Thursday, May 31, 2012

Important Message to Google

Dear Google,

You know I love you.  Lots.  Recently however, you let me down.  Worse than that.  You hurt my feelings.  Please Google, I beg of you....when someone does a Google search for  "a slow progression of getting fat", DO NOT list my blog as a search result.  Thank you so much.

Your Friend,


P.S.  I think we can still be friends...because I'm a forgiver like that.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"Giving A Baby Away"

"How can you give away the baby/babies?"

Surrogates hear this phrase often.  
And by often, I mean almost daily.

Kristen, over at  Becoming A Stork  addresses this question in a beautifully worded, very thoughtful post.  I invite you to read it and follow her journey.  Thank you Kristen, for allowing me to share.  

Monday, May 28, 2012

Be Inspired

Live your dreams.

Be the change.

Make a difference.

Be inspired.

In the process, you will inspire others.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

My Wife Was A Surrogate

The husband of a surrogate is a very special person.  He plays a very important supportive role in a surrogacy journey.  He is undoubtedly a kind, compassionate human being who loves and respects his wife enough to support her desire to help another family have children.

"My Wife Was a Surrogate"

Any guy who supports his wife through a pregnancy can expect a major reward: a baby. His baby. But what happens when that child actually belongs to someone else? One man shares his family's journey to help another couple have a baby and his wife's brave choice to become a surrogate mother.

Read more: My Wife Was A Surrogate Mother - Choosing To Be A Surrogate Mom - Redbook 

I'm always thrilled to run across any type of press that includes surrogacy, so as you can imagine, to see that there was a surrogacy article featured in this month's edition of Redbook Magazine made me a very happy girl.  I was, however, disappointed to see the cover of the magazine's promotion of the article.

"LET my wife".  Those words never sit well with me.  A marriage is a partnership, not a dictatorship.  Important decisions should be made together, as a family.  To state that you "let" your wife, who should be your equal, do something that is a dream of hers, does not indicate a partnership in any way. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that there are not many men who approach their wife with a dream or goal that they have, in the hopes that their wife will "let" them attempt to achieve that dream.  

It is quite possible that I was already feeling annoyed at the choice of words on the cover, but the first few things this husband said regarding his initial thoughts about his wife being a surrogate certainly didn't improve my mood.

"I would have to care for her and do all the stuff for her as if this baby were mine, and it's not,"

"I would be the one dealing with the hormonal aspect of it: the cravings, the moods, her getting really--excuse the word--bitchy. I thought about that too."

Yes, this husband is just being honest, and I can appreciate his honesty. However, it saddens me a bit to hear a husband place such an emphasis on how a surrogate pregnancy will effect HIM.  You see, above all, surrogacy is a selfless act. Pregnancy itself is a beautiful, meaningful, miraculous part of life. It can also be one of the more stressful, uncomfortable, intense moments of a woman's life.  A surrogate recognizes this, and assumes ALL of the risks that accompany pregnancy...for the sake of someone else. It's about doing something for SOMEONE ELSE.  Enduring your wife's--excuse the word--bitchy moments shouldn't be so big of a price to pay for being able to provide another family with the gift of children.

Now, lest you think I am just an angry, scorned woman, the article is actually a very positive one, telling the touching story of a wonderful family, Jeremy and Dawn Wallace and their 3 children, who help  a gay couple from Israel expand their family.  Jeremy IS a good man, who supports his wife and the surrogacy process throughout their sometimes rocky journey.  Upon meeting the men they had been matched with for the first time, Jeremy's eyes are opened to the beauty of surrogacy.

"I got to see how [Avishay and Avinoam] were as a family, to get a better look at their values and thoughts on raising a child," he says. "I got to see how badly they wanted another kid." Jeremy remembers watching the couple's son play with his daughters in their three-bedroom home and thinking how the two families really weren't any different. "At that point I said to Dawn, 'We have two people here who really want a baby, and we can give it to them. Let's do it.'"

When Dawn develops pre-eclampsia and has an emergency cesarean at 31 weeks, Jeremy helps to support Dawn and the babies until the parents arrive in Texas.

