MicroblogMondays: Legal Stuff

It is tax return season, but we can’t file our taxes until we get one thing done, which is to get the babies’ social security numbers.  Normal people would automatically apply for their newborns’ numbers before their discharge from the hospital.  But we are not normal people.  I still haven’t written the second part of our birth story yet, but right after the babies were born, we had to attend to a bunch of paperwork on top of learning how to take care of newborn twins.  The nursing staff and the pediatricians were constantly in and out of the room.  Annie’s family and friends were visiting.  With the chaos, I am a bit cloudy on what exactly happened, but when we were asked if we would like to apply for the babies’ SSN, my first instinct was not yet.  The reason being, the birth certificates would only have Bob’s name on them as the father, but the mother’s name would be blank because I used donor eggs.  If we had filed for social security right after birth, the record at Social Security would also show that the mother’s name is blank.  Every state is different in terms of the laws.  For Annie’s home state, in order for my name to be on the birth certificate after using donor eggs, I have to file for “Step Parent Adoption” in California.  It is only after that then Vital Statistics department at Annie’s state would add my name.  In November, after the hazy first few weeks with twins, I finally emailed a few lawyers regarding this.  No one called or wrote me back.  That was when I realized that phone calls were probably going to be much faster in terms of getting a response.  The local law firm sounded very experienced with this type of filing, but the paralegal was moaning and groaning a bit on the phone when she learned that the surrogacy was done in Annie’s state.  The laws had changed recently.  An intended mother who used donor eggs used to be able to send in the CA court order to the Vital Statistics department in Annie’s state in order to get an amended birth certificate with her name on it.  It is no longer the case as Annie’s state’s court clerk does not honor the CA court clerk’s authority.  An extra step would be needed for the CA court clerk to get a signature from a CA judge before the court orders would be recognized by Annie’ state.  Bureaucracy is the name of the game.  After moaning and groaning for two minutes about Annie’s state, the paralegal quoted me a rate that was very reasonable.  It matched the ballpark figure I was told prior to the surrogacy process.  The email that same day from the same paralegal said that she quoted the wrong rate as she didn’t take into account for filing for twins, but the law firm would still honor the original rate.  Phew.  We “saved” $1500.  It took a few weeks for the paperwork to be done, and took another few days before Bob had the time to go to downtown San Francisco to sign the paperwork.  Everything was sent to our county clerk on December 5th.  The paperwork was received on December 8th.  Our paralegal told us that our county has a streamlined process and it usually only takes 4 to 6 weeks.  It happened around the holidays, so I was expecting things to be done by end of January to beginning of February.  Well, things took a lot longer than they should.  After some back and forth with the paralegal, she found out that it took a long time for the judge to sign, and then the county clerk was out of the office for training for a week.  We still haven’t received the orders yet.  We just want to file our taxes, but can’t claim the babies on our return until we have their social security numbers.  We decided to just apply for their numbers before the amended birth certificates are sent to us.  Bob took last Friday off and attended the babies’ 6-month check up.  After that, he waited at our local social security office for 2.5 hours.  He had to be the one doing it because his name is the only name shown on the birth certificates.  I settled the babies down at home then went to join him with lunch.  When it was finally time for our turn, the lady behind the counter was super nice, but was a bit apprehensive about what we were doing because probably not too many people would come to the office for an application for social security numbers for not just one but two 6-month-olds.  Right off the bat, she said that it would be a lengthy process to verify their births.  Luckily, after checking, she declared that Annie’s state is one of the states that has an online verification process for birth certificates.  We still waited for about 35 minutes before she could finish with the whole application (everything takes twice as long with twins).  So now we wait for two weeks before we receive their SSN in the  mail and can finally file the tax returns.  In the future, I can return to the social security office with the amended birth certificates so that my name can be added in the record as the babies’ mother officially.  If I had known how much work and how long it would be to get the step parent adoption done, I would have just turned in their social security application at the hospital.

