Saturday, August 30, 2014

Please Forgive Me

Please forgive me for not updating in so long.  I have been meaning to; however, procrastination has been getting the best of me.  Well...not anymore.

So, while the boys are being distracted by Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, I will use this time to do a quick update.

There has been so many milestones since my last post in January and the boys are doing great!  A few months ago, Camden began cutting his first tooth...well I should say teeth.  He got 4 (2 at the top and 2 at the bottom) teeth at once.  He now has 8 (4 at the top and 4 at the bottom).  It is funny because while Camden was sprouting teeth like mad, Chase still had none.  I was beginning to think he would need dentures, but shortly after their 1st birthday (July 28th), Chase finally got his first two teeth (at the bottom).

The boys began crawling and pulling up on furniture.  Camden has taken his first few steps and I expect both to be walking very soon.

I love watching them grow and their personalities develop.  If you look at my past post, I've always said that Chase was the feisty one and Cam was more laid back.  Well...those tables have turned! Cam is super determined and feisty.  He will not do anything he doesn't want to do.  He he grabs something he's not supposed to have, he will make you chase him to get it back.  He is also a grandma's boy.  Chase is very laid back, and loves to lay up on me.  They both like using each other as a step stool to try to grab things that they aren't supposed to have LOL.

There's never a dull moment being a single dad of twins and I wouldn't change it for the world (Well...perhaps I will get in a relationship someday LOL).   I'm going to upload a few pics of them and a couple friends.  I hope you all are doing well, and I promise I will update soon.














Friday, January 24, 2014

Long Time Coming

Hey Blogworld!

I have been away too long and I am so sorry.  Life has been so hectic I have been procrastinating on continuing this blog.  Between my little men and work, I haven't had much time to do anything else, but things are beginning to slow down at work.   How has everyone been? I can't believe its been over a year since I have begun this blog. 

Chase, Camden, and I are all doing well.  Chase is about 18lbs and Camden is nearly 16lbs.  Camden was longer then Chase but Chase has now caught up.  Can you believe they will be 6 months old in 4 more days. 

I must say I am loving being a father. I love seeing Chase and Cam's individual personalities develop.  Cam is still laid back...until he gets mad - he can get fiesty! lol.  Chase is still aggressive as always.  They are both rolling over from there stomach to back, smiling, laughing, scooting, and doing everything they are supposed to be doing at this age.

One funny thing that I wanted to write about is Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.  I don't know what it is about that show but it draws the boys in.  No matter what they are doing, as soon as they hear the "hot dog" song, they drop everything and watch the tv - it is so funny!



Here's a couple of photos of the boys.  I hope you enjoy and have a great weekend!

One of Cam's Christmas photos (he was tired and pissed LOL):

Cam looking at Mickey Mouse with his grandmother:

Cam and Chase Christmas Photos:


Chase and his great-grandmother (my maternal grandmother).  Chase is looking at Mickey Mouse.

Chase's Christmas photo screenshot:


 

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Patience

Today, my boys are 10 weeks old and they are growing quite fast. As of September 20th, they both were exactly 9.75lbs.  Chase was 21.5 inches long and Camden was 22 inches long. It has been a joy watching them grow over these 10 weeks.  They are both eating very well, they are cooing, social smiling, and when they social smile it makes your heart melt. It makes all the tough times disappear. Oh yes, there will be tough times...people just don't talk about it.  One of the biggest things that you will learn is the true meaning of PATIENCE.

Have you ever watched the news and you hear a story about a parent shaking their baby to death? I have heard news reports about that and I think "OMG...how in the world can anybody do something like that to a harmless innocent child. That Monster!" But now that my boys are at the peak of their crying stage, and when they are ganging up on me, I think "oooooo....thaaaat's how that happens."

