Monday, July 30, 2012

A Post By Savannah

Because we like to keep things  COMPLETELY EQUAL AND FAIR in our household, Savannah wanted to share her memories of our surrogacy journey.  If you missed Skyler's story, you can find it here.

Again, this post was written, typed and published by Savannah herself.  I have included a translation for those who may not speak 7 year old.

My mom was doing ciragessy for two guys named Gorge and Farid. She woke me up and shode me the pregnisy test and it said yes. I was so excided my mom shode me hoe Gorge and Farid wer. She tolde me what ciragssy was. I was exided for my mom. I wonderd if it was a girl a boy or both I thot it was a girl my dad thote it was a boy my sister thote it was both and my mom said both but it was.....BOTH! We wer exuded we hade a dinner party and thats how we new what the babbys wer I was exuded I was about to go to bed my mom,s water brock I was so exuded we wadded for soumwoun to pick her up. My ant picked her up then she whent to the hospital the next day we wer deriving to the hospital and on the way we saw a Safway we got her flowers and then we whent to the hospital. My  mom was in there for a few days then she came home. So we got to see milly and Guss for a week.

***My mom was doing surrogacy for two guys named George and Farid.  She woke me up and showed me the pregnancy test and it said yes.  I was so excited.  My mom showed me who George and Farid were.  She told me what surrogacy was.  I was excited for my mom.  I wondered if it was a girl, a boy, or both.  I thought it was a girl.  My dad thought it was a boy.  My sister thought it was both and my mom said it was both.  But it was...BOTH!  We were excited.  We had a dinner party and that's how we knew what the babies were.  I was excited.  I was about to go to bed.  My mom's water broke.  I was so excited.  We waited for someone to pick her up.  My aunt picked her up.  Then she went to the hospital.  The next day, we were driving to the hospital and on the way, we saw a Safeway.  We got her flowers and then we went to the hospital.  My mom was in there for a few days, then she came home.  So we got to see Millie and Gus for a week.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Playtime for Milena and Gustavo

Who needs fancy toys when you can have so much fun with 
packing materials?

Gustavo and Milena are seriously the cutest twins EVER!
Their laughs are absolutely contagious and I love how interactive they are now.

I've watched this video MANY times and every time
it makes me smile and laugh.
I hope it brightens your day too.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

"It's Not Fair"

Quite possibly my 3 least favorite words right now.  I must hear these 3 words approximately 8,463 times per day during the summer.  (I especially love it when the words are paired with a whiny voice and stomping.)

"It's not fair that Skyler gets to stay up later than me!"
"It's not fair that Savannah's chores are easier than mine!"
"It's not fair that we can't have a pet elephant who entertains us all day long by giving us elephant rides around the backyard while you pop us some popcorn for breakfast, lunch and dinner as we have fun playing with the lions and tigers and the clowns and then you bring us snow cones and we get shot out of a cannon for fun and then you surprise us with cotton candy and life is wonderful and...."

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I'm the kind of mom who believes in reasoning with my children and explaining to them why things are the way they are whenever possible.

Upon hearing the first 3,691 "It's not fair's"of the day, I reply calmly, and explain that because they are 2 different human beings, with different needs, different skills and different desires, things cannot and should not always be 100% equal.

"It's not fair" numbers 3,692-8,462 create a little more anxiety in me.  I'm an incredibly patient person when it comes to raising children but I can feel that my fuse is shortening. My voice may be slightly raised as I explain to my dear, dear children:

"I'm pretty sure that if given the option, you two wouldn't want everything to be 100% equal and fair.  That would mean you both go to bed at exactly the same time. You both would need to wake up at the exact same time.  You'd do the same chores.  Eat the same foods.  Etc., etc., etc.

And yet, my explanations are simply not registering in these darling little girls' heads.  "It's not fair" # 8,463 actually creates smoke which escapes from my nose and ears, my eyes turn red and bulge out of my head, I open my mouth and out comes...


Although I do not feel proud about losing my cool, I usually don't hear those 3 pesky words for a good hour or two...after the smoke from my ears and nose has dissipated.

Then I realize, I am a hypocrite.


Because here I sit in my own adult world seeing headlines like this:

Gay rights: a world of inequality 

Chick-fil-A exec takes stance against same-sex marriage

Shocking level of inequality for LGBT families

And all I can think...what I want to scream out is:  "IT'S NOT FAIR!"  
***I may or may not say this in my whiny voice while stomping my feet.

