Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Officially a Toddler

Funny story. My husband's name is Todd. His mom used to work in the church nursery when he was a Toddler. It was called "Toddler Nursery" or "Toddler Class" or something. My husband thought she made up the word "Toddler" and named the class in his honor. Wasn't he cute? And clever? In my whole life, I never connected the name Todd to "toddler."

Anyway, why do I tell you this story? Because as of Saturday, I no longer have a baby...I have a toddler.

He started Saturday night with this:

And just the next morning, he was walking all the way across the church nursery. Here he is yesterday morning, showing off his new skillz!

Matthew hasn't shown interest in walking, even though several of our friends' kids who are his same age started long ago. But I've always said that, like rolling and crawling, he wouldn't practice much. He'd just up and do it one day. And like I predicted, that's exactly what he did. A few weeks ago, he took a few steps toward me. Then he didn't try it again (on purpose) until Saturday. And then he just did it. The next morning, he was crossing the room. And now, just Wednesday, he already prefers it as his primary method to get around. It's so surreal to look down at him and watch him go from one activity to another by simply standing up and walking over to it.

He has 5 words. His first words were "uh oh!" He throws things over the side or off the edges of things and says "Uh oh!"

He also says "daddy," "hi!" "all done" and a few times, we've heard "bye." Yesterday, he also said "hey!" right back to me after I said the same thing. He also barks like a dog. He's always making some kind of noise-barking, growling, hollering, jabbering in baby talk. It's so cute!

Well my boys are home from an errand so I have to run! Toodaloo!

Embryo Adoption in the News!

I have been pleased to see Embryo Adoption receiving increased media attention.

Recently, a bloggy friend of mine shared her EA Story on the Anderson Cooper Show. Todd and I and Matthew's genetic parents were interviewed for this show early on, and our initial impression was that they were looking for drama. I have not seen the entire show but from what Tracy posted, I was pleased to see that drama was not the direction that the AC Show decided to take the story. EA is perhaps technically "weird" to those who aren't familiar with it, but in day to day life, it's very drama-free!

As you know, our family was on our local news recently, in follow up to a story we did with them years ago. We were also interviewed in The Washington Times about the 2013 budget cuts. Life News did a story on the same news.

Today Moms featured a discussion on openness in Embryo Adoption. Conversations about reproduction and adoption are always different when discussed in a secular context versus a faith-based context, but I think this was a good start. But the comments remind me of how very far we have to go still, even in people's basic understanding of the process itself, not to mention ethics involved.

Recently, I was interviewed for an article in the Loveland Reporter Herald in Colorado.

If you are an EA family, please consider sharing your story. I love blogging for my own records, and to keep in touch with friends and family who are far away. But I also enjoy doing it because hopefully, when people see my sweet Matthew who started as a snowflake, they'll think twice about thinking of frozen embryos as just "some cells." I appreciate those reporters and editors who allow families like us to tell our EA stories, and who provide EA with more exposure than any of us could do on our own efforts.

If you have other recent news stories, please post them!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Embryo Adoption Grant Defunding-Articles

I had some people ask for links to articles about the defunding of the Embryo Adoption Awareness Grant. At the time I posted, my blog was a bit ahead of the news so I did not have any to post. However, the story has broken now in several outlets:

Washington Times: "Obama Defunds 'Snowflake Babies'" (This is the article for which I was interviewed). "Obama: End Funding for Snowflake Embryo Adoption Program"

CNS News: "Report: Obama Defunds Frozen-Embryo Adoption Program"

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Obama Administration Defunds Embryo Adoption Awareness Grant

President Bush, a staunch defender of innocent human life, signed a grant approved by Congress in 2002 to make funds available to promote awareness about Embryo Adoption (Grant #6EAAPA081009-03-01). The grant was used by organizations such as Nightlight, the NEDC, The Embryo Adoption Awareness Center, and other groups to make people aware of their choices when faced with excess frozen embryos. The grant was renewed each year of his presidency, and while the Obama Administration halved the amount, it continued through the first 3 years of President Obama's presidency. However, they have recently decided to eliminate the grant completely, citing the low number of applicants for the grant.

A reporter telephoned me today to ask me for my reaction to the defunding. I had to think for a moment, and my conclusion is that my reaction is multifold.

My gut reaction was, "There's a shocker!" President Obama refusing to protect innocent human life is nothing new. In fact, I've been more surprised that the grant continued at all in his presidency.

