We weren’t prepared. We weren’t organised. Our au pair was ready to throw the towel in. Sara, Johns sister had gone home to Dublin. John himself had a busy workload and was straight back to work. Yet here I was, with a very screamy Thor, feeling himself out of sorts (the long trip home on the airplane and everything was new to him). Our au pair had decided to lock herself in her bedroom complaining of ‘the flue’. It was a Monday and the girls in my absence, had been drafted into a west London preschool by John, in order to free up the mornings for our au pair. She flatly refused to participate, though she had dropped them in that morning. It was a Monday and Sara had left the previous day. The plane brought us home early morning. We arrived back at the flat and John went straight back out the door to work! I just could not believe the shabbiness of the flat. Two toddlers are a lot of work to be sure, but with john so pressured with his work life, our au pair had allowed the flat to become a sorry sight compared to its former glory. The girls toys were stuffed into a chimney breast and the walls were covered with various detritus. General dirt and pencil scribbling, in most rooms. Thor was also screaming and screaming. I found a spoon in the kitchen, besides the microwave that had been left there for some time. I tried to pick it up but the jam on the said spoon had almost crystallised, making it impossible to budge. I managed to sort it out and settle Thor into his baby sling and set off for the preschool to pick up the girls. On my arrival it was lovely to talk to the manager, then a couple of members of staff, who were all knowledgeable about the girls new baby brother, finally coming home. It soon came to the reintroduction! Remember, I had been away from my little angels for five months at the mercy of the Home Office and their scrutiny over baby Thor’s right to a British passport. Thor was quite bemused by his surroundings and I was very apprehensive. Would the girls remember me? I had been with them since their births, right up until the day I left for Thor’s arrival in Thailand. I had missed their second birthday (that was spent in Dublin with the family), they were now toddlers using their very first diction and attempts at conversation. The door of the main play area opened and Thor and I entered. A minute or so before the girls saw me, one of the teachers had gone over to coax them towards me. They looked up, they smiled and then they shouted with glee ‘Dadda, Dadda’ Tara screamed with bliss, then ‘Dadda, Dadda’ Amritsar echoed. It will be remembered as one of my happiest ever moments in life. I welled up but had to take a few deep breaths and start the big introduction to their new baby brother Thor. We were finally reunited, the girls and I, plus there was a new member of the family, baby Thor. Though I felt shattered and realised that there was a massive job ahead, to organise family life into some kind of order, things were definitely looking up. We were all back together, a family united, as it should be.
Remember that I have never brought politics into this family diary, but I have to admit, I do bare some malice towards the Home Office here in the U.K. As when the girls were conceived, the Home Office website clearly stated that a passport application for a baby, born through IVF and Surrogacy abroad would take six weeks. That was six months before their births. We looked back at the Home Office website pages every few weeks. Six weeks changed to eight weeks. A little later the same page was updated to three months and finally within a very short timeline, the information had changed to four months, though in our experience of three occasions, the reality was a five month wait. In the USA, children born through international Surrogacy would be Home, with a US passport in just two weeks! Shameful really, isn’t it?
I do scrutinise these changes of passport waiting times in my novel ‘Eighteen Moons’. Believe me, when your own government is seemingly working against you at such a fragile time – it’s a major uphill struggle – and for us it certainly was, at every single juncture. Shame on you – the then Home Secretary ‘Mrs Theresa May’!!!