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Russian invasion of Ukraine has impact for Creelman area family

Members of the Van Staveren family are in touch with friends, contacts in Ukraine

CREELMAN – The invasion of Ukraine by Russian military forces has a Creelman family very worried, as they have many connections with Ukraine.

Marcel and Kym Van Staveren have three adopted children from Ukraine, with son Nathan adopted in 2003, and daughters Oksana and Alina in 2014, and all of them remain in touch with many friends there.

The family found out in 2015 that Nathan has a brother, Bogdan, and grandmother in Ukraine, and they flew over to meet them.

Bogdan and his wife and child, along with their grandmother, were in Ukraine and he tried to evacuate his wife and child to Poland. By Tuesday came word that Bogdan and his family were able to get over the border to the Czech Republic. The grandmother was unwilling to leave her home in her Ukrainian village.

Oksana, who is living and working in Regina, has been in contact with friends in Ukraine, and said, “Most of my friends are physically okay, as far as I know.”

Meanwhile, Kym has been in contact with their interpreter, Yuri Safonov, who helped them with the adoption of Nathan, and he’s been updating her about the challenges and struggles he and the adoption agency have been facing in Ukraine.

Yuri told her he’s decided to stay in Kyiv, and said, “Woke up at 4 a.m. because of explosion in the air. Our defence system hit two ballistic rockets.”

He related this incident involving a co-worker, an adoption facilitator named Serge Zevlever: “He was in the shelter (underground parking) downtown, and when something was happening outside, he decided to check it out, and got killed right in the heart.”

Yuri indicated the agency is trying to evacuate orphans from some of the orphanages to Poland and Latvia, and said, “It is not easy at all. It is so difficult to convince some orphanages.” Some orphans had been successfully evacuated out to Germany, said Kym.

She added that Yuri said that “the night is not looking good”, but she wasn’t sure what he was referring to, if there were developments happening in Kyiv.

The Van Staverens have also been in touch with a Ukrainian charity, Oksana’s Harvest, to get donations to help out in Ukraine. The charity is accepting donations, said Kym, “but he said we need to wait until things settle down before monetary donations can get through.”

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