We were married in 2016 after 3 years of dating. We were young and so in love! We had a cute little house nestled in the mountains of Virginia and no one could tell me life wasn’t full of happiness, sunflowers, and rainbows. We knew we weren’t quite ready for kids when we tied the knot, so we decided I would be on birth control and we’d start trying to conceive after a year of blissful-ness. That year came—and we actively started trying to have Baby W. We told a few close friends and announced to our parents that they should be expecting a grandchild soon enough! We prayed and truly felt good about everything.
But then infertility.
Doctors appointments and tests and medications later we really felt like it was a divine sign to put all of that down and start our desired adoption. We moved to South Carolina and knew we were in a good place to start growing our family through adoption. We had talked about adoption way before we were married and our desire to grow our family in that way one day, however that looked. We knew we had love to share with an expectant and birth mom (and dad) and we used our unexplained infertility as a launching pad to dive into the adoption world.
Boy, were we overwhelmed! We talked to several agencies, consultants and adoptive families and everyone we could come into contact with that had knowledge about adoption. We had people call and text and email us about potential situations on social media or through the foster care system. After a lot of research, we landed on Quiver Full Adoptions, Inc. (QFA) in South Carolina. We felt like their message and delivery of ethics and how they cared for expectant and birth parents was a great fit for us and our dreams.
After praying and speaking to our adoption professional, we realized that we weren’t willing to wait over a year to just start our wait as an active client (not including the process to become chosen) for a child....if that makes since....
A little more back story on us as a unit: we balance each other. I’m a spontaneous, and an irrational jumper. He’s a logical, analytical rationalist. When I decide on something I want to do it NOW (not my best quality), but he brings me to reality and reminds me to take a deep breath and trust in the Lord’s timing. He helps keep me rooted in prayer and leads me in a way that’s loving and kind.
When I was a little disappointed at the long wait to become an active client (even though I knew this was the right agency for us), I decided to do more research with Quiver Full. I was all over their website and came across their Embryo Adoption Program (EAP). I read so many positives about the program and many spoke right to my heart. We knew we wanted to adopt. But I also knew that since falling in love with my husband, I’ve dreamed of being pregnant—which I’m not sure I had told him before. The EAP is roughly 1/3 of the cost of a domestic infant adoption, which at the time was a big factor for us as well. We were sitting on the couch watching Survivor and I asked him to read the webpage. He looked at me and asked, “Do you want to be pregnant?” And tears filled my eyes as I shook my head yes. He said, “Okay then, let’s do it!” Y’all—for him just to be okay with this decision and to not dwell on everything associated with it was confirmation enough for me. We immediately emailed our adoption professional and became active clients in their EAP.
The finances for all of it fell into place, which was a God thing. To be transparent, at the time that we started this journey, we were basically a 1 income family with almost no savings after our move from VA to SC. We had people out of the blue help us in big ways! We did 2 t-shirt fundraisers and received financial gifts from friends, family and our church. This was miraculous confirmation that we were doing the right thing.
Embryo Adoption, or snowflake adoption is a newer and unconventional adoption route.
So let me explain a bit about it: an embryo is the beginning of life. When an egg from a female is combined with sperm from a male BAM! LIFE! After a few days the cells divide and grow and that’s what we call an embryo. (This is a very non technical, non medical explanation...so forgive me science nerds!) These embryos are usually created for families that are going through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments. They could choose to use some of the embryos and freeze the rest for storage until future use, hence the snowflake part.
After they feel like their family is complete, they have 4 options:
a. Destroy them
b. Donate them to science (also results in destruction)
c. Store them (by freezing) with their clinic indefinitely (which can be a financial strain and eventually result with embryos that not viable)
d. Donate them to an adopting family. That’s where we came into the picture.
Long story short, we met an incredible family that has 2 embryo babies waiting to be given a chance at life. I will be pregnant with our adopted child! How cool is Jesus and science, y’all?!
Embryo adoption is not spoken of a lot in the adoption community, but the discussion is so needed. If you’re like us and believe life begins at conception, then you believe embryos are life. We had really no idea how many abandoned embryos were in America alone. We were shocked! There are over 600,000 frozen embryos in the US!
Like we said earlier we met an amazing couple with 2 frozen embryos that we were instantly connected with. It was totally ordained by the Lord. No other explanation, in my opinion. We have agreed to have an open adoption with them and can already see how wonderful they are! In some states, embryos are considered more of property rather than living beings, so legally it’s a little easier to get an agreement together and signed. We had an amazing lawyer that drew up our agreement and with little back and forth, our donor couple has signed over full legal rights to the embryos! On September 11, 2019 we became proud parents of 2 Texan, frozen embryos! We are through the moon!
Once we gained legal rights to them, we had to ship them to our clinic near where we live. With the help of our agency, this was such a smooth process—way smoother than I expected. They arrived a couple of weeks later! It was surreal to say the least. We signed some paperwork, paid a few fees, and that was it! All that’s left is preparing my body for the transfer of the embryo. We are aiming to transfer in December! How exciting?!
We have been incredibly blessed with the opportunity to get the word out about these frozen embryo babies. Our hearts ache at the thought of how many are still out there waiting to be given a chance at life. We have been completely overwhelmed by the goodness of God throughout our whole process. We love talking about it and we can hardly wait to see how this unfolds!
Guest Blogger: Hannah Woodzell
Keep up with us on Facebook and Instagram @thewoodzellsadopt!
To learn more about Embryo Adoption visit Quiver Full adoption: https://www.quiverfulladoptions.com/embryo