I never expected to adopt. The concept wasn’t completely foreign—my wife, Julie, and I had discussed the possibility of adopting or fostering before we were married. But three years into building our family, we welcomed our first biological son, then a second, then a third.
God kept the door to adoption wide open, though. Our interest in embryo adoption began with Julie’s work as a researcher in an obstetrics lab. As part of her studies, she witnessed firsthand the amazingly complex design of each embryo. The experience convinced her each embryo is fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). It is not necessarily a culturally acceptable point of view, but it is our view nonetheless.
We also knew of families within our circle of Christian friends who had successfully adopted embryos. To be honest, the concept struck me as odd the first time I heard about it. When I suggested to my wife that we try for a fourth child, she replied, “Yes, but only through embryo adoption.”
Her comment took me off guard, and more than that, the conviction with which she said it. I’m not sure why. It shouldn’t have been a surprise given our history and our support of an adoption-funding organization that has helped many friends. I’m ashamed I didn’t appreciate the gift and honor of adoption back then.
I do now. More than ever.
Many families face infertility and remain steadfast in their faith throughout what I can only imagine must be a heart-wrenching journey. So why had God given us three of our own—yet planted the seed of adoption in our hearts? The answer was simple. We loved our biological children dearly, yet having come from large families, we had even more love to give.
By adopting embryos (we were blessed with three), we could give these children a chance at life. We made it clear to our prospective placing family in our letter of introduction that we had overflowing hope for these precious souls.
“Who knows what they might grow up to become—and how they might change the world for good,” we wrote.
God’s providence ensured everything worked out in an unbelievably wonderful way. If you are considering embryo adoption, let me encourage you: God works on His terms and His time. Trust it, pray about it, and go where you know you need to go.
Two years after beginning our adoption journey, we welcomed little Phoebe into our lives. She was the only one of three which survived the thaw. We committed to our incredible placing family that we would maintain an open adoption with regular correspondence and the possibility of an in-person visit in the future. Little did we know they lived less than two hours from our home, creating a perfect environment for nurturing a close relationship as our daughter grows up.
In short order, we began exchanging emails, following each other on social media, and generally sharing encouragement. Within two months of Phoebe’s arrival, our placing family had invited us over for a barbecue. It was a celebration I will never forget—of a family who loved its embryo babies so much that it kept them safe until the right time to place them; of our growing family finding its way with adoption; and of a strawberry-blond baby girl who fulfilled my wildest dream of being a daddy to a daughter.
Embryo adoption, as I imagine is true with any adoption, comes with risk and can be emotionally taxing. But if you seek children and the chance to demonstrate and receive love like never before, I urge you: Pursue it.
That clump of cells is a person. And that person will forever change your world for the better.
Nate is the author of the blog Thaw Your Baby: The Embryo Adoption Blog, where he shares practical embryo adoption tips and encouragement for couples seeking to adopt. You can also watch them speak about their adoption experience in the video Experience and Insights: A couple shares their embryo adoption story on YouTube.