I never imagined how important my IVF fundraiser would be to my life when I started it. I knew it was important for raising money to get the IVF. However, it turned out to mean a lot more than that. It taught me some tough lessons but ultimately gave me a wonderful gift...the gift of creating the most loving family possible for my child (or children).
As a young newlywed, 17 years ago with three young step-sons to help raise, and a step-daughter who was only 5 years younger than me...at my wedding (we agreed to be sisters rather than step-mom and step-daughter), I embraced those kids as if they were my own and became very enmeshed in my husband's family.
As the family genealogist, I made it my business and duty to keep up with all of the extended relatives and try to maintain family connections that had begun to fade over the years. I was passionate about this and everyone knew to come to me for information about anyone in the family, living or dead. I had the answers and I kept us together. It was something I wanted to do.
After several very devastating snubs from people I really loved during my fundraiser, I realized that these were not people who I wanted to be a part of my child's life. If they didn't care enough to at least say a kind word about my quest for motherhood, they were obviously not the people I thought they were. I only want people who are positive bringers of light around my child, not negative people who so plainly did not wish me well in this endeavor.
Ultimately, this meant removing all three of my step-sons from my family, as well several of my own aunts, uncles, and cousins. It also meant adding some wonderfully loving and supportive friends into the fold of people I consider family. These will be the people who will be my family from now on and who will have the privilege of being a part of my child's life. My fundraiser allowed me to put together the perfect loving family for my child, and for that, I am grateful.