Washington families with personal ties in ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict taking action

Two weeks after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, local families who have personal ties to the countries are taking steps of their own.

We previously told you about the Page Family in Snohomish. Katie-Jo Page and her husband are adopting an 11-year-old boy named Mykyta who they hosted for the first time in December and January.

After the war broke out, families like theirs began urgently advocating for temporary visas because adoptions are now on pause.

"As of right now, the Ukrainian government has denied the rights for Ukrainian children to come here, but they have about 60 days to decide what to do about orphans who have been evacuated," said Page. "One of the volunteers was able to give a video message that my family was able to record and let him watch it, and then he was able to send back a short video clip and a picture. Just knowing that he wasn’t in danger anymore, he was in a safe spot, and now we can work on getting him home."

Puget Sound organization helping Ukrainian families relocate, rebuild

Organizations around Puget Sound are rallying to help Ukrainian refugees as the Russian invasion continues.

Mykyta’s orphanage was evacuated and over the course of four days and multiple modes of transportation, the group was able to leave Ukraine.

Page said her hope is Mykyta can be granted a temporary visa and stay with them until adoptions resume.

She’s asking community members to sign this petition and reach out to federal lawmakers about their appeal.

Meanwhile, the Stiranka Family in Edmonds have family in both Ukraine and Russia.

Wife Marina Stiranka is Russian-American and her husband Michael is Ukrainian-American.

"We were stressing out a lot when the whole thing started," said Marina. "Russia is still my country and I love it. We’re not bad people. We’re actually good people, so don’t hold it against us because of one lunatic."

Marina said she feels disappointment and betrayal following Russia’s invasion on Ukraine. Currently, she is in a conflict with close family members and friends in Russia who are being exposed to propaganda regularly.

"My second goal is to raise awareness, because I’m just a teeny, tiny source of information for people in Russia. Maybe I can change the mind of at least one person there, you know, make them see the truth.

Michael said some of his family members are now refugees who have fled Ukraine, while others may be close behind.

Local group returns from helping refugees in Ukraine, Poland

A group of local medical workers and logistics specialists from Empact Northwest spent more than a week in Ukraine helping families with their medical needs.

"We just can’t sit and watch this happen, you know, it’s just too close to home," said Michael. "It’s very difficult to believe any of that to tell you the truth."

The couple now has plans to travel to the Czech Republic where they have connected with a missionary who is supporting Ukrainian refugees. Marina will go first for a month, and then Michael will take her place.

"We are willing to do anything. It doesn’t matter if it’s just carrying luggage or helping people check in at a hotel, help them drive somewhere, we don’t care. We just want to be there," said Michael.

A GoFundme campaign has been set up for the Stiranka Family. The couple said all the proceeds will benefit Ukrainian refugees in the Czech Republic.

"Certainly donating and making contributions is great," said Michael. "I hope that maybe some people want to follow our example."

If you’re interested in learning more about volunteer or sponsor opportunities to support Ukrainian refugees, you can reach out to Marina through the GoFundme page.

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