ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Ukraine was once one of the United State’s most common partners for international adoptions, but the war has changed that.
Now, many adoptions have been put on pause, leaving families who were in the process of adopting a Ukrainian child wondering what’s next.
One Hilton family is trying to help them figure that out.
For the past few months, News 8 has been following the Nowicki family’s adoption journey. The family of four is adopting a 12-year-old boy from Ukraine, who stayed with them for a few weeks over Christmas.
However, the adoption process has been anything but easy.
“As it stands right now, it seems as though the ask that we have, which is for the kids to be able to come to the US temporarily for respite while the war is going on, that seems to not be traveling down the right avenues,” Nowicki said.
So the Nowicki’s and 12 other families decided to go to Washington D.C. to speak with lawmakers.
“We met with 26 different senators and congressmen to advocate for the kids, to let them know what our struggles are, how the kids are actually living currently, what the struggles are there, and then hopefully what we’re asking them to do is take our ask down the right avenues so that we are able to get the kids to be able to come home,” Nowicki said.
Nowicki said they met with Congressman Joe Morelle, Senator Chuck Schumer and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and she could “not be more pleased.”
“Now what we’d like to see happen is that these senators and congressmen continue to follow up and push, and just let it be known what our kids are going through, and that, this is really where they belong,” Nowicki said.
Nowicki said it’s important the adoption process is expedited because many orphans, including Oleksii, are often being moved from place to place as they wait for what’s next.
“We’re worried about the trauma that it’s causing him to continually be moving from place to place. Every time he moves, it’s a different language that they’re trying to pick up, it’s a different culture that they are trying to blend into,” Oleksii said.
The Nowicki family was recently able to visit Oleksii in Poland for two weeks. He and his orphanage had been staying there since fleeing Ukraine. The visit was short, but sweet.
“As soon as we got dropped off, we couldn’t wait to get in there and find him. And as soon as we did, he ran off and gave us the biggest hug,” Nowicki said.
The trip fell on Oleksii’s birthday, so the Nowicki’s were able to celebrate with him. However, there were some hard parts of the trip as well.
“To just see how the group is struggling financially, how they rely on the Polish government for all of their meals, and they were relying on missionary groups for just their basic necessities, like toilet paper and drinking water, that was a little bit heart disheartening,” she said.
Since visiting Oleksii in Poland, Nowicki said his orphanage has already been moved to another country. This is just another reason she believes it’s important more is done to help get orphans to the U.S. to stay with their adoptive families.
“What’s happened a lot with these orphanage groups, is that the Polish were able to put them up, but a lot of times it’s been in hotels or other resort-type areas, and this is their tourist season,” Nowicki said. “So they were told that they had to find other arrangements as of June 1. Unfortunately, Oleksii’s group was not able to find suitable arrangements in the area, so now they have packed up and moved on to another country yet again.”
To help their adoption efforts, the Nowicki’s have started a GoFundMe. They will also be hosting numerous garage sales to raise money throughout the summer.
You can also donate through the Upstate Bottle Return drive. If you mention the Nowicki family adoption while donating bottles or cans, the money will go towards the family’s adoption fund.