About Me

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North Carolina, United States
(Allie & Harris) Wife, teacher, patient, thinker, friend, worrier, planner, seeker. These are the hats I wear on a daily basis for the roles in my life. Harris and I've been married since 1999 and we have two fur babies of the feline sort. We have a pretty good life, all things considered. But, it's not complete. Seven years ago I received a diagnosis of PCOS, a condition which has taken a toll on both my body and soul. It will not beat me though and we will be parents.

Monday, June 23, 2014

A New Kind of Waiting...

Dear Friends,

I am very excited to share the news that we have recently been approved by the State to become foster parents.  In October of last year, Harris and I began our classes to get our license.  We did 60 hours of classwork and are now licensed to receive up to 4 children!  My infertility support group purchased a crib and mattress set for us in order to get the 1st nursery up and running.  Once that came in, the flood gates were sort of swept open and I began nesting.  I now have a nursery with a (very loose) travel theme, a pink bedroom perfect for a little girl, and a neutral bedroom with all of my teaching things organized like a little library.  The rooms are perfect - and they've been a family production.  Harris' parents made custom book ledging for us, and then even came and helped to get a peel-and-stick tree put up on the wall.  The last design piece going into the room will be family photos that I cut into a repeating leaf pattern and add to that tree.

So, now we are in a different sort of holding pattern as we wait for the phone to ring with news of a child to place in our home.  Our foster/adoption consultant knows that we want a child who is most likely to have parental rights severed and be up for adoption.

In an ironic twist, the day our license arrived, we received a call asking about placing a family of five kids, all under the age of 6, with us.  Whew!  That was a lot, and we turned it down because we felt like the parents had been able to maintain custody with no problem for almost 6 years.  So, it was extremely likely that they would get the kids back.  Neither Harris or myself thought that we should start our foster journey with that many kids who would all be leaving.

We are so hopeful that everything will start coming together soon for our family.  Until then, we wait...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Charting a Careful Course...

The Ah-ha moment...
Despite tremendous sadness, there is also a magnitude of freedom in stopping the surrogacy journey for now.  I get how strange that may sound, but it's true!  It may seem like a small act to some, but last week I went shopping and bought a new blouse and sweater for work.  Can I tell you how long it's been since I spent money on myself for something like clothes without guilt?  I'd not even realized that every purchase I made was put into a category of "essential/must have to live" and "not essential/should use the money for surrogacy" for the last few years.  Seriously, I had not even realized I was doing it until I made those purchases and walked out of the store with them.  I work, I can afford them, and there's no saving for a baby procedure.  I wore the new top to work the next day and felt like a million bucks.  In some small way, it was like I was taking back part of my life again.  For so long we've not done this or that, bought this or that, taken this trip or that trip, or hesitated to make a commitment to one thing or another because our lives were on hold waiting for something that never happened.  I know it's strange, but my buying something for myself that I didn't absolutely have to have was a

The Meeting...
We had dinner with friends of Harris' two weeks ago in the neighboring town.  Mexican, yum!  Harris had been wanting me to sit down with them and talk about their adoption process using a non-profit agency in NC who places kids thru foster care into the homes of people wanting to adopt.  I'd been humoring him by saying I'd go because foster care scares the life out of me and I'd never had any interest in it at all.  Truth be told, I thought by the end of the night he'd have heard enough to give up on this idea altogether and I could walk away looking like the dutiful and patient wife.  Wrong.

The more we talked, the more the things they shared started sinking into my brain.  They were able to adopt 2 little girls, both born to a mother with drug problems, over the course of 2 years.  The little one they were able to take home from the hospital after birth.  I'm not going to lie and say it was an easy road - what with the court appointments, the testing results from the bio-mom, and the continuations of hearings it was anything but.  However, they now have 2 beautiful girls who are hitting their benchmark milestones and THRIVING in their new home. 

