“All in the Family”
Precinct - Friday Morning
Though the idea was very much on both their minds, neither Sonny or Amanda brought up the surrogacy topic the following morning. Instead they focused their attention on getting Jesse and Billie off to school and themselves off to work on time, which had been a struggle as the girls were still very much in summer mode.
“Sorry I’m late.” Amanda said to her Captain as she, with Sonny close behind, rushed into the squad room.
She plopped down at her desk. “Jesse would not get out of bed this morning. I had to drag her out. Literally. Comforter and all. She’s like a teenager. I swear she’d sleep all day if I let her.”
Liv chuckled. “It’s alright.” She then looked over at Sonny. “Carisi, you ready to head up to Bedford Hills?”
The counselor nodded.
“Who are you two going to see there?” Velasco asked, curiously.
“Whitney Evans and her public defender.” Sonny told him. “Apparently she’s ready to talk and give up some names.”
“We’ll be back soon.” Liv said to her squad, who watched as her and Sonny quickly made their way toward the elevators to head out.
Amanda, Fin and Velasco then directed their attentions back to their computers. However, a few minutes later an officer entered their work area looking for Fin.
“Hey seargent.” He said as he approached Fin. “There’s a couple here, Hank and Diana Greene, who will only speak to someone in charge.”
Fin sighed and stood up. “Ok. Bring them.”
The young officer nodded and hurried off. He returned to the squad room a few moments later with the couple.
Fin motioned for Amanda to join him and the two walked over to the husband and wife, both of whom were visibly upset.
“I’m Sgt. Tutuola.” Fin said, introducing himself. “And this is Detective Rollins.” He gestured toward Amanda. “How can we help you?”
“Our daughter, Christina, was taken.” A distraught sounding Diana told them as she handed Fin a photo. “When I went to…c—check on her this morning…she wasn’t in her crib.”
Fin and Amanda looked at the photo of a dark haired, green eyed baby girl who looked to be about 7-8 months old.
Amanda fixed her mouth to ask a question but was cut off by the husband.
“And we know who took her.” Hank said as he pulled up a video on his phone. “We caught this on our nanny cam.”
Fin and Amanda watched the soundless video, which showed a woman enter into Christina’s nursery, reach into the crib for the infant and then exit with the little girl in her arms.
“Your nanny?” Amanda asked, somewhat rhetorically as she pointed to the figure in the video.
Hank shook his head. “No. She was our surrogate. We hired her to carry our baby. I can’t believe she broke into our house without us knowing and kidnapped Christina. What kind of person does this?!”
Amanda’s eyes nearly popped out of her head upon hearing that the couple’s daughter was taken by her surrogate mother. But she quickly regained her focus and put her personal thoughts on pause.
“We’re going to do everything we can to bring her back home to you.” Amanda tried to assure the couple.
Westchester - Friday Morning 10a
“Well that was actually more productive than I thought it’d be.” Sonny said as him and Liv reached her car and he got in on the passenger’s side. “I thought for sure we were wastin’ our time comin’ up here.”
Liv slid into the driver’s seat, started up the car and just as she was about to respond to Sonny, her cell started to ring.
“What’s going on Fin?” Liv asked as she put her phone on speaker.
‘We got hit with a child abduction case almost right after you left.’ Her sergeant told her.
“Did you put an Amber Alert out?” She asked curiously, as she watched Sonny check his phone to see if he got a notification.
‘I did but I retracted it. The couple caught everything on one of those nanny cams. We knew exactly who we were looking for. Apparently it was their surrogate.’
It was at that moment Sonny’s eyes widened in surprise, but he remained quiet and continued listening to Fin talk.
‘She wasn’t good at covering her tracks. Made a credit card purchase, some ATM withdraws. Amanda and I were able to find her and the little girl pretty quickly at a hotel in Midtown. And now the baby snatcher is in custody and the couple has been reunited with their daughter.’
Liv nodded, forgetting Fin couldn’t see, and then said to him. “Nice work.”
