Tuesday, October 21, 2014

celebrating baby boy | a trumpette giveaway

before i was pregnant with baby sunshine, i would occasionally pop into a little boutique near my office called Trumpette. They carry the cutest high-end baby socks, gifts and apparel. i'd walk around the store and daydream about, some day, dressing my little one in their gear. 

and now…finally...after almost 6 years of daydreaming, my little miracle is almost here. 
in fact, i felt him kick for the first time yesterday at 18 weeks and 4 days. since then, he's been practicing his field goal attempts inside my belly on a consistent basis. people say it feels like flutters in the beginning. um…not this guy. he is full-on kicking me. not that i'm complaining. i love knowing he's active and exercising his legs in there.

it is such a blessing to have this baby boy growing inside of me after everything that we've been through to get to here. so this post is to commemorate the kicking and celebrate our baby boy. when he arrives, you better believe my future NFL kicker's little feet will be covered with cute shoe socks from Trumpette. honestly, they are much more realistic than putting hard shoes on a newborn. i mean, come on. what little man doesn't need a pair of socks that look like slick boots to get around town in?

and the girl socks…i can't even tell you how sad i am that i'll never be able to shop for a little princess. from jewel tone mary janes to colorful little cupcake socks….they are so darling! they even have boo socks for Halloween. 

as if Trumpette gear isn't cute enough on its own, the celebs and their kiddos are always rocking this brand too.

i may or may not have been looking for an excuse to put a picture
of hottie Josh Duhamel and his stylish little boy Axl on my blog. ;)
now that you know more about Trumpette, i’m beyond ecstatic to team up with them to give away a huge prize to one lucky blog follower! the winner will receive ALL three items featured below: a large boy schleppbag, a cobalt howdy, and a box of six pairs of their new Hunter's socks. prize package is valued at over $150!

don't worry if you are still trying to conceive, you can always keep these items in a hope chest for your baby-to-be or use them for gifts.

you have until Thursday, October 23, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. PST to enter in this fabulous giveaway! just click into the Rafflecopter widget below and follow the easy steps to rack up entries! good luck.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

fertility friday | guilt about choosing IVF over adoption

photo credit
i read this article that my friend K posted on facebook leading into november, which is national adoption month….and i haven't been able to get it out of my head. the article has not only stuck with me because the story is heart-wrenching and i have oodles of pregnancy hormones seeping out of my pores…but because there is a twinge of guilt that i carry with me.

you see, people will sometimes imply, if not outright proclaim, that we (meaning infertile women) have a responsibility to adopt because we struggle to conceive easily. i resent the hell out that inference because i think it is everyone's responsibility as a society to provide loving homes and care for children who've been neglected or placed in the foster system. the weight of that burden shouldn't fall more heavily on those of us who struggle to have our own biological children.

yet if i'm honest, in the quiet of my heart, i do feel some guilt. i do question whether it was selfish of us to pursue treatments rather than adopt. is it just me? or have any of you ladies who've struggled to conceive felt that way at some point?

maybe it is just the type of person that i am. maybe i'd feel guilty for having an empty home and the financial means to support a child in need, regardless of whether i struggled to conceive.  

it does take more than the means and desire to effectively parent a child in the foster system. you have possess the ability and emotional strength to love a child through some really tough times and help to heal painful, deep wounds that have been inflicted on their little souls. this is where i've always struggled and don't know that i have that kind of strength. i think acknowledging our strengths and weaknesses is crucial before making a commitment to a child….a commitment that should be for life.

unfortunately, i just didn't have that calling deep in my heart to adopt like so many amazing women do. but i sometimes feel guilt about that. i feel sad. i feel self-reproach that i didn't couldn't be a stronger, braver person and change the bleak future for a child like Stephen.

i've reposted the article that i am referencing below for easy readability. do those of you who chose fertility treatments over adoption struggle with these same feelings?

They Break, You know

It was something about the phrasing that got to me. Something about the cadence of his words, the staccato of his speech.

“Nobody loves me. Not even my mother who gave birth to me.”

It is an odd turn of phrase, isn’t it?

Not even my mother who gave birth to me.

He was buckled into the backseat of my Toyota, still too little to sit up front. At seven he had already moved more times than the total number of years he had been on the earth. And this time, like the times before it, he moved with his belongings in a trash bag. A suitcase, at least, would have added a small degree of dignity to the whole affair – to being “placed” in another and another and yet another foster home before reaching the 3rd grade. Trash bags break, you know. Trash bags can’t possibly support the contents of any life, and certainly not a life as fragile as this.

They break from the strain, eventually.

This move was harder for Stephen than most. It was a home he thought he would stay in, at least for awhile. He had felt affection there. When I went to pick him up, after his foster mother gave notice that he could no longer stay, he came easily with me; head down, no reaction on the surface of it. It was only when he got into my car that he began to sob the kind of aching sound that leaves you limp in its wake.

He could barely get out the words. Nobody loves me. Not even my mother who gave birth to me.

Months later, in a repeat scene (another foster mother, another removal), he would put up a fight. He would run around the living room, ducking behind furniture, refusing to leave. But on this night he had no fight in him.

That was Stephen at seven.

