Monday, September 12, 2011

What I *thought* I said

You may recall me talking about how we were less then thrilled with the first couple of gestational carrier profiles that we viewed.

After we sent our feedback to our agency, the director scoured their database and came back to us and said, I'm really struggling with finding the right match for you. I have a few new applicants that might work; I'm waiting on all their clearances and such and will get those profiles to you as soon as I can.

Which made me wonder - what is it about us that is such a challenge?

So I asked. And received a really thoughtful and honest response from our agency. First was a suggestion: don't take the written profiles at 100% face value. Invest a half hour and have a phone conversation with one or two of the women and see if that changes your opinion. Don't assume someone can express themselves perfectly on a questionnaire. Go deeper. Those 30 minutes could be well worth your while.

Which is exactly the advice that many of you gave both here, in person and via email. So, thank you. You were and are right.

So we agreed to setting up some phone conversations, only to find that BOTH potential GCs said, "mmm, um, no thanks." to US!

Isn't that a nice kick in the pants?

I spent the weekend being hurt, then angry. No one likes to be rejected. Then I quickly switched to a "how DARE they!" frame of mind. Like it or not, there will be a LOT of money exchanged here - that gives US The right to be selective, not the other way around, right?!?

And then I calmed myself and looked at the profile/questionnaire we submitted and I tried to do it with an eye of a potential gestational carrier. (something we should have done before we even hit SEND in the first place.)

And I can see some things now that I didn't see writing it.

In my quest to appear normal, balanced, undamaged, I think our profile gives the impression that life is GREAT! We hike! We kayak! Look over here. We are TOTALLY well-adjusted. No signs of intense grieving and lack of life purpose over here. Did I mention I knit?

So much so, I, as a GC, might look at it and go, "hunh, I'm not sure they really want a baby. Things seem to be going pretty great for them right now. I bet my help might make more of a difference to someone else right now...."

Or you might look at the part where we talk so much about a certain family member being our first choice as our GC and think, "oh, awesome. I am starting this relationship knowing I am their second choice. That's a great feeling...."

But what is really the kicker, I think. What makes us so damn hard to match: Our answer to this question:

If it were determined during the pregnancy via medical testing that the fetus had physical and/or mental abnormalities would you want to abort the pregnancy?

What I thought we said was something along the lines of: "No matter what happens this would be our choice to make and we would need a GC who understands that."

But the multiple choice item we selected, it seems, was:

Yes,as such we need to be matched with a carrier who is willing to terminate a pregnancy if medically necessary.

And I am seriously just now realizing this as I write this blog post this morning.

This is not the answer that describes us. This is NOT the people we are.

And when I asked weeks ago what made us a challenge, our agency pointed to this question and that it was one that most potential GCs would say no to. At that time, I thought, well there is a difference of philosophy and opinion and one that I am not willing to budge on, even if it takes a little longer to make a connection.

Again, thinking we wrote what I thought we wrote. Which we didn't.

Argh. Argh. Argh.

Here is sat, frustrated that potential GCs haven't expressed themselves adequately, given us a good enough picture of themselves in their words and yet I think we could barely have pictured ourselves worse in the profile we sent in.

I've asked for a "do-over" for our profile. I have a friend or two that have offered to read what we write before we hit SEND this time. And I'm hoping that will make the difference.

I just wish months hadn't gone by before I thought to assess.


Anonymous said...

I suppose it's a bit of a process, a few months ago you wouldn't have noticed it the way you do now. Sorry to sound a bit dumb, but what is the difference between the answer you wanted to give and the one you gave? All I can see is that you need the option to be able to terminate, and I would say it's very important for that to be understood!

m said...

Not a dumb question at all! The difference, at least how I read it this morning, is that the multiple choice answer we gave makes it sound like, "oh, there's the chance of an abnormality or something less than perfect? We're done."

The answer I *wanted* to give was, "these are very hard questions and ones I don't think you can really know how you would answer until you were in that situation. If we ever found ourselves in that situation, we would want a carrier that would follow our wishes, whatever they may be, to terminate, or to move forward knowing there could be complications along the way."

Thank you SO much for asking me to verbalize this. Because the more I work through it, the closer the response gets to the one in my brain.

dana said...

I'm so glad you reviewed your profile. Reading your post, and then your response to theluckylife, there is definitely a difference. Glad you see it, even more glad that you're working on fixing it and making sure there's no further confusion. (kind of a facepalm moment, lol)

I'm so excited y'all!

niobe said...

