‘How could I have failed to take advantage of this opportunity given to me by the Chance?’
Author: Westfall Rita
«Where do you live?»
«Second star to the right, and straight on till morning».
(c) J. M. Barry, «Peter Pan».
To tell you about Stas in a single article is like telling about the whole universe in a school essay. This boy is so full of thoughts, feelings, ideas, and dreams that it is absolutely impossible to fit them all into letters. But it is crucial for us to do so, because it is important for Stas, important for his future, and, therefore, important for us.
In a video questionnaire, a brown-eyed smiling boy says with admiration and confidence that he wants to become a surgeon. It was filmed three years ago by the volunteers of the fund looking for foster families. A typical child would change their mind 20 times or even more for this period of time, but not this boy. He looks pretty much the same, but a little grown-up, with even greater confidence, he says that he wants to treat people and will be a surgeon.
Soon Stas will turn 16. His mother took him home from the maternity hospital to his elder brother Zhenya. But in 3 years, the boy was taken away from his family and transferred to a shelter, because his mother was drinking and could not fulfill her parental duties. Stas remembers little from that time. He knows that he went to kindergarten, where his own grandmother worked as a nanny. She was allowed to take the boys home.
After two years and a half, the restriction on the mother’s parental rights was canceled, and an almost 6-year-old Stas went home to his mother again.
«It seemed to me that it was OK there, she, my mom, fed us. My grandmother often stayed with me. I don’t remember my mom reading to me or playing with me. I remember that she yelled at Zhenya; he probably had bad grades».
Stas had lived at home for about a year; there, he went to the first grade.
«I always went to the after-school center, we studied English there, did our homework, played. I was sitting in the classroom, and my mother came for me. She was drunk. She said, “Come to me.” And I didn’t know what to do. School called the police, and they took me away, I don’t think I cried. I had to wait in the department; there were good women there; they gave me books. Then they took me to the shelter. Later my brother was brought there, too. Mom didn’t come, but my grandmother did. From there, we left for the orphanage. I have never lived at home again».
Stas thinks clearly, expresses his ideas perfectly well, and definitely knows what he wants. To become a surgeon. In the 5 th grade, he became an excellent student in all the subjects and never studied poorly, showing not just interest and respect for his studies, but a real passion. «At the very beginning, I studied so-so, even bad, I can say. And then, bang! It was like a light bulb turn on, and I felt such an impulse, strength, and began to learn. Everything worked out; I became an excellent student. I love studying, it’s interesting. As if something was missing, and it has just appeared».
Stas takes books from the library, studies with tutors, attends a studio at a medical institute in order to know Chemistry better and understands his future profession. He dances reads poetry, and enjoys theater. «Sure, we don’t have special teachers of theatrical art, but we ourselves stage performances and play there. I like reciting at the stage; I like talking to the audience. I am a versatile person, interested not only in Biology and Mathematics. I love literature and chemical reactions, as well. And I like talking to smart people».
«To be honest, I myself don’t know how it happened; I know what they think about children in orphanages».
Stas’s first memory from the orphanage is about a teacher; he was very afraid of. His elder brother lived separately, but the fact that he was nearby was great support for the boy. Now Zhenya is 21, and he is not very close to Stas.
«The very beginning of my life is in a kind of a fog; I just don’t remember anything. There was the moment; it seems to me when I saw my father once. I was standing in the entrance hall, and there was a man, he brought me something, he was wearing glasses. And this memory where I am small, and he is so big – it is very strong, so I think that it was not just an ordinary man».
Grandmother visits Stas regularly and continues doing this now. We do not know why she hasn’t taken permanent custody, and Stas doesn’t know it either. Stas did not agree to meet any foster family that came for a visit, «I thought it was a betrayal, I could not leave her, leave the orphanage for the family».
Stas takes good care of the pocket money he receives at the orphanage. «I am not a spender at all; I know how to keep the money; I am calm about it. It depends on my mood, I can buy some unwholesome food and eat it, but I will never spend everything on unnecessary nonsense. I am not crazy about the fact that I cannot yet buy the things I really dream of, like a laptop, a really cool and big one. I have never been abroad when I graduate from university and become a surgeon; I will go on my first trip. I’ll start with France; I want to visit Paris. I think it’s a good start for a famous doctor’s vacation!».
Stas knows much, but he cannot immediately name the most significant adult in his life. «You see, I can’t single out anyone. I have the same attitude towards all adults; they are all equal. I took a little bit from everyone, something at school, something at the orphanage. But some special adult, no, there is no such a person in my life».
Stas loves books by Michelle Paver, Kate Cary, and Cherith Baldry. «Reads a lot in his free time», this is a description of reality, not a turn of speech.
Stas has been studying English, Chemistry, and Biology for two years in the Chance program. In high school, he would like to take additional subjects to increase his Unified State Exam scores and enter a university in Moscow. Stas’s self-efficacy, his desire, and inner core can motivate any adult with a much easier life. It is very important for us to keep Stas in the program and provide him with an opportunity to keep studying remotely. And it depends on everyone who reads the article about this amazing boy from the Arkhangelsk region.
At the end of the article, I would like to cite a short excerpt of my dialogue with Stas during the interview:
Me: What’s your worst childhood memory
S: I think this is something really unpleasant that I do not remember. From very early childhood, for sure.
Me: And what is your best childhood memory?
S: The best one, I hope, will take place in the future. It has not yet happened.
Let this be the first article about the life of an outstanding surgeon!
* All raised funds will be used to pay for the lessons for Stas and other children from his orphanage