Thursday, September 17, 2015

Perhaps my previous post was not clear.

I will not be posting comments from surrogacy professionals who abuse intended parents.   Period.      

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Commenting on this blog is not a right.

This is my blog.

I am not obligated to post abusive, inappropriate ugly comments.

I am not obliged to justify what I do and do not post here.

I am not obliged to give anyone a platform to attack and shame intended parents for speaking out about their experiences.

I am not obliged to promote anyone's business.

It is not my responsibility to promote international surrogacy.

If as an industry professional you feel that I am a big meanie head for demanding that people who charge thousands of dollars for their services be accountable?

Monday, September 14, 2015

When you don't know what to say to someone who has lost their child......

1.   Don't be an ass, don't insert a but after your condolences.   Try this:  "I am so incredibly sorry that this happened.   I just don't know what to say."  

2.  Do not ever say or imply that my son's  death was "for the best".   Period.   Ever.   If Johnny had lived he likely would have been neurologically devastated.   Guess what?  I love my children regardless of their abilities.   We would have loved and treasured him regardless of his potential for accomplishment.   Say this instead, "You must be devastated.   Would you like to talk about it?"

3.  Do not tell us that "god needed another angel".   Even if the person you are speaking to is religious, telling someone who has just lost their child that somehow it's because "god" needed them more than their parents did is naive at best, and insulting at worst.  Try this instead, "I'm going to be thinking about you.  I wish there were more I could do."

4.  Don't tell us when we should be done grieving.   You don't get to tell me when I "should" do anything related to Johnny's death.   Instead, say this "I know that this pain will never go away.  Anytime you would like to talk about Johnny, I would love to listen." 

5.  Don't tell us that if you lost a child that you wouldn't be able to go on.   What choice do you think I had?  Mere hours after my son died, I had to get on a take care of my daughter.   When I came home, did I want to crawl into bed and die myself?  Yes.   Was it an option?  No.  Because someone had to be there, not only for my living children, but for my husband.   Say this instead, "I can't imagine how you must be feeling.  I am so very very sorry."

6.  Don't compare grief.   Losing your parent, your friend, your sister, your grandmother or your beloved beagle is not the same as losing a child.   (Yes, these are all examples of grief comparison that I have heard.  Just say this, "There is nothing as painful as losing someone you love.   I am so sorry that this happened to you."  

7.  Don't try to make my grief about you.   You do not need to tell me how hard it is for YOU that I'm grieving.  You do not need to tell me that my son's death was hard for your kids or your husband or your best friend.   While you may be trying to show me that you're empathize with my feelings, all it does is put me in the position of having to comfort you.  I don't have the energy for that.   Try this instead, "My entire family has been thinking about you and how difficult this must be.   Please know that we care about you and want to help if we can."

8.  Don't be afraid to say my son's name.   There isn't a moment that goes by that I am not thinking about him.  Knowing that other people still think about him is a good thing.  If you are thinking of Johnny say, "I was thinking about your little guy the other day, if you ever want to talk about him, I would love to listen."

9.  Do not say "At least you have Maizy."   Please go look at your children.  Report back to me which one of them is disposable.   Of course, I am grateful that I have my daughter.   I am beyond grateful that I have all of my children.   That does not for one second take away from my pain at losing Johnny.   Say this instead, "How are the kids?  Do you think they might like to go to the park?  Would you like me to come by and hang out with them for a little while so that you could take a nap?"

10.  Don't try to imply that I, or any other parent who has lost a child is responsible for the death of their child.   Every single one of us lives with guilt and shame every day even if it is totally undeserved.  We don't need any help with that.  This is not the time to say,  "This is why I <insert did surrogacy domestically, don't vaccinate, used xyz product, etc>  If you need to congratulate yourself on what an amazing parent you are and reassure yourself that what happened to me will never happen to you-  Do it on your own time.  Say this instead:   "I am so incredibly sorry."  

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Surrogacy Beyond Borders Review and Complaint

Instead of addressing the very grave concerns raised by recent reports in the Mexican media about their practices, Surrogacy Beyond Borders has unfortunately chosen to attack and defame anyone brave enough to talk about this openly.   In my opinion, responsible, ethical providers have the ability to confront criticism honestly, are transparent about what mistakes were made and are committed to making concrete changes to improve.

More response from Lily Frost- Markowitz and Surrogacy Beyond Borders

Thursday, September 10, 2015

International Surrogacy Risks/ Danger of International Surrogacy: Eleven months.

Eleven months ago tomorrow our long awaited, much loved twins arrived.

