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Ukrainian woman returns to live with host family in Larkspur 22 years later

Family in Larkspur
Posted at 4:24 PM, May 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-26 19:36:37-04

LARKSPUR, Colo. — A Ukrainian flag flying in front of a Larkspur ranch serves as a reminder of the home Maryna Sheverya left behind.

“We didn't really believe that this would happen until the last, 'til the very last day when they actually bombed Ukraine,” said Sheverya

More than 20 years ago, Sheverya spent nine months inside the Larkspur home.

“I was an exchange student from Ukraine, and I started in Douglas County High School and I lived with Jim and Helen Kellogg,” she remembered.

Jim and his wife, Helen, haven’t forgotten those moments.

“This is a photo of Marina when she was here as an exchange student back in 1999,” he said.

The Kelloggs even kept an art project Sheverya made, with a message nobody could have predicted. The project featured photos of Sheverya with her friends and the Kelloggs' horses, with the message, "to be continued."

Now, Sheverya, her husband and their children are living with the Kelloggs.

The biggest issue Sheverya and her family now face is the nearing expiration of their tourist visas. Although they’ve already applied for Temporary Protection Status, the process could take months.

“With the tourist visa, we have a lot of restrictions. We can't work, our children can’t go to school, I mean, we basically can only be tourists," Sheverya said. "And when we apply for TPS, it gives us the possibility to apply for work authorization and be able to work and for our children to go to school."

Until then, making any long-term plan is difficult.

“We hope that this will be over soon and we can come back home, but it's not possible to plan that way,” said Sheverya.

Although the dream will always be to return to Ukraine, they’re thankful for the family they do have in Colorado.