TAMPA, Fla. — As a Tampa Bay nonprofit continues to make harrowing rescues and get people out of Ukraine, the latest mission helped unite a family from Texas just in time for Thanksgiving.
Project DYNAMO lent a helping hand to a couple who was pregnant via a surrogate who lived in eastern Ukraine – one of the most heavily afflicted regions in the war.
The woman fled the violence and ended up in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she gave birth in September, the nonprofit explains in a news release.
Since the birth, the family in Texas worked to try to get their newborns out of Russian custody, but nothing worked. The U.S. State Department and other departments were supportive of it, but because of different reasons, the babies were not brought to the states.
"After months of desperate attempts to bring their children home, the parents contacted Project DYNAMO at the suggestion of a friend within the U.S. diplomatic corps," the nonprofit said in a statement.
The twins were eventually sent to a Russian state-run orphanage, but once Project DYNAMO got involved, it took about a week of coordinating to successfully get everyone out safely.
“Once again, the Project DYNAMO team came through when others could not,” Project DYNAMO founder Bryan Stern said in a statement. “I’m always proud of my team, but I’m especially proud of them after completing our first mission inside of Russia.
"Had we not rescued the twins, who knows what their fate and future would be or if their parents would have ever met them. I’d like to express my deep appreciation to United States Embassy Moscow Consular Services, as well as U.S. Embassy Tallinn Consular.”
The parents of the twins, who asked to remain anonymous, said they are grateful to be bringing their children home during this holiday season.
“We are so thankful for the miracle Project DYNAMO made for us,” they said in a statement. “We have been incredibly frustrated and stressed since our babies were born, with trying to get them home to us to make our family.
"Project DYNAMO cut through the red tape and got the job done at light speed. Project DYNAMO made our family whole, and we’ll never forget that.”