CYPRESS, Texas - Ukrainian refugees who escaped the war and fled to the Houston area are now preparing to head to Iowa for the next chapter of their lives.
FOX 26 first told you the story about 20-year-old Adel Kuchyk in April.
Adel escaped Ukraine in February with her 14-year-old brother, Maxim, and her now husband, Michael. The three fled to Cypress, Texas, to live with Melanie Vitovsky and her family. It's a place Adel once called home as a foreign exchange student five years ago.
"Her coming to me at the end of the day and saying, ‘how was your day mom?’ And giving me these sweet hugs. You know? I’m going to miss my daughter," Vitovsky said.
The three have now packed all their belongings into bags and boxes again, as Adel heads to Iowa to finish her last year of college.
"You’re like this is my reality. I just need to get used to it and it’s really surreal. I really just need to start living this new life," Adel said.
The last four months in Cypress have been a whirlwind of getting accustomed to American culture, Houston heat, and heaps of paperwork.
Last week, Adel and Michael exchanged vows and got married. Their family abroad watched it all unfold on livestream.
"It was really hard not to have your mom and dad with you," Adel said.
This Thursday, they'll begin the 15-hour drive to Iowa. Adel will be finishing her bachelor's in journalism; her career path now clearer than ever, as the war in Ukraine has inspired her to keep the faith.
"I just want to go to Ukraine and be a journalist there. I'm ready to leave right now. It's so crazy that it’s already been six months and we don’t see the end of it," Adel said.
Maxim will be starting high school in the fall. Michael hopes to secure a job if he can get his work permits approved.
Although their future whereabout in the long-term, remains unclear. For now, Adel plans on remaining in the US under humanitarian parole for at least the next year.
"Maybe my mom will be able to come here. Maybe we’ll be able to raise our children here. It really all depends on time and on God and whatever government will decide to do with Ukrainian refugees," Adel said.