Few endeavors are as noble as becoming a foster parent. Likewise, few are as potentially heartbreaking. Embryo adoption parents Brian and Amanda Adams, a couple living in the Midwest, have known the joy. But they’ve also felt the pain. By 2011, Brian and Amanda had enjoyed five years of marriage. But they were also well into their 30s and 40s. Amanda explained, “We had both completely given up on having biological children. Brian and I had given up on ever even experiencing pregnancy. We decided God had only called us to be foster parents.”
By summer 2012, Brian and Amanda had indeed become foster parents to two brothers, ages 14 and three. “We quickly grew to love those boys,” the Adamses recall. All seemed well. But then, after 15 months of caring for the boys, “Due to a misunderstanding, the foster agency pulled our four-year-old son. They didn’t give us a chance to say goodbye at the time,” Amanda said, reliving the anguish. “The pain of losing a foster child we loved was horrible. There is no professional detachment living with someone 24/7. We tried appealing the decision to place him in a new foster home. The agency, however, decided a different foster family was a better fit.”
How would they move on from such heartbreak? As a news reporter (a profession she and Brian both shared when they met), Amanda remembered covering the debates over embryonic stem cell research. She also recalled hearing about embryo adoption as an alternative. “I am pro-life and felt embryo adoption, like foster care, was serving a call to God to parent a child who needed a home,” said Amanda. So in early 2014, she and Brian applied to the National Embryo Donation Center’s embryo adoption program. The NEDC accepted them. Not quite a year and a half later, in June 2015, a tearful Brian was cutting umbilical cords. All the while, he exclaimed, “The trips to Knoxville and the NEDC were all worth it!” Amanda had just given birth to twins at 34 weeks, Max and Cindy.
“Max is a little charminator and smiley boy,” says Amanda. She believes her son will make a great businessperson or politician someday. “Whether it’s a waitress or the pastor or a little old lady, Max gives them a great big ‘joy boy’ smile. He makes them feel like they made his day.”
Cindy spent her first three weeks of life in the NICU battling respiratory distress syndrome. “We thought we might lose her at first,” the Adamses recalled. “But she fought. She overcame those problems. Cindy is the giggle girl between the two babies. She’s more even-keeled. Cindy is also more observant.”
Their foster son, now 17, is also still in the home. So the Adams house is a bustling place these days. Brian and Amanda are thankful they turned to the NEDC to build their family. Some physical barriers added an unusual degree of difficulty to their embryo transfer. They credit Dr. Jeffrey Keenan for persevering and not getting flustered. “He was very calm. He gave us hope through the entire process,” Amanda shared. “I was silently praying.” Sometimes God chooses to honor prayer and perseverance in especially gracious ways. Max and Cindy are living, breathing proof.