Friday, February 27, 2009

Stalker dispensed with, back to business, donor issues


My stalker, so cute.

The past few days have been intense. At first we felt so much grief, as though there had been a death. Our home was very solemn and quiet and we were dragging ourselves around, not doing much or saying anything, both in our private worlds of pain. I don't really know what we were grieving. I know for Bob, he grieves the loss of every embryo, as though it were a child. I am more experienced with pregnancy loss, and embryo loss, and I tend to be a little harder as I figure, if they succumb, they would not have survived in the womb. 

I think my grief was directed more at the loss of hope for a FET if this cycle yields a negative, and loss of one of our backup plans. The blow also made us feel like quitting, which compounded the grief, because we would not only be quitting the hope of having our own children, but quitting from the hope that surrogacy in India works. Of course it works. It works for others, and it will work for us, unless we quit. But you can't help but feel a bit sorry for yourself at times, especially when there is no fault, and no-one to blame, yet you are angry and there is nowhere to place that anger, there is no-one to blame.

I have devoted a good part of the past two years to surrogacy research, and the past six months to surrogacy in India. It has been such a learning experience, for which I am grateful, but the more painful aspects of infertility is not something I would ever have put my hand up for. I have not been researching and helping others solely for their benefit, of course my primary goal is to have a baby this way ourselves. So, my assistance is not altruistic. 

To quit on having our children through surrogacy in India now is to also quit on this stage of my life's purpose, and to quit on the IPs who have relied on me, trusted me and cared for me.  If I were to quit now, I would have to quit AISA, and the forum and the emails I enjoy sharing with other Indian surrogacy IPs. I would not be able to stick the middle finger up to the Australian Government, nor the media, nor be truly able to fight the cause, which, as unfortunate as it is, comes as a bit of a bonus for me because you all know I love a good fight.

 Honestly, what would I do with myself if I were to not have children, and not have the constant challenge of surrogacy issues to deal with? Go back to uni? Return to work? Build our extension? Have no children to fill a huge house? Ugh, it does not bear a thought. 

Today I will tell you, THANK YOU ALL, you have really helped me, and my spirit has returned. There will be no quitting. I know most of this happens online and via phone, but your prayers and good vibes and plain hope and faith, when we had hit rock bottom and had nothing left to support ourselves with, have reached us.

Yesterday the grief had abated but the depression remained. We have been buoyed by the comments on the blog and emails we have received, as well as phone calls from India and other countries, from surrogacy and non-surrogacy friends telling us to keep going. You all understand what this journey can do to one's spirits. 

Well, perhaps not all IPs on this journey are with us. There is at least one Indian surrogacy goatshagger out there who has taken delight in our unfortunate turn of events, despite having repeated failures and loads of support when down itself. But thank you to you also, because your bitterness and jealousy have fed your personal power to me, and raised me up and running much sooner than I expected to.

The majority of surrogacy IPs tend to over think the surrogacy journey, as do I. This is singly the biggest, most important journey on which I have ever embarked, and I am not alone. Making money, buying houses, and material possessions, getting a first degree, or even another degree just don't matter when you want to have children and you can't. This is a last ditched effort for us all. 

Despite recent complaints, we have to contemplate the financial and emotional costs, health issues, logistical issues and thoroughly sort through potential emotional issues Indian surrogacy-born children, and donor-conceived children may face in the future. Those parents who really care don't just say, "I am so desperate for a baby, any baby will do," and make a snap decision to go to surrogacy or even ED or Indian ED without thought to the possible consequences for their surrogacy-born and donor-conceived children done the line, are just plain stupid. IPs should be aware that many donor-conceived children, who are now becoming adults, have issues. Some have a passing interest in their genetic background, others have a hole in their hearts that will never be filled despite the love that surrounds them,unless they find their bio-family. If you are caring parent or parent-to-be of a donor-conceived child, here is a good resource www.dcsg.org.au

Any IP with an ounce of of humanity and intelligence will be aware many donor-conceived children desperately want to find their biological mother or father, half-siblings and extended biological family. Despite how wonderful their lives have been, or how much they love their parents, and their parents love them, some simply need to know.  Issues facing donor-conceived adults is the reason why Australia now has a requirement that any egg or sperm donor must be registered with the Reproductive Technologies Council so that they can be contacted by any child born through their donation when that child reaches 18. Donor-conceived children, now adults, are even suing clinics to obtain access to their records. So, no matter how sweet and fluffy baby-making is for you at the moment, and no matter what wonderful parents you may make, your donor-conceived child may face more than just questions. Of course, we could all hide the fact our children are donor and surrogacy conceived, but I believe that is cruel, and lies have a habit of surfacing at some stage and biting one on the bum in a major way. With an Indian ED, there is no way we can hide our children's genetics. Perhaps it is better to go this way so that the facts are on the table early in our children's lives.
 

We very nearly didn't go the ED route. It took me at least a year to sort through the issues, and Bob longer. Our initial choice was an offer of ED from our friend Stacey and from my cousin Natalia. Unfortunately this could not happen because our clinic's donor policy is based on Indian ART Guidelines which recommend against known donations. Right or wrong, that is the way it is.  That was disappointing, but also some relief, because the selfish part of me will never have to face my child's biological mother being in our daily lives. 

