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Keeping the Relationship With Your Surrogate Alive After A Baby

A special relationship between a surrogate and intended parents often forms during a pregnancy. But what happens once the baby arrives?

Written by Kristin Marsoli, Marketing Director at Circle Surrogacy, with new parents Byron and Matt, and surrogate Misty and her husband Blake.

Building your family through surrogacy gives you the opportunity to connect with people with whom you may not have met in your day-to-day life. When these families are connected, deep bonds can be created, and long-lasting relationships formed throughout the pregnancy. It's these deep bonds that carry you through to the birth of the baby and beyond.

New parents Byron and Matt, and their surrogate Misty and her husband Blake, share a bit about their surrogacy experience and the unique relationship that formed during the pregnancy and birth. They also discuss ways for keeping the relationship alive between the surrogate and intended parents.


Byron

When we first decided to have a child through surrogacy, we discovered through talking with friends that the general perception of a parent/surrogate relationship was fairly transactional, when in actuality many surrogates (and egg donors) do this because they've been touched by infertility at some point in their lives – through their friends or families – and that's what has encouraged them to want to do this for others. Going in, we didn't know what to expect, but we did know in the way we chose the women we worked with, that we wanted to work with women who were at least open to having a relationship with us and with our child. The end result was phenomenal – not only did we grow our immediately family with a beautiful baby boy – but we also grew our extended family through Misty, Blake and their kids.

Byron with Misty and her husband Blake

Matt

We loved getting to know Misty's kids and her husband, Blake. We had no clue how this whole thing was going to work, but we were open. While some of our friends who have gone through surrogacy have kept a wall up with the women they've worked with, our journey was amazing because we were open to the wall never being there. While we respect that some of our friends did not want relationships like we had with Misty and her family, we were open from the beginning to whatever type of relationship was to organically develop. Besides the birth of our son, getting to know Misty and her husband and their kids has been the next best thing in this whole process.

Misty

From the beginning, Matt and Byron were different than the first two couples I helped. When I went up to see them in New York, the minute they opened the door it was amazing. They felt like family. I knew I could trust them and lean on them.

My husband is in the navy and away a bit, and I soon found that Byron and Matt were like my family. In January, we lost our dog. This was especially hard because with Blake being gone so much, our dog was more like a best friend to me. I was devastated, and the first people I called were Byron and Matt. They talked to me and they made it all ok. I remember thinking that I had found a family to help me through something life changing like this when my husband wasn't available.

But our relationship goes beyond just the four of us. They even made my kids feel like part of the process. Before Byron and Matt even met my kids, they sent them huge birthday balloon bouquets that were taller than they were! My kids are beyond excited Byron and Matt and Little Byron are part of our family. They talk about them at school, "Our G'uncles are coming to visit! Our G'uncles had a baby!" They're so proud; they want to see every video and every photo.

Circle Surrogacy birth announcement

Blake

What sticks out to me, is the first time I saw a picture of the guys: Byron was on his iPhone and Matt was doing his (Byron's) hair. I was like, "What the heck?"

But seriously, when Misty went up to visit them in New York she FaceTimed me to say good night. While we were talking, Byron took the phone away from her and joked around with me, and was open to who I was, and promised that they would both be there for my wife while I was away. I couldn't have asked for a better couple for my wife to carry a child for.

Byron

I was nervous to meet Blake! But when I saw him he gave me a big bear hug and we immediately felt comfortable with him. It was such a nice surprise with how comfortable he was with us and our relationship, and our relationship with his wife.

And, truthfully, Blake has been the comedic relief during our journey! When he called to congratulate us, he congratulated us for knocking up his wife! We didn't know what to expect, but it's been a nice piece of the journey outside of our relationship with Misty.

Misty

You go through so much together on a surrogacy journey. I learned early on I could lean on them.

When I found out the first transfer didn't work, I was so scared to call them because I didn't want them to feel like I had failed. I was so upset and the first thing they said to me was, "It's not your fault." I immediately felt better; they cared more about how I felt more than how they were feeling.

I was so nervous for the second transfer; I just wanted it to work. We started out with really low numbers. But when we got that first confirmation and the number 351, the pressure was gone! I felt like I was finally giving them what they really, really wanted.

Misty and Matt

Matt

When we heard those low numbers, we were disappointed. But Misty said to us, "Yes, the number was low, but give it a few days." And we were like, she's done this before, she knows her body. I kept saying to Byron, even if the number is low, she KNOWS. She knows her body. That's one thing we learned through all of this: a woman knows her body. Trust her.

It reassured us throughout the rest of the pregnancy.

Byron

It sure did. We didn't know what to think or do coming into this process. Misty's been through this twice. To us, she was a counselor, a therapist, and often times she would introduce herself to our friends as our "oven." ;)

We've been happy together, sad together, joked together. We've always been on the same page.

