They're Here!!

HELP!!!!!!!

We have a LOT of help around here actually! From donated items to freezer meals to volunteers who come in twice weekly to pull baby shifts to the BEST help of all - live in grandparents! We are so greatful for everyone who has contributed in so many ways. And if you too feel moved to help buy can't swing by - a financial donation is GREATLY appreciated. It turns out having trips is actually like three times as expensive as having just one baby...

Welcome to Grafted Gifts! 

We are Luke and Joni Timm and we are very thankful that you've visited us here! Long story short - a few years back we felt as though God was calling our family of five to embryo adoption, and ended getting far more than we bargained for with the birth of our triplets! "What's embryo adoption?" you ask? Don't worry - we didn't know what it was two years ago! It's like regular adoption, only smaller. And it turns out there is a real need for people willing to have children grafted in their lives who otherwise would never have a shot at birth. So with three children, two cats, one dog and NO history with IVF or any sort of infertility, we embarked on the journey! We were matched with a couple with four embryos they couldn't transfer and adopted all four. Tow survived the thaw, and we transferred both. Then the impossible happened...two became three!! We pray that our story might inspire and inform - and maybe even entertain a little along the way! 

Friday
May092014

I Know a Secret...

There’s something I need to write that I’ve been putting off for a long time - about 1 year actually. The reason I haven’t written about it is because I’m honestly not certain if it is something I should share. 

And I realize that’s coming from the guy who eagerly tells anyone who will listen about the time he pooped his pants while waiting in line at an REI tent sale. When people say ’T.M.I.’ to me I usually just assume they’ve misspoken one of my favorite acronyms and correct them. ‘You mean T.M.N.T - Michelangelo’s  my favorite.’

It’s been almost one year to the day that we took the HUGE step of transferring embryos. I have sat down to write about that day and my feelings several times, but have always come up short. Not for words. Being short on words is never my problem. The problem has been strange to say the least…I’m not sure I’m supposed to write about it.

Sound weird? Well, as if watching another man impregnate your wife with an $8,000 glorified turkey baster isn’t weird enough, as I watched a tiny luminescent dot positioned on an ultrasound monitor a very familiar scripture kept floating through my head.

 

Psalm 139 

For you formed my inward parts;

    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.

 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;

    my soul knows it very well.

 My frame was not hidden from you,

when I was being made in secret,

    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;

in your book were written, every one of them,

    the days that were formed for me,

    when as yet there was none of them.

 Did you catch that? ‘When I was being made in secret.’

I recall the NIV version I grew up with saying it was ‘a secret place.’ I’m not too proud to say that in that moment when I should have been experiencing nothing but wonder and joy I had also this subtle feeling of being busted spying on my brother trying to steal a kiss from a girl on the front porch.

With the exception that the embryo’s never slapped me and called me a nerd. 

Now then, after an incredible year and all that we’ve seen and done we’ve grown tremendously in our understanding of family, marriage and faith. So…I’m still not sure about sharing that moment. But at the end of the day I am the guy who hates having the regret of NOT doing something. So here goes. I realize this is going to be an extra long piece so I’ll probably break it up into two or more posts.

So then, on with the day the secret place was revealed.

Driving my chemically enhanced wife to the fertility clinic went from an exciting eventuality to a world jarring reality over night. I’d be lying to you if I said it was a restless night before we transferred our adopted embryos. We had no idea how many embryos, if any, would survive the thaw. It was possible that the months of painful shots and crazy meds would in the end be for nothing. And at several thousand dollars - this would be our only chance. 

Joni had the luxury of taking a valium while I had to play designated driver for what had become the most important uterus on the planet - at least it was in my mind. It was like someone had implanted a bomb in her abdomen that was sensitive to vibration. I was Mario Andretti-ing every pothole on University avenue for fear that we’d arrive to the news that ‘it appears your uterus is twisted - did you have a rough drive over this morning.’

And I remember exactly where it was when the thought hit me. I was making the turn into the medical buildings when it hit me that this whole embryo adoption thing was inside out.

Not that Joni would be carrying babies like a marsupial…although you have to admit, that would be pretty cool. The inside out part was the knowing and the hoping.

With our first three children we hoped first, and knew later. We hoped embryo existed. We were left in the dark for several weeks wether or not life was beginning in our midst. Then, it was some time later that our hopes were confirmed and the knowing set in. With the knowing, comes the worry. ‘Yea! We’re pregnant!’ is immediately followed with ‘Oh crap, we’re not ready to have a baby!’

That is the natural order of things. When hope precedes knowing there is an opportunity to suspend weight of it all till a later date. When knowing precedes hope, the weight comes first and starts stealing from hope.

