They thought they'd be back home by now. Instead, Brad and Lisa Mills of Prosper, and their newly-adopted sons from Ukraine say they’re stuck in eastern Europe.
“Every day, they're asking, ‘When can we go home? When can we get on a plane and go to the U.S.?'” said Brad Mills.
Artem, 14, and Max, 13, are brothers who'd been living at an orphanage in Vinnytsia, Ukraine, before evacuating to a refugee camp in Poland because of the war, a war that began at the end of the Mills’ two-year adoption process.
“They've already been through so much already. Just a couple of days ago they were sharing with us just how traumatic the war was,” Lisa Mills said.
The Mills said they picked up the boys from the refugee camp with no problem because of a court decree of adoption they recently received declaring them the parents.
They said they even got the boy's U.S. visas processed and medical clearance, but hours before they were supposed to fly home, they said they were told they couldn’t leave the country.
“Otherwise we could be arrested and charged with international child abduction,” Lisa Mills said.
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Despite the boys already being in the Mills' custody, they said Ukrainian law requires them to obtain a 'transfer of custody' letter signed by the orphanage director, in-person at the orphanage.
“The law states we have to be at the orphanage in person and we were asked several times to travel to Ukraine but we didn't think it was our children's best interest to take them into a war zone,” Lisa Mills said.
The Mills said they've met with members of the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw, the Ukrainian Consulate, and are in contact with the State Department.
They said they've also reached out to lawmakers in the U.S.
“We're just stuck in a holding pattern. We just want to get them home,” Lisa Mills said.
They would be, she said, if it weren’t for a single signature standing in the way.
The Mills said they need Ukraine's Ministry of Social Policy to make an exception and help figure out a way to get the document signed.
NBC 5 has reached out to the State Department, and the offices of Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz, for comment. We did not immediately receive a response.