Saturday, November 28, 2009

Having a blast in India!

Beth and I made it through the wedding, which lasted for 3 days in Anand. We had sari's made in Delhi, and they were just beautiful. We missed the first night of the wedding, which consisted of the surrogates performing an act for the bride and bride groom. The second night of the wedding was the Mehndi party, which I loved and will most likely get a touch up on before we leave to come back home. On the third night it was a talent show, that ended in dance and drink. The next day was the wedding which was a lot of fun, especially being with the bridegrooms family as he made his entrance on the horse and carriage. The food was vegetarian, but most of it was made right in front of you at the wedding, which was great. We were able to meet so many cool people from all over the world, who were friends of the Patels.

Today we arrived in Jaipur after a very late arrival due to Spice Jet. Just for the record, never fly Spice Jet. We sat on the runway with no a/c for close to 2 hours.

We are staying at the Rumbaugh Palace in Jaipur tonight and tomorrow and will tour the area. Jaipur makes you forget that you are in India. I'm skipping over so much stuff, but I must get to my e-mails. I will post more in the am.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Here we come!

I leave for India this week-end with a girlfriend, and our main reason for going is the wedding of the Patel's daughter. This trip for me, stirs up a lot of emotions, but the emotions are differnt from those that I had when Mark was born October 2008. This will be my first Hindu wedding, and I truly look forward to this exciting event, and will share it with all those who might be intersted. I will also vist the surrogate house, and drop off goodies that Ip's have asked me to leave.
What a week this has been, as I try to organize my household for the next two weeks. My brother called me today to let me know that he has shipped his international telephone, and that it should arrive tomorrow. I want to be able to communicate with Colin and Mark on a regular basis. My checklist is getting shorter, but I still have alot to do, so I'm off to bed at 12:05 a.m.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mark Is One!

It seems like forever since I have blogged and Mark turned one on October 15th. We had a great birthday party for him last week-end, although he had no clue about what was happening around him. He had a year of many firsts, such as going to the West Wing of the White House, being a model in a Nordstom's show and flying to the West Coast at four months old. And tonight he was a dalmation puppy for Halloween. with that said this morning I opened a letter from India and it was a birthday card from his surrogate, Nayna, and her family. I would have never thought that it would have been an emotional moment. It felt like an internal game of tug of war. When one doesn't return letters or take the telephone calls from the all the while sensing her emotional and financial pain. The burden seems to much for me to bear.

I'm headed back to India in November, a place that I dread yet love at the same time. The culture shocks me, yet I feel awed at the human condition. Beth and I will be attending Dr. Patel's daughter's wedding in Anand, then head to Deli,agra and Jaipur. In my quiet moments, I know that Nayna and I will meet. How do I prepare myself for her that meeting?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Most people know who have read my posts know that our son Mark was born in India. In my quiet moments, I ask myself if I knew then what I know now, would I have gone to India. Honestly, I don't think I would have, I just would have been too afraid. The realities of surrogacy are the following: some clinics use prositutes as I have been informed by a prominent agency, some where the doctors are not doctors at all, but hairdressers, some clinics who do not synchronize the egg donor with the surrogate, surrogates extorting intended parents, clinics not being honest about pricing, surrogates aborting embroyos early in the pregnancy, surrogates who did not take the meds correctly before the transplant, lost sperm, and the list goes on. No one particular clinic is at fault, as no human being is able to police all of this activity, but the buyer must beware.

I would advise anyone to do as much research as you can on whatever clinic you choose, should you need the services of a third world country. The process is not an easy one and should not be entered lightly. If someone tells you that it is easy, run!! Most of us have had many sleepless nights and are filled with anxiety when doing business with someone who is thousands of miles away. With that said, all things are possible and many, many people have children in third world countries but you MUST, find someone who has already gone through the process, and let them guide you to ask the right questions of the clinic that you wish to do business with.

We are still in the process of deciding what is the best way for us to get a sibling for Mark, as we had a negative in July. As the late M. Scott Peck said.
"Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult - once we truly understand and accept it - then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Do you want new fonts like mine?

I found a web site that has fonts you can install for titles and dates on your blog. I installed one called "milk". Here is how you do it (using whatever font you like):

1. Go to this tutorial for installing a font on
2. Follow the very clear directions on the tutorial.

Expect to do uploads, downloads, make a site on and paste HTML into your blog's template. It's all very round-about, but it works. If you have trouble, just ask me to get Colin to help!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Autralian Immigration Procedures for Surrogate Babies Born in India

We heard from Millie and Terie, Autralian clients of Dr. Patel in Anand, Gujarat, India. From their experience getting a newborn surrogate baby from Dr. Patel's clinic, they have provided a PDF file that I would like to attach to this post. This file explains procedures for getting surrogate babies from India to Austrtalia.

