Mom gives up baby because of his head – 4 yrs later, there’s a knock on the orphanage door

This is Dima Kalekin from Ukraine.
He doesn’t remember his biological parents.

At birth, Dima was diagnosed with hydrocephalus, or “water on the brain.” And when his parents saw him for the first time, they made a heartless choice.

They left the hospital without him and never looked back.

Dima was forced to begin life in a orphanage for disabled children in Krematorsk in eastern Ukraine, writes the Ukrainian newspaper Fakty i Kommentarii.

Still in Kharkov Tomorrow we should get Zebadiah and head to Kiev for the final leg of our journey

Posted by Ernest Chaves on Monday, August 31, 2015

Four years later, Dima still couldn’t do simple things like eat with utensils or walk. The orphanage staff doubted that he’d develop normally in the future. But they were surprised he had survived for so long and could even say a few words.

But it wouldn’t be the last time that Dima would surprise the world.

When war broke out in eastern Ukraine in early 2014, Dima suddenly faced a new danger: the orphanage was in the middle of a disputed area.

Waiting at Keiv airport

Posted by Ernest Chaves on Monday, July 20, 2015

So along with all of the other kids at the orphanage, Dima was forced to evacuate and seek safety elsewhere.

For a full week, the children and staff were forced to go from place to place without any water, food, or medicine.

Finally, a group of separatists noticed that some of the children were close to death, so they brought the children to the Ukrainian authorities.

Zebadiah woke up this morning and greeted his nurse.

Posted by Ernest Chaves on Friday, November 18, 2016

The children ended up in a hospital in Kharkiv, the country’s second-largest city. When doctors saw Dima for the first time, they had to hold back tears. Trying to escape the war had really taken a toll on him.

The doctors didn’t think Dima stood a chance of surviving in the war-torn country. And they were so desperate that they contacted a priest to pray for a family to adopt the boy, writes Hefty.

Pics of Zebadiah

Posted by Ernest Chaves on Monday, August 24, 2015

The priest’s prayers were soon answered. First, Dima and his friends ended up in a new orphanage. And a few weeks later, a couple named Ernest and Ruth Chaves arrived from Vermont in the United States. They had heard about the war and wanted to adopt a child from the war-torn region.

As soon as they saw Dima, Ernest and Ruth knew they wanted to adopt him.

In Kiev took some selfies while walking Zebadiah

Posted by Ernest Chaves on Monday, September 7, 2015

They decided to adopt Dima, and the little boy’s life changed again—this time for the better.

Ernest and Ruth had already adopted seven children and were used to the parenting role. Plus, they had a lot of experience with all the necessary paperwork, which allowed Dima to join them in Vermont relatively quickly.

Two months after his adoptive parents visited the orphanage in Ukraine, Dima traveled with them to his new home in the United States to join all his new siblings.

We got home about 1:40am this morning We are all up. Feeling pretty good. Some pics of the kids this morning

Posted by Ernest Chaves on Friday, September 11, 2015

Dima also got a new name, Zebadiah Chaves.

Life with his new family was by far the best thing that ever happened to the little boy. He made progress as soon as he arrived in Vermont. Just a few days after he got to his new home, his parents discovered that he was able to eat with a spoon!

Celebrating Zebadiah's birthday he played in his cake

Posted by Ernest Chaves on Friday, September 9, 2016

A year later, the boy who left Ukraine on the edge of death was like a whole new person.

Now, Zebediah can talk. He can understand both Ukrainian and English. And he can walk.

Zebadiah arrived home today at about 4pm. He did so well they (the hospital staff) were amazed at how fast he bounced back after the surgery. Other than the cast he is back to normal

Posted by Ernest Chaves on Sunday, September 27, 2020

Talk about progress!

American doctors have examined Zebediah’s brain and are convinced that it hadn’t suffered much damage from the disease. They say that chances are good that he’ll develop normally.

What an inspiring fighter!

Zebediah has a long way to go and will undergo several operations, but he’s already shown the whole world his invincible strength and willingness to live!

A look at him today, in 2022, sure gives us reasons to smile! What a handsome little boy he has grown up to be! It’s so hard to believe that’s the same boy Ernest and Ruth adopted!

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