Monday, November 12, 2012

A Gaggle of Pictures

Home Finally

All in all we were in India for 36 days. Not too bad given we had to wait on two separate births. We received Lucy's DNA results on Monday November 5th--it took exactly 7 days from the appointment. The second time at the consulate was pretty easy as they knew us already. The same day Mr. M's mom arrived to help us and she was fantastic. We were already worn down from a week of taking care of three babies. It is the nights that are most tough, but as with anything organization is key. For a treat, we spent the last weekend in one of India's famous palace hotels, it was a splurge but Mrs. M really loved it (it was her first time in India and we were ready for a change after a month in the same hotel). The morning after the DNA results came in we got the passports and headed off to Delhi (We didn't book hotel in Delhi until the last minute, we were worried the DNA results would be late--which they weren't--and ended up spending a fortune on one night in Delhi). The girls were fantastic on the short flight, pretty much slept the whole way. We stayed at the Radisson by the airport for convenience. The next morning all six of us were off to the FRRO (though Mr. M. waited outside). We were advised to arrive around noon rather than enter 930am with the morning rush. All in all, the process wasn't too bad. My advice is be prepared, have all your documents in order, bring the baby/babies as people will be a lot nicer to you and try to go with the flow. India bureaucracy is what it is, and the easiest way to deal with it is be prepared and friendly. We were in and out in less than two hours (including sitting thru a half hour lunch break) which might be a record. That night we flew out on the United flight to Newark. We tried to book bassinet seats but somehow that never materialized so they blocked off some middle seats for us which we used to put babies in the phil and ted's (hands down, the best purchase we made in all our baby preparations). The girls slept the entire flight, only waking briefly to feed and burp. I wish we were on planes all the time. The Delhi airport was pretty drama-free, although lots of "where is the mother" to which I replied "back in NY waiting for her babies" (When people on the street would ask this I would generally say in America we have no mothers only two fathers). The most drama we had was getting the confirmation number for Mrs. M's return trip from NY to London to get into US. The immigration office did ask for proof when I said these were "test tube babies." I showed him the surrogacy contract and he motioned us thru. Back at Newark I marched up on the US citizen line (Mr and Mrs. M have UK passports) and apologized for the inconvenience and asked if we would all come thru and he said no problem. I think even they get the awkwardness of US policy toward immigration for gay couples. We were back at the apartment in less than an hour, my mother was already waiting at the door with tears in her eyes. We had a couple of more sleepless nights but last night the baby nurse moved in for six weeks and I had my first full night sleep in six weeks. Lulu the dog is fantastic around the girls (she just wants to smell and lick them but she keeps her distance). The girls are doing fantastic. We saw the pediatrician and they are healthy and perfect. It feels wonderful to have put the Indian part of all this behind us (though we are still awaiting a document from a judge in India terminating the surrogates rights, necessary for a second-parent adoption in New York State). It was a crazy journey, at times real stressful, but the results have been fantastic beyond our wildest dreams. I'm just so excited to watch these girls grow up and see what comes next. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Last night was our first night with Lucy home. It was tough. We were up every 2 hours or so. She is still adjusting to her new environment and like Mila is very vocal when she is unhappy. We will start having a nanny come for a full day so we can catch up with sleep by the pool. Because of holiday here Lucy's passport appointment is delayed til tuesday. The means we will probably get it on Monday November 5 and hopefully by Wed Nov 7 be in Delhi for final paperwork and home by Friday, this is if all goes well. 

Here are some pics of Mila and Estella

Sunday, October 21, 2012


Here are some older pics of Mr. M, Mila and Estella as well as the girls swanky ride. And here is baby Lucy.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Welcome Lucy

Yesterday our second surrogate went into labor and at 4pm local time Lucy was born. She is huge compared to Mila and Estella (4.6lbs). She is doing great and should be out of hospital in a few days.