However, only cool multimedia things like videos can be attached to a blog. At least that is what I read on a forum: "You can only upload video and images to blog. There is no ftp or Public_html folder".

So if you want the information about getting babies from India to Australia, please contact me directly:

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thursday, June 18, 2009


Najla and I awoke to an e-mail this morning from Dr. Patel, explaining that she did not like the look of the eggs of Najla's donor. Lucky for us Dr. Patel keeps extra egg donor's and surrogates ready for events such as these. After several telephone calls back and forth to Najla, then Najla to India, it looks like next week, the retrival will take place.

To my surprise we also have a new egg donor, and it appears to be the same egg donor that we had before. Najla and I are trying to schedule everything togather, because our plan is to travel to India togather with our families, and tour Southern India.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Tonight while Najla's family and my family are tucked in bed safely asleep, two women in India will have their eggs removed, for the benefit of our families. This week, has been one of a lot of uncertainties along with a certain amount of stress, even though we are thousands of miles away. What happens if our surrogates end up with twins? Will either one of us reduce? Are the surrogates strong enough and healthy enough to carry our babies? What do our donor's look like? I have already switched out the surrogate, because I was uncomfortable with her weight of 88 pounds. In India most of the women are small and that is what they weigh, and they are able to carry twins without significant problems. The intresting part of all of this for me, is that I didn't even think about all of these questions when we went to India the first time. We were going to use the same donor as Mark, but it didn't work out, and Dr. Patel has a darker donor. At first I couldn't understand why, then it was brought to my attention that she was trying to look out for my emotional needs.

I remember sitting down with Dr. Hitesh Patel, asking him if he knew how the donor's or the surrogates felt about surrogracy. He said that most of the people do not think that much about things, they live for today, and have to figure out how they will get money to survive. Most are not even able to envision getting seven thousand dollars. We would have to try and put ourselves in their shoes, most do not even have a tv, and the majority have less than a high school education. The Patel's have set up a charity, that is for the children of the egg donor's as well as the surrogates, and it is to help educate the children. When intended parent's go to Anand, if it the charity event is planned, Dr. Patel usually solicits everyones help.

The implant takes place in a few days, and we will get an email telling us the quality of the eggs, along with a video of the eggs. Then its the two week wait......................................................

Friday, June 12, 2009


I woke up this morning to a message on Facebook, from someone that I grew up with 30 years ago. This invoked a lot of memories, that have been stirring in my subconscious all day long. My friend, Patty informed me that she had named one of her daughters after me, and wondered if her daughter would ever meet her namesake. Patty's two daughters have children of their own, and Patty is a grandmother. I told her about Mark, and that I started late, just as my parents did, and how honored I was that she would name her child after me.

The ironic thing is that I had been thinking about my childhood a lot this week due to the tragic event at the Holocaust Museum, which is just 20 miles from my home. A man went into the museum and shot and killed a guard for no other reason than hate. I have been to that museum and would have never thought that someone would even think of commiting such a vile act. I cannot understand how someone who is educated and was accepted into Mensa, could remain intelletually ignorant for 88 years. The hatred of the act is what made me think of growing up, because those were times of racial hatred.

Where we grew up in New York, we were in the minority therefore we were not a threat. I grew up in a "White" environment, and we seemed to all get along. It was clear that I along with my sibblings had assimilated just fine. The reality set in when I was 17, and my parent's decided to move to rural Virginia, to retire. My mother's family owned several acres of land in Rice, Virginia which is close to Farmville, Virginia which has a history of its own, and it is known around the world. After growing up in a White environment, and then trying to assimiliate into a Black enviroment, is a story all by itself. It would have been no different than a "White" person trying to fit into a "Black" environment in the south. We had cousins that lived about 25 miles from us in New York who were also assimilated were like us.

At 17, when we moved to Farmville, Virginia, we were baptised into a world of racism that had been unknonw to us in New York. The history of Farmville leaves a lot to be desired. Farmville closed its schools to the "Colored Children" in 1959 for 5 years. My mother's sister, Dorothy, was a teacher in Farmville, and subsequently had moved to Maryland when the schools closed to find a new teaching job.

