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We are a family of fifteen: eight already with Jesus and seven in desperate need of Him. This is the story God is writing in our lives. Proverbs 16:9

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Adopting Four Embryos

Same room as before… Same peace… It was like I was watching Micah and myself in some Christian/Science-Fiction Movie. We talked with the staff, who treated us in a tender way. We caught up from our last visit. With all the traveling we have done and change in direction that led us here again, that took a few minutes:) We discussed the process of embryo adoption. They were clear about how much they love having couples for chryo-preserved embryos whose families had either met their family goals or were abandoned due to a divorce. We were glad those families had chosen a chance at life for them as well. We had entered into a scientifically/medically altered universe.

First, we will have some hormone treatments followed by medical exam followed by more hormone treatments all bringing us to the point where the embryos can be implanted, two at a time. I heard all the details. They seemed bizarre and simple all at the same time. It was only a week and a half before that I sat in my bedroom floor doing online research about embryo adoption and prayed, "Lord, if this is the direction You want us to go in, You have to make it more simple than this!" That same afternoon I was informed that all we needed was an appointment to start the process.

Then, I was handed a manila folder. It was open and I started flipping through the pages… this couple, that couple, this age, that race, this occupation, that blood type. I felt overwhelmed. How do I choose? Thankfully, Micah was right next to me. I handed him the folder. He picked a paper from the stack. “This is what I think”, he said, "Four is a good number." It took me a minute to wrap my head around the choice, but I was so glad the choice was made. "They want diversity!" the Nurse Practitioner reported to the doctor. A "Transfer of Property" in the eyes of the law. Medication- check. Visit to the financial office- check. Next appointment made- check. The whole appointment took less than an hour.

In this quick time, we grew to hold these babies, like we hold our own boys, in our hearts. They won't have our DNA, but will hopefully grow in my belly and be born into our family in the same way as Andrew and Elijah. What an amazing thought. Our days are spent praying for them. Andrew asks, "Do you think they are cold, Mommy?" Right now they don't feel the cold, but we can't wait until they feel the warmth of being given a chance to live. When people ask how many children we have now, Micah is the first to answer "6- in this world".

Monday, October 25, 2010

We Grow (by God's Grace) and Our Family Grows

As many of you know, we have felt called to adopt since the beginning of our marriage. Adoption is one of the most beautiful pictures given to us by God to illustrate our relationship with Him in Christ our Redeemer, once separated from God but now called sons of the Father (Galatians 4:1-6). Little did we know that God had a very specific, personal road to walk down in pursuit obeying this calling and desire.

We have struggled with how much of this road we will share with you, but we feel peacefully led to a place of more full disclosure. It is clear to us that God has put us on this path and we want to testify to His work in our lives, so bear with us as we share a little of our journey. We have been given two precious miracles in our boys, Andrew and Elijah. The road for us to have biological children was paved with much waiting, miscarriage, and some medical intervention. While we know that God can do anything and believe that we don’t always know what is around the corner, the door has seemed to close for us to have more biological children despite the same treatments since the birth of Elijah. Honestly, we have wrestled with this, but knew God was writing… He has the pen. He knows our hearts and has heard every prayer. He has provided more for us than we deserve, and does all things for His glory and for our good out of love for us. We always were clear in our personal convictions regarding fertility treatments. They are very expensive and we always agreed that if we felt that God might expand our family more, instead of putting money toward more treatments we would use the money for adoption.

In the past few months, adoption has moved up on our priority list. We have had peace in waiting patiently this past year as we moved all over the country with Chick-fil-a but are now in a position where we can focus our attention on praying for what our part would be in caring for orphans. There are many different ways to adopt and so many orphans, it can be overwhelming discerning which direction to go. We first felt led to adopt from Ebenezer’s Children’s Home in Wilkesboro, NC. This seemed to be feasible until we found out we would be back in Louisville, 8 hours away. When that option seemed to be out of the question, we prayed about where to turn next.

Several years ago, we had been introduced to embryo adoption by a pamphlet in a doctor’s office and then later through an adoption informational luncheon at our church. When we first heard about it, it seemed interesting but probably not for us. Honestly, my first thought was, “Why would couples adopt embryos when there are so many children that need families all over the world?” When I would bring up the question with friends, about half of the time, that was the same response. Why do this?

Slowly and gently, the Lord starting giving us clarity in how to think of these “snowflake” babies. As a result of the number of couples seeking to have biological children through In Vitro Fertilization, there are currently more than 400,000 (possibly more than 500,000) chryo-preserved embryos in the US. Many of the couples who had these babies “created” in a lab have met their “family goals” and have no further use for the embryos. If we believe what we say we believe, that all humans are bearers of the image of God from conception, then these little chryo-preserved babies are little frozen orphans. They have no breath yet; no voice for themselves. Many (and we daresay most) of these embryos will never get a chance at life. After varying amounts of storage time, couples are given choices as to how they are to be used- or disposed of. There are some couples who donate their embryos for stem cell extraction and research and others that allow their embryos -their babies- to be destroyed. However, there are couples who donate their embryos for other couples to “adopt”. Of course our government doesn’t see this as true adoption, because that would be calling an embryo a human life.

Because of all our struggles with infertility, we are perfect candidates for embryo adoption. Couples who are not diagnosed as infertile (or in our case, with secondary infertility) are many times not even considered as candidates from embryo adoption. That makes the opportunity for those able to adopt embryos more scarce. There are Christian adoption agencies that handle matching embryo donors with adopting families, but in our case with Tiffany’s medical history, we are adopting directly through the clinic and physician here in Louisville that helped her years ago. The doctor and office staff love facilitating embryo adoptions and the care we have been given so far has been tender and precious.

Please pray that those of us who value life will respond in a God-honoring way toward this group of precious babies, frozen in time, but known by their True Creator. He loves each and every one! Secondly, we really need your prayers. We want to be very clear about our expectations about this process. We are trusting that God has led us to this place, has gone before us, and is abounding in all the things we will need over the coming months. We will be experiencing some of the challenges that couples who choose IVF will face so there are definitely some physical and emotional needs. Also, pray for our four little embryos! Pray that God would prepare them as He is preparing us for this adoption.

If you would like more information about embryo adoption, you can check out these websites and article:

Friday, October 01, 2010

Returning to Louisville

Like recalling my parents' signature fragrances; my mom's sweet and warm like nectar and dad's spicy and fresh... Like the taste of the strawberry-cheesecake lollipops I used to get at Don's Seafood when I was a little girl... Like the sound of walking across my great-grandmother's living room, rattling the items in her china cabinet... It is odd to "think" sounds, smells, and tastes, but gratifying and comforting to feel the deep-rooted emotions each evokes. These are the closest analogies I can use to describe the feeling of driving into Louisville again last week. Even though I didn't grow up here, I really grew up here. The sound of the interstate, the signs and buildings along the way that encourage us to "remember when...", the kinds of trees changing along the rolls of the hills, the food in the local restaurants we had grown to love... It was a long road that led us here, but that made the ride in all the more sweet. Our favorite part of the return was all the familiar faces that welcomed us back: some perplexed at the sight of the Childs family after a year's absence and others intentional about sharing a smile and kind word and in some cases, a meal and good company. How gracious of God to love us in such a tangible, audible way. We really needed this move. Thanks for all the prayers and encouraging words over the past week.