Nine-year old Stephen grips his report card in sweaty hands. We’re headed to an adoption event, where we will meet families who want to adopt an older child; families who do not automatically rule out a boy like Stephen with all of his long “history.” And he wants to impress them, these strangers. He wants to win them over, and so he brings his good report card along as tangible proof that he is a child worth loving.

A child should never have to prove they are worth loving.

Twelve-year old Stephen tells me that I’m his best friend. I’m his social worker, and he should have a real best friend, but I don’t say this to him. We’re at a taping for Wednesday’s Child, the news spot featuring children who are up for adoption. Stephen is engaging on camera. Maybe somebody will pick him this time. Maybe he is offering just enough evidence, at twelve, that he’s a boy worth loving. And he is lovable, truly. But it is not enough. A family never comes.

Years later, long after I’ve left the agency, I get an email from my old boss asking how I’m doing, and ending with a short P.S. “Stephen is in DYS lockup after running away from his foster home. You need to adopt him.” My stomach drops. I’ve had this thought many times. I should adopt him myself. But I don’t.

I heard about his murder from a friend who had seen it in the news. Shot outside a party over some foolish dispute. Dead at 18, dead just as he became a man. Not my Stephen, I prayed. When I realized that it was really him – that it could be no other – I sobbed gripped by the kind of anguish that leaves you limp in its wake.

The newspapers ran very little about the murder, as if it were an afterthought. Barely worth a mention, really. Anonymous strangers posted nasty comments online: “Just another gangbanger,” they said. You don’t even know him. You don’t know the first thing about this boy. You don’t know that as a child he would trace letters into my back with his finger to pass time at the doctor’s office, asking me to guess what phrase he was spelling out. “I ♥ U” he traced between my shoulders, the last time we played this game.

Stephen had been wrong, that night in my Toyota. His mother did love him, in her way. She was there, at the funeral. She greeted me kindly. I think she knew I loved Stephen as I knew she did. We both failed him in the end, and that joined us I suppose. Neither of us could give him a family.

There were no photos from Stephen’s childhood at the funeral home. No images of the green-eyed boy with the sweet smile to remind us of what had been lost. There were no pictures of Stephen with his brothers, and so I printed up snapshots of the four boys together, taken on a supervised visit, and brought them to the funeral to give to the family. It was something I could do, against the larger backdrop of nothing I could do.

There were very few social workers at the funeral, and none of Stephen’s many foster mothers. Stephen spent more of his life being raised in the system than out of it. If you claim legal responsibility for a child, you best show up at his funeral. You should show up when he dies. He was yours, in a way, wasn’t he? You owe it to him. And if he did not belong to you, then who did he ever belong to?

His mother was there, at least. His mother who gave birth to him. I hear the echo of his voice from those many years ago.

Somebody does love you Stephen. I want to tell him. But it’s too late.

Stephen was the one, for me. The one who embodied all the failures of a system so broken that to heal it would take far more than the casts that heal the literal broken bones of the children growing up within it.

They break, you know. These kids we leave behind. Eventually they break.

i invite you to use the button above on your blog post about infertility and link up below…every friday. keep the conversations about infertility and related issues going. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

should you disclose egg donation to your child?

there are honestly so many things to consider when deciding whether to disclose or not disclose egg donation to a donor-conceived child. the most important factor should always be…what's best for the child.

in the case of our son, my husband initially thought it might be easier on our son if he doesn't know that he was conceived with the help of an egg donor. i understand the idea behind this "ignorance is bliss" philosophy. if he doesn't know, he won't feel different and he won't have to deal with any negative emotions that could come from this knowledge.

however, i believe full disclose is best in our case. since we've been open about our journey with family, friends and the blogosphere…i don't think non-disclosure is a viable option. if we were planning on non-disclosure, we would've needed to decide that 8 months ago and not share with anyone. it is too easy for someone to slip up and spill the beans. having our son find out from anyone other than his parents is not right. 

not to mention, i plan on sharing k's information with our son when he is an adult (if he wants to contact her, he can). i want him to grow up knowing how he was conceived. i don't want him to ever remember the day we dropped a bomb on him and everything he knew to be true about his life was a farce. that would be devastating to anyone's sense of self. also, how would he know that he could trust anything that we've ever said if we kept something like this from him for years?

even if we hadn't told anyone and could easily keep this information a secret…i don't know that i'd want to. 1) it would be so hard to keep a secret of this magnitude from one of the most important people in my life. 2) secrets by their very nature illicit a feeling of shame and i'm not ashamed of my son's beautiful story. if i do my job right as a parent, i hope that he won't ever feel anything but loved. 3) i think everyone deserves to know their genetic make-up and background. 

i imagine that we will tell him using age appropriate books (which i will write about in a separate post) and statements like the ones below to communicate how much he was wanted and loved…even before he arrived.

we wanted you so badly that we went through amazing steps in order to bring you into this world.
we worked very hard so that we could have a wonderful child like you.
with the help of a doctor and a very special lady, we were able to have you.

in the end, my hope for our child is that he grows up knowing how he was conceived and understanding that being a parent has little to do with the genetics or contribution of DNA. instead, being a mommy and daddy has everything to do with providing loving, emotional and financial support to a child. this support doesn't require a genetic contribution, but is very dependent upon the hearts and minds of the people raising him.

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