The Priceless Cost

Have you ever thought about the word ‘just’?  I think people use it too flippantly these days.  It’s used as an answer to almost every solution.  Here is a list of my favorite ‘just’ solutions for infertility:

  • ‘Just relax’ (been there)
  • ‘Just let go/don’t stress/don’t think about it’ (done that)
  • ‘Just drink a bottle of wine’ (drank LOTS of that)
  • ‘Just try artificial insemination/IVF’ (yup, done some of that, too)
  • ‘Just adopt’

Here’s my little nugget of wisdom.  Get a pen and a piece of paper and take notes…  Go ahead, I’ll wait.   Ready?

There is no ‘just’ about anything that has to do with any painful situation.

Any situation where a decision needs to be made that could significantly alter the outcome of an original perception requires intense discussion, pondering and most importantly, prayer.

As most of the people in our lives know (and heck, any stranger who will listen), J and I are in the process of adoption.  After our unsuccessful battle with infertility, we did some soul-searching and praying and decided that it wasn’t as important for us to be pregnant as it was for us to be parents.

November is National Adoption Awareness Month.  In 1976 in Massachusetts, Governor Mike Dukakis proclaimed National Adoption Week.  President Gerald Ford made the first National Adoption Week proclamation and in 1990, the week was extended to a month due to the excitement and participation by so many people and states.  There’s even one day of the month that is proclaimed as National Adoption Day and many adoptions are finalized all at the same time!  I just think that’s neat!

I have been criticized VERY harshly in the last couple days about the way I see adoption (as an amazing blessing), even to the point where I was told that I don’t deserve to have children and that me not being able to get pregnant must have been God’s way of telling us that we shouldn’t be parents and that there is no way that I could ever love an adopted child unconditionally because we HAVE to adopt and not WANT to adopt due to infertility.

The “conversation” – a term I use VERY loosely as it was more just overly assertive, opinionated people trying to get everyone else to believe exactly the way that they do rather than hear what anyone else has to say – escalated very quickly and left me feeling ashamed, embarrassed, scared, naïve and unprepared, to say the very least.

But as I remove myself from the “support group” – HA – that I got the criticism from, I realize that my opinion is just that.  MINE.

Every parent is frightened before they have their first child.  Ever parent wonders if they’ve screwed up monumentally along the way.  But every parent loves their child in an unconditional way that can’t be judged, deemed unworthy, viewed incorrectly or questioned by anyone else.

I say again:  Biology is the LEAST of what makes someone a parent!

I am beyond excited to meet the child that we will give a forever home to and love with every single nook and cranny of our hearts.  My heart pines and my arms ache for our child to come home.

To be woken repeatedly through the night to take care of someone who needs me.  To hear the pitter-patter of little feet.  To see daddy holding on to the bicycle seat while running alongside.  To wipe away tears after a broken heart.  To celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day from the inside.

And to the parents who love their child enough to make the painful, selfless decision to entrust them to us to love them enough for all of us, my heart will be eternally grateful.

We all have learning to do, growth to be made, challenges to be met, disappointments to face, joy to share…  And in this month of awareness, I know that I am learning and growing.  I’m facing challenges and disappointment.  But the joy that I will be able to share will be so worth it.

Home Study:  $1,500
Background Checks:  $250
Legal Fees:  Cost undetermined
Having a child to call our own:  Priceless

Doing What We Say

I KNOW!  It’s been FOREVER since I’ve posted a blog!  I hope you all don’t hate me!!

There has been SO much going on!  I can’t share it all just yet, but it’s REALLY exciting!

(**Disclaimer**  I know every time an infertile uses the words “It’s REALLY exciting” people’s minds wander, so let me put that question to rest now – I’m NOT pregnant!)

Fair Warning:  This blog might make you uncomfortable, and that’s kinda the point.  It might seem like a total rant, and that’s okay.  My goal is to challenge you – to make you think twice or even three times before making some decisions or statements.

I’ve said it before – this journey is hard!

It’s difficult to try SO hard for something, to want something SO badly, to pray for something SO fervently, to fight for something SO passionately …  and not get it.

And when you find a way that you MIGHT get the chance to realize that dream but have no way of affording it,  it’s even harder to swallow our pride and ask for help.

