About AJ and JJ

To replace my now obsolete page comparing international and domestic surrogacy, I have decided to put up pages about each of our two sets of amazing twins.

AJ and JJ are our first set of twins born through surrogacy in the Summer of 2007.  Up until their birth we took turns visiting the surrogate Marie in California to spend time with her and her family, as well as prepare for the arrivals.  Josh had in fact spent the weekend before they were born in California to attend the 32 week ultrasound and tour the hospital.  Josh returned to our home in Florida on a red-eye flight early Monday morning, only to get that fateful call Monday evening that the babies had decided to make an early arrival!  The boys were born premature at just over 4 lbs. each.  We both raced back to meet our boys in the NICU Tuesday morning and instantly fell in love.  Marie graciously agreed to pump breast milk to help the boys thrive in the NICU.  We spent several weeks camped out in an extended stay hotel close to the hospital shuttling breast milk to the hospital every three hours to help the NICU nurses feed and care for our boys.  I remember the NICU nurses fondly because they were so kind to us as a gay couple and helped teach us the basics of feeding, diapering, and not panicking when these fragile little babies starting crying.  The boys were discharged from the hospital after they had grown to 5 lbs., and we returned to Florida where our parenting adventure continued.

We tried to juggle AJ and JJ on our own for the first few months, but with some of the preemie issues they had feeding and apnea, we felt our sanity slipping by the Fall.  We met our wonderful nanny Pat, who has been a godsend for all of our children ever since. These preemie twin boys grew to have some typical speech delay issues, so they spent a year going to speech therapy before entering preschool.  They have flourished since, and AJ and JJ are now working their way through elementary school in the gifted program.  AJ and JJ have personalities that complement but sometimes clash.  JJ has a detail oriented approach to life, and has turned out to be an avid gamer just like his Papa (me!).  AJ is an easygoing kid and has distinguished himself as a bit of an athlete.  He enjoys basketball, bicycling, and swimming in the pool at our home at every opportunity.  They get along well most of the time, but their level of twin closeness naturally leads to occasional flareups as well.  I foresee them sharing a special bond as twins and in their special circumstance for many years to come.

AJ and JJ having their first encounter "on the outside" before discharge from NICU. BFF's ever since!

AJ and JJ having their first encounter “on the outside” before discharge from NICU. BFF’s ever since!

AJ and JJ - Summer 2015

Summer 2015 – AJ is on the left and JJ is on the right in both photos

For more on our story, keep an eye out for a page about our second dynamic duo DJ and MJ to be posted soon.  Our journey to become gay parents will also be featured in an upcoming book to be published early 2016.  For more details, check out www.ericrosswood.com

The Surrogacy Landscape in 2015

Surrogacy in US or abroad can be wonderful. Our family is living proof.

Surrogacy in US or abroad can be wonderful. Our family is living proof.

A lot has happened in the 2 years since DJ and MJ were born in India.  India has implemented the discriminatory regulation that surrogacy can only be offered to heterosexual couples married for more than two years.  Gay couples looked toward Thailand as an alternative only to have it shut down amidst military coup and scandal last year.  The next destination, Nepal, was hit with an earthquake earlier this year, and yesterday a court in Nepal suspended commercial surrogacy pending further review.  The options for gay couples seeking to become parents through surrogacy have become much more limited, and so my 2013 comparison of international vs. domestic surrogacy is no longer accurate.  International surrogacy has become a treacherous path to parenthood that I cannot in good conscience recommend because of possible disastrous situations like this one and this one.  I will be taking down the comparison page and leave the original 2013 entry in my archive for historical purposes.  Surrogacy in the US remains a safe option, and costs have decreased somewhat as more agencies come into operation to compete for clientele.

Josh and I are forever grateful for our positive surrogacy experiences in both California and India.  We are saddened that the options for gay couples hoping to become parents through surrogacy around the world have dwindled so.  I can only hope that in places like the UK, Israel, and Australia, their respective governments can recognize the extraordinary lengths gay couples have gone to have children, and better allow for well-regulated fair practices of surrogacy closer to home.

