NJ family who hosted Ukrainian orphans before war fear for their safety
About 100,000 children in Ukraine are believed to be orphans – and this was before the war with Russia. Many of them are in dire need of food and medicine.
There is a Mercer County family that is trying to help.
The orphans did not have anywhere to go. The Ukrainian government did not send them to Poland. When Russia started bombing, they were forced to hide like everyone else.
“They’re sleeping in basements that have dirt on the floors, while their orphanages are being bombed,” says Andres Mejias.
The Mejias heard it straight from the children. Over the holidays, they opened their home and hearts to two of those Ukrainian orphans.
The family took in 12-year-old Ruslana and her 10-year-old brother Sasha. The Mejias served as their host family for a month. They have been staying connected ever since. The messages are chilling at times.
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“’Mom, we’re at work. Mom, there’s bombs.’ It’s frightening. Even though they’re not my biological children, they’re part of our family since the day they came in here,” says Farrah Mejia.
The Mejias have been considering adoption. Farrah Mejia says it's something she's always wanted.
“An older child who is forgotten. Everyone wants a baby. No one ever wants the older child,” she says.
She says it is partly because of the trauma that follows. The family is hoping to host the kids again this summer, maybe even with their third sibling, 5-year-old Dasha.
Until then, others in town with big hearts are coming together to plan a fundraiser trying to help in any way they can as it becomes harder to communicate overseas.
"And then it's been radio silence. I haven't been able to talk to the kids. The news titles yesterday were ‘Sumy heavy air strikes,’” says Farrah Mejia.
The kids were living in Sumy being bombed. News 12 New Jersey has gotten word that they were finally evacuated. The children are believed to be safe, for now.