Like all of us, Rosanna Davison (37) watched in horror as the war in Ukraine unfolded. But for her, there is a deeply personal connection with the history of a country in crisis.
Our daughter Sophia was born in Ukraine and spent the first precious days of her life there with her parents. It is a country and a people that Rosanna and her husband Wes have come to know and love since their first trip there to explore the option of surrogacy in 2019.
Thoughts of the surrogate mother who transformed the couple’s lives are never far from her mind.
“She knows that I gave her our house to live in for as long as it takes. Because she gave birth to our daughter — without her, we wouldn’t have Sophia. So we would do absolutely anything for her,” Rosanna said.
Her surrogate mother lives in the southern city of Kherson and is currently staying with her child, family members and her pet dog. Rosanna has stayed in regular contact with her and says, like many others, they are awaiting news of safe evacuation corridors.
“You know, I keep thinking, the apartment she’s staying in is where our daughter Sophia grew up. This is the city (where) she developed in the womb before our surrogate moved to kyiv, to the hospital there. That’s the connection I feel with it. You know, we really want to help her as much as we can and in any way we can.
In addition to donating to humanitarian organizations, Rosanna donated supplies and baby clothes to services near the country’s border for those seeking refuge.
“I think a lot of us are desperate to help in any way we can. It’s so frustrating not being able to help more. The best I can do right now is just keep in touch with her, check that she is safe, support her as much as possible.
The family has kept in touch with their surrogate since Sophia was born, and Rosanna receives a message from her whenever Sophia gets a month older. They were all set to try for a sibling for the little girl when Rosanna had what she calls “that miracle pregnancy” with twins Hugo and Oscar.
People around the world have witnessed the dignity and courage of the Ukrainian people over the past few weeks and Rosanna says her fondness for the people and the capital, Kyiv, grew when she and Wes were there. delivered for the first time in 2019 for a period of three weeks. They returned for several weeks about the birth of their baby later that year.
“We really grew up loving the city – we walked up and down it during the time there. We made friends. They have a fantastic food culture there – some really wonderful restaurants and cafes, and it’s very European, although it still retains its own culture and history. .
“They are very practical people, very friendly, very hardworking. I was going to a country I did not know and in a language I did not know to start the surrogacy procedure. And they were really, really friendly, encouraging, warm and supporting the whole trip that we were on.
“The clinic and the surrogacy agency were side by side and were women-focused, they were run mostly by women. This warm and friendly personality, I think, has come through over the past few weeks – just very hardworking, brave and strong people.
This week, Rosanna returns to her role as an ambassador for Cystic Fibrosis Ireland’s main annual fundraiser, 65 Roses Day.
“I got involved because I was struck when I discovered that CF affects a higher percentage of adults in Ireland than anywhere else in Europe,” she explains. “I learned more about how people’s lives are affected in multiple ways in their daily lives.
“I felt empowered to raise awareness to help drive the fundraising campaign every year, which is 65 Roses Day. I know people, not direct friends or family members, but friends of friends living with cystic fibrosis, affected in ways that include infertility and day-to-day living.
“It’s been an incredibly difficult and stressful time for these people, so I think this campaign is even more important than ever.”
Rosanna’s life is busier than it has ever been, with twins Oscar and Hugo and baby daughter Sophia all starting to show their unique personality traits. “It’s amazing to see their personalities develop and grow stronger. Twins have always fascinated me, but because the boys are identical twins, they obviously have common genetics and they were raised in the same environment. Yet they are different in terms of personality.
“You’ll find Hugo hiding behind the curtains laughing while Oscar is a bit more of a cuddly mommy boy. Then Sophia actually rules the house. She is the boss! But she’s also a sweetheart. She adores her brothers. They really entertain each other, which is great.
“Downtime usually consists of collapsing on the couch!” she laughs. “I try to do little home workouts here and there, if I can. I try to stay in shape. And most of the time I take the stroller out, put my air pods in it and listen to a podcast,” Rosanna adds.
- Please support Cystic Fibrosis in Ireland on 65 Roses Day, Friday April 8, by taking part in the 65 Roses Challenge, donating online at 65Roses.ie or purchasing a purple rose at participating Dunnes Stores and other outlets nationwide sales.
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