When my lovely wife, Kristy, and I married on June 15, 1996 we certainly had dreams and expectations of one day having a family of our own. We were neither in a hurry to do so nor seeking to prevent it from happening, but instead put our trust in the Lord and in His perfect timing. Year after year, we enjoyed the benefits of being DINKs (Double Income No Kids) taking road trips often and spontaneously and enjoying the freedom that comes with not having kids. Every so often, Kristy would want to talk about children and discuss what names we would like. This always brought my anxiety levels up a notch, but her motherly instincts would not let the issue rest. Listen Now
One day, after about six years of marriage, my parents showed us an article from Focus on the Family Magazine. It was about snowflakes adoptions – embryos that had survived the IVF process and were now frozen and being given up for adoption.
The article was interesting, but the not-so-subtle hint was troubling – my parents suspected that we were infertile! Not too long after, thinking that Kristy should probably get checked out, I suggested that maybe we should make an appointment.
She replied, “Yes, you should get checked out”. Coming from a very prolific father, the idea that the problem was me never crossed my mind. I did concede to getting checked out and lo and behold we didn’t need to look any further. I was diagnosed with infertility and all the humbling that comes with it. The question, “So, when are you guys going to have kids” wasn’t so well received or easily answered after this discovery.
We continued to pray about our situation and the different possibilities before us – miracle, foreign adoption, domestic adoption, medical treatment or remaining childless.
As we sought the Lord’s direction and took turns encouraging one another of the reality of God’s perfect plans, God began to make known His will for our lives. The Bible says that if anyone lacks wisdom let him ask and that God will give it liberally and without reproach. It also says that a man plans his way, but his steps are ordered by the Lord.
The Focus article had slipped from our minds until one day one of Kristy’s hair clients brought up a friend that had participated in the Snowflakes adoption program through Nightlight Christian Adoptions. Kristy reached out and from there our conversations about this path became more and more exciting.
Kristy was especially excited because she had always dreamed of being big and pregnant.
The Lord is always good to confirm His will. I remember one sister in the Lord sharing a vision that she had of a single drop of water rolling down the center of a leaf then off the tip falling onto dry, cracked, lifeless ground. As soon as the drop hit the
ground, life sprang forth and spread until the land was moist, lush, and teaming with life.
Later she turned to Isaiah 41:17-20 which says:
17 “The poor and needy seek water, but there is none,
Their tongues fail for thirst.
I, the LORD, will hear them;
I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers in desolate heights,
And fountains in the midst of the valleys;
I will make the wilderness a pool of water,
And the dry land springs of water.
19 I will plant in the wilderness the cedar and the acacia tree,
The myrtle and the oil tree;
I will set in the desert the cypress tree and the pine
And the box tree together,
20 That they may see and know,
And consider and understand together,
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
And the Holy One of Israel has created it.
While on a rafting trip with friends, I was sitting on a rock by the American River feeling discouraged and asking God for encouragement and confirmation of His will. He gave me Psalm 113 which says:
1 Praise the LORD!
Praise, O servants of the LORD,
Praise the name of the LORD!
2 Blessed be the name of the LORD
From this time forth and forevermore!
3 From the rising of the sun to its going down
The LORD’s name is to be praised.
4 The LORD is high above all nations,
His glory above the heavens.
5 Who is like the LORD our God,
Who dwells on high,
6 Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?
7 He raises the poor out of the dust,
And lifts the needy out of the ash heap,
8 That He may seat him with princes—
With the princes of His people.
9 He grants the barren woman a home,
Like a joyful mother of children.
Praise the LORD!
The Lord gave us many scriptures, sermons, and encouraging words from friends to confirm his will for us at this time. He also provided….
It was the year before that my grand father whom I had only met once and spoken with a handful of times passed away. To my surprise, he had left me a sum of money – just enough to pay off some debt, get a new mountain bike, and adopt some embryos.
Isn’t God amazing!
The Snowflakes adoption process was modeled after the domestic adoption process. We were required to complete a home study program, write about ourselves, and provide pictures. Our information was then sent to genetic parents who would decide if they wanted to choose us to adopt their embryos. Once we were chosen the adoption agency would send a packet of information to us to see if we would want to adopt the embryos. Meanwhile Kristy was being tested and consulting with a fertility specialist that would eventually be responsible for the preparation and implantation of the kids.
