Infertility affects 6.1 million American women and their partners. While many turn to the medical community for treatment, only 700,000 American babies have been born through assisted reproductive technologies. There are over 1.5 million adopted children in the US and this year alone over 100,000 more children will be adopted into American families (domestic and international combined). Many more around the world await a loving home.
After five emotional years of doctor visits, surgeries, and fertility drugs, my husband and I ended our efforts to conceive. I never become pregnant. There I was, facing yet another holiday season, tearful and childless.
During the last months of treatments, we began opening our minds to other possibilities. We began exploring the options. As time passed, and our investigation proceeded, the mysteries of adoption began to unfold. The more we inquired, the more we realized that adoption was an alternative with a likely outcome. In a word, parenthood.
Today, five years later, I am a seasoned parent of two beautiful and healthy children through adoption. And I am an adoption advocate. My own experience motivated me to speak out about how adoption changes lives, not only for children but also for adults who long for a child. Each month, I join a local adoption agency in sharing my experiences with those who need to hear, need to know. This is what I tell them.
Start planning your shower, painting the baby room, saving for college. Start dreaming the dreams you dare not dream. Unlike fertility treatments, the adoption road is more certain, more predictable. And the results for many are infinitely more rewarding. The love that my husband and I have for our children couldn't be any greater had we conceived them ourselves. Speak with any adoptive parent, you'll hear the same song.
When I celebrate the New Year, I celebrate the life of my children and the joys of parenthood. And I do so in public. Consider this your invitation to join me.
Penny Phillips an adoption advocate with Lutheran Social Services of New England, a full-service adoption agency. You can hear her speak about domestic and international adoption the first and third Wednesday of each month in Rocky Hill and Bridgeport, CT. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and the agency website is www.adoptlss.org