Embryo adoption mom Marybeth Francisco felt God had equipped her with two main gifts: to be a teacher and a mother. How she would live out those callings, however, had become something of a mystery to Marybeth and her husband John.

They had tried to get pregnant for several years but couldn’t. “My husband and I had a wonderful marriage,” Marybeth recalls. “But we felt the void that having kids would fill.” Marybeth says God was gracious. He enabled her to be happy for her many friends who were having lots of babies. She also enjoyed her work as a school teacher. The sadness of John and her not having any children themselves was always in the background, though.

Knowing their chances of having children biologically were slim, John and Marybeth started thinking about adoption as an alternative route to parenthood. So they went to an adoption workshop hosted by Bethany Christian Services. “At the end, before we were about to leave, they said they also had information on embryo adoption in the back if anyone was interested,” Marybeth remembers.

That information was a brochure about the National Embryo Donation Center. The Franciscos looked it over, learned more and -though the idea of carrying a child not biologically theirs took some getting used to- ultimately determined God was leading them to adopt through the NEDC.

On their first try, the Franciscos became pregnant with twins (Maddy and Kinnly, now 6 years old). Three years later, they returned and achieved another successful pregnancy (little brother Jude, now 3). “We were so excited about the way that God answered our prayers and felt so blessed at our complete little family, or so we thought,” Marybeth says. “I emailed the NEDC and told them that we were done and they could release the embryos we had reserved to be put back up for adoption. The very next month, we got pregnant, after nine-and-a-half years!” Titus, the biological child Marybeth and John thought they’d never have, was born a year after Jude.

The Franciscos went from begging God for kids to having four kids ages 4 and under! Kinnly and Maddy are best friends who both do gymnastics. “Kinnly loves to cheer people on and encourage them,” Marybeth says. “Maddy is so very compassionate and sweet!”

The boys, Jude and Titus, are also two peas in a pod; wrestling and having fun together. “Jude loves to play outside, play with his Legos and draw,” the Franciscos say. “Titus loves balls, cars and climbing.”

Life at the Francisco house is bubbling over with youthful energy, and education. Marybeth is putting her gifts to use not only as a mom, she’s also homeschooling Maddy and Kinnly.

“I’m so glad that God’s plans are better than my own! I love how He orchestrated our family and thank Him every day,” Marybeth says. She never would have looked into embryo adoption had she gotten pregnant first. Now, along with John, she’s as eager an advocate as you’ll find. “I tell everyone who’ll listen about our kids and the NEDC, and all the babies waiting who still need homes.”