People generally –and rightly- attend church to fall in love with God. Sometimes, though, He expands the capacities of their hearts to embrace other new loves as well. Embryo adoption parents Terry and Ally Burrell are living proof.
“We met at Celebrate Recovery at our church,” Ally shares. “We had surrendered our lives to Christ there and by Jesus’s grace were on the journey of healing and growing in our faith.” It only took a couple of dates for these two to sense a special spark. Within four months, they had tied the knot.
From the start of their marriage, Terry and Ally had a heart for building a family on the hope and love of Jesus.
Their first child, Hannah, came easily, so they were surprised when they struggled to have a second. “We were sad to not be able to provide a sibling for Hannah,” they remembered, not really knowing what course they would pursue in the face of their sudden infertility. “We didn’t really want to try surgeries. And we didn’t want to do IVF because of the dilemma of creating more frozen babies.”
Ally had always had a secret desire to adopt but wondered if Terry’s heart would align with hers. Thanks to the well-timed viewing of a movie, it did. After watching The Drop Box, Terry was willing to prayerfully consider adoption, and eventually felt led to pursue it.
“We chose embryo adoption because we were so sad to hear of the many, many frozen children out there [estimated at 700,000 to 1,000,000]. And we found out it was a reasonably cheaper way to adopt,” Ally remembered. “All the criteria matched up, along with our desire to be able to bond with our adopted child in pregnancy and be able to see a child who is currently frozen have a chance at life.”
The Burrells traveled to the National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, Tennessee for their frozen embryo transfer. They went into the process with hope and, nine months later, completed it with Hope. Yes, Hannah had the sibling she had longed for.
Baby Hope is now about six months old. “She is so full of life and gusto. We say she must be so happy to be out of the freezer that she is bursting with life outside the womb: babbles, inquisitiveness, and movement,” Terry and Ally share. “She cries with courageous purpose and really enjoys her sister just as much as her sister does her.”
Terry and Ally are beyond grateful for their family of four. Yes, the girls have added joy to their lives. But the way the Burrells see it, explaining how their family was put together is also a way of sharing their Christian faith.
“We love that we can have a picture of adoption in our family for us all to better understand what God our Father does for us in adopting us as His sons and daughters from our orphaned state,” Terry and Ally say. “It is beautiful and such a treasure.”