Beyond that happy family, they told us about the benefits that the kids are eligible for until they're 18 and my jaw hit the floor!  So, we're planning to start with going to an open house for this non-profit next month and see where things go from there.  No commitments, lots of caution.  But, if it seems like a good fit, we'll begin classes to become a licensed foster home and, possibly, have movement on the child front by the end of the year!  Maybe there could be an extra stocking hanging on my fireplace this year at Christmas after all!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

GPS Needed...

In spite of our best efforts, both Carrie and the surrogate tested negative from this last transfer.  So, now Harris and I are trying to decide what path we should head down.  We haven't given up on having children, but we are at a stopping point with surrogacy in India for now.

While we work to rebuild savings, we're taking some time to weigh our options.  International adoption has always been on our radar.  But, we just always thought that we'd have our own biological children first.  Nonetheless, as that isn't what we're facing now, we have to adjust our outlook. 

So, not sure what's on the horizon, but I'll let you know when we figure it out!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cross your fingers!

Hallelujah!  We're back!

All of us flew in on Tuesday, did as much laundry as we needed for a trip to the Lake, and headed out for a quick vacay Wednesday! 

So, we have had a pretty successful trip and feel that there is nothing left hanging over our heads to keep drawing us back to India regardless of how this all turns out.  We've used all our eggs, used a fresh sperm sample rather than freezing some, and all bills are paid.  If it works, we'll make one more trip for baby pick-up.  If not, no more 14.5 hour flights to (what seems like) the hottest place on earth for us!  We said goodbye to the people we've so enjoyed meeting at the hospital, and are thankful to have had the experience of seeing India over the last few years.   

Here's the long-story-short version:

12 folicles
8 eggs retrieved + 2 thawed (only 1 survived the thaw)
3 transferred to Carrie on Day 2 at 4 cells
4 others survived to do a Day 5 transfer to the Indian surrogate

Beta test in India is scheduled for the 14th!  Carrie is planning hers for a few days after that.  Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

FRRO Update...

Monday we piled into cars with two (fantastic!) Aussie couples and Carrie to head over to the FRRO.  We had prepared paperwork for the Registration and for the Exit Visa.  As there was some confusion of what we needed, we figured it was prudent to get everything together for both.

First stop was M-Block Market.  The Nikon camera shop does passport photos for just under $3 US per package of 4.  Harris and I picked up 8 total photos just in case we needed extras for some reason.  We did not have them stuck on the paperwork, but there were glue sticks at the FRRO we used to do this quickly when they told us we had to have them attached.  *If you can attach them ahead of time, it's less stressful.  Who knows when they'll stop letting people use their glue sticks?!*

The trip to FRRO was relatively short; maybe 30 minutes from M-Block in traffic.  We had been assigned a 1 o'clock appointment time.  However, as we all wanted to have everything for both visas, there was some delay and we were two hours late.  We arrived at 3:08 and decided to walk up to see if they'd let us in despite their last accepted time being 3:00.  The gov't official took Harris' passport, asked how many were in our party (7), wrote down that number, and pushed all of us thru without another look at anyone else's passports.  Oh, you do have to leave any *visible* water bottles outside.

Once inside the building you turn left down the first hallway and enter into a room that looks like an American DMV office from the 1980's.  No computers, no automation, no real visible filing or organization system of any kind anywhere in sight.  There's just a ton of desks forming a ring around the room with chairs in the middle where (if you're female with a male partner) you sit and wait.  Up front, there's a number board that changes rarely - so, when you hit anywhere close to your number hop up to the inquiry counter and ask if they can go ahead and look at your paperwork.  We were party number 159, but the boys jumped up front when the ticker hit 150.  They asked for the paperwork to be shuffled around and put in a certain order (I think this was a delay tactic, but it only took a couple of minutes), and then sent all three of the husbands to the back counter area.  Each was processed one at a time, with the correct wife having to stand and show that she was actually the person on the picture.  Eventually, at the fourth desk stop, the paperwork was registered and we got the printout we'd waited for.  This is now tucked away in our hotel safe and we'll take it with us to the airport. 

