“When couples decide to grow their families, they have this picture in their heads that how many kids they have and when is in their control,” say embryo adoption parents Cam and Becca Sanford. “But in reality, none of it is.” The Sanfords aren’t speaking theoretically, either. Theirs are the voices of experience.
Cam and Becca have known each other for what seems like forever. They were high school sweethearts. And once they got married, they envisioned having three or four kids. It would all happen like clockwork, right? Heartbreakingly, no.
“I remember after a year of not getting pregnant, I said I can’t do this for another year,” says Becca. “And then another year went by and I said it again. And then I started to realize I can do it and I need to just trust God and realize maybe this isn’t His plan.”
But just because the Sanfords could get through it… didn’t mean it was easy. Their infertility clinic never found anything “wrong” with either Cam or Becca. That just made things doubly frustrating. “If everything is okay, why can’t we get pregnant?” they wondered. Five years of infertility and no answers.
Changed Hearts and an Open Door
In retrospect, Cam and Becca are glad they had enough time to process their reality. It gave their hearts space to change. They mourned the inability to conceive children on their own, and then set that desire aside. No longer did it matter to them how they had a family. And that was when God opened the door to their first child, Rustin, now 6, through adoption. He was the baby they’d waited more than five years to hold in their arms.
“Our hearts were healed and ready for the journey God had for us,” Cam and Becca share. “We never wanted our babies to feel like they were second choice, because they never were.”
Rustin is an all-around delight: talking people’s ears off, totally into riding bikes and idolizing Dad as his hero. He was so much fun and so social, the Sanfords decided he needed some siblings. After a failed foster adoption –Cam and Becca determined they just couldn’t give the boy in their care the help he needed- they turned to embryo adoption.
Key Conversation with a Co-Worker
If successful, Becca would carry and give birth to an embryo remaining from another couple’s IVF. Embryo adoption was an idea they’d only heard about because it was the family-building route one of Cam’s co-workers used. Cam and Becca chose to take their journey through the faith-based National Embryo Donation Center (NEDC).
Going with the NEDC proved to be the perfect choice for the Sanford family. Becca’s frozen embryo transfer resulted in the birth of their second son, Trey, 2. “He’s our snowflake baby,” says Becca. “He loves snowballs and reading. Trey’s definitely a Mama’s boy but also really looks up to Rustin!”
The story doesn’t end there, though. God also had a surprise baby in store for Cam and Becca. After all these years, they conceived naturally! Brother number three, Beau, is almost 1. “He’s into everything, and just never stops going,” Cam and Becca say. “He is our little daredevil already, a little nerve-wracking for his Mama in the years to come!”
Beau completes the family picture. The Sanfords love the wild pace of their lives right now, and they’re enjoying each of their sons’ laughter, unique personality traits and shared love of the outdoors. “If we hadn’t chosen NEDC, our Trey and most likely Beau wouldn’t be in our lives today,” Cam and Becca say. “And we can’t even begin to imagine that- wouldn’t want to!”
It’s not what they envisioned when Cam and Becca first tied the knot. But they say the ways God built their family are actually better. They’re amazed to think He went to such great lengths to show He’d handpicked Rustin, Trey and Beau to be their sons. “We have a unique family that is so perfect in every way,” the Sanfords share. “No kiddo came to us the same way!” None in the same way, but each straight from the hand of the same Heavenly Father who displays His glory through the beauty of variety.