Real Adoption Stories: Baby of Their Dreams
A Wrenching Dilemma
As newlyweds in 1982, Robin, now 44, and Kurt Houk, now 45, decided that once they had become established professionally -- he as a mechanical engineer, she as a nurse -- they would have two children. They began trying five years later, when Robin was 32.
When she didn't get pregnant after six months, her gynecologist ordered tests. Since her hormone levels were normal and her fallopian tubes open, he suspected that Robin had an ovulation disorder and prescribed Clomid, a drug that stimulates the ovaries. Robin conceived on the second cycle, and delivered Sarah in April 1989.
When the Houks wanted to have another child three years later, Robin took Clomid again, but failed to become pregnant after seven months. She consulted a fertility specialist, and after several years of unsuccessful treatments, the doctor suggested IVF. But the Houks opposed it. "We believe life begins at conception," Robin says. "If we were successful getting pregnant through IVF on the first try and we had embryos left over, what would we do with them?"
Devastated that she couldn't conceive, Robin went through a painful grieving process. "I was angry at God because he didn't give me what I wanted, and I was angry at everybody who could have babies," she says. "I kept thinking, What's wrong with me?" Then, to her shock, Robin became pregnant in 1995 -- only to slide back into despair when she miscarried. Still, the experience prompted the Houks to reconsider IVF, and their desire for another child soon erased their reservations.
In August 1997, Robin, then 37, took fertility drugs and produced 11 eggs -- 10 of which were fertilized with Kurt's sperm. Three embryos were placed in her uterus in the hopes that one would take; the remaining seven were frozen. Though the doctor assured the Houks that the odds of a multiple pregnancy were less than 10 percent because of Robin's age, a routine ultrasound at six weeks revealed three heartbeats. In April 1998, the triplets were delivered by scheduled cesarean section.
Deciding that their family was complete, the Houks wondered what to do with the other seven frozen embryos. As devout Christians, they opposed donating them to research or destroying them; the only option, they agreed, was to donate them to another couple. But they opposed anonymous donations -- they wanted to know whether pregnancy was achieved and how many babies were born.
In the fall of 2000, Robin believed she had found the answer to their dilemma: In a Christian magazine she read about Nightlight Christian Adoptions and its Snowflakes program, and felt confident she and Kurt would find a couple who fit their criteria: college-educated, financially secure, and Christian. Nine months later, the Houks and Fishers were matched.