Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Appointed Duckling

Once we decided embryo adoption was the path for us, and we had Hollie by our side, Matt and I begin the hunt for the little soul that would grow to become our child. Much like adopting a born child, there are many routes in which embryos can be adopted… or should I say “obtained”? The law considers them property, not humans, so legally speaking this process is considered a transfer of property. Wow, right? There are agencies that facilitate the match between adopting and biological parents which operate much like traditional adoption agencies. Biological and adopting parents each create their own profile, they interview and choose one another, a home study, psych test and background check are required, and openness is possible depending on the desire of all parties. Then there are clinics that have embryo donation programs which operate much like egg donation and sperm donation programs. This process is more medical and the donation of “property” is anonymous. There are even private websites, lawyers and Facebook groups that connect left over embryos with waiting families.

If you know me you know that I’m an extensive researcher and over thinker. Countless hours of reading, researching, praying and talking to others led us to strongly believe the agency route was the path for us. However, sometimes our destiny isn’t what we think. I’ll never forget Monday February 2nd. My OCD side was relieved to finally have two envelopes in hand. One with a completed application and check to be mailed to our home study company and another with completed application and check made out to the embryo adoption agency. These envelopes signified many hours of paperwork and deliberation. Both envelopes were addressed and I planned to go get stamps on my lunch break, scheduled for 11:30 that day. At 11:30 on the dot I collected my purse to head out the door for lunch and my phone alerted me of a new email from the clinic where Hollie had begun prenatal care and testing. They had an embryo profile for us to view. This wasn’t the first profile they had sent us. The last one didn’t feel right to us and we really felt drawn to an agency so the arrival of this email coming in at this exact time was getting in the way of me and my personal checklist. I was stubbornly set on sticking with the plan in hand (literally). I went and bought the stamps but decided we might as well glance over the new profile before dropping the envelopes in the mail.

Matt and I read every word of the profile multiple times. We talked and prayed and invited others to pray for us as well. The pressure of this decision consumed me like the weight of the world on my chest. For years we had been in a desperate position, starving for any opportunity to become parents to any child. Now, we were in the position to choose which soul(s) would become part of our family. The responsibility of this decision was extraordinary. We invited some friends to pray for us about “a big decision we were faced with.” They had no idea it was in regards to our adoption journey and wouldn’t have suspected it because adoption had been placed on the back burner for a while. Both of them received words of confirmation that could only be from God. One of which was from our friend Sarah who received an image God reveled to her for us.

She said, “I have no idea what this means but I saw four ducks in a row, and God’s hand came down and took one duck out of the row and set it right out in front of you (Matt and Jourdan). It was the 2nd duck from the left”. This analogy spoke to both of us in different ways. Matt thoughts: “my wife likes all her ducks in a row, she had hours of paperwork completed and those envelopes were ready to go out, but God has another plan.” My personal thought was that it’s significant that the selected duck was the 2nd from the left. This was the 2nd embryo profile we had reviewed, no more, no less. The duck could have been described as “the 3rd from the right”, but it was carefully described as the “2nd from the left”. Additionally, a duck is the symbol in our working logo which hasn’t been on display enough got Sarah to remember or consider it. Of all the creatures on earth, why had we selected a duckling for this logo? There was no significant reason at the time. It was just a cute little silhouette.  

On February 6th I picked up the phone and left a voicemail for our clinic’s embryo donation coordinator. I somehow held back tears just enough to mumble the sentence “Matt and I have decided that we want to become the parents of those embryo babies!” Declaring that statement out loud flooded my eyes with tears and my heart with excitement and anticipation.

What do we know about our embryos? The married donor couple’s profile included extensive family health history. The donors chose to receive DNA testing for genetic mutations for 101 common diseases; all these tests came back negative. Embryos developed to the 5 day blastocyst stage (like ours) receive a two part grading system. A letter grade (like school) is assigned to 1.) the part of the embryo that will become the baby, and 2.) the part of the embryo that will become the placenta. Typical grades could be AC, BB, BA, etc. ALL seven of ours are grade AA which is an encouraging sign! We also learned that both biological parents are musical. The male works as an IT Security Analyst and he plays the guitar. The female enjoys riding horses and training dogs. She sings and plays multiple instruments. Our embryos have one ½ sister and one fully biological sister who was conceived at the same time as our embryos. Twins to be born years apart, this gives me chills. In 2013 the biological parents created and then froze seven extra embryos to have on hand should a failed transfer or miscarriage occur in their own journey. Instead they were blessed to give birth to a beautiful daughter as a result of their IVF process and they desire to give the remaining seven a chance to bless another family. It’s an anonymous donation so they know nothing about us, but we hope to have the opportunity to meet them one day.

We are overwhelmed to receive the gift Hollie and John are giving us AND the miraculous gift of these embryos gifted to us from an anonymous couple out there somewhere in this world. There are 600,000 frozen embryos in the US today. We viewed one profile before this cohort (batch) and we could have reviewed many others after. Yet this duck was removed from the row and placed before us and much to our surprise all our heart strings were drawn to it. And that is how we found “my angel, my darling, my star.”

Coming soon:
  • Details about Hollie – more about our special friendship and photos from our childhood.
  • Transfer day details and photos! 

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