There’s a lot to be said for taking the initiative to get things going. For embryo adoption parents Carey and Jeni Bunch, life swung into motion because Carey was willing to “make the first move.” It’s been going full speed ever since.
Carey and Jeni met back in 2006. Each was thinking about serving on a medical mission trip overseas. Organizers were holding a meeting for interested volunteers to learn more about that trip. Neither Carey nor Jeni knew anyone there, so Carey walked over and introduced himself to Jeni, who was sitting alone at a table.
A Vision for a Family
From that humble beginning, they got to know each other better and started dating a couple years later. A year and a half after that, they got married. “Before we married, we both agreed that we wanted to have four children. We wanted to have biological children, but we also agreed we were both interested in adopting kids,” Jeni remembers.
Well, you know what they say about the best-laid plans. Four years into their marriage, Carey and Jeni got the diagnosis they never expected: Infertility. “We tried medication and surgical intervention, but with no success,” they recall. “We prayed extensively but neither of us felt the Lord leading us to IVF.” Instead, they believed God was using this trial to nudge them in the direction of adoption.
A Foreign Concept Worth Exploring
As they explored their options, the concept of embryo adoption seemed foreign and unfamiliar. They weren’t interested at first. Jeni’s mom, however, was intrigued and urged them to look into it. As they did, they felt God moving their hearts. “We were deeply touched by the number of embryos cryopreserved, and felt strongly that these were little lives just waiting for an opportunity to grow and thrive,” Jeni says. “We prayed and decided that we would pursue both domestic adoption and embryo adoption simultaneously.”
Embryo adoption won the proverbial horse race. The Bunches went through two frozen embryo transfers (FETs) at the National Embryo Donation Center in Knoxville, Tennessee without success. Yet they felt led to come back for a third try. They’re glad they did. In June 2015, Suzanna Louise was born as a result of that third transfer.
Not ones to let the grass grow under their feet, Carey and Jeni were back at the NEDC for a fourth transfer just six months after Suzanna’s birth. “A few weeks after that, we found out we were pregnant with not one, not two, but three babies!” Sure enough, in August 2016, Lucas Alan, Gabriella (Ella, for short) Grace and Abigale Jean (“three little perfectly healthy miracles,” in Jeni’s words) met the outside world.
The Vision Comes to Life
Jeni and Carey had those four children they’d envisioned after all. Now that the kids have all had a little time to grow, the Bunches describe their quartet as a collection of delightfully different personalities: “Suzanna is quiet, thoughtful and creative. Lucas is laid back and quite the comedian. Ella is girly, thorough and a little diva. Abby is our adventurous, adrenaline-seeking wild child, much like her daddy was as a child.”
Carey’s adventurous spirit was on display that day he introduced himself to Jeni, who was then a total stranger, all those years ago. God used that assertiveness, the encouragement from Jeni’s mother, and the NEDC to weave together Jeni and Carey’s lively, motley crew. “Without the NEDC and its effort to educate the public about embryo adoption,” Jeni says, “we likely would have gone down a very different path, without the opportunity to carry and bear our children.”
It’s a story this family won’t ever tire of telling.