Brandi L. - NIAW

They say every little girl dreams of her wedding day. Brandi didn’t. She dreamt about being a wife and a mom. She knew without hesitation that she wanted to get married and have two kids, a girl and a boy. They’d live in a traditional house with their dog and her little family would be super happy.

Part of Brandi’s dream came true quite easily. She got the husband, the house, and then the dog. But ten years, seven failed IUI fertility treatments, several adoption meetings, and countless tears later, she still didn’t have a baby.  

At the beginning of 2014, Brandi decided to embrace her infertility and began accepting her childless life. She couldn’t give up on her dream of being a mom, though.  Now, that may sound impossible. If she was accepting childlessness, then she had to accept that she’d never be a mom, right? Well, she couldn’t accept that. So, she had to redefine what motherhood meant to her.

Because of this, Brandi fully embraced her role as dog mom. She and her husband, Dane, had recently adopted another fur baby. They decided to name her Madalynne, which is what they wanted to name their baby girl. Since they would never have two-legged kiddos, they decided to name their four-legged kid with their favorite name! As an overzealous dog mom, Brandi posts too many pictures of Maddie, celebrates her birthday, and buys her presents. She feels so blessed that Dane encourages all this and takes his dog dad role pretty seriously too!

One year into fully embracing their dog parent roles, Brandi and Dane met a foreign exchange student and her host mom at a cooking class. After class, they looked at each other and said, “We could do that!” So, they filled out the paperwork and two months later, they had a two-legged kid in their home.

Brandi truly does not believe that she and Dane would have hosted Bruna if they’d had a baby of their own. And that would have been a travesty because the six months they spent with Bruna were the absolute BEST months of their life!  Being Bruna’s host mom pushed Brandi to continue to redefine motherhood for herself. Brandi realized that Bruna allowed them to be parents and have some of the “firsts” that they had only dreamed of. And along the way, Brandi, Dane, Maddie, and Bruna became a family. 

Brandi is now in year five of embracing her infertility, accepting her childless life, and redefining what motherhood means to her. She still has the occasional wobble and she still wonders sometimes. But mostly, she focuses on the bright sides of her childless life and fiercely embraces her roles as wife, dog mom, and host mom. Brandi’s dreams have come true. She just had to redefine them. 

Brandi L. – South Carolina