Jeremy and Dawn were the twins' legal guardians while they waited for Avishay and Avinoam to arrive. During that time, Jeremy took a central role in caring for the babies. "It was a lot of checking in on them, signing papers, and transporting breast milk back and forth," he says.

The Israeli fathers finally made it to San Antonio 48 hours after Dawn gave birth. "Jeremy was the first person we saw," recalls Avishay. "He ran up to us and welcomed us, and then led us in to see the babies."

Babies spent a month in the NICU but the story of course has a happy ending with 2 men who are finally able to take their babies home to Israel.

The Wallaces, who had never needed passports before, found themselves in Israel speaking about their surrogacy experience to a room full of gay couples. "It was the neatest thing ever," Jeremy says. They also got to spend time with the kids. "The last time we had seen them, they were so small," says Jeremy. "Going from that to these chunky little babies, rolls all over, it was awesome. I felt like they were my niece and nephew."

In the end, Jeremy proceeds to melt my heart when he reveals how he views his journey.

He discovered "a new level of selflessness in Dawn after watching her go through a pregnancy for someone else. It speaks a different volume." In the end, Jeremy was right about never being able to think of his wife in the same way after surrogacy: He now sees her as stronger, more generous, and braver than ever before.

I'd love to wrap up this post by encouraging all of you, many of whom have been a part of surrogacy in one way or another, to leave a comment sharing positive words or stories about the person who played or is currently playing the supportive role in your journey.  Let's celebrate our support systems.  They play an incredibly important role in a surrogacy journey.

Friday, May 25, 2012



These are only a few of the hats I am wearing these days.  

It's been busy.  
It's been an adjustment.

You see, I have spent the better part of my adult life wearing A hat...maybe 2 hats at a time.  Life has now offered me many, many hats to wear.  Each hat has it's own features.  I look better in some of the hats than the others.  Some hats are more comfortable than others. Some days I wish I could get rid of a hat, even if just for a short period of time.  

I'm learning how to manage my hat arsenal.  It's definitely a process and I am doing my best to embrace the process.  Right now, I attempt to practice wearing one hat at a time.  This is easier said than done for me, the ULTIMATE multi-tasker.  I remind myself approximately 4,761,980 times a day to:


Choose a hat.  
Wear it well!  
And when it's time to change hats, be ok with the change.  
Put on the next hat...and wear that hat well!  

Ideally, at the end of each day, I've worn many a hat 
and rocked each and every one.  
This is my wish.  
My goal.

Most importantly, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have 
such a plethora of head accessories available to me. 

Because....well....this chick LOVES to accessorize.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The New Normal

Ladies and Gentlemen~
I cordially invite you to set your DVR's.

This show is BOUND to ruffle some feathers!
I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Happy 11th Birthday Skyler!

My first born.

The amount of pride I have for this girl is immense.

To begin, Skyler's got a big heart...a gigantic heart.  I mean ridiculously huge.  She is constantly thinking of others and putting others first.  I love that she has a passion for helping and that she's got such a giving spirit. For instance, Skyler recently donated 11.5 inches of hair to Locks of Love. What a wonderful gift.  Upon seeing the final length of her hair, after it was styled, Skyler felt just a little disappointed knowing that they could have gotten a few more inches of hair for someone who needed it more than her.
Skyler is an extremely hard worker.  Not only at school and at her hobbies, but also at home.  Whether it's dance, choir, jump rope club, the science fair or just plain old homework, Skyler will always give it everything she's got.  She's smart, polite and responsible.  She's incredibly committed and fiercely loyal.  I believe these are qualities that will take her some pretty awesome places in life.  

Yep.  That's my girl...mowing the lawn.  Do note her cross-cutting method.  Very nice.

What I think I may love the best about this girl is her balance in life.  She has a work hard-play hard mentality.  She's got an amazing sense of humor and although she might try to fool you and pretend that she's shy...this girl likes to be the center of attention. And she's not afraid to be a little silly to get it.
Case in point...Remember my sister Jill?  Spidey's girlfriend from our NY Transfer trip last March?  Yeah, she got married a week and a half ago. Well, during the reception, lots and lots of dancing took place.  I'm talking back to back, hands in the air, club like dancing.  Over the course of the evening, several dance circles were formed and who should plop herself right in the middle of said dance circle ( 5 times) and show the 100+ guests her best moves?  You guessed it.  She danced for hours...all the while, sporting her 3 inch wedge heels.  (Can you see the tear in my eye?)  3 inch heels.

