Good things come in threes, or so the saying goes. While that’s often true, good things also come in twos. Embryo adoption parents Jim and Julia Herzing can furnish flesh and blood evidence: Not only did they give birth to twins, but two sets of twins (!) through the National Embryo Donation Center.
Their older set, Joshua and George, are five and a half years old. The younger, Benjamin and Jack, are almost four. So yes, they’re only a year and a half apart. It’s a rambunctious household, but Jim and Julia wouldn’t have it any other way. After all, the road to this loosely organized chaos wasn’t an easy one.
The Herzings got married later than most and started a church a year after becoming husband and wife. “Right around that time, we felt we were ready to have a baby, and of course just expected it to happen,” Julia recalls. “And it didn’t. But we believed God had told us we would have babies. So we kept trying.”
After several unsuccessful rounds of infertility treatment, Jim and Julia sensed that maybe their journey was veering toward adoption. But what kind? Their new direction gave rise to a whole new set of questions. “I looked at a website about adoption, did more research, and came across the NEDC website,” Julia says. “We prayed about embryo adoption, and felt God was saying THIS is how we would have our babies.”
That discernment turned out to be spot-on. The embryo adoption births of Joshua and George through the NEDC blessed Jim and Julia. They loved becoming parents as much as they had imagined. So they decided to return to the NEDC to try for siblings. Time was of the essence.
“[Medical Director] Dr. Jeffrey Keenan and [embryologist] Carol Sommerfelt were there with us every step of the way,” Jim remembers. “They were even willing to make special arrangements to get us in for the second transfer just two days before Julia’s 46th birthday, which is the cutoff for embryo transfers with the NEDC.” That transfer, of course, resulted in the births of Benjamin and Jack.
Two bouncing baby boys, two times over. From two embryo transfers. And the wheels were set in motion with just two days to spare. “It was extremely hard at first,” the Herzings say. “And it’s still difficult having four boys so close in age and development. We would not have been able to get through it without Jesus.”
Speaking in Love Languages
But don’t let Jim and Julia’s candor about the challenges obscure their larger sense of joy in parenting this bustling brood. They exult in describing each son’s “love language” and personality:
“Joshua (acts of service) is creative, vibrant and dramatic. He’s so caring, full of ideas and has an amazing memory.”
“George (quality time) is a thinker, a feeler and a talker. He likes to know how things work, and loves to teach others what he knows. He’s interested in dinosaurs, creation, the planet and outer space.”
“Benjamin (quality time) is an affectionate, bright and beautiful boy who is also quite strong and fierce.”
“Jack (physical touch) is very sweet and thoughtful to others. He understands fairness and seeks to carry it out. He’s a planner and likes to think things through so he is prepared, and he loves to serve everyone.”
Loving and Lively
It all makes for a very lively, loving home. Jim and Julia can’t sing the praises of adoption, particularly embryo adoption, loudly enough. (In fact, with both sets of their own parents gone, Jim and Julia say they’d even like to “adopt” a set of grandparents!)
The Herzings will always be grateful the Lord changed their lives by leading them to the NEDC. “We love that our mutual faith in Jesus is a connection point,” Jim and Julia say. “And we pray that Dr. Keenan and the NEDC continue to prosper and bless so many who want to be parents, and the babies waiting for them.” Sometimes, that blessing might even come in a double portion.