Tuesday, October 28, 2014

This Community

Every single day I am thankful for this community. I have no idea how anyone lives through infertility alone... simply can't imagine. This community of women from different cities, different states, different countries, all come together to support one another during the hardest years of our lives. It's a really beautiful thing. No matter where you are in the journey, you can find someone to walk alongside you. If you're pursuing an egg donor, you're in good company. If you're on your third round of IVF, you're not alone. If your choosing to forgo treatments in hope of a miracle or because you're choosing to live child free, you are guaranteed to find someone who feels just like you. This community is absolutely, hands down, the best part about infertility.

I'm so thankful every day for the connections, the friendships, the stories. When days are good, it's wonderful to have a group of people cheering for you, supporting you, and encouraging you. When things go terribly wrong, this community becomes vital in the blink of an eye. When the rest of the world doesn't know what to do or what to say, our sisters do. We know how to rally. We know how to love. I'm thankful everyday for this blog, that by some small miracle led me to each of you. I don't take that for granted in anyway. Infertility has affected every single part of my life, and most of the time those effects feel negative, but the one thing I can say without a doubt is this: the friendships I've formed here are so positive. These friendships are life breathing in some of the darkest of days. I'm so thankful for the infertility community and all that it brings every day, but today I am particularly thankful.

In case you haven't heard, Jessah's egg donor is Suzanne's gestational carrier... how crazy awesome it that?!? When you hear the stories, you've simply got to stop and say wow. The fact that two blogs from two women on opposite ends of the country walking different journeys ended up at the same clinic on the same day for very different procedures and that somehow that led us to today is mind blowing!

I remember when Jessah first posted about finding her donor, I sobbed, What an incredible gift! What a beautiful opportunity! What a selfless woman, K must be to offer the gift of her eggs! I was so happy for her. But around the same time, everything was falling apart for Suzanne. After the wildest, longest, hardest journey to the transfer, her FET using donor eggs failed. Life isn't supposed to be that hard, people. Suzanne and I discussed surrogacy. And we discussed the cost... and I almost vomited. Renting uterus space and time is expensive. I wanted so badly to find a solution for Suzanne and her husband, but wanting to solve a problem doesn't make you a ready made solution. But then, because of this community, because of the connections we form, because of that one meeting in Colorado, because of the generosity of one woman, Suzanne suddenly had a possible match.

It's been a very long road to today, and there is more road to travel for both of these ladies. Jessah's about half way through her pregnancy and Suzanne is still setting up and finalizing the details for her transfer. But you guys, if these stories don't give you goosebumps and a BIG goofy grin on your face, I don't know what will. Jessah explains in her post that it was meeting Suzanne and hearing her speak about egg donation that gave her and her husband the courage and desire to move forward with egg donation when her cycles at CCRM failed... that in and of itself is a beautiful testimony to this community. Our stories help each other. Our experiences help our friends. When you add in Suzanne's part to the story and you learn how she found K... wow! You guys, this place is so special.

My heart is simply bursting with happiness! Suzanne and her husband signed the contract with K and her husband over the weekend. It's real people! It's going to happen. Two of the longest, hardest journey's among us are going to end well, and not just well, but beautifully! This community just makes me so happy and so thankful! This is a beautiful place made up of beautiful people!

Monday, October 27, 2014

All Exhausting Things Finally Come to an End

I feel like I just ran a marathon... the home study is finished. Well, so close it doesn't count. I've got to pick up one last form from the Police Station this week and fax it in, but otherwise, it's over. We sent our home study application in on October 6th, heard back two days later, and officially started the paperwork on October 11th. We did all three visits within ten days. I never imagined it would go this fast. It has been an absolute whirlwind. I'm incredibly thankful I have a semi-flexible job that allows me to take off work with little notice as I've been all over the place with doctor's appointments, fingerprinting requests, background checks, not to mention the home inspection was Saturday, so Friday was a deep clean/organize kind of day. Thankfully, she wasn't one to check in drawers or under beds.

