Nate BirtNRB: ANAHEIM, California–March 2019–If you want to make someone smile, show them a baby picture. No matter how much people may disagree on other things, babies are precious in every culture. Ask author Nate Birt, at NRB this week. Hewill proudly show you photos of his one-year-old daughter,Phoebe.But to be blessed to hold your own newborn in your arms is far from a guarantee. More than six million American couples in child-bearing years, one in 10, experience the heartbreak of infertility. Advances inmedical technology in past decades have allowed many couples, including many Christian couples, toreceive the blessing of parenthood with the help of in vitro fertilization (IVF). According to statistics, so far IVF has allowedmore thanseven million babies to be born worldwide, more than one million in the United States.However, often there are embryos that remain in frozen storage long after thecouple has completed their family. In fact, some estimate there are as many as one million embryos remaining. What happens to those embryos? One option increasingly occurring is for a family to place those embryos for adoption with another family seeking to add children to their family. The adopting parents work with their physician who places one or more embryos into the womb of the adopting mother, and nine months later she gives birth.Every family’s story is unique. The couple may have experienced infertility, or they may simply choose to honor God by giving life to a waiting embryo.
Nate Birt and his wife,Julie,hoped they might be blessed with four children. And those blessings started coming along. Almost 10 years and three small boys later, Nate says he brought up the subject of baby number four only to discover his wife had another idea.And thus began their journey that culminated in the birth of their daughter Phoebe, who was placed with their family through embryo adoptionwith the help of the Snowflakes® Embryo Adoption Program, a division of Nightlight® Christian Adoptions.More than 20 years ago, a couple struggling to start their familyapproached the Nightlight®Christian Adoption agency to ask whether anyone had ever thought about allowing another family to adopt their remainingembryos. It was a brand-newidea. The concept of Snowflakes was quickly adopted as a name for what became a new program –because like snowflakes, each of these embryos is unique, fragile, a gift fromGod –and frozen. The Nightlight®Snowflakes®Embryo Adoption Program, the first of its kind in the world,has now placed more than 600 babies in the arms of families. That first “Snowflakes baby”born in 1998 is now attending university.According to information from the Snowflakes Embryo Adoption Program, since the use ofremaining embryos for reproduction beganin the mid-1980s, more than 7,000 children have been born using donated embryos.Still, many people are not familiar with embryo adoption and the benefits and blessings it offers families. Nate, whoholds a master’s degree in journalism,is director of development and programming at Trust In Food™, a division ofFarm Journal. He is alsoa journalist, aparenting blogger and an adoptive dad. His wife, Julie, who carried Phoebe and gave birth to her, is a college instructor who recently completedher Ph.D. in scienceeducation. Nate admits he was an embryo adoption skeptic. He says he was somewhat shockedat his wife’s suggestion,buthe did his research and soon was enthusiastically on board.However, the road to holding that baby was not without its challenges. Nate and Julie encountered many questions from other Christians and other people who didn’t understand the howand the whys of their decision. According to Kimberly Tyson, Executive Director for the Snowflakes Embryo AdoptionProgram, embryo adoptionis both similar to and different from traditional adoption. Placing families are able to select the couple to whom they wish to give their embryos and to know the family who receives their child. Snowflakes Embryo Adoption also advocates for open adoption, so newrelationships can be built between families with genetic siblings. “Embryo adoption is a wonderful way to bless two families,” Tyson said. “It’s one of the least expensive forms of adoption and it allows the adopting parents to give birth to their adopted child! Plus the process of embryo adoption is only 8-13 months –much less time than traditional domestic infant adoption or foster adoption.”
As a committed Christian, Nate wanted to write the book he and Julie wish they’d had, step by step,along the amazing journey of embryo adoption. They wanted to share that guidebook with other Christian families to encourage them to consider this God-honoring way to celebrate life.His book, Frozen, But Not Forgotten: An Adoptive Dad’s Step-by-Step Guide to Embryo Adoption,outlines with unflinching honesty the experience his family had on the road to receiving a baby into their family through embryo adoption. Tyson has been with the Snowflakesprogram for 13years and has seen continuing growth in awareness and acceptance. “The Snowflakes program is growing by at least20 percent annually,” she said, “butunfortunately the number of embryos in frozen storage only continues to increasethrough the use of IVF.“Statistics aside, it all comes back down to parents and babies and the desire to love and nurture a child,” Tyson continued. “We are so honored at Nightlight to be able to help families not only with traditional adoptions, but also with this special Snowflakes Embryo Adoption program.”Nate is happy to show you pictures of one-year-old Phoebe today. But you may have already noticed her bright eyes on the cover of his new book. The book, Frozen, But Not Forgotten: An Adoptive Dad’s Step-by-Step Guide to Embryo Adoption, [ISBN: 978-1-946889-96-6] will release in April from Carpenter’s Son Publishing. It will be available from selected book stores and online retailers.For more information about Nate Birt and the family, visit Follow Nate on Twitter at @natebirt, join the conversation on Facebook at @AuthorNateBirt or connect on LinkedIn.For more about Snowflakes® Embryo Adoption and Nightlight® Christian Adoptions, visit, www.nightlight.orgor