Eleven months ago our hearts filled with joy and then shattered with sorrow.

People who we thought were our friends turned on us when  they realized  we were unwilling to allow them to treat the death of our son as an inconvenience to their business.

People who we mistakenly assumed would blame us for our son's death have surrounded us with love and support.

A lot has changed in the last eleven months.

Our beautiful, vivacious daughter has blossomed as the health issues related to the medical neglect of her surrogate and the consequences of her premature birth have slowly begun to resolve.    She starts every morning with a smile.   Her first word was "Yay!"   She now says, momma, daddy-ji and didi (sister).   She loves music, adores jewelry and waves to everyone we meet.  

Mr. Q has flourished in his role as big brother.   Having a little sister has helped him in ways that we never envisioned.   

I no longer feel as alone as I did in the first few months after losing Johnny.   Some incredibly wise, strong and beautiful women (I'm looking at you, JT and CR) have allowed me to rage when I needed to, cry when I needed to and have never told me to "get over" it.  

Some things remain the same:

We are just as devastated by Johnny's death as we were  the day  he died.   Perhaps even more so as the truth about his life and death has become more clear.  To anyone thinking of commenting   that it's time for us to "get over it",   I truly hope you never have are in the position to know just how wrong you are to say this to parents who have lost a child. 

We are still being threatened, harassed and defamed by people within the international surrogacy community for speaking out about the dangers that this unregulated multi-million dollar industry presents to babies, to surrogates and to intended parents.

The organization which purports itself as advocating for best practices in international surrogacy still promotes agents/agencies, facilitators and clinics with well documented and known problems.  

Despite story after story of devastated intended parents, suffering surrogates and babies put in harm's way, agents and facilitators continue to promote themselves as experts in the legal and medical  systems of countries they have only visited briefly.  

How many babies will have to die?  How many families will be left bankrupted and devastated, their dreams of a family shattered?  How many surrogates will have to  suffer immeasurably?  When will these   "surrogacy cowboys" recognize that while they may not be legally accountable for the suffering they profit from,  the reality is that they are morally and ethically complicit in it continuing.   

Lauren Hill said it best, "Never underestimate those who you scar, cause karma, karma comes back to you hard."

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Intimidation, Harassment, and threats

International surrogacy is generally presented a cost effective and safe alternative to domestic surrogacy.

One of the reasons that intended parents often buy into this myth is that when they go out to "research" it, they generally find blogs from parents who have had good experiences.   Pictures of healthy babies and beaming parents are extremely reassuring to people who are about to send thousands of dollars to a clinic thousands of miles away.

What these parents do not know is that parents whose experiences did not turn out positively are routinely harassed, intimidated and threatened for sharing their stories and opinions.   In the past year, I have been:

•Threatened with a lawsuit by a well known surrogacy facilitator for even implying that her behavior was less than professional.   This despite the fact that my assertion was clearly labeled as my opinion and that it linked to a press release that SHE published.  (She has also repeatedly tried to tell people that this press release went out on the AP wire, which would imply some sort of vetting. This is not accurate.  The press release is clearly on a public relations website.

•Threatened with lawsuits for sharing the reality of our experience in India and my opinion about it.

•Had my family's private medical information (and not all of the information shared was accurate) in an attempt to discredit my concerns about the care my son received in India.

•I've been called horrible names, been told that I deserved to lose a child, had my mental health questioned, been attacked in both public and private forums more times than I can even count.

•Despite me publishing my daughter's medical records substantiating the fact that the very serious health issues she faced after coming home to the US were caused by chlamydia and serious nutritional deficiencies in her surrogate, I have been called a liar.

Standing up to this kind of harassment while attempting to grieve for my son and care for my surviving children has been draining and extremely painful.   I understand why so many people take down their blogs and walk away from this community.

Talking about how John Patrick Hayden died will not bring him back.  However, while I could not prevent my son from being disposed of like garbage, I will not allow him to be forgotten.  If sharing his story means even one family is prevented from suffering the horror that we have, then I feel like we've made the right decision.  

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Surrogacy in Mexico Resource

One of the few unbiased sources on the state of surrogacy in Mexico can be found on Facebook.  This page is managed by the only person I know of who talks about surrogacy in Mexico, but who does not make money off of doing so.   A few of her recent blog posts include discussions on:

The articles include information on how Mexican law has been violated (commercial surrogacy in Mexico is NOT legal no matter how many times people try to play semantic games like "recatagorizing income"), allegations of surrogate mistreatment and bribery.

This page has extensive information for intended parents regarding the evolving situation in Mexico.