Children are the pruning shears: Patience

“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love. . .” (Ephesians 4:1-2)

When we find the word “patience” in Scripture, it usually refers to one of two things: waiting for something, or enduring some sort of suffering. Well, have you ever watched a child who is trying to wait patiently for something? It can actually be quite comical.

From the time they are born, children are horrendously impatient.

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Our journey toward embryo adoption: Why we’re doing it this way

So besides the questions on adopting in general, the major question about our journey is, “Why embryo adoption?”

Embryo adoption means that we will choose two embryos that have been donated by a couple who went through IVF to have children, but did not use all the embryos that were created for them. These couples, once their own family is complete, can choose to destroy their remaining embryos, donate them to research (which results in their destruction) or donate them to another couple. Once we are ready to start (when we have all the finances in line), we will choose our embryos, and from that point, it will be just like I am going through IVF. I will take medication to prepare my body to receive the embryos, and they will be thawed and transferred into my womb, where, Lord willing, they will implant and develop just like any other pregnancy.

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Our journey toward embryo adoption: Why we’re doing it

“You guys have six kids already! Why would you want more? Are you crazy?!?”

“You are already raising six kids on a pastor’s salary.”

“Don’t you worry that you won’t be able to love this child like you love your real children? Don’t you worry that it will take away your attention and resources from your real children if you adopt?”

These are some of the questions that may be going through your head when you hear of our plans to adopt. So why are we adopting? Why would we add to the chaos that already exists in our home? Why would we strap our budget even more, postpone those Disney dreams even longer? On the days when I feel overwhelmed and inadequate for the task of shepherding my six, how could I even consider increasing the flock?

These are valid questions. So many people have written so many good articles and books about the blessings of children, and the blessing of adoption, so I’m not going to try to defend big families or adoption in general here. Let me just share our heart.

As I mentioned in the first post in this series, adoption has always been our goal, our plan, our dream.

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Children are the pruning shears: Peace

Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.

If joy for a Christian is rooted in the fact that we are loved completely with an undeserved love, then peace is rooted in the fact that the One who loves us is completely, 100% trustworthy, and has done everything necessary to reconcile us to Himself.

When you think of the picture of peace, what comes to mind? My mind immediately goes back in time to the many hours I’ve spent holding my sleeping babies, especially during the months of nursing. Though they may have been screaming only minutes earlier, they nurse a little bit and begin to drift off to sleep. The frown disappears, the tears dry, and their face becomes a portrait of peaceful sleep, even in the midst of some not-so-peaceful circumstances. Even older children, who begin to have troubles deeper than when they will get their next meal, exude peace as they sleep. They are not worried about the credit card bills. They are not worried about the sound the van is making. They are not even worried about what the Supreme Court will decide on the next case involving religious liberty. They just sleep. They know that Mom and Dad are in the other room. They know there are problems and cares and struggles in the world, but they are confident that the grown-ups can take care of it. And if we have taught them well, they know that even if the problems are bigger than the grown-ups, they aren’t bigger than God. As they get older, they find worries of their own. They worry about making friends and sick grandparents and eventually pimples and grades and “creatures of the opposite sex.” But they tend to be much more quickly convinced to trust these issues to God than the grownups who care for them. Just like children are more prone to joy, they are also more prone to peace. They can teach us much, if we watch them closely.

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Our journey toward embryo adoption: What we’re doing

This post is already 18 months in the making, and part of me can’t believe that I’m actually typing this. But I am, here we are, and here’s what we’re doing.

Clay and I have known we wanted to adopt since before we even got married. From Day One, we’ve planned to have biological children, then wait a bit, then adopt. It’s just always been a given. So, while I was pregnant with Lydia, we prayed and agonized and prayed some more, finally deciding that she would be our last biological child. We weren’t getting any younger, we were having babies every 18 months-2 years, and if we were ever going to achieve that “wait a bit” part, we would have to stop having babies. It’s been important to us to wait to adopt until our kids were all old enough to be a part of it, so that our whole family would be adopting, not just Mom and Dad.

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Is someone missing from this picture?

About halfway through 2015, we began talking about timing. Lydia was 2 1/2, and we knew that any form of adoption would be a long process, so we just started having some conversations about when and how. I plan to go into more detail about the “how” in another post, but for now, the Lord led us to embryo adoption in January 2016. That began a really long process of praying, researching, praying, deciding, praying, pursuing, waiting, and praying some more, which brings us to this post.

We are officially announcing our plans to pursue embryo adoption as soon as the Lord provides the finances.

What is embryo adoption? Many times, after a couple has completed their IVF (in-vitro fertilization) process, they still have embryos that have already been created but that they are not going to use. They must then make a decision. They can keep them in storage, in case they change their mind and want to try again in the future. They can destroy them, which–if you believe life begins at fertilization, as we do–means destroying a human life. Or, they can donate them to be “adopted” by another couple. I put “adopted” in quotes because this is so new and such a gray area that it isn’t legally viewed as an adoption. We use the term though, because it is the best way to understand and explain what is happening. So the wife of the adopting couple goes through the IVF process, using this donated embryo. She carries the baby, gives birth to the baby, all as if it were a natural pregnancy, and at the time of birth, the adopting parents are listed on the birth certificate as if it were their biological baby.

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We are extremely excited about this journey. We are asking all who know us or read this to pray for us. Pray for God’s continued guidance as we continue to make decisions. Pray for the babies–there is risk involved. Sometimes the babies don’t survive the thawing process, and sometimes they don’t survive the transfer process. Pray for our children–they are beyond excited about this and we want to teach them and model for them how to trust the Lord’s will and timing for something you desire so greatly. And pray for God’s provision. This process is a fraction of the cost of traditional adoption. The medical fees will be about $15,000, not covered by insurance, plus additional expenses for travel to and from the clinic, etc, and all of this amount must be paid up front before we can begin the transfer process. But even though it’s much less than traditional adoption, it’s much more than we can do on our own. We are praying that the Lord will provide through His people, and the timing of our journey is completely in His hands, as He sees fit to provide.

In addition to your prayers, if you would like to be a part of helping these tiny lives–already created, already a life made in the image of God–have a chance to be born, here’s how you can help:

You can be a part of helping us add pieces to our family puzzle by sponsoring a puzzle piece. We have ordered two blank puzzles, with a total of 418 pieces. You can sponsor a piece for $35. When you give a gift of $35, we will write your name on one of the puzzle pieces. We will hang the completed puzzles in our home, to have a visual reminder of all those who helped build our family puzzle.

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You can give at least $35 to have your name included on our puzzle, or give any other amount, via PayPal, mail, or in person. You can give via PayPal at http://www.paypal.me/hallembryoadoption or by mail at Hall Embryo Adoption, PO Box 92, Grand Rivers, KY, 42045. (Make checks out to Clay or Monica Hall.)

Also, if you would like to receive periodic email updates along the way, please email us at hallembryoadoption@gmail.com and we will add you to the list.

We believe that to be anti-abortion, we must be pro-life, and that includes life at all stages.

God is calling our family to put feet on that proclamation by offering a safe place for two of the tiniest lives to grow, be born, and grow up in a family where they are loved and pointed to the Heavenly Father, who offers us all adoption into His forever family.  Our prayer is that as you hear our story, you too will be challenged to put feet to your own pro-life beliefs. Thank you so much for partnering with us on this journey.

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