October passed in an absolute blur. I barely acknowledged the birthdays this month (mine, my mom's, and my husband's). I think Everest was brushed for the first time all month on Friday so the home study inspector didn't find some correlation between tangled cat hair and bad future parent. I have been super neglectful of a lot of things all month, but we've been in overdrive. Now that it's over, I'm obviously completely exhausted. If it gives you any indication, Sam and I got home from our annual camping trip with our friends on Sunday and promptly took a two hour nap (heaven). Sam then proceeded to go to bed for the night at eight o'clock and slept until six this morning. We are beat. October is typically my favorite month of the year, but I'm strangely looking forward to November and a change of pace. Daylight Savings Time ends this weekend, and I am pumped! A- I need some incentive to get up in the morning, and a pitch black bedroom is not one of them, and B- an excuse to go to bed at eight o'clock every night sounds marvelous right about now.

We do still have our profile book to complete, so the stress isn't truly over, but it's waaaaayyy less stressful than the home study. And once it's completed an off to the printer, we're basically done. I'm sure there will still be things to do, but nothing like the last few weeks. I guess that's one great thing about rushing through the home study at warp speed, now that it's over, the hard part is definitely behind us. We're about to enter the period of active waiting, which I should be dreading, as patience is still not my virtue, but really, I'm looking forward to it. Essentially, once we send our home study and profile book off, we'll simply wait. It's a different sort of waiting than a lot of prospective adoptive parents go through, though. In our scenario, we won't get presented to birth mother's unless we but our names forward, which allows us to review the situation ahead of time. As an example, we've seen a few cases with predicted costs as high as $49,000... we won't be putting our names forward for those scenarios. The bad part about this setup is that we will know every time we are presented to a birth mother (and subsequently every time we are not picked)... I'm kind of dreading that part. I know I shouldn't take it personally, but I have a feeling the first time it happens, it's going to feel like a kick to the stomach.

So that's about all of the update I have in me today. I'm hoping to finalize the profile book this week, and maybe, just maybe send it to the printer this weekend. After that, we'll start working on the puzzle. So consider this an open invitation to come over to my house if you enjoy puzzles. When I designed the puzzle, I failed to think through our many colors puzzles typically have... ours is a bit monochromatic, which I'm assuming will make this endeavor SUPER fun.

1000 pieces to this bad boy... I've already claimed the red.
Sam gets the brown. : )

This post feels scattered and disorganized, but I'm too tired to start over. So I'll just end by reminding everyone that Caroline's Stella Dot trunk show is still open for a few more days. Caroline has been extremely sweet to offer this fundraising project, so if you want in on the action, you have until the end of  THIS Friday.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Twenty-Nine

Today is my birthday, more specifically my 29th birthday. Now before I even start I know many of you are going to think, "who cares?" or "I'll trade ya'" or "I wish I was twenty-nine again" and I get that. It's not that twenty-nine feels particularly old, in fact twnety-nine suddenly feels very young, you know? I think for every year I age "old" moves two years farther out from my original idea of "old". I'm not old... that's not the problem. The problem is what my twenty-ninth birthday represents.

I've mentioned this before, but somehow as a child, I got the idea into my head that I wanted to be just like my mom and stop having babies at twenty-nine. Well (insert four letter word). In fact, mom didn't just stop at twenty-nine, more specifically she had me five days after her 29th birthday. For some unknown reason, this arbitrary and unrealistic goal followed me from my childhood and into my adult life. I've never been able to shake the idea that I should be done with baby-making before thirty. I remember when Sam and I were dating I tried to express the urgency of the situation... we couldn't expect to have five biological babies before twenty-nine if he kept dragging his feet on the dang engagement.

We got engaged at twenty-three. I knew then somewhere in my head that this was an impossible task. I could not get married and have five children before my thirtieth birthday. I should have kicked this silly, idealistic plan to the curb then, but I didn't. When infertility struck like a sledgehammer to the gut, I should have recognized that there was absolutely zero chance this would happen, unless my idea of a family changed from five to one. And honestly, I guess that's initially what changed. Instead of moving twenty-nine down the road a few years to thirty-five or remove this antiquated finish like altogether, I simply lowered my expectations. Instead of five children, I was hoping for three children. Gracious, I was naive. For any infertile person to have three children in four years would be absolutely wild.

