As I’ve shared the story of being called into full-time ministry, Joel and I meeting, dating, getting married, loving campus ministry, walking through infertility, bone tumor, and adoption, I’ve become increasingly aware of the beautiful story God gives EACH of us.
God led us to domestic adoption through the foster care system, but there is another way of adopting that I actually forgot to mention. One that I don’t think many people know about…an option of adoption that is unique and tender to talk about.
Today, I am honored to have my dear friend Laura share the story God has been writing in her life and in the life of her husband., Landon. Laura and Landon have served on staff with Campus Crusade both in America and internationally. They are now serving at an awesome church in Columbia. It’s one that I couldn’t help but present to many of you, who are in the thick of infertility and long to be with child.
It started as a typical Friday night, a pizza dinner out with friends.
Landon and I had been desiring to grow our family for about a year, and we had gone about things the old fashioned way, but no baby. We got some lovely pokes and prods and ultimately the doctor came back saying, “just call me WHEN you get pregnant”. He had full confidence that we had nothing going on that would prevent us from conceiving a baby. Thankfully I’ve lived long enough to know that God doesn’t always work that way.
Adoption is something that God had been wooing me towards for YEARS up to this point, and we felt that this is where He was leading us, but we didn’t know specifics of how, where, etc.
Back to the pizza dinner. We just happened to be hanging out with a couple from church and the wife worked in the local office of a large national adoption agency. I was verbally processing all of our options with her and ALL the questions that I had.
Then she said something that has stuck with me ever since that night.
She said, “Did you know that you can be pregnant with your adopted child?”
Me: [wide eyes, scrunching my nose, tilting my head] “Huh?!?!”
I knew I must have misheard her. And then she said it again.
She went on to explain something called “embryo adoption” where you can adopt an embryo that is remaining after a couple completes fertility treatments. You get to carry the child and experience birth, nursing, and everything in between.
What she shared with me that night was planted like a seed in my mind. It would be years before I would genuinely consider this as an actual “on the table option” from the Lord to grow our family.
God was up to something else.
The events of that day that would change my life forever, I just didn’t know it yet.
That Friday that I sat in Memphis Pizza Cafe, talking and laughing with friends over amazing pizza, my son was born.
No, it was not the makings of an episode of “I didn’t know I was pregnant”. My son came into the world in a hospital in a (probably very snowy) village in the countryside in Russia. While I was desperately trying to plan our next steps and decisions like it all depended on me, our God was moving on our behalf. And, in His usual way, he wasn’t just taking care of my “problem.” He was working on my heart, he was providing for us and for Liam, he was orchestrating timing and events in His cosmic eternal way to bring us all together at His appointed time. And all I was doing was eating pizza.
I have to smile when I think about it. “Daughter, I am doing exceedingly, abundantly, beyond all that you can ask or imagine. I’m doing it halfway across the world. You have no idea. Let me handle this, you just eat your pizza.”
I need to remember this when I am tempted to trust in myself.
The story of adopting our son is another story that could fill up a blog in itself and that’s not what I wanted to share in this post. Suffice it to say, I could never imagine loving a little human more and I couldn’t imagine my life without him in it. God knows SO much better than me. Duh.
In the past couple years, we have wanted to grow our family again and found ourselves back in the place of considering all of our options. I felt God’s leading to look into the whole “you can be pregnant with your adopted baby” thing. And what I found was compelling.
- There are an estimated half a million embryos frozen in the US right now.
- Couples who have remaining embryos that they will not use themselves have very few options- discarding them, giving them to science to be experimented on, or allowing other couples to adopt them and give them a chance at life.
- Embryo adoption is the least expensive option as compared with In-vitro fertilization, domestic adoption through an agency or international adoption. Any pregnancy and birth that results from adopting an embryo is covered just like a typical one by your insurance.
- A baby has been born from an embryo that had remained frozen for 19 years!
We know that this is life. This is life created by God that is being held in frozen limbo between life and death. We felt God calling us to step out in faith for these “least of these” and adopt some “little bitty babies”.
So, we did. We have been in the process since May. We completed a homestudy, wrote some big checks, went for a trial embryo transfer, wrote more checks, started on medications and shots to get my body ready to receive these little ones. We go back on November 19th for the big day, Lord willing, Transfer day!! We would covet your prayers for us and our “little bitty babies.”
I don’t know if the embryos that we are adopting are purposed to be our living, breathing, giggling children around our kitchen table or if God will use this to usher them directly into his presence.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I know the One who holds the future.
He can take something that seems insignificant and mundane, like a typical Friday in Memphis, and in His hands it is redeemed it into something eternal and glorious.
He can take a couple that is only thinking about themselves and why God won’t give them a baby and give them His heart for the fatherless.
He can take a Russian orphan with no hope and no future and give him abundant life as a beloved son.
He can take a tiny, living embryo, and knit it together in a womb where it did not originate and bring it to fullness of life.
He can take me, a sinner, and adopt me as His daughter through Christ.
Thanks be to God.