Israelis stranded in Georgia with baby born to surrogate Ukrainian refugee mother

Government of former Soviet country refers case to court, with Israeli Embassy saying it's unable to intervene in the process; 'What should have been a happy event turned into arduous and uncertain road,' new mom says
Itamar Eichner|
For the past two months, an Israeli couple has remained stranded in the country of Georgia with their baby born to a refugee of the ongoing war in Ukraine.
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  • Sarit and Alex Haiman's son was born on May 18 with the help of a Ukrainian surrogate mother, named Olga, who was extracted from the war torn country with her two children and smuggled into Georgia ahead of the birth.
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    Sarit and Alex Haiman with their baby son
    Sarit and Alex Haiman with their baby son
    Sarit and Alex Haiman with their baby son
    (Photo: Courtesy)
    Now that Olga has returned to Ukraine, the authorities are refusing to grant the baby a birth certificate due to being to born to a refugee, preventing the young family from leaving for Israel.
    The Georgian Interior Ministry has transferred the case to a court in Tbilisi, so that a social worker could be appointed to investigate whether the Israeli couple would make good parents.
    The process is expected to last three to four months, and the parents were told by the Israeli Embassy that there would be no intervention on their part.
    Meanwhile, Haiman returned to Israel to work and Sarit has been left her own in a foreign city. "One of us had to return to work because our expenses are very high and the long stay is a financial burden," he said. "I miss my wife and son and pray that they will be able to leave Georgia to begin our lives in Israel. I call on anyone who can, to help us," he said.
    "What should have been a happy event has become an arduous, exhausting and uncertain road," Sarit said.
    "I've been away from home for months, in which we had to extract our surrogate from the war – an insane effort in on itself - to wait for our baby's birth. But now we still cannot go home," she said.
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    הרס באודסה
    הרס באודסה
    Destruction caused by Russian shelling in Odessa, Ukraine
    (Photo: EPA)
    "The Georgians don't know how to register our son because he was born to a refugee and no none can help us," she said.
    The surrogacy was arranged by SurMom, an Israeli surrogacy company who has approached the Foreign Ministry for help.
    The ministry said they are doing everything they can to help, but to no avail. "There are legal ramifications to surrogacy births in Georgia when the surrogate is Ukrainian and the process was done under the Ukrainian law," the ministry said.
    "The Georgian process to confirm genetic testing and other requirements for a birth certificate are adjudicated in the local courts, and we cannot intervene in their process," the ministry said.
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