HEBRON, Ky. — A Northern Kentucky mother just got back to the United States with her newly adopted daughter from Ukraine. The pair reunited with their family Friday night at CVG airport.
In March, Colleen Holt Thompson traveled to Ukraine to get her daughter, Maure, out of the war zone. The teen’s original orphanage was located in Donetsk.
"We got a call from one of the caretakers at my daughter's orphanage saying ‘They're bombing us. We need help,'" Thompson said back in April. "It was terrifying ... really terrifying to be on the other end of of a call like that, and have no way to help.”
Thompson decided to travel to Ukraine with the goal of bringing Maure to safety. She traveled with a group to help the teen and other orphans. For months, she and others worked endlessly to try to speed up the adoption process but came across some hurdles.
International adoption was paused due to the invasion. Maure’s orphanage relocated to Lviv for safety. Thompson said that helped them with the adoption process.
“We connected with another adoption facilitator, who was still there. At the time the only courts in the entire country that were working in Lviv,” Thompson said. “It was just good luck for us that she was evacuated to Lviv and we were able o have court there. We had 4 court hearings and it took 6 weeks of court and then we had to wait 30 days after court to get the actual decree.”
The pair is relieved to be in America.
“Just knowing that she’s safe and she doesn't ever have to go through that again,” Thompson said. “ She’s got a family here and she’s safe. I just keep thinking we’re safe. No more air raid sirens, no more bomb, no more bomb shelters. It was a lot.”
They originally met through a hosting program. The mother of eight has six children who are originally from Ukraine.
“She’s excited to get here,” said Thompson. “Excited to get enrolled in school, dance class and play volleyball. She’s excited to hang out with her friends.”