‘Oh, tell Carisi that Hutchins was here dropping off a search warrant Velasco requested for the Sanderson case and offered to handle the arraignment so the counselor’s off the hook with this one.’
“Alright Fin I will. Thanks for handling this. Carisi and I just finished up and we’re on our way back down to the precinct. We’ll see you soon.”
Liv ended the call and set her phone down. She then looked up at Sonny to ask if he was ready, but stopped when she saw the look on his face. “What is it? Did you want to take that case?”
Sonny shook his head. “No, no. It’s uh…”
He let his voice trail off as he briefly contemplated whether or not to tell Liv about the surrogacy discussion he had with Amanda. Sonny figured their was no harm in it since it was just an idea and she was already aware of their initial efforts.
“You know how Amanda and I have been tryin’ for a baby and how she’s…had some miscarriages.”
Liv nodded slowly. “Yeah.” She said a little sadly.
Sonny took in a deep breath and continued. “Well after the last one I mentioned the idea of lookin’ into IVF and using a surrogate. Just last night. One of her many concerns was the surrogate becoming too attached and wanting to keep the baby. I think she was mainly worried about a surrogate tryin’ to legally take our child and us having difficulty proving the baby was ours if she wasn’t the one who gave birth, but still the timing of this case is—“
“Terrible?” Liv asked, finishing off his thought.
Sonny nodded. “I know deep down Amanda knows stuff like this hardly ever happens, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it still turned her off the whole thing.”
Liv pressed her lips together and thought quietly to herself for a second before telling him, “She might be a bit taken aback, but I don’t think this one incident will ruin her outlook on surrogacy. Especially if it’s the best option for you two in your baby pursuits.”
Sonny sighed. “I guess we’ll see.”
Just then his cell went off. “It’s the office. I gotta take this.”
Liv nodded, put the key in the ignition and began the drive back to Manhattan.
Precinct - Friday Night
Liv was grateful that Fin had been able to quickly locate the baby in the surrogate kidnapping case earlier in the morning because as the day progressed the precinct grew busier and busier and her, Amanda, Fin, and Velasco had to each take the lead on other cases that had hit the squad room throughout the afternoon and evening. It wasn’t until around 10p they were all finally able to call it a night.
Fin and Velasco had already made their way out while Amanda was still at her desk gathering her belongings together when Liv stopped by on her way over to the elevators.
“Rough day of cases today, huh?”
“That it was.” Amanda said agreeing. “Especially the baby from this morning who was kidnapped by the couple’s surrogate. I hate it when kids are taken. But at least we were able to find her pretty quick and get her back to her parents.”
Liv nodded. “None of us like those. But is there maybe another reason that one in a particular stood out?”
“Carisi told you about the surrogacy thing?” She asked, getting what her Captain was alluding to. “It’s fine that he did, you’d need to know about it if we decided to go that route anyway.”
“He did bring it up to me after hearing about the baby snatching case. I think he was a little worried it might cause you to write the idea off.”
Amanda ran a hand through her hair. “I mean, it was kinda ironic that him and I were just talking about surrogacy and my concern of a surrogate getting too attached and then this case pops up. But I do know what happened today is more the exception than the norm and most women wouldn’t go out and snatch our baby.”
“Yet you’re still on the fence about it?”
She nodded. “Yeah. There’s a few concerns I have I didn’t bring up to Sonny because I wasn’t sure he’d understand.”
“Like what?” Liv asked curiously.
Amanda sighed. “I know it shouldn’t but the whole thought of surrogacy makes me feel so inadequate. Like, I was able to do this two times before and now I can’t? I know I’m older, but I’m getting pregnant pretty easily. I just can’t seem to stay pregnant. I hate that my body’s letting me down. It’s frustrating.”
“I get that.” Liv said, seeing where Amanda was coming from. “But there are a lot of women out there like you who’ve had one or two children and for one reason or another have difficulty when they go to try again. Secondary fertility is very common.”
“I guess.” Amanda admitted. “It’s not just that though. I’m worried that because I wouldn’t be carrying this baby, I might not have the same connection to him or her like I do with Jesse and Billie. I also wonder if the baby would be more attached to their surrogate since that’s the only mother they’ll know when they come out.”
