Lilypie - Birth Tracker

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We have embarked on a life-long journey to become a family. In June 2013, we have brought home two beautiful babies. Our family is now complete and our marriage formally recognized by state and federal laws.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all.

Feliz Natal e um Feliz Ano Novo a todos.

God Jul och ett Gott Nytt År till alla.

Frohe Weihnachten und ein gutes neues Jahr für alle.

मेरी क्रिसमस और सभी के लिए एक नया साल मुबारक हो.

This will be short and sweet. Just thinking of everyone who shared our journey (directly or indirectly) during this festive season. I hope that you and everyone around the world, regardless of religion, culture, ethnicity, personality, or sexual orientation, would find peace and happiness this season and throughout the coming years. Life is short, so live life to the fullest.

Below is a 9 month old photo of the twins. My boy is now 20 lbs (9 kg) and my girl is 17 lbs (7.7 kg). They are starting to crawl around with the use of their upper arms (can't use their legs yet). It will be a challenge when they can both walk and run. Ugh! :)

Standing up with a little help from Papa (and Daddy)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Australia = India... Homophobia galore!

Yes, both countries in the last few days have put LGBT civil rights back in the era of prejudice and persecution when people don't know any better. It's a major setback, but our day will come eventually. India also appears to be closing its door on surrogacy for same-sex couples and single individuals. Unfortunate, but inevitable for a country that neglects its citizens, and rely on 18th century British law on sex between consenting adults. Sad!

In a more positive note, our family is finally complete and "legal". We are now married. A few more hoops to jump such as adoption of the twins by my partner. Yes, despite us being legally married, my partner is still considered a stranger. Adoption is the only means for him to have legal recognition for the twins. I guess this process also applies to heterosexual couples in cases of step-parents. Next step is getting them New Zealand citizenship. It will be a challenge, but it's something I'd like for the twins to have so that they have a choice to embrace the country I loved dearly (their daddy) for its beauty and pristine nature, or the country of their Papa's birth (which is not too bad... LOL).

Anyway, the twins are almost crawling. In a few months, they'll be running around. They celebrated their 9-month birthday (whilst 2 months premature).


Our Wedding Cake made by our dear friend Sonali

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A new beginning - 6 months

Well, it's been a while since I've posted a blog. Like anyone else, there have been a lot of things that have happened since coming back to America. Our friends, Barbara and Claudio from Brazil are now pregnant with twins. Yay! Our surrogacy friends, Johan and Linda from Sweden are enjoying their time with their own twins. Oh what a joy!

My partner and I are getting married (finally) following the death of Proposition 8 (a California constitutional change voted by a slim majority in 2008 to ban same-sex marriage and discriminate against same-sex couples). Marriage equality is slowly creeping up in the USA and as of the time this blog is being written, there are now 15 states with marriage equality. Two more states will hopefully follow in a few weeks. Anyway, with twins to take care of, work to deal with, and wedding to prepare, life has been pretty good. Our circle of friends have been very helpful and we appreciate their contribution in making our lives easy despite the challenges.

The twins are doing well. My boy has overtaken his sister, considering he was only about 3 lbs (1.6 kg) when he was born (sister was 4 lbs [1.8 kg]). Both have reached certain milestones for 6 months, so we are very happy. Below are some pics.





Saturday, June 8, 2013

Goodbye India, Hello America

Que Horrifico (It's Horrific)
Our friend was just saying how horrible it was for her to accidentally cut her boy's finger while clipping his nail. I guess as parents, we'll all experience that awful feeling due to unintentionally hurting our child's finger. So I said to myself, "I'm going to be more careful so that I don't hurt my child". Anyway, the day before we depart was almost uneventful -- until I accidentally cut my little girl's thumb when clipping her nail. This was terrible and utterly horrific! I wanted to bash my head on the wall for being so stupid. Accidents do happen and I learned my lesson from this experience. Hopefully, no more nail clipping accidents in the future. Ugh!

Goodbye Apartment, Goodbye Car Service
The day of the departure was quite stressful. We planned to leave by 6.00PM, but we didn't leave until 8.30PM. One good thing about it is that our flight was delayed for at least 2 hours and we got email notification ahead of time. We stayed at Tulip House's S Block apartment 293. It is a 3-BR apartment on the second floor of the building. We liked having 3 bedrooms, one for the twins, one for sleeping, and the other one for my partner's father (who joined us during our 8th week of stay in New Delhi). The apartment was really close to the M Block market, so we wouldn't have picked a place elsewhere because of this convenience and our familiarity with the area. While there were deficiencies and other problems we encountered at our place, it's hard to imagine other apartments within GK-I being flawless (e.g. cockroach is a common problem in India, and even here in America, despite cleaning the area or using a spray to mitigate the infestation; water supply is definitely rationed and you need to know about turning on the pump for the reservoir ever day; electricity shuts off once a week for at least 20 min on average, but the apartment has a UPS that allowed us to have lights and power to the fans when the GK-I area has a blackout). 

