Happy 4th Birthday to a Daughter I Don’t Know… My Surrogacy Journey
Ah. This has been a long time coming. On my last blog, I wrote about my surrogacy/adoption journey quite a bit – but on this one I just haven't gotten around to it. I've mentioned Ling here and there on my fan page, and those that know me know who I'm talking about. Others have just been in the dark. Even when they've asked, I have just ignored the questions. I'm working on a book, so I thought “I'll just write the book and let them read it, then I won't have to answer the hard questions” – but the book writing has come to a halt because it's just too hard right now. I guess I feel like I owe it to you guys to open up a bit. This is the very short, condensed version of my story, so I hope it still makes sense.
I was working for a surrogacy agency back in 2007 when I was approached by the owner to be a surrogate myself. I had tried to be a surrogate before, but everything always fell through, so I had pretty much given up on the idea. When she asked me to be a surrogate for J, I looked over his profile and wasn't really sure about doing it but she reassured me: “he's an amazing man, he wants a baby more than anything, he will make a great father”. After a little debate, I agreed to do it. I flew out to Oregon, did the insemination, and got pregnant. Yes, I used my egg. I was a traditional surrogate.
I got pregnant and everything went well. While there were red flags here and there, I ignored them because there wasn't anything I could do. By “red flags”, I mean J had me do a “baking soda wash” before insemination to increase the chances of him having a boy. J kept calling the baby a boy, saying his family wanted a boy, talking boy boy boy boy boy all the time. I thought that was normal – when I was pregnant, I wanted girls. Later, I found out it wasn't just innocent “wanting” a boy. I called the baby “Ling” because he didn't have a name chosen yet, and “baby” was so impersonal.
Then, shit got real. Real fast.
At 5 months pregnant, I had an ultrasound and found out I was pregnant with a girl. I was so excited to tell him that she was healthy! When I called and gave him the news, he said “Oh” and then said he had to go. Previously, we talked on the phone at least a couple of times a week for long periods of time. This phone call was odd.
Over the next few days, things unfolded quickly. The agency owner told me J didn't want the baby. He wanted me to keep his baby because his family would “not approve of him having a girl”. I didn't understand, I couldn't believe it was happening. I was a single mom of 3, I couldn't take care of ANOTHER baby! I called J. I was begging him to talk to me – he wouldn't answer his phone. I left messages, telling him if he was scared that he shouldn't be… I could help him with any girl advice he needed… I had three of them already. He never answered my phone calls. The agency owner said he didn't want to talk to me. He was mad at me for being pregnant with a girl.
I let all of this information process, and then realized I was going to be a mom – again! :) I was really nervous, and fairly broke, but I had done this before (three times over!) so why couldn't I do it again? Ling was coming home with us. I started buying baby items, and carving out a spot in our small home for a nursery. I told my children the news – they were confused because, from the get-go, I told them Ling wasn't our baby. Now she was. They were so excited! I started thinking about names…
I got a call a few weeks later from the agency owner saying J changed his mind and was going to keep Ling. No. Wait. What? Legally, he could keep her. I was a contracted surrogate, he had paid me (though he stopped when he said he didn't want her), I signed papers… Ling was his, no matter what. After further discussion, the agency owner and I got pretty scared. He didn't want a girl. His family wouldn't approve. What exactly was he going to do with her? I found out he was going to give her up for adoption.
You can't give my baby up for adoption! You said she was MINE… you said I had to take her… she's been in MY body for 7 months. You. Can't. Do. This.
I called a lawyer.
Well, I had to call about 40 or 50 of them because nobody wanted to touch my case with a 100 foot pole. I found a lawyer a few hours away that said she would help me. I didn't have enough money to pay her much, but she said not to worry about it. She was an adoption lawyer but had dealt with surrogacy before. My lawyer discussed things with his lawyer, and she told me he refused to let me have her and I would definitely lose a case in court. Best case scenario was that I choose the adoptive family so I know that she would be safe. She said there were open adoptions, where I'd get updates on Ling. She said it'd be like an extended family relationship – my girls would still get to see pictures and I'd still get to watch her grow up.
Well, I guess my lawyer didn't really lie. The adoptive mother I chose for Ling lied. She was great at first (aren't they all?). We “bonded” (I guess that's part of the facade) while I was pregnant, we spent a lot of time together – she flew in from New York and took me shopping (that's called grooming, I believe). She promised to always send photos, letters… oh my she promised me the world. I gave birth to Ling and she was quickly taken away by S (adoptive mom). I still had my rights, though, so she had to tread carefully. I requested they bring Ling to my room. They had the nurse do so. S and I had been friends… we had bonded… and now she was acting like a stranger.
I don't know how I had the strength to leave the hospital without my baby. I really don't. If I didn't have my 3 girls, I wouldn't have made it. They're the only thing I had to live for at that point. I was beyond heart broken. I couldn't even walk – they had to put me in a wheelchair because I thought I was going to pass out from crying so hard. Yet S walked out with Ling, smiling.
The next day, I was in a court room signing over my rights. I asked if I could hold Ling. S didn't want to let me, but she did. I still had my rights, she didn't want to screw anything up…
As soon as the papers were signed, she was gone. She emailed me a few times over the course of the first few years – only after I begged her to send a photo or two. She gave me updates a few times and it was great. Unfortunately, S then changed her email address and I've lost all contact with her. I haven't heard from her in a while, I don't even know how long, and I'm devastated. I love Ling so much. It was incredibly hard to walk away from her, but I had to. And instead of S following through with her promises, she's broken them all.
I'm thankful for the photos I do have of Ling. I will never forget her. Her birthday was yesterday, and I survived another year without her. I don't know how. My heart aches for her, but my girls help me get through it.
Happy 4th Birthday, Ling.