This Blended Family is the Perfect Poetic Union
Tuesday, January 05, 2016
Abigail and Lillian
At first glance, Carey Kinyon doesn't appear to be the type of guy who writes poetry. In his mid-forties and a former soldier, Carey is operations manager for a company that does construction for the Department of Defense. But after his day in this testosterone-fueled profession ends, Carey takes to pen and paper (or computer or tablet) and pours his emotions into love-infused poems for his wife and other people he admires.
After the love of his life, Brandee, gave birth to twins for an Australian couple this year, Carey decided he wanted to compose an ode to her and other surrogate mothers, including CSP's Carole Jackson, and the amazing gift they give their intended parents.
Called a "Different Mother Altogether," Carey beautifully depicts the emotions of the surrogate journey and the strong sisterhood of surrogate mothers. Above all, the poem is a tribute to his wife and the pride he feels for what she did to help build a family who could not conceive any other way.
This was not Carey's first foray into poetry. He has written a half a dozen poems, including one for his mother. Writing has always come easily to him.
Carey and Brandee have been married for eight years and together for 13 after they met singing karaoke. Their blended family includes Carey's son and daughter, both in their twenties, from his previous marriage, and Brandee's two teenaged daughters from her first marriage, whom Carey has adopted. The couple both grew up in blended families and decided not to have children of their own. It was their overwhelming love for their 'no lip service' blended family that motivated Brandee to sacrifice some time to help build another family.
"I had wanted to become a surrogate mother since my late teen years," says Brandee. "However, it took me a year or two to convince Carey it was the right thing to do. He had some of the standard misunderstandings many husbands have, such as whether the baby would have a biological connection to me. But he felt better when he learned that would not be the case." Confirmed Carey: "Once I decided to support Brandee in her surrogacy journey, all the little issues melted away. Once I made the leap, I made it in a big way."
Brandee found the Center for Surrogate Parenting after research on the Internet. She felt the information on the CSP website was really informative and after speaking with Carole Jackson, she knew it was the right agency for her.
Brandee was devastated after her first journey did not work and additional testing revealed she might not be able to carry another pregnancy. She had to grieve this loss, but never lost touch with her friends at CSP. After she attended a meeting to hear the birth story of one of her friends, Carole Jackson and psychologist Karen Chernekoff approached her about giving surrogacy another try, suggesting she be reevaluated medically. She subsequently saw Dr. Jane Frederick at HRC Fertility, who would go on to approve her for surrogacy.
This time Brandee was matched with an international couple. The mother had complications from her first pregnancy preventing her from having another child. Though the first cycle did not work, Brandee was moved by how concerned her couple was about her feelings. Fortunately, the second frozen cycle worked and Brandee became pregnant with twins! The pregnancy was smooth sailing, except for some bouts of morning sickness, until Brandee unexpectedly went into preterm labor. The babies were born approximately one hour after Brandee was admitted to the hospital. They were very tiny but otherwise healthy. However, it was a long couple of hours before Brandee and Carey had any definitive news to give the babies' parents, who were thousands of miles away in Australia. It took the parents 48 hours to travel to the U.S. to finally meet their little ones.
Brandee was physically fine after the babies' births, but emotionally was feeling guilty, wondering if delivering early was the result of her not sleeping or eating enough. She also felt very badly that the parents had missed their important day.
Though the babies spent six weeks in the NICU, they fortunately had very few complications. Abigail Patricia and Lillian Brandee are now healthy and thriving. The two families became very close during the time the Aussies stayed in California before the babies could travel. Since they have returned to Australia, the two families are in close communication, texting almost daily and frequently sending photographs.
Brandee, Carey, and their three daughters thoroughly embraced the surrogacy process. While pregnant, Brandee's girls mothered her and made sure she had everything she needed. "They were proud of me and were sad to see everyone go home to Australia," recalled Brandee. "The girls had gotten very close to the grandparents and the parents, as well as the new big sister, the couple's five-year-old daughter."
The experience was unique for Carey in many ways, including being able to participate in labor more actively than he had when his own children were born decades before. But he was especially impressed with the sacrifices his wife and other surrogate mothers made to help other families' dreams come true.
From the moment she first read her husband's poem, Brandee thought it was amazing. "I have hung all his poetry on the wall along with our wedding pictures. Carey is a phenomenal writer and has mastered the English language. I am very flattered he was able to do this for me and my fellow surrogacy sisters."
We agree that Carey beautifully has captured the emotions and contributions of these unsung heroines. Here are Carey's poems. Thanks for sharing them, Carey and Brandee.
P.S. In addition to the first poem that came to our attention, Carey has since continued his poetic endeavors with two more odes to surrogacy. We will be sharing the poems in the next several blogs.