The school system that I went to in 1979, at age 17, was inferior to the school system that I came from in New York. If someone had told me what it was like for so many of the children who came from parents without even high school degrees, I would have not believed them. I was upset with my parents for a long time, that we moved when we did. I look at it now as a gift. You cannot imagine what life is like for so many people, unless you see if for yourself. A large number of students that I went to school with had parents who could barely read or write and had no idea of the value of education. The school system at that time was still divided due to the fact that many academies exist in the south, and these academies consist of mainly of 'White" children. Although we are told we have come a long way, Blacks in America have a long way to go. Academic testing proves that point. Unless we as a people come to feel that we are truly equal, and as worthy as any culture, then we will perish.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Raising Mark In A Non-Religous Home

As I sit in my office listening to the rain pounding the roof, my mind drifts off to our Sunday morning breakfast at Goldberg's New York Bagels located in Pikesville, MD. Before Mark was born, I would get in my car and go every Sunday. To my surprise Colin, woke me up and said that he wanted to go, and get bagels and that we would take Mark. It's intresting to go to a place that is frequented by Orthodox Jews. People do their best to make you feel welcome, but usually I'm the lone Black women in the crowd, except for some of the hired help. I'm always curious about the wigs that most of the women wear on their head, and I wonder how I would look with one similar to what they have. They all seem to know one another, and the whole setting always feels like a family affair, and very idyllic. We sit at our table, waiting for the server to bring our everything bagels, and we hand Mark a prayer bagel. Prayer bagels are little pieces of bagels which have been cut to be used as part of prayer.

I like building memories, so I turned to Colin and explained to him all of the feelings that I was having at that moment. Colin took a more materialistic approach. He said that the family values exhibited at Goldberg's Deli were not religious but were a trade-off between money and family. In his view, if you are not wealthy and want to spend quality time with your family, you have to work fewer hours, commute less and live where your family is rather than where the money is. By family, he explained, he meant extended family. In India, we saw whole families making charcoal in a dirt lot. That meant the kids didn't go off to University and/or move to the United States to seek their fortune. Instead they stayed with their parents scratching out a living in the family business.

Colin's thinking is that giving up wealth could be a key to stronger family values, and therefore religion does not play a role. In spite of what he is saying, I think religion and culture play a role in family development. With that said I have never been one who has faith in any religion and I have a serious problem with the tenets of most religion. In the end, our family will find many things to do that will strengthen it besides getting up for a Sunday service.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Bittersweet Memorial Weekend

I thought about my father often over the Memorial Weekend, because he fought in World War II. His photo, at left, sits on the table at the entrance of my home. My father never talked about the war, and I'm not even sure what his position was while serving in the army. I will talk to my brother about it, because I'm curious. Over the years, I read the letters that he would send to my mom, from different places where he was stationed. On my court we had somewhat of a block party on Saturday, and again on Monday, to get rid of the leftover food. We live in a community that is somewhat old fashioned, kids play with each other daily and parents look out for each other.

My younger sister telephoned me on Saturday, and stated that she felt as if she was regressing back to her old lifestyle, that being an alcoholic, and she was afraid. I had not seen her since Christmas, and she wanted to come and spend a few days with us. Everyone who knows me, knows the story of L, and the many years that I have "enabled", or have tried to just keep her alive. If you are lucky enough to have had to deal with some who is an alcoholic I'm sure, you can imagine what I have gone through over the past 25 years with my sister. My sister went to Rehab, about 2 years ago, and has been in her own apartment for the past 7 months. L is unable to really take care of herself, when she lives alone, it NEVER works out! Our birthmother did drugs and alcohol when she carried all of us, but L seems to be the one this has affected. Currently L lives about 65 miles from my home, which is a good thing. When I went to pick her up on Sunday, I called her on my cellphone when I was about 1/2 mile from her place, just to let her know how close I was, she answered her phone and said she was waiting out front. The closer I got, from a distance I could see a frail women coming towards my car. Inside me, I gasped as she opened the car door, and put all of her belongings inside. L is already a small framed women, but clearly she had lost about 25 pounds since I saw her at Christmas. All of my emotions were starting to line my face. We both tried to make small talk in the car, but over the years it is a difficult thing to do. I expressed my concern and once again as I have told her a thousand times that it would be good if she went to talk with a therapist, and even get on an anti-depressant, which she sort of scoffs at. I continue driving and I'm in deep thought trying to keep my emotions in check, and starting to realize the real reason why she is here. When L called me earlier she had mentioned that her TV, was no longer working, and I mentioned that maybe in a week or two, I would bring one that she had left at our house. L relies on the TV, to go to sleep, and just for company. However being the alcoholic that she is, the TV and her telephone are always the first things to go, meaning either she sells them for alcohol or whatever else she uses. L seemed to enjoy Mark, and he made her smile, I'm sure it makes her think of the baby she gave up for adoption, to a lovely lesbian couple. We all found out about the baby af few years later. The week-end went by, and everyone was happy to see her. On the return trip home, I carried the TV up the stairs for her and then hugged her good-bye and told her that I loved her. As I turned away, and then looked back at her, I saw the tears fill her eyes, and I felt if she knew that I felt her pain.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A Brief Comment, To My Birthmother!