Now there's still no excuse for harming your baby but I am talking about this topic because as a new parent, you really have to be realistic about the challenges and be patient.  When your child is crying non-stop and they are pushing you to your wits end...its okay to admit that you need a 5 minute break, help, a drink (LOL), or whatever you need to get you through the tough times because it is not all laughs, giggles, and good times.  I have 10-week old twin boys as you know.  They are the center of my world.  At 10 weeks, they are at the peak of their non-stop crying and there are moments where nothing will soothe them.  You're not a bad parent if you need to take a 5 minute breather. I'm not trying to scare anyone, I just want you to understand that you're not a bad parent and if parents tell you they've never felt like this they are lying.

With that said, I wouldn't change being a parent for the world.  I went back to work and felt so guilty leaving my babies.  I'm told that feeling will change as I get used to being back at work.  I miss them so much when I'm gone.

The last thing I want to talk about is overestimating your time to do things.  All parents need to do this but this is especially true for parents of multiples.  You cannot go ANYWHERE without being stopped over and over and over again by people ooohhing and ahhing over your twins.  People are still amazed when they see twins (especially a single guy walking around with twins). Every 10 steps or so...someone will stop you or comment "ooohh wow twinsss."  I've learned that I'm not being an asshole if I just give a smile and nod and keep on walking when I really have to be somewhere. LOL

Well, I just wanted to do this quick post.  I will do another very soon.  I hope everyone is doing well.  Congrats to Payam and Sajeev on the birth of their cute little twins.  I can't wait to meet you in New York for a playdate!

Here are a couple updated pics of the loves of my life:






Monday, September 9, 2013

CONGRATULATIONS

to Anwar at http://anwarssurrogacyjourney.blogspot.com/2013/09/i-got-twins-yall.html on the birth of his beautiful Boy/Girl twins.  They are too cute and you can check them out on his blog.  They are blessed to be born to such a good person and into a family who is so excited about their arrival.  Best wishes to you and the new additions to your family.  We will talk soon!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Long Overdue Update


Hi Everyone!  It feels like it has been forever since we have talked and I know this post is long over due. Please forgive me! :-)   I am happy to say that I have successfully made it through baby pickup (yes…I survived the FRRO!).  I must say that met some amazing people during my 3-week stay and I hope to keep in touch with everyone that I have met. 

So first and foremost – my boys!  They are doing so well.  They are 5 weeks old now and I can see changes already.  They are so alert.  They are also eating more, gaining weight, and bringing many people lots of joy. Here are a couple of updated photos of Chase and Camden and I will upload more in the days to come:





 

 

It was an emotional  moment for me when I was on my returning flight, with the twins, and we were on the runway taking off.  It felt like this long process was finally coming to an end and the flight home with my boys was the big ending to a stressful process. 

Hotel

I stayed at Hotel Private Affair.  The hotel was fine and I would stay there again.  Hotel Private Affair is located right next to M Block.  It is literally a 30 second walk to the block.  The staff was very helpful but not all spoke English so sometimes the language barrier caused difficulty.  I ended up switching rooms 4 times during my 3 week stay there.  I’ll tell you that some rooms are nice and other rooms are crap.  If you stay here, I’d advise you get the mid-grade room which is only a few bucks more (I paid 46.58/night).  My first room (Room 109) was next to the kitchen.  The room was very humid and there were mosquitos and gnats flying everywhere.  I asked to be switched and they switched me to room 302 which was a nice room.  Unfortunately, the power went out during my last week there and we were asked to move to a different room (room 202).  Room 202 smelled like mildew and the walls were wet and the room smelled like smoke.  I asked to move to another room and they moved me to room 105 which was the best room.  It was in the front of the building, fresh, clean, and I was very happy.

Speaking of M-Block

We all have read on other’s blogs about M block; however, when the driver showed me where M block was my honest first thought was “what’s all the fuss?”.  The outside of M – block could definitely use a makeover; however the stores are quite nice.  Once you go inside of a store, you can see why people talk about it.  What you should know about M-Block as it relates to baby pickup is that they have a store called Weiners that sell all baby items.  They have the Playtex drop-ins (if you run out), they sell all types of formula including what I use (Similac Advanced), basinets, etc.  So, if you happen to leave anything at home, check out this store because they will likely have what you need.  

