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46 Children Were Taken From Ukraine. Many Are Up for Adoption in Russia.

World46 Children Were Taken From Ukraine. Many Are Up for Adoption in Russia.

As news of Russia’s invasion spread through Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022, Dr. Natalia Lukina was waiting for a taxi at her home.

It was 6 a.m., and she was eager to get to work at Kherson Children’s Home, a state-run foster home for institutionalized children with special needs, where she served as a doctor.

By the time she arrived, the rumble of artillery fired by Russian troops advancing on Kherson City, the region’s capital, was already reverberating through the hallways. The doctor and her fellow caregivers faced a wrenching dilemma: how to protect the dozens of vulnerable children.

They were all infants and toddlers, and some had serious disabilities, such as cerebral palsy. Some had living parents who retained limited custody over them, while others had been removed from troubled homes or abandoned.

“Who else would have stayed behind to look after them?” Dr. Lukina said about her decision to remain with the children. “Imagine if we all turned our backs and left?”

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