#DirtyHalfDozen

After repeatedly losing in court and having exhausted almost all of its legal options, the National Organization for Marriage released today a list of the donors that helped them campaign in 2009 for the repeal of marriage equality in Maine.  Detailed listings reveal that the vast majority of more than $2 million dollars spent in Maine toward getting marriage equality (temporarily) repealed in 2009 came from only a half dozen donors – 5 individuals and one organization.

Sean Fieler

Sean Fieler

Topping the list at $1.25 million donated is Sean Fieler.  He is an unabashed opponent of LGBT and abortion rights.  He is also a board member of the Witherspoon Institute, which funded the widely discredited Regnerus study seeking to smear gay parents as harmful to their children.

Terrence Caster and his wife Barbara

Terrence Caster and his wife Barbara

Next on the list having donated $300,000 is Terrence Caster, a San Diego businessman who owns A-1 Self Storage that has locations in California and Texas.  Unsurprisingly, he also contributed heavily to the Prop 8 ballot in California from 2008 much closer to his home.  Anyone who does business with A-1 Self Storage of CA or TX that has a problem with their money going toward political hate campaigns should considering moving their belongings elsewhere.

John Templeton Jr.

John Templeton Jr.

Tied with Terrence at $300,000 is John Templeton Jr., M.D.  Dr. Templeton presided over the Templeton Foundation.  John Templeton Sr. established this foundation for philanthropic purposes and, according to its website, “expected the John Templeton Foundation to stand apart from any consideration of dogma or personal religious belief.”  Well, so much for carrying on that legacy.  Dr. Templeton died earlier this year, so NOM should not expect any personal contributions from him in the future.

In Service to All...Unless You Are Gay

In Service to All…Unless You Are Gay

The Knights of Columbus is supposedly the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization, but they seemed to be operating like an anonymous hate group closer to the KKK when they donated $140,000 to NOM.

The only donor from Maine was Richard Kurtz

The only donor from Maine was Richard Kurtz

Richard Kurtz bears the distinction of being the only Maine resident on this list when he gave $50,000 to NOM in defense of bigotry.

emphaticbrian

Does Benjamin Brown have any relation to this angry man?

Closing out the list at $200 donated is some sad sack in Michigan named Benjamin Brown who possibly didn’t realize he was in the company of millionaires.  Any relation to current NOM head Brian S. Brown perhaps?

This very short list of donors is consistent with previous reports about the funding sources of NOM.  They constantly plead for online donations on their website, and like to create the illusion of a movement by speaking as if they represent throngs of supporters.  The truth is that they are operated with the financial support of very few, wealthy individuals.  These people should be brought out from the shadows so they can take responsibility for their hateful actions.  This compounded with the fact that they have not seen many returns on their political investments lately hopefully means that the donations to NOM will dry up very quickly and they may be bankrupt very soon.

End of Summer Road Trip to Visit Our First Surrogate

Marie, our first surrogate, gave birth to AJ and JJ while she and her family were living in California.  Being a military family, they have moved a few times since then to Tennessee, Alaska, and just recently Georgia.  We were excited that they are closer than ever to Florida, so we decided to celebrate the end of summer vacation by piling into the minivan for an old fashioned road trip.  It has been a few years since Marie and the twins have seen each other, and both our families have welcomed two more additions since last we met, but everyone including all eight children got along wonderfully like lifelong friends.  We are so grateful to be connected to such an amazing family in such a special way!

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Surrogacy and Other Paths to Gay Parenthood

In my previous post, I have alluded to discussions I have had with people extremely critical of us as gay parents through surrogacy. My position is that while questionable surrogacy practices do exist, problematic situations can often be avoided by intended parents who proceed with caution, and prevented by government with regulation that better protects the babies, the surrogates, and the intended parents. I believe that surrogacy when done right can be a positive experience for all involved.

With that said, I recognize and respect the many different paths to parenthood, which can be quite varied for LGBT people from adoption to surrogacy to co-parenting. We recently contributed our story to a book about these many paths to gay parenthood. We are pleased to announce that the book has been picked up by a publisher and will be released next year! I encourage any LGBT people considering their many options in becoming parents to check out the Author website at: http://www.ericrosswood.com/

Taking a fair and balanced view of surrogacy is important

Taking a fair and balanced view of surrogacy is important