About the Author
I was born in 1952 in the Ukraine, part of the former Soviet Union. My father was a high-ranking military officer in the Soviet army, and my mother was a housewife. Being a single child in the family, I grew in atmosphere of pressure to succeed. My parents did their best to develop my skills and talents. From six years of age, I remember myself in a tight schedule of different activities, such as musical school, the studio of young actors, dancing, as well as seasonal sport activities, including skiing in winter, as one of my favorites. Every Sunday, I had two hours of leisure time, playing chess with my father.
In 1959, I became a student of one of the best schools in our region, where the talented and knowledgeable teachers introduced us to a fascinating world of knowledge. I should be honest saying that from ten years of age my teachers and parents motivated me to write. I was an editor of middle school newspaper and later, high school newsletter. Most of all, I enjoyed writing my personal journal. My daily events were recorded in the form of poems and short stories. On Saturdays, my parents invited their friends and arranged the family candle lit gatherings, where I read out loud my first literary works.
During the school years, I participated and won multiple essay competitions in the Ukrainian and Russian literatures. The teachers of languages encouraged me to undergo the university studies in journalism and creative writing. In 1969, I graduated from high school. Being interested in learning the foreign languages and literatures, I continued my studies of German and English and graduated in 1977 with a diploma and degree, as a specialist in both languages.
From 1977 to 1988, I worked as a teacher of foreign languages in one of the Ukrainian high schools that specialized in teaching the number of subjects in German and English. I would never forget my room of the German and English literatures. The sponsor invited a talented young artist to paint marvelous portraits of world-known authors. I tried to perform each lesson in a way so that my students became the participants of an amazing play. What child could be bad in performing? The world of grammar, words and phrases became as interesting, as the world of the German and English literature. During the years of my professional career, I continued exercising the skills in creative writing. Writing the journals in foreign languages was not only my favorite hobby; it became the preferred hobby of my best students.
In 1988 my family arrived in the United States. We were fighting for life of our daughter Tatania. Eleven surgeries with one clinical death and numerous complications proved the words of my mother-in-law: "Ask the Father Almighty, and He will help the girl in His miraculous way." Due to seriousness of Tatania’s condition, I do it daily up till now. I praise the Lord for blessing to be in this world together with a unique child, like her. Living in constant pain, she has a special attitude towards those who are in physical and emotional pain. She helps them to rise above the disturbing pain and hardships in order to successfully fulfill all the assignments of their destiny.
Immigration is never an easy process in people’s lives. I had to resolve a very complex situation. We came to the USA with a medical visa issued to a child who had right side paralysis after the polio vaccination that was provided six years ago. Tania suffered from S-shape scoliosis with severe compression of the internal organs. The girl was dying. After three months of evaluation in the US, the orthopedic specialists of five children’s hospitals pronounced the verdict:” It is too late to start the surgical treatment. Why didn’t you bring her three years ago when the formation of the scoliosis just began?”
People from the civilized world could not understand that I was fighting with soviet officials for my daughter’s arrival to the American hospital for long six years. I believed that in the United States, my child could find the necessary help, because American medicine has a vast experience in treating people with polio disease. Every year the Health Ministry of the Soviet Union rejected my daughter’s case. We lived in a communist cage. Professor Guseva explained it in a simple way, “You have to understand that she is dying. If she had not died right after the polio vaccination, she’ll die in the nearest future. Our country will not pay the capitalists for her treatment abroad.”
What could I do after the verdict? I prayed to God, as my mother-in-law taught me, and the miracle happened. Dr. Betz from Philadelphia Temple University hospital called me three days prier the expiration of our visa and suggested to include Tania in his experimental group. He offered one percent of survival out of a hundred during the cycle of spinal surgeries, but it was still better than none. We signed the Agreement that in case of her death, we would not keep liable the surgeon and the hospital. Instead, I praised the Lord for a given chance to save my daughter’s life. However, there was one impairment that arose with signing of the Agreement. The Agreement required Tatania’s stay in the United States until 21 years of age.
The second obstacle was connected to the change of the family status, that could allow us to legally live and work in the country. We arrived here not as the permanent residents of the USA but, as the parents of a nine-year-old girl, who was seriously ill and could not live without us. Legalization process required time and money. The Soviet Union allowed every person to leave the country with a hundred-dollar bill. It was nothing. We learned hard way the process of immigration. Some lawyers were just layers. It took time and assets to find the right Law firm that helped with legalization.
The third obstacle was very important and required fast actions. Our 16-year-old son Roman was stopped by KGB from coming together with the family to the United States. They assigned him to the military service in the USSR. There was a dilemma. Our daughter was barely alive. Our 16 -year-old son was in dangerous situation without parents.
What could I do for free to save both children? I prayed and asked the Almighty God to intervene and help me in resolution of our hardships. As long, as we were not allowed to make any income and rent a room, I found the barter position of a cook, cleaning lady, laundry maid and care giver for a paralyzed elderly woman in exchange for a room in attic without air conditioner and 2 meals daily for three people. I prayed days and nights during my stay near Tania about the lodge and board, and the prayers were answered.
