A California couple walks eight miles with their newborn baby to escape Ukraine during the Russian invasion. Jacob and Jesse Boeckman of Costa Mesa were in Ukraine last week for the birth of their baby girl via a surrogate. Vivian was born in Kyiv last Tuesday and just two days later, the Russians invaded the country and the Boeckmans had to evacuate.
They hired a driver to take them from Kyiv west to Lviv so they could cross over into Poland, a trip that would normally take less than seven hours, but—because of the mass of people traveling the same route—took them 27 hours. And then when they were just a few miles from Poland, traffic came to a standstill. Because they had limited food and water and were traveling with a newborn, they decided to get out and walk the remaining eight miles to the border, hoping to get there before sundown.
Jesse carried baby Vivian in her coat and Jacob pulled their two large rolling suitcases as they made the trek in the freezing cold. After four hours of walking, the Boeckmans reached the Polish border, but there was a massive crowd ahead of them waiting to cross. “Fortunately for Jesse, the crowd noticed that she was carrying a four-day-old and pushed her to the front,” Jacob recalls. Jesse made it into Poland, but didn’t have her passport or the baby’s food until strangers helped the family by throwing their bags over the barbed-wire border fence. Jacob was eventually able to meet his wife and baby in Poland and the family spent the night in a hotel in Warsaw before flying back home to California.