Many Ukrainian parents have sought refuge for their children as Russia invaded their country. While men stayed to fight, women and children have been leaving Ukraine at a high rate as they flee war.
But two very young Ukrainian children, Lenny and Moishe Spektor, are facing unprecedented difficulties in this unprecedented time, and their parents are worried sick — all the way over in the United States.
Sasha Spektor and Irma Nuñez live in Georgia and have been working with a surrogate mother through Adonis Fertility International to bring two baby boys into their lives, NBC’s “Today” show reported on Tuesday.
The surrogate’s pregnancy was complicated, and the babies were born early at 32 weeks in a hospital in Kyiv on Feb. 25.
Not only has the threat of attack been imminent since their birth, but being premature, the boys have faced multiple health hurdles, including needing special preemie formula — which is exceptionally hard to find at the moment, given the circumstances.
“I talked to this pharmacy in the morning,” Spektor told “Today.” “By afternoon, when one of our contacts got there, it was already shelled and it was closed.”
Moishe has also suffered from breathing issues, and Spektor and Nuñez have done everything in their power to help, even though they are so far away.
Obviously, the parents want their sons with them — but moving them is nearly impossible and crucial at the same time.
“The fact that they are premature plays against us,” Spektor said. “Right? So there is a conflict. They need to stay put. We need to take them out.”
At the moment, a pediatrician and the surrogate mother are caring for the twins, and they were eventually able to find the milk they needed. Still, it’s not a scenario the new parents ever planned for.
They also said that although they cannot reveal much about the surrogate mother for privacy reasons, she and her other son are “safe” and “part of this evacuation effort.”
“It’s unimaginable, what can I say?” Spektor said. “It’s … it’s impossible to wrap your mind around.
“Just get our babies out. Or, if that’s not possible, at least to Lviv, somewhere westward, where they would be safe.”
Friends of the family have started a GoFundMe to try to help the couple rescue Moishe and Lenny, but the couple faces more hurdles than mere financial ones.
“Lenny and Moishe have been transferred to another hospital in Kyiv that is better equipped with supplies and staff,” an update on the GoFundMe from Tuesday read.
“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. This is preliminary, as we are awaiting a report from the pediatrician, who needs some time to assess the babies’ development.
“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. NBC News reports that the first hospital where Katya, our surrogate, was staying was hit in an attack today, and damage is significant. We have no time to spare.
“We are in contact with a range of government offices and NGOs to arrange for medical transport. There is still no plan in place.”