In those multiple job positions, I worked for 15 hours daily for four months without a single day off. As my master clearly explained, the family could not have our 2 meals, if I decide to have a day off. The 4-th of July came. It’s one of the best holidays in our family. Our daughter asked us to show her the parade and firework in Philadelphia before the surgeries began. With the permission of the master and his wife, we took our child to parade, and we enjoyed the firework at the Art museum. We “paid” for the celebration of our Independence Day. When we returned, our suitcase was on the porch. We became homeless.
I would never forget the questions of my daughter: “Mama, where should we go? I can sleep in my wheelchair. But where will you sleep?” What could I answer except: “God will take care of us. You’ll see.” We walked for an hour and stopped in the Rittenhouse Square. There was an empty bench there. We stayed there for three days. Since then, I have my special attitude towards the homeless people. Yes, they are different. However, in our case, the Lord sent us the compassionate “neighbors”. Every day, they shared with us pretzels or bagels, a bowl of fruit salad and water. I praised the Lord for introducing us to that experience. I learned that somebody was in much worse situation than us for many years, not for three days. They did not lose the humanity. They felt sorry for our sick child and fed her without asking any questions. As soon as our financial situation has improved, I participate in feeding the homeless people and supplying them with readymade foods.
The fourth obstacle is also well-known for many new immigrants. My husband could hardly master all the subjects and medical terminology in English, including computer that we did not see in the Soviet Union. All the hardships made him depressed and nostalgic. He did not believe that we would overcome the problems in our American life. Even the work authorization could not give us the job positions in accordance with our diplomas and degrees. We needed to study again and pass the exams in order to prove our education. It is not easy, but right and doable.
p>Being a mother, I did not allow myself any depressive thoughts and feelings. When we received the work authorization, I was so grateful to the Lord. My husband went to college for studies, and I started my working carrier with cleaning the houses. I am not ashamed of that step. My Bachelor and master’s degrees could not bring food on the table and payment for the rent right away. On that moment, we had bigger priority: we needed to bring my son Roman to the United States. He was already 17. In a year, they planned to take him to army service. If he survived two years of military service, he had to stay for additional five years in the native country. My son was my pride. He was a brilliant student. He needed better life. Mother had to clean two houses daily in order to pay the attorneys who agreed to bring my son to the US. Senator Heinz considerably helped me in Roman’s case. Up till now, I am grateful to God for sending me the right people who understood me, as a mother.
When Roman arrived, he was seventeen and a half. It was one of the happiest moments in my life. He went to school and graduated with amazing scores. His test results impressed the Harvard university. They invited us to Boston for an interview. We could not travel anywhere: Tania was not stable after the second surgery and required our presence in Philadelphia all the time. The Harvard professors visited us at home. They wanted to meet my genius boy and interviewed him for several hours. I’ve done whatever a mother could do, in order he lives and succeeds in the country of grate opportunities.
Roman’s and my professional studies began at the same time. In a year, I proved my diploma and received a teacher’s position in one of the privet schools in Philadelphia, and in two years, at Widener university. As a teacher, I was always happy. God gave me the skills to teach, and it was always interesting for me. Nevertheless, life changes our plans. My ex-husband started his medical practice and insisted in my help. I was taking one college course after another in order to run our new business. He needed the specialist in nutrition, and I graduated from nutrition and fitness. He was interested in Enzyme Replacement therapy, and I became an enzyme replacement therapist. He wanted to add hands on procedures, I learned all the courses of Cranio-Sacral, Manual Lymph Drainage and Maternity massage, etc. and worked successfully.
With time, my dear daughter Tatania became part of the family practice. She graduated in 2% of the best students in the world, and I was not surprised that after the college studies and with years of experience, she became a world-known counselor and crisis management consultant. In 2006, Tatania founded her International Wellness Foundation and brought me in her philanthropical world. With the help of the generous sponsors, we do our best for wellness of people and improvement of their lives.
Now, the name of her International Wellness Foundation is well-known in different countries, such as Columbia, Poland, India, Ukraine, Kenya and Ghana Africa. The project “Wheels of Life” succeeds with the delivery wheelchairs for free to the underprivileged people. The mobility opens new opportunities for those who had lost the hope. At the present time, Tatania and I work on the second major project “Veterans and disabled formula to success”. Her fight for life after 11 major surgeries became an example for many people. My life experience with the handicapped daughter gave me the right to participate in her projects and to prove that the most valuable that people received from the Creator is our life. It is our choice to win or lose in this life.
In 2007 I began to write the family saga, a trilogy called "God's Miracles in Lives of Regular People". The trilogy is based on the journals of my mother-in-law Countess Kurbatov. She chose me to be an author of the trilogy, and I appreciate her faith in my skills to transform the ‘dry’ data into an alternate historical and inspirational novel.
I started my Autobiography in the first book with the words, “I am a happy person in this life and grateful to God for everything that He helped me to overcome and achieve.” This is true up till now. My life had never been easy. I learned hardships, bitterness and losses. Not only death separates people. Weakness, cowardice and betrayal still exist in our human world. May our Almighty God strengthen the spirit of people and bless us for true faith, fidelity, love, loyalty, respect and success. It does not matter how distressed our life is. We are born to accomplish our mission and be grateful for every moment of our life.
With deep respect to my readers,
Author Angelic Tarasio