To Defenders of Freedom

6-year-old Illia, who lost his family in Mariupol and wrote a letter to Boris Johnson, found his future adoptive parents thanks to volunteers

On February 26, little Illia’s mother was on a bridge blown up by the Russians. The woman died along with people who simply fell into the water. The next day, Illia’s father went in search of his wife and left the boy with neighbors. The man did not return and probably died in the shelling. Illia hid for three weeks from the bombing in the basement with the neighbors. He experienced severe hunger, and later said that he even ate his friend’s toys. Eventually, the volunteers were able to take Illia to Berdiansk and later to Dnipro.

The volunteers were supposed to give the child to the police, but decided to help the boy find guardians. They wrote a post — and a miracle happened. The couple Mariia and Volodymyr found out about Illia and decided to take him away. The young couple decided that if the boy would agree, they would become his adoptive parents. The tale of these young people deserves a separate story.

Volodymyr, 25, first moved from Yasynuvata, a city occupied by Russians since 2014. Then the guy settled in Sloviansk, where he met now 22-year-old Maria. The couple has been together for 6 years. Together they were forced to leave Sloviansk: due to constant shelling, life in the city became very dangerous. They were prepared to adopt a child and even set up two children’s rooms in their house in Sloviansk.

Now the couple lives with Illia in Kyiv. They spend time with their cat Frosia, have fun, and travel together. The boy gradually recalls his experience in Mariupol. He recently wrote a letter in response to a message from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Ukrainian children.

The couple dreams of officially adopting the boy. This will be possible after the end of martial law. But Illia already calls Mariia and Volodymyr his mother and father. The new family agreed: the boy’s real parents would live in heaven, and his adoptive parents will stay with him on Earth.

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