Scott and I finally was able to sit down with our priest tonight. Of course I had done some "google research", and spoke with some women in the church about the Orthodoxy's stance on surrogacy and had come away with a sense that the church found it to be too new of an issue for the church to have a decided stance on. (And one person even asked her priest who gave that answer.)
Apparently, that is not that case.
The Orthodox Church does not agree with it for two reasons. Firstly, from a practical standpoint there is concern about it being confusing for the child. Secondly, we must be careful to have faith and not force something.
Of course as catecumens we are not really held to all the standards as we are still learning. And it is not a moral law (as would be, say, "Do not murder") that we are to be punished or condemned. If a child is conceived it will be loved and accepted without question.
I realize that when it comes to the Church, their position is not really up for debate but here are my thoughts and feelings.
First of all, in today's culture of blended families, surrogacy is not that complicated. Perhaps it would have been hard for the child raised 50 or 100 years ago, but in the culture our child will be raised in, it wont be abnormal. Our child will know it is loved and wanted, and mommy wanted it SO much but she couldn't carry it in her tummy, that Aunt Rachel helped. (Or however we will explain it, age appropriate and all that)
And as far as forcing something... I know this is a highly controversial issue today but I kind of feel like to say that, is to put God in a box. If God doesn't want something to happen, if He doesn't want us to be parents than we wont be. Rachel wont get pregnant, adoption wont be an option and we will remain infertile.
We are called to have faith, to listen for God in our hearts. I cannot possibly express in a single post the amount of time spent in prayer, the tears that have been shed over our desires to be pregnant. I've asked for a miracle. I've asked God to take this desire off my heart if it is not His plan. I've asked for confidence in which path to choose out of the multiple myriad of infertility options.
Well, I have not miraculously become pregnant. My desire for a child is not just as simple as a kid desires a candy bar. I feel like in some alternate universe we DO have kids. We should be reading bedtime stories and checking for monsters every night. And I weep and ache for this ghost of a child that we don't have. All I can do is sit and wonder "Why? Where did I go wrong? What path did I go down that took me away from my child?" Like a mother in a movie who was brainwashed to think she never had kids but in her heart has an empty ache even though her brain says she doesn't have a baby. And meeting Rachel like I did, when I did... as soon as I began contemplating a surrogacy with her I felt a calm certainty. It may sound hokey, cheesy or delusional, but I feel like God brought us together for a reason. I haven't felt this kind kind of certainty often in my walk of faith. I felt this in high school when I walked away from my faith for 6 months, and when I agreed to go to a church service and it started my heart leapt for joy, in feeling home. I felt it when I married Scott. I felt it when I first visited the Orthodox church. And I felt it when I thought of Rachel being our surrogate.
So while on one hand it is disappointing not to have the full support of my faith behind me, I know that one of the wonderful things about Orthodoxy is the freedom. Father M assured us that from this point forward no one would say anything. That he wouldn't have even said anything to begin with except he didn't want 3 years down the road for it to come up in some random discussion and us to feel embarrassed or confused. He knows we didn't do this out of rebellion or some terrible motive. There is much love and grace. And that is very heartening.