A Somewhat Different Path To Parenthood
A few years ago we were told that due to my
DES exposure pregnancy would not be an option for us. At the time it seemed as
though the pain was insurmountable. At that moment all of our hopes and dreams
were crushed. We had lived our lives and developed careers always thinking that
if we worked hard enough we could accomplish what we wanted in this world...
then, infertility entered our vocabulary.....
Initially I couldn't consider surrogacy as an option. The news of my infertility
was too new and too painful. After a year and a half of unsuccessful attempts at
private adoption we once again began looking at surrogacy. By this time we had
thought about and dreamed of what our biological child would be like. We said
goodbye to that child and mourned the loss. We were then able to move forward
with surrogacy and view it as a way to become a family rather than pursue it as
an infertility treatment. We felt that building a family through surrogacy could
give us back some feeling of control over our destiny. Perhaps, more
importantly, we felt that this option would allow us to develop a relationship
with our child's birthmother and eventually have a well-rounded history to share
with our child.
I believe that the time and energy that we spent saying goodbye to our
biological child allowed us to later fully bond with our surrogate and view her
pregnancy with joy and anticipation rather than jealousy or distance.
Our journey began. First we read everything we could find related to surrogacy.
We then began researching state laws to determine which states would make the
eventual step-parent adoption process easier. We visited several agencies and in
March 1992 we decided to work with an agency in the mid-west. After our initial
meeting with the agency we began reviewing applications from prospective
surrogates. It was exciting to finally be doing something concrete toward
building our family. Trying to decide who might be a "perfect match" for us was
a somewhat overwhelming task. Once our selection was complete we exchanged a
letter and photo with the surrogate. We then made an appointment to meet each
other. My husband and I slept little the night before our meeting. Our minds
were running a mile a minute. The next day we met the surrogate, her three year
old daughter and the agency representative. Over breakfast ( I couldn't eat a
thing) we began to get to know each other. The next day we met again and
continued our conversation. We then proceeded to sign contracts. After many
months of unsuccessful AI attempts it became clear that the surrogate had an
infertility problem of her own. We regrouped emotionally and began to look at
applications again. After several months we selected another surrogate. We again
exchanged letters. Our meeting with the surrogate and her husband went so
smoothly that we were all surprised to find that we had talked from breakfast
straight through lunch! We all felt so comfortable that we signed contracts and
made our first AI attempt that weekend.
We traveled home excited and relieved... we were finally on our way to becoming
parents. Somehow this time the relationship with the surrogate felt "right". It
was as though the previous months had merely been a warm up phase. We felt that
there was a reason for it not working before- that this woman was meant to help
us build our family-- and our baby was "out there" just waiting for the right
circumstances to come together. Each month my husband and I flew to the mid-west
and spent several days with the surrogate and her family. For us the time we
spent in the mid-west became quite special because the relationship we had with
the surrogate and her husband became that of being friends.
Four months later on December 9, 1993 our surrogate called and said,
"congratulations mommy"... I'm afraid that the rest of the phone call is a bit
of a blur... after eight years of wanting a family we could hardly believe it.
Over the months we exchanged phone calls and letters- sometimes several times a
week. We had contact after each doctor's appointment and often in between. Her
letters and pictures of herself as the pregnancy progressed really helped us
feel connected and reinforced the idea that we were really going to have a baby.
We flew the surrogate and her husband to the east coast to have the sonogram.
Seeing ten tiny fingers and toes and watching the baby suck it's thumb in utero
really made it real for us.
Initially time passed very slowly. Toward the end of the pregnancy we had all
the usual expectant parent jitters. On August 15,1994 our son arrived safe and
sound. My husband and I and the surrogate's husband were all there to welcome
him into the world.
Parental relinquishment papers were signed the following evening. We flew home
with our son when he was a day and a half old. Leaving the surrogate and her
husband was very difficult for us as we now considered them to be part of our
We are now the parents of a very active little boy who loves to cuddle, collect
rocks in his pockets and go non-stop from morning to night. We remain in close
contact with our friends in the mid-west through phone calls, letters,photos and
videos. When we are able to,we visit in person.
Words cannot possibly express the depth of feeling that we have for our
surrogate and her husband. The four of us came together,with love, to bring our
little boy into the world. That's not such a bad legacy for a child. I cannot
think of a more precious gift.
My child? I may not have nestled him within me for nine months, but I loved him
within my heart for much longer.