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Ukrainian family celebrates Thanksgiving for first time in US

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This Thanksgiving, some Ukrainian families in the Chicago area will celebrate their cherished American traditions for the first time as they begin their new lives in the United States.

The Chehotsky family is one of them. They returned to Chicago in July after leaving everything behind in their hometown of Chornomorsk in the Odessa region of Ukraine.

Alla Chekhodka, 40, who fled with her husband, Alexander, said: “Everywhere we heard explosions, we opened the windows, we saw that the war had started, and now we need to save our children. I decided to move,” he said. Her two sons, 13-year-old Yaroslav and Mark, who is 8 years old.

The family said they packed their car with as much as they could and traveled for five days to reach the Czech Republic, where they stayed with Alla’s brother in Prague for several months. But their goal was always to end up in the United States.

“America has been my dream since I was a kid,” said Alla.

Through mutual connections, they met Sheri and Christopher Morman from Plainfield, Illinois. After several online exchanges, the Mohrmans took the plunge and decided to begin the process of legally sponsoring their family. “Unite for Ukraine” program. This is a program by the Department of Homeland Security to provide a safe and orderly pathway for displaced Ukrainian citizens and their immediate family members. Specifically, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service, it is for people outside the United States to come to the U.S. and stay temporarily for two years of parole.

The Mohrmans say it was not a decision they made lightly, especially considering they have five children. But after they became empty nesters, they felt they had to help in some way. rice field.

“We take it for granted here in America … we don’t worry about bombs falling on us. I’m not worried about it being cold and trying to find food,” said Christopher Morman. “It’s a horrible situation.”

“We needed to do something, so Chris and I had a very long conversation at that point, and we decided to move on and take a leap of faith.” Sherry Morman said.

This leap of faith helped the Chehotsky family realize their dream of moving to the United States. Their transition was not easy because of language and cultural barriers. But this Thanksgiving, they are so grateful to be safe, in new homes, and with new families.

“I appreciate Sherry and Christopher for inviting me here. I appreciate the opportunity to live in America now for safety,” Ara said.

To celebrate, both families will share Thanksgiving dinner for the first time at their home in Plainfield.

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Written by Natalia Chi

Chicago Popular; Chicago breaking news, weather and live video. Covering local politics, health, traffic and sports for Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana.

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