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How we flew to give birth in Hollywood, and how much it costs

Despite the deterioration of relations between the United States and Russia, the fall in the ruble exchange rate and the withdrawal of American diplomats, which is why visa-taking began to take much longer, Russians continue to come to America to have children there - and, according to local media, they becomes only more. Specialcore "Jellyfish" Ilya Zhegulev became one of those Russians - and tells why he and his wife decided to give birth to a son in Los Angeles and how much it costs.

Archive of Ilya Zhegulev and Ekaterina Oguryaeva

To compare prices, conditions and services, we also recommend that you read how much it costs to give birth in Portland and how to travel independently to give birth in the USA from Ukraine, in the material on Woman ForumDaily As we went to give birth in the US without intermediaries (Part 1 и Part 2)

- Dad, I think you're nervous. For some reason you blushed, - said ten-year-old Semen Zhegulev. “Does that always happen on the border with America?”

My son and I were sitting at the Minneapolis airport in a special area for potential violators of the visa regime - and I did not understand what would happen next. The devil pulled me to say, when I passed the border, that I was going with the child to the USA to look after my beloved wife, safely in Los Angeles at the last term of pregnancy and about to give birth right there. The passport control employee immediately changed her face and asked for the entire package of documents. What I did - but the documents did not reassure her, we were sent to a special room until all the circumstances were clarified.

Most of all, this room was reminiscent of our "monkeys" - the preliminary detention rooms in police stations, where participants of unauthorized meetings often get. As time went on, before the flight to California, 40 minutes remained. I tried to write a message to my wife, but a policeman hailed me.

- Didn’t I tell you that you can’t use the phone? Come and give it to me.

- Could you deal with me soon? We have a plane in half an hour, ”I gasped, finally losing self-confidence.

- You can no longer worry about your plane. And in general - you are not yet in the United States.

Of Florida in California

A few months before these disturbing events, Katya and I thought: why not turn the birth of a child into an adventure - and not survive it in warmth (the son should have been born in November - not the most festive time in Russia). The United States seemed to be the best warm place because there is not only an excellent climate and a good health care system for those who are willing to pay for it, but also a constitution in which since 27 July 1868 there is an 14-i amendment about the “right of the soil”. And according to this amendment, any child who was born in the territory of the United States can receive American citizenship.

Since I do not really understand why borders are needed, the opportunity to open them for future generations seemed attractive to me. As it turned out, we are far from the only family who came up with a similar idea: while the Americans themselves in recent years are less and less willing to have children (the number of newborns reached the historical minimum), the demand for "exit" childbirth confidently is growing - including at the expense of the Russians. The former wife of Roman Abramovich Daria Zhukova, Olympic champion, member of United Russia and Colonel Svetlana Khorkina, singer Anna Sedokova, Christina Orbakaite and Alsou, actress Anastasia Zavorotnyuk - the rich and famous have long been accustomed to go to birth in American hospitals, but now the same way followed and many people are simpler.

A superficial study showed: Russian-speaking companies involved in childbirth, dozens in various cities of America. For example, in New York, the recent emigrant Yuri Mosh and his agency “Russian America” help to determine the doctor, consult during the entire stay in the country and, if necessary, provide an interpreter; for all this you have to pay 3000 dollars (not counting the payment for the medical services themselves). The main center of attraction for pregnant Russians is Miami: here the generic business is put on a grand scale - there are even several price lists of different levels, from 6900 dollars for the minimum package of services to 49 thousands for their full list. However, even this amount does not include the cost of flights and other transport, housing, car rental (without it in most large American cities in any way - especially pregnant) and money necessary for living. At the same time, it is necessary to spend at least two and a half months in America - fly five to six weeks before delivery (otherwise the doctors and the airline will not let a woman on the plane), and fly after receiving the documents, which will take more than a month.

Our financial limit was 20 thousands of dollars from the sale of two cars. At first it seemed that the truth was easier to go to Miami: the infrastructure was adjusted, they got used to the Russians, and even housing is not that expensive - if you don’t live in Trump towers, then an apartment can cost from 2500 dollars a month. The birth itself in this case would be worth it if you use the rates of the most popular Russian-speaking obstetrician-gynecologist Svetlana Maslyak, eight and a half thousand: 5 thousand - to the doctor and 3500 - to the hospital (the amount increases if anesthesia or cesarean section is needed). However, in Florida, all the same, I did not want to: too simple, too many compatriots, and in general Miami is not exactly America; One of my American colleagues, having learned about our thoughts about this city, said that it would not be possible to learn English there - rather Spanish. As for Los Angeles, it was our dream to go there for a long time, and when it turned out that there was a Russian-speaking doctor there, we did not hesitate for a minute.

