When you tell your kids the story of how they came to be, is the woman who delivered them identified by a face and a name? That's a decision that every gay dad has to make when it comes to having kids through surrogacy or adoption. In this episode we explored two ways of keeping in touch with the birthmother (for adoptive kids) or the gestational surrogate (for IVF and surrogacy) as part of gay dads' children's birth story.Some adoptive parents choose to have an 'open adoption,' where the child gets to meet the birthmother. Parents who go through surrogacy sometimes keep in touch with the surrogate and have their kids meet her when they are old enough.
Relationship with the Surrogate
There are some dads whose surrogacy journey ties them emotionally to their surrogate—as a result a lifetime friendship is developed; for others, the relationship with the surrogate dissolves due to distance and… life. Heather Manoijlovic, a two-time surrogate for gay dads and a surrogate coordinator at Circle Surrogacy, spoke from her experience and from the experience of working with other surrogates about the type of relationships and expectations between surrogates and intended parents.
"Are You My Birthmother?"
Erik Alexander from New Orleans (AKA 'NOLA Papa') blogs about his and his husband's choice to pursue open adoption with their eldest daughter. Despite fears of reunifications (child being returned by a court to the birth parents), the couple were open to the possibility of having their child's birthmother in some sort of touch with them. When they were matched, it was pretty clear that a large part of the birthmother's choice was for her child to be adopted by a gay couple. This was not only because her brother is gay, but also, as Ethan Cohan mentioned in the previous episode of our podcast, some women seek to maintain their 'mother' status by making sure no other parent will be called 'mom' by the adoptive child.
Erik and his husband's adoption process was supposed to take 5 years but was actually completed in 3.5 weeks! In our interview he talked about his fear, his ability to be honest with his daughter and also about what happened when their daughter figured out who her birthmother was.
Erik Alexander is from New Orleans, Louisiana, and is married to the love of his life, Douglas. Together 11 years, they adopted their 2 beautiful daughters, Alli Mae in December of 2015 (open adoption) and Ella in May of 2017 and their lives have been in hyperdrive ever since. Whether it is baby proofing, parenting hacks or navigating through this crazy world, Erik is excited to share his journey. You can also find his blog at Nolapapa.com
"My hope is that through my blog I am able to bury my insecurities, my fears, and my failures- for all to read, in hopes to see my weaknesses sprout and transform into self improvement, resilience, and embrace an unapologetic renewal. My past helped make me who I am today- but who I am tomorrow depends on how I choose to get there, today."
Heather Manojlovic is a two time experienced gestational carrier living with her tight knit family of four in Northeast Indiana. Heather has a passion for helping others and loves walking amazing women through the surrogacy process within her role at Circle Surrogacy as a Surrogate Coordinator. Heather's unique perspectives on surrogacy have been featured on Gays with Kids. When Heather isn't advocating for surrogacy she can usually be found enjoying a good Netflix binge and snuggling her Great Dane.