Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Conception Day, 3 July...

Happy Conception Day Max and Lily;on the 3rd of July, 2010 your father was getting ready to come back to Adelaide from New Delhi ( after we told everyone he was at a workshop in Sydney), the first of many lies we told as we kept this most precious of secrets...

That night, four years ago, i was very privileged to receive a phone call from Dr. Vishnukanth Deene, who told me that the embryos, "not so great, but there  are two brighter than the sun, they are your babies..." This was followed by a phone call from Dr. Shivani reassuring me that we would have our baby, we never dreamed that there would be two!

Thank you for making our world



Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter

Easter is one of those family holidays for us and we are blessed with supportive caring family and friends who are with us always.

Our Easter Sunday started with an egg hunt, with Max and Lily wearing their bunny ears that they made at home along with their decorated Easter baskets. This was followed by an inaugural egg and spoon race, organised by one of our children's Godmother's, our much loved Pammy - some pictures are below...

Looking splendid and ready to look for eggs


Our egg and spoon race with salad spoons and a dose of cheating

The day continued with a great roast lunch with family and old friends and a slow and easy leftover dinner, all with some extra chocolate thrown in. 

At the end of the day, the twins put themselves to bed, after varying success in putting on their PJ's - an exciting day that showed John and I how big our babies have grown.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Back in time - Windsor and London ( before Delhi!)

 The best of our time in London -

We loved the guards, black taxi's, red buses, Big Ben, the Eye, the Blue Rooster and because we had to see it every day, Big Ben...

British Museum

Blue Rooster

near the Globe, across from St. Paul's

Goodbye London

Saturday, March 22, 2014

In Delhi ... meeting our surrogate- what a surprise and blessing

Our meeting with H went as well as I had hoped for, but didn't quite go as planned - but what goes to plan with infertility?

Let me start at the beginning - i have been asking for the last couple of months if H was open to meeting us and H was clear that she didn't want to. This came with those mixed feelings i have previously talked about; envy for those who had spent time with their surrogate and also a bit of relief thrown in.

But things change and at the last minute, H changed her mind, agreeing to meet us because she wanted to see Max and Lily. As it turned out, knowing Max and Lily were in Delhi was too much of a temptation to miss. So, with my big girl pants on, a meeting was planned at a time that was convenient to H.

The meeting was on H's terms, so it was all about H meeting Max and Lily, asking lots of questions about our family; lots of touching and hugging thrown in, with moments of quiet and just watching Max and Lily playing. John pretty much stayed in the background watching us all.

There were a couple of hiccups on the way- Max and Lily were sightly overwhelmed by it all, and became very worried about Mummies broken tummy and Lily made it clear that she wasn't going back into H’s tummy!

The second was because of the short notice and Holi, we ran around like mad things buying gifts etc. John was adamant that H son should have a cricket set;their daugher jewellery making set and a hamper of treats for H's family to share which were all gratefully received. By far the most  precious item to H were the photos of Max and Lily from birth till now.

My own anxiety about this meeting all evaporated as i saw H's smile get bigger and bigger.

As time passed, H became more confident, asking more questions and wanting to know about our family, who Max and Lily were close to, what they did, what made them happy. She  laughed with us, at our family photos and listened carefully as Max and Lily explained our family, friends and pets to H.

I am very mindful that this wouldn't have happened if we weren't in Delhi and very blessed that the temptation of meeting our children was too much.

The most precious outcome is that H is open to meeting with us again, wanting to spend more with Max and Lily. We are very respectful of her privacy and will do so, on her terms - and yes, we have her permission to share these photos on our blog.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

And now we are three!

Much excitement in our house as we celebrated being three.

Max and Lily are talking up a storm and very keen to help and be part of everything- so we went that special speed when you have little people 'helping' and at the same time wanting to do things " myself', or as Lily say " I very needs do this, myself". 

They had a brilliant week, spending time with nearly all their special people, playing with their new treasures and talking ( and talking and talking). Max has started to call Lily, 'Lily' rather than 'Memy'.

Between the Birthday and the party, there was the now pre birthday haircut. Max looks so different without his curls

Here are some favourite photos of their special day and the family party that followed on the weekend.

Happy Birthday my darlings, our family are very blessed to have you in our lives.

Helping make cakes
Max with one of his favourite presents, the giant construction peg board and Daddy and Lily dressing Dora doll
Thank you Auntie Rosie for the tea set

Max and his Digger cake

Lily and her Dora cake

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas from our family to yours....

