Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Sorrowful Mystery

Rebecca and I believe babies are a gift and meant to be the fruit of a covenant of love. They come tumbling into the world and into a couple's lives reckless, utterly dependent, and babbling that inarticulate speech of the heart that only the Spirit can understand. A baby pulls two people in love into a deeper love, a love, they say, that seems scandalously deeper than even the love they have for each other. "Three is the magic number" - reflecting the Life and Love that is God. I think this is how God tries to make us holy, and whole, and unselfish by allowing us to cooperate with Love in making another self. There we get a taste of His Fatherly care. Rebecca and I know this, believe this, and since our wedding day five years ago this August, we've thirsted for this new life. A life wherein the word of our love becomes flesh. But the sorrowful mystery in our life's rosary is that we cannot have our own biological children. We knew babies were gifts never to be grasped. For us, the process of In Vitro Fertilization seemed to be tampering with those sacred powers that Psalm 131 says are "too great for us" and beyond our reach. Our faith informs us as well that IVF would pull our biology from our theology, creating life outside of the expression of our love. So we mourned the loss of little ones and wept like Hannah, praying for a miracle and preparing our hearts for the call of adoption. Then we found both in Snowflakes, an organization that seeks to heal the wound caused by aggressive reproductive technologies like IVF. It's little known, but when a couple have their sperm and eggs meet in a glass dish (in vitro), science assists in the hopes of making more "viable" embryos for implantation; sometimes up to dozens of little souls. When an IVF couple achieves a desired pregnancy, those remaining little ones are cryo-preserved (frozen) sometimes for years and years, awaiting the warmth of a mother's womb and a chance for life. Across the country, there are over 400,000 of these frozen embryos. Science has rushed into a mystery "too great for us" and the question now is, what do we do with these embryos? Destruction is an assault on their dignity, as is embryonic stem cell research. This is where the Snowflakes program (which sees every embryo as a unique and individual life) offers a beautiful and life-affirming answer: Adoption. It is without a doubt a challenging call, and a journey laden with heartache. Rebecca and I see this call as an answer to our prayers for a family, and a witness to the dignity of these little "snowflakes" who are already in the world, waiting for a warm heart to grow beneath. To date we have loved and lost twelve tiny souls through the transfer of these embryos and their two resulting pregnancies. And now our thirteenth is growing within Rebecca. But the sorrow continues. An abnormality has been found in the baby's brain and we need a second ultrasound to determine what's happening. We ask for your prayers as we walk this sorrowful way. The ultrasound is today at 1:30 followed by a consultation with a high risk pregnancy doctor.
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