With time, I slowly began to recognize that the twenty-nine deadline was not going to happen. Once again, I had the opportunity to drop the nonsense and move on, simply feeling fulfilled if I ever had a baby, and yet once again, I clung to the birthday as the date I needed to at least start my family. If I could have one baby before my 29th birthday, I would feel satisfied I told myself. From there, I could go on adding to my family without deadlines and checkpoints. Thus the October Baby became so important to me. I mourned that this was simply not meant to be after IVF failed in January. Other than a premature birth (which I would obviously never hope for) there was simply no way I would meet this whimsical idea. And so, I tucked the idea away and moved on, silently and secretly dreading this birthday like the plague.

I'm not going to lie. This birthday hurts. All birthdays take on a special type of pain in the midst of infertility, but this one has extra sting. My mommy friends are quickly moving onto their second and third and (bless them) fourth children. My non mommy friends are most often several years younger than me. I'm stuck in between, not exactly a good fit in any world. As a child, like all good Generation Xers and Millenials I was told I could do anything if I simply worked hard, put my mind to it, and never gave up. Well friends, I did all of the above, and yet here I sit. Now I fully recognize in my cognitive, rational mind that the "you can be anything you want to be" is a lie, but on some level I still hear whispers that I failed.

I have to admit though, despite wanting to kick myself for every giving myself this ridiculous deadline, in some ways, I'm really thankful. I'm so glad I was in a desperate hurry to start having babies so I could fit them all in by twenty-nine. I'm so thankful that my biological clock was shrieking at twenty-four. I'm so thankful that we started trying at twenty-five, just thirteen months after getting married. I'm so thankful I felt burdened to be a young mom, even though I feel like a failure today. I'm thankful because this idea, the deadline, this "hurry-up" feeling has given me the blessing of time. Time we wouldn't otherwise have had if I'd felt I had all the time in the world. Time we wouldn't have had if I'd given myself a more normal deadline of 35 or 40. Now the fact that we're almost four years into this infertility battle doesn't mean time is up, or the door is closed. So while it sucks to feel like I failed, I'm still really thankful to have had such a silly idea in my head for so long.

Twenty-nine is such an odd birthday to have a mini midlife crisis over. Again, the freakout has nothing to do with the idea of being old. I don't look at my friends in their thirties and think of them as old; rather I look at my friends in their mid twenties and think of them as fresh-faced young'uns. This day is not about being old, or one step closer to thirty,  it's about failing. In some ways, I guess it's a blessing. This day is finally here, and now I can move forward, leaving the idea behind, embracing the path before me, and forgetting this self-imposed line in the sand. The truth of the matter is, be it twenty-nine or thirty-nine, we will be beyond thrilled to enter parenthood at all. This birthday will pass, and we will move on just as excitedly, just as diligently, just as eagerly on building our families, but today, I'm really missing that October Baby and that First Baby that would have made me a mom so many years ago.

Monday, October 20, 2014

So Much to Do

Oh man, you guys, I'm not sure if I've ever been this tired. The last few weeks have been INTENSE. The good news is that we're flying through our home study, the bad news is moving so quickly is A LOT of work.

We had our first home study visit last Thursday after a last minute cancellation on Wednesday. I guess I should clarify really quickly that the "home study" does not always take place in our home... and thank God for that because it's about all I can do to get a load or two of laundry done the last few weeks. The house looks like a tornado came through. Every home study is a little different depending on the state and the social worker, but for ours we have three visits plus eight bazillion pages of paperwork that make up our home study. The first two are outside of our home, it's the final one where they actually come and inspect our home. 

Our first visit went pretty well, so thank you for all of your thoughts and prayers. I think we were both pretty nervous with so many unknowns, but our case worker is very kind and thus far, not at all like the horror stories you often hear. We aren't expected to have covers on the outlets or child locks on the cabinets... she's a realistic woman that doesn't expect us to live in a baby-ready, toddler-proofed house while we wait. I really appreciate that as I would go CRAZY if I had to live with those constant reminders for a year. 

