American Parents Desperate to Bring Home Newborns Lenny and Moishe Born to Ukrainian Surrogate
The surrogate parents, Alexander Sasha Spektor and Irma Nunez, said they haven't been able to arrange an escape route, but “many wheels are turning to make this happen," they wrote on social media.
Lenny and Moishe were born in Ukraine one day after Vladimir Putin invaded the country on Feb. 24. Now, the American adoptive parents, who used a surrogate for the babies, are desperately trying to get them back to the U.S.
Alexander Sasha Spektor, 46, and Irma Nunez, 48, say they are frantic.
“It’s unimaginable, what can I say? It’s impossible to wrap your mind around,” said Spektor during an interview on the Today show that aired this week. “The fact that they’re premature plays against us. So there’s a conflict. They need to stay put. We need to take them out.”
The surrogate, identified as Katya, went into labor seven weeks early due to health complications, the father said. When the babies arrived, they weighed only about four pounds each.
The hospital the babies were born in was attacked and sustained significant damage, Spektor said.
The new parents were scrambling to get their newborns to another hospital with a basement shelter and better equipment and supplies. They say they are working around the clock to get Lenny and Moishe out of Ukraine.
The dad posted their ordeal on Facebook. “Lenny and Moishe, Come Home," he wrote after the infants were taken to a new hospital in Kyiv.
“Our sons arrived safely a few hours ago but experienced some distress during the trip. The head doctor overseeing their care estimates they require at least 2.5 weeks in hospital before they can be released,” he said.
"Our most challenging need remains our most pressing: securing medical transport out of Kyiv. Although an extended hospital stay is ideal for Moishe and Lenny, we must be prepared to move them as quickly and safely as possible should the war continue to escalate and conditions in Kyiv worsen."
The couple has faced many obstacles. One was getting medicine Moishe needed when he was struggling to breathe. Spektor said the pharmacy that had the medicine had been hit by shelling and was destroyed. Thankfully, doctors and caregivers were able to find another way.
“We have no time to spare,” the parents said.
Both have been in contact with several government offices and agencies to help arrange medical transport and supplies.
Earlier this week, a GoFundMe account was established and donations have been pouring in. The parents said they have been “humbled,” by the support.
As of Friday morning, $75,707 has been raised, surpassing their initial goal of $75,000. The monies raised are being sent to Ukraine to pay for supplies, hospital staff, and other services, they wrote.
“Up to this point, private individuals in Kyiv have been doing the costly and dangerous work of securing the needs of Lenny and Moishe. We are astounded by these heroic acts of “ordinary” Ukrainians to care for us and each other,” they wrote.
Spektor, who is from Ukraine, now lives in Chicago with his wife. The transfer of their sons to a new hospital was overseen by a family friend who is an oncologist in Kyiv, he said.
Amid the chaos and fighting, Spektor said the doctor managed to secure a private ambulance, and a neonatal ICU doctor to accompany them.
“I am incredibly worried, tired but, incredibly hopeful,” Spektor told CNN.
The doctors in Kyiv and caregivers are putting their own lives at risk to keep them safe.
On Thursday, Nunez shared on Facebook that both of her sons have gained a little weight since they arrived at the hospital.
“These are major milestones for our sweet, sweet boys, but Moishe and Lenny still need specialized care. We are working to secure the best hospital and doctors for them once they are evacuated,” Nunez wrote.
Surrogacy provider ADONIS Fertility International said they have nearly 100 American and Canadian clients who have been impacted by the conflict. Some of their surrogates are pregnant, while some surrogate parents are trapped in Ukraine with their newborns.
Spektor said he and his anxiously await being able to see and hold their babies.
“We are hoping every day this moment will come soon,” he said.
For other coverage of the Ukraine Crisis, please visit CBS News.
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