Wendy Farrell of Springfield, Missouri has five daughters, including one she adopted from Ukraine eight years ago. When the war in Ukraine broke out, she felt compelled to help.
She and her husband have partnered with an orphanage in Western Ukraine for years, and thanks to some buses they bought for the orphanage, 31 children ages 2-17, and five caregivers were able to escape to Krakow, Poland.
Wendy's mission is to get the orphans safely to the U.S. to wait out the war. The only problem is they're being told it could be July before their visas are approved for travel.
"We are needing visas for 30 children and three caregivers. Our orphanage in western Ukraine, for the moment, remains intact. Overall, our children are doing remarkably well. They are safe and with caregivers who love them deeply. They are scared and worried but know we will take care of them and continue to keep them safe," Farrell said.
'We Desperately Need Assistance'
The children are being housed in a dorm-like setting in Poland, but Farrell says they are anxious to be settled.
"We desperately need assistance in speeding up the visa process. The consulate in Krakow is low on staff and is expediting business visas only. We believe the U.S. needs to send reinforcements and prioritize visas for the most vulnerable first," Farrell said.
"We have been amazed at the Ukrainian Consulate's work ethic. They are working around the clock to process paperwork for Ukrainians. Our consulate has no appointments available until July and is doing nothing to help the two million refugees here in Poland," she said.
Wendy says the Polish people have been amazing and welcoming of their neighbors. "They remember all too well the events of WWII here in Poland, and are grieved to see what is happening in Ukraine. But they are worried about the longevity of this crisis and the burden hosting this many refugees will cause. The U.S. has abundant resources and should take some of the burden off of Poland and other European countries. The support here in Poland is unsustainable," she said.
'I Will Not Leave Them'
Wendy says she will stay with these orphans as long as it takes to get them to safety. "I will not leave them. I have five daughters at home who need me, but my children here need me as well and I am their advocate and support," she said.
She says they need financial help to continue to take care of these orphans during the war. If you would like to give, please CLICK HERE.