We have our second appointment this Thursday and our final visit, including the home inspection, this Saturday. While I'm thrilled that we will be done with our responsibilities for the home study by Saturday morning, the work required to actually get there is unreal. I picked up a septic tank letter and had a TB test this morning all before going into work. Wednesday I've got to have the test read so I can prove I don't have tuberculous and that my entire reason for adopting is not to spread infectious diseases. Also between now and Saturday morning, we've got to pick up six letters of recommendation, get finger printed by GBI/FBI, conduct a 911 records report in the last two counties that we've lived, and run a criminal background check, not to mention complete our written portions of the home study paperwork.Should be easy, right?

This past weekend we went to the Together for Adoption conference. It was a great experience, we learned a ton, and came back feeling both really encouraged and really overwhelmed. It was unfortunately terrible timing as I had 2.4 million things that needed to get done, but it was also a great escape from the paperwork. The conference was really interesting as it dealt with some heavy issues like ethical concerns within the adoption community. Ethics and social justice have always been things that both interest me and overwhelm me. I, like so many at the conference, want to make sure that everything about this adoption and any future adoption is handled ethically and with the absolute best interest of the children involved. It was also really good for me to be reminded of the root reason I've been interested in adoption for so many years... not simply family building but also kingdom building. In light of infertility, adoption has seemed so much about what we are gaining...and we are gaining much through adoption. That will always be at the forefront of my mind; adoption gave us the opportunity for a family. However, the conference reminded me that adoption could also be incredibly life changing for our son or daughter. We may have the opportunity to break generational chains of poverty, alcohol and drug abuse, criminal records, etc. Obviously not every child is put up for adoption in America for such reasons, and we will happily help a college student who wants to place her child so that she can continue her education, but the reality is that many of the birth moms are placing their babies for adoption because they are dealing with drug addiction, they are homeless, or have no financial means to care for another child. It was good for me to be reminded that good can come from this for all of those involved.

We will hopefully get our home study report back sometime next week, at which point we can begin to present ourselves to birth mothers... except that we have nothing to present ourselves with. My bad. We've been SO focused on the home study that the profile book has slipped a bit. I'm hoping to edit out profile text and resubmit that to our consultant for review today. From there, I'll need to begin putting our book together. Once we have books in hand and and the home study report submitted, we can begin to present ourselves to birth mothers. Adoption, is much like infertility treatments I've found... a lot of hurry up and wait.

So if I fall off the face of the earth and forget this little blog entirely, you can find me under a pile of paperwork or starting to put our puzzle together for the puzzle fundraiser.

Friday, October 10, 2014

I Don't Do Tricks

I want to say upfront that I'm really thankful to be here: able to adopt, semi-confident we'll pass the home study, and just shy of raising 20% of our fundraising goal. There is more hope inside my heart than there has been in years. It feels weird. If I wasn't so overwhelmed, I think I'd be happy. Weird indeed. But I've never been one to paint rainbows where they don't exist or imagine roses in a field of weeds. This blog is "Genuine Greavu" for a reason... I don't sugar coat it. Never have (to my own detriment) and probably never will. I feel like I've got to be honest about this stage of everything too. Not only because it's just who I am, but because I don't feel like I really understood the whole picture until now. And someone out there is probably right where I am, or two steps behind and needs to know she's not alone.

Adoption is hard my friends. All of my adoptive parent friends are thinking, "I told you" and they did, I just didn't get it. I didn't get how vulnerable the adoption process would make me feel. Ironically, I feel far more exposed now, sitting fully clothed, amidst scattered pages of sample profiles, budgets, and grant applications than I ever did lying half naked in the stirrups. It doesn't really make sense. I joke that half the doctors in Atlanta have seen all of my business, but some days it felt like that... reproductive endocrinologists (a total of six), OBGYNs (three), nurses, and ultrasound technicians (too many to count) have been paraded back and forth in front of me with my legs spread wide for the past three plus years. I wouldn't say I was comfortable with it, but whatever modesty I once clung to went out the window by the second IUI. And yet suddenly I feel incredibly exposed, naked for the world to see, and no one's even offering me a paper sheet.