I know that America is in a budget crisis. And even if we weren't, I believe in small government with limited federal programs. I can concede that cutbacks are necessary everywhere and that we can't operate the same way we did in the more robust economy of the early Bush years. But if a government is going to spend money, the defense of innocent human life is a worthy priority.

It's hard to feel charitably toward compromise when the 2012 budget still includes tens of millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood, not to mention countless dollars spent to save the whales and the trees. Surely the allowance to Planned Parenthood could have spared that 2 million dollars that was taken from Embryo Adoption Awareness.

The reality is that the innocent human life is always going to fall dead last on Obama's priority list. I am grieved for our country that our current leadership has made the defense of sex and spotted owls a higher priority than the protection of its most innocent children and the education of the parents who will decide those children's fate.

I really don't think this will negatively impact prospective parents. People who want a child will turn over every stone in their quest. I believe that adopting parents can ultimately discover information Embryo Adoption with relative ease.

However, assuming a genetic family is not going to birth their remaining embryos, the only other hope for those embryos to be given a chance to be born is if their genetic parents know that Embryo Adoption is an option and if they have a chance to really learn about it and decide if it is right for their family. I believe that many more people would choose it, if only they knew the option existed and had a chance to interact with it. Organizations like those mentioned above provided education on the process, on open and closed adoptions, and on the overall process. They facilitated the meetings of families with each other. They helped put stories and faces with this unique concept so that if a Genetic Parent wanted robust info, it was there for them. They worked to educate adoption agencies and medical clinics on the process, and offered help to clinics wanting to start their own in-house programs. But in the absence of programs specifically designed to champion these little ones, who will stand in the gap and advocate for these children, and educate their parents? The clinics have a vested interest in persuading patients to undergo their own IVFs. Adoption agencies will do what they can, but without this grant, they will have to rely on private donations, and most are already stretched thin in keeping their other adoption programs in tact. Nadya Suleman ("Octomom") underwent a Frozen Embryo Transfer of 6 embryos that placed her and her children in danger because she simply didn't know she had any other choices. For a woman to undergo any procedure of that magnitude (regardless of the number of Embryos) and not know all of her options is shameful (of her doctor, not her). A woman should never be put in that position. She lived in Southern California, a hub of information, cutting edge technology, top-notch medical care, and the very agency that invented Embryo Adoption, and still, as recently as 2008, she didn't know about an option that had existed for 10 years already.

There are many reasons that people choose NOT to place their remaining Embryos for adoption. Not knowing their choices should never be one of them. Caring for embryos is a life or death decision and parents need to know ALL of their options before making those decisions. I fear that in the absence of resources like this grant, opportunities to continue to educate people about this choice will dwindle, and the 600,000 frozen children in storage will suffer the consequences.

We can stand in the gap for these babies. Blogging is free, and you can speak freely and without edit. I encourage you to tell your story to your children, family, and friends. Talk to clinics in your area about it. Contact the local media about it when anything about frozen embryos or reproductive technology or life-issues pops up. Write to your local, state, and federal officials about Embryonic Stem Cell Research and therapies. If you're an EA mommy, tell people about the miracle of your child. Let your clinic or agency know that you're willing to talk to other interested families. Make your local pro-life agencies aware of Embryo Adoption and see if you can help them promote it. If you're not an EA mommy, perhaps consider becoming one. Above all, pray for these babies. Pray for the clinics who currently care for them. Pray for the parents who will make decisions for their futures. Pray for the people who will parent them.

My husband and I planned to adopt children long before we ever knew about our infertility. We've always had a heart for it, and honestly, the only reason I still occasionally wish for biological children is so that I could still adopt anyway, to serve as an example that you don't have to be childless to adopt. A major pet-peeve of mine is when adoption (of any kind) is treated as an infertility treatment. Adoption can't be and isn't just, or even mostly about infertile people who want children. There are always going to be more children who need homes than there are infertile people. If only infertile people consider adoption, we're always going to be playing catch up and children will continue waiting in vain. Adoption needs to be about the children. It needs to be about people advocating for them, about protecting them, about loving them. Love and advocacy don't depend on how many kids you have already or if your reproductive organs work. I'd encourage you to think about if there is room in your home, heart, and family, for a child in need. These children need us, now, more than ever!