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American family adopts five-year-old boy from Ukraine's conflict zone

November 4, 2015, 18:30 1703 Author: uatoday.tv uatoday.tv/society Dima joins family whose adoptive parents have taken in eight children from across the world

This is little Dima - he was born in Kramatorsk, in east Ukraine - where the Ukrainian military has been fighting Russian-backed insurgents for some 18 months. But now he's now in the US Vermont, having been adopted by a family living there. His biological mother couldn't provide him with care.

Ruth Chavs: "We're still doing consultations - he's five years old already so it's a bit late, but we will do an operation. There is a chance at least that he'll be able to walk on his own."

Dima knows that Ruth is his mother. He reacts to English and repeats new words after his new dad. His parents don't know yet how much of the langauge he's really taking on board, but his every smile brings them joy.

Ruth Chavs: "I get up at 3am. That give me a bit of time for myself to read and make breakfast. The rest of the house gets up at six - I get the kids ready for school, Erin goes to work. When eveyone's gone, Dima and I are left together. We do some gymnastics, and some development exercises."

Ruth is 57. Apart from caring for partially disabled young people she is also a mother to twelve children. Four of them, her biological children and grown up and have left home. When they left, she and her husband decided to adopt.

Ruth Chavs: "John and Philip were nine when they came to use. They're from Vietnam. Carmela is our little girl, she has Down Syndrome. She loves hugs and dressing up. They all had different names when they were born of course."

The new name they've given Dima is Zebadiah - which means 'Gift from God.' Ruth and her husband say that the little Ukrainian will likely be their last adoption. Because of his condition his needs are different from the other childten, but the family says that with what modest means they have, they'll try to give him a better life than the one he might have had in Ukraine.

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