what makes the world go ’round?

Is it love or money?

What if you have some of one, but not much of the other? What if you have a lot of one, yet none of the other?

I used to believe that “all you need is love.” Sorry John, you’re one of my real heroes, but it just ain’t so. All the love in the world won’t bring us a child. Making love does not make babies, at least in our home. Unfortunately, love does not conquer all, or we’d be king and queen of somewhere really cool, with a few princes and princesses running around the castle. 

Love is grand, an invaluable gift to cherish and nurture. Best of all, it’s free (though it requires giving and dedication).

But enough about love. You need money too. Unless you live entirely off the grid — i.e., generate your own power, drink from a clean well, grow your own food, etc. — or live in a community where you can trade or barter for essential services, you need money to get by. Of course you need money to raise a child too — for food and clothes, lessons, college, blablablah. In the U.S. it costs about 25K just to birth a child in a hospital with no complications. I know, it’s all about the benjamins baby. 

But if you’re infertile? You need a fucking pile of money. Money for doctors, for treatment. Money for adoption. More and more money. Or you don’t even have a chance. 

So, we need money to bring a child into our lives. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. That sucks. It’s just so unfair that some people simply have sex and get pregnant (for free!), while the rest of us need a wad of cash just for the chance to become parents some day (plus the emotional and physical toll on top of the bill). It’s just wrong. 

We are forced to spend small (or large) fortunes, or dig deeper into a pit of debt, just for the chance of a child. Adoption is not much different, except your chances eventually improve. But it costs. A lot. And those with greater resources can take advantage of more opportunities and go on for longer than those with limited resources. 

And yet, I am a lucky woman. Yes, we are in debt — years of graduate school, starting a small business, multiple surgeries and treatments with little to no insurance will do that. Yet we’ve been given a gift. A gift from long ago and far away, and we hope it will keep on giving… 

Let me tell you a story about a girl who lost her father when she was young. The most important thing to him was that she go to college. He put some money aside for a modest college fund. Apart from this fund, there was virtually nothing left when he died. Treasured memories, some photos and letters were all she had as keepsakes to remember him (aside from a single piece of jewelry that was stolen from her college dorm room). She was grateful for the fund and remembered her father’s wish, yet being young and idealistic, she wanted to cash it in and travel the world, or something. Her mother, knowing better, insisted that she use it for college. Smart woman. 

After she graduated, the fund was near empty. (She would take out loans for graduate school and work her way through night school, with the help of an extremely supportive husband who fed her and cleaned and paid the bills. Yes, he is amazing.) She took what little remained and wisely invested it into an interest-bearing IRA. She slowly began paying her debt down, trying to save, and investing in another retirement fund.

Every so often, she’d get a notice that the little IRA was still growing. Even as they kept throwing good money after bad with failed cycles, whittling away at their savings, that little account kept accruing interest, until it finally reached the amount they thought a modest adoption would cost. Hmm… 

And so, after considering the consequences of early withdrawal (taxes, penalties) and the potential tax credit for adoption (which is more deceiving than it looks — i.e., the more you earn, the more credit you can claim — it’s ass-backwards!), they decided to cash it in. Because who needs money when they’re 60 anyway, right? 

And they counted their blessings for even having the chance. 

So thank you dad, from my heart, for giving us this gift 23 years later. There’s something beautifully poetic about using the last of your hard-earned dollars to help realize our dream. I cried at my wedding because you were missing, because you never had the chance to meet M, and I’m sure I’ll cry again if and when we ever hold your grandchild in our arms. But it will be thanks to you. Though you’ve been gone for so long, you are still with me every day.

So you see, money may make the world go around, but love is what makes it all worthwhile.

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~ by luna on July 23, 2008.

25 Responses to “what makes the world go ’round?”

  1. Maybe the girl’s dad and John Lennon are conspiring to send love and a lovely spirit your way.

    I love thinking about your dad’s love enveloping you across time and space.

  2. I read this and cried. And somewhere, I believe, your dad is hearing this, and crying. Because he got to provide for his little girl to go to college, which was the best way he knew of to make sure she could take care of herself. And now, now he gets to give her the dearest wish of her heart. And I think, when you are a parent, that is what you most want to do.

  3. As I worked my way through IVF I was pondered what Darwin would think about the ability to earn and manage money as a trait favorable to reproduction. It all seems against the laws of nature somehow. Here’s hoping that you have enough money and love to see you through!