This is a wonderful Christmas; at 34 months Max & Lily are very aware of Christmas, Santa and presents.  They took great joy in wrapping presents ( with much sticky tape) and talking about which present goes to which family member or friend.

It has only been in the last week that they realised that presents are reciprocated. It was a moment of great joy when they discovered this. I will forever remember Lily's words " Ohh, i like presents!"

Merry Christmas from our families to yours; May the new year be joyous and full of laughter and light

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Favourite photos

Here are my two favourite photos of my darlings right now. I wish they could be Christmas photos, but an encounter with Christmas Panda made my two a bit concerned about Santa and his mates...

too gorgeous

Max building his tower car for Train boy and Super Lily/
Everything is happening at the moment, their language and imaginations' are exploding and i am hearing quite a bit about the adventures of Train Boy and Super Lily ( with capes). They are painting, drawing and making pictures with sticks, material and paper with a gusto and sharing them with our family. We have also started to send letters to family and friends.

Routines and understanding what is going to happen is very important right now ;both Max & Lily like knowing what is going to happen when and having a basic calendar where we mark off when we go to school ( playgroup), when we visit friends and lists for when we go shopping so they can help.

Their language development is amazing to  listen to; how they put together their words and sentences and how they argue a point.

Christmas is exciting and we have been collecting presents to give to family and friends, but Max & Lily are completely oblivious that they will be receiving presents at this point, which is very sweet. Everything is about who the present is for, which paper will we wrap our presents in and how much sticky tape do you really need to wrap a present ( more than Mummy thinks!)

This weekend we are re-organising the lounge room to put up the Christmas tree. They both desperately want the Christmas tree up, so wish us luck

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Why Australians are moving towards surrogacy ( otherwise titled by annual rant on surrogacy),

Every year, since i have commenced this blog i find myself writing about adoption and the lack of opportunities for Australians who are wanting to adopt. For John and I, we just wanted to have children, they didn't need to be related to us, but as it turned out, surrogacy was the only way we would ever have children. Adoption in Australia is mission nearly impossible ( see below).

The saddest thing is the 78% decline in adoption rates, at a time in which orphanages are over following and children make their own way in the world. I understand the importance of connection to your culture, to your heritage, but i also understand poverty and lack of opportunities for schooling, for security and for attachment and the long term affect of this.

Anyway back to the subject at hand, the overview is below is not great and even worse for those who are considering international adoption and as always not all is as it seems...

78% decline

in adoptions in Australia in the last 25 years
Infographic showing 50% of adoptions were intercountry (from overseas)

Almost 50%

of adoptions were intercountry (from overseas)

Infographic showing 3 in 5 adopted children were under 5 years of age.

3 in 5

adopted children were under 5 years of age

Infographic showing 86% of adopted children who came from overseas were from Asia.


of adopted children who came from overseas were from Asia

Infographic showing 3 to 6.5 years is the typical wait time for families wishing to adopt a child from overseas.

3 to 6.5 years

is the typical wait time for families wishing to adopt a child from overseas

How many children were actually adopted in 2011/2012 ?      

In 2011–12, 66% of children who were the subject of a finalised Hague adoption entered
Australia under guardianship orders, and then had their adoption orders finalised in Australia. The remaining 34% entered Australia under full adoption orders made in their country of origin (Table A14).  So only 82 international adoptions approved in Australia, the remaining 67 adoptions, occurred overseas with parents who had been living off shore for more than 2 years and were able to adopt in the country in which they were located in and now returning home must also have this adoption verified by the courts..

And how long did people wait?

For children who were placed with their adoptive parents in 2011–12, the median length of
time from when an Australian applicant became an official client of the department to when
a child was placed with them was 56 months, or 4 years and 8 months. The median length of
time ranged from 32 months for Taiwan to 79 months for ChinaThe tricky bit is when do you become an ‘official client of the department’, this only happens after your assessment and after you have been approved, so for most clients add another 18mths to 3 years from their initial enquiry.

What is of most interest to me is what is not discussed:
  1. The cost of adoption
  2. The failure rate? How many 'fail' the assessment for being too sick, too fat, too mad, too old , had left school too early, had too much debt, hadn't grieved enough, had grieved too much over their infertility, loss of a child, of what could have been, didn't have an understanding of being a parent, too gay etc etc..
  3. The drop out rate? Your approval for this is only valid for four years, so after being assessed and evaluated , you get to do this again, with of course the fees, the intrusions and the waits...
and what worries me is the upcoming Hague convention on surrogacy and i wonder how many of us will be too fat, too mad, too uneducated or not heterosexual enough to be considered parents this time round.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Max & Lily 33 months and growing fast...

