Ukrainian boy finds health and happiness in Tri-States

Mindy and Chris Trotter hold their son, Nicholas

When Mindy and Chris Trotter of Colchester, Ill. decided to adopt a child, they initially had their sights set on a child with no health problems or limitations to add to their family of five.

"The more we talked about it, the more we said, 'you know what? We need to go for that child that's really needing someone to take care of them that would be looked over,'" Mindy Trotter said.

Nicholas Trotter just turned 2 last Sunday. His biological parents left him at a Ukrainian hospital after he was born without feet and only one hand. Mindy spotted a photo of Nicholas on a Web site and knew he was the one. The couple flew to the Ukraine last September and brought him home last October.

Trotter did not foresee any problems in the Ukraine when they were there last fall. However, they did witness a different culture ...

"Not much interaction socially with people," Mindy Trotter said. "You walk on the street, everybody is very much, staring down. They don't make eye contact."

The country's health care system also was vastly different.

"A lot of times, doctor's degrees are handed down through generations to where they didn't actually go to medical school," Chris Trotter said. "They just inherited the doctor's certificate from a father."

The Trotters said many of the Ukrainian orphanages are so limited on resources, they reuse disposable diapers. The couple has kept in touch with the people they worked with in the Ukraine via e-mail.

"They're just fearful that it could turn into a war," she said. "I do have contact with his orphanage as well. They received 80 percent of their funding from Ukraine and then 20 percent is from donations. They said right now, they're receiving all the money they're supposed to, but they're worried that if it does turn into a war, then some of the funding they receive for the children will be lessened."

However, the Trotters are counting their lucky blessings they were able to bring Nicholas home last fall before everything that's happening now. They say Nicholas has done well learning how to walk in his prosthetics not to mention learning to speak in English.

"He's the happiest child we've ever had, and he's definitely determined," Mindy Trotter said. "He does not let any of his disabilities slow him down for a minute. I hope he continues to have that strong spirit throughout his life."

The Trotter's said they wouldn't have been able to adopt Nicholas without the help of the

Shriner's Hospitals for Children

in St. Louis.

That organization provided Nicholas with prosthetics free of charge.

KHQA reached out to the Tri-States to inquire about any links to the Ukraine and found quite a few parents in the area who have adopted children from the troubled country.