In this Surrogate Spotlight, we meet Renee, who shares with us the story of her journeys with AFS!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself: how many children do you have? Where do you live? What are your hobbies?
For starters, I live a pretty simple life. I enjoy the small things such as sitting outside with my coffee cup on a cool, Sunday morning. Fall is my favorite time of year! I have been married to my husband for 11 years, and we have five children ages 16, 12, 9, 7, and 4. We live in a very small town in California called Ridgecrest. I am currently a stay at home mom, and I am very grateful that I have been able to stay home with my children for so many years. Before moving to this very small town, we lived in San Diego for eight years. My husband is a United States sailor, and I hope he receives orders back to San Diego very soon. San Diego most definitely has my heart! My family loves to go camping and just be outdoors with one another. I have a passion for photography and really enjoy capturing life's moments.
2. Where are you are in your journey as of today?
I gave birth to a beautiful little girl in February, 2016 for an amazing couple. "Operation Sibling" is in full effect with an anticipated transfer in January, 2017. I am very excited to be the first surrogate with All Families Surrogacy to embark on a sibling journey. I absolutely love my IP's which makes this journey even more special to me!
3. What made you first decide to become a surrogate?
I never thought about infertility or the struggles some couples have to go through in order to be parents until I lost a baby at 16 weeks gestation. My first pregnancy had gone so smoothly with zero complications. Then the second one ended with devastation. I knew after I delivered my rainbow baby that I wanted to help a couple who couldn't have a child on their own. After two more children, my husband and I knew our family was complete. My dream to help make a family started in October, 2014. The first embryo transfer was a success in June, 2015, and a princess was born in February, 2016!
4. What has been the biggest surprise to you about surrogacy?
I think the biggest surprise for me was/is the amazing support I received from everyone at AFS, family members, and friends. I expected a few negative comments about my choice to become a surrogate, but I didn't receive any. Not one. In fact, I was extremely surprised when people started calling me things like "amazing" or a "hero." I never felt like either of those things. I was just helping two amazing guys become dads.
5. What sorts of qualities do you think it takes to be a surrogate?
I think all surrogates must be understanding, patient, have a huge heart, and be emotionally prepared. Surrogacy is very emotional for everyone involved. A surrogate needs to understand how the IP's feel and be accepting of their wishes.
6. How has surrogacy changed your life? Your family’s life?
Surrogacy changed my life in so many ways! My journey was able to educate so many people on what surrogacy is. I was able to show my kids, not just tell them, that families come in all different shapes and sizes. I gained an extended family with my IP's and the amazing employees at AFS. I have met some wonderful women/fellow surrogates within the agency and can follow their journeys. I can say without a doubt that I left my mark on this world and that makes me smile.
7. Describe your dream day!
My dream day would be spent on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean with my family without a care in the world.