An Alabama doctor who has adopted a nine-year-old boy from Ukraine desperately tries to save an orphan as war erupts between the country and Russia.
Dr. Christopher Jarous, a radiation oncologist at Shelby Baptist Medical Center in Alabaster, said he had long wanted to adopt a child.
He and his wife Gina have five children of their own, but he always felt he could do more to help those in need.
Through Bridges of Faith, Christopher last year met Sashko, a nine-year-old orphan from Ukraine who was abandoned by his alcoholic mother.
He was in the process of adopting a little boy when tensions began to rise between Ukraine and Russia.
The adoption process can take six to nine months, but now, amid Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine, Christopher is determined to get Sashko back to the US quickly.
An Alabama doctor who was in the process of adopting a nine-year-old boy from Ukraine desperately tries to save the orphan as war erupts between the country and Russia.
Through Bridges of Faith, Dr. Christopher Jarous and his wife, Gina, met Sashko, a nine-year-old orphan from Ukraine who had been abandoned by his alcoholic mother.
After Sashko spent a month with him in December, Christopher began the process of adopting a little boy, just as tensions between Ukraine and Russia were starting to rise.
“He is my child,” he told local news channel CBS 42. “Like any father, I will do everything to keep him safe.”
Christopher was inspired after Reverend Tom Benz of Bridges of Faith, an organization that helps adopt Ukrainian orphans, spoke at his church in 2020.
“My wife was the one who said we needed to talk to him,” he recalled.
“How can you not be willing to do your part to save one child from the suffering they are about to endure?”
In December, the organization sent several Ukrainian children to Alabama for a month-long foster program. It was then that Christopher first met Sashko, and a connection immediately arose between them.
“When I saw him, I felt the same as when I first saw my child,” said Christopher.
Sashko, who never had a relationship with his father, spent about a year in an orphanage before he met Christopher.
On the way home from the airport, Christopher was touched when Sashko offered his chewing gum to the other kids in the car.
“He just has kindness,” he explained.
For a month spent together, Sashko began to call Christopher “dad” and say that he loves him.
Christopher explained to People that the orphanage mistakenly called Sashko “mentally retarded.”
Because he previously studied pediatrics at a medical school, he said he was able to diagnose the child’s attention deficit disorder.
“If Sashko stays there [in Ukraine]his whole life will be mislabeled and he will never be given the opportunity to prosper as if he were brought here,” he told them.
The adoption process can take up to nine months, but now, amid Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine, he is determined to bring Sashko home to safety.
Christoper (pictured with his wife) is working with lawyers and congressional leaders with Bridges of Faith to try to get Sashko to America.
Today Russia launched a large-scale attack on Ukraine. Missiles rained down from the sky, tanks rolled across the border from Belarus, and masses of attack helicopters surrounded the capital Kiev after Russian leader Vladimir Putin personally ordered the attack.
Ukrainian forces are battling Russian forces for control of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, 60 miles north of the capital Kiev, amid fears the fight could damage nuclear waste storage facilities, causing radioactive fallout that could blanket Europe.
According to Reverend Tom, he believes that all the children from the orphanage are now safe as they are in the “countryside”.
“Our country coordinator in Ukraine is with a neighbor in the basement, in a makeshift bomb shelter in Kiev. As far as we know, the children are all right. They are in a rather rural area,” he explained.
Back in 2013, the Russian government passed the Dima Yakovlev Law, which banned Americans from adopting Russian children.
And now Christopher is terrified that something similar will happen in Ukraine, so he is determined to get Sasha out immediately.
He, along with Bridges of Faith, is working with lawyers and congressional leaders to try to get Sashko and other orphans to a neighboring country, such as Poland, Hungary or Romania, from where they can fly to America.
Today, Russia has launched a war with Ukraine, rockets are raining down from the sky, tanks are crossing the border from Belarus, and masses of attack helicopters are swarming over the capital, Kiev.
Russian Mi-8 attack helicopters stage an assault on the Gostomel air base on the outskirts of Kiev after Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale attack on the country.
Russian armored vehicles on the roads near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant amid fears that damage to the facility could cause a radiation leak that will cover Europe with radioactive fallout.
A huge explosion has taken place at the Vinnytsia military base in central Ukraine as the country comes under full-scale attack from Russia.
“This is a crisis. We need to bring these little kids here,” Christopher told CBS 42. “Ultimately, we have faith in Jesus Christ and we pray all the time for Sashko and the kids.
“The only way to come to terms with a bad outcome is our faith, the knowledge that God has a bigger plan than we can see.”
He explained to People that it was especially difficult for him to watch the developments, since Sashko, who he says has a “beautiful, loving and warm heart,” was by his side last month.
“These children received visas just a month ago. It shouldn’t be a heavy burden, but there are no open embassies in Ukraine, and one open consulate is not currently accepting travel requests,” he added.
“This is not about sanctions and political maneuvers. It’s about little kids. It kills me to think that these little children can fall under Russian rule.”