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It’s been nearly one year since their baby girl was born and they still haven’t been able to meet her face to face.
The biological parents in question (who have remained anonymous) are a couple in China who decided to have an international surrogacy using a young woman in the U.S. But when COVID hit two months before the baby’s due date, their worst nightmares came true.
When the baby was born, strict travel bans were in full swing and they were never able to pick up their baby as planned.
Their surrogate, Emily Chrislip, explained,
“So the plan was to get here before the due date, and we were going to let them be in the delivery room. They were going to be a part of it, see her be born. So when she was born, they were supposed to get their own room at the hospital with the baby, and my husband and I would’ve had our own room, and my job was done at that point.”
But the parents never made it to the U.S. And nine months later, they’ve only been able to see their baby girl via Facetime and photos.
Their surrogate Emily had the option of passing the baby off to a nanny agency, but instead, decided to care for the baby herself.
“Initially, we were like ‘four weeks, we will take care of her and she’ll go home,’ and it’s turned into nine months. We’re hoping that they will be able to get here before her first birthday in May.”
Emily and her husband Brandon are trying hard not to get too attached to the baby, but it’s something they definitely struggle with.
“I think that it has been easier for me than Brandon. He loves babies and kids and is a big softy. I try to keep some of my barriers up, but I don’t know about Brandon.”
“We definitely love her and will always care for her but we understand she is not ours.”
But even as travel restrictions ease up, the biological parents still have many other obstacles to deal with. It’s been extremely difficult for parents of babies born via surrogates to get passports and birth certificates for their newborns. There are also numerous documents to get in order and not everyone can afford a surrogate lawyer or an immigration lawyer to speed up the process.
According to Emily, the parents might face unexpected obstacles that U.S. parents might not have to deal with. She said,
“Something that I have to remember is they live in a whole other country and it’s a whole different kind of government than we have. In the U.S. we’re very free to speak our mind do what we want and in China, that’s not the case. If they’re told do something they do it.”
Unfortunately, this newborn is not the only baby born via surrogate that’s now stranded.
Last May, a video of 51 surrogate-born babies stranded in Kiev went viral after Ukraine banned foreigners from entering the country.
It’s unclear just how many parents and their surrogate-born children have been affected by COVID. And even with folks finally receiving vaccines, nobody knows quite when this nightmare will come to an end.
As for Emily, she is committed to taking care of the baby for as long as it takes.
“We wouldn’t have it any other way.”
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Lena Finkel is the Editor and Founder of Femestella. Prior to starting Femestella, she worked at People, InStyle, and Tiger Beat. Her favorite Housewife is Bethenny Frankel and when she’s not watching RHONY, you can probably find her obsessing over her tuxedo cat Tom or hoarding drugstore lipsticks.