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Adoption Post 1
When I think about how these children will arrive in our family, my hope is that we will get to experience all three of these scenarios. That being said, we are open to what God has for us and we are waiting in expectation for him to fulfill our hearts desires and to use us to provide homes for many orphans. Here are the three types of adoptions and our thoughts on each. We look forward to sharing this journey with you here.
We believe that the Lord has put international adoption on our hearts, but we also believe that in his timing, he will reveal to us from where we are to pursue a child from. Both China and Africa have come to mind frequently in talking about international adoption, but we will continue to pray about the little one that God has in mind for our family. Our hope is that we will be able to adopt many from other countries, as long as we have the provision to do so! Along with this, Chris has always had a heart for medical missions, and we hope that we will be able to make connections with various agencies and orphanages through the world of medicine. We are currently praying about what that would look like for our family.
As many of you know, I worked as an investigator of child abuse/child neglect reports, and I saw first hand the need for families to adopt domestically. We have a heart for foster care, and although we have attempted to start foster care before, the timing has not yet been right. We would love to adopt from foster care, but doing so would require us to be okay with saying goodbye to possibly multiple children as the goal of foster care is to reunify the families. At this point in time, we know our hearts need to heal before we are put in a position where “goodbyes” would be necessary, but we feel that the Lord is going to bring us to a place where we will be strong enough and courageous enough to do this. That being said, we are also open to regular domestic adoption, where we have a home study completed and then get in touch with families through private organizations or crisis pregnancy centers and then adopt that way.
It's hard to talk about embryo adoption without also talking about IVF. I want to start by saying that this information is not meant to condemn anybody who has ever used IVF, but rather to show you where our heart is in the matter and to shed some light on why. We believe there are ways to utilize IVF in a way that is more ethically sound, but it is quite hard to find doctors who will abide by these demands. We hope that our transparency will encourage rather than offend, and we also hope that you will see that our desire is always to see and choose life.
Once an egg is fertilized, it’s an embryo. As believers, we believe that life begins at conception, which means that an embryo is a living human being. We each started this way as our cells multiplied rapidly and began to form the bodies we now inhabit.
One of the main reasons that would lead a couple to pursue IVF is the infertility of one spouse, and in that situation, the couple would need to use a donor egg or sperm to create the embryos. As a fellow blogger noted, “By pairing one spouse’s genes with someone outside of the marriage relationship, you introduce a third party into the spouse arrangement, which violates the sacred one flesh union of marriage.” I hope not to offend when I say that we also believe this to be an undeniable truth of in vitro by third party.
In our case, it appears we carry a specific gene that causes our babies to develop the fatal condition that Ellie and Elsie developed. It is possible that there is a slim chance this wouldn’t happen 100% of the time, and because of this we could utilize the IVF process to possibly detect which embryos carry the disease and choose to only implant embryos that do not. In doing this, we would be forced to fertilize multiple eggs and destroy the ones that have the condition as they would not be able to be adopted out. This means that little Ellies and little Elsies would be destroyed. I can’t even bring myself to consider this an option. Those little hands I held and those little cheeks and lips we kissed--destroyed before they even had a chance to develop.
In the IVF process, doctors will go through a process called ‘selective reduction’, removing the embryos that appear less healthy until the number of embryos remaining is the number of children desired by the couple. This is a form of abortion. We cannot claim to be pro-life and at the same time be okay with selective reduction.
However, if there are more embryos created than the number that the couple has transferred, they can be frozen for a future pregnancy. Once the couple has had all the children they plan on having, there are frequently still frozen embryos remaining. In fact, there are currently an estimated 600,000 frozen embryos waiting for life in facilities across the United States.
Couples have four options for dealing with their leftover embryos: Keep them frozen indefinitely at a facility until they decide further (often times facilities have rules about how long this can occur,) they can have them thawed and disposed of, or they can have them donated to science (ultimately resulting in death.)
The fourth option is to put them up for adoption.
Before I go any further, there ARE ways in with IVF can be utilized while avoiding the issues I’ve talked about so far. If a couple uses both of their own genes to create only as many embryos as they intend to implant and parent, and then goes on to transfer and attempt to have all of those children, leaving none to be destroyed or remain indefinitely frozen, all issues of destruction and indefinite freezing are no longer in the picture. We see nothing wrong with this. I have to agree with what another blogger wrote, that it is “important to know that we will be held accountable for how we steward our families – even in the embryonic state – and it’s important for people looking into IVF to understand the risks involved.”
With embryo adoption, a couple can choose to adopt the embryos leftover and unwanted by families who may already have all the children they want or who have changed their minds about the remaining embryos. We would have no genetic relation to the embryos, just as if we adopted domestically or internationally. The only difference is that you carry the child from its embryonic state rather than adopting after birth.
Any embryos not thawed and transferred to my body would be adopted back out to another family or transferred to my womb once my body was ready carry them again. That brings me to this question: does embryo adoption encourage the use of IVF and excess embryos? No. There are specific agencies, such as NightLight, a Christian organization, who do not condone the creation of excess embryos, but aim to raise awareness to families considering IVF. They are hoping to see a time where the number of embryos created is the number of embryos that the family intends to transfer to the womb to give a chance at life to. Nightlight ensures that the embryos are never intentionally created for the purpose of adoption.
I agree whole-heartedly with a fellow blogger who posted, “Some of you might wonder why we would be ok with using embryos that were created in a way we don’t agree with. Isn’t that condoning it? No. No more than if we adopted a child conceived out of wedlock or as a result of rape. Russell Moore said it well in his article
that I highly recommend you read:
These so-called “snowflakes” are brothers and sisters of the Lord Jesus are stored in cryogenic containers in fertility clinics as the “extras” of IVF projects. They already exist, and they already exist as persons created in the image of God. [emphasis added]
You might also ask if we’re glad that there are couples who have created these ‘extra’ embryos so that we might have a chance at experiencing pregnancy. While I’m grateful to have this opportunity, I can’t bring myself to believe that I prefer the world this way.”
I can only imagine the purpose, personalities, and hearts of those 600,000 little people. God instilled in each one of them a destiny and I am alive today because I was created and carried in the womb and given every opportunity for life. I was not frozen in a facility, waiting to live and waiting to get to know my creator.
For more information, Nighlight.org has an amazing and thorough FAQ.