Embryo Adoption Weirded Me Out. Then I Changed My Mind.

Sticking Out Tongue.jpeg

Years ago, I wrote off embryo adoption. I didn’t stand in the town square and warn people against it. I simply avoided thinking about it and purposefully distanced myself from it with a label.

The label was: Weird.

Mostly, I considered embryo adoption weird because I didn’t totally understand it. A mentor of mine likens this aversion to a kind of black box—the device on an airplane that helps emergency officials, in the event of an accident, understand what went wrong. The average person has no idea how to pick apart black boxes (which are actually orange, per the Wikipedia link above) to study the plane, and therefore we are left confused and doubtful about how it all works and whether there’s something more to the story.

Pivot back to embryo adoption. Most of us understand we all started as an embryo. And we ended up here as people who can read this sentence. But idea that one family with remaining embryos from in vitro fertilization would later place those embryos with another family—and that process can be done as a legally binding adoption—can seem a bit much to the uninitiated.

Until you understand it better. It doesn’t happen overnight. It might even take months or years.

Here’s what did it for me. At some point, I internalized the fact that frozen embryos are babies, and babies deserve our protection. They deserve love. They deserve life.

Not every family is capable of adoption. For a long time, I didn’t think ours was, either. It sounded noble and important until I began considering what it would mean for my adopted child and for my family tree. Then it sounded daunting and a little scary.

But you know what? You don’t have to accept the daunting or the scary. Adoption will always be a little of both, for you and your placing family. Rather than dwelling on unknowns, though, I chose to fully embrace our mission of giving these children the best chance at life.

Our daughter is living proof that our collective definition and acceptance of adoption must expand to fit the needs of our generation. Embryo adoption isn’t weird. It is important and necessary.

Placing and adoptive families recognize that nurturing children begins at the earliest stages of development. It goes beyond mere biological instinct. It stems from our desire to safeguard fellow humans made in God’s image.

To ignore such a calling? Now that would be weird.