We went to US consulate this week for CRBA, passport and DNA test for twins. As others have said, it is pretty drama free. We were in and out in less than an hour. We didn't even need to use our ready-made Similac! The only snag we almost had was that the Affadavit for Physical Presence needed to be filed for each girl (I assumed they only needed one) but upon good advice I had with me multiple copies of everything so I was easily able to pull another form out of my folder. In terms of what we needed:

For Consular Birth Abroad/Passport

CBRA form
Passport form
Physical Presence form (with two separate lists, one for time in US and one for time out of US)
I used an old Passport as proof and I also brought bank statements but they didn't even look at them
They recommended I file social security forms back in US as it will be quicker
Two passport photos of each girl (with eyes open and ears showing--trying to get that was fun)
US passport of genetic father
Original Surrogacy Agreement and Copy of it
Original Birth Certificates and Copy of them
Letter from Clinic explaining their role
100 USD fee
Consular Appt receipt made online

For DNA test
DNA test kits already there (we used Chromosomal labs in Arizona)
Passport of genetic parent and copy
Original Birth Certificates and Copy
Receipt from Local Doctor for DNA test (our clinic paid the 1200 rupees per test)
Two passport photos for each person being tested including father
email from consulate scheduling DNA test

You will get back all original documents. There is a brief interview with consular officer but it was very relaxed. Mr. M and I didn't mention our relationship but it was clear he knew and was cool about it. Our clinic was really helpful in getting many of these documents for us and putting them together nicely as well as arranging photographs (part of an extra fee).

We should get results of DNA test by midweek and Emergency Passports soon after. We are scheduled to go back to consulate with Lucy on thursday (you can schedule visit when babies are born but be careful if they are in NICU. I had to reschedule DNA test at last minute cause Estella was not released and they warned me I could only do this once). I'm hoping we can have Lucy's passport by end of October and head home in first days of November. We are a bit nervous about overnight with three without any help (Mr. Ms mother should be here by next weekend) but so far this trial by fire method has worked well. Again, I promise pictures soon, but it might have to wait for a US server.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Two Weeks Old

Tomorrow the girls will be two weeks. We moved from self-service apartment to hotel because it seems to be easier. Both girls are home and Mr. M and I are adjusting to nappies and bottles pretty well. We kind of have a system, M. is the main comforter/changer and I am in a supporting role, making/cleaning bottles and getting him the supplies he needs. I bought a bottle sterilizer and stroller and both have been lifesavers. Mila has a big mouth while Estella is more understated but they both have their own unique personalities. The hotel has been able to get us a nanny (15usd a day!) though we haven't used her yet. On tuesday we have passport appt and thursday DNA tests. After that we have a few weeks to chill out by pool anjd bond with twins. It's a pretty nice life so far...

Sunday, October 7, 2012

1 Week Old

The girls are one week old today and doing great. Mr. M arrived on Saturday and we spent the whole day yesterday training to care for the girls. I admit was was so scared to handle them when I first got here. They are so tiny. The doctors kept encouraging me to start feeding them and changing them but I noticed a strange resistance with the nurses. It took me a day or two to realize they were waiting for mother to show up and that because I was a male they weren't sure I could do it. I finally decided they are my kids and I will just do it so I did. I had to gently push some of the nurses aside when the girls needed a feeding or burping but by Friday my inner grizzly mama came out. By yesterday I felt much more comfortable even though half of India was staring at me through the NICU windows. Look, they seemed to say, a man caring for a newborn! In general everyone at the NICU has been lovely and I have had fun explaining to some of the nurses that in America you can have two daddies or mommies. They are surprised but take it in stride. Deep down I suspect some of them think mother is still going to show up.

Today Mila is coming home. She has put on weight and is eating like a champ. Stella lost a bit of weight yesterday so we are waiting to see if she is ready to come home today or not. In general aside from mild jaundice the girls have been healthy. Mila has a really strong personality. She is a fast drinker (like her dad Mr. M.) and she lets you know what's up. Estella is more mellow and takes a while to finish the bottle, but is very cuddly. They both threw up a couple of times after feeding, so one nurse put them to sleep on their front for an hour while we watched them and they looked like a pair of frogs (I know, a big no no in the USA).

