January first was extra special for us this year as we officially began the process of embryo adoption with the National Embryo Donation Center. What a way to start off the new year! I had imagined submitting would be a quiet, prayerful moment of Clayton and I sitting at the computer together, both clicking submit together. However, in reality it consisted of Clark climbing on top of me while Land Before Time played in the background (for about the 100th time). But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It was real and messy, the beautiful reality of parenting and life in general.
First, I would like to introduce you to embryo adoption (I’ll explain our journey that led us to adoption in a later post.). Embryo adoption occurs when couples who use In Vitro Fertilization to achieve pregnancy have remaining embryos after their family is complete. One of their options is to donate those embryos to another couple (Sadly the other options are to discard the embryos, donate them to science, or leave them frozen indefinitely.). Embryo adoption allows the couple with remaining embryos to select a family to “gift” the embryos to. The adopting family is then able to use the donated embryos to achieve a pregnancy and give birth to their adopted child.
When Clayton and I began praying about adoption in general, embryo adoption was not an option we considered because honestly, we didn’t understand it. In fact, when it was mentioned to me early on I said, “Yeah, we won’t do anything weird, we’ll just do a normal adoption.” Now I laugh and roll my eyes at myself for saying that.
I am so thankful God brought embryo adoption back around to our thoughts and prayers. The second time it came up in conversation I jokingly mentioned something about it to my mom. She said, “Janae, as your mother, I’d love for you to have the opportunity to carry another baby, because I know it’s something you desire.” Again in the moment, I told her, “No, we already decided against that.” However, her words kept coming back to me. Was there an option where I could carry my own adopted child?
Just as only God would do, the next week my mom started seeing articles and news stories about embryo adoption. She sent me one of the news stories and said, “Found this interesting after our talk.” I watched it and my heart began to soften. I spent the next two days researching, praying and trying to understand the process of embryo adoption.
Once I felt like I had a solid understanding, I knew I had to bring it up to Clayton again. I was nervous because I’d mentioned the idea to him previously, back when I said we’d just do something “normal” and he was also not open to the idea. So I started out the conversation by admitting I didn’t understand what embryo adoption was previously, then I simply started explaining what I’d been researching and learning. It was amazing to see it all clicking for him too. In fact after I’d explained everything, Clayton said, “I hate to do a 180, but now I think this may be the best option for us.”
With his blessing I began researching even more. Side note, in our relationship I am typically the researcher/gatherer. I need all the information! I like to read, study and research. Clayton is very logical and level headed. So once I’ve gathered the information, I relay it all to him and we decide together. He doesn’t overthink everything like I do. So having his sound mind helps me to clarify my own thoughts and sort it all out. Any other couples like us? Or maybe it’s reversed for others.
We started praying more than ever. We had already been praying about adopting daily for several months, but now the prayers were focused specifically on embryo adoption. I was actually praying that if this wasn’t God’s will for our family, that as we started sharing the idea with friends and family they would have valid reasons for us to stop pursuing it. I prayed for doors to be opened wide or closed tight.
Each time we shared the process we got a “yes” answer. Which is amazing to me because most people had never even heard of embryo adoption before! They were all blown away by the process and also saddened by the fact so few people know about it. They also affirmed our thoughts that embryo adoption is a life-honoring, biblically sound opportunity.
As I continued researching options for Embryo Donation programs, my passion began to grow. My passion for these tiny frozen lives just waiting for a chance at life. My passion for their biological families, who chose to honor life by offering them for adoption. My passion for couples experiencing infertility and my passion to tell others about these lives just waiting for a chance. Somewhere along the journey I felt the Lord calling me to share our story. It’s not that I think I’m a talented writer or that I want to be the spokesperson for embryo adoption. It’s simply a passion to educate others and share the hope embryo adoption can give.
We are just beginning this journey. One that is sure to have its ups and downs. We debated on waiting until after we were pregnant to publicly share our story. And honestly, that feels like the safer option. However, we are choosing to walk in faith. We are choosing to share in the now. We are choosing to trust God in every step of this process and honor Him with the outcome no matter what.