05/01/2012 - By Gayle Irwin
(click for larger version)
Imagine being ten-years-old, living in an orphanage in a different country – not speaking English – and you are told an American family plans to adopt you. Then, after you've lived with this family for nearly six years in the same community, you move to a different state as a high school student. Do you adjust? Do you fit in?
If you are Artem Day, you do! This young man not only possesses resiliency, intelligence, and strength, but also faith in God and encouragement from his family.
Seventeen-year-old Artem completes his sophomore year at NCHS this month. His first year in Casper, Artem participated on the JV football and wrestling teams and even competed at state as a wrestler, qualifying in the top eight in 4A schools. This athletic young man also took up snowboarding upon arrival last winter. Instead of retreating from the challenge of becoming involved with his new school and community, Artem tackled the situation, and like one of the positions he played on the football team (running back), he charged ahead.
"I'm open to people, accepting of them," he says.
One of his passions is skateboarding, so snowboarding came natural to him, Artem says.
"It was easy to pick up."
Ever the enjoyer of the outdoors, Artem works for Grass Groomers.
"I like working outside," he says.
Artem and his siblings were placed in a Russian orphanage when Artem was about six years old. Although he received schooling, no English was taught, and when Brandi Day and her husband Robert decided to adopt through Bridge of Hope, they could not communicate verbally with the boy.
"We did a lot of charades (to try to communicate)," Brandi says.
The Days lived in North Carolina at the time so when Artem came to live with them permanently the following year, he not only had a new country and community, but he also gained a younger brother and sister.
"I was pretty happy," Artem recalls. "I wanted a family."
Although he left his birth siblings behind, Artem became an instant older brother to Colbey, now 13, and Hannah, now nine, a role he had played in Russia to three children in his natural family.
"We got along just fine," Artem states.
"He's been a good big brother," Brandi chimes in.
Although he doesn't know exactly what happened to his Russian siblings, he does try to locate them on occasion, especially now that everyone is older.
In addition to his own resilient, outgoing personality, Artem faces life with great family encouragement and love and faith in God.
"I'm growing in my faith," he says.
The family attends College Heights Baptist Church, and Artem participates in the church's youth group.
His mom attended all of his home wrestling matches, including his state competition meets. Brother Colbey is also an avid skateboarder, and the two often share that enjoyment together.
As he prepares for the end of his first school year at NC, Artem plans to play on the varsity football team this fall, possibly playing as a running back and a nose guard.
He also knows what he wants to do with his life after school – he plans to join the Marines.
"The excitement of being a Marine draws me – it's the branch of the military that interests me the most," he says.
Artem will most likely succeed in whatever he puts his mind and heart to do, thanks not only to the character traits with which he's blessed, but also to the loving encouragement from family and his ever-growing faith walk with God.