TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - As tensions between Ukraine and Russia reach a boiling point, a Topeka family remains in the middle of it.
Lisa and Don Jenkins are in Ukraine. The couple, who also have two children in the U.S., were in the process of adopting four children from Ukraine when violent protests erupted, leaving them unable to get the necessary documents to take the children out of the country.
Don Jenkins said the government has told them three passports are now ready, with the fourth to come later this week. However, Don says, none is physically in hand yet and, as a military threat from Russia increased in the past few days, Ukrainians are starting to flee their country. Don says they are told some of those who are leaving may be the very people on whom they are depending to get their children's passports ready.
Speaking from Kiev Monday night (early Tuesday Ukranian time), Don said the family feels safe where they are in the capital of Kiev, but there are signs their status as Americans could make them a target. He says they took the children to the square recently to view the history unfolding in their native land. One of the daughters was wearing an scarf in the pattern of the American flag and, Don says, was told by a protester to remove it. He says that "gave us chills."
Don says he's unsure what options will present themselves in the days ahead. But, even with passports for three children ready, he knows one option he will not take.
"This is my child," he said, "I am not going to leave them behind in a country where we don't know what's going to happen."
Hear more from Don Jenkins about what his family is witnessing in the extended interview above. They are updating their situation on the Facebook page "Get Americans Home from the Ukraine."