Is it a positive quality to be a “yes man”? Dr. Melanie Pickering, an embryo adoption mom, thought so when she met her future husband Chris. They first spotted one another at a luncheon for singles after church more than six years ago. That was when Chris confessed that he was a “yes man” in the sense that he would say “yes” to anything.
“I remember thinking [what Chris said] was awesome because I love adventure and trying new things!” said Melanie. A little less than a year later, they plunged into life’s ultimate adventure as husband and wife.
Two and a half years later, after fertility treatments had left them with nothing but frustration, Melanie and Chris decided to pursue adoption. They were leaning toward adopting internationally, but also learned about embryo adoption at a meeting with an agency. They were intrigued. Which route to choose? For that matter, why not both?
They started the home study for international adoption first. Melanie and Chris saw the profile of Jisoo, a 2-year-old in South Korea undergoing treatment for cancer. “We ultimately decided that God had already chosen her to be our child,” they remembered. “The agency and country wanted to place her quickly because of her medical condition.”
Yet during this same time, they were also praying about embryo adoption. Just three months after beginning the process of adopting Jisoo, they met with Dr. Jeffrey Keenan at the National Embryo Donation Center.
A few months later, the Pickerings traveled to the NEDC for their embryo transfer and Melanie became pregnant. She delivered their son John in November 2014. But Jisoo –the one whose placement was supposed to be fast!- ended up not coming home to live with them for another four months. Finally, in March 2015, they were all together; a family of four. “We went from zero to two kids in five months!” Melanie shared. “Talk about a whirlwind!”
Jisoo, now 5, is celebrating her third year of remission from cancer. Melanie and Chris say she’s full of energy and loves to do practically anything, from swimming to school.
John, almost 2, is a rambunctious, independent boy who has no fear. “But he also loves to be rocked and sung to at bedtime,” his mom is quick to add.
And this whirlwind family adventure isn’t over. The Pickerings returned to the NEDC and are expecting the birth of their third child (one of John’s embryo siblings) in February 2017. “There are no words to describe what Dr. Keenan and the NEDC staff mean to us,” Chris and Melanie say.
The Pickerings especially recall how the staff enjoyed meeting John and Jisoo when the Pickerings returned for their second transfer. Dr. Keenan even gave Jisoo a mask, hair net, and booties, saying that maybe she would become a doctor someday. “Little did Dr. Keenan know it was those same actions by someone when I was 5 that gave me the dream of being a doctor,” said Melanie, adding,“Every day I am amazed by our story and how God has used the talents of so many people to bring Him glory.”