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American couple shares journey of bringing baby born by surrogate in Ukraine home

Ami and Michael Kowalski could never have imagined the circumstances that would surround bringing their baby girl home from Ukraine.
/ Source: TODAY

The arrival of baby Charlotte Marina is nothing short of miraculous.

A surrogate carrying the baby of Ami and Michael Kowalski went into labor in a Ukranian bomb shelter. She later delivered baby Charlotte, weighing seven pounds two ounces, at a Kyiv hospital under fire from Russian forces.

"We literally pretty much took her from the womb to war zones," mom Ami told TODAY.

Ami and Michael Kowalski with baby Charlotte Marina on TODAY Tuesday.
Ami and Michael Kowalski with baby Charlotte Marina on TODAY Tuesday.Nathan Congleton / TODAY

Just days earlier,Ami and Michael had arrived in Ukraine from Florida to be there for the birth of their baby girl.

"Nobody locally was even really very concerned about it," Ami said.

But raid sirens signaled Ukraine was under attack. The parents-to-be found a taxi to be with their surrogate, but it took them four hours to go 18 miles.

"All the roads were blocked, some of them had been damaged, so it took us about four hours to get there, but we did get there safely by the grace of God," Ami said.

On February 26, Ami and Michael were finally able to meet their baby girl, but the family was forced to flee nearly immediately.

Alongside their translator and another American baby, whose parents weren't able to get to Ukraine in time, the Kowalskis made it to the train station.

"The question if we were going to go home never crossed our minds, of course we were," Ami said. "We just had to figure out a couple nights sleeping in train stations... and detours."

Detours included multiple re-routed trains because of ongoing violence. Traveling with two newborns, Ami and Michael were guided to safety in Slovakia by strangers.

"At the train station, the community poured out," Ami said. "The lady who brought us back, she called people in the middle of the night (and) they brought formula, they brought clothes, they brought blankets. The next day that territory was occupied when we got on the train. Five minutes later the shooting broke out at the train station."

The Kowalskis and both babies safely crossed the border and delivered the other newborn in their care to her waiting American parents.

"(At) every single point somebody put their safety and well-being at risk to help us move safely and get out," Ami said.

Added Michael, "And get our babies out."

The couple joined TODAY's Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on the plaza Tuesday with baby Charlotte.

Charlotte Marina joined TODAY co-anchors Savannah Guthrie  and Hoda Kotb on Tuesday.
Charlotte Marina joined TODAY co-anchors Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on Tuesday.TODAY

"The blind kindness of others ... it's amazing the way everything worked out," Ami told Savannah.

The United Nations estimates more than 2 million people have fled Ukraine.