If all goes well, it is the family’s intention to make the kids a permanent part of the family by adopting the pair.
The Saryon family of Mount Shasta hosted a brother and sister from a Ukrainian orphanage this summer through the Children’s Cultural Connection Host Program. They are looking to host the siblings again this winter from Dec. 19 through Jan. 13, but with a larger goal in mind. If all goes well, it is the family’s intention to make the kids a permanent part of the family by adopting the pair.
Hosting Tanya, age 15, and Arkany, 14, costs approximately $7,000, so the family is looking raise funds to bring the pair to Mount Shasta. The family needs to raise the money for an Oct. 20 deadline. The “rehosting” is part of the adoption process.
Sixteen year old Elina Saryon has made raising the funds her Senior Project as part of the graduation requirements through Golden Eagle Charter School.
“We have to provide transportation for Tanya and Arkany and their chaperone to and from the Ukraine, winter clothes, medical insurance, visas and of course food and additional living expenses,” Elina said.
It goes without saying that Elina’s father Touson, mother Ailita, and her brother and sister are completely behind the adoption as the Ukrainian teenagers fit so well with the family this summer.
“It felt so natural, like they were part of the family,” Elina said. “We swam in the lake, bicycled, hiked and went to the water park in Redding. They asked many times if they could come back for Christmas. It hit me that I should make that goal my Senior Project.”
In addition to taking donations at www.gift-of-family.org, look for Elina outside Berryvale Market in Mount Shasta selling colorful flowing scarves, handmade by she and her mother, and offering raffle tickets for a cord of wood.
Elina said the pair loved the small town feeling in Mount Shasta.
“We went to Ashland and they felt it was too big,” Elina said.
Ailita said orphans in the Ukraine are subject to discrimination.
“They have to leave the orphanage at age 16. It’s called a graduation, but it does not allow them access to higher education or decent jobs,” Ailita said. “Orphans are considered lower class citizens.”
Elina has set up a special email account at firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions. For more information on the Saryon family, the program or to make a donation, visit the website at www.gift-of-family.org.