Families Gather to Celebrate National Adoption Month

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Connie Retzer and her husband had already raised two biological daughters to the brink of adulthood. But last year, the couple decided to make room for one more.

"We were emotionally and religiously in the right spot together as a couple and we decided to just bless him and bless our lives," Retzer says.

After years of discussing the idea, the couple decided to adopt baby Sam from Guatemala last August.

"It was just a wonderful experience. We had a couple glitches here and there but they were just minimal compared to what a lot of other things in our life go through," Retzer says.

Retzer and her son were one of many families who gathered at the Zion Lutheran Church in Rockford on Saturday afternoon to celebrate National Adoption Month. For some, the event was about more than just getting to know other families.

"The reason why we come to these events is not so much for us but its for Grace because I want her to know her adoption story when she gets older," says Karen Bryant.

Bryant and her husband Nate adopted Grace after they had trouble conceiving a biological child.

"We learned a lot about adoption, the issues with adoption with children and we just decided for us this was the way we wanted to grow our family," Karen says.

For Nate, having a new leading lady in his life has meant altering his lifestyle.

"I'm home a lot more than I used to be and weekends are filled with Grace instead of golf," Nate says.

And while the Bryants are still adjusting to their first child...

"We want to have more children and hopefully it will all work out that we'll get Grace some brothers and sisters in the future," Karen says.

Parents who decided to adopt are eligible for a tax break of over $10,000. The adoption process generally takes anywhere from six months to two years.