There was a palpable sense of anticipation in the room as we shared our first meal with the family who would eventually donate their embryos to us. We had met them only weeks before—yet there was a familiarity about them that made them seem like family.
It all started at an artist retreat in Colorado, where I (Caleb) met my wife Bekah. Neither of us lived in Colorado at the time, but we were invited to attend by some mutual friends. You could say we were being set up. It wasn’t long before we began dating long distance.
We like to tell people that we didn’t actually start dating until we got married. It’s because our entire relationship up until that point was long distance. We had spent only six weeks total in person before tying the knot. I know it seems crazy, but somehow it didn’t back then. We shared a sense that we were supposed to meet, and that our collective story was going to be greater and richer than individual ones.
The first couple years of marriage were blissful. No more waving goodbye at the departure gate, no more dropped Facetime calls. We hiked the Colorado Rockies, visited art galleries in Denver, and even had a date in a movie theatre for the first time. We could finally enjoy life together—in person.
It wasn’t long before we began to dream about growing our family. The timing felt right, and we were excited to take this next step together. However, what we thought was going to be easy was excruciating. The repeated disappointment each month was a stark contrast to the ease we had experienced so far. It seemed so strange that God wasn’t helping us make this next big step like he helped us make the first one.
The diagnosis hit us harder than a ton of bricks. It’s never easy to hear “your chances at biological children are slim to none.” The words were almost incoherent. In our minds we knew were always going to have kids. Our broken expectations were a weight we didn’t know how to bear.
Then slowly, the fog of grief began to lift. We began to see beyond our own expectations, towards an even greater story that we were being invited into. We met with friends, and friends of friends to hear their adoption stories. We learned of all the beautiful ways that God weaves families together. One way in particular resonated with us— embryo adoption. So we made plans to visit a local adoption agency to learn more.
However, our breakthrough came when we least expected it. Bekah was working on a home staging and struck up a conversation with the homeowner. They talked about their mutual love for Jesus and their passion for interior design. They also talked about kids, and much to Bekah’s surprise, she found herself sharing about our recent decision to pursue embryo adoption.
Immediately, Bekah felt as if she’d overshared. But before she could change the subject, the woman responded in astonishment saying “I think we were supposed to meet today. We have extra embryos and we’ve been asking God what to do with them.” It turned out that this family had been through their own fertility journey which resulted in a number of perfectly viable embryos that still needed a home. This was an answer to our prayers…and amazingly, our need, hope, and desire was an answer to theirs as well.
Over the next few weeks, we shared several meals with this beautiful family. As we broke bread together, we shared the stories that broke us. We remarked at how unlikely this all was, and laughed at the little confirmations God brought us along the way. And it was just the same as it was when I met Bekah—there was a sense that this story was greater than all of us.
You don’t always get to see the ways God works through your messy set of circumstances. But sometimes you catch a glimpse of the connectivity of it all. It wasn’t until we were brought to a place of open-handedness that we began to see it. We were both a prayer and an answer to prayer. Two families woven together for His Glory.
So, we’d like to humbly invite you into this story. Financially, we could use your help. Even though this wonderful family is donating their embryos to us, there are still significant legal and medical costs associated with this process. Finally, we’d like to ask you for your prayers. Would you join us as we seek God’s future for our growing family?
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!
I was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. If you’re unsure where that is—imagine a map of North America, then place a pinpoint right in the center of the continent. As with most cities on the Canadian prairie, my hometown is surrounded by endless wheat fields and open skies.
I grew up firmly in the middle of a large family. It was a loving environment that while chaotic at times, taught me to cherish the invaluable nature of familial relationships. The unconditional love I received from my parents is a gift I’ve always wanted to pass onto my own kids one day.
I’ve always been drawn towards craftsmanship—perhaps because of the rich heritage of artists, makers and communicators in my family. I spent a good chunk of my twenties as a professional drummer, and playing music is still a lifelong passion. I also love visual communication, and currently work as a graphic designer at a non-profit called Compassion International.
I moved to the United States a month before I married Bekah, which was also a month before I entered my thirties. Colorado has been the perfect landing spot for me and Bekah. Though we miss our families, we’ve worked hard to build a wonderful community around us that feels like home.
Being married to Bekah has been the greatest joy of my life. I can’t wait to see her become the incredible Mom she was created to be. I also can’t wait to welcome another person into our growing family, and to shower them with all the love that’s been poured into me.
I was born in Cassville, Missouri and when I was six, we moved to Seattle, Washington. We are currently in beautiful Colorado and loving it here, but in my heart, I am still a Pacific Northwest girl with a soft spot for Missouri.