So, here is my breakdown of my process of exiting with babies.  I hope this is helpful to you. 

Step 1 – Contact the US Embassy before you leave for India.

The US Embassy was very cool and easy to deal with.  The Embassy wants you to send them an email introducing yourself.  They want you to provide basic information about your specific situation (i.e. US Citizen genetic relationship to child, use of egg/sperm donor, clinic being used, due date, etc.   The email to the US Embassy is acsnd@state.gov.  I assume the email I sent was fine because they responded that I send all information that they needed.  Here is a sample of the email I sent to the US Embassy. 

“Good Evening,

My name is Frederick Lester and I am a US Citizen (living in Maryland).  I wanted to introduce myself because I have pursued surrogacy in India in December.  Per your website, you advise that I introduce myself and provide a description of my situation.

I have a surrogate in India who is pregnant with twins.  My genetic relationship to the twins is their father. I used an egg donor provided by my clinic that I name below.  The official due date is August 28, 2013 (40 weeks) but we expect the twins to arrive earlier on August 7, 2013 (week 37 which is full term for twins).  My clinic is the Surrogacy Centre of India ("SCI").

If there is any other introductory information I should include in this email, please feel free to email me or call me at [INSERT TELEPHONE NUMBER].

Thank you,”

 

Step 2 – Arrange for DNA Kit Shipment before you leave for India.

Before you depart for India, you need to arrange to have a DNA testing kit sent to the US Embassy in New Delhi.  I would suggest doing this about 60 days before you leave so the Kit can get through security and the like.  I used Chromosomal labs and specifically worked with Melissa Valmonte who is their immigration specialist.  She is very knowledgeable and accessible.  I suggest you contact her regarding your specific situation.  She can be reached at (623) 434-0292 or via email at mvalmonte@chromosomal-labs.com.  Through speaking with her, you will learn that your DNA testing kit will be shipped to the Embassy.  They will also refer you to a location near your home to have your DNA taken (mouth swab).  You should go ahead and have your DNA taken while you’re in the States because it is included in the cost of the package with Chromosomal.  If you wait until you get to India, you will be paying extra to have your DNA test taken at the embassy.  Your DNA swab will be kept at Chromosomal while awaiting the swabs from your child/children to come.

 

Step 3 – Obtain Birth Certificates and baby pickup documents from clinic.

Once you children are born, you will get birth certificates and a folder from SCI that contains all letters and other documents that you will need for both the US Embassy and FRRO. You will get the folder from SCI once your account is paid in full.  See if you can get a Xerox copy of everything in the folder.  It will be useful later when you go to the FRRO.  My folder contained the following documents:

A)     Delivery Report by Dr. Shivani

B)      Letter confirming I was under Dr. Shivani’s care for fertility treatment and showing that all dues are clear

C)      I received a 2nd letter from Dr. Shivani.  I forget what it was because the FRRO kept this letter (they claim they didn’t have a copy of it even though I know I provided it to them but who cares).

D)     Oocyte collection data sheet

E)      Hospital letter confirming surrogate admission to the hospital and delivery of baby/babies

F)      Surrogacy contract

G)     No objection letter (last page).

 

Step 4 – Go to the US Embassy

Okay, there are two parts to the US Embassy visit.  Both parts occur in the same area.   You can schedule an appointment at http://newdelhi.usembassy.gov/service/reporting-births-and-citizenship-questions.html. You should schedule an appointment as soon as you can because there are limited slots.  You can always reschedule the appointment if you need to. 

The first part to the US Embassy visit is the American Citizen Services (“ACS”).  This is where you submit your application for the Consular Report of Birth Abroad (CRBA) and for US Passports.   The second part to the US Embassy is the DNA testing.    The ACS portion can be schedule Monday – Friday, however the DNA portion is only on Tuesdays.  My advice is to schedule the ACS portion and the DNA portion on the same day.  Once you schedule your ACS interview online, send the embassy an email and let them know that you have your ACS appointment and would like to schedule the DNA testing the same day.  They will send you a confirmation of your DNA portion.  Again, bottom line: schedule your ACS appointment on a Tuesday so you can do the DNA testing the same day.  

