Advocating: You Can Do It Too (pt 3)

Viktor and Yuri

Did you miss Advocating: You Can Do It Too, part 1 and part 2? If so, you might want to go back and read those before reading this last installment of McKennaugh’s story of advocating for three Ukrainian orphans and her encouragement that you can do the same.


I started waking up before four in the morning and doing my online advocating before the day started and I wouldn’t have time. I would surf the net for blogs that might repost Yuri and Viktor’s story. Mom blogs, pastors’ websites, blogs about children with disabilities, Christian teens’ blogs—these were just a few of the genres that I targeted. I would send an email that explained who I was and what I was trying to do and I would attach an article about Yuri and Viktor. I contacted dozens and dozens of people. A handful responded. Their emails said, “Your post is beautiful, but perhaps you could find a blog that talks about special needs AND adoption…” Or they would say, “I will pray about posting it…”

I burned with anger. When I say this, I don’t want you to think I was hateful towards these people, no, I just felt this righteous fury lit inside me as I thought, “My post is not beautiful. It speaks of dying children.” Or, “Your last post was about your kids making cupcakes. Did you pray before you hit the ‘Save to Live’ button on that?” I never let those people know my feelings, but I did curl up in a corner and write a passionate poem asking them, “Why?”  I never sent it, I never intended to. But the words helped ease my aching heart as I cried, “Does no one care?”

Surprisingly, most people don’t. They may say, “Oh, what a great thing you’re doing…” but would never lift a finger to help you.

Then you find a few souls out there willing to lend a hand. Out of all the people I contacted, one lady posted the article on her blog here:

She probably never realized how rare and appreciated her willingness to help was.

During my struggle to find these children families, however, I realized that I also had to be thankful to those who put me down. Why? Well, when someone told me how great I was for what I was trying to do (which wasn’t true—I was simply doing what we all should do) I felt thankful for their kindness. But it never inspired me. When someone told me I shouldn’t do it, or I should give up, or my cause wasn’t worthy, I was inspired. How come? I jumped up fighting. It put new energy inside me, pushed me harder. I reached further, climbed higher, and became more daring.

A fire doesn’t burn unless sticks are thrown at it. The sticks and stones tossed at me made the fire in my heart burn stronger. It forced me to try harder. I knew I couldn’t give up; I couldn’t shirk my duty on others…because I was often the only one. So, if you are advocating and you feel everyone is looking down on you, don’t let it make you want to give up. Let it build you up. That may sound strange. It took me a long time to learn that. It might take you a while, too, but, eventually, you may find that trials are really the strength you search for.

I wound up submitting an article to The Rebelution. It was a breakthrough. Finally. Brett Harris was so willing to get the word out. I will always be thankful to him and the Rebelution ( People all over the nation (world?) shared about these boys through their site. Yuri and Viktor received families. However, shortly after deciding to come for him, I learned that Viktor’s family would be unable to proceed due to issues unrelated to his adoption.

The family adopting Yuri decided they would come for both boys.

They are still in the process.

During the time that I found these children families, I learned many things, some of them the hard way.

The two most important things I learned are: Always pray, always ask for God to guide you to the right people. And never lose your perseverance. Never. This was one of those things I learned the hard way.

Do you already know of a child who needs a home? Don’t wait. You could save a life. Speak up. Be the hands and feet all Christians are called to be. God can and will use anyone. After all, he used a 14-year-old who, in the eyes of the world, had no hope of success. God uses the unlikely. And, if you let Him, He will certainly use you. Nobody else can be the change you were created to be.

Note: Want to advocate, but don’t know anyone to advocate for? I have a Ukrainian friend who keeps on sending me photos of children who desperately need adopted. Some of them have special needs and some are “normal” children. If you would like to help to find one of them a family you may email me at mckennaugh [at] inbox [dot] com.


Did this series of posts give you ideas for how you might advocate for a child? Have you done any advocating in the past? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Leave a comment


  1. I’m so glad to see that homes have been found for these two special boys. It is very distressing to me that people would actually not want to help just by posting a few words about your cause. It’s hard to fathom! It’s unconscionable! I wish I could have done more!

  2. McKennaugh

     /  May 8, 2014

    Wow, Sylvia, how did you see this post?!? Well, maybe now you know how grateful I am to you for helping Yuri and Viktor:) I really appreciate you sharing their story all that time ago!


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