Right now, we're in the home study stage. One of my adoptive parent friends explained it like this: you go through adoption kind of backwards. Your home study is your labor and delivery. It's the part where it can't go fast enough, hurts like hell, you just keep pushing through, and you want to scream for somebody to give you some bloody drugs. After the home study comes the waiting and that's like the nine months of gestation. It's slow and steady (or not so steady)... the day to day changes seem insignificant and it's all in anticipation of this one day. It seemed weird when she described it like that, but now I think I get it. This definitely feels like a good enough reason for some pain killers. I wouldn't mind something to help me sleep either.

When I heard people discuss the home study before, it was always in terms of the quantity of paperwork. I imagined that was the daunting part. And don't get me wrong, it is daunting. The sheer volume of paperwork is enough to send people packing. I just keep telling myself that I am an organized, type A person... my brain was designed for this type of task. The part that I was not designed for is the "don't ask why" part. I imagine I was one of the world's most obnoxious children. "But why?" was my favorite phrase. I have always needed to know why and "because it is" has never once shut me up. The home study is full of opportunities to ask "why?". Why do they need to know that? That's what I ask myself 1,000 times a day. And then the monsters Anger, Jealousy, and Entitlement rear their ugly heads from down deep in my soul and the pity party begins. This isn't fair. 

I imagine adoption is a frustrating experience for anyone, but for me, for someone who has been knocked low time and time again by infertility; for someone who has questioned and doubted her fitness to parent; for someone who already struggles with ideas like justice and fairness; for someone like me, the home study is hard I keep telling myself that this has nothing to do with my inability to conceive... these steps, these hoops, these acrobatic tricks are required of fertile people too. It helps to remember that this is not punishment. They aren't looking at me with angry, disapproving eyes and questioning if I could possibly be fit to parent... the greatest, proven moms and dads have to jump though these same hoops to adopt. But I forget this truth approximately 10,000 times a day. It is so easy to feel judged at every single step along this path.

The questions in the home study are hard. I say that and people always say, "like what?"... I give an example or two and I get the response back, "that doesn't sound that hard." And they're right. Any one question all by itself isn't that hard. It's the sum total of all of the requests. Things like:
    What is your fondest childhood memory?
    What aspects of your parent's parenting do you hope to avoid?
    Describe your current relationship with each of your parents.
    What would you change about your spouse?
    Prove your pets aren't rabid.
    What's a common disagreement in your marriage?
    Describe how your in-laws feel about you adoption plans.
    Do you and your spouse feel the same about adoption?
    Prove your septic tank can support an additional person.
    What contact are you expecting with the birth parents?
    What is the racial composition of your neighborhood?
    Provide six letters of reference.
      Now maybe I'm feeling a wee bit sensitive (remember, nobody offered me a sheet to cover up my personal stuff), but when I read through the TWENTY SEVEN separate files of questions and requests and hoops, I want to say three things. 1- I'm not a dog, I don't do tricks. 2- Why do you care? and 3- Stop picking at my scabs.

      That's the best way I can describe the home study... at least for me. It feels like they just want to pick at all of your scabs. Sam doesn't seem to be too offended, but he also doesn't have a rebellious bone in his body. He's a "how high?" type of guy when asked to jump. I'm a "I'm just going to sit here until you tell me why" type of girl. As you can imagine, the home study is hard for me for that reason. But it's also hard because it feels like they're purposefully digging, intentionally trying to stir up trouble. Just let sleeping dogs lie, you know? It feels like one big psychological mind game in which they wait to see who snaps. My life hasn't been perfect (whose has?), but suddenly I feel very judged for that, judged for things that are completely out of my control. Should my childhood, my lack of a current relationship with my father, my infertility, or any of the other mostly healed wounds in my life be reason I'm deemed "not fit to parent"? I want to tell the powers that be I've dealt with my demons... I've spent long, hard hours becoming this semi-self-sufficient, mostly healthy, battle-scarred adult you see before you so just let the demons be, let the wounds continue to heal, sign the papers and send me on my way.

