When I look back over the past 10 years, I’m in awe of God’s sovereignty, faithfulness, and grace.
Like many women, experiencing pregnancy and becoming a mom was something I dreamed about since I was a little girl. Coming from a relatively large family, I never thought we would struggle to conceive. Two years into marriage, we started trying. It wasn’t long before the months turned to years. The struggle dragged on and we grew weary. When two years passed with no positive pregnancy tests, we spoke with doctors. Initially our diagnosis was unexplained infertility.
Infertility is a deep, painful, and personal struggle. It changes you and your spouse in ways I’m not sure we fully understand. Infertility can either be a force that drives you to your knees and closer to the Lord and your spouse or it can be a trial that rips your faith to shreds and tears your marriage apart. My husband and I refused to let the enemy use this as a foothold. We’ve not been perfect in this journey, but thankfully grace abounds!
Three and a half years into our journey, we began fertility treatments. For six years, we went through failed medicated cycles, multiple surgeries, and four IUIs. Each surgery and treatment resulted in favorable reports from the doctors, but still our arms remained empty. During this time, the Lord began to stir our hearts toward adoption even while our desire to experience pregnancy continued to grow. Around this time, I learned about embryo adoption. Honestly, I was scared. What if we went all the way down this road and still ended up with empty arms? Emotionally, I wasn’t sure I could handle that. We were still bruised and grieving from failed treatments.
In February 2019, we attended the Waiting Well Together couples retreat. By this point, I had a burden for the millions of tiny frozen embryos whose lives are on pause. During the retreat, we visited with Toni. As we shared our story with her, she said something that switched on a light.
She said we can trust that God is sovereign over the lives of our children because they belong to him whether they come from our own bodies, through adoption, or some other way.
I still struggle with the “what ifs.” But 2 Corinthians says ‘to take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.’ So when the attacks from the enemy come, I strive to replace the lies with truth from God’s Word.
Last fall, we began the process to adopt embryos through Nightlight’s Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program. There are many ways to go about embryo adoption. Some fertility clinics have their own programs, and there are specific agencies like Nightlight. We chose Nightlight for multiple reasons: they’re faith-based; we would adopt embryos from the same “batch” so all of our children would be genetic siblings (this is their goal with every adoption); and we could have an open adoption with the placing family.
Snowflakes is similar to a “traditional” infant adoption program. We went through an application phase including a formal agreement with the agency, physician approval, a family evaluation (similar to a home study), and creating a family profile. After the application phase, we entered matching. This involved extensive questions about our personal preferences to help in the matching process, the presentation of our profile to a potential placing family, reviews of the embryology report by our fertility clinic, and our review of the placing family’s profile. Once a match is accepted, couples move to the contract phase (embryos are considered property by law, so the contracts transfer ownership of the embryos). The next step begins with shipping the embryos to the adopting parent’s fertility clinic and then the medical process can begin. At this point, it’s like the last step of IVF, where we schedule a frozen embryo transfer (FET) that hopefully results in a pregnancy.
We had a sweet reminder of the Lord’s sovereignty and grace during our matching phase. Six weeks into matching, we asked for continued prayers from our small group. A dear friend prayed specifically that we would be matched that month. I thought, “Well there’s only one weekday left in this month, so that’s highly unlikely.” Less than 24 hours later, we got the news that we had been matched! Oh, did the tears of joy flow! Not just because we had been matched, but because God had been so gracious to answer our prayer even when our faith was weak.
As we read the placing family’s profile, we were amazed at the Lord’s sovereignty. We learned that the embryos we had chosen to adopt were made before Brent and I had even met one another! So all those years ago, God was already making a way for our family to grow. I truly believe adoption is not second best or Plan B. Seeing a timeline on paper that clearly showed how God had been working in our lives and His sovereignty over our family left us in awe.
We accepted the match at the beginning of June 2020 and adopted 8 embryos. We’re planning to have an embryo transfer this fall. We pray that our transfer is successful, that we carry to full term, and that we are able to have subsequent successful pregnancies. Regardless of the outcome, our hope is in the Lord and His faithfulness. We’re so thankful to have been given such a precious gift by the placing family and pray that our story is an encouragement to others. Whether you’re at the beginning of your story to grow your family or you’re neck deep in the sorrows of infertility, remember God is faithful. Cast your burden on Him, and He will sustain you (Psalm 55:22).
This story was original published on the Waiting in Hope blog.