Tuesday, February 03, 2009

New Blog

So, I will continue to post here periodically, but my gestational carrier and I have decided to start our own blog together. Follow our journey at:

Monday, February 02, 2009

The Quiet Screams of Excitement

"Are you excited?" I think every person I have told about the baby thing (for lack of a better word) has asked me that question...

Yes, no, sort of, not really, sometimes...does the fact that I can't answer that question directly mean I am not grateful for my second chance or that I am wrong in my decision?

I mean on some level of course I am excited, having a baby again was/is something that I have wanted for so long..and I LOVE babies..I love their smell, their softness, their drool, the way they snuggle up against you, their absolute sense of helplessness..no judgment from a baby..hell, they don't even care whether you've showered today or not. I love the idea of another person loving me like D does..very egocentric, but another orbit in my world..It is comforting to think that when mine and E's time has passed, D won't be alone, that there will be someone else on earth who feels the way he does...


I too have learned to fear the future..I am leary of the "be careful what you wish for crowd"...E's fears..will we have enough money? will it ruin D's life? can we start over again? are we really just upsetting our apple cart? have worked their way into my brain..I mean E is MY someone else on earth who feels the way I do, right? He is the only other one that fears for D in the same way as me, the only other one that secretly feels like he/I am not the best parent ALL the time, the other person that secretly wonders if we can love anyone the way we love D, the person who I will share my life with forever...so why am I plunging full speed ahead and he is barely holding on? Is it because he is wiser to think things through more or because I am impulsive and follow my desires?

or is it another example of how our biggest strength is also our biggest weakness?

We are opposites...I run in the direction of danger (sometimes stupidly) and he walks that way, I act then think, he always thinks first...I am emotional and he is rational...I make decisions with my heart, often without regard for the consequences and he makes them with his brain (sometimes without regard for emotions)...together we make a perfect unit..he is the yin to my yang, literally. So I have made him remember that this isn't just a rational decision, and he has made me remember that it isn't just an emotional one..no matter the outcome, there are both emotional and rational consequences...

So, back to the question..I am emotionally excited, but rationally reserved..I am screaming with excitement, quietly..I know how much it will hurt if it doesn't work..but I also know this time, I will survive. I told E, what is the worse case scenario? we end up back where we started, which is where we are..we LOVE our life, we are very happy..we did move on, we did accept our fate...if this doesn't work, we go back to the applecart we are so afraid of upsetting...not so bad, right?

And if it does? Well then we go back to the plans we had before this journey began the first time..the one with a house full of children (or at least two) and we build a new kind of family..not a better one, which might be the lesson we learned during the last go round, but a different one...

As a final thought...much of what I write it about me, my emotions, and my perspectives..E is the silent partner on here..at least he is silent to the public..he didn't tell anyone about the new journey for five days..I'd told all of my close friends within the first 48 hours (except one who STILL hasn't called me back!) ..But behind his silent facade, he does have feelings about all this..he just prefers not to discuss them with the rest of the world..Still, our family is the most important thing in his life. He and I have weathered much in the past 12 years (yes, its been that long) and I know that I can always count on him to watch out for me..to protect my heart, when I don't, to reassure me when I am afraid, and to love me even if I am wrong...

Friday, January 30, 2009

The Dawn of a new journey finds me climbing back on the roller coaster

As I sit staring at this blank screen and think about what I want to say my heart wells up inside of me. Sometimes it seems almost impossible to put the feelings in my heart into words... but I am going to try anyway...

Almost three years ago E and I began a journey that we thought would help us complete our family...we took the lemons we had been handed and tried to make lemonade. After finding out that I could not have any more children or even use my own eggs, we made the decision to use an egg donor and a gestational carrier. At that time an incredibly amazing and selfless friend offered her heart and her body to help us with this dream. We felt so blessed to be presented with such a miracle..we knew how fortunate and lucky we were to have a person that loved us so much and was so invested in our future and our happiness. We jumped on the roller coaster and held on to one another as we plunged into the unknown. Unfortunately, after two cycles and more than a year, we were no closer to that lemonade...

