When Ami and Michael Kowalski decided to have a baby via a surrogate mother, they didn’t expect it to go the way it did.

The Kowlaskis’ baby’s surrogate was in a bomb shelter when she went into labor. The Kowlaskis traveled from Florida to meet their baby. According to Ami, nobody in Florida was worried about going to Ukraine. The war broke out.

Charlotte Marina was born in a hospital. She weighed 7 pounds 2 ounces and she was perfect. She had to get out of Ukraine and back to her parents in Florida. Ami told TODAY, “We literally pretty much took her from the womb to war zones.”

The Kowlaskis left the hospital with their baby about an hour after she was born, but they ended up leaving the hospital with two other babies, one of which was born via a surrogate but whose family was unable to make it into Ukraine to meet her.

Ami explained that they left the hospital with formula, but it wasn’t enough for two babies. They had to rely on the kindness of strangers to feed the babies. She said, “At every turn of this story, it’s just angels that were there and supported us. I would never have imagined.”

A Ukrainian woman named Marina was one of these kind strangers. Ami and Michael decided to honor her by naming their daughter Marina.

After spending several nights in train stations with the newborns, Ami and Michael were able to cross the border into Slovakia where the other newborn in their care was able to meet her parents for the first time.

To hear Ami and Michael tell their story and to see the big surprise waiting for them, watch the video below.


It is not surprising that none of Ami and Michael’s friends were worried about them going to Ukraine. Have you ever had to rely on strangers?