September 2016—day one of our honeymoon. My wife and I decide to drive the Maui coast, along the Road to Hana.  A multi-hour journey, hair pinned turns, and a day of reflection as we start our new lives and journey together. As we drive, we have our theme song on—“Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.” We have an app assisting us, with the tour guide speaking to us about life, its purpose, and that the Road to Hana is more about the journey than the destination. 

Our journey and a new chapter of our lives began that week. Like most, life is generally in sequential order and planned, and for my wife, she has always planned to be a mother.  On this trip, we had hopes of continuing our journey of life and starting our family.

The honeymoon ended, months went by, and quickly we came to learn that starting a family would be harder than we originally thought. Patience…that’s what my wife kept telling me. But as time went on, our patience had grown to frustration. We kept quiet, wondering, broken, and numb.

Stepping in the door to the infertility center, we thought, “This won’t be so bad.” We will run some tests, find out the problem, and be on our way.  A couple of tests later, we were on our way back to Maui for a family vacation.

This time, the honeymoon was over. On our first day there, we got an alarming call from the doctor’s office.  Sure enough, the test results came back and we were devastated. From these tests, it was determined our likelihood of having children on our own was very low.

We had so many questions, so many emotions, so many thoughts; it was overwhelming. Our world was crumbling around us, as we saw so many of our dreams never becoming a reality. We began undergoing fertility treatments to conceive, but after two failed attempts, we were left heartbroken and with a deep sadness.

We had many days of grieving and our desire to have a family was still very strong, so we began looking into adoption. Through this journey, we found embryo adoption.  Instantly, we knew this was a perfect fit and one we wanted to pursue to build the family that we have always dreamed about. We felt that these embryos were our path to becoming parents. We met with several adoption agencies and without hesitation, we knew that Nightlight/Snowflakes was the choice for us.

A few days later, my wife and I were trying to come to a life decision. What is our true purpose—do we ever really know? Are we not meant to be parents?

In an attempt to take our mind off things, we went to see a new movie, Instant Family, which was about adoption.  The movie was great and very heartwarming. For those that have not seen it, I won’t spoil it, but in the end, the judge hits the radio and a song comes in. Not just any song, our song—the one Ashley and I play over and over—“Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”  In that moment, we looked at each other, both of us wiping away tears. This was us. NOTHING’S GONNA STOP US NOW.

That week, we signed the adoption contract. Ashley, type A, proceeded with ongoing paperwork, deadlines, and all of the required educational pieces. I assisted, and quickly we picked up speed.  The FBI clearances, bank statements, marriage evaluations, educational pieces, all went by with a moment’s time. Now, we were ready for our home study, and we were a nervous wreck. “Will our home pass the test?” and about 1,000 more questions ran through our heads.

Despite our nerves, the home study went perfectly, and then came the matching phase. At that point, we were three months in and were informed it would take months for us to be matched.  Months turned into days, and God had another plan.

Six days, yes, SIX DAYS later someone selected us. We were both ecstatic.

The portfolio came through, and we could not have been more thrilled with how perfect a match it was. Our donor couple is truly wonderful and has become family to us. Instant family, just like the adoption movie which helped guide us on our path. We couldn’t be more blessed and thankful for all that has been given to us. We have agreed upon an open adoption and have truly developed a bond with them that is indescribable. Love truly does make a family! 

Next came the hard part, mostly for my wife—the embryos arriving at our clinic, the blood work, the injections, the tests, and the hormones. It was a whirlwind of emotions, and with guidance from our doctor, all went as planned and we were ready for our first transfer.

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Our transfer went perfect! It was a day surrounded by love, God’s blessings, and even a little bit of humor. And, of course, our song playing throughout. We anxiously counted down each day. Oh, how the days slowly dragged on.

After the first BETA we received the phone call, one we once thought we would never get, telling us “Congratulations, you are pregnant!” Ashley had them repeat themselves multiple times because those words were music to our ears.  I started crying, looking at her.  “We did it!!  YOU did it!”  Jumping up and down, we celebrated, understanding that we were still at the bottom of the mountain looking up. We knew we still had a long journey ahead, but in that moment, we were celebrating.

Now along our own “Road to Hana,” I am happy to report that my wife is 28 weeks pregnant. She is due in March, and I cannot be more excited. She is a brave, courageous woman, and without her pushing, I don’t think we would be where we are today. The countless injections, the sleepless nights, the tears; it was all worth it as we embark on the plan we were meant to take, embryo adoption.

As this pregnancy progresses and our story unfolds, we become closer and closer to holding our little snowflake baby in our arms.

Embryo adoption is the source of our greatest joy and hope. It has given us the opportunity to grow our family in the most beautiful way.

Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.

Ashley and Justin live in Pittsburgh, PA with their three mini schnauzers. Justin is a pharmacy manager and oversees multiple locations throughout the country. Ashley works to oversee educational programs to ensure a quality program. She is also a certified instructor and awards grant funding to programs. Both Ashley and Justin love living an adventurous life.  Their hobbies include bike rides, walking their pups, spending time with family, neighbors, and friends, and traveling. And, of course, living in a true sports town, they love to cheer on all Pittsburgh Sports Teams. Both Ashley and Justin are very passionate about embryo adoption and hope to help bring awareness around this incredible family building option. You can follow their journey on Instagram at @aj_adoptionjourney.