VIDEO: Kids Born Through Surrogacy Discuss Prejudice

This video features three young adults, born with Circle Surrogacy, discussing their personal experiences dealing with prejudice. (The Teen Panel from the left, Elinor, Liv, and Zachary.)

Elinor started the discussion by sharing her experience being raised Jewish. She explains that there are passages in the Torah forbidding same-sex relationships. However, she does find comfort in the fact that her friends don’t interpret the Torah literally–and don’t believe there is anything wrong with same-sex relationships.

Liv and Zachary stated they hadn’t experienced much prejudice.

They had great advice to give children and young adults experiencing prejudice. They said not to listen to negative people, not to be ashamed of your family, and to surround yourself with the good people.

The young adults on the panel also discussed the benefits of having two dads when it came to sexual orientation and accepting others. Elinor, Liv, and Zachary express that they knew growing up if they would also be accepted, no matter their sexual orientation. Elinor and Liv identify as straight. Zachary discussed coming out to his parents. He said having two dads “made it easier for me to accept it myself and feel comfortable in my own skin.”

The panel above is from the Men Having Babies Conference in May of 2016.

VIDEO: Teens Born Through Circle Surrogacy Kids Discussing Origin Stories

In this Teen Panel, Elinor, Liv, and Zachary (all born with Circle Surrogacy) share how they found out they were born via gestational carrier.

The panelists described asking questions from ages 3 years old to 8 years old about coming into the world through surrogacy. They also asked their parents about genetics and their background.

The panelists told parents to have open communication with their child so they feel comfortable asking questions. [Books for discussing surrogacy with your child].

When asked about having a mother figure, the panelists feel that they don’t have a mother figure, but some have strong female figures in their lives.

On the concept of feminism, the panel all expressed an ongoing need for equality between genders. Lastly, the young adults expressed the different roles their fathers play in their lives.

In giving advice to prospective parents, Zachary says, “A family is about love and caring. I’d say if you’ve got two people who love each other and they want to have kids, they should have kids.”

The Teen Panel was part of the Men Having Babies Conference in November, 2016,

Photos from Our Circle Surrogacy Oslo Reunion

Both Brett Griffin-Young (International Outreach Associate) and Dean Hutchison (Director of Legal Services) traveled to Oslo, Norway over the summer to meet with intended parents at the beginning of their journey. They also put together a reunion (with the help of Jenn Skarinka, our in-house event planner) to meet with families who have had their babies with Circle throughout the years.

Dean Hutchison brought back some excellent photos to share with you! (See below!!) And he has this to say about the experience:

“The reunion could not have been nicer. It was wonderful to see the parents and children meeting each other and enjoying the beautiful day. This was the final afternoon of my trip, which was spent meeting with intended parents who are considering the surrogacy process. It was nice to conclude the trip on the grill and playing on the swingset. We had a beautiful trek to Frognerseteren overlooking the Oslo fjord and city too. The relationships we have built with our Circle families make each trip better than the one before.”

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Happy Father’s Day to our Proud Dads

Happy Fathers Day

Father’s Day means something different to each of us, whether it’s a day to do something special for your old man, to give both your dads a big hug, or the day that commemorates the moment you found out you were going to be a father! Dove’s newest commercial for their #RealStrength campaign shows some real reactions with footage of men finding out that they’re going to be a dad. The message behind their campaign is that showing care takes real strength. Dads can sometimes be the tough guy for their kids, but this commercial shows the genuine expressiveness and joy that revolves around being a father and building a family.

Fathers probably have the moment they realized they were going to be a dad cemented into their memories. Maybe they were expecting it or maybe they were caught completely off guard, full of surprise, overwhelmed by happiness, and a just a little bit nervous about this next step in their life. You can see the dads in the commercial with their mouths open in disbelief, picking up their partner overjoyed, and some getting a little teary eyed.

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Helpful Tips from One Parent to Another: Buying for baby

newborn-baby-must-haves Your little one is soon to arrive. You are SO excited because it seems like the waiting has been so long. However, reality is now setting in…“Do I have what I need for a newborn!?” As a mother of two (a 6-year-old boy and an 11-month-old girl), I know too well that feeling of wondering if I have everything I need to raise my babies, especially being a new parent. There are so many things on the market these days, which can be very overwhelming to someone just starting out in the world of parenthood.

I remember when my son was born and that feeling of “do I have the best and safest things on the market for my baby?”  We, after all, don’t settle for anything but the best for our child(ren), right? In this parent-to-parent section, I will discuss some of my favorite items available for babies that I used for my children. I have found, for myself anyway, that the best advice comes from other parents. Again, this is based on what worked for my children…every baby is different.

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Surrogate Pregnancy: How to balance pregnancy and family

surrogate pregnancy with children Pregnancy. You’re no stranger to the growing bump, the late-night kicking sessions, or the bizarre food cravings. Yet many women who become surrogates do so because they love all aspects of being pregnant. And becoming pregnant to help another family grow? There’s just nothing like it.

It goes without saying that becoming pregnant while still raising young children is not an easy feat. You may find yourself looking for ways to balance your time and attention between your surrogate pregnancy and your family.

A pregnancy is a pregnancy. While many of the terms of your pregnancy are different as a surrogate, your physical pregnancy experience is not. This means you should take it slow as you did with your previous pregnancies. Just because you are not the biological mother of the child you are bringing to life, it does not mean you should expect the pregnancy to feel dramatically different in terms of physical symptoms. Granted, many parts of your surrogacy pregnancy will be different from your previous ones. Previous surrogate and current Circle employee, Jeni Denhoff, writes about what she found different between pregnancies. Take care of yourself, know when you’ve reached your limit, and take a step back, asking for help when you need it.

