First FOF

Wow! That’s all I’ve got today. Wow! and sheer exhaustion. 

We kicked off our FOF (Fund Our Family) Campagin this weekend with a garage sale. We organized it all from start to finish in less than 2 weeks and I happily report that our first FOF event was a success!  We have a long way to go, but I am really encouraged by how well we did.
Here are a few photos from our pricing and set up. At the end of the sale, we had a “Buy a Bag for $5 and Fill it Up” special. Mostly my intent was to move stuff so I don’t have to store it till the next sale, but the shoppers response to that was great. It moved stuff and brought in $$ so it was a win win! (I’d highly suggest doing something like that if you have a fundraising garage sale.) We probably sold about 10 bags during that “special.” I also marked everything 50% off at noon on the last day. 

The pricing took forever. We were so blessed with such amazing donations!! Don’t worry. This stuff was not all laying around my house. At least seven different  households contributed to this mess that has been our living room for two weeks! Scary how much junk we people can accumulate.

Sale set up was made possible by my amazing f3c who spent the night on my couch and got up early to help me open on time!! No way I could have gotten this all together without her help!!! 

I had several friends come help with the sale, one of whom is the gracious forever friend who is also offering us her uterus. (I should also mention she helped on her birthday! What a gal, I tell ya!)   Some special friends my former housemates, surprised me; they traveled for an hour to come shop and support us. Perfect strangers offered prayers and well wishes with their purchases. One lady offered to donate clothes she has from her children for our next sale. I had one man who is a neighbor, tell me through his tears that he could feel God moving in our story. 
Seriously, what a weekend! What a kick off! I’m exhausted and so is SL but it was all totally worth it. 

Now it’s time to recover from the sale – we are finding these stickers everywhere!!! As we pack left over things in bins and get ready for the next sale, we are also listing some bigger items on craigslist and planning other fund raising efforts. Check back often for details!! 

The Forever Kind

In honor of her 34th birthday today, I want to celebrate my friend – the one I’ve been alluding to in many of my post but have not identified to all you Brave Souls who have joined our journey.  


I have a great story to tell today. I have a great story to tell about a great woman. I have a great story to tell about a great woman who was just a girl when I met her.

I was just a girl too. It was the beginning of the school year, 1994. I was finally a freshman!! I was nervous and excited at the same time. I felt fairly ridiculous in my plaid skirt and shirt embroidered with my school’s name on the front. I had not been in a school building since the 3rd grade. So going to school was a big deal for me. Never mind that I was beginning my journey at a Catholic school, in a plaid wool skirt at the end of August. Also, I was not Catholic. I was raised as a combination of Evangelical, Assembly’s of God, and Non-denominational Christian. (And no, I wasn’t truant for 5 years, I was homeschooled in the late ’80’s and early 90’s.) 

Freshman at our school had half-lockers. Mine was on the bottom. They were bright yellow, and in the basement of our school. As if freshman don’t stand out enough, our lockers were simply sore thumbs that drove that point home. They were the color of big bird and stacked one on top of the other like the building blocks we played with in pre-school. To just add fuel to the newbie-fire, the rest of the school had green full-sized lockers. Seriously – with the wool uniform skirts, the mini-big-bird-lockers, the theology classes, the weekly mandatory mass, and the hallway that always smelled like marijuana – it’s really incredible any of us ever made any friends. What’s more amazing to me is that one of the friends I made during my time in the above mentioned chaos disguised as education has become such an amazing and irreplaceable gift to my soul.

The first time I saw her was at our lockers the first morning of high school. She had the yellow half locker next to mine. One of the first things I noticed about her was her equally sweet and shy smile. I don’t think we said much, if anything to each other that first time we saw each other. We were both too nervous at that first encounter. Our newbie minds were overwhelmed with remembering the combination to our locks, and having to carry the right books to classrooms we had no idea how to navigate our way toward. (We weren’t allowed to carry backpacks through the halls. And yes, freshman do gets books knocked out of their hands for just for kicks.)

