The following was written by Heather Mayer and edited by the Awareness Center for the purposes of this blog.
When my husband and I were asked about our level of openness in embryo adoption, the honest gut-answer was, we really didn’t know. Now don’t get me wrong. We weren’t closed to the idea of openness. We just didn’t know who our genetic family was going to be, and we were hesitant to define what that relationship would “look” like.
With our adoption agency’s help, we initially started emailing each other directly. It was quite the thrill and privilege to have that connection with our genetic family. I loved seeing updated pictures of their family as it gave me a glimpse of what our precious child (or children) would look like.
We began to get more curious and wondered if they might be open to some phone contact. I wanted to hear their voices, to get to know them “that much more.” They were happy to facilitate phone contact, and the bond between us grew just a little bit tighter. It was during that time that we were starting our embryo transfers and facing a lot of emotions: excitement, nervousness, disappointment, continued hope, and eventually the thrill of a dream come true: pregnancy, finally!!! It was through our long-distance friendship and shared love of our precious embryos that prompted their hearts to pray for us during this journey. What amazing support, a gift indeed.
When our daughter was born, we entertained the idea of actually meeting her genetic family in person. Since they were open to the possibility, we booked tickets and flew to their hometown (Our daughter was a year old at the time). I’ll never forget the emotions I felt when we stepped on their turf. It was so surreal to think that out of all the people in the world, this specific relationship was orchestrated to bring about the blessing of our precious child. During that weekend, our daughter got to meet her genetic “sisters” and play. We had long talks and got to know each other better. We met aunts, uncles, grandmas, grandpas. We visited their church and were introduced to the many people who prayed for us. We even met the nurse who monitored the embryo growth in a petri dish of our daughter and her many siblings the first few days of their lives!
I am really thankful we chose openness. We have been really blessed to have been able to share our journey with them and still stay in touch as we are able. It brings us joy, knowing that they see she is happy, healthy, and most of all, loved.
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