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Family returns home from Ukraine with adopted daughters just before violence breaks out

Updated: Saturday, March 8 2014, 11:03 PM CST
Reported by Ewa Roman:

LEBANON -- Just days before violence erupted in Ukraine, a Lebanon County family was able to leave that country with their two new daughters, who they adopted from an orphanage.

CBS 21 went to South Lebanon Township to meet the Carpenter family Friday, and met their six adopted children, all with special needs and all adopted from countries outside of the U.S.

Their two newest additions are from Ukraine and their big sister is from Russia.

“There’s just something about their culture instantly I fell in love with,” said Sasha Carpenter, who adopted from Russia, now lives in South Lebanon Township.

Russia-born Sasha Carpenter is talking about Ukraine. She was there with her mom Stephanie back in January.

They were picking up her two new adopted sisters, nine-year-old Olivia and six-year-old Rachele, just days before violent protests erupted.

“At night, 10:30 or 11, I would hear the beating of drums every night and I’d be up with the girls and the last night we were there, Sasha and I thought they would come up the street, it had gotten so loud,” said Stephanie Carpenter.

“I think it’s surreal, because we were just there just a short time ago and my heart goes out to the people 100 percent,” said Sasha.

Stephanie talks about a woman, who was selling scarves and flags on the streets of Ukraine.

“She dropped the scarf around her (Sasha) and put the Ukrainian Flag behind her, little did we know when we took those pictures what was going to transpire,” said Stephanie.

They got home safely. It was January 17, a day Stephanie will never forget.

“It’s really almost surreal. I’m very…not only do we have friends that we’ve left behind, children and the orphanage, workers. To me it’s very surreal having been there,” said Stephanie.

Holding her children close, Stephanie thinks about the other American families left behind, those who were also in Ukraine adopting, but are now stuck.

“We felt really blessed to be home and to have them safely home and particularly with Olivia, with what’s happening now, Russia taking over her whole region,” said Stephanie.

Despite the dangers and the difficulties, the South Lebanon Township parents say they do it, because it’s something God has placed in their hearts.

“Our Christian faith calls us to help those who can’t help themselves. To be a voice for the voiceless, to help the widow or orphan,” said Brian Carpenter, married to Stephanie.

And Sasha is grateful for that.

“If I hadn’t been adopted, I probably wouldn’t be here today,” said Sasha.

The Carpenters work to raise money for orphanages around the world.

To learn more about their ministry, Ting Ministries, email Stephanie Carpenter at and read her blog returns home from Ukraine with adopted daughters just before violence breaks out

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