What would have been a purely happy occasion turned dark and dangerous when an American couple traveled to Kyiv last month for the birth of their daughter through a Ukrainian surrogate, only to awaken two days after the birth to the sound of exploding artillery shells as Russia’s invasion began.

A recent CNN news story describes the ordeal of California couple Jessie and Jacob Boeckmann, who tried to escape the shelling by driving to the western city of Lviv to reach a temporary US Embassy there. A massive traffic jam turned what is usually a six-hour drive into a 27-hour nightmare, and before they arrived they learned the embassy was closed. So they changed course for Poland.

About 12 miles from the border traffic came to a standstill. They bundled up their four-day-old baby Vivian and started walking. Eight long cold miles later,
when they finally got to the border, it was chaotic. “There were thousands and thousands of people, all packed on top of one another, trying to exit the country,” Jacob told CNN.

Fortunately women and children were being prioritized, so Jessie and baby Vivian were able to get to the front of the line and enter Poland. Jacob crossed separately hours later. The family is now safely home in California, but they have lost touch with their Ukrainian surrogate.

For advice on family law issues and fertility law issues, contact Shirley Levitan.