HILTON, N.Y. (WROC) — A week ago, News 8 brought you the story of a family from Hilton adopting an 11-year-old boy from Ukraine.
Since then, Russia has invaded Ukraine, attacking numerous cities and leaving at least 130 people dead.
This week, News 8’s Ally Peters caught up with the family to hear what things have been like in the past week.
“It’s scary. It’s terrifying,” said Melissa Nowicki, a mother of two biological children. “We never know exactly how he’s doing unless it’s that really quick, brief interaction that we have with him.”
“So we’re always worried. We’re not sleeping well, and I’m spending just hours and hours every day trying to do everything I can to get him safe.”
The Nowicki’s, a family of four, hosted Oleksii at their home for four weeks over Christmas. They quickly realized they wanted him to become a permanent part of their family and started the adoption process. But, until that process is finalized, Oleksii is back in Ukraine.
“So far what I know is that on the night that the attacks began, Oleksii’s orphanage group was moved down to a bomb shelter,” Nowicki said. They heard four pretty massive explosions and when it was safe, they did end up moving to a different region.”
She adds while Oleksii is safe at this moment, her family has only had minimal contact with him since Russia invaded.
“I’ve only communicated with him directly twice and it was very short interactions both times,” Nowicki said. “I have gotten updates from some of the other kids who have better cell phones, if you will, that just are attached to better towers.”
Nowicki said Oleksii does seem a little “shaken” when he hears bombs drop, but he’s being tough.
“It’s a little scary for him, but overall, he’s really a strong kid. He’s trying to put on a brave face and not worry us. So he’ll say, ‘Yeah, I heard them, it was scary mom, but I’m okay. I’m okay,’” she said.
The Nowicki’s are a few months into the adoption process, but they hope the situation unfolding in Ukraine will speed things up.
“I think that gives people here, public officials, the government, an opportunity to put things in place and get things ready for possibly accepting these kids or just any Ukrainian citizens,” Nowicki said.
In the meantime, Nowicki and her family are doing everything they can to try to get Oleksii to the U.S. sooner, including contacting congress members and senators.
“We’re trying to get things in place in case there’s an opportunity for him to be able to come back to the United States,” Nowicki said. “We don’t know at this point for sure if that will happen or not, but we’re doing everything in our power to prepare for it.”
The Hilton-area community has also been helping the Nowicki family by raising funds for the adoption.
One area boutique has made t-shirts to raise proceeds and Jimmy Z’s in Brockport is hosting an event Wednesday night as well.
There is also a GoFundMe for donations that can be found by clicking here.