  4. What a lovely story. So sad that you lost your dad so early, and yet so incredibly wonderful to have his gift reach through time and on to the next generation. So very lovely.

  5. So beautiful, Luna. This made me cry, too – just knowing how strong your dad’s love for you is, and how strong your love for your future child will be. Thank you for sharing this part of your story with us.

  6. **sniffle!!** That’s such a beautiful story! Someday, you will have to tell it to your son or daughter.

  7. What a wonderful story!

    I have my fingers and toes crossed – that the chips will finally fall the way they ought to for you.

    If we can find any leftover change in the couch after we raid it for our cycle, we’ll send it to you! Totally feel your pain on that one……

    Hang in there….

  8. Totally crying now. What a wonderful legacy your father left you. Just wonderful. *sniff*

  9. It’s always a welcome blessing when you can look in retrospect and see how the smaller pieces fit into the big picture.

    Such a beautiful, full-circle story.

  10. That’s such an awesome story – you were so lucky to have such a thoughtful dad. Ohmigosh, how incredible, how blessed you are! He never left your side!

  11. I’ve got little tears forming. What a beautiful perspective and a wonderful way to remember your father and his generosity and deep wish for your happiness.

  12. Coming out of lurkdom to say what a beautiful post this is. I am so happy that you have those funds available to you. I am sure your dad is watching over you all and smiling.

  13. I love that this beautiful story gives poignancy and meaning to the otherwise cold fact that, for us, it takes money to have a chance at becoming a parent. You’ve inspired me to find a way to give meaning to the money we’re about to spend toward the same goal.

  14. Beautiful, Luna! Just… beautiful!

  15. I’m deeply sorry that you should have lost your father so young, but glad that you are able to respect and honour his love and generosity towards you by using his legacy in this way.

  16. What an amazing story. Your dad is definitely with you as you start this process!

    To answer your question- we are doing our homestudy with an agency in Modesto and are thinking domestic basically due to time issues- we have an agency picked out that is located Washington state. Although international adoption is also pulling at me, so we’ll see! I figure we have to get the homestudy done first, regardless.

  17. I read your blog but have not posted a reply. But this post of yours made me cry, tears streaming down my face. What an amazing amazing gift your father gave you. Wow.

  18. what a beautiful post and what a great gift from your dad.

  19. Beautiful story. Yeah, it does help to have money, fer sure.

  20. This made me cry too; it’s a wonderful thing that you have this money to use for the adoption. You know I’m right there with you: It is a huge injustice that infertile people must pay tons of money in order for a chance to be parents when for other people it is free (at least for those with health insurance to cover maternity costs). Infertility would be so much easier to deal with if not for the financial aspect, which just adds insult to injury.

  21. what a wonderful gift, my eyes watered reading this.
    yes it is unfair that some of us have to pay for a chance. it’s dead wrong, it’s also wrong that insurance companies are not all required to pay for these attempts and when they do, it’s usually a portion. i mean why call it health insurance – it’s completely conditional on their terms.
    i’m one of those women that get pregnant for free, but i’ve also lost my babies in very painful ways. it’s not fair that i have had to go through the pain of labor twice and have no child to show for it. our struggles are bitterly unfair. this is the most basic of human functions, and it’s just not happening. i can’t make it better, but at least you know that someone else understands part of your pain. you already know who lucky you were to have a father that would think enough to put money away for you (this coming from a fatherless daughter). i bet even he could not have known what his money might yield. i feel so priviledged to follow your journey. i’m hanging on for the post where you welcome your child home. that will be one good day.

  22. […] Then six months ago, M and I made a private offering of gratitude to my father when we allowed his parting gift to help sustain our dream of becoming parents. Thanks to him, that decision was possible and made […]

  23. […] plan for her baby. That day was my blogoversary and also my dad’s birthday (which held special significance for me and M). We didn’t yet know that K had also received our outreach letter from her […]

  24. […] world over which we had bonded, and one to honor K. The first middle name was also in honor of my dad, who helped make this possible and on whose birthday we first heard from K. For the second name, we […]

  25. […] one way to make it work. If I cashed in one of my retirement accounts — the relatively meager investment leftover from a small inheritance from my father that had been gaining interest for more than 20 years — we could consider […]

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