We often do not know the significance of events in our life or the impact they will have. One event or one person may have such a profound influence that they will change the course of our lives. For me, infertility led to adoption, then adopting our daughter, and now working for a home study agency.

Ashley Digan’s premature birth and subsequent adoption led to her career calling as an adult. Ashley was born in 1991 weighing just over 2 pounds, with many different medical concerns. She had to stay in the hospital for over 4 months after her birth.

When she was strong enough, she was placed in foster care and adopted by her foster family about 5 years later. She was fortunate to have only one foster family, as children are often moved from foster family to foster family. She was not able to reunify with her biological parents due to the mother’s substance abuse.

Now, Ashley is 27 years old and works as program director of Pressley Ridge, a nonprofit foster care and adoption center in Altoona, Pennsylvania. She has helped several children find their forever homes during her five years as a social worker. She said her personal life as a foster child and later being adopted, was the basis for her decision to have an impact on other children’s lives.

Ashley stated in a local newspaper article, “I wanted kids to know their value and to know their strength and to know their worth in whatever capacity I was going to be involved in their lives.”

There is a large need for foster families all over the United States, especially due to the recent opioid epidemic. There is also an increase in the number of children waiting to be adopted because of this epidemic. It is interesting to note that the number of international adoptions has steadily decreased in the last few years.

Ashley has limited information and contact with her biological father or mother. She has had one phone call with her biological father and hasn’t spoken to her biological mother in several years.