Born to Ukrainian woman: US babies rescued from Russian orphanage

A Texas couple wants to have children with the help of a Ukrainian surrogate mother.

Born to Ukrainian woman: US babies rescued from Russian orphanage

A Texas couple wants to have children with the help of a Ukrainian surrogate mother. But the war takes her to St. Petersburg, where she gives birth to twins - who end up in a Russian orphanage. Now a US rescue organization is able to bring the babies to their parents.

A US organization has rescued two babies, born to a surrogate mother in eastern Ukraine and born in Russia after the war began, from a Russian orphanage. As the organization Project Dynamo announced, the twins, a boy and a girl, were reunited with their parents on Tuesday in St. Petersburg.

The organization was founded in Tampa, Florida, in 2021 by former military personnel to help evacuate US allies after the chaotic troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. In order to bring the two babies to their parents, the organization has now become active in Russia for the first time.

The surrogate mother comes from the eastern Ukrainian Donbass, which has been partially under Russian control since 2014. After a massive escalation in Russia's war against Ukraine this February, the woman fled first to Russia's annexed Crimea and then to St. Petersburg, where she reportedly gave birth to the twins in early September.

The babies were taken to an orphanage after birth. The parents, an unnamed couple from Texas, initially tried in vain to bring the children to them. They eventually contacted Project Dynamo, and one of the organization's co-founders, Bryan Stern, traveled to Estonia to prepare for an evacuation operation in the town of Narva on the Russian border.

The organization did not detail in its statement how the babies were taken out of the orphanage. However, the children were not kidnapped, but evacuated with the help of Estonian "contact persons". Stern thanked the US embassies in Moscow and Tallinn but gave no details. When asked what kind of support the embassies had provided, a spokesman for the organization simply said they "played a role".

The US State Department also declined to comment. The process is known, said a spokesman. "For privacy reasons, we will not comment further at the moment."

Children of US couples born abroad to surrogate mothers or by artificial insemination are automatically granted US citizenship. The only requirement is that at least one parent is genetically related to the child.

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