IT was a poignant moment when MP Julie Hilling finally met newborn twins Jai and Leela Salvi.
The Bolton West MP had been instrumental in helping their mum and dad bring them home — after they were stranded in India because of delays at the UK Passport Office.
Kiran and Bina Salvi, from Westhoughton, had travelled to India to meet their newborn surrogate children for the first time — but they were stranded in the country for five months because of delays getting passports for the twins.
They then contacted Ms Hilling, who worked with her team to put pressure on the authorities and eventually helped the family to get back to Bolton.
Ms Hilling posted a picture of herself holding the babies on Twitter and said: “Delighted to meet Jai and Leela Salvi, safely home from India with their passports at last.”
The passport situation arose during large-scale processing problems at the UK Passport Office this summer.
The couple, who arrived home with babies Jai and Leela at the end of July, had been forced to live in a hotel room in the Indian region of Anand for months and missed their flights home while waiting for the children’s passports to arrive.
Mr and Mrs Salvi had been trying to have children for the past 12 years and chose to use a surrogacy clinic in India after exhausting all other options.
The Salvis believe they had to pay about £3,000 in extra costs for new flights, accommodation and phone calls during their extended stay in India.
After growing more frustrated by a lack of progress, Mr Salvi decided to involve his MP, who brought the issue up in the House of Commons.
Mr Salvi said: “We were over the moon when Julie got involved — Bina was in tears because it felt great that someone was finally taking us seriously.
"We felt like we had been treated like criminals, because they weren’t communicating with us. It was like they were assuming we were doing something fraudulent, it was farcical.”
Ms Hilling said: “It’s wonderful news that the Salvis are back home where they belong.
“It’s so sad that they were caught up in the dreadful chaos created at the Passport Service and I will be continuing to press the government to sort out the problems.”