We decided to move from hotel to apartment with nanny as we thing that will be easier. We got the birth certificates in 48 hours and have appointments for DNA test and Consular Record of Birth Abroad/Passport on Thursday. We are actually not going to request emergency passports because we will be here for a while. We are trying to focus on our wonderful new family and enjoy this special time we have together rather than getting worked up about getting out of here.

I can't seem to load pictures from this connection but I will find a way and get them up soon

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mila and Estella

Just got to India at 4am this morning and have yet to sleep. I got to spend a bit of time with the girls. They are doing great, eating on their own and so far no complications. They are small so once they start gaining weight if all goes well they should be released from NICU (maybe four-five days). I'm in hotel til next week when babies come home and then we will do service apartment with nanny. The hospital is great. I got to massage babies but not feed them yet. Tomorrow the nurses will start teaching how to feed and burp. They are amazing. Here are some pics.




I need to sleep but more pics and news to come...

Monday, October 1, 2012


Mila and Estella

They were born by C-section early this morning. They are 3lb 11oz and 3lb 15oz. They are breathing on their own and healthy but will be in NICU for next 10-12 days. I am on plane tonight to India and Mr. M later this week. I'll update with pictures as soon as I get there... Baby Trois still holding steady and hopefully we will see him or her in 2-3 weeks....

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

31 weeks and counting

We are at just about the 31 week mark, give or take for each baby. Dr.s at Clinic say we should expect twins anywhere between 34 to 36 weeks so we have about another 3-5 weeks to go for Un and Deux and Trois gets another few weeks of privacy. We've been working really hard to get everything ready. Here are some updates.

Baby Stuff
We have pretty much gotten everything on the list I posted earlier in the summer. For a stroller, I managed to find a used Bertini on craigslist for $120. Mr. M. calls this the tank.

We tried to take Lulu for a walk in the tank but she wasn't having it. It is so big, it can probably hold all three babies for first two months or so. Our plan is to use it (with ergo for one baby) until babies sit up and then get the foundation triple. My mom was generous enough to buy us a crib and a changing table which we will use in addition to a bassinett I got from a neighbor.

Otherwise we have tons of clothes (thanks in part to some lovely friends who gave us what their babies outgrew). And we are doing color coded Dr. Brown's bottles--they come in three colors, pink, blue and clear, perfect, one for each baby (though any boys we have are getting pink and clear--no blue for boys and pink for girls). Eight bottles per baby. I got three "bottle nannies" not sure if they work.

Xtra Stuff for India
We have three Phil and Ted Cocoons
Bottle Sterilizer: We are leaning toward a hotel stay right now and yes it's big, but it works great and
                           will make our lives easier
Lots of newbie diapers (I heard they hard to find)
50 pac of simulac ready made 2oz sensitive formula and nips for various embassys and flights.

Getting the Paperwork Ready
Here is where I made a lot of progress
1. I filled in some of online forms for US consulate (report of birth abroad, passport/SS app) and printed out multiple copies for each baby.
2. DNA kits (4 in total) ordered from Chromosomal Labs in Az already at US consulate waiting
3. Started process of second-parent adoption in NY state--we just waiting for birth certificates
4. Started process of getting a "suit of declaration" from an Indian Court which terminates surrogates parental rights by International Law, required by NY State as it does not recognize surrogacy (this requires multiple court dates in India and takes a month or so and might be a hassle-we shall see).
5. Got Indian Visas for M and myself--multiple photocopies of visa, passports, marriage license
6. To prove continuous US residency an old passport, tax records and a list of entry and exit dates of everytime I left the US since birth!!!!
7. 10 2*2 Passport Photos
8. Three copies of every medical-related email from clinic--part of medical records for FRRO
9. We are thinking for buying two one-way tickets for flight rather than changing round-trip dates and accruing fees. We will wait til last minute on that. Mr M.s mom, Mrs. M, will come to India towards end of trip and fly back to US with us so we can all come back together.
10. This weekend we go to Kmart and buy two or three large suitcases and pack them up.

