To replace my now obsolete page comparing international and domestic surrogacy, I have decided to put up pages about each of our two sets of amazing twins.
AJ and JJ are our first set of twins born through surrogacy in the Summer of 2007. Up until their birth we took turns visiting the surrogate Marie in California to spend time with her and her family, as well as prepare for the arrivals. Josh had in fact spent the weekend before they were born in California to attend the 32 week ultrasound and tour the hospital. Josh returned to our home in Florida on a red-eye flight early Monday morning, only to get that fateful call Monday evening that the babies had decided to make an early arrival! The boys were born premature at just over 4 lbs. each. We both raced back to meet our boys in the NICU Tuesday morning and instantly fell in love. Marie graciously agreed to pump breast milk to help the boys thrive in the NICU. We spent several weeks camped out in an extended stay hotel close to the hospital shuttling breast milk to the hospital every three hours to help the NICU nurses feed and care for our boys. I remember the NICU nurses fondly because they were so kind to us as a gay couple and helped teach us the basics of feeding, diapering, and not panicking when these fragile little babies starting crying. The boys were discharged from the hospital after they had grown to 5 lbs., and we returned to Florida where our parenting adventure continued.
We tried to juggle AJ and JJ on our own for the first few months, but with some of the preemie issues they had feeding and apnea, we felt our sanity slipping by the Fall. We met our wonderful nanny Pat, who has been a godsend for all of our children ever since. These preemie twin boys grew to have some typical speech delay issues, so they spent a year going to speech therapy before entering preschool. They have flourished since, and AJ and JJ are now working their way through elementary school in the gifted program. AJ and JJ have personalities that complement but sometimes clash. JJ has a detail oriented approach to life, and has turned out to be an avid gamer just like his Papa (me!). AJ is an easygoing kid and has distinguished himself as a bit of an athlete. He enjoys basketball, bicycling, and swimming in the pool at our home at every opportunity. They get along well most of the time, but their level of twin closeness naturally leads to occasional flareups as well. I foresee them sharing a special bond as twins and in their special circumstance for many years to come.
AJ and JJ having their first encounter “on the outside” before discharge from NICU. BFF’s ever since!
Summer 2015 – AJ is on the left and JJ is on the right in both photos
For more on our story, keep an eye out for a page about our second dynamic duo DJ and MJ to be posted soon. Our journey to become gay parents will also be featured in an upcoming book to be published early 2016. For more details, check out www.ericrosswood.com
Last weekend, we celebrated the end of the school year with a trip to Orlando. AJ and JJ were excited to visit Universal Studios to see the Harry Potter attraction on Friday. The whole family (with nanny Pat and her son) got to experience Gay Days at Magic Kingdom on the customary first Saturday of June. DJ and MJ got to meet the “mouf” that is featured on their diapers at Epcot Sunday. We had a great weekend and were glad that we even got to spend some time with some other gay dads we have met and become friendly with over the last year.
Pat with AJ and JJ years ago
Pat, DJ and MJ at Polo 2 weeks ago
We met our awesome nanny Pat through serendipity. Josh’s mother Phyllis can be quite gregarious and will strike up a conversation with just about anybody. About 8 years ago, before JJ and AJ were born, she met a woman strolling in the mall with what appeared to be triplets. It turned out that Pat was a nanny for these twin boys and their brother who was one year older. Phyllis told Pat all about her son who was expecting twin boys in a few months. Pat said that she was actually going to be looking for a job soon because the three boys in her care would be moving out of state. Phyllis wisely took Pat’s phone number for future reference.
When the boys were born, we foolishly tried to manage things on our own. Even though we both had full time jobs, we figured because we worked different hours we would each be able to juggle the babies in our off hours while the other was working. AJ and JJ’s prematurity made feeding more complicated than most babies, and we found ourselves beginning to lose our sanity after the first three or four months.
Phyllis saved the day by introducing us to Pat, and the rest is history. Pat helped out with AJ and JJ in the daytime Monday to Friday up until they were three years old and ready for preschool. When we told Pat that we were expecting DJ and MJ, she came right back and was ready to start as soon as they came back from India. The kids all affectionately call her “Tatie” which means “Auntie” in Haitian Creole. Including the boys she took care of previously, Pat has cared for three sets of twins, probably making her the most experienced twin nanny in the world!
Happy Chinese New Year!
JJ and AJ
Today is Chinese New Year! It is the Year of the Sheep. JJ and AJ were born in the Year of the Pig, and DJ and MJ were born in the Year of the Snake. The kids dressed in outfits to celebrate their Chinese heritage and I took some photos. I am particularly proud of the one with all four kids smiling. That is no easy feat these days!
The babies have continued to develop and are both walking and running all over the house. Whereas previously with the older boys it was easier to baby proof our home, it is significantly more challenging this time to keep the boys’ small toys out of the mouths of these babies. However, similar to our experience when the boys became mobile, we are now feeling a bit cramped in this house we have been living in for five years. We spent the remainder of the summer shopping for homes and found a beautiful somewhat larger house sitting on more than an acre of land in a nearby neighborhood so the boys can continue attending the same school. We closed quickly and have spent the last several weeks painting and cleaning in preparation for a move in about a week.
As we approach Halloween and attend various community events, I have worked out a deal with the older boys that if they cooperate with a costume theme along with the babies at family oriented events, they are free to wear scarier costumes at other times and on Halloween night to go trick or treating.
Somewhere, over the rainbow…
AJ and JJ in their scary costumes