I have always been a “Jill-of-all-trades.” I have taught preschool, worked as an executive and Human Resources assistant, as a personal nanny and a barista. I am currently working for our church as an event planner and volunteer coordinator, as well as staging homes for real estate on the side.
I live to bring beauty to things and to pour my time into people and the relationships I am cultivating. Hospitality is my middle name and curating spaces and experiences, as well as inviting people into that, is at my core, as well as my husband’s.
I have longed to be a mama for many years and am honored to be “Auntie Bekah” to a handful of gems and a godmother to a beautiful 17-year-old sweetheart. To be honest, I am equal parts nervous and excited for this part of our story—I am overwhelmed by the goodness of our Creator God.
When I’m not hosting people or fun events, I love to ride my vintage bicycle, to paint, to thrift store shop, to handwrite letters and cards to friends, to wear high heels and dresses, to bake, to sing, to journal, and to dance with Caleb. My Scandinavian heritage is something I hold close and I look forward to passing that on to our littles. My favorite book is “My Life in France,” about Julia Child.
I love a great cup of coffee, pretty flowers and whenever I have ice cream, I MUST add rainbow sprinkles, because sprinkles are life. I am definitely a city girl but moving to Colorado and being married to my Canadian outdoorsman has moved me out of my comfort zone and into the mountains more!
The Lengthy Full Story – Baby Girl Friesen
This is a lengthy post. A lot of people have asked for the full story of how all of this unfolded and I finally had some time, space, and sunshine to write it all out. My prayer is that this would reach those who are in the ache…whose stories have yet to be fulfilled. I was where you are right now. I have felt he deep pangs of infertility and absolute heart shattering grief. Just know that your story is not over yet…it is not finished being written.
This week as I type this, I am 20 weeks pregnant – already halfway. It feels so surreal and so sacred. This has been a very complicated, beautiful, difficult, sweet year for Caleb and I. We are still facing grief at times and continuing to learn how to hold both sadness and joy simultaneously.
We’ve been trying for 3+ years to get pregnant. On June 6, 2018, we got our confirmed diagnosis that we could not have babies biologically. We sobbed. We were so angry, so hurt, so in shock. Us? Are you absolutely sure? We got a second opinion from the West Coast specialist that was a confirmation of the first diagnosis…we spent the next 6 months in all of the emotions of it, just surviving and trying to imagine what our story may look like. Will there be healing? Where is God in this heartbreak? We spent that Christmas in Winnipeg, surrounded by newborn nieces and feeling so protected by God and still so raw and broken…we drove home on New Years day 2019 and I told Caleb that something just felt different. I am not a big new years resolutions person…but something felt tangibly different and Caleb felt the same. 2018 was gone and we were starting fresh.
At the beginning of February 2019, Caleb and I decided to pursue adoption, with lots of fear and definite trepidation. This was not what we thought our world look like…what it would look like to have babies together. We started asking questions of people around us, having meals with new friends to hear about their personal adoption stories. So many incredible lives and families beautifully woven together.
We finally went to Hope’s Promise in Castle Rock, CO, on March 7th, 2019 for an information night, to hear about options and to take the first step and to fill out an application. It was nerve wracking…we weren’t even sure what questions we had, we were still so deep in grief and disbelief. Halfway into the presentation, the presenter mentioned embryo adoption and, I swear to you, it’s as if the entire room went dark for me and those words “EMBRYO ADOPTION” remained on the wall in a neon sign the rest of the night. I couldn’t hear anything else being said. I was a mix of emotions and was not sure what I was feeling. On the drive home, Caleb and I got stuck in some traffic and just started to process a bit out loud…I told him about my neon sign moment and that I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but it felt like God. We sat in silence and tears streamed down my face…what is happening?! What does this mean?! What would we be signing up for?! Alli knew was that I had an overwhelming peace and that if this is what God had for us, I was in.
I had only heard of one person I knew that had done this and, funny enough, she lives in the Springs as well. We were acquaintances and I asked another mutual friend to connect us officially. On Monday, April 8, we had her and her family over for supper to talk and ask questions and to just sit with them. I felt reassured that their dynamic felt similar to ours – an outgoing, bubbly, blonde woman and a tender, strong, quiet man. Their little snowflake baby was about 4 months then and she was perfect; a normal, breathing, crying, laughing human baby. They answered all of our crazy questions and helped us to process the grief we had felt for so long and gave us such hope. They even knew families who had completed families embryos remaining, who were praying about what to do with these sweet lives…just mindblowing to hear about. I watched Caleb as he held that sweet cherub and saw things starting to click for him as we all talked. At the end of such a sweet evening, we walked them to the front door to say goodbye, giving hugs and thanks. As Caleb closed the door, we looked at each other and we both knew: this is our path to having a family!
