As I sit down at a coffee shop and open my laptop, a half hour before my Skype call, I start getting the weirdest feeling. I have not felt this way since I was on my first date. You know that feeling where you have so many expectations but they are drowned with the mere happiness that it is actually happening?
Well, here I am, a woman of 32 beginning something very out of my comfort zone... becoming a Surrogate. I am familiar with Surrogacy because my god daugther was born through Surrogacy. My friend had a beautiful experience with Omega Family Global, so my husband and I have always known that at some point in time we were going to become a Surrogate Couple. The opportunity arose one day at church, I remember that day clearly because the service was almost finished when the Spiritual Leader invited a couple to the front. He then mentioned that they had been trying to have children and had gone through many invitro processes and that they had wanted to adopt, but that was not working. So we were to pray for them. I cannot imagine my life without my kids, and I had never considered not being able to by physically able to have my own children.
Through our god daughters family we contacted a Surrogacy Agency called Omega Family Global and began the application process. It took time to get all the paperwork together, and to explain to our two children why we were going to do this, but we finally got it done. Omega Family Global was gracious enough to accommodate our request to work with the couple from our church.
Today, we are going to have a conversation about not only what my family expects the relationship to be like, but how involved they want to be. This is a very important part of the matching process. We know they belong to our community, but we do not know them well. We are doing this vía Skype at the moment because I am on a business trip and am out of town. It is such a blessing to have technology on your side at moments like this!
I have jotted down some questions that I would like to ask the IPs.
- What method of communication is most comfortable for you? (video,watts app, text messages, messages through social media, phone calls?)
- How often would you like to hear from me and my family?
- Would you like our families to socialize or would you prefer not to?
- Would you like for me to share pictures of my day-to-day life?
- Would you be willing to share pictures of your home and your daily life with me and my family?
- If we see each other at church or at public events, how would you like to handle these meetings?
The Skype tone called me out of my reverie and I realized that my husband had already logged on, as did our Omega Family Case Manager. We reached an agreement with the IPs to have our Case Manager present at this meeting because with her experience, she could tell us about the different types of relationships IPs choose to have with their Gestational Carriers. We all wanted as much information possible to make the right decisions for the baby.
The IPs logged in and our conversation began. From our previous conversations with the IPs we have gotten to know them more and more. They understood as well as we did that Surrogacy was not a family creation method that either they or us, had ever considered. This was a new experience for us and Omega Family Global was there to guide us. We learned from her that our case was special because many of the cases are managed with the Intended Parents living in a community outside the country, or in another state entirely. So although in this case we were using Skype because I was out of town, our Surrogacy Journey had the particularity that both the IPs and the Surrogate live in the same community.
My husband and I got all our questions answered. To our dismay the IPs, though very gracious and thankful. wanted to keep their distance from us. They did not want to know much about our daily lives, but they did want to be a part of the big days, as they called it. They wanted to be there for the Embryo Transfer, they definitely wanted to be there for the baby’s birth. Regarding the birth, I did not want them to be there in the room when I gave birth, I only wanted to have my husband there with me. It was a good meeting, but I thought that there was going to be a bit more of interaction between the IPs and my family. I closed the laptop, and knew I would be home in a couple of days.
After that conversation, I had a series of conversations regarding my Surrogacy Journey. First, my Case Manager called me. She had sensed that things had not gone exactly as I had hoped and she wanted to know how I felt. She gave me some options; among them was to change the couple that we would be Surrogates for. That was not something I had considered, but what I did appreciate was the sensitivity the company had towards me and my feelings. My husband sat me down for a one-on-one conversation. He knew I was disappointed with the way the IPs wanted the relationship to go. He even asked me if I did not want to go through with the Surrogacy. Although the thought had crossed my mind after that meeting, I was sure of what I wanted to do, and I knew I had my family's support.
I let some time pass, to see if I could shake off the feeling of disappointment, but it did not happen. Both conversations, the one with my husband and the Case Manager made me realize that I wanted a different type of relationship with the IPs my family and I were going to help.
The Surrogacy Journey with the IPs from the church was called off, but we were soon to meet Mr. and Mrs. Chang from China. They are a beautiful couple. Mr. Chang had an unexplained infertility condition that they had been unable to find a solution to, and Ms. Chang was an avid chess player just like my husband. Our journey went so well that our family has gone to China twice in the last three years after baby Kim was born, and the Changs have visited us here in the US as well.
I am so thankful to Omega Family Global for their flexibility and their sensitivity toward my feelings. We were overjoyed to find out that the couple from the church found a Surrogate in a state across the country that was a perfect match for them. Both their child, Mathew, and the Changs' daughter Kim were born on the same day, only a year apart.