The US Embassy wasn’t what I imagined.  When you pull up, you will see a long line of people.  Don’t worry about this line as this line is not for US Citizens.  You will walk up and tell them you are a US Citizen and you have an ACS appointment.  They will ask for the print out of your appointment (don’t worry if you don’t have it.  I didn’t have it and they still let me in). They will ask for your passport.  They will ask that you turn in all electronics (turn your phones off) before you enter the building.  You then walk up to an entrance and go through security.  Once you get through security you will get a number (as if you were at the DMV).  You will then follow the signs for the American Citizen Services (its around the corner towards the back of the building. This is where you will have your embassy appointment.  You will wait until your number is called (took me about 5mins) and pay the cashier for the CRBA and Passport.  You will then go to another window where an agent will go through all of your documents to make sure you have everything and have filled out everything properly. 

Embassy Documentation:

1.       Completely filled out CRBA Application DS 2029.  Do not sign this until they tell you to.

2.       Completely filled out application for US Passport (DS 11).  Do not sign this until they tell you to.

3.       Passport sized photos of you little one (See my comments about Dipanker below)

4.       Birth certificates of your little one (Make some copies!)

5.       Copy of your birth certificate.  (I also brought my original).

6.       Original passport.  (I also made a photo copy of my passport)

7.       Documentation proving physical presence for the last 5 years.  (I printed my tax returns for the last 5 years).

8.       All documents that SCI provides you in the green folder.  I hesitate to tell you specifically which documents.  I gave them the entire green folder and they made a copy of everything because they generally want medical records related to pregnancy and birth.  I know they need the surrogacy contract, and prenatal reports.  Just give them the entire green folder and the will make copies of what they need. 

9.       If you look on the US Embassy’s website, you will see that they ask for a DS-5505 form which is an Affidavit of parentage/physical presence.  They did not require me to do this form and everything went fine.  I received my consular report of birth abroad the other day so I’m not sure if this form is really necessary.

Being anal, I made a few copies of some other items that I did not need.  I had a copy of a utility bill proving my address, copy of my social security card, copy of both the front and back of my drivers license, and my end of the year pay stubs for the last 5 years.   As I said, I didn’t need these documents, but you might want to have them on deck just in case.  I’d rather have them and not need them than need them and not have them.

The agent at the US Embassy will suggest you fill out the social security application once you get back to the States and obtain the regular passport (not the emergency passport that is only valid for a year).  The agent will also need a decision on how you want your CRBA delivered.  Most choose the courier service.  The courier stands right outside of ACS at the security gate.  I am glad I choose the courier service.  My CRBA was delivered to me promptly, and it excellent condition.  I would recommend anyone to use him. 

Once they go through your documentation, you will have your little one’s mouth swabbed for DNA. Chase, who is my more aggressive child, fought them the entire time.  One lady while holding Chase down said "whoa he's feisty" LOL. Anyway, this is obviously the DNA portion of your US Embassy visit.  If they tell you that you are missing some information, they will still allow you to have the DNA taken.  Just make sure you have whatever documents they need before the DNA results come back so you don’t hold up the issuance of your CRBA and Passport.

If you use Chromosomal Labs (which I highly recommend) they will email you and the embassy the DNA results (in separate emails. You will not see them CC’d on your email nor will you be CC’d on their email to the embassy).  The embassy suggested that once I got the DNA results, to forward them the email that I received just letting them know the results were in (they still need the email directly from Chromosomal).  I had the DNA testing done on Tuesday; I got the results that following Monday night.

Once the US Embassy receives the DNA results, you typically can get your passports the same day and go straight to FRRO.  My situation was a bit different because there are many holidays in the month of August in Delhi so I did not receive my passport until Thursday. 

 

Step 5 – Pick up your passports (yay!!!)

