James & Emily

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Sunday, 14 January 2018

And now the gremlins turn almost 8

Its been a very long time since my last post.
Life with twins caught up with us.. Balancing family life, work, relationship.. it was not forgiving.
Our kids are doing fine, they are growing up to be two fantastic people. In school they are thriving and they have lots of friends. Both are unique in their own way.
Emily turned out to be a really girly girl and James is a typical boy.

Life hasn't been easy though. Our relationship became very strained, we lost ourselves in our focus to be a 'perfect' family.
A year and a half ago we decided to separate, it's been painful for all of us and it took us a while to adjust.
We've managed to pull through and share the responsibilities for our kids, albeit still difficult.
Alex' job is still very demanding so most of the time they live with me.
We both feel strongly that we failed. Our kids came into this life because we made that choice. It wasn't an 'accident'.
Since our break up we both tried to find ourselves again, finding both new loves and both losing it again. Both still so attached to what we built and started.
Alex talks about coming back together, rebuilt our family that we both treasured so much.
For the kids it would be a dream come true, for me, I just wish I knew what to do, I feel strongly that whatever I do, I can't backtrack on it anymore. If miracles do happen, this should be one.

The other day I sat down with the kids and showed them all the stories I've written in this blog and in my diary that I kept since.
It stipulates how we evolved from two men with no babies, into two men with babies, toddlers, children.
They loved it. They both understand very well that they were born through a surrogate, they are proud they were born in Mumbai India and both look forward visiting India.
Alex and I both love travelling and we've been in many, many countries with them.
When they were four the kids and I went to Thailand, Alex had to work so he stayed in Europe and could sadly only be four days with us. Personally I can't remember holidays from when I was four, but Emily and James still know a lot of details of that trip.
Creating memories is one of the most rewarding things that I can give them.
Our last family holiday with the four of us went to South Africa were we did safaris, stayed in the most beautiful places and we both fell in love with the country.
Fond memories.
Sometimes Alex and I both wish we could go back to the moments that we both screwed up. Well, lets say the hours before we screwed up! I think in hindsight we both would've dealt differently with things.
Since our parents live in Spain the kids go there a lot and they love it! The last few summers they spent the whole summer there with Omi, Opa and Grammy, with me and Alex flying back and forth.
And they've been to a dozen other countries, but of course, since we live in Europe its easy to go to different countries really quick!

The kids are bilingual, our family language is English and their Dutch is on the same level.
I've started with Spanish as well, but they learned faster then my knowledge of the language is!
But what a gift to give to your kids, the ease they can switch between languages is amazing.

When the kids were five I thought it was a good idea to start a bar, hospitality was always my passion, the kids were going to school so I had a lot more free time on my hands. Such a miscalculation! Running a bar and restaurant was so intense in combination with having a family, soon I felt I just couldn't do it anymore. After school the kids would be in the restaurant till six, we had the luxury of a cook, but it didn't weigh up to the lack of quality time with the kids. This year I made the decision that the combination wasn't working, so I got rid of the bar and restaurant. Which means at the moment that I am a single parent of twins with no income. NITK (no income two kids).
It feels really weird to be in a situation like this. After doing something I love, I have to find something that I love equally, at least that's what I tell myself.
The really good thing is however, that both kids are thriving with me being back home again. It's amazing to see how much they enjoy me being home all the time. No more hanging around at my work, taking naps on stage, eating all biscuits, going to kitchen staff for snacks, icecream and so on.
Those last things are a bummer according to the kids.

At the end of this month they turn eight and all I can think of is a stupid tile "where did the time go".
I try to live intense, conscious about what happens in our lives, being aware, grateful, attentive to people. I try and I try, but when the reality hits "where did the time go", it just means that I really have to step up to the plate and make sure that I'm really aware of all that happens in our lives.
Never before I made new year resolutions. This year I've made a wish list for myself, James and Emily made one too. Theirs existed from more holidays to seeing Opa more. Mine is all focused on being a better person to the people that really matter and to myself.
I want every fiber of myself to be aware and alert. Not let life live me, I want to live Life. Its almost like wanting to taste life. Really taste life as if I'm eating my favourite Indian curry, or a strawberry sorbet.
I am going to end this first post since long and I am sure it's not all very coherent, but that's the period I am in; not very coherent.
There are so many stories to tell about the kids, I'll add them in my upcoming posts.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

