People: A Cause to Adopt
BECKY WAS 31 when she and Kipp started trying. Like many women, she’d been attempting to prevent pregnancy for most of her adult life, and when she first went off the Pill, she knew it might take some time, a few months, for her body to adjust before she conceived. She didn’t realize that a woman’s fertility peaks in her late 20s and that the chances of conceiving decrease three to five percent each year after age 30.
A year passed. No baby. It was as she finished up her Christmas shopping in Bryn Mawr that her doctor called and delivered the icy news over the phone: Becky was infertile. “There were multiple issues,” says Becky. “I had as much chance of getting pregnant on my own as I did of hitting the Powerball.”
That January, the Fawcetts shelled out almost $17,000 for their first round of IVF, all out of pocket. Overnight, Becky’s Rosemont bathroom turned into a chem lab, and her hesitant husband into a practiced shot-giver. Despite the havoc the hormones wreaked on her body — women can experience everything from headaches to weight gain — after five weeks, she conceived. She was pregnant, elated beyond belief. And then, 14 weeks later, two weeks past the three-month window for common complications, the bubble broke.
Staring up at the ceiling of her doctor’s office, protected by nothing but a paper-thin gown, Becky learned the news: There wasn’t a heartbeat. Her baby was gone.
Sadly, this isn’t uncommon. Just one in three pregnancies conceived through IVF results in a live birth. The odds leave many people — if they haven’t yet exhausted their savings on infertility treatments — with one last hope for a child: adoption.
Kipp was ready before Becky, broaching the topic after their third round of IVF ended with a second devastating miscarriage. But Becky wasn’t sure about adoption. It seemed so risky, so unknown. What would this child look like? What if the birth mother showed up at her door one day?
Besides, nobody on the Main Line adopted. “The Main Line is not your normal cross-section of America,” says Becky, who felt her infertility was viewed as an imperfection by some of her peers, a blemish on a life that was otherwise satin-smooth. She spent her childhood in Villanova, going from Shipley to Franklin & Marshall, eventually settling in Rosemont after marrying her college sweetheart. Life was good — easy compared to most. “It’s this idyllic pocket outside of Philadelphia that has everything you could ever want. There’s incredible wealth and beauty and smartness. So when something doesn’t go perfectly, you’re usually able to fix it.”
But not everything is fixable. Some things even a cushioned bank account can’t mend. And as Becky sat in her bathroom two days before Christmas 2004, the reddish marks on her underwear undeniable, she felt wrung through. Ten weeks in, she had lost a baby for the third time.
Game over, Becky told Kipp, hitting bottom. “I just couldn’t take it anymore,” she says. “I needed to be a mother.”