HIAWATHA, Iowa — The crisis in Ukraine is hitting home for the Breckenridge family of Hiawatha.
They have already adopted three sons from Ukraine, who arrived just months ago. Now, they are in the process of adopting another.
Artem is 15 years old and living in an orphanage in the Ukrainian city of Berdyansk. He loves music and is a talented singer.
Jenna Breckenridge is keeping in touch with Artem through text, and got a message from the orphanage saying they were in a bomb shelter.
"At 5 a.m., he saw and heard rockets. Said the windows were shaking and there was a big flash. He said in Berdyansk, the airport was bombed," Jenna said.
She shared some heartbreaking texts from Artem. One message reads:
"I hope for a miracle. I pray pray pray. You are my only hope. Looking forward to hearing from you. It's scary to think what will happen each day. So, is there a chance you can come pick me up? I cannot be calm about how anything can change at any moment. I beg you to take me away as quickly as possible."
Jenna and her husband Scott are just as anxious for answers and for the moment when Artem will finally be in Iowa with his family. And they are not alone. Jenna said she is in touch with several other families also waiting on adoptions from Ukraine. They plan to work together with lawmakers and lawyers to try to get the kids to safety, so they can continue their adoption process.
Watch the latest update on this story (March 3)
Artem's case is time-sensitive. He turns 16 this year, at which point he will age out of the system and essentially be on his own.
Jenna and Scott want to get him to Iowa so he can live in safety and know the love of his family. They have a simple request for everyone watching the crisis unfold in Ukraine. They ask we remember the people, especially the children, caught in the middle of the violence.
The couple is asking others outside Ukraine to pray for the people and pray for peace.
"These orphans, they have nothing. They don't have a mom. They don't have anyone to be there for them," Jenna said.
"They have to go through this alone... and that's not fair to them. They shouldn't have to deal with this," Scott added.
On March 3, the Breckenridges told Local 5 they hadn't had contact with Artem in days.
Sen. Chuck Grassley's office said there isn't much that can be done at a federal level, given the situation in Ukraine is so unstable.
"Everything is up to the ministry there in Ukraine, which they did take a big step two days ago, announcing that they will let the orphans go to Poland or Moldova," Jenna said. "And they will cover everything for that. But now it's up to each individual directors of the orphanages."
Scott and Jenna said if Artem is able to make it to a neighboring country, they can apply for a special visa to bring him to the U.S. Their immediate goal, however, is just to get back in contact with him.
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