We hired a baby nurse for when we get back. She will come over next week and make sure things look in order here so apt can handle three newborns hopefully sometime in early November.
Clinic told us with two separate births we should prepare to be there for 45-60 days! I'm hoping we can do it in less than 45 but trois has to cooperate.

All in all we are nervous and really excited. In a few weeks time our lives will change forever, we know that, but neither of us really have a clue what that means. For now we wait and try to encourage babies to cook a little longer

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Last of my Globetrotting

I've been off for past few weeks and my original plan was to stay home and buy baby products on craigslist but the anticipation for the births in October was making me crazy and obsessive and even though I know I needed to save every last penny, Discover Card decided to "pre-approve" me (big mistake) and off I went for one last and quick adventure to South America on my own. I don't think I'll be doing this again for a long long time, though I did see some German families climbing Machu Picchu with some babies in backpacks so who knows...

Some highlights

 Cotopaxi Volcano outside Quito: It is very cold

I can't believe I actually took this picture

Lake Titicaca: Very high up!

Oh my God, this guy was cute. I wonder if you can have a Llama as a pet?

And of course a babies update. All three are doing great. We are roughly at 26 weeks. I managed to pull this off one of the scans. First time I feel like there might be an actual baby in there!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

HOLY COW! (shock+India reference)

Here is our preliminary list of things to get by late September before the babies come and appx cost. Any suggestions of things we are missing, have too much of, or recommended brands are welcome.

1. Thirty burp cloths for 3 babies (10 x3) [$30]
2. 3 swings (1 to start with) [$120]
3. 3 bouncy seats (2 to start with) [$60]
4. 1 pack n plays - portable cribs with changer [$200]
5/6. Convertible crib (cot) with three sheets per bed and mattress - regular large crib. Eventually going up to 3 cribs [$300+50+50]
7. 3 Sleep sacks [$120]
8. 10 Receiving blankets [$100]
9. 10 Swaddling blankets [$100]
10. Sheet saver for the crib [$20]
11. 30 x 4 oz and 8oz Dr Brown bottles - different color per child and 10 size 1 nipples+cleaners [150+30+20]
12. 1 x triplet calendar for notes on their schedule [$20]
13. 1 x easy nurse pillow [already have] 3 boppys [$100]
14. 3 x plug in adaptors for baby swings [included with swings]
15. 3 x bottle nanny (prop to hold up the three bottles) [$60]
16. 3 x miracle swaddling blanket [$200]
17. 1 x changing table with drawers [$150]
18. Changing  pads [$50]
19. 2 x diaper bags (in case we sit separately on the flight) [$100]
20. 6 x baby new born hats [$70]
21. 3 x hand guards [$20]
22. 6 x romp suits to sleep in [$60]
23. 2 x ergo carrier (for carrying around in India) [$240]
24. 3 x phil and teds cocoon (for transit in india) [$150]
25. 20 x onesies [$125]
26. 20 x undershirts with snaps [$125]
27. 10 x pairs of socks [$25]
28. 10 soft bibs [$25]
29. 3 x snow suits? [75$]
30. 3-5 lightweight blankets for the strollers [$50]
31. 6 x terry cloth towels with hoods [$120]
32. 200 x newborn sized diapers [$60]
33. Baby Oil? [$10]
34. Lots of wipes! [$50]
35. 1 x baby nail scissors [$10]
36. 1 x baby thermometer [$10]
37. Lotion for baby rash [$30]
39. Baby shampoo [$10]
40. Bottle sterilizer? [$35]
41. Bottle warmer? [$35]
42. Large Pyrex pitcher for mixed formula [$10]
43. 1 x Bumpers for the crib [$30]
44. 1 x Diaper pail (dispose of diapers) [$50]
45. 1 x double stroller* - lie-flat stroller [$500]
46. 1 x single stroller* - lie flat stroller  [$300]
(*to be replaced at 6 months with foundations triple stroller) [$400]
47.  2 x sweaters and pants for each baby [$200]
48.  Electricity outlet baby proofs [$50]
49. Formula milk; we'll hold off on this until we sit what they're on in India

