Sunday, April 29, 2012

When God Gives Fruitcake

This blog has nothing to do with surrogacy. But as I do think of other things, I think it's appropriate to share these thoughts on my blog as well.

Everyone of us had received a regift. You know, that item no one wants so it keeps getting passed from person to person? The giver hopes that the recipient wasn't the one to give the item to them in the first place, and the recipient accepts the gift with a wide eyed smile that says, "Crap, what am I going to do with THIS?"

The idea that God can give us "re-gifts" has been on my heart and soul a lot over the past few days. My prayer life has been pretty focused on some friends from Chris and I's past who are dealing with the birth of a child who has some serious medical needs. I am also praying for our Worship Minister who is furthering his call by taking a trip to South East Asia to help in the fight against Human Trafficking. Seems to me these are three people who are dealing with God's fruitcake... seeing first hand the gifts no one wants to receive.

I am a strong believer that God does everything on purpose and with purpose. It's no accident that Adam Young has the soft heart of a child, yet has been called to witness some of the most heartbreaking acts one human can do to another. It's no accident that God is asking Jill and Josh Robinson to be shining examples of faith in the face of impossible odds, when they minister to young people who often feel as though the odds are stacked against them.

Perhaps my favorite verse in the bible is found in 1Corinthians 10-13 ".12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation[c] has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted[d] beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted,[e] he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." I chose to interpret this verse less literally than it probably should be taken. As an over achiever I often feel impossible odds and great stress, and a temptation to give up. I call on this verse often to remember that God will never fill my plate with more tasks than I can balance and will never ask me to do anything He knows I am not able to do.

Perhaps we should all take a shine to this faithfulness when it comes to interpreting and feeling grateful for God's fruitcake. Even the gifts we wish he'd kept for someone else are given on purpose and with purpose. No doubt in my mind that God has already used Josh, Jill, and baby Judah to reach the lives and touch the hearts of hundreds. No doubt God will use Adam's soft spirit to provide comfort to women and children and give them a peace and love they may not have ever had the chance to know before. And who better to deliver it to them than one of God's soft hearted servants?

In the end, I hope I can learn to be grateful for all gifts God gives me. I hope I can learn to stop seeing some things as gifts while seeing other things as obstacles or challenges.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Womb for Rent

Today on the Today Show, Guilianna Rancic told the world that after a long run with infertility, she and husband Bill are planning to welcome a baby into the world via gestational surrogate.Here's the Clip

As a disclaimer, I think this is awesome news, and wish them nothing but the best. I was happy to have caught the segment. It did get me thinking about my own journey though, and a couple of the pet peeves I'm already forming. For example:

Have Some Respect
Ann Curry had a laugh over a celebrity having a "baby momma" and asked how it worked.  First of all let me just say that I really dislike calling a surrogate a "baby momma." Honestly, that term has become synonymous with a half witted, drama prone woman that the other biological parent doesn't want to deal with. That kind of relationship is far from what I hope to have with my Intended Parents. So, in cause you're reading this later on, IP's, please don't call me that.

I feel like surrogates are going through a LOT of emotional highs and lows with the hormone injections, the transfer process, the pregnancy itself, and then handing a baby over. I feel a surrogate deserves respect. And to me, being called a "Baby Momma" just aint' respectful.

Just because a woman has sex, doesn't mean she'll have sex with everyone.
Just because I desire to be a surrogate, doesn't mean I'll have your baby. 
Maybe it's because I am already on this path for myself and I understand the importance of finding the right match, but I felt she gave the air of the matching process being as simple as finding a woman in the produce section of your local grocery store.

I am not walking around wearing a t shirt that reads, "womb for rent." Just because I am willing and desiring to become a surrogate does not mean I'm willing and desiring to do it for any old Joe on the street.

When I told me OBGYN about our decision a few weeks ago (to ask for local resources and his experience with surrogacy), the nurse in the room actually stayed back when he left to ask if I'd be her carrier . It was honestly so awkward. I hadn't even begun to think about my preference for the location of my Intended Parents, and to be put on the spot like that was downright weird. Truly, she didn't even tell me her name before diving into her infertility story. I wound up saying we were long from the start of the process and that I was sure she'd have a child before I was ready to begin. I feel for her, but what a burden to drop on my feet.

I'm not really angry, though as I re-read this I sure sound it. I just want to make sure I find the right fit in Intended Parents. And I don't take it lightly.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Welcome to our Journey

Chris and I have begun sharing our decision to become a surrogacy family with many of our friends and family members. Although only met by support, we also encounter a lot of questions. I decided to start blogging about the process not only as a diary for us, but also to keep everyone updated on our journey. 

