Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Event to help raise money for girl's adoption from Ukraine

Posted November 10, 2010
Updated November 11, 2010

Since she was 10, L.A. May Puskar has wanted to be a mom. But for a variety of reasons, it just hasn’t happened for Puskar, 39, and her husband Eric.

That all could change in the next couple of months. And the couple is asking for your help.

The Puskars never thought of adoption until they met Nastya, a Ukranian orphan who visited the Triangle in August with a group of 15 other orphans. The group was here through a Triangle-based program called Redline United.

Puskar knows the man who started Redline. And he invited the couple to a community outreach day at a park to meet some of the kids.

That’s where they met 10-year-old Nastya. The connection was almost immediate, Puskar tells me.

In just a few days, they’d fallen in love with the girl though they didn’t even speak each other’s language. Nastya, normally reserved during the trip, opened up when they were there.

“It was something just about her clicking with us and there was just an immediate bond and I just knew,” she said. “I'm a church going person, but I never had this feeling before, this feeling that God was touching us all that night.”

The couple knew they needed to get her out of the orphange even if she didn’t want them to adopt her (though she has since agreed to it).

Life in Ukranian orphanges is tough. There’s little education. They can shower only once a week. And they must leave at age 16. Puskar was told that 79 percent of the girls who leave the orphanages turn to prostitution.

“We even said to ourselves if we got to a point where she didn't want us adopting her, we would do whatever we could to get her out of that situation,” she said.

But an overseas adoption is costly. The Puskars estimate that the total costs will reach about $40,000, including travel to Ukraine and back.

They are self-sufficient. L.A. works as a preschool teacher and scrapbooking store. Eric is an operation manager for a magazine distribution company.

They’ve gotten support from their families and friends. Now they’re hoping others will hear their story and help if they can.

The couple has already held some fundraisers. So far, they've raised about 65 percent of what they need. With more events planned, including one this weekend, L.A. tells me there is a good chance they can bring Nastya here in February just after her 11th birthday.

There’s even a possibility that they’ll raise enough to adopt a second child, Puskar said. They’d need only about $10,000 or so for a second adoption because some of the adoption costs, including the travel, home visits and paperwork would be covered by the money they are raising now.

On Saturday, a Christmas Bazaar will help raise money toward the goal. Ten in-home sales vendors, including 31, Usborne Children's Books, Tupperware, Scentsy and Pampered Chef, will donate a portion of their sales to the Bring Nastya Home fund. The event 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Hunting Ridge apartments club house on Fox Hunt Lane off Falls of Neuse Road in north Raleigh.

Puskar also is holding a special crop for scrapbookers on Dec. 5.

Check the Bring Nastya Home Facebook page for more information about the family and other ways to help out.

“It basically has changed mine and my husband's life,” she said. “Just knowing this is what we are supposed to be doing. This is why other things have not happened. This is what we were waiting for.”


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  • MavSox Nov 13, 2010

    I am a firm believer in everyone's right to voice his or her opinion. My statements merely reflect my lack of understanding of how people can question or judge people wanting to help better someone else's life. Please don't take that the wrong way. The more I think about this, the more I wonder. How many of the naysayers to this fundraiser have ever participated in a food drive or giving tree or donation box for any outreach program? In my opinion, and that is just was this is, MY opinion, all fall into the same category... working to help others better their lives and circumstances. It is not a handout. It is not a freebie. It is helping to give someone something that for whatever reason they can not get on their own. Maybe it is the 'fixer' or 'giver' in me, but why is that a bad thing? What can in hurt to help out a little? Again, if you disagree, that is your choice and your right. If you do agree, hope to you stop the clubhouse today for some great sales.

  • boatrokr Nov 12, 2010

    Since when is "15K relatively inexpensive" for ANYONE???? One would expect these agencies to make more accommodation for this family, if they truly want to see this child placed with this family. Why aren't they lowering their fee? Why does it cost so much to adopt, if these girls face such desperate circumstances when they turn sixteen?

    To MavSox - this is an open forum, and these people opened themselves for commentary by going public with their story.

  • MavSox Nov 12, 2010

    I can't seem to understand how anyone would be against giving a child without a family a home? It seems some readers just want something to be against and complain about. That is your choice. However, unless you know everything that this couple has been through in order to become parents - and the article doesn't even begin to touch it - then don't come crying and whining about "making others pay" and "kids from US need homes too" and "looking for a handout." If you disagree and don't want to help, then don't. But don't bring the negativity to this cause either. No one is forcing you to contribute. And last I checked, no one made you click on the article either.

  • haleibc Nov 12, 2010

    There are plenty of children in the us that need parents. Leave the russians in russia. And pay you own way, don't look to other for a hand out. You want something, you pay for it.

  • boatrokr Nov 12, 2010

    Adoption is a ripoff. It's a legal way to sell babies. You can't pay the birthmother for anything involved with an adoption, including medical where does that money go? Agencies tell you it's for legal fees, but many of them have an attorney on staff. It's a racket.

    Before anyone whines....I'm adopted.

  • boatrokr Nov 12, 2010

    Thousands of couples in the USA would love to adopt. OThers, like myself, are undergoing expensive fertility treatments. Most of us have to stop treatments or give up the notion of adoption due to expense. I think it's really tacky to ask their community to pay for it.

  • MavSox Nov 11, 2010

    As someone with personal knowledge of both this couple and their adoption stoty, I can say without a doubt that there a not two more deserving people to become parents. TO those who want to know why WRAL chose to spotlight them, perhaps they saw the worth in broadcasting such an amazing journey to giving this little girl a family she never may have had without Eric and LA, or maybe saw the struggle and passion that flows from both of them to do everything possible to bring Nastya into their family. To those who question why adopt from Ukraine and not from the US. My answer is to read the article again. Perhaps you missed the part about "just an immediate bond" and "that God was touching us all that night." Maybe that doesn't mean anything to some, but it did to them. Yes, there are many children in the US who need homes, and this is not to say that one is better than the other. This was the connection that grew to love for the Puskar's.

  • Desiderata Nov 11, 2010

    And I want people to donate to me so I can buy a new car...GO FIGURE>> THERE ARE CHILDREN HERE IN THE US WHO NEED ADOPTION....SHAME ON YOU FOR ASKING FOR MONEY FROM OTHERS TO FEED YOUR NEEDS. If you want to "mother" how about volunteering at shelters for needy kids....this is rediculous to ask the public for donations when people have a hard time feeding their own..SELFISH

  • JAT Nov 11, 2010

    Why has WRAL chosen to highlight this one family and one adoption? This seems odd. Also, the price is much higher than I've seen as well. How do the kids get to be brought over here? I can't believe Russia lets them go willingly.

  • david33 Nov 11, 2010

    Continuing from the first part of this post below:

    The number quoted in the article for the total costs is a bit higher than what we normally present to families, which includes ALL the costs, not just the adoption fees. Families see the value in being able to meet the children on their own home turf and observe the children's personalities as they adjust and engage their adventure in the U.S.

    There are some hosting programs that do not take the effort to ensure that the children they bring are legally adoptable. Our program does!

    Please consider helping the Puskar family bring Nastya home! The expenses are a necessary part of being able to continue the mission of bringing Ukrainian orphans to the U.S. to meet interested adoptive families.

    David Avilla
    Director, Advocate for Orphans International