So we stopped..we froze the 3 remaining embryos and we got off the roller coaster. We laughed, but mostly cried about what an incredible ride it was, and made a conscious decision to close up the hole, learn to love the life we have..to move on. We knew we'd never *get over it*...but we also knew we had to try. And for the most part, we did.. we bought a new house, we sent our son to private school, we took tons of vacations, we advanced our careers..we bottled up the hope, set it on a shelf and focused on all that was good in our lives.

And then..four days ago, one of my oldest and dearest friends reached out her hand and asked us to get back on the roller coaster and bring that bottle with us. So here we are...climbing back on.

First, we are incredibly amazed that we have found a second angel among us..most people never have one, and here we have two. The first angel is and always will be a part of this journey, in many ways it continues to be hers as much as ours. Regardless of the outcome, she gave her heart, her soul, and her body to us....she sacrificed much to help us accomplish a dream. I know that in her heart, she still wants this for us as much as we do and she may be one of a very rare few who really understands the depth of that desire. She is an incredibly important part of my life and will always be the first person who taught me to believe in the godliness of others.

The second..well this is not the first time in my life that she has been my superhero...she saw me through much of the destruction in my childhood and taught me to always be true to myself, to believe in myself (even if no one else did) and to fight, to fight as hard as I could for everything I wanted..she was often the reason I made it from one day to the next after my family fell apart. She was my idol...I wanted to be as tough as her, as smart as her, as beautiful as her...but most of all, I wanted her to be proud of me...she was *my person*...the one person who I knew would always be on my side...the reason I didn't have to be lonely, even when I was alone...and now, the one who owes me nothing, but whom I owe so much has offered to be my hero again...

So here I am..scared, scared, scared...but back on that roller coaster..seatbelt fastened, all loose articles stowed..waiting for take off..for wherever this journey goes, I know that I couldn't be in better company...my two angels (three if you count my soulmate) will watch out for me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Facts about Barack Obama

As most of you know, I am a proud member of Jews for Obama http://www.jewsforobama.com which in my Orthodox neighborhood does not always seem to be popular. Yesterday, someone actually ripped my Jews for Obama bumper sticker off my car. I live in a cul-de-sac...hard to believe one of my neighbors felt so strongly. (For the record, I have since ordered a bigger and better one).
Anyway, as this election gets closer to ending, at least the nominating process, I am gearing up for the big fight still to come. With that in mind, and as a member of Obama's rapid response team, I want to remind all my friends out there about the folly of listening to false claims. We may not all support Obama, but if you don't, let it be on the facts, not the lies. Below is a statement created (not by me, but by our Jews for Obama team) to help parse the truth from the rumors:
As we know, the Internet has become a powerful tool for obtaining information. Unfortunately, it has also become a tool for spreading misinformation and hate. Often this misinformation comes to us from trusted friends, family and colleagues who've fallen victim to the well-worded and convincing prose. When we receive something like this from someone we trust, sometimes we don't take the time and effort to ensure its validity and accuracy. All too quick to react to our greatest fears, we accept at face value, things that really deserve to be viewed with skepticism.

Everyone needs to come to their own opinion as to who will make the best President of the United States. The intent here is not to endorse Senator Obama, but to ensure that the decision to support him or not, is not made based on malicious lies and outright falsehoods. As victims of this type of campaign ourselves, those of us in the Jewish community have a duty to debunk and destroy these smear pieces, and not fall into their trap, regardless of who they're waged against and whether or not we agree with their politics.

In an unprecedented move, Nine Jewish organizational leaders signed on to a letter that spoke out against rumors about Barack Obama. The signatories were the top executives of the United Jewish Communities, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America , the American Jewish Committee, the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Jewish Congress, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. From that letter, "These tactics attempt to drive a wedge between our community and a presidential candidate based on despicable and false attacks and innuendo based on religion. We reject these efforts to manipulate members of our community into supporting or opposing candidates."

They were joined by seven Jewish United States Senators who wrote a letter of their own. "Over the past several weeks, many in the Jewish community have received hateful emails that use falsehood and innuendo about Senator Barack Obama's religion and attack him personally. As Jewish United States Senators who have not endorsed a candidate for the Democratic nomination, we condemn these scurrilous attacks. We find it particularly abhorrent that these attacks are apparently being sent specifically to the Jewish Community. Jews, who have historically been the target of such attacks, should be the first to reject these tactics."

