The Only One I Know.
In 2008, my spirit was broken when my marriage ended after almost 12 years. Literally overnight I became the single mother of a 2.5 year old daughter, uncertain and scared about the future. It took nearly six months to finalize our divorce and now I faced the reality of what to do with our four remaining frozen embryos. I was awarded custody of the embryos, and would soon realize the only option available to me was to place them with a family through adoption.
I did an online search and learned about Snowflakes® adoption. I met with a counselor through my church and prayed ALOT. Over the course of those months, and the year in-between my divorce and the finalization of the placement, I came to realize I needed to do what was best for the remaining embryos, and me. I firmly believe those 4 frozen embryos were not a mistake; they were created so God could give them life. Once I really grasped this, it became clear I could do this – place my embryos into an adopting family.
I have struggled with control over the years. Can anyone relate? The control freak in me continued to try and figure out God’s plan for these embryos. For their first frozen embryo transfer the adopting family transferred two of the four embryos. My feelings ran the gambit. What if they had a girl? I prayed they would have a boy because I wasn’t familiar with raising boys. A boy would be different. Easier, for me.
The adopting family’s son, J, was born when my daughter, S, was 6. She was too young to understand all of the particulars, but I definitely began the process of telling her the story. I did not want either of us feeling shame for this choice. I introduced her to the family and to J through photos as close family friends that are like family. She saw photos and received updates about his milestones and was good with that.
I struggled. He was nearly identical to my daughter’s baby pictures! I found comfort in my faith and had confidence I had made the right choice.
In 2013, their second son, M was born. The doctors gave him only a 20% chance of being born! But he was absolutely perfect and healthy in every way. S was now 8. One night as we snuggled up in bed she talked about ‘the boys’ as they would affectionately be known forevermore and God facilitated a loving honest dialogue between us about her brothers. Tears come to the surface as I think of that sweet painful conversation.
At Christmas we flew to meet the family in person. It was scary and magical, awkward and perfect all at the same time. J was 3 and M was an infant. We savored our time with them and marveled at their beautiful resemblance to my daughter. My mind turned to what I had learned from my faith: God works all things together for good.
I wanted to share my story because you don’t often hear about people who placed their embryos as a result of a divorce. In fact, to this date I’m still the only person I know who made this choice as a single mother. All the stories I found were of full, happily married families taking this journey together. Of course, that only made me feel more isolated and alone. You see, when I made this decision I did not feel like my womb was closed. I wanted more children. While the choice to destroy the embryos was never a consideration for me, the thought of not being responsible for my biological children was foreign. Through the fear and uncertainty about the future I ultimately grew to know this was the right choice for all of us. My daughter has biological brothers who were adopted and we are loud and proud about it. While I have moments of sadness, those are overshadowed when I see the familiar eyes, smiling faces, and hear those beautiful voices say my name. It’s one of the sweetest sounds in the world.
~Snowflake Party of 4