Atlanta family adopting a son is stuck in the midst of Kiev protests

9:07 PM, Feb 21, 2014   |    comments
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Jennifer Martinez and her newly adopted son Valek

ATLANTA - The violence and killing has ended in the main square of Ukraine's capital of Kiev and the government has agreed to reforms, including reducing the president's power and holding elections.

An Atlanta family has been stuck in Kiev for two weeks while trying to adopt their son.

"I won't leave without him," said Jennifer Martinez.

She and her newly adopted son Valek are spending their days in a Kiev hotel, waiting anxiously for paperwork that will allow them to leave the country.

"We have each other and we are safe, we have options, we have places to go if things get violent again," she said.

Jennifer and her husband Randy hosted Valek in their Atlanta home in December, 2012 when he was 15. Valek had lived in an orphanage all of his life. The Martnez's fell in love with him and wanted him to become a part of their family.

"I've been on this journey, trying to get my son for over a year, and I'm happier now than I've ever been," she said.

They knew when they were in Kiev in December there were problems with the government there, but they had no idea it would get to this level. More than 200 people have died in the Kiev protests in the past two months.

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Randy returned to the United States, but Jennifer and Valek are stuck in a hotel about a mile away from the downtown area of the Chicago-sized city."

"Even in the chaos and uncertainty, I have my son," Jennifer said.

Dr. Chris Ward is a Russian historian. He says he is hopeful the latest truce between the protesters and Ukrainian government will hold.

"They were victims of an unfortunate circumstance," Ward said. "They are in the middle of a major civil disturbance, that perhaps could have been the start of a revolution."

"Yes, I've waited a long time," Valek said. "And I'm ready to go home."

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