Holy Cow! Total Cost: around $4500. Not to mention another 500+ for formula and diapers for first month. This list is going to be the focus of my mild OCD for month of August. Thoughts?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Wedding Bells

Mr. M and I got married yesterday at Vermillion Lakes in Banff National Park, Canada. It was remarkable, a perfect day after weeks of rain, at the edge of the lake with the Rockies behind us. We had planned to get married in September before the babies come but as we started to make the plans we saw it was starting to get much more stressful and expensive than we thought. We had already planned this trip to Canada and I found out it's easy to get married in Alberta Province and off we went. Our officiant was a funny former park ranger and our photographer and witness some wacky Banffers. It was the most fun wedding I'd ever been too, we all laughed the whole time and even had a few solemn moments as we recited our individually written vows. It was perfect. We were a bit sad our family and friends weren't there but we will celebrate with them all when we get back. In other news we are at 21 weeks or so and all three babies are doing great (Mr. M calls them un, deux and trois and those names are starting to grow on me).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

About 1/2 way there or so

This week is 18wks, just about half way there (at least for the twins). I can't decide if time is going by really fast or really slow. It seems like both at the same time. Is that possible? Things are great but we both have a sense that we are in the calm before the storm. It seems we have so much to do before we need to go to India in October but I've convinced myself we need to wait for the third trimester. I work at a university so I have vacation most of August and then I need to get to my to do list. (1) We need to decide if we are staying in our one bedroom until the end of the lease in March and if so where will we go in March? And should we go further from the city and get a bigger place? Mr. M feels he didn't move to America to live out of Manhattan (?) Unlike Sarah Palin, he thinks Manhattan is the real America! I have to remember to take him on a cross-country road trip at some point. We might just move into one of those storage lockers you can rent. The thing that makes me want to stay is that we have washer/dryer in unit which is rare of a NYC rental (2) Childcare: Daycare is too pricey for three so that is out. We will get a full-time Nanny (and maybe baby nurse for first month to get on a schedule). I prefer a live-in which means we need to move out of city. Mr. M. prefers a live-in who sleeps with the babies in the living room! I don't think that is very realistic but sometimes a little experience turns out to be the best teacher. I guess those are the big ones. (3) We also need to find a pediatrician, meet with a lawyer about second-parent adoption, and get lots of stuff (crib and stroller to start with; lots of bottles and diapers, onesies, lots and lots of receiving blankets and burping cloths, swings/boppys/vibrating stuff, lotion, and this is just off the top of my head). Finally (4) we have to plan to whole trip to India, get paperwork ready, figure out how two males will get three newborns home. It is a long and stressful list... so I say... it can wait til August...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Strolling for Three

Now that we have passed the first trimester hurdle and got great results on our double-marker tests my OCD is kicking in and I am obsessed with researching baby products. I am starting with Strollers. My mom very generously offered to help us by getting us a stroller but she thinks we would do best with a double stroller and an Ergo carrier for one. I thought that was a good idea at first, but then I started reading triplet blogs and got the sense that this could get tricky. What if I am out and about wearing one sleeping baby and another gets fussy. My goal is to be as independent as possible so I can handle all three on my own (and eventually Mr. M will too) and I think we need at least one triple stroller for that. Now it gets trickier because we need one lie-flat for infancy and then one sit-up for 9mo+. So here are the top contenders

The two top of the line infant triples are the Peg Perego and the Ingelensia. They are both high quality and about a grand each. I like the look of the Peg and it is easy to steer but the front seat is quite far away. I think in both the seats can be taken out and rearranged but I don't think they double as car seats.  Given that our babies are due in October, I wonder how often we will really go out from November-March. Hopefully they will be almost six months by Spring, maybe we should jump into a toddler one and stick with a cheaper double and carrier til then. Another option is the Triple Decker.

This one has removable car seats which can be replaced by toddle seats later. With the car seats it comes to around $1100. Then again, we don't have a car cause we live in Manhattan. Another interesting option is from Adventure Buggy in New Zealand.