Overall, I recommend this particular Tulip House apartment. More importantly, I highly recommend using Rahul's car service (click here for his website) whether you are an SCI client or not. When we first arrived in Delhi and met Rahul since he picked us up from the airport, he predicted that we will be back within 9 months to bring home a baby. Lo and behold, he got it right, and we got two! :)

Goodbye Polluted Air
Having asthma and living in New Delhi were the worst combination for me. After not being able to breathe normally during the first week, I bought a $400 air cleaner in one of the shops at Select CityWalk. 

I'd like to share my experience for this particular transaction as I encountered a "borderline" to "possibly" a scam. Anyway, the shop swiped my Chase credit card three times for authorization, because the terminal didn't print the receipt needed for signature after the first swipe. The clerk called someone on the phone about the authorizations. After about 20 minutes of patiently waiting, I ended up using my Amex card to pay for the air cleaner instead. So not surprisingly, my Chase account had 3 authorizations when I checked online, so I immediately contacted Chase about the fiasco. Chase the next day paid one of the 3 authorizations, so I lodged an online dispute straight away telling them the incident. What was really annoying is that Chase, one week later, stupidly paid the other two authorizations despite what I have mentioned in my first dispute. In the end, I had to call Chase and spent about $40 using my cell phone (AT&T charges $2 per minute). I got the payments reversed in the end. So as a warning to everyone, do not let any shops swipe your card more than once for authorization regardless of where you are in the world.  

Goodbye Indira Gandhi Airport, Goodbye Immigration
Arriving at the airport after a stressful packing was quite a relief, but I also dreaded the "Where is the mother?" question that every bloggers have mentioned in the past. Prior to immigration, we checked in and the United staff were lovely and very helpful. We requested bassinets and paid $170 for the Econ Plus row to get them, but during check-in we were told that the 777-200 plane originally assigned had mechanical problems (hence, the delay in our flight). We were initially disappointed as we were told the replacement 777-200 aircraft had no bassinets available, but the clerk was kind enough to consider blocking the middle seat for us, since it was still available. We were in luck to get the middle seat (and you'll probably out of your mind if you were to insist to sit in-between two strangers with babies on a 15-hour flight). We were also surprised to know that there was one bassinet available after the plane took off. So, we placed our boy inside the bassinet and our girl in her cocoon in the middle seat buckled up. The flight was overall smooth. One passenger on our row (16) was very friendly and congratulated us, and several flight attendants did the same thing. Our babies were well-behaved and a passenger behind us even commented when we were disembarking how good they were -- I was expecting screaming babies during the flight. We were glad that we didn't have to be the parents with screaming, uncontrollable babies. Whew! The flight attendants did a great job and an overall thumbs up to United for an excellent service on UA83 via Newark and the ground staff in New Delhi as well.

Going back to the Immigration story, I thought that just giving the passports to the Immigration Officer would suffice, so when the officer asked "Where is the mother?" I said she is in America. He then asked "She gave birth and left India?", and I said "No, the babies were born through surrogacy". He paused for several minutes looking at the visa stamp on the babies' passports, and said to me "You don't have permission to leave". I was thinking to myself "I'm really f&@#"!!! This is when I realize that I have to give him the twins' Exit Permits, so I said "I have a permit to take them out of the country", and gave him the printouts. He took the papers and left to consult the main office. About 5 minutes later, he came back and asked me if I am the father, and I said yes. He then placed the departure stamp and off we go to security. 

This security portion wasn't too bad, because the officers were quite helpful. One male officer took the first baby from me so I can be searched. He then took the other baby from my partner, while the cocoons and bags were being scanned. I overheard the male officer asking my partner, "Are you the mother?". He completely ignored the question. What would you have answered? :) I would probably joked and said "yes" if it were in America, but being in a foreign country, I thought it was good that he ignored it.

The End of Our Journey
So, this is the end, at least the Indian surrogacy part of the journey. Hence, a new journey in America begins!.... I wish all IPs and new parents the best of luck. Single parents (especially same-sex couples), hang in there -- it seems that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for you this year.

Cheers!



So long... farewell... auf wiedersehen... goodbye!


