Stranded Ukrainian orphans of American families struggle to save them from war

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Hundreds of Ukrainian orphans who were earmarked for American Adoption They are stuck in limbo as their potential adoptive parents try to lobby the authorities to give them a loving home.

American Jenny Bradshaw and husband Holt, who hosted an eight-year-old orphan from Ukraine a month earlier in the year, are part of a group of some 200 “potential adoptive parents” looking to adopt from Ukraine.

These international hosting programs are designed to give children a break from institutional life and give them A small window into what stable family life is like,

Bradshaw and his family felt an immediate bond of love with the girl they were hosting and said that Katya would complete their family. When Katya returned to Ukraine, Bradshaw immediately began the process of international adoption.

Kyta, at left, refers to Bradshaw’s two older daughters, twins Lauren and Elizabeth, as her American sisters.
(courtesy bradshaw family)

Volunteers work to evacuate orphans in eastern Ukraine

Then, as the process of bringing Katya to America was underway, everything came to a halt. Vladimir Putin begins his invasion of Ukraine.

All international adoption was quickly halted. The Bradshaw and other families who can no longer complete the adoption process only want to bring the children to the US to provide temporary shelter while the war in Ukraine continues.

Katya hails from the Odessa region, which has experienced intense shelling from Russian forces since the war began on February 24. Thanks to Bradshaw, International Adoption Coordinator in Ukraine Was able to provide Katya with a phone. Bradshaw was able to get in touch with him and knew he was safe. Bradshaw was learning Russian, and Katya was able to speak a few words in English.

“The lessons are usually enough to say, you know, ‘I love you. How are you?’ I’ll ask her how her day is. I ask in Russian and she answers in English. But right there, after the attack, she said this strange word ‘voina’ a couple of times. And I put it to the translator, and It was the Russian word for war,” Bradshaw said.

They contacted almost every day, and Bradshaw reminded Katya that the family had not forgotten about her.

First responders try to put out a fire at a residential building in Odessa, Ukraine, July 1, 2022, after Russian missile attacks.

First responders try to put out a fire at a residential building in Odessa, Ukraine, July 1, 2022, after Russian missile attacks.
(Ukrainian Emergency Service via AP)

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Odessa, which is located along the Black Sea in south-western Ukraine, is a major port city and an integral part of the world economy. It has also become a primary target for Russian forces trying to take control. Ukraine’s port city.

Katya was taken to Romania in early March, shortly before the heavy Russian shelling in Odessa, having briefly lost her phone on the way. Bradshaw traveled to Romania in April to visit with Katya for a few days.

And what he saw was depressing.

“I saw Katya and other orphans walking with stray dogs on a pile of construction rubble,” Bradshaw said. After visiting her for a few hours over the course of four days, he learns from the Romanian authorities that he has no further contact with Katya.

“They won’t give him the letter. They won’t give him the package,” Bradshaw explained. She couldn’t even ship basic essentials like underwear, socks, and pajamas, and she was subject to a zero-tolerance policy from the authorities. Romanian officials will not respond to emails Text or message Katya, she said.

Bradshaw and her husband haven’t spoken to Katya for more than two months.

The Bradshaw family hasn't spoken to Katya for more than two months.

The Bradshaw family hasn’t spoken to Katya for more than two months.
(courtesy bradshaw family)

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The family lives in Northern Virginia just outside Washington, D.C. and has contacted the two of them. US Senators – Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. But the senators’ offices have told him the problem was one of “case work.”

“The office of Sen. Warner is aware of the ongoing issues surrounding adoption from Ukraine,” a spokesman for Sen. Warner, D-VA, told Fox News Digital in a statement. “The office is working to engage the State Department in this process about the challenges facing families and to facilitate lines of communication during this difficult time.”

Bradshaw also met with a member of Kaine’s office, but no progress was made.

“A member of Sen. Kane’s team met with a group of parents who were facing issues in the adoption process in the wake of the war in Ukraine,” a spokesman for Sen. Kane, D-VA, told Fox. told News Digital. “We are seeking additional information from the Biden administration on this matter and the steps we can take to help address these issues.”

from the very beginning, state Department Was making regular calls with prospective adoptive parents, but was unable to provide further details.

“It’s lost in the halls of the State Department,” Bradshaw lamented.

Katya and other children who come to the US for short-term hosting programs do so on nonimmigrant visas. According to the US State Department, children entering the United States with a nonimmigrant visa do not qualify as orphans under US immigration law, while Ukrainian law prohibits the adoption of Ukrainian children outside Ukraine. Ukraine’s government has expressed concerns to the US about taking children out of Europe and traveling to the US

People cross the Ukrainian border in Syret, Romania, March 2, 2022, as they evacuate amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

People cross the Ukrainian border in Syret, Romania, March 2, 2022, as they evacuate amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
(AP Photo / Fernando Lanano)

The problem is that the prospective adoptive parents must work directly with the Adoption Authority of Ukraine for individual matters. So it’s basically out of control of the US government. Ukraine’s Ministry of Social Policy announced on 11 June that hosting programs could resume in some cases but would not apply to children who are considered orphans.

A State Department spokesman said: “Adoption is not possible at this time, and in circumstances such as the current conflict in Ukraine it can be extremely difficult to determine whether children who appear to be orphans are actually inland adoptions under US laws.” Whether eligible for taking and immigration.” ,

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Bradshaw constantly reminds public officials that she understands that adoption is no longer possible. She just wants to bring Katya to America for a temporary shelter Ukraine still ravaged by Russia’s war,

Children like Katya who travel to the United States to host events do so with the authorization of the Ukrainian government and on a US nonimmigrant visa that is valid for only one entry into the United States and only for a narrow range of events. During the date range, to the State Department. A child needs a new nonimmigrant visa to travel to the US again.

The Bradshaw and other families want to provide temporary relief and remove children from harsh living conditions across Europe.

“All we say is that we want to shelter these children in their homes, shelter them with loving families” Shelter in hopeless conditions across EuropeBradshaw said.

“The answers we get are adoption is not possible at this time,” Kelly Dempsey, an attorney representing some of the families, told Fox News Digital.

“We believe these families represent the single best child protection tool available to these children and are advocating for the US government to engage with the Ukrainian authorities to temporarily authorize the children to come to the US.” while Ukraine is defending itself against Russian aggression and under martial law,” Dempsey said.

The Bradshaw family met Katya for the first time at Dulles Airport last December.  (Courtesy: The Bradshaw Family.)

The Bradshaw family met Katya for the first time at Dulles Airport last December. (Courtesy: The Bradshaw Family.)

Dempsey has two specific requests for the US government.

formally and specifically invite children in the United States to respite care in the homes of American families who know and love these children Through issuance of tourist visa“He said.”

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Despite the pressure campaign in the Congress, there is also uneasiness in various international organizations. Save the Children, an organization that provides humanitarian assistance to children in crisis and conflict areas and has a team on the ground in Ukraine, has also expressed concern over the risks of international adoption during mass waves of refugees, even if they include Many are looking for adoption, the organization told Fox News Digital that the children affected by the crisis are doing well.

Significant obstacles remain ahead, but the Bradshaw and other families are resolute in their efforts to provide a loving home for Ukraine’s displaced children. Putin’s War of Aggression.