We ended up walking to our first class pretty much together in a silent understanding of figuring it out one step at a time. By 2nd period, the sweet smiling girl had a name. Buy 4th period we’d been in every class together and we’d chosen seats near one another in every subsequent class in solidarity, if nothing else. When we were exchanging info on the rest of our first day’s schedule we learned we had band together. That naturally lead to the question “what do you play?” We both played flute. That was the connection we needed then. The flute remains a big part of our story even though both of us have long since neglected the instruments which were our instant forever connection. 

We had no idea that first day that our friendship would be the forever kind. But we both now we realize we know the One who did. 

That first day we had no idea that we’d eventually be college roommates for a year. We had no idea that it would be through our friendship that her younger sister would become aquatinted with her now husband. We had no idea that I would attend her wedding months after her older sister was diagnosed with stage  4 bile-duct/liver cancer. We had no idea that she’d meet her husband and I’d meet my helpmate. We dreamed and thought of so many things together -some of which have become reality and so of which were just dreams that fizzled out for whatever reason. One time, we talked about starting a business together, but it wasn’t the right time – perhaps we will pick that dream up again someday. 

I cried that day she brought me to her first owned home and on the tour announced “This will be the nursery, we’re pregnant!!” I had no idea the closeness I’d develop to her children who now call me Auntie Katy. We had no idea that in October of 2013, after learning the devastating news that I couldn’t/shouldn’t carry a pregnancy, that she would sit on the couch in my living room and genuinely offer to carry a baby for us. 

As high school freshmen, we couldn’t have imagined the amazing joys and horrible sorrows that life would throw our direction. For so many, many of our journeys through this life, doing it with the other would have been impossible. I am blessed beyond measure by this wonderful friend God designed for me. I could try to explain how much so, but fear my mere words would fail the task. I’m forever thankful for a faithful God who knew we’d need each other in this life. Who knew just how to knit together the ties of our lives “for such a time as this” – over and over and over again through our  20 years of friendship. (Yes we really are that old now..ugh.)

We don’t know what is in store for the next part of our story. For this phase of our friendship. But we know the One who does. And we’re all trusting that He knows and has all of us and the future of our new adventures together secured in His strong and mighty hands. The one thing I am sure of is that she and I will remain forever friends. 

So here’s to you, sweet friend. Happy Birthday!! Thank you for allowing God to develop you into who you are. You amaze me. I love you. Forever!

How FOF was Born

Two weeks ago Monday, we got good news from the lawyer. The insurance piece looks doable, not prohibitive. So amazing!!! It’s a HUGE yet really small step forward. At least we can keep traveling this path and I’m so thrilled. 


I’ve had such an incredible two weeks. I feel so immensely blessed and ready to dive head first into the next steps. So here goes:


It’s time to get down to serious business. I’ve said it before, the ART world isn’t cheap. All of these medical tests and procedures and “hoops we have to jump through” – if you will – to create our little person come with a really high price tag. We aren’t sharing actual numbers just yet (don’t know if we actually will on the blog) but we will be looking at dead in the face of a number with an awful lot of zeroes attached. I’ve gotten a lot of research done so far, and we have a good handle on what’s ahead, but each phone call I make seems to add about $10K for yet another thing I didn’t realize we needed to do. Initially I was thinking the cost of this gestational surrogacy arrangement would be about $30,000 since I have a friend offering to carry for us – but we are above that mark considerably and I’m not done with research just yet. This $00,000 price tag is daunting. No. It’s downright frightening! 

