Monday, September 8, 2008

Questions & Answers

Recently, I was asked some very good questions and I thought I would post them here with our answers. I’ve also added a few more that I thought of as well. We have tried to answer each of these questions as clearly and as honestly as possible. With that said,

Here we go…

What denomination of Christian are you?

Hubby and I are heart and soul for Jesus. We are not in any denomination but do attend a Calvary Chapel church that teaches verse by verse and we love it. I gave my life to Christ as a young child but did not fully walk a submitted life to Him until I was married and we lost our first pregnancy/child. I believe God walked me through that difficult time to gain my heart. I gave it then and have never asked for it back. Richard was also raised in a Christian church, but his life as a believer, took on a whole new meaning as we began to seek the Lord together.

How many frozen embryos would you want to be responsible for?

If we felt the match was God, I would gladly accept any and all embryos you had to offer. But, I would also want to know that you felt your family was finished. I wonder how your heart would handle me birthing your genetic children if you still had a desire for them…Even if that desire was for years down the road.

If I were to give you my embryos, would you be able to make the same pledge to me and to God that you will not have a single one

One thing about our family is that we feel God has called us to be an example for others to follow. That is why we are so open with our story, longings, and adoptions. We feel so strongly about this that God has even given us a ministry called Living Stones. Our ministry has a dream of putting together a Life Center that would be a walk through exhibit that would encourage life, healing from abortion, and adoption (International, domestic, foster, and embryo).
Our heart is that every child is a gift from God and deserves life. It is also our belief that there is a full life within each and every embryo created. We believe that life begins with fertilization (when a sperm and an egg meet). We also believe whole heartedly that no frozen or fresh embryo should be destroyed or used for science. That is why we would not implant more than we are willing to carry and would not have thawed more than we are willing to implant.

If you were to get pregnant, would you be willing to work with me to find another adoptive family for any embryos you did not want to

Yes, Yes, Yes!!! My heart sings with this thought! I know that the reason God is walking us down this road is because one day, our ministry will be helping/ encouraging others to not be afraid to adopt in this fashion. I love the idea of allowing these little ones life and not to remain frozen for years and years without that opportunity. But, I’d have to say that I’d want to pick a family that Loves the Lord and will want to have an open adoption relationship with both of our families. It’s important to me that all of the children and families stay close and really know each other.

With your other children's adoptions, please explain your level of openness with the birth mothers and how you feel about open adoption. How have you honored your promises to your

Okay, this may take a bit to explain but, I will try my hardest. I did not always have a heart for openness because I was so filled with fear of a birth parent standing at my door wanting their baby back. So…when Bailey was born, Michelle (Bailey’s BM) did not even know our last names. But we did promise to send her pictures each year. I cared about her, but I have to be honest… More than anything, I just deeply wanted this baby. (Does that make sense?) So the first 4 years of our adoption was only semi open. I sent pictures or tried to do a short drop in visit with Bailey once or twice a year.

Then one day, the Lord spoke to my heart. He reminded me that I could trust Him with my babies and building our family. He then reminded me that I could also trust Him with the relationships I had with their birth parents and that I needed to lose the fear and allow Him to work. I knew He was right. Although, I was still very unsure that I wasn’t making the biggest mistake of my life, I drove to Michelle’s house and invited her and her daughter that was a year younger than Bailey, to our house for the afternoon.
Then God showed me something, as we were sitting at my table sipping tea and the little girls were playing on the ottoman in our living room… they knocked heads and started crying. Both Michelle and I jumped up to go to them. I hesitated for just a moment to see if Michelle was going to run to Bailey or was she going for Kathryn. She had always been so focused on Bailey every time we did see her, I was almost sure she’d run to Bailey first…but she didn’t. She went to Kathryn and I in turn, went to Bailey and together we sat on the floor and consoled our children and kissed their heads. I knew…in that moment of motherly concern, that Michelle truly recognized me as Bailey’s mother and I didn’t have to fear her.

