06/01/2012 - By Gayle Irwin
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Imagine being 10 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 completed his sophomore year at NCHS last 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 Artem says snowboarding came natural to him.
"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. 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 9, 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. His adopted family encourages Artem to find out what happened to his birth siblings. They also provide love and encouragement in other ways. For example, his mom attended all of his home wrestling matches, including his state competition meets, and brother Colbey, also an avid skateboarder, often shares that enjoyment with Artem. The family attends College Heights Baptist Church, and Artem participates in the church's youth group. This summer, he and his family will travel to Kitwe, Zambia to work at an orphanage.
"I'm growing in my faith," he says.
His outgoing, resilient personality has helped Artem adapt to new living situations. This fall, he plans to play on NC's varsity football team, 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 he's blessed with, but also to the loving encouragement from family and his ever-growing faith walk with God.