This one is just a bit more expensive (1500) and is not too long or too wide, though having a baby on top like that seems very scary. By toddlerhood we have two options. The runabout was designed by triplet moms and handles great, though it is not the prettiest thing I have ever see. It also runs about $900.

Three options for later also include the BabyJogger (good for outdoor activity and about 500), the Foundations (very easy to fold-up, under $400 but seems a bit flimsy) and the ole-standard, the choo-choo Wagon (which Triplet moms love).

Also, it is possible to buy not-very-used ones off triplet families who don't use them anymore for about 70% of the price. I think the most useful is the runabout but the peg or adventure buggy would be nice for the first year.

Also, I went to a friends wedding the other night (the same one whose Bachelor Party I attended). He had it in a lovely space here in Manhattan (Actually, the space was so nice I was thinking of asking him if M and I can use it for our wedding in September--is that rude?). It seems a lot of people already new about the Triblings and I got lots of questions. I was surprised at how personal they got. Whose sperm did you use? Which one of you is the father? What will you tell them about their mother? Wow. I was not prepared. I tend to be fairly open so I answered all questions but then felt weird about it afterwards. As far as M and I are concerned it doesn't matter who donated what, we are both their fathers, they don't have a mother--or if anyone is their momma, it's gonna be me (but they have two nice ladies who helped us by giving us an egg and letting us use their belly). M and I decided we were going to stop answering these kinds of questions, especially from strangers but even family. No one needs to know the details of our children's conception and birth until they are old enough to understand it themselves and decide how they want to talk about it! Easier said than done. ok so much for strollers, next comes the really big one, childcare!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


ok. We finally are out of the first trimester and can breathe a bit (13wks tomorrow so we are looking at an October trip to India). We have been keeping one thing close to the vest (some people actually guessed it). One of our surrogates is pregnant with twins. That is three all together!!!!! We are excited, scared, grateful, panicked, and ready for the babies to come--all at once. We finally told our friends and families and the reaction has mostly been "how are you going to take care of three babies at once?" We say we don't know exactly but we know it will work out. It might be a bit of of a rough first year but in the end M and I will have the family we have always dreamed of. We are trying to figure out a bit about logistics (i.e. will we need to be in India longer? if so, how will we deal with work? how will we transport the triblings?) so if anyone has any advice or experience that would be wonderful. I think we will have to join some triplet forums. Overall we are excited and grateful to the clinic, the doctors and the lovely surrogates carrying our children.

Here are some pics. (actually pics of pics to hide surrogate details for their privacy)

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Partying with the Girls

Last night was one of my closest friends' Bachelor Party. Of course, someone had to whip out the wigs at some point and here we are ready to play celebrity (Madonna and Rupaul were the most common celebrities that came up--how shocking!) Oh and then there was a knock on the door, it turned out to be the "police"....

ok... it was actually pretty tame... I then decided I look better in long hair...

It was great fun. And then the clock struck 11pm and I was wiped out! My bachelor party days are definitely behind me. Next big night out... the baby shower...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

French Parenting

I'm just in the middle of Pamela Druckerman's Bringing up Bebe and I have to admit I really like it. It seems to be part of a whole slew of books trashing American parenting (like the Tiger Mom) and lavishing praise on the French (French Women don't get fat). Normally I would say that she is exaggerating for dramatic effect, but the way she describes American parents sounds an awful lot like some people I know. For instance, I know someone who insists to everyone when they visit that they spend time playing with her children. It's not that I don't enjoy playing with children, I do, but when I was growing up, when we had adult visitors, my sister and I would sit at the table and politely answer their questions. Now her kids either leave the table and adults get on the floor and play, or if they are at the table, they need to be entertained by the surrounding adults. In France, according to the book, all children say "Bonjour" when they are visited by adult friends or relatives. Sometimes the best I can get from some of my relatives children is a quick acknowledging smirk! Its not that I think that kids should be "seen and not heard" as the old expression goes, but it seems sometimes (again, this is among the children I know, not a great sample), that the children get to decide which social rules they follow and which they reject.