And today, Skyler turns 11.  
Eleven amazing, fun, intense, full of laughs and smiles years.  
I feel so blessed and so proud to be her mom.

I love you Skyler, more than words could ever say.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day for me was celebrated last night with

Following our delicious dinner, Rick and the girls and I went to see the movie Chimpanzee. 

Was it sad, you ask?  Yes.

Is there an important message of love in this movie? For sure!

When the movie ended, I just couldn't help but think...
that was ANOTHER example...
more proof...
that it is simply
that makes a family.


Friday, May 11, 2012

This One's For The Commenters

Over the course of this blog's 18 month life, 
it has received many comments.

1010 to be exact.

In order to honor Love Makes A Family's 18 month birthday, as well as surpassing the 1000 comment mark, I decided to go back through and re-read the comments.  All of them, all the way back.  

And I cried.  

It is absolutely incredible how much support I have much praise and celebration has taken place, through comments alone.  I just want to take a moment to thank you, the commenters, for commenting.  For supporting me. For celebrating the great times with me.  For understanding during the difficult times.  For being there.  I feel the love.  And it's overwhelming.

Some of the comments that really made my heart swell:

  • Your enthusiasm and joy will be an inspiration to many.  Your story needs to be told.  I am so happy to be along for the ride.
  • Jeni, apart from being an amazing woman, mother and wife, did you know that you are a wonderful writer?  I hope so because you really are a very good story teller.
  • Your positive attitude is infectious.
  • Thanks for always writing so honestly.  A lot of people, me included, read posts like this and get so much out of them.  It's pretty noble that you share so freely.
  • Tears of happiness run down my face as my partner and I start our surrogacy process.  Thank you for a beautiful story.
  • You are such an inspiration as always, Jeni.
  • Thank you Jeni, for being such a supportive part of the surro community.  I haven't been around long but I always see you commenting on everyone else's blogs and you are always just so awesome.  
  • I love your blog for so many reasons.
  • Congrats to you for being such a wonderful example for so many of us.
  • Beautiful!  Jeni, you are amazing.  You just have this way of writing that just draws one in and sometimes I laugh and sometimes I cry.  Thank you thank you thank you.
  • You are so amazing, Jeni.  Your family, your IFs, your surrotwins and us surrosisters are so blessed and lucky to "know" you via cyberspace.
  • This is BEAUTIFULLY written and I am, as always, touched and humbled by your honesty and your capacity for love.
  • I think it's an amazing thing you're doing.  Even if you aren't currently carrying, you are educating and opening up doors for others who may be considering it.
  • I just read your journey from start to finish and I must say you are a great inspiration for me during this journey. Your positive spirit throughout it all will remain in my head! Thanks for sharing!

How can a girl not get a little choked up?!  Ok, so maybe it doesn't take much to choke me up, but seriously, it still blows my mind that so many people care enough to take the time to leave a comment. 

I get comment notifications on my phone (yes, I'm OCD like that).  In my defense, I do that mostly because the comments make my day!  It's so lovely, when I am going about my daily tasks, to receive a nice little message from someone who is reading the blog.  So many of you comment on a consistent basis, which of course is why we all feel like we "know" each other.  It's how these blog relationships form.  My heart always jumps a little when I read a comment from someone "new".  Those comments are always especially touching.  I recognize that this is a person who does not usually comment, who took the time to communicate with me.  It really means a lot.  

THANK YOU, so very much, for all of the love and support you have shown over the last 18 months, and will undoubtedly continue to show.  It means the world to me.  I feel extremely blessed  to have such wonderful people in my life.

~ Jeni

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The F Word

If there is one thing I have learned as a blogger, it is this....

Give your post a naughty title and your readers will click on it.  Immediately.

Well, my naughty little readers, and for the record I love that you're all a little naughty, the F word I am speaking of is fulfillment.  And for my EXTRA naughty readers, I'm not speaking of that kind of fulfillment.  If you're grinning right now, you're naughty.  Yep.  Caught ya!  