Saturday, June 1, 2013

FRRO and you -- some info about the process


Before I begin, I would like to recommend to you to get Poonam's help to make things easier for a modest fee. She does all the paperwork and will give you additional insight about the process. Her assistant, Jagjit, is also very helpful (and funny -- we hit it off). Here is her contact email: poonam@pagl.in

I have read many blogs about people's FRRO experience. However, just reading these stories doesn't really prepare you with reality. Indeed, the descriptions on where to go and what to do, whilst I tried to imagine and picture them in my mind, were still not enough. Hence, I decided to include a crude floor plan and explain the process some more so that people can really have an idea about it, what to expect or do, and where to go. The sequence of events may change for you as the counters may get different assignments each day, but hopefully, it will help you figure things out easily.

FRRO floor plan

Anyway, it was a real experience going to the FRRO, and a truly bureaucratic process at its worst in a third world country. If you think going to the DMV in America is bad, then you'll love it compared to FRRO. We didn't think that hiring a nurse sitter will be a real help or any more advantageous to get the exit visa quicker so my partner and his father went with me. One surprise I got was the kindness that one officer at the outside waiting area showed us. We arrived at FRRO's outside waiting area at 9.15AM (even though we aimed to be there at 9.00AM). On the left "Other Nationals" section (see floor plan), the sheet of paper on the front table had 20 names already, and I was 21. The police officer (in his late 50's I think and has white patches of skin possibly due to burn) approached everyone to make sure that the names are on the sheet. Having seen the babies, the officer asked if I have signed up, and told him "yes, I'm number 21". He replied "that's too long. I will put you first". So, at around 9.30AM and the clerk for the table came and started setting up the process, the officer called me and we all went in front to see the clerk on the front table. The other people waiting in front also stood up and started hounding the clerk with their passports, which was fair enough because they were there first. Luckily, the officer pointed out that I have babies in the cocoons and so the clerk took my passport first, and wrote #1 on the piece of paper with the day's date (this is your token). We were then told to go through the door inside the builiding towards the aircon room where the actual office is located (see floor plan).  We just made an effort to have my partner at the sidelines and not stand out once we were inside the aircon waiting area. His father and I carried the babies and sat with them on the same row (my partner sat in the next row behind his father). The place is chaotic and people will take your seat if you stand up and leave, because the room is not exactly big and there are more people than available chairs.

The token (piece of paper with number and the day's date) is important so don't lose it. The Reception desk will call your number and this is where you will give your application packet, and the person will ask you to write a handwritten affidavit that you "promise to take care of your baby" once you are back in your country. After about an hour of waiting, one of the guys from the In-Charge desk asked me to see him. Standing next to his desk, he asked me a few questions, e.g. about my visa status (which was Tourist), my "single" status, why I'm not married or if I'll get married, and who will take care of the babies. Since we were both standing next to his desk, I thought the questioning wasn't an actual "interview" as I was expecting to be in a room with a woman (which many bloggers have mentioned in the past). After I answered his questions, he walked out and told me to wait again. 

After about 2 more hours of waiting (I had to feed my girl, and then my boy during this period), my partner and his father talked about how I should ask someone what the heck is going on with my application. There was some trepidation to approach anyone as being pushy might piss them off and make us wait longer than needed. Anyway, I decided to approach the In-Charge guy who "interviewed" me as I was holding and feeding my boy in my arms, and asked him the status of my visa application. He spoke with another guy in Hindi, and all I understood was "surrogacy". About 15 min later the other guy handed my application to me, and I was told to go to Counter 2. Another 30 min later in Counter 2 and few more questions from the person as he examined the papers, I was then told to go pay the Cashier, and then go to Counter 1 to get the actual visa stamp on the passport and an Exit Permit printout. This is about 20 min before 1.30PM when I queued for Counter 2, and as expected I was told to come back at 2.00 PM because everyone goes to lunch break at 1.30PM. I went back to see the babies and ate a snack bar. Afterwards, I went in front of Counter 2 before everyone comes back from lunch. Another 10 min or so, he asked me to get the print out from the printer -- this is the Exit Permit where you will attach/paste the photo of your baby. The guy stamped the Exit Permit, and then told me to go bring the passports and the permits to the In-Charge desk again for a final signature. That was it! We were done in just under 5 hours (just before the next feeding).

As we walked out down the ramp, I looked for the officer who helped me in the beginning, and saw him sitting on one of the chairs in the waiting area, reading a book. I approached him, shook his hand, and thanked him again for the kindness he showed towards me and my twins. I was tempted to give him cash as a "thank you gift", but because I didn't think it was appropriate or that it's likely against the law, I decided not to do it. The last thing I want is to be accused of bribery! 

I hope that you encounter him in your visit. You'll recognize him easily based on the white skin patches he has on his arms and neck area. Please thank him again for me when you see him.

Good luck to you. Cheers!