The thing the book talked about the most which impressed me what the idea of the "pause." Whether with sleeping, playing, or getting something, French parents seem to encourage their children to wait a bit in order to help them tolerate the frustration of not getting what they want right away. So, for instance, after about 2 months or so, they might wait a couple of minutes before tending to a crying baby in the middle of the night to see if they can self-soothe or if they are genuinely hungry. I have friends that are parents the believe waiting even a few seconds to respond to an upset child, even if they are a bit older, is an act of extreme cruelty. My sister, who is an example and defender of American style parenting par excellance, admits that she regrets not putting her children down for naps when they were awake as they never learned to fall asleep without her help. From my vantage point, I see that my nieces and nephews--who are wonderful--have a hard time tolerating frustration, which can sometimes lead to tantrums and meltdowns.

My sister tells me she feels French parenting is too distant and harsh. She says she likes the, what she calls, the warmer loving American approach (I'm not sure the French see it that way). My Mr. M. is from Britain where they seem to sit halfway between the American and French versions but he seems to lean toward the French one temperamentally. He seems to be okay with the idea that once in a while his children won't like him, if it helps them in the big picture. We will see whether he can actually live up to this. I'm a bit more in the middle myself. I can be strict with the dog, stricter than M, but with a baby it will be hard to gradually allow them to self-soothe as part of the joy of being a parent is the wonder at being able to soothe your children. Anyway, this is all so abstract. I'll come back to this in a year with real babies. If we get too "American" in our parenting, we can always move to Quebec. They are kind of French.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Families... you can't live without them!

I love modern family. It is such a funny show. But the thing that speaks to me the most is how easy it seems for Cameron and Mitchell to be completely integrated into their families. One of the things that has really surprised me about this process, is the different responses M and I have received from various members in both of our families. I guess I live in a bit of a bubble--downtown Manhattan--We both have lots of friends gay and straight where sexuality is a non-issue. Obviously with family it is different, but I guess I was surprised at how different. We've experienced three very different reactions to the news we are pregnant. The first and most common reaction has been happiness for us and excitement about whats to come. This has come from most of the people we are close too and for that I am not surprised. I couldn't imagine anybody in my life having children and not being thrilled for them. To repeat, that includes most members of our families.

The second category, in order of frequency, seems to be a kind of benign neglect. Occasionally we get asked a question about it, but for the most part it feels like the new don't ask, don't tell. There is little excitement in this response and a lot of "I'm not really comfortable but I'll keep it to myself." Finally, a rare but still surprising response has been downright hostility. The subtle (and sometime not so subtle) message that M and I are making a terrible mistake, that two men cannot raise children, that there is something unnatural or provocative about us trying to start a family in this way.

Again, maybe I've spent too much time in the bubble of downtown Manhattan but I can't believe that people can think this way, especially people who know me and M well. I've spoke to one of M and my close girlfriends about this and she told me to try to understand how new and foreign this is for many people. But, I have a hard time accepting that. Having a baby in India via surrogacy, guess what, that is pretty new and foreign to me. I don't understand people who can treat heterosexual and homosexual couples so differently. How can they be thrilled when a female relative gets pregnant and then offer a completely different response when a gay couple tries to have a baby. I just don't accept the "foreign" thing. Many people in my life do things that I might not do or consider for myself, yet I can be happy they found a path toward happiness and fulfillment in this life, which doesn't always give many people opportunities for that. Mr. M is the more tolerant between the two of us. He is willing to accept what people can offer. I can too, but at the same time, I don't think it is fair to expect us to accept less. I think sometimes we need to communicate to people what we expect from them.

I know we live in the real world. Being in a family means accepting people for what and whom they are and I need to offer the same acceptance I ask for. But, I do worry. I don't want our children to feel that they are less valued by their family because of how they came to be in this world. I don't want them to feel like they are marginalized in their own families. Again, most people have been wonderful and so I don't want to paint with too broad a brush, but for the ones that can't be, I just don't get it.