We do ok in this life financially speaking – SL and I live pretty comfortably. He has always been a provider and a saver, two things I admire about his character every day. We have all of our physical needs met and we are able to enjoy a lot of our wants as well, with some planning and saving. It could even be said of us that we have more than we need. (If you know anything about my SL, this is mostly true in the computer/electronics department. Of me, it is mostly true in the kitchen.) Part of me feels weird about writing this post. Because we are comfortable middle-class people. We do have more possessions than we need in this world, and we could just slap this outrageous price tag on credit and be done. We could take out a second mortgage or line of equity on our house (if the market wasn’t so terrible there might actually be something to do with that, but right now, that isn’t even much of an option), or pull from his retirement fund or investments. We talked about all these things and don’t feel good about any of them. He says he wants to prepare and provide well for his family, to give them everything he can and wants to – not to go into debt to try and make one. Again, even though my opinion initially was “Apply for credit! Take a loan out. We have great credit… Someone will certainly give us that loan!!” I had to come down from my emotional place of desire for a child and realize his logic. (That happens a lot for us. Sometimes, as an emotional person, it really sucks being with an analytical/logical man. We are the epitome of “opposites attract.” Really. I promise.) 

If we had a lot of time to plan for this expense, the way one prepares for a home purchase, or a really really nice car, perhaps the number wouldn’t be so scary.  But, like so many infertile couples, we had no idea this would be our path to parenthood. No one painted that picture for us. (I knew I’d have challenges, but I never imagined how many or what they’d be like for real in terms of financial numbers.) SL has goals in life that require a good financial state (more education, retire early, start his own company) and we both want him to be able to pursue those things in the future – for our family. My main future goal has always been to be a mother.  If we have learned one thing about ART world – well, really about LIFE (no acronym there) – it is that nothing is guaranteed. We could do all of this and still not end up with a child. As much as I don’t want to think about that, it is a serious reality.   So ultimately we think that, with the potential risks involved, it is unwise for us to “put it on plastic” as my grandma used to say. We just don’t think that taking away from the things we have already established and planned for to protect our future is wise. So when we put all of those things together, I knew what we needed to do to get this baby-ball rolling.

So Brave Souls, that is the story of how Fund Our Family (FOF) was born. We are going to raise funds for our future family. We will of course be contributing to the fund at least in the amount it would cost us to have a child in a more traditional way. But there is a very big gap between that number and the “lots of zeroes” number that is our new reality. And that’s where FOF is really going to be born, because right now it is more of a concept than anything. 

Tomorrow I have scheduled an appointment with a tax advisor to discuss all the ins/out/do/don’ts of this fundraising adventure. People do it for adoption all the time, however there are very established tax rules for adoption. Not so much with infertility. And no tax credit either (huge injustice in today’s society, don’t even get me started…I know there a people working on that front and I may soon join the cause.) In the ART world and with surrogacy especially, it seems to be that the main trend is to finance it. Or be a movie star or millionaire. Financing is not the wrong choice for everyone. It is a very valid option. It’s just not the one we are choosing. So, even though I’ve done a lot of research into this myself, I feel like consulting a professional is the best option here – I don’t want to do anything wrong in this department! I have a wonderful and trusted friend on board who is going to help me navigate all the fundraising and be the official host of our fundraisers. She is amazing and her name for all of you in the blogs-sphere will be f3c.  (Like C3PO, kind of…but more importantly, continuing my fascination with the letter “F” on this whole idea of Family building.)


These past two weeks I’ve been working side by side with my Fabulous Fund Finding Coordinator (f3c) organizing our first FOF event. We are putting together a garage sale for our kickoff event. It’s this coming Thursday – Saturday. I am amazed at how generous the small group of people I asked to donate have been! As I’ve gone through our house gathering things, I’m just overall feeling good about purging and getting rid of stuff that has been sitting in storage for years. We have a lot of junk sitting around that I’m hoping can become someone else’s treasure while helping us reach our little treasure. My living room and garage this week have resembled an episode of hoarders. It’s coming together slowly into organized categories of stuff. It’s been a ton of work, with a ton more to do before Thursday. I’m hoping and praying it will all be super worth it!! Prayers for great weather this weekend and lots of customers would be appreciated!  

This is the first of what will likely be many fund raising efforts. So there will be plenty of opportunity for you if you’d like to help us FOF. Keep up with the blog for updates and future opportunities. We are excited to allow you to join our journey, wherever the road leads.