Charlotte Family Helps Child From Belarus

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Nastya, 8, may look right at home in Charlotte, but she's actually half a world away from it.

Nastya is from Belarus, near Russia. She spent the past six weeks in Charlotte with the Knafelz family.

"She really has become a part of our family," said Julie Knafelz.

Rick and Julie Knafelz were in church with their children, Sarah and Matthew, when they saw a video about a relief program where children living in areas contaminated by the Chernobyl explosion in 1986 come to America to get a break from that environment.

"My daughter walked out of Sunday school and she said, 'Mom, we got to do it.,'" Julie said.

Nastya, who only speaks Belarussian, instantly grew close to everyone.

"She loves their family, and she loves Sarah and Matthew," a translator said.

She had another love: American food!

"Macaroni, macaroni and cheese, I think, (and) popcorn!" the translator said.

While in Charlotte , Nastya got free medical visits.

"Especially given this situation, we were happy with the outcome -- that she's healthy," Julie said.

Nastya's family back home even got a peek into her adventure via Webcam. The Knafelz family said time just flew by, from the exciting first day to the tough fairwell.

"It's OK, it's OK; we're going to miss you Nastya," Julie said.

In the end, a lot of lives were impacted.

"Having Nastya here, has definitely enhanced our world view, and make us realize there are so many people out there that need help," Julie said.

If you're interested in hosting a child from Belarus, visit the American Belarussian Relief Organization.



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