My husband and I met online in the summer of 2008.
While we were busy “cyber-smooching” (as his dad liked to call it), God was busy creating two of our future children for us—literally. (Mind. Blown.)
Here’s how it all went down:
- In the summer of 2008 (while my husband and I were first getting our flirt on), a Christian couple (whom we did not know), prayerfully decided to try and build their family through in vitro-fertilization (IVF) after years of struggling with infertility. To their surprise, they ended up with 17 growing, seemingly-viable embryos (which is pretty abnormal based on stats). The couple, being pro-life, believed that these 17 embryos were babies (with a right to life) from the moment of fertilization—but they did not believe they were cut out to be The Duggars, so, after implanting, carrying, and giving birth to three of these children, they made the hard, but life-honoring decision to give their 14 remaining embryos to a needy family—their other options being to 1.) keep the babies frozen indefinitely, never giving them a chance to live their lives, 2.) donate the babies to science, never giving them a chance to live their lives, or 3.) trash them, never giving them a chance to live their lives
- My husband and I got married in the summer of 2009 and then, in the summer of 2013 I gave birth to a precious baby boy who had a rare/painful/devastating skin disorder called epidermolysis bullosa (See previous post: God’s plan to wow us). My husband and I soon found out that we were both carriers of this terrible disorder. We immediately decided that we could not/would not, with this information, have more children of our own–that there were other God-honoring ways to build our family. Our hearts were soon captured by the idea of “embryo adoption,” and we made mention of this to our pastor and his wife (who just happened to know the couple in the previous bullet point)
- We connected via phone and internet with this couple in the summer of 2014, prayed, all agreed it was a good match, signed contracts, and my husband and I officially became adoptive parents
- Our first attempt at pregnancy with these babies was in June of the next year (2015). The doctor transferred one embryo into my uterus (this process is called a “frozen embryo transfer“), I got pregnant, and then lost him or her soon after
- Our second attempt at pregnancy was in July 2015. It ended the same way as the first attempt
- Our third attempt was in October 2015. The embryo didn’t implant into my uterus
- Our fourth attempt was in December 2015. The doctor transferred two embryos into my uterus. Both implanted, and I was pregnant. One baby passed away at five weeks, one at eight weeks. (See previous post: When God says ‘no’)
- Our fifth attempt was in late June 2016. The doctor placed two embryos into my uterus. We met our donors face-to-face five days later and had a wonderful night with them and their three children—full of laughter, bowling, arcade games, and a parking lot prayer session. We found out five days after this meeting that I was pregnant, and found out a few weeks after that both babies had implanted—it was twins, and they were thriving. (See previous post: Loss, loss, loss, loss, loss, twins)
- We just had our 12 week OBGYN appointment yesterday and the babies are growing just as they should and looking beautiful! After everything we’ve been through, “normal” feels like a miracle. Truly! I kept asking the doctor, “are you sure everything looks okay!?” I know we still have a long way to go, but my husband and I are praising God for the good news thus far! We walked out of the office, both grinning from ear to ear—giddy … with a tinge of nervous anticipation
If you are struggling with infertility or carry a rare genetic disorder, like we do, and do not wish to have genetic children, I would love to tell you more about the embryo adoption option. Here’s a post I wrote about it, explaining it in more detail. There are more than 600,000 embryos currently frozen in the United States—these babies are “ready-to-go” and have everything they need to continue in development … they just need a womb to grow in.
Now that we are pregnant with these two miracle babies, our donors will be looking for a home for the seven frozen embryos that remain. I know these seven babies will be a ray of hope and a huge blessing to the family that receives them.
I truly believe God has had a plan—and a “clan”—in mind for each of these 17 babies from the very beginning. No matter how short some of their lives may have been, they each were loved, wanted, worked for, and prayed for—and they each had a great impact on our hearts. If you know anything about IVF (how these babies came into existence), then you know that most couples do not end up with as many viable embryos as our donors did. During IVF, doctors intentionally fertilize more eggs than the number of children the couple might want, knowing that many times the embryos die off/stop growing in the early days of development (pre-implantation/pre-freezing). That didn’t happen in our donors’ case—the embryos beat the odds!—leading them to believe that God must have had a bigger story in mind … and indeed, He did (even though it took about eight years for the page to finally turn!)
“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.” Psalm 139:13-16
Looking for children’s books about embryo donation/adoption? I’ve written two and they are available for purchase on Amazon!