Talk to your children about your pregnancy. Explain that just because they won’t be getting a new sister or brother, it doesn’t mean that there’s something special going on in mommy’s tummy. This can be a sensitive subject for many women. We encourage you to explore your resources and come up with a plan to share your adventure with your children in a way that makes sense to them. Need some tips? Here’s a previous blog post we wrote about how to talk to your children about your surrogacy.

Support systems. Whether you need an hour to yourself, or you need someone to watch your little ones while you go to a doctor’s appointment, establishing a support system is essential. As a surrogate, you have the added support team in your intended parents (IPs). Depending on the nature of your relationship, the level and type of support can vary. But one thing is true across all surrogacy arrangements: your IPs are rooting for you. Another benefit of becoming a surrogate with a surrogacy agency is the support you receive. From your assigned program coordination team to the social worker managing your case, you are in good hands at Circle. Use your resources and reach out when you have questions or are looking for guidance.

Time with your kiddos. Children can get jealous and vie for mom’s attention when there’s a new baby in the room (or in this case, womb). Be sure to set aside time to spend with each of your children to reinforce just how important they are to you. Dedicate a night to each of your children. Plan activities he or she loves, and spend some quality time reminding your own children that they are your world.

You are the definition of a champion. You are providing a family with a child they might not otherwise have. Nine months of dedication means you deserve to be pampered! Don’t feel guilty asking for some time to yourself while you are pregnant. Relish in your surrogacy experience, but know that your children will be there throughout it all, holding your hand along the way and later beaming with pride knowing what you did for another family.

Interested in becoming a surrogate and helping a family grow? Learn more and begin your application today.


 

photo credit: Chynne Sue Photography via photopin cc

State Spotlight: Surrogacy in California

surrogacy in californiaCircle is dedicated to informing intended parents and surrogates as much as possible about surrogacy, including the different state laws addressing the practice.

Here is a brief overview laws pertaining to surrogacy in California.

Favorable Law

California’s laws on surrogacy are some of the nation’s best when it comes to protecting the rights of intended parents, surrogates, and egg donors. California has always kept its laws on surrogacy up to date with scientific advances in assisted reproduction, providing all parties involved in surrogacy arrangements with legal, medical, and financial support. The state recognizes contracts between surrogates, intended parents, and gamete donors.

Surrogacy laws in California allow intended parents to establish parentage before a child is even born through surrogacy with the use of pre-birth orders. All paperwork and legal contracts are taken care of well before the surrogacy birth and surrogates won’t ever need to appear in court. Even in cases that might require post-birth legal action (e.g., second-parent or stepparent adoptions), a surrogate won’t need to be present in court.

Those pursuing surrogacy in California also have access to some of the best hospitals in the world, according to U.S. News & World Report’s Top-Ranked Hospitals for Gynecology.

To learn more about surrogacy in the state of California, click here

photo credit: Loïc Lagarde via photopin cc

Accepting Our Children’s Differences: A sit-down with author Craig Pomranz

Made By Raffi

Childhood is a time fraught with uncertainty and insecurity. Growing up, almost everyone, at some point, has felt like the odd man out — or felt just plain different. While some children are fortunate enough to have adults in their life who celebrate their “differences” and encourage them to let their true colors shine, others aren’t so lucky. Made By Raffi (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books), a unique new children’s book about one brave little boy who forges his own path despite peer pressure, is a must-read for all children.

While being perceived as different can be difficult for kids who just want to fit in, seeing other kids being brave, and celebrating themselves for who they are, can be a powerful tool. Craig Pomranz’s heartwarming book is one such tool for both children and their parents.

We caught up with Pomranz to ask him some questions about his newly released book, advice for parents and kids who might be struggling with feeling different, and about his own childhood experiences.

Q: What or who was your inspiration for penning Made By Raffi?
A: The book was inspired by my godson. As a little boy, he wasn’t so interested in sports or rough and tumble play. When he was about 9, he asked for knitting needles for his birthday, and I was delighted to supply. He really took to it and found it very peaceful and comforting.  At some point, I guess he was teased. He then began to ask questions about why he was different.

I was fascinated when he came up with the term “tomgirl,” because it brought into focus the huge difference between a little girl who likes traditional boys’ activities – a tomboy – and a little boy who likes traditional girls’ activities. A tomboy is admired for her toughness and independence. But “tomgirl” connotes a negative idea: a little boy who is effeminate or weak.  I thought to myself, this is huge. I can really help kids and parents by telling this story.

Raffi Books Languages (2) Q: What message do you hope to send readers?
A: I hope the book supports young boys and girls who are perceived as “different” because of their appearances or hobbies and at the same time encourages all kids to try many different kinds of activities. I also hope it provides comfort for worried parents. It is healthy for children to experiment, try on different identities, and discover themselves. They should do so openly and without fear. It is a funny, colorful book, because kids should also be able to laugh without malice—differences are fun!

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Family Equality Council’s “Family Week” in Provincetown: Meet Us There!

family equality family week
The Family Equality Council hosts its 19th annual “Family Week” from July 26th-August 2nd in Provincetown, Massachusetts. The week-long event hosts family-based talks, exhibits, cookouts, organized games, and other opportunities to bring LGBT families together. You can view a schedule of the planned get-togethers on the events calendar.

Circle Surrogacy is excited to sponsor the Beach Campfire on Tuesday, July 29th, from 5:30-8:30pm. If you are attending Family Week, be sure to stop by Herring Cove Beach and say “hi,” watch performances from the cast of The Greatest Pirate Story Never Told, and enjoy dinner on the beach!

If you are interested in attending any of the Family Week events but have not yet registered, you can sign up at the Family Equality storefront, located at 254 Commercial St. in Provincetown, Monday through Friday.

Download our free guide on gay surrogacy to learn more about family building options. 



photo credit: San Diego Shooter via photopin cc