You know, I'm still a little confused.

I think that it's very, very common for IPs to say something on the issue of termination to the effect that if prenatal testing showed a severe medical problem with the fetus or one that posed a threat to the surrogate's life or health, they would seek medical advice and, depending on what the doctors said, seriously consider termination.

That's what we said and we had no trouble matching.

Of course, there are some surrogates who want to be matched with IPs who would never, ever terminate no matter what. But that's not incredibly common.

In my experience, the idea of IPs wanting to terminate under certain circumstances shouldn't make it *that* difficult to match.

Could the agency get some honest feedback from the surrogates and relay it to you?

Also, I can't tell if the termination question is totally multiple choice or not, but if you can add comments, you might want to stress that, of course, the surrogate's life/health comes first and that you'd consider termination only for very serious/life threatening (or whatever line you'd draw) medical issues.

Also, if you need anyone else to look at your profile, I'd be more than happy to.

m said...

Dana, thanks. It is definitely a facepalm kind of moment.

Niobe, it's multiple choice, but there is an ability to add a comment. So yes, adding a clarification similar to yours makes a lot of sense. Like I said, the more we talk through this, the closer we are getting to how we really feel.

I could ask for feedback from the surrogates if they were ones we *really* wanted to move forward with. The agency is pretty excited about some new recruits they've just interviewed. I think we will wait to see if there are any matches there and def ask for their feedback.

I think another "no go" with the particular GCs that said no thanks could be the fact that we're godless. Both ranked religion as a pretty strong focus in their lives. Which it isn't for us.

And yes, I would love your review once we revise our profile which I hope to do tonight. Thanks so much, Niobe.

Lori Lavender Luz said...

Congratulations. You just did what i counsel hopeful adoptive parents to do: look at it from the viewpoint of your reader.

This must be the theme today: seeing from the point of view of The Other. I just read another post on the topic, and I also wrote one about 9/11.

Good luck with the new and revised edition!

Heather said...

So, this is what happens with pretty much everything I write. Everything. This was surely a huge factor in my decision to follow a career in engineering. (where conveying ideas is still important, but all that emotion shit is thankfully nowhere to be found)

I'm so excited for the new, 'recruits'? Sorry. That term makes me laugh. But still very excited.

duck said...

Hmm, well gotta be honest, take out all the stuff about having a carrier you want to use but looking for someone else.
No surrogates want that. They don't want to be compared to someone else.

Also, I don't know if your big on JC, but, I have noticed that most of the surrogates seem to be hooked on Jesus. Being an athiest who never wanted to work with someone who was into religion can also be a bit hard.

Sigh, who knows.

My Assvice would be to go onto and ask some of the surrogates there to look at your profile, a lot of those surrogates seem a little wacky, but a lot are also very helpful and nice, and at least they will be honest with you.

m said...

@duck - sound advice. I'm feeling MUCH better about some of the answers I've reviewed and revised and yes, completely ditched any reference to who *might* have been our GC and focused more on how thankful we are that anyone would take this on and how we're looking forward to working with our future GC. Putting them all in one place and sending them off to a few eyes for a review before back to the agency.

On the JC tip - it seems that there is pretty much no way to avoid GCs hooked on Jesus, and that's ok. M and I realized that while we sit here and mock helicopter parents who try to micromanage every aspect of their child's life, here we are doing it pre-natally, before that even. We've decided that as long as a GC is loving, feels supported, is grounded and wants to do this, who really cares what gets her there.

It is curious to me, however, that religiously-minded seem to see being a gestational carrier as this "blessed" gift and wonderful thing to do (which it IS. no doubt) but often frequent churches where other third party options (donor eggs, sperm, IVF itself even) are still taboo.

If there were even a modicum of faith left in me, my church's restated (just in case you didn't hear it the first time) public stance against IVF while IN THE SAME PRESS CONFERENCE promoting Viagra as appropriate and right severed all ties.

FET Accompli said...

I'm glad that you went back and reviewed the application - I agree that the original "termination" response could have turned off surrogates. Also, I agree that it's a good idea to discuss your story (rather than making everything seem hunky dory) and give your application some emotion. If potential surrogates read a story and it touches them, if there is real emotion, they will be drawn to it.

m said...

Excellent advice. Thank you.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

I'm happy read too if you want another set of eyes. Just sending good thoughts for the do-over.