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Noblesville couple awaits updates on Ukrainian child they're trying to adopt

Adam and Kara Horbett were weeks away from adopting a boy from Ukraine when the Russian invasion began.

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — Imagine having a child trapped thousands of miles away in the middle of a war zone, unsure if they'll ever get home.

That's the reality for a Noblesville family, dealing with uncertainty and fear for the baby they've been waiting months to bring home from Ukraine.

"You remember the sounds, the smells. It's not just the buildings. It’s the moments you were in front of the buildings,” said Adam Horbett from his Noblesville home Wednesday, talking about his trip to Ukraine last year. 

Now, some of the places Adam and his wife Kara remember from their trip are gone, destroyed as Russian forces advance into the country. 

Those places include Freedom Square in Kyiv, where they took a stroll with their 5-year-old daughter, Karalyne, right after adopting her from a Ukrainian orphanage.   

"When we met Karalyne, we knew she was our daughter. She came in the room, and she seemed to know she was our daughter,” Kara remembered.

"It's like that's the person, that's the one. She's supposed to be our daughter,” Adam added.  

That's the same feeling the couple had when they saw the face of a little boy in a picture this past December, a 21-month-old they were weeks away from also adopting from an orphanage in Ukraine to bring home to share a life with them and six other siblings. 

"He has a bed upstairs," said Kara. "Clothes in the closet." 

He also has a name - Austen.

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"Kara's been packing his bag, getting ready for our trip over there,” Adam added, explaining that they were weeks away from traveling to Ukraine to finalize Austen’s adoption.  

Now the Horbett's don't know if that trip will ever happen, or if they'll get the chance to bring Austen home. 

Credit: Horbett family

Each day, they wait for an update. The last one came Tuesday.  

"The Ukraine side told us, put a post up on Facebook that the orphanages were all OK, that the children were safe so far. That they're in basements or shelters and that everybody could take a deep breath 'cause they're all OK right now,” Kara said.  

At this point, Austen's adoption isn't official.   

RELATED: Hundreds gather on Monument Circle to rally in support of Ukraine

The final documents the couple recently sent never got to Ukraine. They had just arrived in Germany when the war broke out.  

Documents or not, Kara and Adam know what their hearts are telling them. 

"This is our boy,” said Adam.

The Horbetts' hearts are breaking, not only for the child they want to be their son, but for the country where he was born. 

"They're fighting for their lives,” said Adam. 

They are also worried, at the same time, about Austen’s life, when they see the images of bombed Ukrainian streets and landmarks.  

"I went to bed last night, scared to wake up,” said Kara. 

In the moments when they look at the crib set up in Austen's room, they cling to the hope that one day, he'll be sleeping in it, no longer in the middle of a war zone. 

"He's coming,” Adam assured his wife, hugging her tightly. 

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