At the end of the day, we are giving life, and giving life not without a whole load of thought and emotional and financial investment. We can only hope our children will be grateful for that life, which will be a good life, both financially and emotionally, and if they do want to find their donor, which, by Indian law they will be prevented from doing so, we will have the grace to assist them. I hope they understand that mum and dad already love them so very much that we care not about their genetics and we hope they won't either. That is a bridge we will cross when we come to it (hoping all the time we are doing the "right" thing, if there is such a thing.

With an Indian donor it becomes so much more obvious that mum or dad is not bio-mum or dad, and questions will be asked. How we respond to those questions is not a problem for us, as adults, but how does a child respond to those questions? Will questions be a heavy yoke placed around the shoulders of young souls? Can we prevent our children being asked questions they may not wish to answer. Will there be any questions at all?

How early does one tell their child they are donor-conceived? How early does one tell their child the reason mummy's and daddy's skin and eye and hair colour is different to theirs. All kids love to see mummy's nose and daddy's eyes in themselves. Most kids, at some stage, wonder if they were adopted. Most kids wonder if mummy loves them more than their siblings. As a child my older sister had great pleasure in telling me I was adopted. I am the only fair skinned, fair haired, blue eyed child of my parents. My brother and sister took on my dad's Polish genetics, dark hair, hazel eyes, olive skin. I got the Scottish fair skin, blue eyes and blonde hair my mother was born with. I do recall asking if I was adopted. My mum swiftly put that query to rest. "You were such a big baby, and you were two weeks overdue. i think I would remember if i carried you and gave birth to you". (PS. You really are the favourite child, but let's not tell the others.) Yah, L and G, if you're reading, you came from a wheelie bin.

There is a running competition in our family whereby my niece, Miss M, constantly questions her nanny's love for her. In her quiet times with my mother she asks, "Is he? Do you love him more than me?" and "Nanny, those babies that are coming. Do you think you will love them more than me?" And on our side, William, who has never met his step-nanny, nor his cousin, has only just stopped turning photos of Miss M face down. Mr W often asks, "So M, if we were in the surf and a shark came along, and it was dad and you and me, who would you save first?" You of course, dumbo, dad swims better than you and he can save himself. And "So, if it were you and me and Amber (our dog) who would you save first?" Yes, you Mr W, the dog would not be in the surf anyway. "So, if it were all of us in the surf with the babies, who would you save first? And you can't say me because the babies haven't lived as long as me." You learn so much from kids. They all need reassurance they are loved, and cherished, that they are smart, that you are proud of them and that you would put your life before theirs. That provides a child with security. I never thought I would throw myself in front of a bus to save a child that was not mine, but hell yes, I would in a flash, though I think dad would hit the bus long before I got there.

Back to the race issue, and I am only going here again because my husband and I were accused of being racist, so let's clear the air with a bit of reality. In our case unsolicited questions may not be a problem because our dear William is short and dark, where we are tall and fair. In fact, we even considered going straight to Indian ED so any caucasian kids we brought into our family were not the odd ones out. When our extended family goes out in public, there is usually three white adults, Bob, me and Natalia, and five darkish children, as Natalia's children are Polish/Tongan. So, it made sense no questions would be asked when we added Indian ED conceived children to the existing brood.  I don't know what people think when we are all out, but we do get looked at. 

While Australia is a multicultural country and it is actually unusual to see white parents with white kids, especially in Perth, where we have a huge Indonesian population, our multicultural society does not prevent William being called slope eyes, nor him making naieve racist comments about kids with Chinese heritage. And there will always be the quintessential overbearing Aussie bogan, with a white supremicist attitudes, proudly brandishing the Australian flag, who will attempt to bring a person down due to their ethnic heritage, when they, in fact, came from migrant or convict stock themselves. You can't stop the idiots, but you can educate your children about racial vilification. (Yes, William got a lecture about the Chinese joke, and I actually had to explain to him what slope eyes are, he had no idea, much less that he has them.)

Concerns for the future and racial discrimination issues aside, we still have a decision to make.

 To Alice Klein from San Jose CA, aka chipmunk goat shagger, mother of "four" including  its dog and yet to be born Indian ED surrogacy conceived child, it is my turn to lecture you about parenting, racial vilification and donor-conceived children's issues. 

Why you are still reading my blog after all this time and taking a dig at our potential failure when you have had so many yourself? You who have not thought through any issues, and think the world of surrogacy is all sweetness and light, who claims to be a mother of four you have no parenting experience other than caring for a dog. A dog is NOT a child. You have outed yourself and finally shown your true colours to all in blogland. Enjoy our misery, in fact, crack open a bottle of cheap Passion Pop if we get a fail, because if we do, this will be the last bit of our misery you will ever get to enjoy.  

Email me again, or write on my blog and I will not only post your latest comment, that I removed for your own protection, I will also drag out all those loverly emails and make them public. I will get through you worse than a dose of salts, and you will live to regret ever having taken me on. yeah, surrogacy is all frills and happy times, we all make lifelong friends, but at the end of the day, few relationships will exist past an initial meeting.




11 comments:

JourneyofHope said...

Amani:

Some of your best writing occurs when you are passionately fired up. I am still shocked at the ordeal that you have gone through in these past 2 weeks. What a roller-coaster - stay strong and keep on pushing ahead.

P said...
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crystal said...
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maggie said...
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Amani said...
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Amani said...
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crystal said...
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crystal said...
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Amani said...
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crystal said...

I would be happy to do that.

Amani said...
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