Thursday, 25 July 2013

Almost 1 year.....

It’s been almost a year, an entire year since the day Layton was born….can’t believe that time actually can go that fast. I think about what has happened in the last year, or even the last couple of years leading up to our surrogacy and life has changed more than I could have ever imagined.
I haven’t written in a while on the blog, since we have been dedicating our entire lives to enjoying raising little Layton, he has grown so much and getting stronger and bigger every day. The house is filled with his laughter, and him trying to talk and yell commands at us as though he fully understands he has his dad’s under his little finger that we jump as soon as he speaks….but we would have nothing different, and loving every little minute of it.
We are planning Layton’s first birthday party, next month he is 1 years old. Crazy to think he is already 1. He has started taking steps on his own and soon will be running around without holding his daddies fingers.  
This past year has been an amazing learning for us, to see your child grow and learn, and develop skills so quickly is heartwarming to see, I can’t even imagine what the next year will bring….
Though this year has been amazing, we are still going through frustrations with citizenship and immigration.  You would think this process shouldn’t be too difficult since we have done several DNA tests and all forms and applications have been submitted and received for over 9 months now. Layton is clearly Canadian, born from Canadian DNA and this can’t be argued. But for some reason un-explained to us this is not a normal proof of citizenship, and because not normal we were just informed that the normal 7 month processing time has been extended to 25 months. Yes over 2 years! No one will argue and deny that he is Canadian, but proving a Canadian is a Canadian is more difficult than granting a non-Canadian Canadian citizenship. Funny how our government works. Not only is Layton not a citizen of anywhere in the world, no one has the will to take ownership of giving us a proper answer as to why this is actually taking so long.
I have sent several emails to the CIC (Canadian Immigrations and Citizenship) and the last email I receive back graciously apologized for the delay, went through two paragraphs of the history of DNA sampling, then gave me a link to check on my expected timeline as should have to wait for paperwork for be processed. This link stated that it should be no longer than 5 months……we are already on the over 9 month mark and still waiting.
I took the advice of some friends and made an appointment with my member of parliament who at the time happened to be the minister of citizenship and immigration. I thought this would be the next best step in getting some answers. This meeting happened this week. Like always everyone was nice enough and said they would do their best in finding out some information, and made sure we knew they couldn’t expedite anything but hopefully could find out some answers on our behalf, only after making a joke about promising not to call immigration to have our son deported. (Which I did not find funny in the least)
2 days later the phone call came from the MP’s office that they had some information for us; our case is “very different”, “breaking new grounds”. “It’s a new landscape” after the certain buzz words were told that it should take 25 months for paper work to be processed…25 months?  So this is where we sit as of today. A Canadian son who is a Canadian citizen but Canada won’t send proof that he is a citizen. I don’t know what makes sense anymore.
Daniel and I are grateful that he is with us, his is not being impacted by this but for us it’s an uneasiness that we can’t just move forward and close this file finally. We can’t get him a passport, enroll him in school, or get a social insurance number yet…these are all things that most people take for granted.  That we are in a holding pattern once again for…….

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas....

It’s early morning Christmas eve, exactly one year ago today that we received the news from Panama that we were finally pregnant. I remember that morning as if it were yesterday, lying in bed at Daniels parents place in Brooks and nervous about checking my phone for an email. It was either going to be the best Christmas ever, or I was scared that we would have bad news and put a damper on the entire holidays, luckily we all know what happened.

One year, I look back at the last year and honestly can’t believe it, the ups and downs, the joy and pain, I don’t know how we found the strength to get through it all, but here I sit, one year later and thankful for how happy and fulfilled I really am.
If anyone ever tells you a child changes everything, you fully don’t know what they mean until you have one. It is the most amazing joy you will ever feel, your life does change, you stop caring about yourself and what your needs are, and everything thing in your being is focused on your child.

I look back on our journey and cant help getting emotional, both Daniel and I would do it a thousand times over again to have Layton here with us. He is perfect, and not just because I am his father, but he is the perfect little guy for us. He smiles, laughs, almost always happy and calm. We get many comments from people on how lucky we are to have him; we usually just look at each other and smile. We know how lucky we are, and mention this to each other one a daily basis.

