Welcome to Project Left Behind – a non-profit organization dedicated to providing human touch, nourishment, and surrogate nurturing tools to orphans around the world.
Our journey began in a small orphanage in the rural town of Mykolaib, Ukraine. As we entered the common room filled with children waiting in line to use the bathroom, our son Gregory Michael was told that his parents were here to meet him. This little 3 1/2 year-old blonde-haired, skinny boy walked over to meet us and change our lives forever. Over the next ten days we would visit the orphanage twice a day to get acquainted with each other. We took Gregory on long walks around the orphanage, all the while feeding him bananas and covertly giving him small amounts of cold medicine in an attempt to provide some relief from his persistent runny nose. The other children in the orphanage would crowd around the windows to get a view of us walking together outside. The image of all those little children staring enviously out the window at us is always close at hand. I think about them and where they might be every day of my life. True to form, Gregory has changed our lives forever and we are all blessed to be together.
A few years later, we once again found ourselves walking into an orphanage. This time, however, we were in the beautiful port city of Odessa, Ukraine. It was there, in a lime green two-story building, that we met our son Matthew James. At only 1-1/2 years old, he was nervously excited and greeted us with swollen glands and the same persistent runny nose that we had seen a few years earlier with Gregory. As before, we would visit Matthew daily, sure to bring plenty of bananas, yogurt, and applesfor him to devour (as well as a small amount of cold medicine). We officially adopted Matthew on January 24th, my late brother Greg’s birthday, in a courtroom in the Ukraine. Since adopting Matthew back in 2005, our family is complete and I am privileged to be their father.
Project Left Behind was created for all of the children who were left to grow up in orphanages throughout the world. The tens of millions of children who don’t get adopted have the deck of life stacked against them. Fundamental basics such as unconditional love, meaningful value systems, education, and consistent health care are either non-existent or severely lacking for these children. Regardless of how well-intentioned the orphanage staff might be, they are almost always underfunded and overcrowded. Our quest is to intervene in the process in order to give some of these children a chance. They didn’t get to choose where they were born, or to whom. It is through no fault of their own that they find themselves being raised in an orphanage. We can’t help every child in the world, but we can try. These children are the very definition of innocent victims who simply deserve a chance to live a meaningful and productive life. It is our intention to make that happen. Will you help us?
May an Angel’s wing touch every orphaned child!