It’s a great feeling to see your child’s brand new passport.  You do not need an appointment to pick up your passport.  In my situation, I received the DNA results Monday night.  Tuesday was a holiday.  Wednesday most agents were training (I had been calling to see if I could get my passports). Thursday I appeared and picked up my passports.  Here’s my suggestion,  I had scheduled an appointment with the Embassy for Thursday just in case I did not receive my passports before then.  I was just being super anal. So, if you want, you can schedule an appointment.  This is a precaution just in case the folks outside decide not to let you in without an appointment.  Again, I did not have a problem but you never know.  Also, the Embassy says they will email you once they process everything and email an appointment to you.  I did not wait for this email because my flight was scheduled to depart Friday night and it was already Wednesday and I did not have my passports.  So you should always be anal when going through this process.

When you pick up your passport, the embassy will provide you with a letter that essentially says that the US accepts children born though surrogacy or something like that.  The US Embassy will give this to you as a matter of practice when you pick up your passport (along with some other documents that you will need when you apply for your child’s actual passport when you get back to the States). Just double check that you get this letter because the FRRO will look for it. 

 

Step – 6 – Go to the FRRO (note, I did NOT use Poonam’s services)

I’m not sure where to start with the FRRO.  This is the craziest place that I have ever seen.  You need to maximize the amount of days that you have available for FRRO just in case they decide to dick you around.  I believe I lucked out in my experience because I was lumped in with a few other people waiting for surrogacy exit permits. On the other hand, on the outline that SCI provides to you it says that the “Exit process is much simpler now” and also says “There is no visit required to the MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs), No Inquiry” so that may be why too.  Here’s what happened:

As I mentioned earlier, I was not able to get my passport until Thursday because the US embassy was closed on Tuesday due to a holiday and on Wednesday they were in training. I went first thing Thursday and picked up my passport (the day before my flight).  I went to FRRO around 3pm Thursday.   Your application will say that the FRRO does not take new applications after 3pm.  Go anyway because they don’t pay attention to this. 

When you pull up at the FRRO, you will see a huge sitting area to your right (outside) covered by tent material.  At 3pm, there were not many people waiting there so I walked up to the lady seated at the table, I told her I was there for an exit visa, gave her my passport, she wrote down a number on a small square piece of paper.  Be sure to keep this paper because they will call you by that number and you need to show that the number they called is in fact your number.

You will walk past security, show that you have that piece of paper, and walk in and turn left.  You will see a large room with a bunch of chairs and people.  If you walk in and say “omg this is a madhouse” or something of the sort, then you are in the right place!  Take a seat (if there are any) and wait for the people at the inquiry desk to call your number.  Once they call your number, you will go up and tell them that that you need an exit visa for children.  They will ask where is the mother and you will reply “Surrogacy.”  They will ask you for the application and all the documentation.  They will go through and make sure you have everything that you need.  Hand them the entire copy of the Surrogacy file that you made earlier (have the original on deck just in case you need it) and the application for exit permit.  

When you do your exit visa application, the system will automatically make you select an appointment date.  I completely my application on Thursday (yes folks…the same day.  I know I’m crazy) and it made me set my appointment for Friday (the same day as my flight).  I went to the  FRRO anyway because I didn’t think they paid attention to the appointment that was set for the following day.  One of the first things they said was that my appointment was for the next day and to come back.  I politely explained that my flight was that day, and that I had all the required documentation and asked if it was possible to see if I could get anything done today.  They allowed me to stay.  So, they looked through all of my documentation and told me that they will take it to the “in-charge” desk and he may go ahead and interview me today. 

Here’s where I believe I lucked out.  While I was waiting, I met a few really cool people who were also waiting for exit visa’s for their child/children through surrogacy.  They had been waiting since early that morning for their 2nd interview with the main lady that you are supposed to meet with. When they saw that I was another surrogacy person, they seemed to have lumped me in with everyone else waiting.  The person at the “in-charge” desk never interviewed me but just told me, and everyone else to come back tomorrow at 11 (my flight was scheduled for “tomorrow” at 10:55pm).  The reason I say the FRRO will dick you around is because the other people I had met, had been waiting for hours and hours and kept being told “5 more minutes” and nothing was being done. 