I’ve had people be so much more incredibly supportive than I ever could have imagined.

I’ve also had people tell me that if I can’t afford to do IVF or adoption, I shouldn’t be a parent at all.

I’ve had people tell me that because I can’t get pregnant, it’s God’s way of telling me that I shouldn’t be a parent at all.

I’ve had people tell me that asking others for money to be a parent is a selfish thing to do and if I’m selfish maybe I shouldn’t be a parent at all.

 If it’s in an email or a message, I simply ignore it.  If it’s said to my face, I simply smile and nod.  (I may or may not say something equally inappropriate sometimes just to embarrass people and make them realize they are out of line making certain statements.)

I know I’ve shared a friend’s blog before that was SO important to me.  She talked about how doing something – even something small – can go such a long way.

We have people telling us all the time how much they support us.  And how they pray for us.  And how they hope we raise a lot of money.  We appreciate it ALL!

There are people who will pray with me in person and there are those that share our story or YouCaring link every single time I post it.  And that’s amazing!!

But I often wonder…  When people say they pray for us, do they pray for us by name?  Do they say they’re going to pray and then forget?  ( I’m guilty of that and even wrote about how I get caught in the “I’ll pray for you” web here )

Almost every day,  I see some of the same people – friends and family – who tell us they support us sharing link after link of crowdfunding accounts for people they may or may not know.  But I’ve yet to see our link shared.

I’m not saying that our story matters more.  Or that anybody else’s story matters less.  Everyone deserves the opportunity to receive the help that they’ve asked for!

I don’t mind that these people share those links one bit!  In fact, on most of them, I think it’s a great way to raise awareness, and I pray that they receive their miracle – whatever it may be!

What I DO mind is feeling that our story just isn’t important enough to share.  Or that declarations of support are simply lip service or “saying the right thing”.

Listen – I’m NOT saying that we expect you to donate a million dollars, a hundred dollars or even ten dollars, we understand that times are tough.  I’m NOT saying that we expect every person to drop everything to pray with us right that second.  I’m NOT saying that we expect people to go out of their way or over the top to show their support.

What I AM saying is,

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

If you tell someone you support them,  show it.  Send a card.  Offer to help where it’s needed.  Take them out for coffee.  Let them cry without offering advice.  Share a link.  Like their post.  Participate in their trials & joy!

Maybe there’s someone in your list of friends that is suffering with something silently, and seeing you share something that lets them know they’re not alone is just what they need.

When you tell someone you’re going to pray for them, say a little prayer silently in that moment.

It’s a hard thing to do, I know.  But it only takes doing something 28 times before it becomes a habit!  And having the opportunity to bless 28 people?  Wow.

If I made you uncomfortable, good.  If I made you think, good.  If I made you say to yourself ” I will say a prayer for someone right then when I tell them I will”, good!

I’m not just preaching here, I am working every day at doing what I say!

Will you practice doing what we say?!

 

Swallowing Our Pride

So – after our interview with the adoption agency the other day – and finding out how much money they want up front – I decided to call my RE’s office and inquire about IVF.  Much to my surprise, it was actually CHEAPER!!

In speaking with them, I found out that they offer a “money back guarantee” IVF program.  For $17,500 (minus the cost of meds) a couple gets 6 fresh IVF cycles and if at the end of the 6 cycles there is no “live birth”, then the couple gets 70% of their money back!  SIGN ME UP!!  So, as I looked into it, I realized that one of the qualifications – an AMH of >1.2 – might exclude me from that program.  My AMH levels are 0.6, so I am, in fact, disqualified.  BUT!!!  They also have what is called a “multi-cycle package”.  For $16,000 (plus the cost of meds) a couple gets 2 fresh IVF Cycles and 2 FET’s (frozen embryo transfers) – provided there embryos to transfer.

ivf baby

After discussing it with my husband in length (and often heated) we decided that if we didn’t at least attempt IVF that there would always be the “what if”.  While we understand that there are a lot of risks of failure with this procedure, we also know that there is the risk of a MIRACLE.  We are asking friends, family and whoever else would like to be a part of this, to please check out the fundraising page that we have started!  We know it’s a big number!  It’s all overwhelming, that’s for sure!  Please don’t feel obligated!  If you can’t give money, we will accept love, support and prayers!!

motherhood miracle

MORE than Enough

fall morning

As I sit on my patio this morning enjoying my coffee while the cool breeze of Fall blows around me, I realize – another year has come and gone. Our arms are still empty and aching, but our hearts – those are full. Life certainly has a way of never going just the way you planned it. Oftentimes, that’s a good thing. Other times? It can leave you wondering & imagining a million reasons why.

