Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Defining Moments

I couldn't have been more than 5. We were still going to Erial Community Church and I was in my Children's Church classroom. My class was playing Doggie Doggie Where's Your Bone. I had been chosen to be the bone stealer, which among the preschool set is pretty presitgious. Because the stealer not only gets to take the doggie's bone for that round, but also gets to be the doggie in the following round. Pretty exciting stuff.

So I did my best sneaking, stole the doggie's bone and waited as he guessed who the perpetrator might be. And then I walked up to the "dog house" for my turn.

But the seat of the dog house was wet. As were the pants of the last "doggie".

"Did you have an accident?" the teacher asked sympathetically.

"No" replied the doggie, "It was wet when I sat down."

Now, I may have been young enough to still display my age as "this many" with only one hand, but I knew something wasn't right there. After all the dress of the doggie who had preceded him was dry. And how could the dog house possibly have gotten wet in between her getting up and him sitting down?

"Liar!" I thought. "You better come clean or I'm going to have to sit in that!" I'm not sure why I figured they'd make me sit in the puddle if he didn't admit his little oopsy, but I was pretty scared.

Then he started crying, which is almost like admitting guilt. The chair was switched out for another untainted one and the game went on.

But 20 plus years later the memory still haunts me.

Monday, December 6, 2010

It Just Ain't Right, Man

Sometimes when I sign onto Facebook, I feel like I'm being stalked. Somehow the the little minions behind the advertising on that site know all my deepest hopes and fears. How do I know this? Because every time I sign on the ads read, "Are You a Mom?" No, and it's a rather painful subject, so thanks for asking "Want FREE Baby Stuff?" Well I'd like to have a need for free baby stuff. "Meet Other Moms in Atlanta" Thanks, but you might be using the word other incorrectly. And then there's the ultrasound tech one and the Picabo one that don't taunt me with their words, but with pictures of babies instead.

Most of the time, these just make me laugh at their irony. But there's one that ticks me off. Maybe you've seen it. It's an ad for a book that promises to show women one simple trick to get pregnant quick. Obviously, it's a scam. It doesn't take a Mensa member to figure out that if my doctors - experts in the field of reproductive science - can't get us pregnant, some author with no medical training has nothing of substance to offer. From the beginning of time women have struggled to get pregnant, and if there was one simple way to make it happen, we'd know it by now. But it's painfully tempting. I want to believe this woman really has a magic cure all.

A few months ago, there was a thread on the infertility forum I visit from time to time in which someone mentioned that book (or one similar). Every other girl who commented said the same thing, "Don't buy it, it's a scam." But I totally felt for the original poster. She saw something that promised hope in an otherwise hopeless situation and she desperately wanted to believe it was real.

I hate that there are people in this world willing to profit off other's emotional pain. I'm certain the writers and sellers of that book know they don't hold a magic secret trick to getting pregnant. But they also know that there are women just desperate enough to buy it.

The whole experience of infertility is so hopeless and confusing that it's easier than it should be to take advantage. It's done in fertility clinics, too. During IVF treatments, doctors convince women that their only hope of having a child is to implant 5 or 6 embryos. And so, the couple agrees. Only to then be told by the same doctor that their only hope of having a live birth is to "selectively reduce" the number of babies growing in that woman's womb. In the end, the couple has their child and the clinic has an even greater success rate. So the end justifies the means, right? Or not.

I'm not saying all clinics work this way. In fact, I think most probably do have good intentions and high ethical standards. I'm just saying I've read enough and heard enough in my own journey to know this happens. And I've experienced the feelings of desperation, of wanting to do absolutely anything to get pregnant to understand WHY it happens.

And sadly, working in adoptions, I know it happens there, too. I'm sad to say that I've seen couples taken advantage of. There are "companies" who do horribly unethical things to make a buck. Birthmoms allow a couple to pay for their medical bills and their living expenses throughout their pregnancy only to change their minds and walk away from the adoption. Leaving the potential adoptive parents with empty arms and an empty wallet. And yes, I know, oftentimes a birthmom has the absolute best of intentions when making an adoption plan for their child, and the best of intentions when they then decide to parent. I also know that there are women whose intentions are nothing close to honorable, who plan from the beginning to use prospective adoptive parents for their own gain.

