Tom and Anabelle met on Memorial Day weekend while Annabelle was vacationing in San Diego from Brazil. They were engaged within eight months, married in a little more than a year. They assumed children would follow just as quickly, but years passed without any babies.
After seven years of trying, they started in vitro fertilization treatments. After a single embryo transfer, their son was born. Five embryos remained.
When their son was about 14 months old, Anabelle found out she was expecting again and was 12 weeks pregnant with their second son. What a wonder, given their previous struggles! 15 months after he was born, they found out Anabelle was almost eight weeks pregnant with their daughter. They now had three children— and five frozen embryos who needed them to decide their future.
Tom began to research what they could do with their remaining embryos and discovered the Snowflakes® Embryo Adoption Program.
Tom first presented the idea of donating their embryos through Snowflakes to Anabelle when their daughter was about a month old. She was not ready to make that decision. One day, as Anabelle considered and prayed about the future of her remaining embryos, she felt that God gave her the answer she was seeking. “I believe I heard God telling me; the embryos are not yours, Anabelle. They are a gift from me!” This gave her the answer she was seeking and the peace she was craving. The couple agreed to place their remaining embryos for adoption and their journey towards finding a family for their embryos began.
In December 2012, Tom and Anabelle received an e-mail with a possible match. The moment Tom and Anabelle started reading Bert and Kryna’s family profile she just knew this was the right match.
The two families decided to meet each other when Bert and Kryna traveled to San Diego for their first frozen embryo transfer in 2013. While not common, it felt right for both families to meet in person at this point in time. It was ’love at first sight’ for Annabelle. Thankfully, this FET was a success, and they welcomed their first child, a son, the following year.
When he was 16 months old, Bert and Kryna traveled again to visit Tom and Anabelle. The purpose of this trip was to introduce Anabelle and Tom to their son, and to have a second FET. Bert and Kryna’s second son was born in nine months later.
Since then, Bert and Kryna have welcomed a third son from the embryos they adopted from Tom and Annabelle back in 2013. The relationships developed between the two families have been a blessing for all. Tom and Anabelle were pleasantly surprised that their open adoption would be so sweet. Looking back now, 10 years later, Tom has this to say about their experience:
“Donating our remaining embryos through Snowflakes has been a huge blessing. In so many ways, we all have benefited. My wife and I, as well our kids, are grateful for the fact that we are able to have a close relationship with our adopting family. The Bert and Kryna have remained committed to our family with love and trust. Growing and deepening our friendships over the years is a blessing to all of us—adults and kids. Despite the occasional pain in the realization of our loss in placing these children, I am consistently reminded of the excellence of our decision whenever I visit with them or see pictures of them experiencing the joys of life with each other and their parents.
“It was a painful choice to make at the time. However, it continues to be one of the best choices I have ever made in my life.”
Do you have an embryo adoption or donation story? Send your story and photos to us! Post them yourself via Facebook and Twitter or email us your story and we will make it available on our Family Stories page, found on our website.
Email Paige@nightlight.org and help another family build their embryo donation or adoption story.
To learn about embryo donation and adoption, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.