growing and growing

Last Thursday A went with the babes to the 'consultatie-bureau', its a baby check up place. Once a month we have an appointment there with the peaditrician but the best part is, if you want to come in every week to have the babes weight, meassured or whatever question comes to mind, you can just pop in.
As James and Emily are growing really fast, we want to keep track on their weight, and yes, they grow fast! In two weeks time they both gained 395 grams and 390 grams. I am starting to believe that by 6 months they can walk:)
At the moment James is over-stretching a bit, which is quite common with premature babies, and also easily to treat by doing exercices with him (better said; we have to do the exercise).
They are both very lively, laughing, giggling even, and talkative, grumpy time is everyday between 6pm and 8pm (good reason to work a bit longer sometimes haha). A had is first flight this Sunday evening to Dubai, he was looking forward to this and also dreaded the moment he had to leave, and so did I. The nights were okay and the babes did fine, in the end the most hard part was for A since he was gone, he just got back and was thrilled to see us all again! We've decided to see how this all works out for the next two months and after that we'll see if we need to make other arrangements.
Since we the babes arrived, a whole new world has opened for us it seems, other parents are really opening up with everything that goes on in their childs life. Every little detail is spoken of. Suggestions how to go about things are also thrown at us by lighting speed... fortunately we have slippery shoulders so nothing sticks lol.
Next week we'll have to register them both for, can you believe it, middle school! Apparently if you want your children to go to the school of your choice you have to be early. Someone even said we should have registered the babes prior birth. To me these things sound so stupid but I guess thats the way it goes.
I'll post pics later today (because really I should be working at the mo:)

Thursday, 15 April 2010


The 30th of April is a national holiday; its the Queens B-Day:) At the park where we live it's dress up time for children and A couldn't wait to see James in his outfit
Emily just chillin' and cooing on the 'magic carpet'
Here you can really see the differents in size, they love to be awake at the same time:)
Emily is having a moment to herself here, one of the first times she grabbed 'the noisemaker'
This was a pic of Emily whilst we were in India, lounging at the pool, I just love this pic of her. Can't believe how much she has grown already

Monday, 5 April 2010

Happy Easter all

Well it certainly has been a while since my last post!
And I have to be honest here, I did have time (once a week or so) to post.. but... when you have a moment to yourself... just enjoy doing NOTHING! LOL. Everything is going great with James and Emily, it seems as if they grow every single day, all the changes are happening so fast that for us as parents it is hard to keep up with them, at times I do wish that they would stay small just a little longer!
James is now 4.9 kilos and Emily a solid 3.9 kilos, she still looks so delicate but that is also because we compare her with James' size.
Since last Saturday they actually give us smiles! And I do understand now how these small things just light up your day .. when you feel tired; no sleep, dirty; no time to shower yourself until A is home too.
We've been adjusting to a normal life since we got back and it took some time for us. The nights have been horrible for a few weeks and, knock on wood, since last week the nights are definitely getting better! Now there is only one interruption at 3am and that is really good, at least thats what we think.
Recently we have noticed that other new parents like to talk about their 'perfect' babies and I just got fed up with it. It started to seem as if James and Emily where the only babies who needed night feedings and everyone else's baby would sleep through the night at just 2 weeks old. Well bugger that! I am sure there are plenty of babies who actually do that, but stop bragging about it! Especially when I talk about it with my swollen, red eyes and in desperate need of sleep!
Besides the sleep deprivation, where no one can prepare for in my opinion, life is excellent for us.
I had to start work a week after we got back and I still think it's a waist of time:), and A is full-time at home still. He is doing an excellent job here and we both dread the moment he has to start work again. The babes go out on a daily basis in their pram and they both love it.
This weekend we went on a mini break with my parents to the South of Holland, and James and Emily both got the special grandparents attention which they deserve... and we got some time for ourselves which was great too!
On Saturday night we went to a lovely pub in Belgium and we just enjoyed an evening of la la la.
Last week we decided to make the last big change for a while; we're getting a bigger car:(
We live in the center of The Hague and we thought we could get by by using public transport and just walking. However, we have learned that with two babies there is no way in hell to go somewhere by train. For one, the pram doesn't go into all trams or trains because of the bars in the middle (I am sure elderly are very very happy with these bars but for us, well they just don't work) and also because when you go somewhere, you're almost inclined to hire a move company to take all the things with you! In any case, it means my beamer sports car has to go. No more rooftop down and pretending to be 24 again; a big car with baby seats. Well, at least it has private glass haha.
I have so much to write, but have to attend to the babes now. I do solemnly pledge to write more regularly. Hope all is well with all of you out there and the most important thing I could say now is that the journey to get here is sooooooooo much worth it!
Good thoughts to all!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

feeling nackered

At the mo we are in a transition period; we had to change formula and both babes aren't to excited about that... which means we are absolutely nackered! Wanted to post more, but was just chatting with one of the founders of surrogacy-land.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

we're home

The last week in Mumbai has flown by. We left Friday night and we arrived Saturday at 6pm dutch time.
James and Emily haven't made a sound the whole flight! We booked business class seats (treat to ourselves) and we saw the faces of other BC passengers: horror! two babies in BC seemed to scare some passengers lol. After departing the plane some of them came up to us and complemented us with our babes, they were a pleasure to travel!