Women, especially Misty, who help families like this, they are special. My mom and Matt's mom call Misty "Angel Mother", and we think that about sums it up.

Blake

With Misty's previous surrogacies, she was friendly with the intended parents. When we started this journey with Byron and Matt, I asked her if she thought this journey would be different; if she thought they would be around after the birth.

Byron

And while Blake was having that conversation with Misty, we were at home having the same conversation. I asked Matt, "Do you think they're going to keep us around?" That conversation was happening on both sides!

Misty's son and Baby Byron

*****

Now that Baby Byron is here, how are Byron and Matt keeping up their relationship with Misty?

"We talk every day," Byron shares. "And we send pictures and videos. But not just about the baby. This is now about our families, not just Baby Byron, and while he brought us together with the Misty's family, it's now something so much bigger. We bug Misty and Blake every day about when they're coming to visit this summer, and talk about how much fun it will be to all take family vacations together someday."

Your relationship with your surrogate is what you make of it. Many surrogates and intended parents remain as close as family (sometimes closer!) after the baby's birth.

We think Byron said it best: "When we started working with Circle Surrogacy and creating our profile that would eventually lead to Misty choosing us, we had to answer the question 'What kind of relationship do you want with your surrogate post birth?' Some of our friends told us to answer, 'Just put that you'll add them to the Christmas Card List.' But as we grew through this process and fell in love with Misty and her family, we realized that Misty will be AT Christmas and so many other important holidays and event. That's what feels right."

Learn more about becoming a parent through surrogacy with Circle Surrogacy.

Misty with Byron and Matt

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Antwon and Nate became dads through the foster care system. Nine months after becoming licensed, they received a call on a Tuesday, and two days later, their daughter moved in. "It was very quick," said Nate. "Honestly, it was more just shock and nervousness for me."

As new parents, Nate took unpaid leave for two weeks, before going back to work part-time. Antwon didn't receive any leave.

"It's definitely important to have time off to bond, but it's also important to be financially stable when you do it," said Antwon. "I don't think you should have to choose between staying financially afloat or showing your kid love... and I don't think anyone should have to make that choice."

Only 15% of dads in the U.S. have access to paid paternity leave. We want to change this.

Watch Nate and Antwon's video to find out how:

Sign the pledge: www.dovemencare.com/pledge

Like Antwon and Nate, we're helping Dove Men+Care advocate for paid paternity leave for *ALL* dads! Over the next three months, we will be sharing stories of gay dad families and their paternity leave experience. Our goal is to get 100,000 folks to sign the Paternity Leave Pledge.

Dove Men+Care has collected over 30,000 signatures on the Pledge for Paternity Leave in three short months, in a mission to champion and support new legislation for federally mandated paid leave laws in the U.S. With the conversation growing on Capitol Hill, Dove Men+Care will target key legislators to drive urgency behind paid paternity leave policy and provide a social proof in the form of real dad testimonials, expert research and signature support from families across the country.

Our goal is to help Dove Men+Care bring 100,000 signatures to key policymakers in Washington, D.C. for their Day of Action on the Hill, and drive urgency behind this issue.

If you believe *ALL* dads should receive paid paternity leave, sign the Paternity Leave Pledge.

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Byron and Matthew Slosar, both 41, met ten years ago at one of New York City's Equinox gyms. "I asked him for a spot on the bench press," smiled Byron. The couple were married September 22, 2012.

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They signed with Circle Surrogacy after interviewing a few agencies. "We immediately connected with their entire staff, particularly Anne Watson who lovingly dealt with my healthy neuroses on the daily for 1.5 years," said Byron. "They definitely personalized the service and helped us understand all 2,000 moving parts." The dads-to-be were also very impressed with how much emotional support they received from Circle.

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On average, a surrogacy journey – from start to finish – can average between 16-21 months.

And while that sounds like a long time, remember that 9 months of that is your surrogate's pregnancy!

To help you better understand how long a surrogacy journey takes to complete, it's helpful to understand the different milestones along the way. Below is a general surrogacy process timeline from Circle Surrogacy. Remember, every surrogacy journey is unique, so the exact timing of your journey may be different than these estimates.

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Do We Have a Biological Right to Fatherhood? Absolutely, Says This Gay Dad

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Editor's Note: Below is an essay by Jay Bostick who eloquently lays out many of the reasons why he and many other readers were upset by a post we ran yesterday by Kevin Saunders titled, "Why This Adopted Gay Man Will Never Have Children." This post clearly touched a nerve! (Check out the ongoing discussion on our Facebook page.) While some of our readers appreciated Saunders' viewpoint, many others felt slighted by his reasoning for not having children, calling him everything from "self-involved," "selfish," and an "insufferable narcissist." Many other readers rightly questioned why Gays With Kids would even run an essay from a man who does not want children on (of all place) a parenting website.

