Dr. Jahraus, left, with his arm around Sashko, right.
CBS24 | Bridges of Faith

Alabama Doctor Helping Get 9-Year-Old Orphan Out Of Ukraine

Most parents would do absolutely anything it takes to make sure their kids remain safe and free of danger, wanting to care for them and province the best life possible. This can even be true for those who aren't quite parents yet.

That's what's happening to Dr. Christopher Jahraus, who was set to adopt a Ukrainian boy before the advance of Russian forces. Now, he's working overtime to save his future son and bring him home.

With the current crisis and fear rippling through Ukraine, one doctor is looking to help at least one boy escape.

A young boy holding a mug sitting on the forest floor.
Unsplash | Annie Spratt

Dr. Christopher Jahraus is a radiation oncologist at Shelby Baptist Medical Center, and had been wanting to adopt a child for some time now. He already has children of his own, but he wanted to be able to help a child escape a bad situation through adoption.

As he said to CBS42, "How can you not want to do your part to save one kid from the misery that they would live through."

In comes Bridges of Faith, an organization that helps Ukrainian orphans find homes in the United States.

Dr. Jahraus, left, with his arm around Sashko, right.
CBS24 | Bridges of Faith

It was through this program that Jahraus met Sashko, a 9-year-old Ukranian boy. Sashko was to be in Alabama for a month-long foster with different families, but Jahraus says the connection was instant.

"When I saw him, I felt similar to the moment when I saw my child for the first time," he said.

Their bond only grew the more time they spent together.

Sashko playing with blocks on a table.
CBS24 | Dr. Jahraus

"There’s just this inherent goodness for him," Jahraus said. Sashko had even begun calling him 'Papa' not long before he left, and telling Jahraus that he loved him. "It brings tears to my eyes, even now. He’s my kid."

They began the adoption process right away, which can normally take six to nine months.

A child playing with a toy clock on a wall.
Unsplash | Markus Spiske

However, the recent conflict between Ukraine and Russia might change this.

"This is a crisis," Jahraus said. "We need to get these little kids over here." He fears that should Russia take over, they may prevent the American adoption of Ukrainian children, as they did with Russian children in 2013.

So he, alongside Rev. Tom Benz of Bridges of Faith, is working extra hard to try and get Sashko out of there.

Dr. Jahraus, left, next to Sashko, right.
CBS24 | Dr. Jahraus

Not just him, but the other children who are currently in line to be adopted through Bridges of Faith.

"Unless something happens, our only hope is some kind of miracle to get those kids over the border and get asylum," Benz said.

Jahraus has said he's been contacting politicians and other representatives asking what he can do to get Sashko out of the Ukraine, and will continue contacting more. "Just like any father, I’m going to do anything to get him to safety."

h/t: CBS 42

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