And that’s what I felt the moment we arrived. The weight. The responsibility. When hope comes first everything is, shall we say, “fun and games” until the knowing. But upon arrival we found out that two embryos survived and two did not. We knew. Embryos would be transferred. This was happening. And immediately it started to rob my hope. ‘What if’s’ assaulted me. Instead of hoping for the embryos to implant after transfer I was full of doubt. 

That is, until that moment when I witnessed the secret place. I’m not a religious nut-job but I will admit to, in that moment, clearly hearing the voice of the Spirit. That moment changed everything. The secret was revealed…

TUNE IN NEXT TIME TO DISCOVER THE TRUTH OF THE SECRET PLACE!

See what I did there?

Thursday
Mar202014

Welcome all you My Faith Radio Listeners!! 

It's about an hour until the interview now - I hope all goes well! Joni is on the sleep shift and I (Luke) am up and on baby duty. Bottles made for the day? Check. Diapers stocked? Check. Caffine sourced? CHECK!! All right - I guess we're ready for today! We update this website as often as the trips let us so check back often. Follow along here and/or br friending me on facebook!

Wednesday
Feb052014

I’ll take a Ham on Nye, hold the empathy with a side of narcissistic personality disorder.

Here’s what I think should be the outcome of the creation/evolution debate from last night. Both Ham and Nye should be convicted of crimes against humanity, locked into a cell with each other and forced to listen to the mating calls of various migratory and non-migratory waterfowl. 

Because that’s what the debate between creationists and evolutionists feels like to me.

In all the reviews and various declarations of winners and losers one critical and age old falsehood was not only noted but promoted - the false dichotomy of science and religion.

There was much talk of a ‘reasonable man’ in the debate and yet this creature seems to be as elusive as the mythical ‘Lukedoesius Giveacrapus’ of the genus ‘Givememi Evningbaak.’

Religion and science begin with different premises and serve very different purposes and yet are not, in any way, mutually exclusive. And yet it seems as if an adherence to one ipso facto rejectimatico’s the other. That is just stupid. As stupid as making up a word like rejectimatico - even though you totally got it, am I right?

Anyway, we require this fantastical cohesion of agreement in no other competing disciplines in existence. For some reason, however, we believe that science must be reconciled by religion and religion must be verifiable by science. But why on earth would we ever hold these vastly different disciplines to each other’s standards of operation?

No one curses their photo editing software for not being able to edit a text document right? And no one has ever attempted to open a media file with Microsoft Word and declared ‘Aha! the file does not exist because MY program will not recognize it!’

That would not be a reasonable man. And yet we found ourselves doing just that last night and then pretending like it’s complicated, academic and really, really difficult to parse out in real life. As if science and religion present such appositional claims to one another that they could not possibly coexist. The reasonable man must choose, right?

Just like you can’t run Word and Photoshop on the same computer, as any reasonable man will tell you. The existence of one disproves the existence of the other, right? To prefer one means you must reject the other…just like science and religion.

Nye and Ham set out last night to illustrate how each other’s primary system of data interpretation was inferior to their own and ended up simply proving what we already knew - their respective systems are incapable of duplicating or reconciling the other’s results. 

I’m tempted to digress into a discussion on the debate as commentary on our narcissistic culture of controversy that stares into the face of diversity of thought and screams ‘your thought can’t be right because it doesn’t sound enough like mine!’ I’m tempted to scold both sides of the creation vs evolution debate for not even attempting to understand the position of the other. But to do so only adds to the purposely over complicated and self-aggrandizing nature of the discussion. At the end of the day, this just isn’t so hard to sort out. Nerds on both sides of the aisle should be ashamed of themselves.

Instead, I’ll just apply my faith to that which can’t be known or is immaterial while fervently applying science to know and understand more. That which requires faith shall have faith applied. That which science is able to explore will be explored by science.

In other words, I’ll use Jesus to open a .faith file and Einstein to open a .science file. 

Is that really so hard?

Tuesday
Jan282014

Quick Peek Inside our World!

Wednesday
Jan222014

Parenting: Not a Rewarding Gig.

True confession: I’m in last place for ‘dad of the year.’ But I know something you don’t know:

There is no prize for 1st place parenting. 

In fact, there is no parenting prize at all. I’ve checked the mail and have consistently found that I’ve not been invited to any parenting award banquets even though I’ve been in the competition for nearly a decade now and am competing in no less than six events. When people say ‘being a parent is hard work, but it’s rewarding’ they’re trying to trick you - probably because they feel duped themselves. 

Parenting is rewarding? Really? Let me tell you something: if I possessed information that would lead to the arrest of the most wanted criminal in the country and the reward was long-term, total responsibility of a screaming, non-communicative butt-mud smuggler; I think I’d go ahead and lock that secret up in the vault.

And parenting is not ‘it’s own reward.’ I’ve won a lot of contests where winning is its own reward. Like the taco eating contest I won (19 home made hard-shells) or the cheese ball stuffed in the mouth contest (23 - though the results were contested based on pre-mature ball crushing).  Those contests were their own reward because, hey, cheese balls. 