Many conversations followed and we started to let the decision sink in. We started looking at the website for Nightlight, which is who Hope’s Promise had referred us to. I sat down on multiple occasions to fill out their application, so excited. When I would sit down, I would just freeze. I could hardly remember basic information. I took this as a sign to just hold off a bit, that the timing wasn’t quite right. My mama heart was ACHING to move forward…this pause in my spirit felt so hard, but I knew enough to give in and not push it forward on my own.
My current work life is a split between event planning and volunteer care for our church and staging houses for a few choice real estate agents. Due to the fact that we had worked all weekend at church, between Good Friday and a few Easter services, they kindly gave us Easter Monday off as a gift. Knowing I had the day free, I went ahead and took an afternoon staging. It was a drizzly day outside on April 22 – strange weather for Colorado, which is always comforting to me, because it feels like Seattle and home. A beautiful woman opened the door, holding her sweet baby girl, her son standing at her side. Everything felt as normal as a staging does. Very routine at first. This woman had amazing design taste though! Gorgeous furniture, epic plants, so much warmth. I started to realize that every room we walked into had amazing artwork – it caught my attention and held it. I commented on it and she said that a lot of it had been done for them, as gifts from friends who had painted them while thinking about/praying for their family. This kind of art was not new to me and it was a sweet place of commonality for us to bond over. Typically during a staging, everything is very professional and personal lives are not discussed, but this one took more of a personal turn, rather quickly. I felt like I knew this woman already, like I had known her for years. We continued to walk through and as we talked, we realized we had a friend in common: the woman who we had just had over with her family, to talk about their embryo adoption. That made both of us feel even more connected to each other. As we finished up in the very last room of her house, the basement guest room, her little girl started to fuss. She apologized and said she would need to wrap up and get her down for a nap. I, of course, said no problem and was heading to walk out of the room when she asked if I had kids. I turned around to face her and the words “we actually just talked with (our friend) about embryo adoption” came flying out of my mouth…we both froze. Did I just say that out loud, to a stranger??!! We had only just told our parents yesterday! What have I done?! The woman looked at me, with tears in her eyes and said, “we were absolutely supposed to meet”. We both started crying and she asked is our friend had mentioned their story to me. She had not, I knew nothing. She asked if I would come back to have coffee with her and I said yes.
On May 1st (May day, which I love because flowers), I came back for fresh strawberries and a glass of water that I will never forget. She began to tell me her story – that her little girl was a snowflake baby they had through embryo transfer…and that they had 22 leftover…they had prayed and felt to put the house on the market and had been praying about what to do with these embryos and here I came, literally knocking on their door. We both shared and sat in amazement…what was God doing here? Could this be our story? We both felt this was God, very clearly. We set a date to have a meal with our husbands on May 7 at their home. I told Caleb about the conversation we had had, the timing of it all, the fears and excitement and what ifs. We talked a lot and prayed a lot together that week leading up to dinner. We pulled up to their house, both filled with anxiety and nervousness. The door opened and a kind, gentle giant of a man was standing before us. He welcomed us in and, as they say, the rest was history. We were almost immediately at ease with one another. It was oddly familial for not knowing one another previously. We sat at the dinner table, savoring grilled chicken skewers, and shared our stories more in depth. It felt effortless. It felt perfectly timed. It felt like God. What was likely supposed to be a shorter meal turned into a 3 ½ hour conversation that flew by. The night ended with all of us feeling like this was God and that we would all pray about next steps.
There are many steps in between, but in August of 2019, we legally adopted 6 of their embryos. We started at the same fertility clinic they had used in Denver and began our journey. Each little life had been assigned a number and Caleb and I had known separately for weeks that #22 was the one. When we talked about it and found we had the same number in mind, it was just the cherry on top of all of this. On December 9th, we went in for our transfer. I wore my Loud Harp “Hope Where There Was None” band t-shirt, my snowflake earrings, my sparkly nail polish called “Snowflake”, my emerald ring Caleb gave me during our infertile season as a sign of hope, and my Hebrew necklace from my sister with the symbol for “life”. We met our baby on the screen, as a microscopic little bubble. We watched as they placed her in my body. None of this felt sterile or medicinal, it felt holy and sacred and so special. We both welled up with tears and soaked it all up. After 9 days of bedrest and taking it easy, we went back on a snowy December 18th, for a blood draw pregnancy test. They would call us that afternoon. We were listening to Sarah McLachlan’s Winter Song album about “Mary, Mary…had a little baby” and my phone rang…and the nurse exclaimed “My dear, you are very, very pregnant!!!” Everything went beautifully and we were so relieved and thankful beyond words. We were FINALLY GOING TO BE PARENTS!!
