A South Florida family wants to adopt a teen in Ukraine. The boy, Misha Tsurkan, just turned 16 and can no longer live at the children’s orphanage in his country.
“They are basically sent out to live on the streets. A large percentage of them either commit suicide or get involved in a life of crime to survive," Vanessa Donaher says.
Misha met the woman he already calls Mom during two short trips to Miami. The teen lived with the Donaher family as part of a Ukrainian orphan hosting program, but when it was time to go, he didn’t want to leave.
“When we were packing him up, I said do you wanna take all your stuff? And he only took half of his stuff and I wrote, why don't you take everything, and he said, ‘I'm coming [back] home right?" Donaher said.
The current turmoil in Ukraine could drag out an already lengthy adoption process. Misha's mom-in-waiting is even more concerned because of the region where the boy lives.
"He's in the easternmost part of the Ukraine so if Russia takes that part over, Russia does not allow adoptions. They could say that they can’t be adopted,” Donaher said.
Donaher communicates with Misha via Facebook at least once a day, but she says she often loses sleep worrying about the unrest in Ukraine and the safety of the boy she calls her son.
"It's like when your kids go out, until they come home, you don’t sleep well at night. And I have that constant nagging feeling,” she said.
They don't speak the same language, and live thousands of miles away, but already call each other family.
"People ask me how many kids I have, I say seven and a half,” Donaher said. “And then they say what's the half, and I say well we have one in Ukraine, but he's not home yet."
The adoption process to bring Misha to Miami could cost up to $40,000.
For more information on the Donaher family’s effort, click here.