Our Reflections on 2020

by Angela Richardson-Mook

A Year of Resolutions

Here we are. The end of one of the most intense and uncertain years in our lives. In January, we happily set our resolutions, oblivious to the actual resolutions we would have to make less than 90 days later. Resolutions to stay home and celebrate virtually to keep our families and communities safe, resolutions to learn new skills and raise our children in new ways, and resolutions to rethink the way we live and work.

We also made resolutions to stand up for our most important values and stand behind our deepest held beliefs. We voted for candidates who support how we envision our future and sent our money to the charities that contribute to causes we care about. And some of us made resolutions we never thought would happen in 2020 and would alter our lives in ways we could never have imagined.

That’s exactly what I did this year – after two decades of being a surrogate to families I grew to love so deeply, I took the very big step to start my own surrogacy agency, Alcea. I don’t know if I would have made the leap so soon if it weren’t for the Covid-19 pandemic, but once I started quarantining with my family, I had a lot of time to reflect on what is most important to me. I have given so many years of my life to specific families, carrying their beloved children, but I was ending that part of my journey. What was next for me? To fulfill – keep fulfilling – my dream of helping complete families… but now I could do this at a much larger scale than I could carry in my womb.

The Next Step

So I did it! I had long, long conversations with trusted friends and mentors, made phone calls, set up meetings, started building, hiring and sharing. And Alcea is the result of those late, late nights (did I mention I have a 2-year-old too?!), days upon days of data entry, planning and writing, finding the best people to partner with, and sourcing the surrogates and egg donors who are the foundation of our agency. And I never felt the excitement wane… this is what I was meant to do.

Then I began meeting with intended parents – the joy I feel just from our initial meetings cannot be described. Hearing about their struggles in building their families is heartbreaking, but we’re able to end our sessions with the hope of a successful surrogacy or egg donation journey. And I know I have built my home, my forever career after a long time in the corporate world with my true happiness living on the side. Now I spend my days, nights and weekends living my dream to help others live theirs. I never could have imagined how much I love it.

What’s to Come

2021 is a very big mystery, a much bigger mystery than what 2020 looked like to me this time last year (so I thought!). We now have a Covid-19 vaccine (science is incredible!), a new president and other elected officials (democracy isn’t so bad either!), and a renewed hope in the future. And I look forward to many, many years of Alcea doing exactly that for parents who, for whatever reason, cannot carry their own children… hope for the future, their future as a family. Who knew that one of the most difficult years humanity would face could make such a positive impact on so many lives. And so, 2020… for you I am grateful – the lessons, the opportunities, the laughter and tears… thank you to my family, my team, and my community that grows bigger every time I look around.