After they accepted my application, the agency told me they had a couple in mind who they thought could be a good match. So they asked if I might be interested in doing a second surrogacy journey in the future with the same intended parents, provided the first one went well. Whoa, whoa, whoa – I thought. I didn’t necessarily have anything against the idea in theory, however, I knew enough to know that I really didn’t have a clue as to how I would feel about that idea when the time came. Needless to say, that’s the last I heard about that couple.
They started telling me about another couple they found through a place called A Jewish Blessing, which helps match Jewish intended parents with Jewish women who will serve as gestational carriers or egg donors. They said the couple was overjoyed to find out about me and I was so excited to learn more about them. By this point almost no one knew I was on this path – I had joined a surrogacy group on Facebook and told a few close friends, but that’s about it. From those connections alone, in the span of just a few weeks, at least five other couples (eventually I stopped keeping track) found out about me, knew I was Jewish, and wanted to talk to me about the possibility of being their surrogate. Even though things weren’t even close to being set yet with Vivianne and David, I just couldn’t bear the thought of moving on from them given that they knew I existed. I started trying to figure out how many times I could be a surrogate. I started trying to figure out how I could grow another uterus. The need just seemed enormous.
In order to move forward, Judy from A Jewish Blessing let me know I’d need to get my Jewish identity approved by the beit din (a court of three rabbis) in Los Angeles. It’s one thing for me to say I am Jewish, but with the child’s Jewish identity riding on that fact, it needed to be verified. To do this, I’d need to fill out a few forms and send a (notarized) bio of myself, a headshot, copy of my passport, letters from two references attesting to my Jewish identity, my birth certificate, and my mother’s birth certificate. Whew!
After all that, I am proud to say that not only was I approved, but apparently the head rabbi included a note saying that mine was one of the easiest approvals he’s granted. (Yet another instance of the privilege I know I possess – not everyone is as “fortunate” to have been born to a Jewish mother, being able to name their descendants’ Hebrew names back for generations, who is involved in the Jewish community… it goes on. It was another small sign that I felt I should be using my privilege for a purpose.)
And then one afternoon, a message arrived in my inbox with the subject line:
“Introducing Vivianne and David!”
I froze. It was magical. Real people, on the other end of this process, who wrote a letter to me:
We cannot thank you enough for considering to be our carrier. We cannot put into words how lucky we know we are that we have found you. We know how incredibly rare it is to find a Jewish carrier and feel blessed that you have come our way. We are so grateful to you and your husband and children for considering to do this for us.
I (Vivianne) am nearly 46 and David is 45. I met David when I was 38 and we got married two years later. Somehow I just thought we would get married and I would become pregnant.
I work as a care giver, looking after older people in their homes for a Jewish charity. David works in IT.
David and I love each other very much but life feels incomplete and missing meaning without a child. Since we have been married we have been trying to have a child. We tried so many treatments in so many places, but were sadly unsuccessful.
We want you to know that we will do the very most to be wonderful parents and we will love our child so very much. We hope that you and your family will share this journey with us as, without you all, this would not be possible for us. We will be eternally grateful if you choose us.
We look forward to meeting you soon,
Vivianne and David
One week later following a group Skype date with us all on the line (think awkward, chaperoned first date), we were officially matched.
Recently I checked back in with Judy to find out more about the need for Jewish surrogates. As we spoke, she scanned through her waiting list, counting. She kept going and going… counting 31 couples waiting for their match. Some of them have been on her list for years. Others don’t even put themselves on because they know so many people are ahead of them.
She gets inquiries for Jewish surrogates about once a week.
And her list of available Jewish surrogates? She doesn’t have one. I’m the fourth Jewish surrogate she’s placed in over twelve years.