Local Couple Provides Loving Home To Ukrainian Orphans

WEXFORD (KDKA) — After reading a newspaper story, the plight of Ukrainian orphans tugged at the heartstrings of a local couple and they felt called to do something for two of those special kids.

They are strangers in a strange land.

Siblings Roman and Natalia lived in the United States with Don Rainville and Rocky Paulone for a month – a long way from their home in a Ukrainian orphanage.

“We want to help these kids. Their situation over there isn’t very good. It’s pretty grim,” said Rainville. “When I went online to the program and just started looking at the children and reading their little profiles, I was just balling.”

Rocky has two grown boys, and Don has four kids and eight grandchildren; but they opened their home to two youngsters who love to cook, pack their own lunches and play with American kids at church camp.

Despite knowing little English, 13-year-old Roman is hardly shy. Natalia, 11, uses technology to soak up English. The Google translator on Rainville’s phone helps bridge the language barrier.

“We’ve learned whole new ways to get our meaning across. It’s been good. But the best way to get the meaning across [is] with a hug, a smile and some love,” said Rainville. “They respond to that because they don’t get that too much over there.”

“They didn’t come with any clothes, so we had to buy them more than one thing. Once they had the one outfit, they thought that they were done. So, we bought them another set of clothes and they were so amazed,” said Paulone. “I bought her a little pair of tennis shoes and you would have thought I bought her a new Nintendo set. She was so happy to get her own pair of tennis shoes. Over there they have community clothes.”

Hard to believe that when she got to the United States, Natalia didn’t even know how to ride a bike. Now, it’s one of her favorite things to do. Perhaps that’s because back in Ukraine that wasn’t even a possibility.

“In their orphanage in Ukraine, they told us they have one bicycle for 200 children. So when they came to our house and went into the garage, there are five bicycles hanging from the ceiling,” said Paulone. “They thought it was pretty neat that they could just go pick their bicycle and go ride it.”

Rainville and Paulone both feel they get more out of the visit than the kids. Paulone hopes many others in Pittsburgh will share their joy.

“That would be a gift, if we could get a whole plane full,” said Paulone. “There’s another group coming at Christmas time, and I would love to have a plane come to Pittsburgh with orphans.”


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  • Barbra Karner

    We just brought home our 5 yr old Ukrainian Angel! I would love to help as many families as possible do the same. The children are in great need!

  • Ash

    So…. what organization was this through? How do others sign up to host an orphan for a month? How do we help get that plane to Pittsburgh at Christmastime? Why didn’t the report give any of this information?

  • Rachele "Rocky"Paulone

    I would be glad to answer any questions. You can contact me at rockypaulone@hotmail.com or view http://www.newhorizonsforchildren.org . Please put KDKA in the subject line, so I know where it is from. Thanks to KDKA for doing an awesome job in doing this story so that others may be helped.

    • Justin

      are all of these children special kids with special needs or is it just Natalia and Roman?

      • Don Rainville

        The only special need is a mom and dad

  • Harley

    Most of those children are mentally ill or have anger issues, I hope that couple doesn’t try the ‘I love you no matter what’ approach. Most people adopt overseas to keep the biological parents from changing their minds but the adoption agency doesn’t tell them they are buying duds or ticking time bombs.

    • Anonymous

      You are so far off base. It sad to hear from people like you.

  • Rachele Paulone

    You have no idea what you are talking about. There were 200 children hosted this summer. I met many of them and they we quite the opposite of what you are describing. They were very generous, polite, and wonderful children.These ophans are interviewed by volunteers from the organization before being selected to be hosted.

    • Harley

      What proof do you have that the interpreter is giving the right message to the adopting couple during this so called interview?

      • Rachele Paulone

        You have your mind made up about something and it doesn’t seem like you want to think any differently. There is no interpreter speaking to an adopting couple during an interview. This is a hosting program. The host family does not meet these children before they come here. Volunteers from the organization go there andobserve and interact with these children. You don’t have to understand a word these children say. All you have to do is see them and interact with them. As a mother, I have come to learn that actions speak a thousand words. This is a hosting program. The parents host the children here for 4 1/2 weeks and they get to know them very well. The goal is to get to know them while they are here. We also like to find them forever families while they are here visiting.. Why don’t you go and read the New Horizons website? That may help you understand the organization a little better.

  • Anonymous

    So sorry you were dropped off at some door step when you were small and helpless.

    • Harley

      If you don’t know where the seed came from (natural parents), don’t buy it.

      • Sandy

        I bet not one of these adopted children came from an educated well to do or wealthy family.

      • Don Rainville

        This is not about value for a dollar. It’s about helping the helpless.

  • Stacey

    How this is really benefiting the kids? If you only have them for one month, it does not provide a long term benefit or alleviate their hardship in any way. In all actuality, it is more damaging to the children because it exposes them to a world in which they cannot live for a long period of time and thrusts them back into a harsh and painful reality.

    Additionally, there is no mention of how others can help these children. The focus of the article should be on the children and how to help them both individually and as a group. If the media coverage was to really be about helping the children, this should have been the focal point of the interview.

    • Rachele Paulone

      It is hard to give all the details of this program in a short news segment. The goal of the hosting program is to teach the children about God, show them that someone loves and cares for them, and to find them forever families. . We have begun the process to adopt these children, so I think that certainly their lives will change for the better. Please go to the New Horizons for Children website at newhorizonsforchildren.org for details on how you can help. You can host a child or a chaperone, donate, and/or pray for the people involved.-Thank you

  • Don Rainville

    You may contact us anytime for that information.

    New Horizons for Children (google works great)

    These kids only see a world that is contained behind 4 walls and a play yard. At the age of 16, they are turned out into the world. Coming to America exposes them to something very different and provides a real chance at adoption. 65% will be adopted as a result of the trip.

    On the surface, I understand your position. In reality, the vast majority of these children benefit from the experience. Like I said, most are adopted. For those that are not, they are exposed to a different reality. That reality is that there is more to life than what they have kown. For the first time, many are also exposed to Jesus Christ in a very personal way. They learn about prayer and relationships. It is important to research the facts. However, I understand your assumptions. Regardless of the outcome, we will always keep in contact with Roman and Natalia. We will also help them as much as possible whenever possible. Without the experience of hosting these two little blessings, hope and contact outside those 4 walls would never have been within their reach.

    Thank you for reading the article and taking the time to comment on it. At least help us by praying for a better outcome than would otherwise seem possible for these kids. If you are interested in helping dreams come true, you may make a contribution to New Horizons for Chidren. Help host a child and give them a chance by providing a little hope in a hopeless situation. Doing nothing at all is easy. As HARLEY has pointed out, criticizing is even easier.

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