Friday, April 4, 2008

Friday Friend or Family Feature...

Today's Feature is...


I met Deb at the very beginning of 2004. We were both members of an online group of women who were dealing with family building issues.The group had members from all over the world. In our very first correspondence, we learned that we lived five blocks away from each other. The timing of this meeting is important too. Remind me to tell you why later.

We met for lunch, and hit it off. We had several things in common. We were both aching to be mothers.We both loved dogs. We both loved hiking. We both liked to exercise and to eat. She was more fond of exercise, I was more fond of eating. We became friends easily. At the time we both needed someone who understood what we were going through.

The online group that we were in became a much smaller offshoot of local women. With the exception of one other person, every single woman in this group became pregnant. Many went on to have their second child, and a couple had their third. Deb and I were the "Last women standing". We cried on each others shoulders, and propped each other up. We began to believe that we would never, ever experience what these women had. We thought that we would parent only dogs, and as lovely as that is, we were both very, very sad about it.

Deb is a very sweet and thoughtful person. She is fun. Amid the sadness of the past few years, Deb has always managed to keep a glimmer of hope. Deb appreciates nature.

She loves flowers and gardening, and being outside. Deb and I used to take all of our pups on hikes. These were our super hairy kids. The five dogs (at the time) were living large with trips to beautiful canyons and refreshing waterfalls.

Deb has a zest for life. She likes to travel all over the place. She really likes wine.

Up until this point, Deb had succeeded beautifully at everything she had ever attempted. She worked hard, and achieved her goals easily. She whizzed through college and law school. She became a successful lawyer and then a recruiter. The company that she works for is now hugely successful due to her taking over its management.

Deb went through many years of heartaches and struggles. She was pregnant, and then she wasn't pregnant . She tried again and again. It was physically and emotionally exhausting. She had some really bad luck. Her heart was broken over and over again. Deb, however, is a very strong woman. She was not going to give up. Well, I've got some good news for you...

Meet Deb's happy ending...

This is Gabrielle. This is one beautiful baby wouldn't you agree?

This is Gabrielle's mom...

This is one happy mommy. Wouldn't you agree?

In the past, when people announced their pregnancies, or sent picture of their newborns, I admit that I would often feel jealous. This is not the case with Deb. I was in the trenches with this woman. I have seen her broken and inconsolable. I can't tell you how happy I am that this child has come into her life. No one deserves it more.

Oh and bonus for me...

I get to hug and squeeze her whenever I want (Gabby I mean, not Deb).

Back to the timing of that first meeting: Just a few weeks after meeting me, I told Deb that I had been diagnosed with cancer. At that moment Deb could have run for the hills. I mean really what good is a new friend who is going to be having a lot of health problems? Deb was having problems of her own. At that point, I was an acquaintance, a neighbor. It would have been really easy for Deb to say, "Nice meeting you Julie, and good luck with that cancer thing". Instead, Deb rallied around me. She was extremely supportive.

As part of my treatment I had to go on a ridiculous diet. I couldn't eat anything that had iodine in it.There is really nothing to eat that doesn't have iodine in it. I was exhausted, terrified of what lay ahead, and really, really hungry. My anxieties about family building had turned into something much graver.

Deb cooked me a delicious birthday lunch completely within the parameters of this diet. Did I mention that I was a vegetarian at the time? It was so thoughtful. She helped cheer me up on a birthday I wasn't really interested in celebrating. Her act of kindness really boosted me up. Who is this woman I thought ? She just met me and I am sick. She should just get back online and find herself a new, healthy friend to hang out with. Well she didn't and I am grateful.

How will my adoption impact Deb? Deb is, and always has been, a HUGE supporter of adoption. I wouldn't be surprised if she and Allen adopt a child of their own. She has always been helpful and encouraging. She even offered to come with me to adoption conferences and events back when Steven wasn't quite ready.

I am looking forward to play dates. (Can you drink wine during play dates?) I am looking forward to Naartjie sales, and more birthday parties. I am looking forward to introducing my kids to this smart, successful, sweet, thoughtful woman, who has helped me through a very challenging part of my life.

I am looking forward to more hikes in the mountains with our kids, our furry kids, and our not so furry kids.

I can't wait.


  1. Julie,

    Thank you for the beautiful post. I can't wait for all those things and more. I appreciate more than you know that you are able to support me and love my sweet G when I am sure at times it is difficult (in spite of what you say!) because you and Steven do not have your children yet. I was sad to read your recent post re: the possibility of Ethiopia shutting down. I can't even go there....I won't tell you not to worry, but I just KNOW deep in my heart that you and Steven will be parents and I can't wait.


  2. Julie:

    I happened upon your blog thru Gabrielle's blog. I just wanted to let you know your writing is as beautiful & inspiring as you are. Your tribute to Deb is lovely & oh, so true. I'm lucky to know her & it is thru Deb that I met you. I think of you so very often, but for some reason I don't call & just say hello! I have a picture I've wanted to mail to you since January! Back to the blog, I'm now a subscriber & look forward to keeping up & knowing whatever I can do to be there for You, Steven, Moses, Teddy and the little ones that are in our hearts that I know we will meet soon.