Finally Home: Topeka Family arrives after stranded in Ukraine

The Jenkins family

In the midst of violent protests and a government power shift, a Topeka family was stuck in Ukraine, trying to bring their four newly adopted children home.

Saturday night, family, friends and TV cameras welcomed them home at the Kansas City Airport.

Sunday morning, after their first night in their home, the Jenkins family told Nicolette Schleisman why Sunday feels like Christmas in March.

“I am excited to be in America I am so excited that I am in this family,” said Natalie Jenkins.

The Jenkins family was stuck in Ukraine waiting for their children’s passports to be printed and delivered to them in Kiev for more than three weeks. All the while, the country was in unrest.

Friday night was the turning point, the Jenkins finally had all of the passports they needed in hand, and were ready to go home Saturday morning. 25.5 hours of travel later, they walked off a plane in Kansas City Saturday night.

“This is just a great moment. Just being here is very overwhelming to finally be all together,” said Jenkins.

The Jenkins were back just in time for Sunday morning services here at Northland Christian Church where Don and Lisa first got the idea to adopt.

“It started right back here in April actually, in 20-13. It’s a fitting to end the trip, and we are very happy to be back here,” said Don Jenkins.

“When the Jenkins began this journey, that was definitely their heart’s passion, definitely their heartbeat was to really reach to those who have no hope,” said David DeShazo, Associate Pastor, Northland Christian Church.

Their homecoming, long overdue. The whole time in Ukraine, they longed to come home and start their new lives together.

“To wake up this morning with a new family is quite an amazing thing too,” said Don.

The Jenkins and their children were welcomed home with love.

“This is a homecoming to them. It was interesting, kind of on the back channels on Facebook, reading some of the messages that were being sent were directly to the children. To encourage them,” said DeShazo.

Now that Don, Lisa and the four kids are back in Topeka, they are starting new traditions.

DON: “What we’ve already done partially is have Christmas together,they were supposed to be here in December, and they were a little disappointed because we didn’t get to spend Christmas together, so we said we’ll have Christmas when you get here, so we left the tree up the lights up,” said Don.

Don and Lisa have two other sons, both in their 20s.

Their Ukrainian kids, three teen girls and 9-year-old Roman, will attend Seaman Schools, the District says it will hire a translator.


Early February, Don and Lisa Jenkins set out for Ukraine – all to finish a few adoption details for four Ukrainian children. They were trying to be home for Valentine’s Day, but because of protesting and unrest, their children’s passports were delayed.

“Every day was like ‘oh, just a couple more days,'” said Lisa Jenkins.”And when we would get to the lowest part, we would get a Facebook message from somebody at church or a co-worker that would say ‘you know just hang in there, the Lord is with you’ and those little things is really what got us through.”

The Jenkins landed in Kansas City Saturday night. After a long battle to get home, the Jenkins family is relieved.

“So happy that we are here. It’s my dream to be in America, I’m so excited to be in this family, I’m excited that I am Jenkin and I love them very much,” said one of their newly adopted children, Natalie.

We’ll have more on this story tonight on Kansas First News at 10.

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