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To the distinguished gentleman in the Pharaonic headdress

Dear Composite Member of Congress Totally Not Based on Anyone in Particular:

Hey, how's it hanging?  I mean, of course, the fate of this great nation, which you hold in your powerful hands.  I was in no way referring, in an irreverent and vulgar manner, to any part of your august person that may or may not be pendulous.  But now that you mention it...

Couldn't help but notice that photo on your web site of you and your wife flanked by — how many is that? — eight?  Eight children?  Fheeeeeeeeeeeeeew.  (That's me whistling, onomatopoeia-style.)  You sure look nice with every single one of you wearing a white shirt and jeans.  I always think those let's-all-dress-the-same photos are adorable.  It tells me, "Here is a family that prizes homogeneity, complacency, and a monochromatic lowest-common-denominatorism over sloppy-assed individuality."  Kudos to you, I say!  Kudos!  Or I might, if the word "kudos" had ever before passed my lips.

About that family of yours.  I mean it — it really is a nice picture.  I can tell from your expression that you're proud of those kids, and you should be.  They look healthy and vibrant, and gathered around you and your wife, my God, do they look loved.  I can tell that from body language alone, unobscured even by the blinding white oxfords.  (Thanks, by the way, for not opting for turtlenecks.)

But back to your august person, neither more nor less but exactly as dangling as befits an elected representative of such distinction.  Seeing those eight magnificent kids of yours, I'm going to go out on a limb and assume you haven't faced any fertility problems.  Which is good!  I'm glad for you!  Your picture would look a lot different, I bet, if you had.  There might not be so many children.  There might be fewer.  They might not look like you.  There might be none at all.

Imagine what that would be like.  What if that picture were different?

It's hard when you can't build the family you hope for.

I will be in your D.C. office on Thursday, June 25 as part of RESOLVE's Advocacy Day to ask you to address that fact.  To affirm that you understand that your constituents need your help.  To convince you to take action on the following points:

  • Shore up access to adoption by extending the adoption tax credit.  The current provision is set to expire in December 2010.  If this is allowed to happen, the amount of relief available to adopting families will decrease from $12,150 to a maximum of $5,000.  By supporting H.R. 213, you can protect your constituents' financial ability to adopt.  Waiting families are counting on you.
  • Guarantee greater access to medical care by requiring health insurance plans to cover treatment for infertility.  By co-sponsoring H.R. 697, the Family Building Act of 2009, you'll be delivering on that promise you made to improve health care for your constituents — more of whom suffer from infertility than you know.  And you'll still be keeping that promise to make health care affordable — comprehensive coverage could actually reduce overall insurance costs.

But this is just an outline.  I will dazzle you with the facts in person.  How did I get so lucky, you are asking yourself, to have the chance to behold such an unstoppable juggernaut of persuasion in action?  (You only think you're thinking, How can I make sure to be not only out of the office that day, but on a fact-finding mission in some faraway place where she can't find me?  But you're not.  Because that would be ridiculous.  I promise I would find you.)

As to why?  Mostly, I guess, because I got mine.  I have my family.  After expensive procedures, years of uncertainty, and nothing much propelling me but nerve and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, I have two loud, beautiful, strong, improbable, wonderful, wonderful boys.  And it guts me to know that others  won't get that because they can't afford to try.

When I was in the thick of treatment myself, I couldn't have mustered the emotional energy to make much noise about this.  Now I can, because although God knows I love a spirited game of What Did You Just Put in Your Mouth?  Now Spit That Out Immediately, I am a woman of broadly varied interests and, yes, I believe I can spare the time.  And I know the value of who I have, which galvanizes me: Everyone who wants a family should have a chance to create one.  I'm asking you to help give them that chance — people I care about, but also people I'll never meet.  People like you, only not as lucky; like your colleagues — some of whom, I guarantee, have wrestled with infertility without your even noticing; like me.  You could say, in the most general sense, that I'm asking for a friend.

So on June 25, I'll come knocking.  Tell your aides.  I know they'll want to welcome me warmly.  Plus I want them to be ready to take notes.  Because aside from my earnest pitch, I'm probably gonna have a few more suggestions about that picture.  Next time may I recommend you and your crew deck yourselves out with just a little more pizzazz?  Maybe something in a golden snake hat?

Thanking you in advance, I remain,
Your friend the constituent,
Who actually did vote for you,
And even threw some campaign dollars your way,
Go on, check,

P.S. to interested onlookers: You come, too.  We need your help.  And, my God, so does your congressman.