When Viktor walks down the street with his headphones on, music blasting in his ears, he seems to be happy and carefree. However, at just age 21, the teenager has come a long way. Born in a remote area of Russia and orphaned, Viktor was lucky to be adopted and now lives happily with his parents and little sister. This is the story of an endearing boy who has found the joy of life after having experienced misfortune. He shares his story with Toombow Kids.
Viktorovitch Koulibaba was born on April 20, 2002 in the Russian city of Magadan. He was born with fetal alcohol syndrome due to his biological mother’s heavy drinking during her pregnancy, which caused him to have cognitive problems. He has no memory of his father who left home when he was very young He and his sister, Lisa, 2 years his junior, were cared for by his mother. Viktorovitch’s early childhood was very precarious, as his mother often took drugs in their apartment and locked him up in a closet in the dark for hours if she was mad at him. This psychological abuse lasted until December 25, 2007, when child services decided to place Viktorovich and his sister in a Moscow orphanage. The boy was only 5 years old, but he clearly remembers his arrival there. There was “a very big tree in the middle of the entrance hall next to a large blue sofa”. Viktor reveals that he experienced his first moments of happiness at the orphanage. The staff was nice, he often played board games, and read a lot. Yet he was quite isolated from the other children and spent a lot of time looking after his sister. In 2009, his destiny will change dramatically when a couple who would become his new parents traveled from France to Russia to look for a child to adopt. He will never forget this momentous day.
“I remember that there was a couple who came to the orphanage and looked at all the children. I was shy, so I hid behind a newspaper. Then they approached me and said to a man from the orphanage, ‘We would like to adopt this boy hiding behind a newspaper’. They learned that I had a sister and that’s how they adopted us. At first, it felt strange, but then it was a great relief to have parents who love me, support me and want me to have a stable future. ”
When he arrived in France, Viktorovich, whose name was now “Viktor”, was afraid because he had no points of reference, and he didn’t know the country or the language. So, to communicate with him early on, his parents found a system: they gave him a sheet of paper on which he had to draw a happy, sad, angry or other face according to the emotions he felt. Also, as soon as he and his sister were settled in their new home, their mother home schooled them, especially teaching them the French language. At first, Viktor, who was still traumatized by his past, rarely spoke. From the age of 10, he began to speak more and made great progress with the help of speech therapists.
Viktor is full of praise for his parents and describes them with great emotion: “open”, “courteous”, “kind”, “hardworking”, “courageous”. They have always supported him in his studies, even though he often had to face the cruelty of the other students.
“In high school, some students made fun of me for being ‘different.’ I was too nice to people who just wanted to take advantage of me. Since I turned 18, I’ve grown a lot, I’ve learned the dangers and I’m more careful. Thanks to my parents, I feel more courageous and hardworking. “
Viktor never gave up and he obtained his CAP (vocational training certificate) in Early childhood. He currently works as a home care aide, and he’s proud of this job.
“I take care of a gentleman, I help him get dressed, I make his bed, I give him breakfast, do his shopping, I talk to him. I like my job a lot because since I was a kid, I always liked helping people. I’m a very good listener.”
Besides that, Viktor has many passions such as playing sports, watching Marvel movies, listening to the music of classic French singers… His biggest idol is Claude François. The young man is a living encyclopedia about him and knows all the details of his life. “If he were alive today, Claude François would be 84 years old” he says with a smile.
Like his idol, Viktor sings and writes his own songs. He is also very proud when he talks about an authentic signed dedication of the singer that he received from a close friend who worked with him. Moreover, he can’t wait to get the birthday present his father promised him: to spend a day in Claude François’ old villa. It’s certain that this fan will be thrilled!
Since his adoption, Viktor has experienced many joyful days. What is his best memory since he arrived in France? Viktor is very clear, it’s the first time he went to school! He was looking forward to it since he never went to school in Russia. Looking back, the young man has a message for Toombow Kids readers:
“I want to say good luck to children who are orphans. It’s great to be adopted, take advantage of it to progress in your chosen career. I’d also like to tell those who care for orphaned children, protect them and feed them well to give them a chance to succeed in life.”
Heartwarming words coming from Viktor who went from the cold loneliness in Russia to the comforting warmth of a home in France. He knows better than anyone how having a family that loves him is the most precious of treasures !