Sophia Tsyganovskaya moved to America from Odessa in 1998, and after 7 years, having confirmed her medical degree in the USA, she and her family moved to Los Angeles. Now she already speaks Russian with a slight accent, often stumbling into English words. In 2017, she took 160 genera; 25 of them - at mothers who have specially arrived to give birth from Russia. Residents of the former USSR reached out to her after the Russian-speaking clients turned out to be the clients of Tsyganovskaya. Now, she said, the most pregnant women arrive from Russia to Los Angeles, but there are Ukrainian women, Kazakh women, and Uzbek women. “Russia is a rich country, so, probably, more people come from there,” the doctor argues and adds: “Now it’s harder to get a visa, people have less money, there are less visitors”.

Like the others, we learned about Tsyganovskaya through word of mouth - the doctor took delivery of the wife of a Ukrainian millionaire from the list Forbes, whose family was familiar to my wife Kate. It turned out that the millionaire saved: giving birth in Los Angeles was cheaper than in Miami, and Tsyganovskaya works without intermediaries. And if in Florida the agency requires 500 dollars just for the invitation letter to the embassy, ​​here we were given such a document for free.

True, we did not use them. In vain.

Archive of Ilya Zhegulev and Ekaterina Oguryaeva

Trump vs newborns

"We are the only ones in the world who are so stupid, so stupid", - said Donald Trump at one of his election rallies in September 2015-th, breaking the applause of the public. It was about the fact that the United States gives citizenship even to children who were born in America from their parents who illegally got into the country. Two years later, when Trump became president, one of his first orders was deal with this problem.

The main subject of unrest of a billionaire who became a politician is illegal immigrants, who with the help of children become full citizens. By According to Pew Research Center, in recent years, the number of children appearing in America among illegal migrants is falling - but still in 2014, there were about 275 thousands, which accounted for 7% of all newborns in the country. Parents of American children are rarely deported, and after the child turns 21 into a year, they have the right to “reunion”, after which the child can issue a green card to his parents. Therefore, these children are called anchor - “anchor”, through which people cling to the American land.

Trump said he was ready to go to extreme measures to stop this perverse, in his opinion, practice, and even говорил to journalists that it is necessary to change the rate of granting citizenship by birth. However, for this, he will have to change the constitution, and it is extremely difficult to do this - especially in current political circumstances.

Even if the parents are not going to hide from the authorities until the child reaches the age of majority, American citizenship offers many advantages. First, you can almost forget about visas. Secondly, with a US passport, you can qualify for educational programs and grants that are inaccessible to Russians, and the cost of paid tuition (including in Europe) will be much lower. Some agencies cite a lack of military duty as a possible advantage, but this is not true - if the son remains in Russia and does not complete a monthly military training course in the United States, he must be registered and can be called up in the same manner as other 18 -year-old male Russians.

The gift in the form of American citizenship has its drawbacks. Even if your child remains to live in Russia, he will still have to report once a year to the US tax authorities. True, pay something haveOnly if he earns more than 8500 dollars a month, and all documents can be processed via the Internet. In addition, Russian legislation obliges the FMS to notify two citizenships within 60 days - and an American or European passport may prevent you from holding senior positions in state-owned companies: despite the fact that there is no official ban, my interlocutors say that this is often the reason for leaving the top -managers. According to sources at Rosneft, even Pavel Fedosov, the vice president of the largest oil state company, had serious problems because of his British passport, and the head of the corporation, Igor Sechin, could hardly beat him off. However, if the inconvenience outweighs the benefits, you can always refuse the American passport - this is 2350 dollars.

Archive of Ilya Zhegulev and Ekaterina Oguryaeva

Trump's anxiety may be due to another circumstance: migrants often give birth at public expense. According to American law, the clinic is obliged to take delivery, even if the family has no insurance. According to the head of the agency “Russian America”, Yuri Moshi, some resourceful people even come in early terms and arrange for themselves insurance Medicaid, claiming that they are now drawn up as refugees. Subsequently, this may be the basis for a lifetime ban on entry into the United States - or it may not be. “I know a girl from Rostov who did this,” Mosha says. - Has given birth - and itself has returned with the child back. Then a year later she came to apply for a visa, and she was given, without saying a word about the child, although, in theory, they should have asked for payment documents for the delivery. Lucky.

We did everything as it should be. The births in the hospital in Los Angeles should have cost us 3600 dollars (now this amount has already grown to 4800 dollars), we paid three thousand more to Tsyganovskaya for the management of pregnancy and childbirth and another thousand for the necessary tests and anesthesia. Thus, the total amount was not much higher than the cost of childbirth in a private clinic in Moscow (for example, in the Mother and Child perinatal center will manage 500-600 thousand rubles - about $ 9500).