      Please believe me that I do, somewhere, in the very back, far-reaches of my mind know that the home study and and all of these 10,000 flaming hoops are for a reason. I know that our government has all of these restrictions and stipulations in place because there are creepers out there and we need to protect our children from these people. I promise, I do get that. But believe me, my rational brain is sleep deprived and overwhelmed and operating at 10% these days... the part that's left to process this mess is the hormonal, snappy, whiny part that just wants a baby.

      ________________________________________

      It's been a hard week around here. Please take a minute to stop by Allison's blog and give her some love. She lost one of her precious daughters yesterday. Please continue to pray for her other daughter who is currently in the NICU. And then, please visit Conceptionally Challenged. Tomorrow marks one year since she lost her precious twin daughters due to PPROM.
      ________________________________________

      Just a quick reminder that if you're interested in taking a look around Caroline's online Stella Dot store front, you can use this link. 20% of every purchase will help bring Baby Greavu home.

      Friday, October 3, 2014

      Some Days are Hard

      Some days are just hard. Today is one of those days. Today would have been the due date from our first IVF transfer. I already knew the date before we even got to the beta. I was in no way confident that our IVF cycle would work, we had had too many things go differently than planned during that cycle, but I still just needed to know, "if this works, when would we be due?" The date was engraved in my mind for the two week wait. And then for one, one billionth of a second I was pregnant. Again. Me. The girl who never gets pregnant. Somehow, despite all odds, it happened. A pitiful, little six yes, but it was still there. The date mattered. We knew how things would go before the phone call even ended. This would not be our take home baby. October 3, 2014 would not be our day. We wouldn't write it on the calendar, with hearts and stars and hope. We'd just tuck it away as a day to remember and reflect. A day to reminisce and mourn.

      By the time I returned for another beta on that Monday in January it was over. It was most certainly over before it even began, but it was real. For one brief moment in time, two of our precious babies were placed inside of me. I'm pretty confident that only one implanted.... the numbers were just so low. But for a small window of time, we were connected, that baby and me. I was providing life and he/she was fighting for it. I'm not sure who failed whom... is my body to blame? Or did my sweet baby never have chance? Either way, our time together was important. That little bundle of a few hundred cells was half me and half my husband and all God-breathed.

      Many will wonder where my hope for tomorrow is. Isn't adoption exciting? Aren't we hopeful that our baby is out there? Of course. But the hope for tomorrow doesn't negate the pain of today. We are thrilled about our adoption. We are nervous and excited and overwhelmed to start our home study. We are eager to get started so we can get finished, because the Lord knows this is not a fun process. But our joy and our anticipation for what tomorrow may bring doesn't change the fact that today hurts. Today was the day that life was supposed to enter the world, wailing and crying and furious over the traumatic entry. We had placed months upon months worth of money and hope and prayers into today. Today was the day that IVF was supposed to change our story.

      Tears have been stinging my eyes since they opened this morning. I wanted those babies... both of those babies. They were fiercely and dearly loved. They were meant to be my miracle, my October babies, my last chance to sneak a baby in before my 29th birthday. They were 10,000 hopes and dreams and prayers all centered within those tiny bundles of life. But they are gone and we are here, and we have no answers as to why. So many questions still unanswered. Some days are just hard. Today is one of those days.


      _______________________________________

      I also wanted to give a brief update on the adoption. We met with our adoption consultant on Wednesday. Everything went really well. She said she thinks we'll do great, but I'm guessing she says that to everyone. We've got two tasks we're working on right now, and they both feel daunting. The first is our profile book. This is a physical book that will be mailed across the country to various agencies or attorneys so that they can present us to a birth mom. It's supposed to tell the birth mom about us and why we want to adopt... essentially a "pick us" type book. No pressure or anything. The second task is the home study. I completed the application for the home study last night.... not the home study, just the application. I didn't know the answers to half of the questions, so I'm feeling really positive about this process. But on we press and we cling to hope. We've been brought to today for a reason.