We were all told to come back the following day because we wouldn’t be able to meet with the person we were supposed to meet with.  The following day, I showed up around 9am.  When you go early, you go under the tent, walk up to the desk (on the left), and you will see a sheet of paper being held to the desk by a rock.  That paper will likely have some names on there of people who already signed in.  Write your name on this paper and remember your place on that list.  When the worker comes out, they will call the numbers on that paper. Once you hear your number called, go up to the lady and she will ask for you passport and write your name in this book that you will need to sign.  You will then get the piece of paper with a number on it for the day.  Again, keep that piece of paper with the number because that's the number you will need to listen for once you are inside at the FRRO.  When you first get to the FRRO and you are waiting for the worker to come outside, you should sit towards the front to hear your place in line.  I know this won't make much sense to you untill you are there and you see the madness that I'm explaining.  If you really want to know, shoot me an email and I'll explain further.  Anyway, the following day, we returned and they told us 5 mins – yet we waited for a few hours.  Luckily, one parent knew someone and the embassy.  He somehow pulled some strings, and the next thing you know, our applications were being whisked away, and before you know it, we all were approved.   I don’t know how he did it and I ask no questions LOL.  So I did not have any interviews at all at the FRRO.

Although I did not have any interview, I believe I can still give you some valuable information regarding the documentation needed.  If there were any problems with my documentation, I’m pretty sure I would not have gotten approved .

Here’s what you need, remember, have a Xerox copy of everything in that green folder. Provide the copy unless they ask for the original.

Also, the FRRO application must be done online and you MUST upload a passport sized photo of you child/children on their website.  This must be done before you are able to print your application for exit permit.  Here is the website to apply for the FRRO exit permit: http://indianfrro.gov.in/frro/

1.       Completely filled out and printed FRRO exit permit application for each child.  Follow their instructions!!!!  Here’s one issue.  The website says that you must upload the photo and supporting documentation so I uploaded everything including all documents except the surrogacy contract.  I, however, get the sense that you really only need to upload the passport size photo because they print it on the exit permit that you will receive from the FRRO.  They have file size requirements on the FRRO’s website.  Luckily, my friend had adobe acrobat (not the reader) and was able to easily resize documents and images.  If it’s just the image that you’re uploading, you can resize it on the paint program.  It must be a JPEG file.

2.       Attach the passport photo on the application with a glue stick (take one with you to India).

3.       Upload the passport photo on the FRRO’s website

4.        Surrogacy Contract (original and copy to be safe but they only took the copy and I kept the original). If they ask you about the surrogates “undertaking” that is the last page of the contract.  The “no objection” letter.

5.       Doctor’s letter who provided the treatment (SCI will provide this in the green folder)

6.       Letter from hospital where child is born (SCI will provide)

7.       Infant passport (make a copy)

8.       Infant birth certificates (make a copy)

9.       Parent’s passport and visa photo copy

10.   Copy of parents return flight confirmation

11.   Copy of infants return flight confirmation

12.   Form C from your hotel or serviced apartment (just ask your hotel for Form C and they will provide.  It’s a verification that you were staying there.

13.   Your undertaking letter which is a letter handwritten from you saying that you will be supporting and caring for the child.

14.   Infant color passport photos.

*To make it easy. Take each application for exit permit with passport photos attached, the letter that you receive from the US Embassy, infant passports and birth certificates, parents copy of passport and visa page, parents and infants return flight confirmation, form C, your handwritten undertaking letter, and everything in the SCI green folder and you should be good to go.

MISC Information

I’ve mentioned infant passport photos a few times.  SCI will refer you to Dipanker  and he is amazing.  He will come to you, take the passport photos, and have them back to you in approximately 2 hours.  He will give you way more then you need.  He will also place them in individual folders so you know which photos are for which agency.  (Embassy, DNA, or FRRO). 
 
