Embryo adoption parents Echo and Chris Ranney spent years wondering two things: 1) Will we be able to find a sibling for our daughter? 2) When can we let our guard down and celebrate our family, without worrying about whether or when its growth takes shape the way we desire?
They met 11 years ago and married a year after that. Then life dealt them a heartache for which they were unprepared: infertility. “We were heartbroken,” Echo remembers. Not only by the infertility diagnosis, but by the eight failed rounds of fertility treatment that followed.
Determined to Find a Way
“After our last failed attempt, I was determined there had to be a way to grow our family even if it didn’t include children of our own,” Echo says. “So it was then that we decided to become foster parents. At the same time we signed up to foster, we also signed up with a local agency to domestically adopt an infant.”
From there, their first tastes of parenting came fast and furious. Over two years, six foster children -ages 7 months to 14 years old- called the Ranneys’ house their home. “We knew that these children may never be a part of our forever family, but we knew they forever had a place in our hearts and home,” the Ranneys recall.
Momentous Phone Call
Then, one day in November 2015, a momentous phone call blared like a blow horn into Chris and Echo’s world of waiting. “Our baby girl was born!” The adoption route had brought them their first “forever child” in the form of Braelynn. In addition to her arrival, they continued to keep the foster children already in their home. Six months later, those children returned to their birth families. “We were devastated at the loss of these children because our daughter had formed a bond with them.”
After two years as a family of three, Echo and Chris knew they wanted Braelynn to have a sibling. But fertility treatments and adoption weren’t options anymore. Echo spent days searching for an answer. “One afternoon, I came across the National Embryo Donation Center’s website. I instantly knew we had to give embryo adoption a try,” she recalls.
In 2018, they traveled from their home in Michigan to Knoxville, Tennessee, where they would have their frozen embryo transfer at the NEDC. “We made a family trip out of the experience and spent a week camping in Pigeon Forge before our big day. We told ourselves we would not get our hopes up. At the very least, we would have an amazing vacation together as a family.”
As it turned out, the trip was more than a terrific vacation. It was a life-changer. Two weeks later, the Ranneys learned they were pregnant. “To be honest, we were excited but we didn’t acknowledge it,” they say, the pain of past miscarriages still relatively fresh in their minds. “It wasn’t until 17 weeks in that we decided to share with family and co-workers. Even from that point forward, we loved the idea but never let our guard down enough to celebrate with others.”
The End of Worrying
Finally, on March 29, 2019, “Every worry came to an end. We met our beautiful daughter, Breslynn Grace. Breslynn arrived in our lives four months short of marking our 10-year battle with infertility. She is a true blessing!”
After a decade littered with the heartache of low moments time and again, these infertility warriors have overcome. At last they can let their guard down and enjoy being a family of four. “Not only has the NEDC allowed me to carry a child, which was a dream I thought I’d never experience, they have also given our oldest daughter a lifetime friend and sibling,” Echo says with gratitude. She and Chris have gone from wondering about the answers to their questions… to anticipating the wonder years ahead.