**The TTC Exchange for 2018 is now open**
It’s time for our 2018 TTC Exchange! This year, we are changing up the theme and sending LUCKY SOCKS! (Don’t worry, we may go back to mugs, but for now, enjoy the break in complicated shipping!) Wooohooooo! Last time we had over 1800 ladies participate and it was a BLAST! All women in all phases of infertility (trying to conceive, pregnant, adopting, new moms, taking a break, post-miscarriage, surrogacy, adoption, etc… more details on this below!) are invited to participate. I absolutely LOVE how all of these women come together to support one another and spread positive energy and love.
Before I share how to sign up participate, let me answer a few commonly asked questions about these exchanges: (even if you have done this before, I still suggest skimming this as things always change a bit!)
Who can participate?
Anyone who is has ever been diagnosed with an infertility diagnosis, including those currently trying to get pregnant, those suffering from secondary infertility; those who have recently adopted, are in the process of adopting or searching for their new family member; anyone who is currently pregnant after dealing with infertility, anyone who now is going through motherhood post-infertility, and lastly, anyone who is using a gestational carrier, egg donor, sperm donor, embryo donor or surrogate.
Please note that while I will do my best to partner you with someone in a similar stage, you may be given anyone to purchase for. As this exchange grows, it has become increasingly more difficult to ensure that you get an equally appropriate match. My very best efforts are given! Just try to remember that you are encouraging another TTC sister no matter what their story is!
How does it work?
Once you sign up and get the name of the person you are sending to (more details below), you will work to put together an exchange box for them, including a pair of lucky socks. You will be given a “send-by” date and I ask that you respect that date unless there are extreme circumstances. You will send and receive a box to the same person.
How much is this going to cost me?
Typically the suggested amount per box is $20 plus shipping. I don’t advise that you spend more than $20 but we definitely do have some generous women who put together a box worth more. Since socks don’t typically cost $20, you are able to fill the package with ANYTHING else that might make someone smile! Something pineapple, a special treat, a fun lip gloss or nail polish …. You can’t go wrong (unless you break the law) – this is definitely a situation where it’s the thought that counts.
In addition to the cost of the box, you will also need to pay for shipping. Socks will be much easier to ship than coffee mugs. It helps tremendously to ship it US Priority and get a tracking number just in case anything should happen during transit. (Plus it comes with $50 insurance!)
Besides a pair of socks, is there anything else I HAVE to include?
A note! Please include a card inside with a special word of encouragement for your new friend.
I live in the US/Canada/UK/Australia/etc, can I participate?
Yep! We always have women from all over the world participate and I think that is what makes it so much fun! HOWEVER, you will only be assigned an overseas person if you agree to be open to shipping internationally. (More about that below). I do ask that if you live outside of the US, that you be open to shipping internationally, as many of the participants are located in the United States, however I know that sometimes that’s not an option and that’s okay too. If I cannot find you a partner I will let you know.
What kind of socks do I need to send?
You can get ANY kind of socks, just make sure they are new! It could be a cute pair from your local boutique, something you ordered on Amazon, or bought at Target. There are SO many adorable socks out there – be creative! Don’t put too much pressure on yourself – this can be a pair that you adore or that you think someone else would love.
How many women participate? Is this a legit exchange?
Our TTC Exchanges have been doubling rapidly. Back in 2013, we had about 30 women, in 2014, we had over 400. In 2015 we had nearly 800! Last year, over 1500! The 1,800! What’s in store for 2018!? Who knows!
What happens if I send a package but never get one back?
Ugh, guys, it does happen, I have to be honest. It doesn’t happen often but there are definitely a small handful of women each exchange that are subjected to a lost box, a flakey partner, or some other sort of weird circumstance. To give you an idea of the chances, last year we had less than a dozen people not receive a box out of 1800. I will do my best to reach out to your sender once or twice but sometimes due to the sheer volume of participants, it just becomes impossible to make sure everything gets straightened out. From the very beginning of the exchanges I have warned participants that you have to come into this exchange with the understanding that you may not get a box. It stinks that there are some people that might taint this experience but I do promise that it is far and few between. I am a firm believer that it is a blessing to give and if you are one of the few unfortunate few that receives nothing at all, just know that your gift has blessed someone else. So please understand the risks involved but know that you likely won’t have a problem! In exchange for my time coordinating this, I just ask that you follow through with your commitment to send a package, sound good? :)
If you have fallen victim to someone not sending a package in the past, you will see a place on the form for you to note this.