Look, I get it. You want to make it sound like being a mom or dad is challenging, but that somehow all that hard work gets paid back to you in ways that makes it all worth it in the end. And the reason you want to make it sound like that is because you bought into that line of horse crap before you had kids and you don’t want to admit that you got sucker-punched by your own reproductive instincts. You’ve got ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ syndrome.

But this ain’t my first rodeo and frankly, after only one month of raising triplets, I’ve lost the capacity to polish this turd any longer. Being a parent is hard, thankless work and it is NOT rewarding. And that’s good.

Because anyone who does anything significant, important or profound expecting to be rewarded is either an egotistical, self-centered bonehead or an evil, narcissistic bonehead. Work isn’t sacrifice if you expect to be rewarded. It isn’t important or profound if it’s transactional in nature.

So I don’t want parenting to be rewarding. I don’t want to be an excellent dad so that I can receive from my kids some sort of mock emotional honorarium. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to be a good dad. In fact, I want to be an excellent dad.

But I want to be that dad out of a sense of calling and duty. Like anything else that is profound or deeply important I want to stand up and do my best out of a sense of moral or civil responsibility and NOT because I hope to be handsomely rewarded. 

My kids owe me nothing. My family need not reward me for doing what is right. In fact, we may have stumbled upon one of the most caustic actors in the corrosion of our culture - the need to be rewarded. 

There’s a lot of people out there, but men especially, who at first engage excitedly at the prospect of a new and growing family only to slowly disengage when they discover that all the hard work doesn’t come with a tangible reward. When hard work is followed by more and harder work we’ve trained ourselves to abandon our ‘fruitless’ endeavor and seek something that will provide what we deem to be rewarding. We are a people who want to get something out of everything.

And that’s stupid. Not surprising, but stupid.

We live in a culture that finds a way to make everything about ourselves and parenting is no exception. Even the over caffeinated, under appreciated soccer moms that could and would do ANYTHING for their jazz-choir singing, debate team captain, ballet dancing honor roll princess is, in reality, doing it for themselves. They fall to the temptation to give their kids every advantage in hopes of a selfish reward:

Freedom. 

Freedom from judgment from all the mom’s with kids on the travel team. Freedom from the guilt of their kid not making the cut because they didn’t get them private lessons. Freedom from the fear that somehow they are going to screw up their children. Parents today are working overtime to win the best in show award in the children breed not to give them the best chance to succeed at life, but in an attempt to prove that they themselves have not failed at preparing them. The contest for best parent award is rooted in fear and insecurity of adults, not children.

To all you parents out there locked into this fabricated competition hoping for your reward let me ask one simple question: you free anytime this week? 

The answer is of course no, you’re not free. Not only because of all the appointments and meetings and practices, but you’re not free of the fear and insecurity you attempt to defeat by filling the calendar. In fact, you’re a slave to that fear. You’re a slave to the idea of freeing yourself and it’s killing you. You’re coming in last place in the Healthy Self competition but first place in the Irony Man event.

The way out isn’t to stop being a parent, or even trying to be a good parent. The way out is to be a good parent for the right reason: because your kid needs you to be the best parent you can be. Because it’s the right thing to do. Because you love them even when your reward for all the sacrifice is a zit faced teenager telling you he wished he’d never been born. In fact, when the little life sucking booger eaters reward you for all your hard parenting work by pooping in your punch bowl; that is exactly the moment when they need your best parenting performance. You’re not going to do anything to free yourself from all the doubt, worry, fear and judgement - but if you’re a good dad or mom, your parenting ought to free your kid from the need to find fault, a lack of responsibility or general poopy-headedness. 

Nope, there is no reward in this thing called dad. But there is a lot of really good stuff. There is satisfaction in seeing your child experience their own freedom from needing to be rewarded in order to combat insecurities. Their is the joy of seeing them embrace the same sense of honor and self-sacrifice you model in raising them. There is rejoicing when evidence is found that values are being transferred to the next generation. And there is an awful lot of fun along the way. It’s not my reward, it’s theirs - even though I do all the work.

It’s not unlike the dynamic we see at play in our God who sacrifices greatly NOT to be rewarded by our worship and glory. He gave all NOT because he hoped one day we’d return the favor. And he certainly did not give to us all we need because of his own insecurities. Rather, he did it for us. Salvation is the reward given to the children for the work of the parent. And I like it that way.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll never have a ‘dad of the year’ mug. I don’t want one and I’m not even entering the contest. Instead, I’m shooting for the ‘dad who doesn’t do what he does so that his kids like him or to try to impress others or even for a stupid coffee mug’ mug. If I get that mug, I’ll know I’m doing a good job.

But I will settle for a ‘Cheese Ball Face Stuffing Champion’ mug if you can’t find the other one. Cause hey - cheese balls.