Yes, you read the title correctly…the boys finally became British citizens and after 4 months in Kiev, we are finally on our way to pick up our lives again with our new little additions! First stop – UK to meet family and friends while we wait for their American visas.
Everything happened quickly! We received notice that Max & Alex’s British passports arrived at the passport centre in Kiev Thursday night. It had been 10 weeks since we made our initial passport application. Friday morning Vinny ran to the centre to get them and what a great feeling to hold those treasured little books in our hands! We immediately booked our flights to London for Saturday morning and then tackled the huge mountain of packing. It’s crazy how much stuff little babies can collect! I was an exhausting task but it was definitely a joyous one! My hubby was amazing. He left me the best job of entertaining the cutest babies in the world, while he tried to fit 10 thousand kilos of stuff into two 23 kg bags! Ok, of course it wasn’t 10 thousand kilos of stuff. I don’t actually know how many kilos it ended up to be, but we had 7 huge bags, each of which was massively overweight, which caused an even bigger confusion for the check-in clerk at the airport and steam to come out of the ears of the French couple who waited for an hour behind Vinny in the queue while the clerk figured out how to handle this luggage situation!
After a not so VIP experience with our agency in Kiev, we still dared to book the VIP experience at Boryspil airport and I am happy to report that it was indeed a VIP experience I would recommend! For around 200 USD for the family, we had a separate entrance when we arrived at the airport, a personal scanning machine for luggage at both the entrance and before passport control (we didn’t have to take out our laptops, liquids or take off our shoes – what a pleasure!), an awesome agent that carried all our bags for us from the moment we got there, access to a private family room where we were offered food and drinks as well as a shower in the sparkling bathroom, our own private passport control, a team of lovely, smiling and service-orientated people and a full escort by the agent who carried our hand luggage right up to the doors of the plane – this is extremely helpful when travelling (for the first time) with twins and no stroller. It was also very helpful when we almost missed the flight due to delays caused by our overstaying in Ukraine. We needed to pay a fine of 850 UAH each for staying for 4 months instead of the permitted 3 months and the processing of this took quite a bit of time, so running to board our plane would have been far more difficult if we didn’t have someone carrying our bags! I’m not going to lie, we were s*%^ting ourselves, sweating rivers of anxiety at the thought of delaying our departure any further but the boys were having a fab time looking around, eyes big and alight with curiosity and wonder.
*** For those following in our Kiev footsteps, do yourself a favour and invest in this service. If you’re staying for a few months and have loads of extra luggage, the bag wrapping that comes included in this service is also worth the Dollars for this service to give you that peace of mind! *** Here’s a link https://kbp.aero/en/infra/vip
And then we were on the plane, taxing down the runway, and finally in the air with our miracle babies one giant step closer to home! I can’t even describe how happy we were! Max sat on Vinny’s lap chirping away at the people in their row behind me (we discovered that for safety reasons, infants from the same family sitting on laps are not permitted to sit next to each other) and Alex slept all the way on my lap – he didn’t even wake up and cry when the pressure bore down on the ears. What little stars we have. We were so proud of them. They were model jet setting babies – which is a good thing, as we have a fair bit of travelling planned over the next year! Thank you to my friends reading this for the baby travel tips :).
I have so much more to tell you about our week, but anyone with twin babies knows that a stolen 10 minutes here and there is all the time us parents have, so long blog posts are going to have to wait until they go to school in a few years. For now, anything outside of twin duty is in bite size chunks, but don’t worry, I will fill you in on all our antics as and when I can :).
Right now we are waiting for their American visas to be processed and issued and then we will be on our way home to Florida. We simply cannot wait!!!!!!
A few things to mention for my fellow Ukraine surrogacy parents to be…
Dr Sam Medical Network is the THE place to register to ensure that your babies as well as yourselves if need be, have top medical treatment at affordable prices. When I say, top medical treatment, I mean that I had the best medical treatment that I have had anywhere ever! The staff are all very attentive and treat you like a genuine person, taking their time to really see to your needs. They go above and beyond by working after hours and being on call in case you are in distress. I can’t recommend them enough! I am so sad that I cannot take my pediatrician with us to Florida as I doubt that we will find anyone as wonderful and caring as he is – a totally amazing person and doctor!! Dr Sam’s also has an awesome American chiropractor 🙂
For translation services, I can recommend a fantastic lady . She is a real sweetheart and again, she went over and above to help me at the drop of a hat when I needed urgent translating. She translated verbally in person for me, written reports and on the telephone when I was trying to explain to a shop assistant what I needed! I don’t want to post her number all over the internet, so please contact me directly if you would like to get in touch with her and I will give your her details.
Personal Uber assistance from a great English Speaking Uber Driver. I have the contact details of a super gentleman who lived in American for many years and has offered to help wherever needed with his uber. Great conversation and navigation which makes for a pleasant trip for short or longer distance.
Also, for those of you on Facebook, there is a brilliant support group for those travelling to Ukraine for surrogacy. It is a closed group filled with so much info that you don’t need to go anywhere else. If you would like the details for this group, then please pop me an email or a whatsapp and I will send them to you. The admins will ask you questions before allowing you in. You will need to have a genuine Facebook profile and please accept my sincere apologies but only heterosexual married couples will be accepted due to the legal surrogacy laws in Ukraine. There is all sorts of info on Kiev as well as various clinics so this is really the place to be if you are genuinely interested in pursuing this route to parenthood.
*** It’s no secret that I have been very unhappy with the way our agency have treated us since arriving in Kiev, but for those who are already with them, I do feel that I need to do a shoutout to the junior staff who have been excellent – Anna, Oksana and Svetlana. These ladies put in a lot of hard work and really go out of their way to be helpful and take a personal interest in their clients’ journey – so a big thank you to them. For those with the agency, if you ever find yourself in frustrating situations because the more experienced senior staff haven’t returned your 10th message, then contact one of these ladies and I am sure they will try their best to sort it out for you – the company has real gems in these three ladies! ***
I would love to write more, but this little bit is already taking three days so I will sign off until my next update which will be all about our time in the UK, so watch out for it!
Love to you all from B, Vinny, Alexei & Maximus xxx