It takes an hour to drive south from Kraków. Take the winding roads that lead up to the mountains. At the beginning of March, around thirty children from a private orphanage in the Lemberg region in western Ukraine were transferred to a Polish winter sports region conquered by spring.
A holiday center was kindly placed at their disposal by its owners, a Polish couple. In one of the rooms of the house, Anastasia, Ivanka and Ania aged 6, 7 and 9 are having fun on the beds. In the morning they went to school. These three sisters were taken to an orphanage a year ago along with their brother Volodymir, 3, after being sexually abused. Ania knows that the war brought her to this corner of Poland. “She’s not worried. thinks she knows Natalia, the 26-year-old preschool teacher who shares the room with the siblings. The adults talk a lot about it among themselves and we pray three times a day. »
Aged 2 to 17 years, the children of the orphanage “have been permanently or temporarily separated from their parents because of addiction, neglect or abuse,” explains Wendy Lynn Farrell. This 39-year-old American is an active member of a Baptist church in Springfield, Missouri, whose church is the orphanage’s primary financial supporter through the Children’s Paths Foundation. She herself adopted a teenager from Crimea in 2013. She is one of the architects of child evacuation in Poland.
Today, Wendy’s goal is to bring the group to the United States with the approval of the Ukrainian authorities “As Long As It Calms Down”. “In Springfield, our community knows these children and can support them. You won’t need anything.”, she explains. In addition, the children were not registered as refugees with the Polish administration, “so as not to limit our chances”She explains.
Leah really wants to go to the USA. At the same time, this 15-year-old girl, who has been housed since 2014, does not hide her fear. “My father and brother are in Lviv, but my mother lives there Marioupol [dans le sud de l’Ukraine] and I haven’t heard from her since March 5thShe says. She no longer receives messages or calls. »
“Most children have no relationship with their parents and they are not at all worried about their fate”, however, says Mykola Shagarov, the director of the orphanage, himself a refugee in Poland. The 46-year-old Ukrainian says everything is settled “in accordance with the law” and “Adoption procedures are suspended during the war”. He knows that there is a crisis in this time “Traffic Risks”.
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