I understand that obviously the issue of equality on a global scale is slightly larger than the issue of equality within the Denhof household.  However, what I am learning is that equality is something we all long for, from a very young age. I am beginning to understand that when my children cry out "It's not fair!", there are feelings, emotions and yes, even validity in their words.  It's natural to want equality and fairness.  It makes sense.  Why can't things just be equal, and fair? It seems so simple.  How frustrating that even as adults, there are millions of people across the globe who are made to feel less than equal.  Who are fighting to have basic rights.  Rights that every human being should have.  ...It's not fair.

I cannot guarantee that smoke will never again pour from my ears and nose when I hear those 3 words coming from my girls' mouths, but I do hope to have a better appreciation and understanding of the fact that they are feeling that something is unfair.  I hope to be able to show them that there are many things that should be and are fair, and that there are also things that should be fair that aren't. I will teach them that for those things which are not fair, we must maturely and respectfully fight for equality.

That being said, if I should have a weak moment and agree to the elephant, lions, and tigers in the backyard scenario, I WILL NOT be in charge of scooping poop, because...well....that just wouldn't be fair.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

A Post By Skyler -

I'm sure you have all read my most recent Guest Post about how my children responded to our surrogacy journey.  What better follow up to that post than a post from the kids themselves? What do my children remember about our journey?  What moments stand out in their minds?  How do they feel about the process?  I hope you enjoy this post - written, edited, typed and published by Skyler, now 11 years old, sharing with you her memories of our surrogacy journey last year.

My Journey

   When my mom explained to me and told me she was doing surrogacy I thought that my mom had a heart as big as the sun. When she was finished talking to me about it I started crying, and I remember her saying, ''Are those tears of joy or tears of sadness?''
I  said, ''I just can't believe that you would do something that huge.''
I just kept thinking babies are a part of someone's family, and family is the most important thing in my life. So I thought that this isn't just a gift, it's a huge piece of someone's heart. I  new that from the start I was on board with my mom 100%. I wanted to help my mom with anything that happened along the way.

   When my mom said that she got matched I raced to the computer. I saw two guys on the screen and I couldn't help to smile. Words couldn't explain the feelings that I truly felt. I wanted to meet them as soon as possible.
   When they finally came, I new they were the sweetest guys on the face of this planet. We went out to dinner and shared our likes and dislikes. I looked around the table and I saw Farid, George, my mom, my dad, my sister, and then I got to myself and I thought I know that now we are all a huge family and about to get bigger.
   When my mom went to New York to do her transfer I sent her many good vibes, and I new she got them. George wanted a boy and Farid wanted a girl.
   When my mom got back everything was normal until the day I saw a plus sign on a pregnancy test. I looked at my mom. I was so happy words couldn't come out. My mom is pregnant, I know many kids say that, but I'm one of the few that get to say my mom is pregnant, but its not my brother or sister.
   A few weeks pass and my mom feels a little scared. Like if something happened or happens to someone else's babies. She felt like she would let them down. So I tried to cheer her up and said,''You are to good of a person, and they are to good of people.'' She started to feel better.
  Then she started getting bigger and BIGGER.  We found out that my mom was going to have twins, and we were ecstatic. George and Farid came for a second time and gave me and my sister bracelets. I wear it all the time.
   A couple months later and we found out one was a boy and was a girl. Both guys got what they desired and they were happy, that meant the world to me.

   My mom let me go to one of her ultra sounds and I sat in the corner and shed a couple tears. That was the most touching moment of my life.
   Then one day I was down stairs and my dad looked over the edge and said''Skyler come here.'' I came upstairs and my dad told me that my mom's water broke. My mom was nervous because the guys weren't in town quite yet.
   She went to the hospital and the guys got there right in the nick of time. I was thinking about my mom the whole time.
   The babies were born and I was so exited to see her. We went to the hospital and sat down next to my mom. Milena came rolling in and I got to hold her. The next day I got to hold Gus.All these thoughts were racing in my head. I was so happy. Thats all I can say. These guys will be great parents.
   My journey was different then my moms but I love that whole family as much as I love mine. Now we are one big happy family.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Kids Are Alright

Almost every surrogate has one thing in common.  We have all had a child of our own before.  We have been pregnant with and delivered babies that we do get to bring home from the hospital.  Babies that we love, feed, clothe, bathe, cuddle and diaper; and before we know it, they’re not really babies anymore.  They’re children.  Children who at some point in their lives learn that their Mommy is going to be pregnant with a baby that won’t be coming home to live with them.  It begs the question - how do the children of surrogates cope with a surrogacy journey?  

Read the blog post I wrote that describes the surrogacy experience 
of my own children, Skyler and Savannah.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

A Poster Couple A Year Later

By David Gibbons
Freedom to Marry (FTM) sparked its campaign to win the right to same-sex marriage in New York State last year with a series of short videos featuring charming, engaging gay couples–not least among them George Constantinou and Farid Ali Lancheros–that put a human face on the issue and helped insure the movement’s success.

