In August of 1999 my wife and I traveled to the city of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.  This trip was the culmination of a process that took more than a year, but was successful because of the help we received from a dedicated nonprofit, World Association for Children and Parents (WACAP).  During our two weeks in Russia we traveled four hours each way by car to the city of Nahodka twice.  On the first trip we met our son Michael for the first time.  After receiving final approval from a Russian court in Vladivostok we traveled back to Nahodka to pick him up and take him home.

Michael was six months old then and he was undernourished, under stimulated and behind schedule in every measurable way.  The staff of the “baby home” was doing its best but could not provide adequate care due to extremely limited resources.  When they brought Michael to us he had nothing, he was wrapped in a rag, and they wanted the rag back.

After coming home, Michael performed the amazing “adoption blossom” he gained weight, he developed all the skills that babies need and eventually he grew up to be a good looking, smart kid with a bright future.  And last week he also became a high school graduate, making his mother and father very proud.

So here’s what I would like to tell Vladimir Putin:

  • There are kids waiting to join a family.
  • Life is pretty hard without a family.
  • Organizations like WACAP are helping.
  • Most Americans give their adopted children a safe home and a loving family.

Unfortunately, I will probably never be able to tell Putin these things, and there may not be much we can do for Russian kids.  However, since you are still reading, I will tell you the same things apply to kids right here in the U.S. and all over the world.  WACAP, and similar nonprofits can help, but they need your help, too.  If you would like more information on how you can help kids become part of a family, please visit WWW.WACAP.ORG .

Next year I will tell you about my daughter Anastasia when she graduates.

Lew Bequette

My name is Lew Bequette and I joined the Verity team in October of 2014. Although I am new to Verity, I have almost twenty-four years’ experience working in credit unions. I was born in Kirkland and have lived most of my life (so far) on the east side of Lake Washington, but I have also lived in the South Sound, the Olympic Peninsula and for 10 years in Prior Lake, Minnesota. I graduated from the University of Washington (GO DAWGS!!) with a degree in accounting and St. Martin’s University (GO SAINTS!!) with an MBA.

I always knew I would be a CPA, and I was even pretty sure I would work in a financial institution. So I decided I should do something different first and I joined the Navy right out of high school. I worked as radar technician and later  taught electronics technicians how to troubleshoot and repair a certain piece of cryptographic equipment. I didn’t get to see the whole world, but I did see a good portion of Asia, and I got a lot of good stories to tell.

Now I’m living in Redmond and (along with my wonderful wife) raising a couple a couple of great kids. I like to take my dog for walks at Marymoor Park, take a few pictures and I’m a big sports fan. I love the Mariners and the Seahawks, but my favorite teams are my kids’ baseball and softball teams.

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