So that no one suspects you in an attempt to deceive the state, it is better to include documents from the hospital and doctor in the package of documents for a visa. But it is in theory. In practice, Katya made a visa several months before the birth, when we still did not completely decide and thought we should not just go to Miami to rest, and indicated the purpose of the “tourism” trip, without mentioning the birth. Together with my son I did the documents later - when, after a diplomatic conflict, the number of employees of the American embassy dropped sharply, and the queues wishing to receive documents entitling them to be in the United States stretched for several months. One thing remained: to apply for a visa somewhere not in Russia (the benefit of any Russian can do it in any country of the world). The choice was obvious - Riga, where the editorial board of Medusa is located. Everything went smoothly there - except that I had to urgently organize my son's excursion to Latvia: the rules allow you to apply for children up to 14 years without their presence at the interview - but only if it happens at the place of residence; to obtain a visa in another state, all applicants must come to the embassy in person.

Katya flew to the United States a month before us - and they let her into the country at the border without asking anything. When we flew with Semyon, in response to an officer’s question about the objectives of the visit, I decided not to lie and said: they say, my wife is going to give birth - we are going to support her.

This is where the fun began. I was asked to show all the birth-related documents that I had, including the contract with the doctor. They were not enough: the border guards needed a paid check from the clinic, which I didn’t have with me. Then one of them asked Senya if he was going to study in America at school. “Yes!” Answered Simon, although he had a tourist visa and did not expect any education. He didn’t really know anything about any school, but just in case everywhere he answered “Yes”.

After that we got into the pen for violators.

Having taken my phone, an employee in uniform began to ask questions after a while. “Tell me, please, why did your wife, when she made a visa, say that the goal is tourism?” - He asked. “She was already pregnant.” As it turned out, while we were waiting for the development of events, the frontier guards managed to punch the wife through their databases and even see what she said at the interview.

“So we wanted to take a trip to Miami in September,” I replied, with a wide smile. - And then the chief didn't let me go. The birth was already coming, but the sea still really wanted to. Therefore, we decided to combine. They say that you have good medicine.

- What about son?

- A son is just going to rest and help his father and brother.

- Why did you not say at the first meeting with the consul in Riga that you were going to give birth, but only for the second?

“It would be good for your consuls to be more attentive and work better,” I was indignant. - I said it both times and the documents showed the same ones!

The employee sighed, thought, studied our return tickets and set the period of stay exactly before departure. We were told the cherished "Welcome to the United States“- and Semyon and I even managed at the last minute to drop into a plane to Los Angeles, where the mother of the future American was already waiting for us.

According to the owner of the Californian Translation Agency Advanced translation services Marina Teper, we are, in fact, lucky. It could be otherwise - if the passport control officer had a different mood. Teper recalls the story of a couple who arrived in the United States with a tourist visa five months before giving birth - and which was given two weeks at the border. In an amicable way, of course, it was necessary to insure and make a medical visa - especially in the category she is not different from tourist.

Archive of Ilya Zhegulev and Ekaterina Oguryaeva

Childbirth in Hollywood

The most difficult thing in Los Angeles is to find affordable housing for two or three months. We decided to attend to this already in America - in the first two weeks Katya, with the permission of a doctor, skated with her friend in Arizona and California, and the hotels were on average cheaper than the whole apartment in Los Angeles. At some point, it was nevertheless necessary to settle down - and it turned out that it was not so simple.

To rent an apartment through the site Craigslist or a real estate agency, you need an American credit history - besides, they usually surrender without furniture. Katya tried to place an ad about finding an apartment in profile groups in social networks - but in response to this, calls from strange people began to arrive. One potential landlord introduced himself as a pornacter; another asked to urgently transfer money to the card, telling the sad story that he was in the hospital and, if he didn’t transfer the deposit, he would leave the apartment.

In the end, the most reliable option was the same Airbnbwhich is used to use for short-term lease. Our beautiful one-bedroom apartment near Beverly Hills with a courtyard and private parking cost 1500 dollars a month - all local friends said that we were lucky, because it is very difficult to find something cheaper than two thousand here (now it has risen in price 1000 dollars). Taking into account the average air temperature in November - 20 degrees of heat - all our free time we basked in the sun in this very courtyard, and Ivan, when he was born, got his first tan there.

