Houston host family reopens its doors to former Ukrainian exchange student


In 2017 Adel Kuchyk briefly moved in with Melanie and Justin Vitovsky as a element of a international exchange scholar program, attending Bridgeland High University for the 2017-2018 university 12 months prior to returning to her hometown in Melitopol, Ukraine.

Five a long time afterwards, 20-yr-aged Kuchyk is back again in the Vitovsky house with her fiancé Michael and her tiny brother Maxim. This time, Kuchyk is living with her previous host spouse and children under conditions neither she, nor they, could have witnessed coming.

Kuchyk arrived in Cy-Reasonable April 9 right after just about a week of travel, hurriedly leaving her Russian occupied hometown of Melitopol with her fiancé in buy to escape the current invasion. After leaving by Moldova and meeting her father at the border of Slovakia to acquire custody of her brother Maxim, the 3 established forth on their journey to Cy-Fair with a single suitcase.

Kuchyk refers to Melanie and Justin as “Mom and Father,” contemplating them family members due to the fact her continue to be in 2017. Just before Kuchyk arrived in the states, the Vitovskys retained in speak to and despatched income to assist her survive and make her way to security.

“I was so grateful that Mom and Dad (Melanie and Justin) did so considerably for us, just to make confident we ended up risk-free,” Kuchyk stated. “Sometimes we come to feel like we could not just take treatment of ourselves simply because of everything that happened. It felt so frustrating. Mother claimed ‘Once you appear to our property we could do this matter together.’ I was incredibly delighted I could share this with any person I enjoy and anyone that near.”

Melanie Vitovsky said she and her relatives have saved in speak to with Kuchyk since her stay with the spouse and children all through the FLEX application in 2017, a point out sponsored foreign trade student method, and right away attempted to assist her when news of the Russian invasion broke.

Vitovsky reported the final decision was a no-brainer, because she considers Kuchyk a person of her daughters.

“When the war broke out we were being concerned,” Vitovsky explained. “We had been speaking to her just about each working day throughout her journey. We had been sending money and helping her. She was a college college student, she did not have a good deal. Then, owning to instantly traverse 5 nations around the world in just as quite a few times trying to escape her town.”

After leaving Slovakia and attaining custody of her brother, Kuchyk finally created her way to Mexico, exclusively the Tijuana, Mexico and U.S. border with Michael and Maxim. The 3 were being given information to cross in excess of the Mexicali, Mexico and Calexico, California border, which expedited their already extended journey. The Vitovskys then assisted the three arrive in Cy-Honest a working day afterwards.

As for her parents, Kuchyks mother was in a position to escape Ukraine although her father was not authorized to leave, owing to a legislation becoming passed prohibiting males ages 18-60 from leaving the country. Kuchyk, Michael and Maxim traveled alone.

Now, the goal is to assistance Kuchyk, Michael and Maxim regulate to American daily life for an undetermined sum of time, Vitovsky explained. Although Kuchyk is fluent in English, Michael and Maxim are mastering the language. Kuchyk and her fiancé are also working by way of the approach of acquiring employment authorization, which could acquire anyplace from 6 to eight months.

“The goal is to give them a safe put to stay and work,” Vitovsky claimed. “They are learning, they are understanding a lot considering the fact that they’ve been in this article. They’ve grasped a great deal a lot more being familiar with because they’re surrounded by it. Maxim has classes in English each individual working day so they are finding out English and that will assistance them reach a experience of steadiness, if very little else.”

Kuchyk claimed her brother Maxim was speedy to realize a little something was wrong when she picked him up from the Slovakian border, but was unaware of how dire the scenario was.

“When I acquired Maxim from the Slovakian border, he clearly did not comprehend what was likely on and he was speaking about going back again to school and how he would get back again,” Kuchyk mentioned. “Through time, he started off to know that there was an genuine war heading on in (our) hometown and our good friends and households are not in city any more. They all went someplace.”

Kuchyk has reported Maxim’s peers in the Cy-Fair spot give her hope that he can adjust to American life less difficult after owning to leave dwelling so speedily.

“It is form of depressing, even for an grownup,” she stated. “We were making an attempt to do anything that we were intended to do mainly because me and my fiancé variety of grew to become dad and mom for him. We did everything so he would feel safer than he felt just before.”

Even though the Vitovsky property was additional than happy to get in Kuchyk, Vitovsky said the household however requires support in get to feed every person, including her personal two adolescents, and assistance Kuchyk integrate into American society, such as employment authorization.

Vitovsky stated she discovered how intricate the immigration and refugee process is in the United States by way of Kuchyk’s journey, irrespective of whether immigrants get there lawfully or by means of other signifies. Vitovsky also obtained criticism for her assisting Kuchyk, seeking to anxiety that Kuchyk is not a random Ukrainian refugee who wanted assistance: she considers her family members.

“I’ve figured out a ton about our immigration program as a result of friends and men and women who have been there and crossed the border several decades ago,” Vitovsky said. “I’ve learned that it is not what people think. There is a great deal of criticism even on comments from our past stories. I know her. She is my family.”

Although she thanks the group for serving to Kuchyk reach Cy-Reasonable from California, Vitovsky stated sustained support is required to hold the family healthful and cozy.

“It’s a whole lot like when anyone is anticipating a child and everyone’s fired up and they ship all of the gifts and the gift cards and then the infant comes and soon after that all of the help disappears,” Vitovsky explained. “It’ll be a challenge moving forward, but we’ll do much more lemonade stands. We’ll do what we have got to do.”

With Kuchyk and Michael making an attempt to get employment and the basic assets required to feed the further 3 loved ones members, Vitovsky reported she will take donations, although also encouraging persons to donate materials to Ukrainian citizens in the warzone.

To donate to the Vitovskys and Kuchyk, stop by www.givesendgo.com/ukrainiandaughtersoftheheart. The Vitovskys are also increasing dollars for Iryna, yet another Ukrainian foreign exchange pupil they hosted in 2013, who is still in Ukraine, and inquiring for assistance for Kuchyk’s buddies.

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