Monday, August 6, 2012
People have asked me, "what's the point of all of this?" "Why are you going public?" "Are you just trying to drum up pity (or money)?" ...the answer to that is NO. I know it's hard for some people to understand, but this isn't about money. Yeah, it would be nice to have some, but I'm not about exploiting people.. especially not newborn babies.. and I'm not about trying to drum up pity. Trust me, for as much as I am self conscious, and nervous about putting it all out there for fear of criticism, I really feel there are some hard-core issues that my experience sheds light on. Experiences that are too often swept under the proverbial rug, or hushed by court ordered (client demanded) non-disclosure agreements. Well all that stops here. There are three main issues that come into play in a scenario such as mine. This is not only a pro-life issue; as much as I have envisioned and portrayed it to be such, it is also a surrogacy issue, and a special needs advocacy issue. The three areas are very different, and yet they all share this common thread when it comes to the unborn child. Each of these is probably worthy of it's own individual post, but I'm going to go through my thoughts quickly here. Surrogacy The world of surrogacy is dark and mysterious. It's hidden behind nondisclosure agreements and contract language that doesn't allow surrogates to expose their situations, or complications with those situations, to the world. That is the very reason my blog had to be closed for so long; because of contract language. So there is noone out there telling the story of all these surrogacy's gone wrong. People looking into surrogacy cannot possibly fathom all the different 'bad' scenarios that can happen. I was 'lucky' enough to experience just about all of them at once. Lucky me. There is also a lack of consistency in laws when it comes to surrogacy. Many states have absolutely no laws on the books regarding it, while others have outlawed it, and still others have a law or two, but nothing substantial. I give a lot of credit to my amazing lawyer in CT who found the information on surrogacy law in different states, even though he is not/was not a surrogacy or reproductive rights lawyer! There seriously needs to be something done about that, for the safety and well being of all current and future surrogates, their intended parents, and the children brought into the world as a result of these arrangements. Pro-Life There is obviously the pro-life issue here of aborting a fetus. The bigger issue here is the coercion of people to try and persuade another to abort. The hiring of lawyers, the 'ganging up' against surrogates, and others who are not surrogates, by perceived authority figures and experts to try and coerce the individual into feeling she has no choice but to abort. I'm not even one of those die-hard pro-life advocates is the funny part. For me, myself, yes. I am very pro-life and everyone who knows me knows it. But I have friends who have had abortions, and I have friends who have chosen adoption. I have offered to take custody of children that were the result of unintended pregnancies, and I have been there for many of my friends as they came to terms with the decisions they had made or were faced with. I pride myself in being non-judgemental. However, as previously stated, for myself I am very strongly pro-life. I live it, I believe it, it is a part of my inner soul and I cannot deny it. I have lost a child at 19 weeks, I have lost a child at 8 weeks. I have been there, and I've known the pain that comes with losing a child that is inside of your body and does not become your flesh and blood growing before you. That I cannot do again. I sure as hell won't do it voluntarily. In my eyes every child deserves a chance at life. My children; those born of my body, are given every opportunity that I can afford them, and the first of these is the right to live. I make no apologies for that view, and I made that as clear as I could have made it to the IPs as well. The oversight in my contract; well, that goes back to the surrogacy issue. My agent should be fired.. but I digress. Special Needs Advocacy This is where things get a little tricky. Not everyone is going to agree with me, and a lot of people are probably not going to like this viewpoint, but it is a valid argument and something that needs to be addressed. We are killing off special needs children. It's a soapbox that many people stand on, and I stand with them. The attitudes of the doctors, the specialists, the 'experts' that so many willingly follow and believe without question is that it's ok to abort these babies. Their language suggests abortion as a viable and acceptable option. I can't put into words exactly how they do it, but it takes a strong person to go against the doctors and say 'my child deserves the right to live.' I understand all about preparing the parents for the worst, but half the time those tests are wrong! A geneticist told me after one ultrasound that Baby S. would never be able to breathe on her own because she didn't open her hands. Well, she came out screaming so I guess that woman was wrong. Based on what she said, someone less devoted to preserving her life might have aborted. Based on what a lot of people said a lot of children HAVE been aborted! It's not right, and it's not fair for the doctors to abuse their power in this way. I won't go as far as to liken their behaviors to that of Hitler with the Jews, but it has a certain familiarity to it. It's an issue very closely related to the Pro-Life movement, but it strikes a very strong chord with me. Having worked with special needs kids, and having my own, I weep for a world that doesn't know the joy these children can bring. I really want all of this to get out. I want people to see my story, and talk about it. I want things to happen so that these situations are far less prevalent. The way to institute change is to make people aware, and right now most of these issues (obviously not the pro-life movement, but the others) are kept quiet. Let's get them talking. At least my horrible situation will be able to be used to bring awareness of and hopefully it will get things moving in the right direction for some positive change. Please, share your stories with me. I would love to hear from you.
Thursday, August 2, 2012
Today is... the first day of the rest of my life! The conclusion to months; well spent months, but long and torturous months; months where I was held captive by fear. What fear you ask? Fear of people miles away.. Fear of the problems they could cause for me and for this sweet baby girl I called S.... The potential for problems was great. These people had already shown their desire to 'make me pay' by using their attorney to demand the abortion and threatening me with litigation to make me repay all the expenses accrued by the surrogacy. They had shown a desire to create difficulty with their actions during the last weeks of my pregnancy, the refusal to cooperate with the adoption plan, lawsuit filed in CT, and their refusal to tell anybody what their intentions were! They showed their inability to respect boundaries by trying to manipulate hospital personnel to get what they wanted. They showed that they didn't really care about the baby's best interests, only their illusion of control. I spent a lot of time during the last weeks of my pregnancy and the first few weeks of Baby S's life stressed about the possibilities that existed for someone to come and screw everything up. There were so many variables; so many ways that someone could come in and delay the adoption process, make it so that I couldn't ethically give up my rights, make me fight even more to ensure that Baby S was in a good place with people who clearly had her best intentions in mind. After July 11th, there was only one thing left. The courts have in place a 21 day appeal period during which an appeal can be filed to contest the relinquishment of parental rights. My lawyers advised me not to release any information to the public (i.e. blog, newspapers, even my facebook page) during this period simply to alleviate the slim chance that anyone would come and suggest that the publicity was of detriment to the welfare of the child and therefore be able to reinstate their rights. So it has been my steadfast duty over the last 3 weeks to keep it quiet still; to make sure everything was finalized before opening everything up for the world to read. So.. here we are.. it's all open, and there's nothing left for anyone to do. The story is public, we're talking about writing a book, maybe turning this into a movie. We'll see where it goes, but one thing is for sure. Baby S is safe with her adoptive family, and I am free to go about my life as I wish. Best part? Unlike most surrogacy legal matters, this was not filed in a confidential hearing, and there is NO non-disclosure agreement. Anyone can go to Tolland Family court and request the court documents for the Kelley case filed in May. And I can talk freely about the entire thing. (Although I have been advised not to name names of the IPs and asked not to release the last name of the adoptive family)