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Ukrainian refugee finds home with American family

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Ukrainian refugee finds home with Midland family

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The Stokes family have known Sasha for 10 years. They have been working to bring him to the United States since the war in Ukraine broke out.

MIDLAND, Texas — The war in Ukraine began nine months ago, and today it continues, with hundreds of Ukrainians forced from their homes.

It’s something that hits home for the Stokes family, a family from Midland who have two adopted sons from Ukraine. On Monday night, they added another family member.

Sasha Gmirin flew to Texas from Romania and arrived in Midland late Tuesday evening after being in the midst of the war in Ukraine.

Sasha has known the Stokes family for 10 years, and on Monday night he joined them in the United States for the first time.

“He was in an orphanage in Ukraine, and someone from America had been there and came back and pleaded for him, so we went to Ukraine in 2012 to adopt him,” said godfather Shane Stokes. and longtime contact of Sasha.

Sasha did not end up being adopted, but he remained in close contact with the family, which is why when the war broke out in Ukraine, the family immediately began to worry.

“We were terrified because he was living in Kyiv at the time and had spent the first five weeks of the war in an air-raid shelter,” Stokes said. “He could go out and change clothes, take a shower, that sort of thing, but he was in an air-raid shelter for five weeks and it just wasn’t safe for him to be there.”

The family worked fast to get Sasha here to Midland, to a safe place. Sasha shared her experience.

“It becomes very bad to live there,” Gmirin said. “There is no electricity, no hot water, many cities have been destroyed, and it goes on and on and on. Thanks to all the people as a family who helped me find accommodation .”

Gmirin has seen life in the country become more difficult for its citizens.

“I understand that it is becoming more and more difficult to live in Ukraine,” Gmirin said. “And you have to think about choosing, or you will live in Ukraine and every day you have stress. Every day you have to go down to the basement when there is an air alarm, or you can be in another place now and be useful for Ukraine, be useful for your country and do everything possible to help it rise in Ukraine.”

The war continues to wreak havoc on many Ukrainians.

“The reality of war has come to my mind through this whole situation, because we have people we know and love in Ukraine. And realizing how displaced they are all from their homes, from their jobs , their friends, things that are familiar to them just to be safe,” Stokes said.

While living here in West Texas, Sasha will continue to stand up and defend her country.

“I don’t know English perfectly today, but I came here to learn English,” Gmirin said. “I feel like I have a mission here to talk about Ukraine today. I will talk about Ukraine every step of the way, why? Because it’s all of us.”

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