It is now only 3 months until I depart on this incredible opportunity to investigate surrogacy around the world. Last night I attended the Churchill Fellowship Medallion Evening, which gives returning Churchill Fellows a chance to share their experiences and tell the stories of what they have learned. Last night, Fellows were asked to share their trip highlights, lowlights and the take-home message from the Fellowships. I listened to each of them with great admiration, but one story really stuck out for me, as she described how she was still pinching herself when she thought about the trip she had just undertaken. This is how I feel when I think about the trip I will be embarking on in December.
In the past few weeks I have made fantastic headway in my planning- I have now booked almost all of my accommodation, my visa applications are underway (Russian visas: Argh!!!), and meetings are being scheduled with incredible people all over the globe – my head is spinning when I think about who I have been able to contact, and that these amazing people are cheerfully giving me their busy time to talk about the work that they do.
As an extra bonus, I have been able to make contact with people in countries I won’t even be visiting, so the information I will gain will be even broader than my current travels – I am hopeful that this trip is just the beginning and these new connections I am forging will lead to future networking. In the past month I have Skyped colleagues in LA, Chicago, Denver, Villahermosa (Mexico) and Tbilisi (Georgia). In the next week I will be speaking with someone from Ukraine.
But every now and then I have a chance to take stock, stand still and think about not just WHAT I am doing, but WHY. Last weekend my beautiful elderly Aunt (she’s 79, has never married, has no children and is VERY old fashioned – I feel safe writing this, as she not only doesn’t have the internet, she doesn’t even have a computer – although she has gotten quite good at playing with my iPad!) asked me a series of thoughtful questions, based on what she knew of my trip and the project. She asked what I thought about same sex couples getting married. She asked what I thought about same sex couples having children through fertility treatments. She asked what I thought about someone using another person’s body in order to have their baby. Tough questions for an old fashioned lady. But she considered my answers and agreed that when people love each other they should have the right to be together and marry. And that whatever your sexuality or your marital status, you should be able to have a child – what’s important is that you love that child and are committed to caring for them. Then a couple of days later, I spotted this article, which I felt sums things up nicely.