I inhaled my Caesar wrap and soon my mom and I parted ways, she off to her Representative and me to my Senator, the ever-charming Scott Brown. The post-lunch food coma began to sink in. With only one appointment down so far that day, I needed to refresh myself.
Did I find a little secluded park behind the Senate building? Perhaps. Did I sit on a park bench and take a nap in that gloriously warm sun for 15 minutes?
I plead the fifth.
. . .
“I’ll be honest with you. Individual tax credits aren’t really up the Senator’s alley right now because of the Tax Reform Bill they’re hoping to push through after elections.”
This was Senator Kerry’s staffer. A common uphill claim we faced on Advocacy Day.
“The Family Act has been unofficially scored,” another advocate at the table offered. “It’s been written and scored to be as cost effective as possible to tax payers.”
Still nothing on the face of the staffer sitting across from us.
“Look, I know Massachusetts is a wonky state when it comes to infertility coverage. Sure, we get coverage because it’s mandated. But did you know that even with coverage, I’m still paying close to fifteen grand out of pocket?” My eyes shot nervously around the table, worried about the plain language I found myself suddenly using.
The staffer’s face lit up, “Really? Why do you have to pay so much?”
So I told him my story. It’s the story I told to Senator Brown’s staffer, to Representative Tierney’s staffer that day too. I told them how I’m just a small business owner who just wants to be a mom, who just wants to make her husband a dad. I told them I was a taxpayer who saw incredible value in the Family Act. I told them how much I loved my state, how proud I was to say that I lived in Massachusetts, and how proud I would be to be a Massachusetts Mom one day.
I think it clicked. It felt good to say it to my elected officials – well, at least their staffers. But to know that my message, my story – is on record in Washington.
. . .
I always knew she was tall, but in person and in those kickass heels, Whitney’s height blew me away. We met at the Reception the night before Advocacy Day. I sipped my wine, moving on to a Heineken once I started feeling more brazen.
She’s a force, I tell ya. Whether it’s takin’ down personhood in Virginia or just fightin’ to build her family, Whitney Anderson is a force to be reckoned with. Advocacy Day was another opportunity to finally meet some amazing trailblazers in person. Like Stephanie, who writes for Attain Fertility’s blog . Such an incredibly genuine and warm person – a fab writer who I felt so lucky to meet in person.
I got to meet so many other folks, too. Like the woman from NJ who I learned was diagnosed with POF at sixteen. Sixteen. (I didn’t handle it well at 26, I can’t imagine had I been diagnosed 10 years prior.) There was Fran from Connecticut and author of The Truth Behind the Secret “Infertility” and Krissi, author of the new book, Ordinary Miracles .
There’s incredible power sitting in a room of advocates from around the country, all focused on talking to their legislators about what matters to this group. Even if I didn’t get to meet every single person there, just sitting in that room and sharing that energy – it’s incredible.
RESOLVE Executive Director Barb Collura addresses the advocates.
To know that I got to sit in that amazing room and have my mom by my side?
There almost are no words to describe how proud, humbled, and just awestruck I felt.
. . .
The grandeur of our nation’s capitol never ceases to amaze me. I lived in the DC area for three years and yet, to walk up and down Capitol Hill and marvel at these massive buildings – it gets me every time.
Supreme Court Building, with protesters outside as it was the last day of oral arguments.
I’m not a flag-waving, apple pie-eating American. I am only mildly interested in baseball. But hot damn if walking around Capitol Hill doesn’t make me realize I live in the greatest country in the world.
. . .
If there’s one thing my legislators should know, it’s don’t eff with the Suwa girls. We mean business.
Serious business. (In the Senate Ways & Means Committee Briefing Room)
. . .
I’m really hopeful about The Family Act. I’m really hopeful that legislators won’t let the Adoption Tax Credit sunset at the end of this year. That’s what I walked away with from Advocacy Day this year, just as I did last year:
I’ve got follow up emails and letters to send. I’ve still got my part to do here, on my own. And I’ll do it because it’s important to me and because I know it benefits this whole community.
And I remain hopeful.
And I have RESOLVE to thank for that.
Hey Congress: Help us all build our families.