I come from a "modern family" of my own. My parents got married in 1969. 5 years later, along came me. 2 years after that, my brother. 5 years after that, my youngest brother. By then, my parent's marriage was already in jeopardy, but we were meant to be a three child family. I think my youngest brother was still in diapers when my dad moved out. Separation and divorce in the mid 80's was not like it is now. It was not something people saw all the time. It was not the norm. We were different from the minute my father closed the door behind him.
My mother remarried a few years later and with that marriage, came an older step brother and a younger step sister and step brother. For years we lived as this "Brady Bunch" family on the weekends with my mom and step dad and the six kids. Not all weekends as some were spent with my father and his new partner. Well after college, my mom and step father split but I have recently reconnected with one of my step brothers over Facebook and with my step sister over email as she found my blog as has been following my "story". I still feel a connection to them both. They were my family.
As we grew up and grew older, we began to make families of our own. My brother closest to me in age got married first. His wife became like a sister to me. Her family like a second family to me. It's there we all go for Thanksgiving and we all very much feel like the family we are.
Then my youngest brother got married. I was fortunate to get another sister. They have spent much of their married life traveling and seeing the world. When they are not here, we invite her brother to spend the holidays with us. And he does. Because he is family.
Then I met Gary. His brother is so close to one of my own that I sometimes forget he is Gary's brother. His brother's wife is someone that I feel like I have known my whole life. We spend Christmas with them and the joy and love I feel sitting around their tree with spiked egg nog in one hand and a niece or nephew in the other gives my years of only celebrating Hanukkah a run for their money. They have welcomed me in and accepted me as their family.
When Allie was conceived, Gary and I were so looking forward to creating a family of our own. New traditions and new customs and new reasons to celebrate. When she died, it was not just losing her that cut us to the core, but it was the loss of all those dreams we had for her. And for us.
Trying to get another sibling for Allie has been nothing but headaches and heartbreaks and we have felt very much hopeless and helpless. We have done everything we could think to do. We took out our savings and spent it on procedure after procedure (none of which is covered by our insurance in Pennsylvania). We could handle the negatives, but after our last try, when our positive became a negative, we knew we needed a new plan.
Gary and I went to a meeting the week before last to see if it was something we could truly get behind. We were scared and nervous and 10 minutes into the meeting, I leaned into Gary and said, "Do you hate it?". We had gone to a meeting last February at a different agency and we were both not ready and thus we decided it was not right for us then. But now? He leaned back and said, "No. Not at all". We stayed after and talked to the social worker and asked what our next steps would be. Gary even asked what the protocol was for babies that were born still. The social worker looked mortified which to us meant it was not something they dealt with on a regular basis! After the obligatory head tilt, he explained the process to us.
We came home from that meeting feeling invigorated!!! We could still have a family. We went to his brother's the next night and talked it out from every angle. We went to my brother's the next night and rehashed it again. We talked to my mom. Gary talked to his parents. We asked our friends if they would be our references. We filled out the application. We got more and more excited.
Our application was received last week and we were assigned a social worker on Wednesday. She will be in touch this week to get our file started. Next up is home studies and background checks and some kind of fundraiser as we are going to need all the help we can get. For the first time in ages, we feel so good!! We have hope back. And we could be matched with a baby in as soon as 6-9 months.
I carried a child. I loved that child. If I close my eyes, I can still feel her kick. I remember the cravings I had when she was growing in my body. I remember the euphoria I felt knowing that I was responsible for that little being inside of me.
There are other ways to create a family. There are others paths to make Allie an older sibling. There is a baby out there who needs the love and warmth and joy that Gary and I can provide. There is a baby out there who was meant to be a part of our family and we are going to do our best to bring him or her home. Looks like we might get our rainbow after all!