Farid Ali Lancheros and George Constantinou with their son and daughter, Milena and Gustavo, at their restaurant Bogota Latin Bistro. Photo by Jonathan Springer.
“It was very much a fulfillment of our approach of giving the reachable but not-yet-reached personal, local stories that open hearts and change minds, as the president recently described,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of FTM and a civil rights lawyer who has argued cases all the way up to the Supreme Court.
The videos highlighted the couples’ commitment and sincerity, nudging viewers to the conclusion that they deserve a chance at marriage just like anybody else. Where are they today? Constantinou and Lancheros are about to get married, if only they can find an hour or two to tear themselves away from their thriving, demanding business and hurry down to the courthouse for a civil ceremony. (The celebration will come later.)
Their daily life constitutes a version of the classic American Dream: A young couple, the hard-working offspring of striving immigrants, sets up a household in Brooklyn, opens a restaurant a few blocks away, puts in the sweat, builds the business and, after a few years, decides to start a family.
“I guess you’d have to say we’re living the gay American dream,” Lancheros said. “It’s astounding. And it’s really testament to the fact that with determination, faith and action, all things are possible.”
The first and most obvious question–how did they have children?– is answered in their baby shower video. (Go to YouTube and search “George and Farid” or "Farid and George's Baby Shower.") The short answer is they worked with a Boston specialty clinic that found a compatible egg donor and a surrogate willing to bear twins. They each fertilized 10 eggs, and the two most viable were implanted–one from Constantinou’s batch and the other from Lancheros’, so each of the men would be the biological father of one of their children.
Lancheros, 47, is the son of a Colombian mother and Palestinian father. Constantinou, 36, is from Long Island; his mother immigrated from Costa Rica, his father from Cyprus. Together, they form a typical New York City melting-pot family.
The couple met at a speed-dating event in 2001 and have been together ever since. With his easygoing, fluid manner and quick smile, it’s no surprise that Constantinou found success young as a bartender and restaurant manager. Lancheros was reluctant to relinquish his 9-to-5 paycheck, but after a trip to Colombia where they sampled the local cuisine, Constantinou convinced him they ought to follow his dream and open their own restaurant.
Thus was born Bogota Latin Bistro in Park Slope, Brooklyn, on July 5, 2005. The place turned a profit almost immediately and has become one of the most popular, successful Latin-themed eateries in the five boroughs.
Their twins, Gustavo and Milena, were born Nov. 6, 2011, and they were able to attend the birth. “They are a delight–healthy, happy, and they both sleep through the night,” said Constantinou.  “They’re 7 and a half months old and are the most amazing babies–all smiles, they only cry when they’re hungry, they want to be picked up or they’re teething. Yesterday we had a first: Milena cried when we left for work.”
“In light of the fact that we’re both men, our pediatrician said she’s never met two calmer parents,” Lancheros said. “The restaurant is incredible training for that. Stuff happens and you manage, you forge ahead. I’ll tell you what: These two babies are a piece of cake compared to running a restaurant.”
Anyone who questions a gay couple’s suitability to marriage and raising kids need only glimpse Constantinou and Lancheros in action to sense not only the open, energetic, exuberant and humorous approach they take to negotiating the challenges of sustaining a relationship and becoming responsible, loving parents, but also the underlying seriousness and honesty of their commitment to the endeavor. But don’t trust this account; go online and check out Constantinou and Lancheros for yourself in their own words–and smiles.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Time To Get Schooled

Anyone up for a lecture?  


How about a surrogacy lecture?

*crowd cheers and waves arms in the air*

That's what I thought.  The Deputy has posted the slides from her recent lecture on surrogacy.  Take a moment to check it out.

Word on the street is that it features some super amazing surrogates.
And possibly a picture of 2 cute daddies with their newborns.
That's not just me talking - it REALLY IS the word on the street!

Oh for goodness sake, just go check it out, will ya?!

Friday, July 6, 2012

8 Months Old!

Sure, sure.  I'm obviously a little biased, but these kids are SO DARN CUTE!

3 words.  Oh. My. Goodness!

What a handsome little boy.  <3

Happy 8 months kiddos.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thank You For Your Help

These 21 items are headed to California, to be used to pamper and beautify lots of men, women and children who are fighting for their lives.  Thank you so much for supporting me in my effort to donate supplies to the Beauty Bus Foundation. With your help, I was able to receive enough credit to purchase these 21 items. I thank you for your help.

She thanks you for your help.

He thanks you for your help.

And she thanks you for your help.

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