Character in Real Life - One-Minute Testimonials

Initiative – A One-Minute Testimonial Announcement

Faith Committee, Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky


Contributed by Lisa Zimmermann
Social Worker, Cincinnati, Ohio

September 6, 2001


Driving down the highway is an unusual place to start a family, but for Rick Stafford that is exactly how it all began. Somewhere between Cincinnati and Louisville, Rick heard the voice of an orphan boy singing a Russian song on NPR’s Morning Edition radio program. Vladimir was a severely handicapped child who seemed destined to grow up in a wheelchair in a Russian orphanage.

After years of infertility and two failed attempts to adopt, Rick and Diana had just begun discussing the idea of adopting a physically challenged child. That is when Vladimir’s precious voice captured Rick’s heart over the airwaves. Within minutes Rick called NPR’s headquarters to order a transcript and spoke to his wife Diana about adopting the child.

What happened next is an amazing testimony to Rick and Diana’s character. They took initiative to remove all the barriers standing between them and Vladimir. One by one they overcame the obstacles of language, financial costs, and the seemingly endless adoption paperwork. Years later Rick and Diana’s initiative and Vladimir’s hard work resulted in Vladimir being able to walk.

As a reward for Rick and Diana’s initiative, they saw their dreams and the dreams of a little Russian boy come true.

[Adapted from “Vladimir’s Song”, Reader’s Digest, December 1999.]


This material is published by the Faith Committee of the Character Council of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Reproduction and Adaptation is encouraged.

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