Christmas will be different this year; the anticipation of having Christmas with a baby in the house has made us even more excited and happy. All our family is coming up to spend it here at our place, the house will be filled with people and laughter, exactly what we had pictured when we started this entire journey.
Layton has shown us what Christmas really means, he is the biggest present we could have asked for or ever received in life.

Merry Christmas to everyone who has helped us, followed us, or even lent support. Too many people to mention but from Daniel, Layton and me I hope everyone has a great Christmas and an even better New Year…. I know we will!

Friday, 23 November 2012

The Dust Settles.......

It’s been just over two months since we have been back in Calgary with Layton, we finally feel like we are comfortable, settled, and are living a normal family life.
Many people have been contacting me as to when I will be writing my next blog update, for me I never really intended on writing anything past our return to Canada, but it seems there is an appetite for an update on what has been going on and how our little guy is doing.
It’s hard to imagine our lives now without Layton; he has made everything in life have more meaning. There isn’t a day Daniel and I forget how lucky and privileged that we have him in our lives. Even writing this brings tears to my eyes. Having a child makes you soft that’s for sure, the sight of two grown men with tears in their eyes are a common occurrence now in our home, not for being upset but for shear happiness around having such a beautiful and perfect little boy.
Daniel and have not forgotten what we went through in having Layton and getting him back home, but day by day the not so perfect memories of what happened with us are growing more distant and these distant memories are being replaced by new and exciting memories of having him in our lives and our hearts. We know there is still going to be things that we will have to face but nothing seems unmanageable now.  We still need to figure out his citizenship and although the consulate has sent in all the paperwork in our behalf, I can’t help but have a little part of me wondering if this will be completed without complication. I am expecting this process can take upwards of a year to complete.
Layton is a happy and healthy baby, all full of smiles and joy. Everyone who meets him tells us how lucky we are to have a good baby, we love hearing this but we don’t take it for granted, we know how lucky we are. Layton is now just over three months old, he is almost 11 pounds and 23 inches long.  He sleeps great, (9 hours through the night) and eats without problems. Hardly cries and when he does it usually is just for a few seconds to let his dad’s know that he needs his bottle!
Being a parent is not what we expected it to be, all the good that you think this will be multiply it by a factor of a million and that will almost sum up how we feel about being dad’s. Nothing in life can even come close to what an amazing feeling it is to have him in our lives. I pinch myself now and then to make sure it is real, and the amount of effort and work over the last two years that we went through, we would do all over again in an instant knowing that we would end up with Layton.
We will forever be connected to Panama, it’s part of Layton’s heritage and the friends that we made down there we won’t ever forget, and we still speak with Alana frequently.
People have been asking us would we do it again, this is a hard question to answer at the moment. We have 6 frozen embryos still at the hospital and we could start the process again at any time, and we know this option is available to us. For the moment we are enjoying what we have with Layton, being thankful every day and ultimately still waiting for the dust to settle…..

Saturday, 15 September 2012


It’s Saturday morning, crisp Calgary air, and the sun is rising.  I am sitting on the couch watching Layton sleep while his little arms are moving around, showing the signs of wanting to wake up to have his bottle. As you can see we are finally in Calgary, happy, exhausted, and all in once piece.

This past week has been hectic, busy, and full of travel and emotions.  I will try and recap the turn of events for everyone so they can catch up…

We had our friend Rosanna drive us to the airport, since she was a lawyer and also spoke Spanish. We were a bit worried about the Panamanian immigration and if we had all the correct forms to allow Layton to leave Panama being a citizen of Panama. We all marched up to the immigration and customs person and handed them all our paperwork, Rosanna spoke to the officials and they slowly went through the paper work to see if it was legit. Within about 10 minutes they passed us through and we were on our way to the screening section, this was one of the biggest feelings of relief to know that we were actually allowed to board our aircraft and get to Canada. We were happy and relived and we quickly called/texted our family to let them know that yes, we would indeed be flying into Canada today and we would be home to Calgary tomorrow.