Our last week was a week of waiting mostly, the HCO was telling us on a daily basis that the passports would be ready the next day, but they never came! On Thursday we decided to just go to the HCO and wait until they had printed them, when we arrived they were already waiting for us to collect them so we were very happy. Friday morning we went to the FRRO and according to Asha, who went along with us, we were the first couple to receive the exit visas within the hour! We were absolutely prepared to wait all day, but we were out of there at 10:20am: with the exit visas! We did some last minute shopping and managed to spend a couple of thousands. Then we went back to the hotel for some sleep but didn't get round to it. There was a big party from an Indian cement company and the music was so loud that even inside we had to scream to hear each other (I am NOT exaggerating here). So, with no sleep at all we left for the airport at 12:01am exactly, our flight was leaving at 5am, but having read all the horror stories other people encountered at the airport we thought it would be best to leave early and just wait in the bc lounge.
And another reason was that we purchased our tickets with my dads creditcard, when we received the email confirmation it stated that we needed to bring the creditcard which was in Holland:( After calling with the airline they told us to bring a copy and a signed letter of the holder of the creditcard which should be enough to get us on board, we didn't feel to sure about it so we wanted extra time for verbal convincing of the officers in charge... we didn't needed any time, and we went sailing through immigration and all the other check points.
Some of the checkpoints took an extra minute because of course we had the question: where is the mother?. I had in mind what the Mikes had told us once; do not elaborate on surrogacy just tell them; I am the father, there is no mother and we have all the stamps from the FRRO. It helped, even though some people glazed a bit weird.
In fact we had a nicer experience leaving the airport with the babes than we had last year when we were just tourist leaving India.
In Istanbul we had some transit time, which was pleasant too, and after that we started the last stretch of our journey home. At Schiphol we did feel a bit stressed, because we didn't have a clue if there would be questions at immigration. To our surprise there was just one remark: congratulations with the twins. That was the first officer since leaving the hotel who had only said one thing and that one thing was so nice to hear.
Our luggage was already waiting for us so after leaving the plane we passed immigration within 15 minutes (record time for us anyways).
Grammy, Omi, Bompa, aunties, closest friends were waiting for us and we started to cry once again:) It was enormous to finally be with our loved ones, we had stress at times in Mumbai with regards to the paperwork, so we felt so incredible relieved that everything went so well.
We had drinks at the airport, got presents for the babes (yah, unwrapping has started!) and left to get home.
Our parents had put up signs with: Hoera, een jongen! and Hoera, een meisje! (boy/girl), on the inside they went over the top which we enjoyed BIG TIME!
A and I were nackered and went to bed around 10, and Omi (my mother) would do the night shift with Bompa (my dad), which was wonderful because this way we could catch a good night sleep, so we did.
Today we had champagne, more gifts and the pleasure of seeing James and Emily in their cots.
It's overwhelming when you experience that moment, it really feels as if everything comes together with these little simple things.
For all of us who had a different route to become parents, it really feels so rewarding when you finally see your own bundle of joy in your own house, in their own room, with people who care about them surrounding them. And as Asha said, surro babies are the most whished for children.
Next Sunday we're having a Meet & Greet James & Emily for friends and family, so this gives us some time to get into a routine first.

Now why did it take us four weeks to sort out the papers? Certainly not because of the Indian authorities, but awkwardly because of the British authority.
The thing is, we are in fact the first couple ever to have used a widow/single surrogate. The HCO and the Home Office just didn't know how to apply the rules. At first they were strict in using the normal surrogacy rules (asking for the papers of the husband (but he passed away: 'still, we need them'), then they asked for her marriage certificate (we did have the death certificate) but our clinic did not have that and this was the moment things got a bit ugly.
When we went first to the HCO we thought we did all our homework, all the prep work they could ever ask for, and we still feel that way. To our surprise however, they wanted proof that she was married to her husband.
Since our surrogate was muslim she never registrated her marriage, (why didn't the clinic just state that she was single 'cause then we never would have had all these questions).
In the end, it meant that our surrogate had to be interviewed, the clinic had an interview with the HCO and after that we got the 'all clear'!

Babes are screaming so later more!

Friday, 19 February 2010


We have them!!
I haven't posted much lately, one because two babies means you're really really busy, 2ndly A has been running around Mumbai on a daily basis the last couple of weeks to get the passports.
There has happened a lot, which I will elaborate on in a later post.
But this is just one short post with a very happy message: we are almost on our way home!

Emily and James are doing so extremely well, we could not have asked for easier babies!
James does have some colic issues at the moment (he told me for hours last night:), but fortunately I bought something for that before we came here, so he's fine again... now I just need some sleep.
A is to the HCO to make the payment for the passports and we can collect them in a few days, than a visit to the ever so exciting FRRO and we are out of here!
So rather than applying for asylum here, we're excited that this whole paperwork thing is almost finished.
Besos to all and all the best thoughts for everyone who is expecting or to-be expecting soon! It is the best change in life ever.