The former point is a matter of opinion, but I'll offer some clarification on the latter. We agreed to run this post for two reasons. First, Saunders' perspective is unique among many adopted gay men. We have run countless essays on this site featuring adopted gay men who, inspired by their own upbringing, decided to give back by opening up their homes to children who need them. Saunders' experience, however, led him to conscience decision not to have children, a perspective worthy of discussion particularly by anyone who has been touched by adoption in some way. Secondly, as a 52-year-old gay man, Saunders is starting to find himself alienated from many in his LGBTQ peer group for his decision not to have kids. Again, we are so much more familiar with the opposite perspective on our page: when they become parents, many gay men find themselves ostracized from the broader, childless LGBTQ community. That the inverse is also starting to become true is a testament to the increase in LGBTQ parents in the United States, and an interesting dichotomy we believed warranted further exploration.

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I'm not a monster. Yes, I saw the wagons carrying lovely toddler children waiving their flags and eating their graham crackers. The children were plentiful wearing their Pride family shirts, bejeweled in rainbow. The weather was perfect and the crowds were as prideful as ever. But my husband and I had a day where we didn't have to worry about someone else, not on the constant lookout for the next available bathroom or calming emotions because we could buy one unicorn costume and not every unicorn costume. We had a day without kids.

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Believe me, I get sharing the day with your children. With your family. But in my house, we live Pride every day. Two white dads caring for two black kids makes us walking billboards for equality, love, and acceptance. I don't need a day to celebrate my family with my children. We do it in the grocery store. We do it at preschool. We recognize our uniqueness and celebrate it. My children don't need a meltdown and a long walk to tell them about their history and their fathers' connection to the past.

Instead of worrying about where we would find lunch and, again, where the closest bathroom was, I saw beauty that took me by surprise – and I was able to be in the moment with it. Trans men waking boldly and bravely around only wearing only their bindings. Watching high school kids sitting in the grass, wearing crop tops and eating french fries, literally carefree looking up at the clouds. We experienced a community that was free and uninhibited, if just for one afternoon, where who you are isn't odd or something to be hidden. But rather something that is a definition of you and should be your reality 365 days a year.

I know that being gay and having kids can be overwhelming at times. We ask ourselves if we're representing our community adequately (or have we become too heteronormative?). If we have children of a different race, are we giving them the experiences they need to know who they are, as well as navigate that world with gay parents? Are we so embraced at school functions because of our contributions to community or are we a token family? And yes, I'll ask it, are we good enough for acceptance by all gay families, who as if we're single again, judge each other on wealth, looks, and status? No family is better than any other, and gay parents certainly have opportunities to be better towards one another.

Our Pride ended in a small fight while walking to the car, like all good Pride's should. But it wasn't about kids bickering, or kids getting upset they didn't get the right treat. It was about us centering ourselves in a community that isn't exactly welcoming in certain spaces to gay families other times of the year. It was about us catching up with our past while also seeing our collective future.

And the kids didn't seem to mind. They had fun with a babysitter and lived their Pride out loud when they shopped for daddy and papa gifts for Father's Day. That's our Pride. Maybe when the kids are older, and really get the meaning of Pride, we'll start marching together in solidarity. But for right now, daddies needed a little time alone to reconnect with their LGBT family. And while there may be too many beer ads and not enough voter registration tables, we celebrate visibility and love. And my husband and I had time together, reminding us of who we are, who our original family was, and how we will connect who we are now, and our children, with that family as it grows.

At the end of the day, we're all in it together. And my children will be enriched by the experience. Just not this year. This year, we fertilized our roots so that our branches can grow.

Gay Dad Life

Gays With Kids Turns Five!

Wow! Time certainly flies when you're busy becoming the world's biggest online resource and magazine for gay, bi and trans dads!

As if we don't have enough going on this June (Stonewall's 50th anniversary! Father's Day! Taylor Swift rounding up all the gays in West Hollywood for her latest music video!) we're also celebrating another milestone here at Gays With Kids: we're officially turning five this month. (And we don't look a day over two, right?!)

To celebrate, we took a look back at some of our most popular essays, photos, news stories and more. What do you want to see us cover in the NEXT five years? Let us know at dads@gayswithkids.com


#10. The Hardest Part of Foster Care? The Wait, Say These Dads-to-Be

Several years ago, we brought you this article: The Hardest Part of Foster Care? The Wait, Say These Dads-to-Be. The article included a video of Antwon and Nate, who were in the midst of their process to become foster dads, which quickly became one of our most popular posts of all time. In this video, they shared how difficult it was waiting for "the" call from the agency letting them know their lives would be forever changed once a child came to live with them.

Want to see how the dads are getting on several years later? Check out this updated video here!

#9. Famous Gay Dads and Their Kids!