 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

A milestone even if it's just a fluke

Our boy and girl did an amazing thing -- they rolled over during their tummy time. Their post-gestational age is just over 2 weeks, but since they were born prematurely (32 weeks), they are officially just over 2 months old. Rolling over is something we expect around 4 months, so it's likely a fluke. Needless to say, it was fun seeing them roll over for the first time.

The twins got their last vaccination (pneumococcal) prior to traveling. Both had mild fever, but it was gone the next day. It was our last visit to Dr Gupta's clinic, and so we decided to donate to NICU at Eden Hospital all the preemie clothes we brought to Delhi. We also gave him 8 packs of preemie (P)-size diapers, which we know will be put to good use -- we felt terrible seeing preemie babies (including our own) in the NICU wearing gigantic clothes and diapers. With the milk volume the twins now drink, the P size just could not handle the pee anymore.

Goodbye preemie diapers -- goodbye leaks! Hello newborn diapers!





Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's official

The twins got their passports and CRBA, so we are happy that things are rolling along. Next is the dreaded exit visa. Ugh! *Thinking happy thoughts -- Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kitten, bright copper kettles, and warm woollen mittens...*


Anyway, they got their second dose of vaccinations. It's very difficult to see your kids suffering, especially when the needle hit and the loud scream and cry followed. Parenthood really gives you that feeling and emotion that you wanted to protect them from anything that upsets or hurts them.

So, we come home after the doctor's visit in the evening, and like what our friends said, your memory goes down the drain -- we completely forgot to ask about side effects like fever and what medicine to give if the twins do get a fever. Luckily, Rahul (Western Taxi Service) came to the rescue and kindly asked one of his drivers to stop by the pharmacy and buy us baby paracetamol drops. Whew! Thanks Rahul and Gargan! Unfortunately, both got elevated temperature to mild fever temperature (100.4 F/37.5 C), but it wasn't high enough to medicate them as per the doctor's advise. Today, their temperature appears to be stabilizing and hopefully on the downward trend. Next week would be the last vaccination. Yay!!!

Our boy finally caught up with his sister -- well, almost. He is now 3.1 kg (6.8 lbs) and his sister is 3.3 kg (7.2 lbs). Their growth rate is linear and can be predicted by regression with an R-squared of 0.99 (for scientists/mathematicians out there). On their due date (unofficial birthday), we switched our boy from Dr Brown's Level P (preemie) nipple to Level 1, and that was a mistake. His reflux got worst and he had a couple of projectile vomits. Luckily, we brought other bottles and tried which one works for him. We found that Philip's Avent bottle/nipple worked well in minimizing and mostly preventing his reflux.

                                Here they are enjoying each other's company....
Hello daddy and papa! Aren't we cute?





Saturday, April 20, 2013

earthquakes, meltdown, and more

It has been weeks since we arrived in Delhi. A lot has happened around the world. NZ passed marriage equality bill (see amazing vid), we felt the earthquake in New Delhi (although the epicenter was in the Pakistan border), Boston was terrorised (and finally healing from it), and our twins had their first meltdown a few days ago.

We opted not to hire a nurse helper as we wanted to bond with the babies. Yes, it's not easy for two guys with two premature twins, but so far we are managing. We are doing 12-hr shifts -- day for me, night for my partner. We get at least 7 hrs sleep per day doing this. The routine is broken ocassionally (e.g. visit to the embassy, doctor's appointments, and food shopping), which also disrupts our sleep, but it's not too bad overall. I cook dinner that lasts for a couple of nights, and for variety, we order take-away once in a while. The only boring part is lunch -- eating cereals because it is easy and quick, in order to do a bit of work and transition to our shift.

The twins are slowly growing and gaining weight. Our girl is about 5.5 lbs and our boy is about 4.5 lbs. They have a very different personality but somewhat similar temperament when it comes to feeding time. I want my milk now!!! From my previous post about our desperate hunt for pre-NAN, we were able to get 9 cans from a small pharmacy in R-Block market (the R-Block market is basically a strip of 5 stores and not like the huge M-Block market). We will start switching our girl to Organics brand next week.
Pensive girl? Or just being cute?

I'm the cute boy! Please don't disturb me.
Anyway, we met several straight couples from various countries. Two couples had triplets by having two surrogates (F&L, T&R), and the others had twins like us (D&D from Chicago, our dear friends Johan and Linda). T&R are from California and were very kind to have their preemie diapers swapped for our newborn diapers. We are glad to have met these lovely people and their babies, and very grateful for their kindness. We share a common bond through surrogacy, so it is quite uplifting to meet everyone here in New Delhi.






Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Holi Day


     It's Holi day, where everyone throws colorful dyes and water at you. My partner got hit by water with red coloring as we left Eden Hospital, but I got home unscathed. Our driver, Rahul, got hit as well as he waited for us outside Eden Hospital. It was nice to see how everyone is having fun with colorful dye and water. It reminds me of a similar day in Southeast Asia called "San Juan" where people throw water to get everyone wet.
    The twins are doing fine. I fed our little girl today, and my partner fed our little boy. It was an amazing feeling seeing them yesterday, and then feeding them today. They are still very tiny and fragile.
    Our boy won't be ready to leave NICU until maybe this Saturday. Our girl, on the other hand, could leave by Thursday, but first, we need to buy pre-NAN formula before we could take her home. In our hunt to get a preemie formula, we basically wasted most of our day yesterday trying to look for a store that sells pre-NAN. We went to Citywalk and DLF, and most shops we ended up going to only sold regular formula. Anyway, the nurse today told us to go to a pharmacy as they will likely have the pre-NAN formula there. We'll have to buy it tomorrow when the shops open. Ugh!
    Sleepless nights, here we come! Other challenges ahead, bring it on! :)

Our twins holding hands

    

Friday, March 15, 2013

Vernix and Lanugo

Finally, here they are! Twin 1 is a girl (4 lbs), and twin 2 is a boy (3 lbs). Oh and by the way, their names are NOT Vernix and Lanugo... LOL...
Twin 1 says "Where are daddy and papa?"

After doing a bit of research, we learned that twin 2 has vernix (red skin coloring as the baby starts to breath air) and lanugo (the cream cheese-like coating on the baby's skin to protect him/her from harsh amniotic fluid). Twin 1 looked very clean, though.

The pediatrician predicts that one or both twins might be out of NICU in 10-14 days. We pray that our tiny twin 2 will be fine despite being smaller compared to his sister.

Twin 2 practicing his flamenco moves.
Today we changed our flights, and I'm still shocked how airlines practically milk you sweat and blood so that they get a huge profit from changing the flight. It doesn't make sense why the fee to change a flight is almost as expensive as a new ticket. In the end, we did buy a new ticket and although the original ticket was refundable, we still have to pay a $300 penalty for canceling the original flight.

We went to a Baby Care class last night. Like what our friends were saying, it was kinda useless! I did enjoy it a bit as the speaker was kinda funny (she had 6 children) and some of her advise was common sensical and helpful.

Well, New Delhi, here we come! :)




Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lost in cyberspace

It looks like I lost my previous blog. Anyway, I'll update with some pics as they become available.

Meanwhile, our prediction based on the Nuchal Translucency (NT) scan on week 12 in my previous blog was proven to be correct. Based on the "angle of the dangle" evidence, we were very certain to have a girl (i.e. 80% chance), but the other scan had a 68% chance of being a boy (which was also fairly high chance). Nevertheless, we got it right! :)


The twins when they were week 5!


Monday, March 11, 2013

Baby shower pics

Cutest cupcakes ever!


We are very grateful to our small circle of friends for organizing and attending our baby shower. For those who were not able to attend, thanks for sending the gifts. The twins will love all the goodies. Thanks everyone! We'll have a meet the twins day when we come back. Cheers!

Gifts for the twins








Friday, March 8, 2013

32-wk update, but wait, there is more...

Alright, we were so glad to see a somewhat "normal" scan and summary report for the twins yesterday. Our SM (GT) is doing great, and the twins are developing as expected (but see below). Today, we got an email informing us that GT had a "leak" and so she was admitted to the hospital. Aaarghhh!!!!!! Is that normal????

Anyway, GT is in bed rest, so we are hoping that she is fine, and that the twins will stay put for up to 39 weeks (yes, our wishful thinking). Realistically, it's probably not going to be 39 weeks as many twin births I've read on the blogosphere posted by many new parents have happenned in 38 weeks or less. We are praying that GT and the twins will be okay. Eagerly awaiting for an update....

Having read many blogs and information online, we should be taking the new USG results with confidence that our twins will be fine. However, it's also very hard not to worry. It appears that twin 1 (in cephalic position) is really doing well and developing on target based on the gestational age. On the other hand, twin 2 (in breech position) started to lag behind twin 1. Our 28-wk report showed that both twins were practically at the same gestational age, but lo and behold, this 32-wk report showed otherwise. Twin 2 is in essence about 2 weeks behind, especially the abdominal circumference (AC) and femur length (FL). Twin 2's biparietal diameter (BPD) is within the bottom scale of the standard deviation, but still markedly lower in measurement compared with twin 1. The only relief we could muster from this recent report is that the head circumferences of both twins were only three millimeters different. Needless to say, we are concerned for our smaller twin.




