The flights were rough, and with a newborn seemed like they took forever but finally arrived in Toronto. The customs/immigration people in Toronto were friendly and actually asked us one question and passed us through with no effort or concern. We were in Canada, safe! It was around 1am in the morning and we had to make our way to the hotel where we would stay a quick 4 hours before we had to be at the WestJet check in to make our way on the 7am flight to Calgary. The flight to Calgary was great, no issues (except a minor poop incident in the bathroom changing Layton, but this was nothing that we couldn’t handle). A few ooh’s and awws by all the flight crew and we were home.

The walk to the baggage area felt like it was about 20km; we knew our families were waiting. Anxious to see little Layton and get to hold him in person. Skype is great, but still is no replacement for holding this little guy in your arms. Once we walked through the doors tears started to flow, from our family, and from us. We were home, we made it, and the last month was all worth it.

Home has never felt so good, there are still lots of stories to tell and process’ to complete…but for now we are going to enjoy our time at home with friends and family.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Turning Point...

The last 24 hours have finally been a turning point.  Daniel’s birthday was yesterday and we would never had guessed that running around Panama from government building to government building would be what was in the cards for a 30th birthday, but nothing is what we had expected this past month and we now expect it.

We were at the Panamanian passport agency bright and early at 7:45 am. The consulate had worked out a plan that since Layton was born in Panama and held a Panamanian birth certificate he would be eligible for a Panamanian passport, this armed with a Canadian visa would grant him access back to Canada.  We thought this could be a possibility but had been told by the consulate once before that the minimum time to be granted a visa would be up to 28 days. The consulate pulled some strings and was able to gain this visa within only a few hours.

The passport agency went extremely smooth and efficiently.  Maybe since we were armed with two lawyers, one from the hospital and one of Alana’s friends, we had the passport in hand from start to finish in only 25 minutes.
Once the passport was in hand, we raced to the consulate and started on the forms for the entry visa to Canada. This process took about an hour, and I needed to run to Copa airline’s head office to arrange for travel back to Canada, yes, finally we could say we were coming home…

7 hours of running around paid off today, it felt like we got more done on this one day than we have the last three weeks in Panama. The feeling is surreal knowing that we are booked to come home Tuesday afternoon, and although thrilled and excited, I do still have a pit in my stomach. Not truly able to fully relax until we pass security at the airport and are on board our flight flying into Toronto. I know once we take off tears will fill my eyes, and for the first time in weeks I will be able to close my eyes and let myself drift off to sleep if only for a short few hours.

Both sets of parents were excited beyond belief that we were able to tell them we would be home this week, tears mixed with laughter and excitement as we skyped and called home with the news. Already planning on meeting us at the airport, and finally meeting Layton. This is the moment we have been waiting for, for an every long time now.

We have Alana’s lawyer friend Rosanna picking us up today to take us to the airport, she offered to be there with us just in case we needed anything or any needed translation at security. We have our passport, visa requirements, notarized letter from the surrogate stating she is allowing Layton to leave the Country. This should be what we need to take Layton home.

With any luck my next post on this blog will be from the comfort of our home in Calgary, there are still so many stories to tell about our adventure, and what we have gone through as well as more tasks we have to accomplish once in Canada to make Layton legal. For now, we are just happy and excited for today, and our journey back home….

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Let's start over...from scratch

It’s bright and early Saturday morning in Panama; I am just sitting on the couch with Layton and watching him as he fighting to stay awake lying on a big pillow next to my side. It’s the peaceful calm of the morning where everything is quiet, the sun is shining and it’s my time to relax and regain my thoughts, and to go over the events of this past week, or at least try and forget them…

Friday morning came about and we had a nervous anxiousness about calling the DNA lab. It has been over three days and we were promised that the results should be completed ready to send to the Canadian Consulate. Could this be the start of getting out of Panama with Layton? This is what we had so desperately hoped for. When I spoke to the DNA lab on Tuesday they said that it would be at least three days, and they would have known if there was anything wrong with the sample already to everything was looking good…. so we had thought, and so we had been told.

