Two Texas parents are extra grateful this Thanksgiving season after Project DYNAMO rescued their twin infants from a Russian state-run orphanage, completing the organization’s first rescue mission inside Russia.
According to a press release from the agency, a Texas family was pregnant with twins via a surrogate who lived in Donbass, eastern Ukraine, one of the most heavily afflicted regions in Russia’s war of choice on its neighboring nation. The surrogate mother fled the violence to Crimea, and then made her way to Saint Petersburg, Russia, where she gave birth to the twins, a boy and a girl, in early September. The twins were discharged from the hospital and sent to a Russian state-run orphanage with risk of being adopted to a Russian family.
Since their birth, the family has worked tirelessly to get their precious newborns out of Russian custody safely, without success. The U.S. State Department and other entities were supportive, but due to a myriad of reasons, could not safely retrieve the babies. 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.
Project DYNAMO, which has completed hundreds of missions in the war-torn regions of Ukraine and Afghanistan, dubbed this mission PATHFINDER, a nod to the first-of-its-kind rescue inside Russia of American citizens.
About a week after making contact with the parents, Project DYNAMO founder Bryan Stern flew to Estonia, traveling to the Russian border town of Narva. There, rescuers devised a plan, built human and physical infrastructure, organized the logistics, set the conditions for the operation, and executed the mission successfully. This brought the months long ordeal of the anguished family to a wonderful ending.
The mission took about a week to setup and was completed in one day.
“Once again, the Project DYNAMO team came through when others could not,” said Stern. “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 children, who asked not to be named for privacy purposes, are grateful to the organization for bringing their children home.
“We are so thankful for the miracle Project DYNAMO made for us,” they said. “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.”
Stern also said he is thankful during this holiday season, after spending the year conducting dangerous missions in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and during the first days following Hurricane Ian.
“I have learned that we all have so much to be thankful for,” said Stern. “I’m thankful we are not stuck surrounded by the Taliban, thankful that we are not being shot at or bombed by the Russians, thankful that our children and families are safe, thankful that our homes are standing and not flooded, thankful we have freedom and the rule of law, and thankful that we are citizens of the United States of America.”
Those interested in donating to or learning more about Project DYNAMO can do so by visiting www.projectdynamo.org.