Renting a car cost another two and a half thousand dollars for two months (without insurance) - and we went to look at the hospital. Sofia Tsyganovskaya works in the suburb of Hollywood Burbank (as written in the birth certificate, although it is pronounced like Burbank), at the clinic St. Josephwhich belongs to a large network of hospitals Providence. Next to the hospital - studio Walt Disneyfive minutes away Warner Brothers and amusement park studios Universal. However, the stars still prefer to give birth not here, but in the center Cedars sinai - it was there that the children of Madonna, Kim Kardashian, Britney Spears, Alsou, Svetlana Khorkina and many others were born. Proximity to them is expensive. “There was a client, the so-called red jacket, who, as he learned that [Burbank” will be recorded in the birth certificate], refused our hospital, ”says Tsyganovsky, husband of Sofia Tsyganovsky, who has been helping her with business in recent years. - He said, they say, no, I want it to be written "Beverly Hills". Childbirth came out exactly five times more expensive. " But how told one more client Cedars sinai - singer Anna Sedokova, local doctors "sing songs, dance and turn the process of the birth of a child into the world into a holiday."

We were also asked in Burbank, under what kind of music we want to give birth and whether it is necessary to create some special flavor in the room. We decided to do without excesses - where it was more important that the hospital was equipped with the latest technology, and in each ward there is a bath, a shower and even a sofa where the husband can stay overnight. We were lucky - we went to the hospital in the morning (more than two nights in America are not supposed to be in maternity hospitals; if you arrive there in the evening, this can create certain inconveniences).

I will not describe the birth process myself. I can only say that the doctor was Jesuitly calm, she came at the last moment, she seemed to be drinking coffee, watching the employees who helped Kate, but at the right moment she made a decision with lightning speed that might have saved Ivan’s life.

Of course, we took a terrible risk. Any difficulties with childbirth in America can cost a lot of money. My wife agreed to this adventure only when she found out that if something happens, she can sell the real estate in stock to pay for unplanned operations. But in the end we did without a cesarean, the child did without resuscitation, and Sofia Tsyganovskaya calmly went to drink up her coffee and congratulated me on the birth of her son.

Reddened Ivan (compatriots immediately began to call him Ivan), squinting, looked at the sterile reality surrounding him, to which he still had to get used to. They put on him a special safety bracelet that does not allow the child to be taken out of the ward. When trying to cross the yellow line in the hospital, an alarm is triggered. And Katya reached out for a string of visitors - over the night, it seems, about ten specialists visited her, from a breastfeeding assistant for babies to a mothers feeding specialist (a special girl who asked what kind of food Katya preferred).

Archive of Ilya Zhegulev and Ekaterina Oguryaeva

American goes to Russia

At birth, the adventure is not over. Next was the stage, which seemed to be one of the worst, - registration of citizenship. We refused to try to do this on our own - all the advisers said that without knowledge of the pitfalls we could not cope with the American bureaucracy.

Odessa Marina Teper organized the first translation bureau to help Russians back in 1985, when she came to place an announcement about her services in Panorama, America’s largest Russian-language weekly, which occupied the second floor of an inconspicuous office building in West Hollywood. As she now recalls, she was greeted as her own - her services turned out to be so demanded by readers that she was immediately offered to rent a room opposite the office of the chief editor. Marina works in this office so far. Its main business is translations, but now it helps with documents and giving birth to Russians.

The procedure is approximately as follows. The hospital issued a certificate of birth, which must be translated into Russian and legalized in the United States (275 dollars). Then you need to make an American passport (in our case, 140 dollars for expedited clearance, plus 125 dollars for collecting documents) and deliver a Russian visa there. We were lucky again: my wife is a citizen of Ukraine; if both of us were Russians, without registration of Russian citizenship in the territory of the United States, the son would simply not be allowed into Russia, and registration may take up to three months (especially now when the consulate in San Francisco was closed). You can bypass this long-term obstacle in the following way: a father flies to Moscow, draws up a birth certificate at the registry office on the basis of a certificate from the hospital and forwards it to America, where they draw up a travel document at the consulate.

We didn’t have to do this either - we had enough of a tourist visa for Ivan. This is also a difficult process - it takes more time than obtaining an American passport, and is much more expensive. A visa is issued for 10 days and costs as much as 295 dollars - this amount includes an invitation from the travel company (the fastest is the case) and a special voucher from the hotel (no printouts with Booking.com in the Russian embassies are not accepted); another 33 dollar takes a special visa center for its services.

The last stage is the purchase of a ticket for a baby at Aeroflot: it cost 30 thousands of rubles. As a result, the whole voyage - with childbirth, traveling, traveling to Cirque du Soleil and Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Silicon Valley, an excursion to Universal city and Disneyland and so on - it went to the original planned budget, 20 thousand dollars. In the evening of December 24 I met my beloved wife with a young American in Sheremetyevo with a huge balloon. There was a wild cold outside. For a US citizen Ivan Zhegulev began a new Russian life.

How much does it cost to give birth in Portland and how to travel independently to give birth in the USA from Ukraine, read the material on Woman ForumDaily As we went to give birth in the US without intermediaries (Part 1 и Part 2)

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