Caught in the Middle

by Katya Reach, adopted from Ukraine to the USA.

“All over social media, I see people posting either the Ukrainian or Russian flag. I honestly couldn’t bring myself to share either one.

There are no clear words to convey my deep sorrow and grief over this crisis. My heart goes out to the citizens of Ukraine and citizens of Russia because all are paying a price, and for many, this is something they never asked for. I have connections with people from Ukraine, people in the separatist regions, and people from Russia. The pendulum of understanding from all sides swings drastically, meanwhile, daily I try to process new information and be of support and encouragement to others.

All my life, as a Ukrainian adoptee, I grew up believing I was Ukrainian and I was proud of these roots. After reuniting with my birth family nearly three years ago, I learned that my birth family has strong Russian roots. The Ukrainian soil I walked on as a child became a pro-Russian separatist held region of Ukraine.

I look to my left and mourn the suffering of the internally displaced Ukrainian people who I have personal connections with. Yet I’m amazed at the support and generosity of neighboring countries to welcome so many Ukrainian refugees and bring humanitarian relief.

I look to my right and see my very own birth family also suffering and hiding for dear life in bomb shelters and basements, remaining in the land they call home; a land that has suffered 8 years of conflict up to this point. They are clinging to hope that this will be the final breakthrough.

Meanwhile, I also have friends who are Russian citizens and are feeling ashamed of their roots. This crisis in Ukraine is utterly devistating and sickening just to witness, let alone live through.

I have moments of feeling so overwhelmed and emotions cycle. I try not to let every new detail alter my perspective. My family is so patient with me as I process and seek clarity. Daily life continues on through this imbalance. And while this is a major aspect of my life, it is still only one of many other aspects. It’s been crucial for me to make space for myself and even space for laughter and enjoyment in these heavy times.

While my deepest connection to this crisis is my birth family living in it, I also understand there is a much bigger picture that impacts our world and the ramifications of this crisis will last far longer than any news highlight.

I know my role in this is so much more than just a spectator. I am praying for the world to see miracles of God through all this. In the midst of the chaos all around me, I’m reminded of the Lord’s faithfulness in an abundance of peace within my soul that is beyond understanding as I learn to trust God with what is out of my control. His grace is sufficient. I pray for this same peace to Indwell in the distressed hearts of many others. While there is great division in our world, crises like these have a unique way of unifying individuals as well. Very meaningful conversations have come about as people have been so kind to reach out in support. Continued prayers and support for all who are impacted.”

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