      _______________________________________

      And one last thing. Caroline over at In Due Time is about the sweetest thing ever... you all know that. She has a HUGE heart and has graciously offered to host an online Stella Dot party as a fundraiser for our adoption. How cool is that?!?! I'm going to attempt to invite everyone this weekend, but in the mean time, consider yourself invited. The party is open until October 31st, so if you're interested click this link. Only eleven weekends until Christmas!

      Tuesday, September 30, 2014

      Far-reaching Tendrils

      Recently, it's hit me just how much my infertility has affected more than just me. For whatever reason, over the past few years I've really focused on me. It's sort of selfish yes, but it's also sort of survival mode. It's bad enough to think about how infertility is ruining your own hopes and dreams, but to expand that and see how it's affecting your spouse, your parents, your in-laws, your siblings... gah, it's just a lot to process. But as Sam and I have talked (and talked) these last few months about adoption, I've really come to see just how much our infertility reaches beyond just our little family into the individual family units of our extended family.

      Take our siblings for example. Sam has two sisters. They have each had two kids. When Sam and I were dating, I imagined them all playing together. Obviously, I knew their kids would be older than our kids, but I didn't know they'd be this much older. My oldest nephew is in high school; it boggles my mind every time I think about it, but it's real. And the youngest two (just a few months apart) are already in second grade! Any baby of ours will be out of his/her league with the cousins. Our baby will be going to kindergarten when our nieces and nephews are in high school and college. They'll be going on dates, driving cars, and leaving home when our baby is learning the ABCs. At Christmas, our child will want to run and play with the "big kids" but the big kids won't want to hang out with the "baby". It's sad for us, sad for our (someday) kid, but I imagine it's also sad for my sisters-in-law. Our infertility affects them and their families too.

      And the grandparents, oh man. Sam's parents and stepparents have quite a few grandchildren. I'm sure they'll be happy to have more, thrilled for us when the time comes, but they aren't lacking in grandchildren in anyway. But my poor mom, bless her heart. She has wanted grandchildren since I was probably ten years old. I don't think she's ever once thought, "you should wait a while to have kids." When my brother told her he was going to have a baby, she lost her mind and went and made a nursery in her own house just for this precious baby. She just knew that it was going to get tons of use, her time had finally arrived, she was going to be a grandmother times a billion. That was three years ago now, and she still just has that one sweet granddaughter to play with in the nursery. The crib still stands there waiting for another baby. It breaks my heart to think of how my infertility has robbed my mom of the job she was made for. She is a fabulous mom, but she was born to be a grandma.

      Infertility has long, far-reaching tendrils; creeping, spiraling, spreading fingers that burrow and reach outside of the primary couple and take root within the extended family. It was always true, but my eyes have been opened to it so much more over the last few months as we've discussed and planned for adoption. I'm not exactly sure why it took the idea of adoption to open my eyes to it, but maybe it's thinking abound bonding and attachment and how the choice to adopt is our choice, but it affects our family too. Sam and I are not the only ones with expectations. We are not the only ones with hopes and dreams. Our infertility and the choices we make directly affect our families. There's not a lot I can do about it, but it's just interesting to think about. Infertility feels so isolating. It's easy to forget that there are others along for the ride with you.

      ____________________________________________

      For those of you who follow Em at Teach Me to Braid, I'm guessing your Facebook has been blowing up like mine the last few days! Emily is such an incredible writer, I always know when I see a new post by her that it's going to be GOOD. Well, she's done it again, and this time, people are taking notice. It's been so fun to see people all over Georgia share this sweet friend's words that she wrote from half way across the country. Congrats Em! When you're getting your book deal, we will all say "I knew her when..."

      ____________________________________________

      A quick update on the fundraiser. I've added a widget to the blog so that you can follow along and see how we're doing, if you're interested. As of this morning, we're over 10% of the way their! I've cried and cried and cried over the last week and a half. The kindness and generosity of others has blown me away over and over again. We are so humbled by the selfless, giving hearts of others, many of them strangers. Our YouCaring page is full of messages like this, "I'm a longtime blog reader who is excited to be able to help"... how cool is that? Even if the contributions stopped today, we have already been so blessed!