Packing List
I wanted to just briefly let you know what I took to India to pick up my twins.  You should certainly not take as much if you're picking up a singleton. 
  • Bottles (Playtex drop ins were a life saver because you can just throw the plastic part out). I took 6 of those bottles plus the regular Playtex bottles.  I rarely used the regular Playtex bottles. Just the bottles that supported the drop ins.  If you happen to run out of drop ins, you can go to Weiners in M Block to purchase more.  I took  about 4 boxes of 50 but ran out.  Luckily, my friend purchased more before he arrived in India. 
  • Diapers (I had huggies but hated them.  My boys would pee right through them so I have switched to pampers).   Anyway, I had about 350 diapers but did not need them all.  I think you can get away with around 200 - 250 diapers if you have twins.
  • I had about 30 onesies.  Yet, I still found myself getting laundry service.  You have to think about how quickly they can mess up a onesie.  Milk rolling down their chin, spit ups, if your kids pee through their diapers.  Onesies don't take up much room so I'd suggest taking as much as you can. 
  • Formula.  I took 3 cases of Similac Advanced (the container that weighs 1.45lbs).  I also had 3 packs of the ready made 2oz bottles.  I ran out and ended up buying two more containers from Weiners.  My friend also brought more ready made bottles.  The ready made bottles are perfect for when you are out at the Embassy, FRRO, SCI, and the airport and flight home. 
  • Hand mittens so they don't scratch themselves.  You only need a couple.
  • 1 pack of wash clothes and small thing of baby wash.  I received some as gifts and I took one with me to India.  I had Johnsons head-to-toe wash (yellow 9oz bottle) and baby lotion.
  • 5 swaddle blankets
  • 5 regular blankets
  • 1 boppy pillow (I wish I had room to take two)
  • Phil and Ted cocoons were a life saver for twins
  • Pacifiers (only a couple.  My boys don't like them that much).
  • Wipes (I took around 200 and ran out. I bought a pack of 400 wipes but took half of it.  If you run out, you can go to Weiners).
  • Burp Clothes
Expenses

Here’s a list of expenses that you may or may not know of.

1.       Chromosomal Labs                  $796.00 for paternity DNA testing.  A deposit of $399 is required.

2.       Baby Admission fees              (while babies are in hospital) approx. 10,000INR per baby/per day.  So about $150.00 a day for each baby. 

3.       Birth Certificates                      5000INR per baby (approx. $75.00). This is paid at SCI.  You will also have an option to get an Apostille stamp on the back for an additional 5000INR per baby.  I see no reason to get this. 

4.       Infant Passport Photos          800INR per baby if my memory serves me correctly.  Contact Dipanker.  If interested, shoot me an email and I will provide you with his contact information.

5.       CRBA & Passport                      $205.00 per baby.  (US Passport is $105 and CRBA is $100.00). You may pay in cash or used your card. 

6.       DNA Swab at embassy           1600INR per baby.  Take cash with you. 
 
7.     Courier service                        1350INR for international mailing 

8.       FRRO                                             2400INR ($35.00) per baby.  If you traveled on a tourist visa add an additional 1800INR ($26.82) as a penalty per baby.  So if you’re having twins, the fee is 8400INR ($125.00) (2400 plus 1800 penalty which is a total of 4200INR ($62.00) per baby).  (I’m using XE.com to convert).

9.       If you decide to use a baby nurse while there, the price is pretty reasonable.  The shift timings are either 8am to 8pm or 8pm to 8am.  The cost for a single baby is 1000INR ($15.00) per shift and for twins is 1200INR ($18.00) per shift.   

Other advice

I strongly suggest you get a prepaid cell phone while there.  It only costs about 150INR to add minutes.  The embassy and FRRO will want to know a local number to contact you.  Also, it is much easier to contact people when you have an Indian cell.  In case you’re as ignorant as I was to dialing numbers in India, here’s what I learned:  1.  You don’t have to dial the “+91” so if you see a number and it is “+91 1234567890” don’t include the 91.  Sometimes, you will have to dial “011” before you dial the numbers, other times you don’t.  I haven’t figured out when you must use the “011” so try both options LOL. 