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For My Intended Parents
My hope is that in the future, hopefully about a year from where we are now, when we are matched with our Intended Parents (those whose child I will be carrying) they can review this blog and see that my journey to find them started long before we ever exchanged words. I hope that when you read this (my IP's) you'll learn about Chris, Adelia, Emrys and I and that my words here will help you to feel secure in choosing us to help start and grow your family. 
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For everyone else out there... here's a round up of 
Where We Are And how We Arrived Here
Adelia was born February 14, 2010. Shortly after that I began to feel a pull and whisper from God about what he wanted me to do with my life. I really didn't mind pregnancy, and despite a rather violent birth (25 stitches!), I didn't even mind the child birth experience. I began to pray over and consider becoming a surrogate. I didn't tell anyone, not even my husband. I wanted to talk with God about it for awhile first. Plus, Chris and I knew we wanted to have more kids. 

When we found out we were pregnant with Emrys, God's whisper became more of a direct instruction. It was louder and more urgent. I decided it was time to tell Chris that I had been considering surrogacy. It had been about a year, and I felt fairly sure it was a process I wanted to move forward with. I also knew that his reaction to the news would greatly influence where we went next. I was so pleased to find that he supported me! For the next nine months we talked and prayed over the decision and applied aspects of my current pregnancy to a hypothetical surrogacy in the future. I really feel as though it helped us to consider the pros and cons of this decision. 

After the birth of Emrys (Jan. 15, 2012) Chris and I knew our family was complete. But I felt equally as strongly that I was in no way done being pregnant. To me, this was our sign that God intended to use me to help others grow their family. We decided to begin telling our friends and family about our decision to move forward in the process. We expected to be met with criticism and a few nay-sayers. Imagine my shock to find only support from our friends, family and church. To us, this is just another sign that this is indeed God's plan in action. 

What's Next
To date we've contacted an agency and read a book on preparing for this journey. Although I have found an agency and a mentor to work with (Hello, Anna!) we know that I can not start the process of psychological and physical screening until I am done breastfeeding Emrys. That (Hopefully) will be in roughly 12 months when she's about 12-15 months old. In the meantime Chris and I have a lot of legwork to do, building a road map of characteristics we hope our Intended Parents will have and the views we hope they will have surrounding controversial issues like selective reduction, amniocentesis, and multiples. We need to decide how we feel about these issues as well. 

I do not think we will post much about these decisions on the blog as they are deeply personal, not only to us but also to the intended parents out there. I don't want our views to be too public as it could skew the matching process, and it could also reveal more about this couple than they're comfortable sharing. So, those details may not be revealed for quite some time if ever. It is important to me to protect their privacy as well as our own in this emotional process. 

What I am Expecting
A baby! Ha! Seriously, I am expecting a rewarding journey that will be God guided. That's not to say I expect it to be an easy journey. I know it will be emotional and tearful. I am dreading exactly two things already:
1. IVF and Fertility Treatments
2. The 72 hours after birth and before the baby leaves me

I know this journey will be difficult. But I also believe it will be life changing and make my life have a purpose beyond anything I could imagine. I feel this is God's calling on my life. While I do have fear entering this process, I do it with Him as my guide. I have a lot of faith in His divine guidance. My old pastor, Craig Fourman, once told me that, "God doesn't call the equipped, He equips the called." To say I am fearless leading into this is a lie. But as my grandpa always told me, "Fear and faith can not co-exist. You have one or the other." So I am trusting God. After two years of feeling His Call and purpose for me, I am trusting His will and starting this journey. 

Happy reading!

Meet Dad (for now)

Just kick starting this blog with a litttle info about the guy who won't really be doing any of the work.  The little red hen will be baking the bread, but I still get to come along for the ride!

In all seriousness, I think it's important that the husband is on board during such a hormone-ridden, physically and emotionally demanding project as a surrogate pregnancy, and with all the moral implications, it's important that the entire family is approves and is supportive.  That's what they say, anyway; there are incidents of friends and family being very against the concept of having someone else's child, but we haven't really run into them yet.  Most of our network seems to be supportive, excited, and somewhat intrigued by the concept.  I certainly never thought about it until Mandy mentioned it to me.

We haven't really made any important decisions yet, other than that we are going to do this; we need to get legal representation, talk to an agency or choose to go it alone, and fill all the prerequisites of even beginning the search.  We have to be done breastfeeding, for instance, so we get to take our time deciding on things.

Like anything else in my life, I want to keep this as simple as possible, so wherever I really don't have an opinion, I want to stay neutral, since people seem to be so picky about all the details.  That said, the few things that I do care about, I can hopefully stick to those when it comes to signing paperwork.  You would be amazed how long the laundry list of preferences can get, from local/long distance to the types of food the mother can eat.

Not much else to say at this point, but I'm sure we'll start making concrete decisions as time goes on.