Monday, July 22, 2013

Surrogacy Together

Last week I was asked to photograph an event in Seattle for a surrogacy campaign put on by Surrogacy Together. A dear FBF (Facebook Friend) of mine was touring around the world doing a photo campaign to bring more awareness to surrogacy. Anyone who had any connection to surrogacy, was invited to participate. People were invited to write on the white board, what surrogacy meant to them. As a surrogate, I was thrilled to attend and of course, work the event as a photographer. Double bonus!  

I was able to meet my FBF, Jon, and his wife, Christy. I also met their daughter, Austin, who was born through gestational surrogacy. Meeting Austin was a first for me, as my nephews are the only two people I have ever met who were born through surrogacy. She stole my heart.

Jon and Christy's current campaign has been giving surrogacy a voice that it has not had before. Together, they are asking all those involved with surrogacy to speak up and tell their story.  Jon writes a compelling blog here about why he fought to have his daughter and why he is fighting for her still, and why all of us, together, can make a difference. Truly this is a must read.

Being an advocate for surrogacy myself, I found it easy to connect to this campaign. At first, surrogacy for me, was about doing an act of love for my brother and sister in law.  An opportunity to give, because I could. A chance to bring life into this world and love. As I became more involved with the surrogacy community, my ideas and knowledge of surrogacy evolved rapidly and still are to this day. Although I still believe it is an act of love, I believe what happens AFTER surrogacy is just as important as what happens before and during.  Without these voices that came before us, none of us, involved with surrogacy, would be standing here today.  Surrogacy is not 100% accepted in society, and in fact is still illegal in other countries and even some states here in the U.S.  Without our voices to continue to stand up for surrogacy, other people won't have the same opportunities. Acceptance for surrogacy is key here, and the more voices, the merrier.  

When it came my turn to write on the board, what surrogacy meant to me, I was stumped! I had so much to say (per usual). How do you put in a sentence or two what something so life changing means to you? I decided on two photos.  One that showed how much I changed from it, and one that showed the unsung truth. I feel I get a lot of praise for what I did. Praise is lovely, but that is not why I did it and I am not the one who deserves it the most. So many of us came together to make this happen. On my end, it was my little pod that made it possible for me; my husband, and my two sons.  

Some of these photos may appear in the first Magazine dedicated to Surrogacy that is coming out on August 24th. I am being interviewed for the magazine, so keep your eyes peeled. I will let you know when it's published.

Also, I have only met one other surrogate in real life ( read the story here ) and so meeting other surrogates was really special for me. I belong to an amazing group of surrogates online, we are surro sisters and they are like family to me.   Meeting other surrogates last week was actually magical to me! It was like seeing a unicorn. I know that sounds silly, but I am just so overwhelmed by women who do surrogacy.  Even though I went through it, I don't always feel like I was a surrogate. It went by so fast now that I look back. I am not sure if this even makes sense, but there is something so special about these women, that you just want to sit and soak up their energy.  It was really nice being with them and I want to sit and gab with them forever! Which of course, is no surprise there. Here are a couple favorites from the day:

Jon's campaign is still going. Follow updates on their Facebook Page. Surrogacy Together is also hosting their Inaugural Salute to Surrogacy Celebration August 24th, 2013 in San Diego, California from 6-10pm. More details on the event page here

Oh, and here is what my oldest son wanted to say about surrogacy. Our littlest does not totally understand yet, but he is enthusiastic anyway!