Liv nodded her head slowly and thought over her words carefully for a long while before commenting. “I remember when you were about to have Billie. You wondered if you could love a second baby as much as Jesse. But when I went to visit you in the hospital and saw you with Billie, I could tell by the look in your eyes that you did. You will love this one in the same way you do the girls. As soon as you’re holding him or her in your arms, you’ll feel it. And your baby’s going to love you too. He or she won’t remember or care about how they came into this world. At the end of the day you will be the only mother they’ll ever know and want.”
Liv placed her hand on top of hers and gave it a light squeeze. “Your route might look a little different this time around, but the end result will be the same. That’s all that really matters.”
Amanda gave her a small smile and nodded.
“See you on Monday.”
Amanda watched as Liv headed toward the elevators and exited the squad room.
She sat at her desk for another few minutes, deep in thought, before finally getting up, gathering her stuff and making her way out.
Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Friday Night
When Amanda finally got home, having been slowed down by not one but two car accidents, it was fairly late. While she expected Billie to be in bed, she was somewhat surprised to see that Sonny wasn’t in the living room watching tv or moving around in the kitchen.
Once Amanda took off her shoes and settled in, she headed down the hallway toward Billie and Jesse’s room. Jesse’s side of the room was empty, as the six-year-old was at a sleepover, but Billie was fast asleep in her bed and Sonny was close by, snoring on the floor beside her with a purple unicorn blanket draped over the upper half of his body.
Amanda stood by the doorway grinning for a while before quietly entering into the bedroom.
“Sonny,” Amanda said as she gently shook his arm in an attempt to wake him up.
After a few seconds he started to stir and slowly opened up his eyes.
“Hey.” He said groggily as he sat up and removed the blanket from off of him.
“What are you doing in here?” Amanda whispered out.
“Billie had a nightmare.” Sonny said as he quietly stood up. “A monster was trying to eat her. So I told her I would stay with her until she fell asleep but I musta fell asleep first.” Sonny laughed softly.
Amanda smiled as she watched Sonny, who noticed the three-year-old shivering a bit, pull up Billie’s covers, which she had inadvertently kicked off herself, and re-tuck her into bed.
“Look at those feet.” Sonny said quietly, pointing to the little girls feet, which were close to dangling off the edge of the bed.
“I know.” Amanda said sadly. “She’s gonna be too big for this toddler bed soon. We’ll have to get her into a twin bed.”
In an attempt not to awaken Billie, the two tip toed out of the bedroom and Amanda gently shut the door behind them.
“You want some coffee?” He asked as they made their way into the kitchen together.
Amanda nodded as she sat down at the kitchen table and watched Sonny quickly make two cups of coffee on the Keurig. He handed one of them to her and took a seat across from her at the table.
“You look tired.” Sonny said to her, sympathetically.
“I am.” Amanda took a sip of her coffee. “Busy day.”
The couple sat together quietly for what felt like a long while. As they did Amanda found her mind drifting to her conversations with Sonny the night before and Liv a little while earlier. She then thought back to the scene she had just witnessed of Sonny uncomfortably sleeping on the floor of the girls’ room all in an effort to ease Billie’s fears. He was always doing things like that for the girls. Because he was a good dad to them. And it was at that moment Amanda realized Liv was right; it didn’t matter if this baby came along differently than her daughters. She wanted Sonny to be a dad in his own right and she wanted to share that connection of a child with him. How they got there wasn’t all that important.
He motioned for her to go first.
Amanda took in a deep breath and exhaled slowly. “Let’s do it.”
He raised an eyebrow at her. “Umm when you mean it—“
“Not that.” Amanda said rolling her eyes. “I mean, we can do IT later, but I’m talking about the surrogacy.”
Sonny’s eyes widened in surprise. “Really? You do?“
Amanda nodded. “I can’t say all my fears about the process have completely fallen to the way side, but I’ve realized that my desire to have a child with you trumps all of that. We might not be able to go about this the way I imagined, but as long as we still can have a baby together, that’s all that truly matters to me. So if this turns out to be the best path towards that goal, then I want to do it.”