A friend of mine today told me that she has heard of twin pregnancies where one twin that is more mature was delivered naturally, while the less mature twin remained in the womb until it matured further and then born weeks later. This is an unlikely scenario for us because a C-section will be done to our SM when the time comes. Oh well, it's a nice story. Please, please stay put as long as possible. Thinking of you, and praying that GT will recover soon from the "leak".







Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Truth, Lies, and an ABC Australia's Video -- Indian Surrogacy for same-sex or unmarried couples and single parents

I share my disgust with ABC Australia's Lateline (as reported by Kerry Brewster) due to the pathetic quality of the reporting, factual mistakes, and misinformation about the topic. Amani (Meg) has posted the link containing a video and article about it. Her post dissects the many mistakes on the issue. You can also access the ABC webpage by clicking here.

As per Amani's post, Indian surrogacy law has not changed since it was passed many years ago. It is absolutely legal for anyone to commission surrogacy in India; however, in December 2012, the guideline for obtaining a visa to commission surrogacy was changed to a medical visa. Before this, intended parent(s) could do it with just a tourist visa. The problem for single parent(s), same-sex couples and unmarried straight couples is that the new guideline to get a medical visa for surrogacy excludes them. The medical visa for surrogacy now requires intended parents to be a man and a woman, married for at least two years. In essence, the Indian Ministry of Bigotry Affairs has restricted surrogacy for straight married couples beginning 2013. This is very unfortunate! It shows the struggles many same-sex couples have to go through to be a family. It also now discriminates against unmarried straight couples.

There is now uncertainty for same-sex couples, single parents or straight couples on a tourist visa who have already commissioned surrogacy in 2012. It is a real concern, but as far as I know through the blogosphere and info I got from the web, no one (yet) has encountered any problems bringing their baby or twins back home to their respective countries. Yeah sure, FRRO will look down upon single parents or gay couples. FRRO will berate and say awful things about the parent during the interview process. This is expected -- it's a power trip! It's righteous thinking! You just need to take it in and be humble. One blogger who went through the process in January 2013 said, "just smile", and as soon as you get the visa, be glad it is all over. Don't look back!

One thing that you need to know is that once your child or children have the passport(s), there is no lawful reason why FRRO would refuse an exit visa to a bona fide citizen of a sovereign country.  It will be a diplomatic war between your country and the Indian government if FRRO refuses to give an exit visa to your child or children holding legitimate passport(s). Also, in reference to the factually incorrect statement on ABC video/article, you are not in breach of Indian surrogacy law -- there is no law in India banning same-sex or unmarried straight couples or single parents from commissioning surrogacy. As far as I know, there is no law regarding visa requirements for surrogacy other than the recent guideline. Don't take my word as anything could change in India, but rather do your research and find out the truth.

The current ICMR ART Bill is just a bill and not a law, and in fact, the bill permits single parents, same-sex couples and unmarried straight couples to commission surrogacy. Read my previous blogs on the ICMR ART Bill and about the FRRO meeting with the clinics. Bigots are spreading the misinformation.

Don't let the lies and misinformation instill fear on you. Bigotry will not prevail!


Monday, February 25, 2013

Hand-me downs galore!

     It's definitely becoming more and more real to me and my partner. In just over a month, we will be off to pick up the twins. We hope they stay put, and give us time to be with GT for her 36th week USG scan. Please, please, don't come out until we get there! :)
    We are still working on our "nursery" -- we will be in panic mode in a few weeks! Our friend and former neighbor can hardly wait to help decorate the room. Maybe I'll call my inner-Artsy-spirit to add what ever decoration she'll put in the room later on (provided I have the time). She also helped organize our "Baby Shower" in a couple of weeks. We are very luck to have her as a friend. On the other hand, I feel weird having the "shower", but then again, in other people's minds, being two dads with kids are weird as well. There is a show called "The New Normal" and it's nice to watch that they are practically in the same time line as us. Tuesday night, the show was about Baby Shower.

Cocoon times 2!


Car seat-stroller with play toys!!!!
    So, if felt like Christmas this weekend. We got some goodies for the twins. We got blankets, swaddlers, some clothes, bjorn, backpack, breathing sensors, pack and play, and lots more. Thanks to our famous radio personality friend, and Jessica for giving these lovely (pictured) baby items. Thanks also to  Jason and Adrian (Stalking the Stork) for the two Phil and Ted's cocoons. We invited them for dinner, and met their two princesses, Clara and Olivia. The girls are so adorable! We look forward to all the play dates with Clara and Olivia, as well as with other kids in our small community of progressive couples.
    It is great to meet up with other couples who have gone through the same process we are now going through. If you meet anyone in Delhi, or in your own country, who did surrogacy, cherish their friendship as it will be a support system you could have (regardless of the continental divide). We formed a long distance friendship with Linda and Johan, and Barbara and Claudio, despite the fact that they are so far away from us. Technology has made it easy to connect with each other so there is no excuse not keeping the line of communication (unless of course you are sleep-deprived due to the baby or babies).
   Okay, I have no clue what they call these things, so I'll just make up some words.
Tummy Wheel of Fortune thingy-majigy

Starship "playslot" Enterprise 


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Formula, formula, formula?... Bueller?