Friday, September the 6th, our 3rd IUI failed. I remember just a day before feeling that maybe, JUST maybe, it had actually worked! I even did something I don’t do after feeling the loss of miscarriage – I told a friend that I was hopeful. When, once again, that red flagged waved and a visitor I have grown to resent wholeheartedly came to town, I broke – again. I felt like my body had betrayed me, and my feelings had been in on it this time. Such a roller coaster, this journey of infertility. Very high high’s and extremely low low’s… often felt in the same moment. There’s no way to perfectly describe it to anyone that hasn’t been there and it’s nothing you want anyone TO understand. As I messaged back and forth with my husband about the tears that wouldn’t stop and the pain that spilled over no matter how hard I fought, I told him I was tired. Tired of trying. Tired of hurting him, tired of hurting me, tired of hurting everyone we loved. But I told him that even with how bad it hurt, I didn’t want to give up. His loving, patient response was that maybe it was time to “go a different way.” He told me that while he knew I wanted to be pregnant that maybe there was a child out there that needed US.

My husband is one of the biggest blessings in my life. I know I don’t say it enough. My sister and I were talking the other day about how the way we were raised has affected us and our marriages. Affection, touch – those things weren’t abundant to us as children. Not because our parents didn’t love us – of that there’s no doubt – but I think sometimes the rational need to provide overtakes the parental desire to nurture.

When I first met my husband, to say I didn’t like him is putting it mildly! I still recall a specific situation at work that drove me straight into the store manager’s office to tell them that I thought he should be fired. Being delicate is NOT my husband’s forte. Many tears have been shed as a result of my husband voicing his opinion – including mine. People thought I was CRAZY for dating – and then marrying – him. Ever wonder why someone is digging for gold in that rocky, dark, damp place? It’s because they just KNOW that if they spend enough time and dig deep enough, that an AMAZING treasure is going to be found. That’s my husband. He still surprises me almost every day. The support I get from him through this is unmatched. He’s my rock. I can see how badly this hurts him also… because I’m hurting and because I think he’s realized how much he wants it also. We’ve both learned so much through all of this, but what I’ve learned is that the people with the toughest exterior, usually have the softest interior – it’s just a matter of getting to it.

(80)

My husband and I have decided that we are going to begin looking in to – and embarking on – the adoption journey. In my search of things to keep my mind occupied – since this is the first month in a few that I’ve not had Dr’s appts & ultrasounds & pills & injections – I went to the Christian bookstore and began searching out books about adoption and infertility. A friend that works at Lifeway helped me find a book titled “Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?”. As I was reading through the Foreword by Drew Cline, a Christian Recording Artist, he gives his “Testimony of Hope” in reliving their infertility journey and at one point (after two failed attempts at IUI) says to his wife – ” ‘This should be done at home where we can love on each other in the privacy of our own home and marriage, not in some clinical test tube. Does God not think we’ll make good parents?’ To which my precious wife responded, ‘It takes more love to walk through this process, more sacrifice, more commitment.’ ” So. Much. Truth. I’m trying to get through this book. There is so much awesome stuff in it, but I seem to have trouble seeing the words as I read it.

Yesterday, I had a painful procedure done that crossed one more thing off the list of “Reasons Why We Can’t Have a Baby.” It’s nice to be able to eliminate reasons, but that just means we get one step closer to not having any reasons. I’ve resolved myself to give up the right to understand on a daily basis. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it many more times I’m sure, but it so perfectly describes everything in just two short words – God knows. God knows if we are ever going to have a baby that will look at me through my husband’s eyes. God knows if we will ever have a baby that will fulfill my mother’s curse of “having a daughter just like me.” God knows if we will adopt a baby that needed US as parents. God knows if we are going to have empty cribs but full memory banks. God knows. And while I’ve said that’s enough for me, I’m learning to let it be MORE than enough.

be still