Our article, Famous Gay Dads and Their Kids, featuring well-known gay dads from Neil Patrick Harris to Ryan Murphy, quickly became one of our most popular. In the years since, as the ranks of gay dads has continued to grow, we've brought you MANY more stories of gay men in the limelight who are venturing into fatherhood. Check them all out here!

#8. The Story Behind America's Youngest Gay Dad

The Story Behind America's Youngest Gay Dad, which ran back in 2015, is also one of our most popular posts of all time! The post explores the story of Brian Mariano, who became a father with an ex-girlfriend while still in high school. "Everybody in my life is really supportive of me," he said. "If it's someone new and a friend mentions I'm a dad, they will stop. 'Wait, what? How are you a dad? You're gay.' It's like that 'Mean Girls' quote sometimes. You know – 'if you're from Africa, why are you white?'"

#7. When His Son Got a Tattoo, He Freaked Out. Then He Saw What it Was

This article, When His Son Got a Tattoo, He Freaked Out, definitely plucked the heartstrings of our readers! Which is why it's one of the most popular articles on our site of all time.

"Guess what dad I'm getting a tattoo," Richard's son, Jonathan, texted him. "Don't you dare," was Richard's response. But Jonathan went ahead with it anyway. At first, his dad "fumed." But then he found out what the tattoo was.

"So I got my first tattoo!!" Jonathan wrote on Facebook, of his roman numeral tattoo on his side. "This date is the day that my life changed. This is the day my dads adopted me. The greatest day in my life knowing that for the rest of my life I would finally have a loving family that loved me for me!" (Another one of our most popular posts is this photo essay of gay dads who explain the meaning behind their tattoos.)

#6. 8 Black Dads Share What Black History Month Means to Their Families

Last year, during February's Black History Month, we ran an article titled 8 Black Dads Share What Black History Month Means to Their Families. To create the post, we asked our community a simple question: as a Black gay dad, what does this month mean to you, your family, and your community? The answers we got back were reflective, poignant and deeply moving, which is why this article became one of our most-viewed ever.

Check out the story here.

#5. 19 Photos of Matt Dallas & Blue Hamilton That Will Make You Green with Parenting Envy

Ok the popularity of this article, 19 Photos of Matt Dallas & Blue Hamilton That Will Make You Green with Parenting Envy, doesn't need that much explanation. Gorgeous, talented, successful and good dads? What's not to love! Also check out this more recent post, Things Husbands (and Gay Dads) Do According to Matt Dallas and Blue Hamilton, which is also quickly climbing the ranks of our most popular!

#4. A Gay Dad's Message From His Heart to his Facebook Friends

This article, A Gay Dad's Message From the Heart to his Facebook Friends, by gay dad Michael Anderson, ran in the troubling aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election, when so many LGBTQ people, our allies, and other vulnerable communities looked (and continue to look) towards an uncertain future.

"Suddenly I don't feel secure anymore," Michael wrote. "Vice president-elect Pence has an extensive anti-gay record from supporting gay conversion therapy on kids that literally includes trying to (but failing to) electro-shock the gay out, to signing legislation in his state in 2013 to jail any same-sex couple who attempted to get a marriage certificate. All of the progress that we have made that gives my family a sense of belonging and security is very likely to be erased."

For more of our ongoing political coverage, including the 2020 race, check out these articles as well.

#3. Helping Gay Men Afford Adoption Through Sizable Grants

Our third most popular article, Helping Gay Men Afford Adoption Through Sizable Grants, features our good friends Help Us Adopt, an amazing non-profit organization that helps adoptive parents offset the substantial costs associated with the process. They are also dedicated to inclusivity, and are one of the few financial resources available for gay adoptive parents. Check out this great profile of their work!

#2. 9 Times Gay Dads Crushed Their Pregnancy Announcement Pics

Gay dads love a good photo opportunity. So obviously this photo essay of gay dad pregnancy announcement pics is high up on our list as well. This photo essay, 9 Times Gay Men Crushed Their Pregnancy Announcement Pics, is our second most popular. Check out this most recent roundup of pregnancy announcement pics, which is also climbing the

And Our MOST Viewed Article of All Time Is... 

Gay dads do Halloween right! So it's no surprise that this article, 13 Dads Giving You Major Family Halloween Costume Goals, is our most viewed of all time! And though Halloween may still be months away, why not prepare early with a look at some of our other most popular Halloween articles!

Gay Dads Snap Pics at the Pumpkin Patch
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Get Your DIY Skills On for Halloween, Dads!







THANK YOU!

Lastly, a big thank you to all of our readers! It's thanks to you that we now can claim the biggest online community of gay, bi, and trans dads in the world (not to mention two GLAAD award nominations ;) We can't wait to see what the next five years bring!

Fatherhood, the gay way

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