A mother who was unable to carry more children following her breast cancer treatment has opened up about her and her husband’s agonizing fight to adopt their biological twins after welcoming them via surrogate nearly a year ago.
Tammy and Jordan Myers of Grand Rapids, Michigan, are being forced to go through the grueling process of legally adopting their nine-month-old twins Eames and Ellison because of the state’s outdated surrogacy laws.
‘We’re hoping to have everything finalized by their first birthday. We’ve always wanted nothing more than to bring our babies home and love them,’ Tammy, 40, told People of their uphill battle.
Tammy and Jordan Myers of Grand Rapids, Michigan, are being forced to legally adopt their biological twins Eames and Ellison because of the state’s laws
The couple is hoping to have the nine-month-old twins’ adoption finalized before their first birthday
‘[The court] has put us through hell. There are unfit parents who may not want, neglect, or abuse their children, but they skate by because they carried them.’
The parents also have a nine-year-old daughter, Corryn, who was born naturally. They were trying for a second child nearly seven years ago when Tammy found a lump and was diagnosed with breast cancer.
‘The diagnosis was earth shattering. Everything moved so quickly because of how aggressive breast cancer is in young women,’ she recalled. ‘The oncologist sat me down and told me how serious it was. I asked, “How long do I have?” and then “Can I have more children?” [The doctor] teared up and looked at me and said “No, not the traditional way.”‘
Tammy froze her eggs knowing she and her husband would have to use a gestational carrier if they wanted more biological children. They considered adoption but found it would be ‘the most cost-effective’ to have their own children.
The couple found their gestational carrier, Lauren, who was a friend of a friend, after detailing their situation in a Facebook post. The mother of two children of her own agreed to carry their babies without any compensation as a gift to the couple.
Tammy and Jordan were trying for a second child nearly seven years ago when she found a lump and was diagnosed with breast cancer
Tammy, who also has a nine-year-old daughter Corryn, froze her eggs knowing she and Jordan would have to use a gestational carrier if they wanted more biological children
The couple later found their gestational carrier, Lauren, who agreed to carry their babies without any compensation as a gift to them
Michigan’s Surrogate Parenting Act of 1998 makes compensated surrogacy illegal in the state. It also states that any agreements between gestational carriers and parents won’t be recognized in court.
The law was passed in reaction to the Baby M custody case in which a traditional surrogate who was biologically linked to the baby changed her mind about giving the child to the intended parents after giving birth.
Tammy and Jordan used a fertility clinic in Grand Rapids, where her eggs with fertilized with Jordan’s sperm before the embryos were implanted into Lauren.
Their lawyer drew up the paperwork, and while they were aware surrogacy was difficult to navigate in Michigan, she admitted they didn’t really know what they were getting themselves into.
‘[Our attorney] did say, worst-case scenario, we’d be forced to adopt, but she didn’t believe that would be the case,’ Tammy told People. ‘First we tried for a pre-birth order. Over 75 couples in Michigan who are in our exact same situation [received] pre-birth orders, which basically gives them legal rights to the baby before they’re even born. We started that process — but the babies were born eight weeks early.’
Without the completion of the pre-birth order, they had to try to get emergency legal rights to the twins, but their request was denied. They were also unable to obtain Jordan’s paternal rights, which would have still required Tammy to adopt their children as a stepparent because she didn’t carry the babies herself.
Tammy and Jordan used a fertility clinic in Grand Rapids, where her eggs with fertilized with Jordan’s sperm before the embryos were implanted into Lauren (pictured)
Tammy and Jordan were in the process of applying for a pre-birth order that would have given them legal rights to the twins when the babies arrived early
Without the completion of the pre-birth order, they had to try to get emergency legal rights to the twins, but their request was denied
Tammy noted that ‘the Baby M case is nothing like surrogacy today or the gestational carrier process, which is where the carrier has no genetic link to the baby,’ saying she would have happily carried her own babies if she could.
The couple eventually realized they would have to adopt their babies because of Michigan’s antiquated surrogacy laws that have not been changed to reflect the fertility and surrogacy advancements over the past three decades.
‘We knew there would be paperwork involved, but we had no idea it would be a legal battle for the rights of our babies,’ she said. ‘I’m almost thankful we didn’t know. I’m not sure we would have gone this route.
‘But nothing could take away the blessing we have in our lives,’ she added. ‘We’ve opened the door to the injustice happening because of this outdated law.’
Tammy and Jordan are now the twins’ legal guardians, and while they have been home with them the entire time, they still need background checks and home visits to qualify to adopt their children.
The couple is now in the process of legally adopting their biological twins with their gestational carrier’s support
Tammy and Jordan are currently the twins’ legal guardians, but they have to deal with background checks and home visits as part of the adoption process
Despite their struggles, Tammy considers it a ‘blessing’ that their story has gone public, and she hopes their legal battle will result in Michigan’s outdated laws being changed
‘The whole point of family law is to keep families together. We are a family,’ Jordan stressed. ‘They are our biological children. There’s no denying that. Yet they’re trying to tear us apart.’
Their gestational carrier, Lauren, has been supportive, and they’ve become so close with her and her husband Jonathan that they named them the twins’ godparents.
Despite their struggles, Tammy considers it a ‘blessing’ that their story has gone public, and she hopes their legal battle will result in the laws being changed.
‘Once I closed the cancer door and was able to move on with my life, I still felt like there was more I was meant to do,’ she said. ‘Then this [fight for our children] started happening, and I told Jordan, “This is meant to be, too. We were meant to make this better.”
‘Unfortunately, we’re the example, but I hope our story going public means we will be the last family who faces this hardship in Michigan.’