I have wanted to write to you for a long time, but now that I have a son, I want him to have a general idea of who you are. I'm 47 years old, and have a son named Mark, who was born in Anand, India. Although we have met, less than a handful of times, I don't know much about you except from what I have pieced togather. You are between 65-67 years old, and your mother left you, just as you left the four of us. Your mother was an only child, who was left alone, when alcoholism robbed her of her parents. Your grandparents were born in the 1800's, so they were not that far removed from slavery, although the ramifications have pretty much destroyed your family. Its so hard to gather my thoughts without my mind drifting back to the parents who raised me. I remember their smell, what type of clothes they liked to wear, what food they liked to eat, and vacations that we took, what their political interests were, and what we did as children, to get on their nerves. I thought at some point you would ask us about our life, but I guess it is to awkward, or maybe its just too painful.

What do I tell my son, since you still are alive? That you live in New Jersey, with your children and grandchildren. I can tell him that you were married to our biological father, who we met 3 years ago, who has since died. Do I tell him that alcohol and drugs were the life that you both chose. I would like for him to know more about you than a paragraph or two, or the hollowness that I feel when your name is ever mentioned. If there were one thing in the world, that I would like for you to do for me, that is please just say that you are sorry for any pain that you may have caused.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Mark as a Wannabe Tennis Star

We took a picture of our son, Mark, in April 2009 during a visit to his grandparents' house in New Jersey. Here he is dressed up as a wannabe tennis star. He will be taking lessons from his grandpa, Eion McRae. Eion is already gearing up for the challenge by scheduling extra lessons with his coach, Mitchell.

If tennis doesn't work out there is always chess. Mark's father, Colin, has played chess for a long time. We had a visit from friends of the family in which their 5-year-old daughter played chess with Colin. Mark got into the act too. In his first game with a tournament chess set, Mark ate the knight. Crystal is not looking forward to the day, a mere three years from now, when Mark will first beat her in chess.
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No, I'm Not The Nanny!!!!

Yesterday, Mark and I went meet my girlfriend for lunch at a popular spot in Columbia, Md. As soon as we walked into the door and saw my girlfriend she immediately reached out to hold Mark because she had not seen him in a couple of weeks. When we got to the counter for the young girl to take our order, she immediately asked my girlfriend who is 20 years older than me how old Mark was. My girlfriend pointed to me and said that I was his mother. The girls face behind the counter then took on a look of shock and awe. I really didn't realize until yesterday that when this happens, I begin to feel sullen inside. My friend who is a journalist just asked me a couple of weeks ago, if this was an issue at all for me, and I think then, I was trying to hold those feelings at bay. I don't want to wear a t-shirt that states, No, I'm not the nanny, No, I'm not the maid. YES I'M THE MOTHER!! I do realize that is is very unusual to see a black women, with an extremly fair skinned child. It is more acceptable to see a white women, with a black child, who may have come from Ethopia, and people know that the child is adopted. The plot line for the Ethopian child is easy to figure out whereas mine is not. However, I don't want to have to explain my story to strangers, nor feel agnst when I get outside of my doors.

I have to learn to put the same armour on for my son,that I have for my husband, who is white. Inside, my head the FU factor is permanently enshrined into my ceberal cortex as if it were part of my DNA. The reality is that I have had over 18 years to develop that, with Colin and only 7 months with Mark. My fair skinned son, with his hazel eyes, and two little bottom teeth is the love of my life. Amani, I finally understand what you were trying to say with your blog, sorry if I misjudged you.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Trying to figure out this Blog stuff!!

I thought it was about time, that I started blogging. Which leads to me question who cares what I write about? Well for starters, Me! I follow other people's blogs, and my favorite is Mike and Mike. I'm really starting this so that I can keep a record to one day give my children. Currently we have a son named Mark, who will be 7 months old tomorrow. The past couple of weeks, I have been helping out a young lady who is 17 years old, and lives with abusive parents. She would like for us to adopt her, or help get her emancipated, but in Maryland, where we both live, emancipation is a gray area. I will go and speak with an attorney to see find out what is the best available option to take. This young lady was in the foster care system 2 years ago, and lived with my girlfriend. I guess I really want to help her because when I was 2 years old, my birth parents left us to die in an apartment in Peekskill, New York, and we landed in the foster care sytem. We were lucky because the parents who raised us, took all 4 of us in, and gave us a great life. What is interesting is that my parents who raised us were older when they got us, my mom was 52 years old, and my dad was 59. I just did the math the other day and realized that. They both are now deceased, and I miss them more than ever. It is great to be able to have a safe place, where there is lots of love and support that you call home. That is the life that I want to build for Mark, and if we are lucky enough to have a surrogate get pregnant again, for his future sibbling. I keep telling myself that I should write a book about my life, but it looks like I will start blogging about it instead. Blogging does place you in a vuleurable place.

Monday, May 11, 2009