I really think that in most cases, fertility clinics and adoption agencies are ethical and truly care about the people they are serving. And in most cases, women who choose adoption for their child are truly seeking the best life for that child.

But there are times when a couple who has gone through years of infertility, who have seen their hopes dashed time and again, are taken advantage of. There are people who see their hurt and their longing for a child as an opportunity for personal gain. And that breaks my heart.

Saturday, December 4, 2010


For the first time since moving to Georgia, I've been feeling really, truly lonely. I've felt homesick before, but never really lonely. In fact, Georgia feels more like home now than it ever has before, and yet I'm more lonely than I've ever been, too. Go figure.

I think it's a combination of things. I haven't been home in a really long time. And though of course wherever Jamie is, is home to me, there's just something about the house that I grew up in that will always make it home too. There's a part of me there with the people I love in the place I spent my childhood that needs to be revisited from time to time. And it's been too long. And I think that makes me feel lonely.

I also think it has something to do with the journey of making friends in Georgia, which has not been all that easy. I know a lot of people here and would call many of them friends. But time and again I've found those relationships stall out at the somewhat casual friendship level. And I'm really longing for a Georgia "family". The type of friends who know me deeply, who I can talk to about anything. I really would love to have a tightknit group of girlfriends here and that's been tough to come by. I need a Georgia Kristy and a Georgia Britt. Maybe I'll ask Santa for that this year.

My little friend infertility has something to do with it, too. There's just something really isolating about feeling very different from every other girl I know. I told Jamie recently, "It's like there's this secret club of women that I'm not invited to join but everyone else is." It's worse than being voted out of the 5th grade clique, and that was pretty bad (although I was voted out for defending another girl when they tried to vote her out, so at least I had my integrity to keep me company).

I hate being whiny and woe-is-me (like Eeyore, the world's most annoying donkey; But that's another rant for another day). And truth be told, I'm not miserable or unhappy. Just a little bit lonely. And I thought maybe I'd feel better if I wrote about it. Thanks for letting me vent :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


As usual, we had a great time at the ranch for Thanksgiving. I love going down there because while we get to spend lots of time with Jamie's family, they're also busy a lot giving us time to hang out as a couple. It's always very relaxing.

Highlights from this week:
Seeing the manatees!! Jamie had taken me to Blue Springs this summer to see manatees, but we didn't think to check if they were there year round before we went. And they're not. Apparently, Blue Springs is only their winter home. So we tried again last week and we saw a whole bunch of them! I gotta be honest - I was totally excited to finally see real live manatees in the wild but um those things are dull. They're cool and all but one of the dozen or so we saw actually moved. In my next life, I'm going to be a manatee.

Watching a few dozen little kids learn to dance in Downtown Disney. HILARIOUS! First of all, the guy on stage was like 40 and a little on the heavy side. Watching him get down to the Hoedown Throwdown was pretty funny. But the kids...OH MY GOODNESS were they hilarious! I wish I had my camera with me, but I didn't. You're just gonna have to trust me on this one.

Shopping at the Nike outlet. I got a Florida State t-shirt for $10 and two other t-shirts and two pairs of shorts for $7 each. I was in need of some t-shirts without holes in the armpits (how do I do that to every single shirt?) and some shorts that hadn't previously belonged to Jamie. I was pretty excited to get some nice Nike ones for such a great price!

Seeing Britt and the rest of the Gragg clan. 2 cute kids and my dear old college roomie. It was wonderful :)

Celebrating my birthday TWICE - once with just Jamie and once with the whole Hotalen gang. The restaurant Jamie and I went to sorta forgot to put our order in so we waited a good 45 minutes for our meal and then got it for free. It was great! And my in-laws got me a beautiful scarf and sweater. And Aron and Julie got me a Florida State shirt (bringing my total to THREE, baby!) Yay for presents :)

Eating Thanksgiving dinner.

Eating leftovers.

I love good food. And I love our families. And now I CAN'T WAIT to get up to New Jersey for Christmas!

P.S. Check out the new photo albums I added over there ------>