At our last appointment with the fertility clinic in January, we had our nurse write down the gender and mail it to our dear friend. She organized a confetti canon gender reveal for a fundraiser we were throwing. All of us in the room found out together – we are having a little girl!! She is due to arrive mid August and we are over the moon and SO READY to meet her!!
This Easter weekend, one year exactly from meeting the family we would adopt from, I am reflecting on the goodness of who God is. How He is the ultimate weaver, taking broken threads of every color and length, and weaving them into a masterpiece. As I feel her moving in my belly, I have no doubt that this was actually plan A all along…that she was meant to be ours. She was created by a God who has thoughtfully and supernaturally knit her together in my womb. She is fearfully and wonderfully made. And best of all, He is with us.
A Few Big Milestones!
Ok friends and family. We are excited to tell you about a few major milestones in our adoption journey. Here goes:
We Finished our Legal Agreements
As you are aware, our adoption is unique in that it is a direct embryo donation from a couple we’ve come to know. This means we have not been working with an adoption agency and as a result, all of the legal work associated with our adoption has been our responsibility. This has been a lengthy process, but thankfully we were able to find an amazing lawyer who is well experienced in this field. All of our legal agreements are now signed, delivered, and the embryos are ours!
We’ve Set a Transfer Date
The second big milestone was setting an embryo transfer date. An embryo transfer date is essentially the day that Bekah will (hopefully) become pregnant with our adopted embryo. As you might imagine, planning this date involves the coalescence of a lot of elements legally, medically and practically. We are immensely grateful to say that we’ve set a transfer date towards the end of the year! Please continue to pray as Bekah prepares her body to carry a child.
We’re Close to the Halfway Mark
The third big milestone has been passing $14,000 on our fundraising goal! We are so blown away by the generosity of our friends, family, and even strangers. It’s been an incredibly powerful, humbling experience. We will continue to fundraise here, even past the initial three-month window. Please feel free to continue to share our story with anyone who may be interested in it!
That’s all for now. Thanks for following along!
What is Embryo Adoption?
One of the more common questions we’ve got since sharing our story is “what exactly is embryo adoption?” This is an understandable question of course because it’s a relatively new form of adoption. However, embryo adoption has been around longer than you may think.
The first embryo adopted child, Hannah, was born in 1998 through the pioneering Nightlight Christian Adoptions “Snowflake” Program. Since then, several more agencies now offer embryo adoption programs in the U.S., along with countless direct donations between donor couples and families like ours.
In short, embryo adoption is the adoption of embryos that have been “leftover” from in-vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles. Because of the nature of the in-vitro process, it can be common to have additional embryos (an egg fertilized by sperm) remaining. These embryos are frozen until their owners decide to either carry them, discard them or donate them.
There are many amazing ways to adopt, and each family story is unique. We believe that embryo adoption is yet another beautiful way that God weaves families together. We are excited and thankful to be able to provide a loving, life-giving solution for some of these children.
If you’d like to find out more about embryo adoption, there are a lot of amazing organizations online that offer helpful information. We would also be happy to share more about our journey, and what we have learned so far. Feel free to reach out to us directly at email@example.com.
That’s all for now. Thanks so much for following along!
One Week of Sharing Our Story!
Thank you so much for reading and sharing our story! We are blown away by the support we have received from all of you this past week and we are excited to be moving forward!
As of now, we are almost finished with the final portion of our legal agreement with the donor couple. Things are moving smoothly with this! Also, I (Bekah) have already passed an initial set of tests (workup day) and have been given the green light for pregnancy! All is well and I look good to carry! We are so grateful for these accomplished steps, but know we have just begun.
Our next steps are for me to start on IVF medications/shots, to prep my body for a soon-to-be set date for embryo transfer!
We’d love to have you continue to pray for us and with us. We are on hold until we have some significant financial breakthrough, for the legal fees, medications, and transfer costs. This amount is the first $18,000, which we have already raised $1840.00 of. We are feeling overwhelmed, but we are trusting that God has a plan for these finances and knows where they will come from.
If it feels right to you, we’d ask you to continue to share our story with your social networks. You are each so valuable to us and we are so grateful for your generosity already!