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.