So down came the wall of fear and from that day forward, the Lord bonded our relationship tightly. You asked about our level of openness, well let me tell you, it couldn’t be any more open than it is. She and Kathryn sit next to our family each Sunday at church and each Thur. for Bible study. We eat meals together, they come play games at our house, watch movies, we do each other’s dishes, yard work, attend each other’s kid’s school functions, sports, shopping…you name it, we’ve done it. Our families interact so much that it’s not a thought out thing. We just do it.
Michelle even once, came and ran our house one weekend because Richard had a really hard job to do (he is a carpet installer) and I went to help him. Michelle and Kathryn just came and spent the weekend here so we could work and not worry about the kids. I’ve NEVER left my kids with babysitters pretty much their entire lives but Michelle is family, so I didn’t worry one bit. Not only that, but when she got them up the following morning, she surprised them with Easter baskets … Oh the candy! They loved her for that one.

The thing that makes our relationship work is that there is a mutual respect for our family. I don’t fear that she is trying to be Bailey’s parent or compete for her affection and because of that, I’ve moved her in so close to us, she naturally gets what her heart desires…to really know us and Bailey. The other thing that makes our relationship work is that her focus in not just on Bailey. She loves all of my children. All of my kid’s birth parents feel this way. The focus is never just upon the child they birthed, but all of our children. When they buy presents, or something, they buy all of the kids the same or equal value. They recognize each of the children for who they are and the kids know it too.

Addison’s birth parents are just the same. They live farther from us so most of our contact is through the email, phone, or if they happen to be driving our way and can stop to see us…OH and we get together for Christmas. (Usually, we celebrate our Christmas together in November because both of our families are just so busy during Dec.) Julie is also my party planner. Shes so good at making our kid's birthday parties fun. We just love them so much!

Bailey’s birth father and his family just met us for the first time this year but, you wouldn’t know it if we didn’t tell you. Our families have bonded so quickly that we’ve made up for lost time. They have all of the toys so we go boating with them, the girls go 4-wheeling (they still have not gotten me on them yet LOL). Our families have a blast together and we seem to miss them the more we see them. LOL Their precious family locked into our hearts and lives and we will never let them go.

Levi’s situation is a bit different but we are still working on it and hope that one day soon, we will have the kind of relationships that we have with the other birth families. We’re still working on it though… I have a hard time accepting closed adoption I guess. LOL

How would your family and our family recognize who we are to the children born through embryo adoption?

So… let me again say that our openness with our birth families works so well because we all recognize the importance for our children to know clear lines of who they are and where they came from. We don’t try to hide the fact that they are blood linked, but we don’t put an emphasis on it because it is important that our children not fill confused or misplaced… possibly feeling like they should have been in another family, but were rejected or something.
How I put it to my birth families, is that God put our family together from completely different genetics, and so in our family, we don’t place an emphasis upon the genetics, but more upon the family unit itself. Our family is very tight and our children are very bonded as siblings. It would not feel good to them or our family to have an outside family (birth family) dividing that closeness by placing special emphasis upon their birth child and the fact that they are genetically theirs. So, we’ve ( Our family and our birth families) all trained our children to not focus there, but rather to know each other and love each other for the families that God has placed them in.

With that clear, we just live our lives with our families very close and are open with the truth of each of their birth stories if the need to share comes up.
Titles in our family are important to keep clear. Just as I won’t share my title as Mom... our children only recognize the kids within our family as siblings and our personal extended family as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. My children call their birth parents by their first names and the same for the rest of their birth parents families.

What if we only have one embryo to offer your family, would you be willing to take it?

Yes, if both of our families feel that the match is right, we would be open to receiving your one embryo. We are also open to the idea that if God brings to our attention two families who only have one or two to offer, we’d be open to doing what is called a mixed batch. (Sorry that sounds so odd but, that is what it’s called.) The chances of achieving a pregnancy is better to implant more than one embryo. We would consider doing a mixed batch of no more than three embryos. If a pregnancy was achieved, we would do a paternity test (if needed) after the baby or babies were born to know the genetic families of the child(ren). This paternity test is done by a swab of saliva in the child’s mouth as well as the genetic families and is painless.

Are you an honest person in your dealings with your fellow brothers and sisters here on earth?
I really try to be… The Bible says to speak the truth in Love. That sometimes is the hardest thing to do but if it’s surrounded in true love, it can build a foundation of trust. I love my children and their birth families so much and we are very honest with them… then when I also tell them that I love them, they know I mean it and it’s not just words.

I hope this has answered many of the questions a donor family might have regarding our desire to do an open embryo adoption. If you have more questions feel free to email me and we can talk more.


1 comment:

Jen said...

Whoa! Just got a google alert for your blog. Small world =)

See you around HP