Our wait was longer than usual, but one day I received the call from Kristy telling me that a packet was in. We decided not to look at it until that evening when we were together. The adoption process is different than a donor program or sperm bank where you can choose the general physical characteristics you desire. This program seeks to match people based mostly on common values. Nonetheless, Kristy and I desired to have children that would be similar in appearance to us. This was especially important to me.
As we settled into bed that evening with our sealed packet, we prayed together that God would give us wisdom and somehow confirm if this family would or would not be the match. After praying, we tore open the manila envelope and began reading information and looking at pictures. Amazingly, before seeing any pictures, I read the description of the genetic father which was identical to my own description on my driver’s license – 5’9”, green eyes, brown hair, 185 lbs. We knew that this was the family!
The thawing and pregnancy would be high risk. The eight embryos we adopted had been frozen for nearly 10 years, the genetic mother was 38 when her eggs were extracted, and Kristy’s uterus was not hormonally prepared for embryos. We were told that statistically only one embryo would survive the thawing and that that embryo had little to no chance of successfully attaching to the uterus wall. Additionally, if it did, he or she could be born with defects. Regardless, we believed strongly that this was a match made in heaven and that all would go according to God’s plan.
Once Kristy was all checked out, it was time for hormone treatments to prepare her womb for the kids. This required 14 weeks of daily shots using a two inch needle, and it was time for me to play nurse. Although I had trained on an orange, I still had much to learn through on the job practice I’ll never forget the first day…Kristy came out and looked at the needle while I was preparing and became very nervous. She had to go in the other room to work up some courage then came back out covering her eyes (this became a part of our routine). I tried to poke the needle quickly into the muscle just below her pant line on her lower back but it took a couple iterations to get in right. Also, on my first try, I did exactly what the nurse had warned me not to do and hit her nerve…not a good start. By the end of the 14 weeks we had a good routine down though, alternating from one side to another and avoiding the bruised areas.
Yep…these kids would be special!
During this time, the eight frozen embryos were delivered FedEx to Kristy’s fertility specialist. Of the eight, 3 were viable after the thawing. It was these three that were implanted into Kristy’s womb on November 17, 2004. I remember the day of the implantation as my first fast. Kristy was mandated to be on bed rest for at least three days; she chose to stay in bed for five just to be sure. We had moved the bed into the living room so that she could enjoy the TV and visitors.
The moment of truth came on December 1, 2004 when Kristy took her first pregnancy test. We were thrilled to learn that the test was positive. The only question now was how many kids did we have in there. After a couple scary days of bleeding and doctor’s visits, on December 10,2004, ultrasound results revealed that she was pregnant with twins! Woo Hoo!
Due to the high risk status of the pregnancy, we were privileged to go in for many ultrasounds and were able to monitor the development of the kids throughout. God certainly granted Kristy’s desire to be big and pregnant reminding me of the scripture that says “delight yourself in the Lord, and He will grant you the desires of your heart”.
By the time June rolled around, she was so large and had so much water retention that I had to physically lift her legs by the ankles and pivot her so that she could get up out of bed (nothing like our triplet friends though).
I was working as a summer day camp director and was highly involved in kicking the summer off. I remember getting a phone call while at work that it was time….the doctor had felt something that concerned him…he thought the umbilical chord may have been around Kylie’s head putting her in danger. I drove to the hospital in tears, not fealing any peace and telling God, “I’m not ready”. Apparently he agreed, because when I got there, we were told that everything was fine and that it was a false alarm.
One week later, on July 5, 2005, after 35 weeks of pregnancy, it was time for the real deal; and this time, I was ready. What a special and memorable day that was. I was able to be next to Kristy for the C-section and video tape the birth. The doctor and nurses were so patient and kind. Allowing me to hold the kids and talk to them while a nurse videotaped for me. Kristy was lucid for a short time until the meds kicked in at which time I think she was visiting another planet. This gave me some valuable time to bond with the babies…changing my first diaper ever, videotaping their first bath, holding them, and talking to them…best day ever!
Having twins has been a great joy! The kids are now nine years old, healthy, smart, and talented…they’ve been alive for nearly 19 years after all. Despite the challenges of family expansion, lack of sleep in the first year, and marital challenges that come with these kinds of testing, there are no regrets. They say that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I wouldn’t trade our Luke and Kylie for anything and certainly appreciate the way God has made me.
Praise the Lord!