Everything is so complicated with surrogacy…


MicroblogMondays: Double Stroller

We have been using this frame stroller with the twins since they were born.  It is super convenient in terms of not having to take the babies out of the car seats to put them in a separate stroller.  The car seats just snap on.  The four cup holders and the big storage basket at the bottom are convenient  There are always pros and cons about everything.  The one thing that I don’t like about the frame stroller is that it is big and clunky to lift in and out of the car.  It extends super long and the front baby/car seat feels like a mile away.  Because the wheels don’t maneuver as well as I would like, they bump into door frames in and out of stores all the time.  Currently it has been kept in the back of our mini-van most of the time.  Because of the weight to lift it in and out of the van, and the time it takes to strap the babies in the car seats and to move them in the frame stroller, I find myself resisting going out for a walk because of the trouble I have to go through to do all of that.

We never put a full double stroller on the baby registry as I felt we didn’t need one until much later.  There were already ten thousand things to read up on and consider for the registry.  I didn’t need to add one on the list, especially when it wasn’t needed immediately.  Recently, I finally felt the need to purchase one so that I would be more motivated to go out with the babies.  I started reading reviews and  found that twin families rave about this double stroller.  A few times I almost ordered it online when it was on sale.  I hesitated because I just had a nagging feeling that I would need to try this one before purchasing it.  Local big chain baby stores didn’t carry too many double strollers.  Recently, a new chain baby store opened in our neighborhood and we finally got to try out the popular double stroller I mentioned above.  I am so glad we did, because I really dislike this thing!  It was heavy and folded with the seats on the outside so they could potentially get dusty in storage.  The canopies were clunky and the basket at the bottom was small.  So the answer was No.

After reading reviews, doing research, and watching online videos, I finally decided on another double stroller.  Unfortunately this brand is not as well known so I couldn’t find a store that carries it.  But I was still willing to order it to try it out without seeing it first.  It shows you how much I like all the things I read/watched online.  And this denim blue double stroller didn’t disappoint.  It is the lightest all terrain double stroller on the market right now.  The folding keeps the seats inside so they don’t get dirty.  The stroller stands up when folded.  Each seat has a belly bar.  The canopies are huge with great coverage.  The seats can be pulled down to almost flat for easy napping.  The fabric looks and feels fabulous.  The stroller is so amazing to push.  You can literally push it with one hand and it goes super smoothly.  This new stroller has made outings a lot easier for all of us.  The babies have sat it in three times already since we got it last Tuesday.  It goes through store front doors like a breeze.  I am so pleased with this purchase.

This was us grocery shopping yesterday.  It was so easy to push that Bob had our fussy baby boy in one arm and pushed our baby girl in the stroller with the other hand.

It goes to tell you that it doesn’t matter how many positive reviews something has, it means nothing to you if it doesn’t match your personal needs.  I am so glad I picked this stroller rather than the widely popular one.  Now I need to buy a cup holder for it (it didn’t come with one) so I can enjoy being out and about with my coffee strolling with the babies.

MicroblogMondays: Marriage While Parenting Twins

This is a huge topic, but I am not going to go in depth about it.  Let’s just say that marriage while parenting twins is not easy.

After many years of infertility, Bob and I have a solid foundation in our marriage as we journeyed through the winding path of trying for a baby together.  But raising twins has brought the challenges to a whole new level.  The presence of the babies and our new priority of taking care of them means that sometimes our needs as an individual and as a couple are pushed to the side.  Bob’s long commute means he only gets a glimpse of the babies if they wake up late, and he gets to spend about 20 minutes with the babies when he comes home before their bed time.  During the day even with my mom’s help, I am pulled in all sorts of directions by the increasing demands of the babies as their wake time is getting longer and Okra, our baby boy, is going through a phase and has been increasingly whiny.  By the time we sit down at night after the twins have gone to bed, Bob is exhausted from his long day at work and I am exhausted from my long day with the babies.  Despite wanting to have some time together, we often find ourselves on our own smart phone doing our own things.  On the weekend, we try to do something as a family, and as a result, the babies get inconsistent naps and are often overly tired.  If one goes down for a nap, the other one may not.  We find ourselves sometimes running around like headless chickens trying to take care of the babies as best as we could.  I honestly sometimes feel inadequate as a parent.  Did I read enough with them?  Sing enough with them?  Let them have enough tummy time? Talk and play enough with them?  Have enough outside activities with them?  Sometimes I wonder if Bob and I are not paying enough attention to our own needs and each other’s needs because it just takes a lot of time to take care of twins.

Maybe we have to make time for each other despite how tired we are in the evening.  We need to figure something out.