For the full text and names of signatories to both letters, see here: http://www.pjvoice.com/v32/32101obama.aspx

Please also see, "Behind the letter on Obama: Why the Jews entered the fray" on the website of the JTA, http://jta.org/cgi-bin/iowa/news/article/20080122obamaletter20080118.html

Barack Obama is PRO-Israel. From his website: Barack Obama strongly supports the U.S.-Israel relationship, a mutually beneficial bond strengthened by common values, histories, and dedication to democracy. Obama believes that our first and incontrovertible commitment in the Middle East must be to the security of Israel, America’s strongest ally in the Middle East. "Our job is to renew the United States' efforts to help Israel achieve peace with its neighbors while remaining vigilant against those who do not share this vision. . . That effort begins with a clear and strong commitment to the security of Israel: our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy. That will always be my starting point."

For Senator Obama's position on Israel and his plans for helping Israel attain peace inside her borders, see here: http://www.barackobama.com/pdf/IsraelFactSheet.pdf

From an article published in the Jewish Journal, Mel Levine, a former Member of Congress from California and a former member of the board of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee writes: "As a state legislator, a Congressman, and a private citizen, I have been politically active in Jewish causes, including pro-Israel causes, for over forty years, and have observed many presidential candidates. But Barack Obama is the first to so thoroughly capture the imagination of Jewish Americans. . . Obama's vision of unity makes him a natural ally to the Jewish community. Likewise, he has been a strong ally to Israel. . . In his speeches and public statements, his legislation and his voting record, he has proven himself to be a stalwart friend of Israel, committed to helping Israel in its search for peace with its neighbors, while standing strong with Israel against those who do not share this vision."

Read the entire article here: http://www.jewishjournal.com/home/preview.php?id=18832

You can also read the complete text of his March 2007 speech to AIPAC, at this link: http://obama.senate.gov/speech/070302-aipac_policy_fo/

Barack Obama rebuffs George Soros, the billionaire Democratic contributor who called for the U.S. to pressure Israel to negotiate with Hamas, even without recognition of Israel's right to exist. From an article published in the New York Sun, "Yesterday, Mr. Obama's presidential campaign issued a dissent from the Hungarian-born billionaire's assessment. "Mr. Soros is entitled to his opinions," a campaign spokeswoman, Jen Psaki, said. "But on this issue he and Senator Obama disagree. The U.S. and our allies are right to insist that Hamas - a terrorist organization dedicated to Israel's destruction - meet very basic conditions before being treated as a legitimate actor."

. . .Rep. Robert Wexler, a Democrat of Florida who sent out an e-mail to Jewish supporters in his home state last week vouching for Mr. Obama's pro-Israel bona fides, said he too rejected Mr. Soros's comments. "Senator Obama says until the Palestinian government fulfills all three of the quartet requirements, the United States should not and would not recognize the Palestinian government. Senator Obama is clear, Mr. Soros appears to have a different position," Mr. Wexler said.

See the full article here: http://www.nysun.com/article/50846

Barack Obama decries anti-Semitism. In an speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church on the eve of Martin Luther King Day, Barack Obama excoriated anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry. "We have scorned our gay brothers and sisters instead of embracing them. The scourge of anti-Semitism has, at times, revealed itself in our community. . . Every day, our politics fuels and exploits this kind of division across all races and regions; across gender and party. . . So let us say that on this day of all days, each of us carries with us the task of changing our hearts and minds. . ." The full text can be read here: http://www.californiaprogressreport.com/2008/01/barack_obamas_s.html

Barack Obama denounced Louis Farrakhan, contrary to the opinions of the minister of his church. "I decry racism and anti-Semitism in every form and strongly condemn the anti-Semitic statements made by Minister Farrakhan," Obama said in the statement. "I assume that Trumpet Magazine made its own decision to honor Farrakhan based on his efforts to rehabilitate ex-offenders, but it is not a decision with which I agree." http://blog.washingtonpost.com/the-trail/2008/01/15/obama_decries_farrakhan_statem_1.html?hpid=topnews

Barack Obama is a Christian, NOT a Muslim. There's not really a need to expound on this, other than to direct those still not convinced to the Urban Legends Reference Pages, which roundly debunks this myth. http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/muslim.asp

Thank you for helping spread the truth.