Sonny smiled, reached his hand across the table and set it on top of hers. “So we’re gonna look into it?”
“Yes.” She said smiling back.
“Great.” Sonny responded, grinning. He then changed the subject. “Alright, let’s finish these drinks. I’m anxious to do the other it I thought you were talkin’ bout.” Sonny quickly started to chug his coffee.
Amanda shook her head and laughed but then picked up her mug and began drinking her coffee as fast as she could.
Two Months Later
Sonny’s Parents House - Late Saturday Afternoon
When Sonny, with Amanda by his side, arrived at his parents’ house for dinner and knocked on the front door, he was surprised to see his 12-year-old nephew was the one answered it.
“Joey!” Sonny said as he gave his nephew a hug. “It feels like it’s been forever since I’ve seen you. How was your summer in LA with your dad?”
“It was fun but I’m glad I’m home.” Joey responded and then quickly changed the subject. “I brought the glove you got me for my birthday! Wanna play catch in the backyard? Been workin’ on my fastball.”
Sonny smiled. “Alright. Let me settle in and say hi to everyone first.”
Joey nodded and then headed off upstairs to grab his gear.
“Aww he was so happy to see you.” Amanda said to him, smiling. “You’re definitely one of his favorite people.”
Sonny fixed his mouth to respond but was interrupted.
“He is.” His sister, Gina, said as she approached the couple and gave Amanda a hug. “You were all he talked about when he got home. ‘When am I gonna see Uncle Sonny? I gotta show ‘em my fastball.’”
Sonny chuckled as he hugged his sister.
“Where’s Jesse and Billie?” Gina asked, frowning slightly as she pulled away from her brother.
“At my mom’s.” Amanda said as the three headed toward the family room, where the rest of Sonny’s sisters and parents were gathered. “They wanted to see her and their cousin so I brought them up to Rockland for the weekend.”
Once they reached the family room and after Sonny and Amanda said hello to everyone, the counselor made a quick trip out to the backyard to play catch with his nephew before it got too dark.
When he came back in and rejoined the adults, Teresa began her typical prying into her little brother’s personal life. “So what’s going on with the surrogacy thing?”
“Teresa.” Gina admonished her older sister.
Teresa rolled her eyes. “Oh come on. I can’t be the only one curious. Except for mom and dad, he doesn’t keep anyone in the loop about it.”
“Maybe because it’s a private matter?” She told her sister.
“We’re family.” Teresa rebuffed. “Him and Amanda shouldn’t be keepin’ us in the dark ‘bout it.”
“We’re not.” Sonny said, exchanging a look with his wife. “There just hadn’t been much to tell. Didn’t think you all needed a play by play of every single move.”
“So there’s somethin’ to tell now?” Bella asked, noting his choice of words.
Sonny looked back over at Amanda, who gave him the silent go ahead.
“The IVF part of it all has been successful.” Sonny relayed to his family. “We got five embryos out of it.”
“Four boys and a girl.” Amanda added.
“Four boys?” Tommy asked, chuckling. “Looks like the Carisi name won’t be dying out after all.”
“Well we’re not going to purposely pick one of the boys when we get to that point.” Sonny told his brother-in-law. “We’ll leave it up to chance and let the doctors randomly choose. But we still don’t have a surrogate so who knows when that’ll be.”
“How long you been lookin’? Bella asked.
“A long time.” Amanda said, sighing. “Since I first started IVF.”
“Yeah we’ve been havin’ a lot of trouble finding a person we’re both comfortable with.” Sonny said as he rubbed his temples. “There was someone we liked up in Albany, but another couple also wanted her and she went with them. Our second choice was a woman out in Buffalo, but the more we thought about it, Amanda and I realized she was just too far away. With the nature of our jobs and needin’ to be around to take care of Jesse and Billie we didn’t see it workin’ out well.”
Teresa rolled her eyes. “Aren’t ya two being a little picky?”
Bella made a face. “Really Teresa? It isn’t like pickin’ a car. You don’t want just any woman pushing your kid out their vagina.”
