California Couple Walks 8 Miles To Flee Ukraine With Their Baby Born Via Surrogate

For many families, surrogacy is one of the only options available for growing their family. It's a time-consuming process, however, as well as a costly one. Many US women are now considering choosing surrogates from other countries, where their services are not as costly as they are here.

Doctors Jacob and Jesse Boeckmann of Costa Mesa were one such family. The couple were in Ukraine on February 22. Their Ukrainian surrogate gave birth to the couple's daughter, a baby girl named Vivian, in Kyiv.

On February 24, they were forced to evacuate. The situation was, of course, incredibly stressful and scary for the couple, who wanted to get their little girl out to safety before the looming Russian invasion.

The couple hired a driver to help get them to the border, but because of so many people trying to flee, a six-hour drive took 27 hours. Eventually, the couple had no choice but to get out and journey on foot.

"We felt like because she was only four days old at the time, and we had limited food and water, that we needed to get across the border as soon as possible," Jacob explained.

"We decided to get out of the car and proceed the rest of the way on foot, hoping to get across the border by sundown," Jacob continued.

Jessie walked with Vivian strapped to her, while Jacob hauled their luggage. They had to walk 8 miles in frigid temperatures. It took about four hours to get to the border.

Once at the border, the crowd around them noticed the couple's newborn.

"Fortunately for Jesse, the crowd noticed that she was carrying a 4-day-old and pushed her to the front," Jacob said.

"I didn't have the baby's food or my passport, because Jacob was carrying all that," Jesse explained. "What they had to do was pass it over the top of the crowd, and then throw it over the barbed wire fence and give it to me. Every time I thought that something was gonna get better, it actually — and I’m not a pessimistic person — but it actually got worse."

The Boeckmanns made it to Warsaw. From there, they were able to fly back to Los Angeles, where Vivian would get to meet her 2-year-old big sister.

"It was a nightmare for us, but it's so much worse for so many other people. We're lucky enough that we get to go home," Jacob said.

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