Friday, February 15, 2008

An Open Letter to Superdelegates

Dear Superdelegate,
I am a 30 year old, married, mother of one. I am a Modern Orthodox Jew and a STRONG believer in Barack Obama. Although I am now a PhD student and a working member of the middle class, it was not always so. I grew up in the poor inner city outside of Boston. In my childhood world, children and adults alike didn't beleive that there was anyone to help people like "us". No one cared that we couldn't go to the doctor or dentist, no one was interested when we couldn't pay rent or untilities, no one noticed that each day we fell further and further behind. I grew up, I found a way, through education, to get out, to make a new life. Unfortunately, not all of my family and friends were able to do the same. There are millions of people in this country,like those in the communit where I grew up, with no hope, millions of children who don't think anyone cares, can or will make a difference in their lives. Barack Obama can and will change all of that. As I have visited old friends, talked with my family, my brother who is a single dad and still can't afford health and dental insurance, I have heard them begin to hope, begin to believe that there really may be someone who cares and who can change their lives. That person is Barack Obama. The people in state after state are speaking out for Barack. My college aged sister has been engaged into canvassing her campus to ensure that students vote. I have begun to believe too, believe that when Barack is elected, fewer children will grow up like I did, fewer families will sleep with no heat or electricty, and more children will have hope and believe in our country and their own futures. Please listen to the people, use your vote to support the candidate that the people want and that we all need...Barack Obama.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Fired Up...Ready to Go!!!

Although many of you know where my political allegiances lay, I do not generally push anyone else to believe as I do. But at this moment in time I think it is incredibly important to *speak up*. Barack Obama is not just a man with a dream, or the candidate of hope, he is the best chance this country has seen in a long time. He represents the views of those of us breathing idealism. He has engaged and motivated a whole new generation without which democracy will not continue. Please, if you have not considered him, do and if you have and have not decided on him, reconsider.
Here is a link (http://www.barackobama.com/index.php#) to the video of Barack that you may have seen on CNN last night. It was not made by his campaign, but by supporters, or as I call them *believers*.
Please take this moment to help change history, to elect the person who will lead with dignity and justice and put the *United* back into the United States.

Friday, January 18, 2008

My Education Policy Rant

No child left untested, as I fondly call it is the subject of today's rant. Someone very close to me sent me a message about an issue with her daughter. Her daughter is 5 and is currently in kindergarten in a public school. The school is telling her that her child should go back to Pre-K because she is not reading yet. For those of you who know me, you know, this make me FURIOUS. Anyone with any background in education knows that this is ludicrous! First of all, developmentally, five year olds should not be pushed to read...most kids pick it up around 6ish and the average kid reads smoothly at 7! That is a year and a half from the little girl mentioned above.
The problem, as I see it, is that NCLB (NO Child Left Behind- the current education policy) is requiring so much testing that even kindergartners are being tested. As I have mentioned before, in looking for schools for D, I visited the local elementary school. They told me that they test their kindergartners three times a year for reading! This is ridiculous. The first grade curriculum has been moved into kindergarten. So much is being pushed at our children that the preparatory nature of kindergarten is being lost. Another friend, who is a teacher in a local public elementary school bemoans the way the new testing has changed the curriculum. She has been teaching for many years and says that kindergartner's creativity is being dismissed. School is all about reading (and for those in half day kindergarten, there is time for nothing else). She talks about how she has to close her door so they can practice plays and have free play...the things that kindergartners *should* be doing. Kindergarten was meant to help children adjust to the structure and discipline of a classroom, sitting in a desk, lining up, etc.
Now, someone has the nerve to say this little girls is "immature and not ready for kindergarten" because she is not reading? I know this child pretty well and have seen her interact, she does her "homework" without problems and clearly knows the basic academic things. This push to push our children, beyond their developmentally appropriate capabilities is going to land us with another generation of children who hate school and feel like failures.
For all these reasons, D is likely to go to private school. We had our meeting with the private school on Tuesday and it went really well. After telling them our life story (ugh)it seems that they are very likely to give us some kind of financial aid which will make it easier for us. So, as I eat my big bucket of crow that my child will go to public school, I really resent the current policy. I resent that I have to make this choice. Still, at the end of the day when it comes to my child- I will always make the choice that is best for him, regardless of how much I want to support and believe in public schools. Instead, I will continue to work and fight to make our public schools a better place for all children, mine and yours included.