“OK time for dinner.” Sonny’s mother said, feeling the need to change the subject. “Teresa, Bella, come help me in the kitchen. Gina, you and Sonny set the table.”
Sonny and Gina headed toward the dining room, while their sisters followed their mother into the kitchen.
Gina grabbed a stack of plates from the China cabinet and handed them to her brother.
“Don’t listen to Teresa.” She said to him, as she grabbed some glasses. “You and Amanda will find someone you both like and who lives closer. It might take some time, but your embryos won’t go bad if it takes a while, right?”
He shook his head. “No. They can be frozen for years. But we still don’t wanna wait too long to do this. Amanda and I aren’t gettin’ any younger and we didn’t want their to be too much of an age gap between the baby and Billie.”
Sonny sighed as he began setting the plates on the table. “I guess we’ll see what happens.”
Gina nodded, but remained quiet as she began placing glasses by each of the plates Sonny had set down.
Two Weeks Later
Sonny and Amanda’s Apartment - Saturday Afternoon
Sonny was sitting alone at the kitchen table with his laptop reading over his opening statement for an upcoming trial starting the following Monday when he heard a knock at the door.
When he went to go answer it, he was pleasantly surprised to see his sister Gina, who rarely, if ever, stopped over unannounced, standing before him.
“Hey.” Sonny said as he motioned for his sister to come in.
“Sorry to just drop over like this.” Gina said as she followed her brother into the living room and the two sat down together on the sofa. “Are Amanda and the girls here?”
Sonny shook his head. “She dropped them off at a birthday party, but—“
He was cut off by Amanda entering into the apartment and as she did, she saw Gina sitting in her living room.
“Am I interrupting something?” Amanda asked, not sure if the siblings were hoping to talk privately.
“No.” Gina tried to reassure her. “I stopped by because I wanted to talk to the both of you.”
Amanda, though somewhat surprised, nodded and plopped down in a chair next to the sofa.
Gina looked back and forth between Sonny and Amanda before taking in a deep breath and exhaling slowly. “I want to be your surrogate.”
Amanda’s mouth opened in shock, while Sonny’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. Neither of them were anticipating those words to come out of her mouth and both were momentarily left speechless.
Sonny briefly locked eyes with his wife before turning his attention back to his sister. “G, what made you—“
“Sonny, you’ve always been there for me.” Gina said, cutting him off. “And you’re the best uncle to Joey. Doin’ the fun guy stuff with him I know he loves and would be missin’ out on if he didn’t have you in his life because his dad lives so far away.”
She paused for a moment before continuing. “I know how much it means to you both to have this one baby that you share together and I really want to help give you that. It’s my turn to step up and be the best aunt I can be.”
Sonny was touched by Gina’s words, but was still unsure how he felt about his sister committing to such an enormous undertaking. “Gina, you’d be putting your life on hold. For nine months. For a baby that isn’t yours and you wouldn’t be bringing home. I can’t ask you to do that.”
“You’re not, I’m offerin.’” Gina reminded him. “Look, this isn’t a rash decision. It’s somethin’ I’ve been thinkin’ about for a while now. Since you both mentioned how difficult it was for you to find a surrogate. Sonny, you and I are only a year apart, but we’re at very different points in our lives. Joey was my one and done. There are no more babies of my own in my future. But I’m still able to carry one and I would look after your baby, who would be my niece or nephew, like he or she was my own. In a way a stranger never could.”
“Not to mention I wouldn’t be charging ya, so I’d be a lot cheaper too.” Gina added, laughing a bit.
Sonny and Amanda both smiled softly at her last comment, but then their faces became much more serious as they both contemplated her offer in their heads.
“I’m not going to renege my offer.” Gina said as she got up from off the couch. “So take as long as you need to think about it and let me know.”
Amanda and Sonny both stood up and nodded and followed Gina as she made her way to the door.
They said their goodbyes and after Sonny closed the door the couple headed back into the living room and sat down next to each other on the couch.
“So what do you think?” Sonny asked, biting his lip.