So we got paired with this amazing woman who was willing to get knocked up by us.
Our surrogacy agency had a thorough protocol for making matches-made-in-heaven between surrogate carriers and parents-to-be: 1. Phone interview, 2. Home visit, 3. One day spent hanging out. The agency understandably wanted all parties to feel comfortable with each other.
In our phone interview, the mediator asked “How much contact do you want with the surrogate during and after the pregnancy?”
Obviously the agreement we’re forging is profound and involved, but I didn’t think we needed to force a family bond. An un-forced, organic friendship would be ideal.
During the interview, Sheryl said, “If we’re friends during and after, that’s great. But we don’t need to force anything.”
This vegetarian, non-smoking, non-drinking, non-caffeine-drinking, marathon runner was my kinda organic friend.
As luck would have it, two weeks after our phone conversation, I was in Denver. I arranged to have lunch with her family in Colorado Springs, her hometown.
Hers was the same highway exit as the national headquarters of Focus on the Family. Surely she wasn’t some gay-hating evangelist, was she? Was this some demented trap?
Minutes later, walking into her kitchen, I joked about Focus on the Family. Sheryl said, “Oh, please. I give them the finger every time I drive by.”
After meeting her husband and three kids (ages 6, 7 & 9), we headed to Red Robin. Jackpot. All-you-can-eat fries.
I felt immediately at home with these people. Sheryl was a high school physics teacher, her husband an elementary gym teacher, and all three kids were major athletes.
Getting to know them, I saw that Sheryl had just the right combination of compassion and scientific detachment to make the ideal surrogate.
Over my third basket of fries, Sheryl’s husband surprised me when he asked, “Have you ever felt discriminated against?”
I’d hardly considered it.
“Actually, no, I’ve never felt discriminated against. Of course, I live in NYC, so…”
His forthrightness allowed me to pose my burning question: “Can I ask what’s it like to have a wife pregnant via surrogacy? I mean, what do other dads say to you between screams on the little league sidelines?”
“Well, Sheryl’s more likely to scream than me.” We laughed. “She takes it way more seriously than I do. As for the other dads? I dunno. Sheryl does her own thing. No one questions that. It doesn’t bother me. I support her generosity. It’s all good.”
Since our first step to surrogacy, I thought a lot about the fathers. It must take a secure husband to feel comfortable with a wife pregnant with someone else’s child. Really secure.
So…yeah. These were good peeps.
In the parking lot, I suggested going for a hike. I didn’t know what else to suggest on our “spending the day together” interview.
Sheryl laughed, “No. We’re good. You know – I never met my first surrogacy couple until the day of the birth. We don’t need to spend the entire weekend getting to know each other. I can tell you’re great.”
Phew. No need to belabor hanging out.
Organic friendships are the best; especially when babies are involved.