Decision, decision, decision... this is why I hate shopping. I can never decide whether I should buy the item or not. 
My sister used Nan for my niece, who is now 1-yr old. Unfortunately, it is not available here in America. There are several manufacturers I checked out, but it's so hard to decide which one to get. Our friend, who has a 3-wk old boy, uses Earth's Best organic brand. I checked out other organic formula and the other alternative is Baby's Only organic brand, or Safeway organic brand. In terms of nutritional content, they are pretty much the same, so it's the price and whether it's organic would be the deciding factors. We might end up buying the Safeway organic brand. Eventually, we'll play around and mix the cow's milk formula with soy milk formula when the twins are old enough. I never liked consuming a cow anyway.... so our twins don't need to have it's milk either.

Needless to say, it's good to have many choices in case we need to switch. Now let's see, we need what!!!?.... Based on his calculations, my partner said we need about 21 tin cans of formula for the twins during our stay in Delhi. Ugh!!! Don't even ask me how many diapers we need... :)

To our dear friends from Brazil, we are sorry that you will have to start over with the process. We are praying for your next successful attempt. We hope that you will get there soon!









Thursday, February 7, 2013

Monday, February 4, 2013

Don't panic! We have 2 months....

Two blankets, clothes and hats



Our neighbor is so sweet! The twins got their very first clothing and blanket. First ever! I'm a bit anxious. There is so much to do before their arrival and we have barely started. We hope to have the nursery ready by March. We are lucky to be surrounded by friends who are kind enough to offer some old baby clothes, a crib, and play pen.

We went to our friend's baby shower over three weeks ago now, and her friend, who we just met then, offered to give some of her baby's old clothings as well. I'm amazed how generous our circle of friends. We are very lucky! We hope to do the same and pay it forward when the time comes.

So, the other day I inquired about the DNA kits for the twins. I was shocked how much it would cost to do the process (not including the shipping cost). I guess the bulk of the cost pays for the service. Maybe I should start my own business doing something like this. :)

I'm half-watching the Superbowl as I'm writing the draft of this post (non-US citizens, I know you could care less!). Anyway, it's so bizarre that they loss electricity in the middle of the game. Maybe we should start blaming Bobby Jindal for teaching creationism in his secondary schools. It is scary to think that there might not be any credible future scientists emerging from Louisiana in the coming generations. Hopefully it will correct itself. Congrats Ravens!

Ta-Ta!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Indian surrogacy for unmarried or same sex couples & single individuals -- Update

Update: I came across this info this week from a Facebook page with regard to the "new" guideline.
"All the clinics have been asked to furnish a list of Commissioning Parents i.e. the ongoing cases to FRRO by 18th February 2013 for their review including the list of frozen embryos and frozen samples. Also stating the stage at which they are pending. The ART registration case and the date of the legal agreement to be prepared would be taken up by the FRRO head with Ministry of External Affairs."
-- Surrogacy Laws Facebook.

This info suggests that everyone who commissioned surrogacy prior to the new guideline will be accepted by FRRO. It would be good to have this info written in "black and white" and disseminated by the FRRO.

I hope that the clinics pressure the Indian parliament to pass the ART Bill very soon.

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Several new parents have blogged about their recent negative experience going to the FRRO. They are lucky, though, to have gone through the hoops, and are now back in their respective countries. I wanted to thank these new parents for sharing their thoughts and experiences on their blogs as it will help others deal with the FRRO.

For some of us who are yet to encounter the nightmare, let's hope no "new" rules will be given by the "Ministry of Bigotry Affairs" for the exit visa requirements. To prepare for the requirements, I suggest you visit the FRRO website. You will need to take note of what you need to bring to the FRRO to get the exit visa. Needless to say, make sure you satisfy your home embassy's requirements first before worrying about the FRRO. Anyway, below is the link of the checklist:

Are you considering "commercial" surrogacy? If so, you need to make sure your country allows surrogacy in general. There had been situations in which a person or couples commissioned surrogacy and then the child got stuck in India because their home country denied citizenship to the child, since surrogacy is illegal in their home country (especially commercial surrogacy). This seems to have been an issue in some ART clinics in India, and therefore one of the motivating factors to pass a bill (draft ART Regulations Bill 2010). It's not a law yet, but the Ministry of Home Affairs recently submitted a guideline to embassies and consular offices worldwide that is discriminatory to say the least. Read my previous blog for more info.