I called the DDC Diagnostic’s lab in Toronto at around 10am their time, I spoke to the same receptionist that I had always spoken to over the last week, when I asked her about the sample and explained I just wanted to make sure that everything was still looking good I was shocked by the dead silence on the other end of the line. She proceeded to explain to me that because the representative from the consulate had not written the names of the persons the samples were from on each separate paper envelop that the chain of command was broken and the samples were void and could not be used. She then proceeded to tell me they found this out the day before and let the consulate know but had not informed us as to what was going on. My heart sank so far down that I think I felt it hit the floor…. what could I say, all that my body could do is form tears that rolled down my face wanting so bad for this nightmare of a process to be over. She explained she was sorry, little help this did, and then told me they had already sent out another test for us to perform and if we were lucky we would get it by next week. Great, another week of waiting and wondering if we were ever going to get home.

It’s hard to explain what Daniel and I are feeling, lost, desperate, held hostage, alone, confused, angry…the list is endless as to all the emotions we are having every single day and each day that we have no answers is when we feel a little more damaged from these turn of events and I don’t know how quickly these wounds will heal anymore.

We spent the entire day yesterday making panicked phone calls to consulate members, the ambassador, the hospital, anyone we could think of that could be of any help to us and pleaded our cases to as many people as possible. We didn’t get very far, but we do have another meeting with the Canadian consulate on Monday to see what we can do and possible next steps.  We find people are sympathetic to our cause, but really don’t want to step in and offer any help, even when I tell them about my sister who happened to pass away two days after we arrived in Panama.

I don’t know if this is all just a run of bad luck, or is our government really this messed up that process’s don’t work, and people just don’t understand how the system is supposed to work for the people they are put in place to support and to help. We have had a whole new outlook on anything government related, the CIC, Passport Canada, the Canadian Consulate etc. We had thought initially that Panama would be our biggest hurdle in this surrogacy procedure and we had never thought that our own Country would be the barrier that is preventing us to return home.

Deflated and tired, I think that sums it up for how we are feeling at the moment. We aren’t letting our emotions show around Layton, this situation is not his fault and nor would we change any of it. Our Layton has already grabbed a hold of our hearts in a way we can’t comprehend and even though we are struggling every single day we are down here we would go through it all again to have him in our lives. We desperately hope next week brings us better news; we just cant bare to have any more delays or bad news come our way….

Thursday, 6 September 2012

We have to be close don't we?

The days are all blending together down in Panama, we have completely forgotten what day it is and how long we have actually been waiting for our return home. Our DNA test should hopefully be completed either end of day today or tomorrow, making it again another weekend where nothing will be accomplished.

The DNA has been at the lab in Toronto since Tuesday morning and they promised it would be a 24 hour turn around, well this isn’t the case in legal DNA testing (which we found out yesterday) the minimum it will take is three days. We are beginning to seriously wonder why people just don’t tell you the worst-case scenario instead of false promises, which just brings our hopes up.

Today will be three days and hopefully the lab will send off the results to both us, and the Canadian consulate. We have been in constant contact with the consulate and it still seems this last DNA piece is the missing key that our return home to Canada is relying on. Once this test is sent off the consulate should be able to jump into action and hopefully within a day or two we will have a passport…. bearing in mind that again something out of the blue doesn’t come up and come crashing down on us again. (Can you sense our frustrations?)

I wonder what this experience has taught us about being parents, could it be to be patient and not let things bother us too much? Or could it be that it really helped us hit home how much family and friends back home mean to us and how we want nothing more to share our Layton with them. We will look back at this time hopefully and not have fear, and a bad taste in our mouths, but time will only tell. Our Layton is still perfect; he lights up our days and makes us smile. He doesn’t know what is going on with the stress, and thankfully I hope he never does. All he needs to know is that his parents loved him so much we moved heaven and earth to bring him back to Calgary to live…. at least this is what it feels like to us.