Even though it was my Day 14 and the last day I could register the visa, there was no penalty or fine.  I've heard different figures on how much that fine is, but since it wasn't posted anywhere, I suspect that this could vary as it is India and we all know that when it's not written down, the price is never firm.  We did have a few thousand rupees with us just to be on the safe side because I am NOT interested in going to Indian jail!  All tolled, the whole process took about 2 hours.  The room had lots of fans inside so it wasn't sweltering, despite the temps that day being over 100 degrees. 


1)  When traveling on a medical visa, you must go to the FRRO website and fill out the online form for the Registration of a Visa.

2)  FRRO wants the application page in triplicate so ask your hotel or the SCI clinic w/concierge team to make copies for you.

3)  Even if you're late, push thru to see if you can get into the FRRO. 

4)  If there's a man in your party, he's going to get a lot farther than you with the Indian officials.  Just sit and let him handle it as much as possible.

5)  Keep any bottle of water out of sight if you have them.

6)  Plan for a 2-3 hour trip for this process.  We went in the mid-afternoon when there was very little crowd.  I don't know if this is always the case, but it was when we tried it.

7)  Anyone without a passport is NOT allowed inside.  In hindsight, we'd have had the driver drop us off and then take Carrie back to the hotel.  She had to sit in the car for 2 hours in that heat.  NOT COOL!


Saturday, June 22, 2013

New Registration Requirements for Medical Visas!!!

Bit of a boring but IMPORTANT post here...

First, always make friends with other IPs while you're here.  We all know bits and pieces, but together we know it all!  SUPER HUGE THANKS to Annette for making us aware of the new requirements for the Medical Visas!!!

In addition to IPs having to come on a Medical Visa in order to do surrogacy in India, there is also a new requirement that you must register your visa with the FRRO within 14 days of entry.  As Monday is our 14th day, you can see that this was *almost* a problem!  Again, thanks Annette!

I have finished the online paperwork and we'll head to M-Block on Monday to get the passport pictures done.  One other tip to anyone who is about to do this, or anything abroad, ALWAYS keep digital copies of your passport, visas, etc. online in a file that you can access from email.  I have gmail and they give me digital storage.  There's one there that is called "Travel" where I keep all essential information.  Honestly, it's brutal to think about, but I try to imagine that I have to emergency evac'd from the middle of nowhere - what would I need?  Those things are the things I keep copies of online.  My mom also has back-up copies of this stuff for both Harris and I just in case something happens and she has to come find us, and there's copy in our safe at home in case she's misplaced something...Again, I know it's brutal to think about, but it does come in handy when one needs a copy of something fast. 

So, I've pulled the info from the SCI forum about the Visa registration.  Again, if you're coming over on a Medical Visa, please make sure you're aware of these new requirements!!!  Here's what I've found...

Information regarding FRRO registration:

We would like to inform you that Foreigners visiting India on a medical visa are required to get themselves registered with concerned FRRO within 14 days of his/her arrival in India.

Kindly find all the necessary information below.

(i) Four recent passport size photographs.

(ii) Photocopy of photo page and valid Indian Visa page of the passport.

(iii) Proof of residence address in India, Documents of identification.

(iv) The applicant should also complete the online registration form and also take appointment online.

We would like to inform you that the Applicant is required to fill the online registration form and schedule his/ her appointment in the FRRO before his/ her visit. Once the application form is filled and submitted, a unique Registration number is generated by the system. Kindly visit the website http://indianvisaonline.gov.in/frro/ for your reference.

Please find the address of the FRRO Delhi as mentioned below.

East Block-VIII, Level-II, Sector-1, R.K. Puram, New Delhi-110066.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

We are here!

Got in late last night due to weather in the US.  The Hilton staff is as gracious as ever, and it's nice to see familiar faces here!  Carrie and I are heading out around noon to do some sight seeing and pick up a few supplies from M Block.

It was weird to not see any couples with babies this morning at breakfast.  Maybe I just missed them?  Of course, we didn't get there until almost 10 this morning because we were exhausted.

Oh, and word to the wise, if you're doing injections on 2 continents, plan a time that's not 4 a.m. on the second continent.  Yeah, we didn't think that one thru!  LOL!