Note: I am neither endorsing any lawyer(s) nor providing legal advise for anyone. I also have no connections whatsoever with any business or legal entities in India. I just want to share any info so that you could make an informed decision on whether or not to commission surrogacy in India.

Good luck to all future Intended Parent or Parents!



Friday, January 18, 2013

Indian surrogacy is legal for unmarried couples or individuals -- Indian Council of Medical Research Bill 2010

I'm so psyched about this!

So, there has been quite a stir, and perceived or real fear going around the globe, about the Ministry of Home Affairs recent guideline issued in July 2012 and disseminated to Indian consular agencies and embassies in December 2012. I did my own research and downloaded the ICMR ART Bill 2010 as well as the ICMR ART Rule 2010. I found that in fact the "new" guideline violates the language set forth by the ICMR ART Bill 2010. Please download the documents here (click on the "Draft" link under Guidelines): http://www.icmr.nic.in/icmrnews/art/art.htm 


Below is the language that very much contradicts the "new" guideline publicized by the Ministry of Home Affairs. 


I. Bill 2010, page 29, Chapter VII, RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF PATIENTS, DONORS, SURROGATES AND CHILDREN
Section 32, clearly states that:
(1) Subject to the provisions of this Act and the rules and regulations made
thereunder, assisted reproductive technology shall be available to all
persons including single persons, married couples and unmarried
couples.

(2) In case assisted reproductive technology is used by a married or unmarried
couple, there must be informed consent from both the parties.

II. Bill 2010, page 33, Section 35, clearly states that:
(2) A child born to unmarried couple through the use of assisted reproductive technology, with the consent of both the parties, shall be the legitimate child of both parties.

**From my understanding, the "new" guideline is using page 38, Chapter IX, MISCELLANEOUSSection 48,  in order to "discriminate" against same-sex couples or unmarried couples, and single individuals. Here is the bill's language:

Power of the Central Government to make rules –

(1) The Central Government may make rules for carrying out the provisions of this Act.


(2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing power, such rules may provide for --


(e) the criteria for selecting parents for an assisted reproductive technology procedure;
(h) the eligibility of couples and individuals to use an assisted reproductive technology procedure;

**You may use the above information to challenge the inconsistency this "new" guideline has created (perhaps with the help of a lawyer, if necessary) -- but then again, they could always change the rules. One good thing about the current situation is that there is no wording on Chap. IX that mentions anything about the Central Government making new rules or guidelines that "supersede" what is currently on the bill. If the Ministry says that the "new" guideline follows what is on the bill, then it must not contradict the bill's intent and wording. Also, who is the "Central Government"? Is it the "Ministry" of something? Somehow, I doubt that the definition of Central Government in this bill is merely the "Ministry" of something. Unfortunately, the bill did not explicitly define "Central Government" on Chap. 1, Clause 2 (Definitions). Nevertheless, I believe that legally, this "new" guideline can be challenged!

Update: SCI also pointed out the following:


Chapter I, Clause 2 (h) “couple”, means two persons living together and having a sexual relationship that is legal in India. 
Note: Homosexuality has been ruled legal by the Delhi High Court in July 2009.

Chapter I, Clause 2 (v) of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2010 provides definition of married couple”, means two persons whose marriage is legal in the country / countries of which they are citizens;

Chapter I, Clause 2 (dd) of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2010 provides definition of unmarried couple”, means two persons, both of marriageable age, living together with mutual consent but without getting married, in a relationship that is legal in the country / countries of which they are citizens;


Chapter VII, Clause 32 of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2010 provides,“Rights and duties of patients – (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act and the rules and regulations made thereunder, assisted reproductive technology shall be available to all persons including single persons, married couples and unmarried couples.”


Chapter VII, Clause 34 (19) of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2010provides “…..a letter from either the embassy of the Country in India or from the foreign ministry of the Country, clearly and unambiguously stating that (a) the country permits surrogacy, and (b) the child born through surrogacy in India, will be permitted entry in the Country as a biological child of the commissioning couple/individual) that the party would be able to take the child / children born through surrogacy, including where the embryo was a consequence of donation of an oocyte or sperm, outside of India to the country of the party’s origin or residence as the case may be……”


Chapter VII, Clause 35 (3) of the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill 2010 provides,In the case of a single woman the child will be the legitimate child of the woman, and in the case of a single man the child will be the legitimate child of the man.”