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Olympia family's adoption of Ukrainian boy put on hold by Russian invasion

A western Washington family says they were in the process of adopting a boy from Ukraine- but now he is stranded, with food at his orphanage running out.

OLYMPIA, Wash. — In an Olympia neighborhood thousands of miles from Ukraine, a bedroom is waiting for a little boy Anna and Jose Ramos say they were in the process of adopting when Russia began invading Ukraine. 

She says bridges near the boy's orphanage were destroyed, making it impossible to transport more food there-- and she's calling for elected officials to find a way to help.

"You never think you'd tell your kid to stay away from the windows, or him calling me when artillery is shooting off and the sirens are going off saying mom, I'm going down into the basement," Anna Ramos said. "And yesterday I had to drop to my knees and pray."

The Ramos family hosted him for a summer in a sort of "reverse mission trip," and soon knew they were meant to adopt him. He visited again over Christmas.

"We didn't realize how much we would fall in love," Ramos said. "How much he would fall in love with us." 

Legally, they say they cannot technically call him a son or brother yet- but to them, he is already family.

"I want to hug him, I want to make sure he's safe, I want to tuck him in at night. and I want him to know that he doesn't have to worry when he goes to sleep, he can go to sleep, and feel okay, and people care about him and love him," Ramos said.

Through a phone they gave him, they've been keeping in touch. She says the children at the boy's orphanage in Ukraine went down to a basement, hearing shelling outside, and when Wi-Fi went down she couldn't hear from him for an unbearable few hours. Fortunately, he survived that night, but the family is constantly anxious for news- and praying for the children.

"I need to know he will get food, that he will be safe, and that he is not forgotten," Ramos said. "He needs to know people care. These kids need to know that they're loved and cared about."

Ramos says while there has been a lot of coverage of the families trying to escape, she worries children in orphanages- unable to voice their own struggle- will be forgotten. As food runs out, she worries about their ability to survive.

"We need our leaders to help," Ramos said. "We need senators, congressmen, people to write them. We need action taken to get these kids to safety, and once they're safe, to make sure they can still be adopted."

She's asking Washingtonians to contact their senators and congressional members to demand action- and for Washington's elected officials to do everything they can to voice the need for help to federal leaders. 

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