If you haven’t heard by now about the utterly botched surrogacy arrangement between Amy Kehoe (mother) and Laschell Baker (surrogate), both of Michigan, then you’ve been living under a rock…or preparing for some kind upcoming holiday festivities. The short of it is after Amy Kehoe selected Laschell Baker as her surrogate, who then went on to deliver boy-girl twins, who then found out that Amy had a “history” of mental illness, who then decided that Kehoes were unfit to be parents so they arranged to null and void the surrogate contract and the twins were relinquished to Bakers.
That’s the short. Now for the long. Really, really long.
The nuances to this story are many and varied and all smack of hypocrisy and judgmental bullshit. Because of my google alerts set on “egg donor”, I received a notice about this gem on a message board the other day from a “mommy” site:
I’m not in the position to make judgment and I’m not making judgment, I’m just trying to understand WHY some people go to such lengths? I ask because I know someone who is personally going through this and I just don’t get it AT ALL. This might sound horrible to someone who can understand, but please know I’m not trying to be insensitive, I just really and truly don’t get it. I don’t understand how having a stranger egg and a stranger sperm donor and possibly a stranger surrogate is any different or “better” than adopting a baby that is essentially the same thing? The baby is from strangers too…what is the difference??????
Here’s me reading it, in case you want to pop into my head for a sec:
I’m not in the position to make judgment [then don’t] and I’m not making judgment [uh-oh, when someone says “I’m not making judgment”, you know they are], I’m just trying to understand WHY some people go to such lengths? I ask because I know someone who is personally going through this and I just don’t get it AT ALL [let me guess: you’ve told your friend that you don’t get it, right? In the spirit of honesty and forthrightedness?? Of course you did – pfft]. This might sound horrible to someone who can understand [there’s no “might” about it], but please know I’m not trying to be insensitive [you’re not trying hard enough], I just really and truly don’t get it [you’ve made that painfully clear already – more than once in fact]. I don’t understand […again?!...] how having a stranger egg and a stranger sperm donor [stranger than what?] and possibly a stranger surrogate [stranger than you, perhaps?] is any different or “better” than adopting a baby [that’s YOUR presumption] that is essentially the same [it is?? Anyone who has adopt care to interject] thing [she did NOT just refer to a baby as a “thing”, did she??]? The baby is from strangers too…what is the difference [I’m so flustered, I really have no idea!]??????
Baker says that being a good Christian is what prompted her to take the action and make the adoption (in most states, the parents must adopt their child(ren) from the surrogate) void. A quote from Baker, “I’m not going to be the one that’s going to feel guilty if something happens.”
So Laschell Baker, let me see if I understand this correctly: you don’t want to feel guilty IF something were to happen. You are referring to Kehoe’s mental illness – her CONTROLLED for eight years mental illness! – right?!? And you would rather worry about the “what ifs” then the harm and guilt you REALLY should be feeling now for taking Kehoes’ children away from them. And I don’t EVEN want to hear anyone bring up the fact that there’s no biological connection between Kehoes and her twins. It’s irrelevant. The only reason Baker was successful in her bid for the twins is because surrogacy laws and their contracts are basically unenforceable, not because of any biological connection or lack thereof.
So Baker considers her and her husband to be superior parents to any couple who have a history of mental illness. That means that Laschell Baker considers herself to be a better parent than either myself (mild depression) and a good many of you. What if Kehoe had any other kind of physical handicap or chronic illness? What if Amy was deaf or blind or was an amputee? While these would have been more obvious in their physical manifestation, would Laschell Baker felt as comfortable in her decision to consider Kehoe a POTENTIALLY unfit mother as she does now?
Let’s just make this an even more ridiculous argument, shall we? So again, Laschell made her judgment call based on “what ifs”, and she claims that she has no guilt now in her decision, right? She’s changing the twins’ names as a “way to leave the past behind”………as soon as she and her husband can pull together $320 in filing fees.
She’s changing those babies’ names in order to try to pretend that Kehoes were never the parents of those babies. While Baker claims they will someday tell the twins about Kehoes, I can’t even come up with the subject line of their story they will use without causing some kind of traumatic response from those kids:
Possible Future Explanation – The woman intended to be your mother was sick/had mental illness/crazy!
Possible Interpretation by the Children – People who are sick/have mental illnesses/crazy! cannot, should not, and will not make good parents.
Yeah. That works (make sure you read that with all the sarcastic intonation as you possibly can).
One last shaming smack to the Bakers: to disguise your stereotyping of people with mental illnesses, you try to hide behind the shield of “doing what’s best in the case of what if” and you used it to justify to yourself and others (who obviously are not buying it) the reason to take Amy and her husband’s children. What if someone came up to you and decided that since you can’t immediately put together $300 to try to closet the past, that you can’t afford to raise the twins much less the four other children you have and take away all six?
Determining who and what makes for good parents based on ignorant stereotyping always – ALWAYS – will bite you squarely on the ass.
Kehoes have since decided to stop the fight for custody of their twins. I will hope and hope and hope that they become parents again and prove to themselves what faultless parents they would have been to their first two children. I say “to themselves” because quite frankly, they don’t owe the world proof of their parenting abilities. The Bakers weren’t owed that right, but they stole it away much like they did those babies.