It has been lovely to catch up with our SCI family and the bigger kids. My generation of kids are now starting to turn 3 which is mind blowing.

Some, have kindly pointed out that they want to see photos of Max & Lily, so here they are, our big kids...

They both continue to grow, thriving spending  time with their extended family and friends. I love watching them both learn the social niceties, answering the door, making sure people have drinks, sharing food. Knowing who will slip them a treat, either a prime piece of roast as the meat is being cut, or an extra bit of mango and who to cosy up to.

Their language development is phenomenal, watching them put language together never gets boring. Max is still are laid back chap, but when he decided he wants something a particular way, he becomes very determined, as a consequence there have few episodes of watching the clock. Lily is still loud and opinionated, still loves to read her books and her language is more developed than Max's, as has her ability to say NO thanks!

Max will happily play trains and cars, encouraging anyone who comes close to play with him. Lily still needs to odd bit of quiet time, sitting in the stolen cat basket in the bay window, looking out at the world.

32/33 months is very much 'myself' time; i will put on my shoes, myself; i will eat by 'myself; i will draw by 'myself'; i will brush my cats 'myself; i will get dressed 'myself. When it is not 'myself' time, it is 'i help', so i get helped brushing my hair, choosing clothes and we get helped doing the washing, putting away the shopping or feeding the cats.

Carrots ( however they come, but roasted is best), peas, beans, tomatoes, cucumber, baked fish and roast lamb are favourite foods, as are mangos, apples and strawberries. Joeycakes ( chocolate cakes) and Auntie Helen's cup cakes are pretty good

At the moment puzzles and art are just the best things in the world and we must do both every day. Thank goodness Christmas is coming up and we have a need for more decorations and cards galore.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Visiting our surrogate in India in 2014?

There has been a lot of conversations about meeting surrogates; having an on going relationship and what that might look like. These are all good conversations to be having, how we make sense of our story, what we tell our children.

Anyone doing surrogacy will have a lot of conflicting thoughts and emotions and to think that this stops after the birth of your child is naive. We also have experts who chime in with what's best practice, what should happen. The reality is that nothing is ever ideal. Here are my thoughts, do with them what you will.

I choose India because my name would be on the birth certificate. I choose India because egg donation is anonymous and I choose India because I didn't want an ongoing relationship with our surrogate. I didn't want my children calling someone else a variation of Mummy. I knew that there would be no ongoing relationships.

But I did want to meet our surrogate and I did want some kind of closure with her.

We didn't get to meet our surrogate before our embryo transfer.

We arrived 5 days after our birth of our children and then our children stayed in hospital for a further 7 days as John had shingles and was in quarantine.

I have told this story to many, so it is not new; our surrogate didn't want to meet us. I was sad and guilty over this, John relieved. Our surrogate had plans to return home with help, and it would be entitled of me to think that she would be waiting around for when it was convenient for us to meet her.

I did end up meeting H, briefly. Unintentionally and that causes me guilt. I was in the office, working, waiting to meet Dr. Shivani and she saw me and came to speak to me with someone from her support team. H was on her way home or about to leave and the meeting was brief.

H told me that she knew the babies weren't hers and while she knew this in her head, her heart got quite a shock when she saw these "white pasty babies coming from her body"; she was pleased that they were going to a family that loved them and that she didn't want to meet us because she " needed time for heart to catch up with her head".

I felt bad/guilty that I had imposed myself on H. I was able to talk to some of the surrogate support people and found out that the " white pasty baby' comment had come from group discussions in which the surrogate talked about how this pregnancy was different from their own and talked about what else would be different.

I can only speak for myself, but a lot of my thinking about our surrogate comes from me thinking about my future conversations with Max & Lily; my own internal dialogue about having used a surrogate and a wish to have some kind of closure.

I want to respect H own self determination and decisions; respect the relationships that she has with her family and community.  I know that she trusts Saurabh and his team and she barely knows us. I can't presume that we have some kind of privileged relationship because she carried our children - we don't.  Then you add the complex cultural, social, societal and family norms , most of which as a Westerner i am probably oblivious to and it just gets more complex. It just tough when her decisions are not what I want for me or my children.

Next year, we will be travelling to India for work. I will ask Saurabh if H would like to meet us. I will cover her and her family's costs to come to us in Delhi and make myself, Max & Lily available to her during our stay. John remains ambivalent about whether to meet her or not.

Whether H chooses to meet us will be up to H and I have to respect that.