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.
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!