Our family is in a particularly busy season of life. With four children — three biological, one through embryo adoption — there is no shortage of activity. Julie and I are routinely coordinating with each other, with our family and friends, and with our respective employers and volunteer boards how to use time as efficiently as possible.
I had every intention of dedicating this post as a spring checklist for couples seeking to place or adopt embryos. Instead, I’m going to keep this even simpler in the interest of your valuable time — and, candidly, to make sure I stay true to you while respecting my own commitments, too. (You know the dance, I’m confident!)
In no particular order, here are three guidelines for your family as you consider how to make embryo placement or adoption work amid all of your many responsibilities.
Realize that one season leads to another season. Priorities are everything. In pursuing embryo adoption, our family first had to make the spiritual, financial and (in my wife’s case) physical commitments to pursuing this special family building opportunity. We had to take it a step at a time. In my book, I speak to the painful nature of waiting and seeing the slow turn of progress. But you know what? It gets easier. You can give yourself added confidence through prayer and your own diligence. Have an accountability partner, most especially your spouse but perhaps also a handful of close friends who can cheer you on. If embryo placement or adoption is a priority, put it on your calendar and don’t compromise. It will be more worthwhile than you’ll ever know.
Know you’re not alone. So many families struggle mightily with the decision to place embryos for adoption at all. Countless embryos are frozen in storage in many cases because moms and dads who have used in vitro fertilization (IVF) are deeply torn by the decision about what to do with those remaining embryos. That is such a hard decision, and it should not be taken lightly. Many families have been where you are and have ultimately decided to place their embryos. It is a life-giving decision. On the other side of the equation are couples desperately seeking a baby, their first or perhaps another child, as in the case of our family. It can seem slow and as though you will never get through the various stages of the process. And there are a variety of routes that might be easier or less time consuming than adoption. But keep in mind what is in the best interest of children born through embryo adoption. This process affirms their value — and the fact that life matters, from the moment of conception.
See hope both in the moment and on the horizon. I’m a journalist so, as I often tell my wife, I live in the future. It’s in my DNA. In a very real sense, placing and adoptive families must give themselves permission to dream of a future in which babies reach full term through embryo adoption. Think of the joy those children will experience, not to mention the families who care deeply about them. Yes, life brings hardship and trials. There’s no question about that. But the work you are doing now to bring a child into the world will mean something forever to that precious little boy or girl. And if you don’t do it, who will?
I’m saying a prayer for all of you reading this because you care about these issues and you are seeking to help families in need, whether your own or others in your circle of influence. Life’s seasons ebb and flow, but these children need our help now, and they will need it in the months and years ahead.
Keep going. For your family. For our children. For our future.