Launching a journey they'd never imagined
Chad, who had disappointed his father by taking David's surname, explained that they would be equals as parents, in practice and in law. They planned to incorporate both family names, he explained.

"Are you in shock?" Sissy asked.

  • Related
  • Surrogacy: 'Little Angel' Surrogacy: 'Little Angel'
  • Surrocacy

  • Surrocacy

"Yes," her father answered. "Wouldn't anybody be?"

He hadn't expressed displeasure, as they feared he might, but he clearly wasn't comfortable. He continued to call Sissy several times a week as usual, but never asked about the pregnancy.

Chad confronted his father when he visited in March. "I don't want someone who the kids grow to love and trust, a grandparent, to come to them at any point and make them feel bad about the situation they've grown up in," he said.

"I would never do that," his father answered. "We're going to love these kids as our grandchildren. We're not going to do anything to hurt them."

"It's not even about consciously hurting them," Chad explained. "It's about a sensitivity that you don't normally have. Whether or not you believe in it or think it's right or wrong, I expect you to subjugate that to their feelings and the fact that this is their experience."

His father said he understood, but he did not say much more.


Legal navigations

Chad and David continued to commute to Dallas for Sissy's doctor's appointments. At 15 weeks, a sonogram showed they had a boy and a girl.

"The babies are growing appropriately," the doctor said, "and you're not showing me anything that really worries me." He projected delivery for mid-September.

Within a day, Acorn and Butterbean were renamed Holland Kelly Hodge Craig, to be known as Holland, and Christian Asher Hodge Craig, to be known as Asher.

"Let the monogramming begin," Chad e-mailed their friends.

In mid-April, Chad and David met with an adoption lawyer in Atlanta to discuss the delivery. Sissy had decided it would be easier on her children if she could stay in Texas, but the lawyer, Lori M. Surmay, advised against it.

A Texas delivery would make it difficult to petition a judge to declare Chad and David the legal parents before birth, she said. That, in turn, could mean that only one of them, and perhaps neither of them, would get their names on the birth certificates. She could even spin a scenario in which a Texas judge might deem their children parentless and make them wards of the state.

"Ugh," Chad said. They weren't willing to take that chance. After they explained it to Sissy, neither was she.

Surmay was confident she could get Chad and David on the birth certificates in Georgia. Whoever was determined to be the biological contributor would be listed as "Father," and the other as "Parent."

"It's a little bit mind-blowing here in 2006 that you can get a birth certificate with no mother on it," she said. "We're through the looking glass here."

Sissy had a scare in early May when she felt contractions after cleaning out the garage, but they disappeared after two days of bed rest. She could feel the babies moving now, vying for diminishing space.