We are embarking on a new chapter! I want to change a strangers life the same way a stranger changed mine.
After many nights of overthinking I just couldn’t bring myself to destroy the embryos. I know they are healthy and after seeing what a beautiful outcome they could be, donating to science wasn’t the right option either. So that left Embryo Adoption or Embryo Donation.
We live in such an incredible time for medical miracles. How crazy is it that you can adopt a baby AND carry that same child inside your body? At first the idea scared the life out of me. A stranger taking away Jackson’s genetic siblings? But for the last few months I’ve come around to the idea. Thanks to Open Adoption. We can still be a part of these amazing humans lives and have the pleasure of watching and cheering on a fertility struggling couple become a family.
(Adoption means contact)
(Donation means no contact in most cases)
First thoughts as we entered this new territory…
Anxiety. During our journey to find an egg donor I felt so much anxiety. Fear of picking the wrong one, digging into every little detail to find someone that reminded me of myself. The quick in the moment reactions to find the perfect match and to not feel rejected every time I attempted to reach out with my egg donor choice.
I was SHOCKED that I felt the same way during this process. I always thought if I had the “goods” that someone else would want then I wouldn’t have these emotions. Wrong. I feel just as stuck on the emotional roller coaster as I did when it was our turn to make our family.
Luckily I have my secret weapon to pull me out from all of this anxiety, Hope. I am so unbelievably excited for these babies and their parents to become a family. I was very fortunate for my 2 little miracles… But now it’s our turn to give someone waiting a chance.
Even though we used an egg donor & Jared’s goodies to create these embryos, I often find myself way more protective of them. In a way they are mine but in my head and heart these remaining 3 embryos, aren’t mine anymore. I have so much love and respect for them, but I’m not their Mama. I’m the person that helps them find their Mama. It’s a huge honor to give this opportunity to another couple and an even bigger honor to give these sweet babies a chance of life.
So what goes into the Embryo Adoption process?
Typically, we find a couple, sign custody over, they move the embryos, they/surrogate does a transfers, pee on a stick and 9 months later a beautiful baby arrives.
“Adoption” is exactly how it sounds, we are not their parents but have a role with the family and keep each other updated, gather our families together and watch them grow.
We joined a group on Facebook with donors and recipients waiting for their embies. There was an album with all the potential parents, if you liked anyone you’d message them.
Found a couple, cute, looked very happy and had similar interests as we do. So I messaged them, oh did it make me feel so anxious. Waiting, every notification beep but it wasn’t them. I felt just as did in the past. Finally after 24 hours I got a response. They were already on the road to becoming parents. As bummed as I was thinking this would be that simple of a process to finding the right parents, it wasn’t going to be. I am so excited for them to get their opportunity so it wasn’t a long lasting feeling of being bummed haha. Just means they weren’t the embies forever family. So we moved on…
One of the girls that followed me on my private infertility account messaged me about the possibility to be considered, and then another messaged me, and another! I was shocked, how could I not think about turning to the infertility warriors that stood by my side while I waited for my miracles.
I had to keep it fair so we posted all the information if anyone was interested to email all their info and we will try to find the best match. Figuring I’d get maybe 5 applications, HA, we got 36… 36 families in waiting, hoping we would answer their prayers. It broke my heart. I have three beautiful embryos. Only three. I instantly felt guilt. Why?? Because I couldn’t help them all. I could only help one couple. I hated that feeling. Tears flowed and I needed to remind myself this journey was not to help every person that wants a family, even though I wish I could. It’s to find the right family for the embies we have.
Every email mentioned an incredibly difficult fertility journey, which made it harder. I can’t just pick who suffered the most, all of them have been through hard times.
This was going to be difficult. I printed them all out, read them, reread them, made notes. We had to start filtering so if we didn’t feel a certain vibe we cut them, okay cool only 3 went into the no pile… 33 to go?! We are very open minded so there weren’t many red flags.
After the list sat there, we determined it was best to give someone a chance that is still waiting for their first miracle. Again, I wish I had more embryos because there was a lot of families I really considered but already had a child(ren).
There was one couple in particular that I gravitated towards each time. Jared felt the same. I took that as our sign to move forward with them because we were about to pick out of a hat had we not felt this way.
Emails went back and forth getting a better understanding of each other and the biggest challenge of this process is being on the same page as far open adoption goes.
Luckily, we have very similar views when it comes to the future of all these “diblings” (donor siblings). Communication, messages, pictures, meet ups, basically becoming a second family to each other. It’s so important to me that Jackson and Kenzie know they have siblings out there, and even better that they get to have a relationship with them growing up. It’s not the traditional family that we have, in my biased opinion it’s better. I think it’s pretty magical.
A stranger gave me my son. A miracle & motivation/stubbornness gave me my daughter. Now we (strangers) get to give our embryo recipients their miracles. I will always have a spot in heart for this journey, not because I feel like a good person after all is said and done but because I’ve been on the receiving end of this, it’s life changing. It’s the most beautiful, exciting, selfless gesture that is much bigger than flowers or an edible arrangement, it’s Hope. The one thing that picked me up after every loss, that made me look at just one more egg donor profile, it’s the only thing that keeps you fighting when all you want to do is give up.
Once the embryos are in their custody, my embryo chapter is done. It’s not sad by any means. Some would question how we can give away something we worked so hard for but this is something the recipients have worked just as hard for as well. It’s their turn. We couldn’t be more excited for them.
Does this mean we are done having kids?
No clue!! We go back and forth every single day if we are done or not. Every day is different. But we did agree if we wanted to add more children to our life of chaos, we will attempt it naturally. I know my body can do it with (ALOT) of work but its doable. If we try and it doesn’t work, we will not be resentful of the embryo adoption. We have been blessed more than we ever were told we could be. 2 healthy beautiful kids and if that’s the end of our expansion then that’s perfectly okay with us.
So what next?
We just told the Embies Parents To Be that we chose them!! I’m not sure who was more excited us or them? haha. and now the beautiful chapter to their family begins! I seriously am so so so overjoyed for them.
They need to arrange where they will be doing their transfer (putting babies in the oven) we do legal contracts and then we cross our fingers and toes that they stick!
Sending good vibes for both of our families as the next few big steps approach. Custody/legal forms, moving embies, praying their surrogate passes all test, and then make a baby or two or three!
I can’t wait to cheer them on and watch their dreams come true.
I hope this adventure goes very smoothly and quickly. Before we know it all the kids will be playing together and getting into trouble while we look back on the crazy journey that got us our families.
As for the others waiting for their families, don’t give up. I hope every single person that reached out to us gets their miracles.
We will continue to update as we begin this chapter.
More to come!