5 Fatherly Reflections on My Embryo Baby's First Birthday

When people learn I’m the father of three sons and a daughter, they often remark, “You finally got your girl.” Boy, did I ever. Our Snowflakes® embryo baby, Phoebe, turns 1 year old this March. My wife, Julie, and I, along with our biological sons, Micah, Titus, and Ezra, couldn’t be more elated that she is a part of our lives. The past 12 months have served as a powerful awakening to the blessing of embryo adoption and of the placing family that gifted us with her presence.

As she prepares to smash her first cake at her Raggedy Ann birthday party, Phoebe is all scrunchy-faced grins and dimples. She turns herself into a rolling pin to move from one end of a room to the other. We reflexively lock the gate at the top of the stairs to prevent a tearful tumble. Every minor moment is a cause for celebration, eliciting wild, open-palmed applause from our daughter.

With spring just around the corner, Phoebe is a reminder to me and to fathers (current and future) everywhere that rebirth—of our character, our purpose, our marriages, our families and our faith—is not only possible but entirely achievable.

These five reflections are aimed straight at the heart of every man who seeks to reach his highest potential. After all, embryo adoption has the capacity to …

…Renew Your Character

Selfish people need not apply to become a father. Late nights and tired mornings are a natural part of the routine. But even before that joyful stage of life, embryo adoption cultivates patience as you move through the stages of the adoption process. It requires you to double down on your commitment to organization. It forces you to ask for help and rely on the wisdom and advice of doctors, adoption experts and other people who want you to be successful in your adoption. Humility yields opportunity.

…Sharpen Your Purpose

Some men find meaning in their careers or their hobbies. Many of us, though, achieve success and enjoyment in those things but long to pursue those things within a framework of deep meaning. Embryo adoption sits at the intersection of the sacred and the sentient. Hundreds of thousands of frozen embryos await the opportunity to be brought to term. These aren’t hypothetical lives—they are literally tiny humans. You can’t develop into an adult unless you began as an embryo. Fathers such as you can decide whether you will lead your family to take the step that gives them a fighting chance.

…Strengthen Your Marriage

Without my wife’s urging, I never would have pursued embryo adoption. It took a lot of internal wrestling to realize how wrong I had been and how selfish I had become. When you entertain the possibility of embryo adoption, you might well become closer to your spouse. You will gain greater clarity on your shared vision for the future and gain greater appreciation for your wife’s love, compassion and open-heartedness. (I don’t know about you, but I could sure use a lot more of those traits in my life.)

…Grow Your Family

Nothing glows brighter than the warmth of a loving family. Whether you are struggling with infertility or you already have biological children, embryo adoption offers the hope of expanding your household and your heart. Phoebe doesn’t share a single gene with any of us, but she is a Birt. Her middle name, Eloise, serves as a reminder of my late beloved great-aunt, who rose to leadership at her community bank, a successful woman in an often hostile man’s world. She spoke her mind and held strong opinions—and when she spoke, people listened. It cheers me immensely to think that one day, Phoebe will hold her own, too.

…Build Your Faith

Embryo adoption shines a light in a culture that has become coarse and cold. God’s power to bring families together to help these precious children arrive safely in our world is staggering.

Will you take the first step toward exploring embryo adoption? Between you and me, I used to be a full-fledged embryo adoption skeptic. But our little red-headed girl, whose fluffy hair shines like a copper penny in the sun, convinced me to change my mind.

I finally got my little girl. Boy, did I ever.

Nate Birt and his wife, Julie, are adoptive parents of Phoebe, a Nightlight® Christian Adoptions Snowflakes® baby. Nate blogs quarterly for Snowflakes® and is the author of “Frozen, But Not Forgotten: An Adoptive Dad’s Step-by-Step Guide to Embryo Adoption” from Carpenter’s Son Publishing. To subscribe to his email newsletter, visit www.frozenbutnotforgotten.com.