Get Lily Louise Newman Home
This petition had 412 supporters
We are proud new parents to our amazing daughter Lily, who was born in Mumbai, India through surrogacy in May 2016. We travelled to Mumbai for Lily's birth and to bring her home to Epsom in Surrey. However, we have been left stranded because of delays due to UK Passport Office (HMPO) checks and may have to leave our 3 and half month old daughter with a complete stranger, as we are forced to leave by the Indian Government.
Lily is now starting to laugh and giggle like all babies her age, but little does she know that her safe, secure and nurtured World she lives in with her Mum and Dad could be turned upside down in less than 27 days.
Lily's application for her UK passport has been with the Passport office since 3rd June, but processing delays with the international checks at the UK passport office have meant we are now left stranded — with no idea about when we will make it home. To make matters worse we have been given a deadline of 7th October to leave India, so must have Lily’s passport in our possession by this time or we must leave without her.
We are currently living in a small one bedroom apartment in Mumbai, unable to venture out with our baby because of the monsoon rains or the extreme heat, together with poor local surrounding conditions.
We have now run out of money to live on, due to the weakened pound from the Brexit vote and having to keep up our mortgage payments on our UK home etc.
We have been told by HMPO that everything was fine with Lily’s passport application, but have had no updates on its status and been told it could take some many months to complete. We have provided everything that the Passport Office requires plus additional evidence and have had no queries raised or requests for additional material. We were told by Liverpool HMPO customer service team that it had been sent to the High Commission in New Delhi on 4th July and it has been stuck there ever since.
We travelled to India on a medical visa which expired on 7th September and have spent to last two days pleading our case for an extension with the local authorities. The Indian visa authority was not impressed that the UK passport office has not yet issued our baby's passport. Luckily the Foreign Commonwealth Office helped us to get an extension by intervening, however we are concerned that this extension is not long enough for the Passport Office's slowly go through it's checks. Our visa has been extended by one month by the Indian authorities, but we have been told under no circumstance will it be extended any further. Therefore we have to leave India by 7th October with or without Lily. We cant believe that we could be forced to do the unthinkable and leave our baby in India! We have no friends or family out here to support us and therefore no-one that we trust to leave our 3 and a half month old baby with, so as you can imagine we are utterly distraught and sick with worry.
We feel let down by the Passport Office and UK Government, as we raised the fact that our Indian visa was running out, weeks ago and they took no action at all.
The Passport Office website says processing can take at least 16 weeks and the words "at least" are very worrying as this gives the impression of no end point. We have been told that the checks are there for safeguarding the applicant and that cases like ours are complex for the various authorities to deal with, and the issue of child trafficking is too sensitive for passports to be issued before all the proper checks have been carried out. Yet other countries with similar immigration laws such as the USA and Sweden, can accept surrogate babies within 4 to 6 weeks and will perform a DNA test if any concerns are raised over the identity of the child or it’s relationship to the parents.
We have already been told twice now by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that we should be prepared to leave Lily. It is madness that UK Government and HMPO is so willing to safeguard the well-being of a baby applicant to ensure that it hasn’t been trafficked, that it is happy for that child to be left without it’s parents in a foreign country with a complete stranger. Whilst I understand that checks have to done, I would also hope that common sense would prevail, after all a simple DNA test would prove that Chris is the biological father.
We have asked our MP Chris Grayling to assist us in escalating our case to HMPO and the Home Office, as we are also trying to get the FCO to issue us with an emergency travel document. Chris Grayling has assured us that he is keeping the Home Office under pressure over Lily’s case and that it is being actively pursued at the moment, but we have had no news yet from HMPO and worry that time is running out.
We need people to sign up to a potention today to help raise awareness of our case and to ask the Home Office to grant us an Emergency Travel Document (ETD) to travel home, as they don't normally offer this for first time applicants, so we would be an acceptional case.
Please help us, by signing our petition and promote our case to whoever you know.
Chris, Michele and Lily Newman
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