So earlier this week Aaron and I went down to Portland, OR to meet with 2 agencies and 1 attorney.
Needless to say, the interviews were exhausting (each was about 1 1/2 hours). Yes, there are the traditional questions, but then there are the intangibles. And how do you go about choosing a surro-yenta anyway? As yet, there hasn't been a musical about that! After meeting with the two agencies it wasn't really too difficult of a decision. We both felt that one of the agencies was, overall, good at both the "business" side of things (organized, appropriate spell-checked materials, referrals to attorneys and OBs in Portland, etc.) and the "interpersonal" side of things, and the other was not as high on the business side of things although also very good on the interpersonal side. Aside from this, the was one major differnce. Both agencies have very lengthy application processes and perform criminal background checks on surrogates. Eventually all surrogates need to have a medical evaluation, psychological evaluation and legal consultation. The agency we went with does the med, psych and legal consults all before you are presented with any surrogates. It's the only agency in Portland that does this. All the others present you with the surrogates, then after you select one, she has her med, psych and legal consult. Thus, if we had gone with the other agency we could have selected a surrogate and then she could have failed the med eval or another eval and we would have been back to square 1 with a surrogate. The agency we went with has a slightly higher cost because they do the screening ahead of time, but considering we would have to pay for it out of pocket for the other surrogate it's basically negligible.
The attorney was a really nice woman with a lot of experience in the field. She gave us a whole list of things to think about (Like, "were both of you to die before the baby was born, who would you name as guardian of your child?" You know, really easy ones like that!), but overall, she was very reassuring and reiterated that OR law favors heavily the IPs and that with a legal contract in place we have next to nothing to worry about.
With all those meetings out of the way, on Wednesday before heading back to Seattle we biked along the riverfront, and then explored Powell's Books. Ahhhhhhhh. A book lover's dream bookstore. Independent. Used. New. Multi-story. An Old Warehouse. Multi-Building. As hard as I tried to lose Aaron and camp overnight there he found me, and we came back to Seattle for the adventure of filling out the application. But I'll save that fun for another post. ;)
PS: With a 3 hour car ride in each direction, after sitting in traffic and getting a bit stir crazy, we continued to cast the movie we want to make with my friend Micheal who is also having a surrogacy experience. Thus, Aaron and I decided that Matthew Brodrick (with his hair dyed) should play Aaron. So, with my friend Michael, Neil Patrick Harris as another person in his story, Amy Adams as me and Matthew Broderick as Aaron we have an incredible musical shaping up! And I, of course, intend to choreograph it. :)