of the Popovych family developed a bad cough. No one paid it much attention at first, mistaking it for a cold. Soon, his condition worsened and he tragically passed away.
Milana’s mother was in shock, left alone in an occupied city to care for 6 children that now included a baby with cerebral palsy.
Thanks to Sails of Hope and their partnership with SOW, Milana and her family have survived.
Sails of Hope is not an orphanage; it is a place of family reunification, keeping families together during the worst of times. Without their help, Milana would have lost her sister Arina to a government facility due to her cerebral Palsy. The mother Marina would have had to choose between her two newborn babies.
Sails of Hope stepped in, walked beside this family, caring for Milana in their safe haven. Milana now stays at home with her family at night, returning to Sails of Hope during the day. Soon family reunification will be completely restored.