Heather and Mark urged Vita and her husband Andrii to get out of Ukraine along with their three-year-old son.
A couple from England is being praised for going out of their way to get their baby's surrogate mother out of Ukraine to safety in the UK.
Heather, 32, and Mark Easton, 39, started panicking when they heard the war was about to break out in Ukraine. The surrogate mother of their baby lived in Ukraine and they wanted to help her family get out as quickly as possible. Some couples prefer not to maintain a relationship with the person becoming their surrogate but Heather was close to Vita Lysenko, 35, and her family from the outset." Heather and Mark Easton had struggled with having children. Heather endured five rounds of IVF before deciding on surrogacy. Vita gave birth to baby Sophie and who's now with the couple in Warwickshire, England. "Vita saved my life and now it was my turn to save her," said Heather reported The Daily Mail. "I had to get them out."
More than 2000 children are born through surrogacy every year in Ukraine, the majority to foreign couples like Heather & Mark Easton.— Marta Newman (@MartaNewman) March 24, 2022
They’re now desperately trying to bring their surrogate, Vita, and her family to safety to the UK.
Hear their story tomorrow on @BBCBreakfast 📺 pic.twitter.com/KH5FE36SWA
When Heather and Mark urged Vita and her husband Andrii, 62, to get out, they didn't pay too much heed to the warnings, as they had seen many false alarms in their time and this felt like just another one. Then one night at 1 am, Heather sent a message confirming the dark reality, "Vita, the war is starting." Heather and Mark Easton were using google translate to communicate with the Ukrainian couple and urged them to escape their country. Heather told Vita and her husband Andrii that she would arrange for accommodation for them and their 3-year-old son, Nazar, in the UK, and started lobbying with local MPs and doing the paperwork to get them out of there.
Heather and Mark Easton had returned with Sophie from Kyiv just two weeks before Russia invaded the country. Heather shared a very close relationship with Vita and kept in touch as well. "I was desperately trying to persuade her to leave but like many Ukrainians, they don't want to leave their home country because it's their home," she said, reported BBC News. "She wanted us to drop everything and leave," recalled Vita. "I explained that we had to at least move some of our belongings but she said just leave them. She was very scared for us." Heather pushed them to leave, "I just begged: 'Please leave. I promise, I’ll get you here. Trust me.'” They eventually decided to flee the country.
They bought a car and drove to Brussels and stayed for 6 days waiting to gain access to the UK via the Homes for Ukraine scheme. It took them a total of 17 days across Europe by car and ferry to reach England. They kept in touch throughout their journey. "We were in constant contact via the app Viber," said Heather. "Vita spoke of sirens going off and moving in and out of bunkers. I imagined how awful it must have been — her son is only three and she’d just had a Caesarean."
ICMYI: ‘She gave us Sophie, she basically saved me’.— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) March 27, 2022
Mark and Heather are trying to give the Ukrainian surrogate mother of their baby a safe home in the UK. They tell #BBCBreakfast why they want to help. https://t.co/XIx7231neA pic.twitter.com/xbguawVm11
Heather lobbied with her MP to speed the process and also started a fundraising campaign to help them set up a home as "they lost everything due to the war." She eventually found a sponsor and the family now lives minutes from her home. Heather even decorated their home with pictures of Vita, Andrii, and Nazar. The Ukrainian couple had long dreamt of buying their own home and money earned from the surrogation was allocated for just that until the Russian forces attacked Ukraine. Their families are now closer and Vita often helps Heather with taking care of Sophie, and Mark has built a bond with Andrii and Nazar as well. Vita's 15-year-old boy has stayed back in Ukraine but they are checking on him and he's doing fine for now.
Cover image source: Justgiving.com