Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Guess Who's a US Citizen!!!

Another day, another trip to a government agency.... and today's trip had a very happy result!!!! After paying our DNA lab an additional $250 to expedite our request, we received the results that confirm that there's a 99.998% chance that Adam is Micah's father. (Just look at their toes, eyebrows, or mouth if you want to remove the existing .002% worry from your mind.) The embassy called us at 10:30 to say that if we could bring them Micah's birth certificate today (the product of yesterday's visits to government agencies), they'd do what they could to process his passport in 24 hours. When I arrive after a 1 hour cab ride, they surprised me by saying that they'd turn the passport around in an hour if I cared to wait. Did I ever!!!!

We just have one more agency to visit, the FRRO office when Micah needs to receive an exit visa (since he carelessly didn't obtain an entry visa prior to his arrive in India). I can only hope that this process is like childbirth in that we'll forget about most of these excruciating details as soon as we walk in our front door...

Anyone who is going to be insulted by any quantification of our trip home, or who is going to accuse me of being ungrateful to the 1 billion people of India should just stop reading right here.

When we planned this trip, I was advised by the airline that I couldn't make a one-way booking to India because of the visa requirements, so I booked a round trip ticket with plenty of time in case Micah arrived closer to his actual due date. And I chose Continental to book my ticket because they offered one-stop travel from Denver-Mumbai. So this afternoon, with passport in my happy hands, I called Continental to re-schedule our flights, only to find that every seat on Continental to the US was filled through the end of August. Must be lots of families from the US who come to India for the summer months to visit their families and need to be back in the US for the school year. For a few hours, Adam tried to convince me that we should take this time to travel in India, see the Taj Mahal, or go to a beach and hang out and relax. I tried to open my mind to this idea, I really did, but the idea of bringing Micah through train stations, airports, and crowded places when he's less than one month old, in a country that's being griped by swine flu panic, not to mention the usual monsoon season illnesses, just made it hard for me. I really would like to see the beautiful places in my son's birthland, but we're just tired of being strangers in what is for even seasoned travellers like us, a strange and confusing land.

We finally were able to find seats on a flight from Delhi to Denver this Friday, costing us an extra $1100 above the $3000 we already paid for these tickets as well as $150 for Micah's ticket. AND we also had to book a separate $200's worth of tickets from Mumbai to Delhi. AND it doesn't seem like we'll be able to get the bassinet seat, so we'll have to hold Micah on our laps for the entire 26 hour flight. Did I mention that we've now paid $4450 for these tickets? Did I mention that domestic and international airports are separate in India, which means that we'll have to check our bags in Mumbai, re-claim them in Delhi, transfer to the International airport, re-check them, and then get on our international flight. This is not optimal even without an infant, but we'll do what we need to do to get home -- where we'll be by Sat. morning at 9 AM!


  1. Your "adventure" in India is almost over! Can't wait to see you and meet Micah! Safe travels!



  2. Yay! Little Tree Frog is coming home!!

  3. Hooray!! I can't wait to talk to you and see Baby Micah soon. You DO have the computer cam set up at home, right?

  4. Stephanie
    Congrats on the new American citizen! It's so cool to see these guys have their own US passport.
    Continental: oy... they really s***! I can't believe they aren't more accomodating to you. We ran into the same issues with Delta that's why we chose Qatar and did one-ways. One suggestion, do insist on a bassinet when you are at the airport, a lot of times they do have them but it means they'll have to shift others around to accomodate you or break up families. If you insist they might cave in. Also if the flight is not full, you should try to get three seats with an empty seat between you. You can usually make your own makeshift bassinet using pillows and blankets with the seat in between you and your husband. We did that on the short leg of our trip and it worked really well. Hopefully the Delhi trip does have a few extra seats.
    I hope you have some family waiting for you on your arrival to give you guys a break and help you get settled in after so many hours in tranit. That's one of the things we didn't plan for given how last minute our flight plans were an when we arrived home we were EXHAUSTED to the point of collapse but neither of us could fall asleep as we had two infants to feed and take care of all night. Fortuntaely a neighbor stopped by and prepped some food for us and helped us get settled in. It was a godsend.
    FFRO - I hope you guys do bring someone with you to be your advocate. It will save you some headaches. One thing to be careful with them is the window for exiting that they put down on your exit visa. Usually once they issue it you have four days to leave the country. If you don't leave within this period then you have to apply for another exit visa. We had a bad expereince with our FFRO person and to add insult to injury he only put down 1 day as our window to exit. Fortunately our ticket was within 24 hours of the exit window so it all worked out but had our flight been delayed for any reason we would have had to apply for another exit visa. Like I said, some of these bureaucrats are real a******* and if you don't grease their palms they will do things to complicate your exit process. So do double-check with them during the interview how long you will have to exit from teh point the visa is issued.
    Hope you have a safe flight home!

  5. You're so nearly there now. Just a couple more hurdles to get over, then everything will be fine.

    Go team tree frog!


  6. Look at his little passport, what a cutie! Almost there you three.

    Looking forward to your "we're home" & "FFRO" blog post :)

    Johnny & Darren

  7. Wow! You guys have had quite an adventure. I think I prefer agonizing child birth to what you're experiencing. At least my ordeal only lasted 10 hours....

    If you need any help on Saturday, upon your return, Adam knows the number. I'm happy to bring you food, babysit - whatever. Just let me know!

    Cant wait to meet Baby Micah!

  8. Congrats! It all worked out very smoothly. The passport is adorable. Micah looks so different than he did when we were there!! He must be changing every day, right in front of you! He is gorgeous!

  9. Hello Stephanie, Adam & Micah!
    You go, family!
    Congratulations, all, for making it through this marathon. Micah is adorable. Stephanie, your writing is so humorous. Really enjoying it!
    Your phonse message space was used up on Monday, and have a crazy week so no time to call, but thinking about you all! Karen in Tucson

  10. Mazel Tov! So glad you are able to come home soon. Hope you have a smooth trip home!

  11. Oh my God, what a story! The red tape sounds like torture. Truly. But what a sweet little boy you have! He gets cuter every day.

    Hang in there, you guys. You'll be back in your own bed in no time (and it will look DELICIOUS).

    Wishing you an easy trip home,
    Mary & Michael

  12. Stephanie and Adam,
    What a wonderful experience you will have had.
    I hope Micah does well with the flight home. I can't wait to see more pictures,

  13. Last comment from Debbie-Boston

  14. Awwww - congratulations Micah! you will make America proud!!!

    Red tape sucks, but it is part and parcel of the Indian surrogacy journey ...including bribes needed for expedited passports and visas ... but hey, we are not in Kansas Toto.

    He just looks so much like Adam, infact, he seems to have changed these past few days. And I'm sure I see a bit of you in there as well.
    What a delight.

    ENJOY !!!!