Over the last year and a half, I have fallen in love.  With surrogacy.  If you're taken aback by this news, perhaps you should take a moment (or many moments) and read through the progression of this surrogacy journey I have been on.  Once Milena and Gustavo were born, the hardest part for me (other than saying "the g word" to Farid, George and the babies), was recapturing that feeling of fulfillment.  Our pregnancy gave me focus, it kept me challenged, and busy.  When it was over, I was left feeling a little unfulfilled.  Here I had found something I felt so passionately about, something that gave me such a wonderful feeling of fulfillment and suddenly it felt...well....gone.

Here is what I wrote back in December of 2011, regarding how I was feeling about surrogacy at the time.

I am passionate about surrogacy.  It is one of the only things in my life that I have ever been passionate about.  Surrogacy is, for sure, the only thing I have ever felt this passionately about.  I am extremely proud! Although my body will not allow me to always be a carrier, I do believe I will always be active in the surrogacy world.  I do not yet know specifics on how, where, or to what capacity that might be...all that I do know is that I want to be a part of it.  I will always be a part of it.

Has my passion faded since then?  No.  Conversely, it has only continued to grow stronger as the days and weeks pass.  I've been extremely fortunate to be able to play a role in the journeys of other surrogates and intended parents. It's the best feeling in the world to lay my head on my pillow each night, feeling like I made a difference, feeling like I accomplished something important.  And surrogacy...well, it's pretty darn important if you ask me! 

So it is with great pride that I share with all of you, that I have recently been given the opportunity to be a part of the surrogacy community on a professional level. This is an opportunity that the businesswoman in me has been longing for. Surrogate Outreach, Support and Marketing is something that gives me focus, provides me with a challenge and will definitely keep me busy.  To know that each day, I am able to have contact with people whose lives are being transformed by surrogacy, makes me feel like the luckiest girl on the planet.  

And that, my friends, is what you call fulfillment. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

6 Months Old

It's May 6th folks, which means that 6 months ago today, 
Milena and Gustavo made their debut.
What a wonderful, transformational, joyous 6 months it's been!
These kids just couldn't be any more perfect.

Yes, you can call me Mr. Handsome

I'm happy and I know it

Happy 6 Months Gustavo and Milena!
Jeni sends you lots of great big hugs today.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Love Makes A Family Logo

You may or may not know that my daughter Skyler (10 years old) is an artist.  She's a darn good artist.  Her artwork has been featured in the Douglas County Art Show.  Twice.  She loves all sorts of mediums...paint, pencil, name it, she can create with it.  Skyler LOVES to create.  She works on her art every day, even if it's just doodling.  

Recently, I decided I would like to have some artwork that represents Love Makes A Family.  I wanted something that I could use as a logo of sorts for our blog, our Facebook page, and on Twitter and Pinterest.  I gave the job to Skyler.  We did a little research online to see what we might like to include in our logo.  I told her I wanted the rainbow to be represented somewhere.  I wanted it to be universal.  And above all, I wanted it to represent love.  Skyler came up with a few pieces and presented them to me.  We picked the best things about each piece and she designed a final product.  She ended up doing several drafts before we decided on the perfect design.  I was extremely impressed with Skyler's ability to accept constructive criticism in putting together a piece for a "client".  She presented me with the final draft and I was quite impressed.  I told her I thought that all of the Love Makes A Family readers would LOVE the piece she created.

 So without further ado, I present you with the final Love Makes A Family logo:

By Skyler Denhof

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Featured Blog

Check out this blog.  It's awesome.  This girl's got a pretty fantastic story to tell. I'll let her give you all of the ooey gooey details but here are some teasers for you.

  1. She's pregnant.  Possibly (I think) with multiples.  :)
  2. For her best friends.  Baby Daddy 1 and Baby Daddy 2 
  3. She's moved into BD1 and  BD2's mansion, while she's on unpaid leave from her highly successful job with the US Government, to write her life story...oh yeah...and have a baby or 2.
  4. This after spending 3 weeks traveling across the country of Spain. On horseback.  For real.
Intrigued?  Me too.

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