Ahwatukee Foothills resident Dawn Cramer, who endured four miscarriages, said going through infertility took her to hell and back.
Dianelle Amin, also of Ahwatukee, experienced her own infertility struggle years ago.
"It's heartbreaking,'' she said.
Infertility has brought Cramer, Amin and women around the world to the lowest point in their lives. For many, it can also lead to decisions that change the way they think about family.
Resolve Arizona, the National Infertility Association, calls the struggle a journey. The organization brings women together to understand what is going on and how to move past it.
For Cramer and Amin, Resolve gave them support and helped them as they made the decision to adopt.
"Resolve helped as a sounding board," Amin said. "And to gain different ideas for maneuvering your way through infertility, doctors and treatments and the emotional aspects of moving on to adoption."
For both women it was all about raising a family. "I wanted a family," Cramer said. "It wasn't going to happen the traditional way. We were always going to adopt but we thought we'd be adding onto our family, but it didn't work out that way."
The Cramers found two children from Ethiopia and the Amins found a daughter from India. Though the process was long and complicated, the families say they wouldn't trade their experience for anything. It all became worth it, they said, the first time they took that child into their arms. Now, looking back, their advice is to be strong, find help and move forward in whatever way works best for you.
"Find support," said Pat Cramer, Dawn's husband. "Find people who have been in that situation because your regular friends and family just won't get it."
The Cramers said they often heard the word "relax," as if that was the solution to their problems. Resolve helped them see that there were people out there who did understand.
"You're with women who understand that that's not gonna happen and women who aren't going to judge you because they know what it's like," Cramer said. "Regardless of which path their journey has taken."
Resolve will host an adoption seminar in Phoenix this Saturday, Nov. 6, at Banner Good Samaritan, 1111 E. McDowell Road.
The seminar will discuss the differences in application processes, how to choose an adoption agency, the laws regarding adoption, the rights of the adopting parents as well as the birthparents. Other topics may include: Adoption Parent Panel, Transracial Families, Financing Adoption and Creating an Adoption Profile, according to a press release from Resolve.
Register to attend the event by Nov. 4 by visiting www.southwest.resolve.org.
For more information, contact Kelly Damron, co-chair of Resolve Arizona, at (480) 705-0803 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Allison Hurtado is interning this semester for the Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a junior at Arizona State University.