 

Last but not least, I must give a huge shout out to my client-manager-turned-friend Kim Hendrix!  If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I met Kim from the very beginning and I have always felt like she was knowledgeable about this industry and her heart was in this.  I felt like she was as emotionally invested in me, the babies, and this journey and that has rang true throughout this entire roller coaster of a process.  This process has so many highs and lows that it is invaluable to be able to pick up the phone and speak to someone who understands exactly what you’re going through.  There has been many nights where I’m freaking out and I’m calling her late at night, early in the morning, mid-day, skyping, facetiming, etc LOL and Kim would sit up and talk to me.  There’s been times, and I think I blogged about this, where I’m at the store not knowing what to buy for baby pickup and she’s sitting on the phone with me walking me through everything that I need.  I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with Kim a couple of times when she came to DC.  It actually worked perfectly because I got to see her the day before I left for India. She made sure I had everything that I needed which was very reassuring.  There’s nothing like working so closely with someone who you know truly cares about you and your journey.  She kept things real with me, kept me level headed, and prevented me from going crazy and I appreciate her.  It was funny because she was so excited about the impending births that every time I called her she was freaking out thinking I was calling to tell her the babies were born LOL.  It was fun having someone to share those moments with.  Thanks so much Kim!

Well everyone, I guess it’s time to wrap this post up.  I’ll be sure to continue updating my blog so you can watch the little ones grow.  If you have any questions about anything I’ve posted about, please free to shoot me an email at flesteresq@gmail.com or you can give me a call.  I’ve met so many people and made many friends during this process.  I hope to continue to do so.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or just want to chat.  Until the next post…

 

Fred

*UPDATE* - I just remembered that you should also get some passport photos of yourself before you leave India (CVS does them for cheap).  You will need them for your DNA testing appointment and I believe the FRRO. 

*UPDATE* - I forgot to include the pediatrician visit.  Once you pick up your child from the hospital, they will give you a date to come back to see the pediatrician.  Please take 500INR per baby to this appointment (I didn't know of this fee until after the visit was over and they handed me a bill) LOL. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

New Photos

Hi All:

So, I am all settled in here in Delhi.  Chase and Camden were discharged from the hospital Saturday morning and I was able to take the back to the hotel with me.  It's amazing how much you learn about you children in such a short period of time.  It is also fun to see the personality differences.  Chase has made it known that he HATES to be swaddled completely.  He needs to have his arms out.  No matter how snug I make his swaddle, he WILL find a way to get those arms out - it is so funny.  Camden is just the opposite.  Swaddle him and he is out like a light.  I am going to take a picture of the two right now so you can see what I'm talking about. Given what I just said, I'm sure you can guess who is Chase and who is Camden:



 I think that is so funny!  So far, everything is going well.  I've been pretty busy video chatting friends and family back home.  I am happy that everyone is genuinely excited to meet the twins.  I also had the pleasure of video chatting with Anwar who is another SCI client.  He is expecting his twins (twin girls is what I think they are) next month.  I think he is posting a pic of our chat so go check it out.  I also got to talk to M, a really cool SCI client who had his son about a week ago.  We will likely do lunch soon. 

As a  quick update.  The boys got their first shots today.  They have a follow-up appointment this Wednesday with the pediatrician.  Check out some photos I took of the boys today.  I hope you all enjoy.

Chase is on the left. Camden on the Right:


Chase on the left, Camden on the Right:

Camden


Chase:

Camden:

Chase:
 


 

 


 
 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Here in Delhi

Hi All:

I am here in New Delhi! YAY!!!  I'm all checked in and anxious about tomorrow.  Dr. Gupta said my little ones will be discharged so I will be able to take them with me.  I cannot wait.  It was a 14hr flight that went smooth.  I flew United's direct flight to Delhi and I was happy with it.  I will let everyone know what happens tomorrow.  TTYL