Also, given the sock theme is less expensive, if for some reason you do not get a pair of lucky socks, I will do my best to send you a pair myself. I have kiddos who need diapers and clothing so just don’t scam me, okay? :)
Can I share this on my blog/with my instagram followers/on facebook/twitter/etc?
Of course! We LOVE new participants and their friends. Anyone in the infertility community is welcome to join in. We will be using the hashtag #TrialsBringJoyExchange2018 so feel free to share and let’s spread the love! (Also, if you want a live link, you can send them to this one: https://trialsbringjoy.com/TTC-exchange-2018.
In fact, if you do share it with your followers, tagging me in it and encouraging people to follow me and participate, I will pick a winner or two from the hashtag share to send a special surprise to!
What are the dates I need to know in order to participate?
You will need to sign up no later than end of day Wednesday, August 22nd. That’s a good 2+ weeks of time to sign up, spread the message and start brainstorming. You will then receive your exchange partner no later than September 2nd (hopefully sooner!). (Because of the hours it takes to coordinate, all emails may not go out on the same day. So if you see someone post that they got their person and you have not yet heard from us, it’s likely due to the amount of time it’s taking us to email everyone back individually. Do not panic!) Once you receive your person, you will have until Wednesday, September 19th to put together your package and mail it out. Please make sure if you sign up that you are able to get your box out on time.
What happens when I get my package?
This is the fun part! I LOVE seeing all of the posts where people show off their package! Post your socks to social media and tag it with #TrialsBringJoyExchange2018 so we can all peruse the pictures. Send a shout out to your person, blog about it, Instagram it, do whatever you want to celebrate this fun exchange! I do understand too that there are many women who are not publicly sharing their infertility journey with others so know that you don’t have to share it publicly in order to participate. The key thing is that we offer encouragement and support to one another, even if that circle stays small.
Enough FAQ’s! HOW DO I SIGN UP!!?!
Alright, here is how you sign up!
1. Click here to complete the form:
You will be routed to a Google Form. If for some reason, you have an extremely difficult time getting this form to work (it’s only happened 1-2 out of hundreds), you can email me at TTCExchange@gmail.com. (Please allow 48 hours for reply.)
I will close the exchange at midnight on August 22nd (CST) and will not be able to accept stragglers after that.
2. Make sure you receive a confirmation page! This will verify that your entry has been received.
3. Share! Let your friends know about the exchange! You can share my blog or instagram account so that they can find out more information. I feel awful when someone finds out “too late” and can’t participate so help me make sure no one gets left out. Again, use #TrialsBringJoyExchange2018 to share – the more the merrier!
4. Shop, write, smile and sip! Once assignments go out, shop and send out your package with an encouraging note. Then wait patiently and enjoy your socks once they arrives. Share the thoughtfulness of your new friend! I have seen so many amazing friendships form as a result of this exchange. Cell numbers are swapped, emails are exchanged – I have even seen friends plan trips to visit one another due to the friendship formed over a simple package! I LOVE THIS PART!
That’s it guys! I am so excited for this. These exchanges are among the highlight of my year. YIPPEE!!!!
Ready, set, GO!
PS – I have been asked in the past if there’s any way to help, and while hands on help is amazing, I think I am set due to the intricacies + past routines I’ve found to work! This exchange, due to the volume of participants, takes so long to coordinate. Now as a new momma, that’s babysitters hired and time taken off of work to coordinate. If you’d like to donate $1-2 to cover some of these costs via friends and family on PayPal, you are more than welcome to and know how much we’d appreciate it! It is NOT required to participate … but a simple way you can help if you choose to! Paypal email is: Trialsbringjoy @ gmail.com.