Woman's story of perseverance inspires, helps others

DARIEN -- Kristin Peck didn't expect her experiences with trying to have a child and eventually adopting to be an inspiration for other women, but it did.

What's more, by sharing her story that led to her adopting her daughter and giving birth to her son, she's giving back to the Family & Children's Agency, which helped her.

In five years' time, Peck went through five miscarriages, six infertility efforts, four infertility doctors, a surrogate's miscarriage, a birth mother with a substance-abuse issue, preeclampsia and a nurse involved in a murder scandal.

"The story is not as uncommon as people think," Peck said. "People just don't talk about it."

Peck believes people who read her story won't feel alone and will remember they can make it through their personal situation.

It was through the urging of Peck's husband, Bob, that she finally sat down to write the whirlwind story of her life.

"I would never describe myself as a writer," Peck said. But the end product would be circulated and shared among women before Amazon Kindle contacted Peck and offered her a chance to turn her piece of writing into an e-book.

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The Family & Children's Agency assisted Peck and her husband throughout the adoption process.

The Norwalk-based nonprofit organization is a human services agency that assists families, children, adults and seniors in Fairfield County, one service being adoptions.

Part of why Peck wrote her e-book, "Perseverance," was to ensure that she wouldn't forget all that she went through.

Proceeds from the sale of the e-book, which costs $1.99 in the Kindle store, go to the agency.

"It only seemed right to help the agency," Peck said. "I want to do something that I know people will benefit from."

Even in the early stages of the book's release, sales have provided upward of $10,000 to the FCA, according to Robert Cashel, the organization's president.

"This allows us to support services that are not covered by client fees or other resources within the adoption sphere," Cashel said. Increasingly, FCA is providing post-adoption services to families who partnered with the organization and to families who did not.

The agency does receive some state support, Cashel said, but not enough to cover all the costs of the adoption services. The money from Peck's book will aid in that support.

Cashel said he believes the agency will make more connections through the spread of Peck's e-book, though it is too early to know what that impact will be.

"I guess I have a belief that you grow and become stronger by persevering through difficult things," Peck said. "I remember going through it and thinking 'I don't know how I will survive.' You know, it's hard to describe to someone who has never been through a miscarriage what that is like. I just felt like it was important to remind myself that I can get through really difficult things. I look back, and when life is difficult at work, nothing is as tough as that was to me. Nothing was as tough as wanting a child and failing time after time and knowing that's all you ever wanted. I felt like letting people know that they can get through whatever it is."

"Perseverance" was selected by Amazon.com's Books Editors as one of the Best Kindle Singles of the Year So Far. The Best of the Year So Far is a midyear retrospective that highlights the must-reads released between January and June.

Peck said she heard stories about women who had gone through upward of 15 miscarriages, something Peck did not want to hear or consider.

Through "Perseverance," Peck encourages women to not give up on making their families a reality.

However, Peck did pause as she neared the end of her writing process for the Kindle book. Did she really want to share so much information about her situation and her family?

"It's strange having people know so much personal information about you, but I think the book resonates with people because of its honesty," Peck said.

Despite the book's success, Peck devotes her time to working full time as the executive vice president and group president at Zoetis -- formerly Pfizer Animal Health -- and raising her two children, Taylor, 9, and Connor, 8. However, she has attended women's groups to speak about her experience.

"The message I hope people leave my book with is that there is no one way to form a family -- be open-minded and don't give up. And, if you love someone who is struggling with fertility or adoption, ask what they need and be supportive."

mspicer@bcnnew.com; 203-330-6583; @Meg_DarienNews