Almost My Daughter – Adoption.com

ExactlyWhereWeShouldBeThis time of year always gets to me a little more than other times. The daughter we thought would be ours is turning two. When we officially started our adoption journey, we met a young lady who was very early in her pregnancy. We chatted a little on Facebook, as she found me through our adoption page. Since we were working with an agency in our state and she was in another state, I honestly never thought anything would come of our conversations in the form of an adoption match being made; we just talked about her situation. After talking awhile, she expressed her wish that we could be the parents of her unborn child. We began educating ourselves on the possibilities and what we would need to do since our agency only worked with people in our state. We soon drove to meet her and her boyfriend and immediately hit it off with them. We got along great and had so many similar interests!

It is a difficult journey when you are faced with a match that falls through, but time does heal and now I look back and know we are all exactly where we should be.  To read more about the way I feel about our failed match and what lead us to adopting our son, Ezra, click here to read the rest of the article on adoption.com.

Radio Interview – Adoption Perspectives

The Adoption Perspectives radio show, out of Denver and sponsored by Parker Adventist Hospital, is hosted by a new friend and fellow adoptive mom who is in some of the same adoption groups with me. She invited me to be a guest on her show and I am so honored to have the opportunity! Thank you Rebecca Vahle for having me on your amazing segment!

Big shout out to all our friends and family who are standing by our side. They processed our infertility and while they may not have understood it at first, they became our biggest supporters in our adoption journey. My sister in law for instance, became our cheerleader and a shoulder to cry on when things were tough.  We had many people in our corner, giving advice or just supporting us and loving us in our journey.  These people ached with us when we experienced our first failed match, as they too were losing a child they were eager to love.  Although hesitant to open up to the possibility of having our second match actually happen, they did and we were blessed with the joy of Ezra.  All of our family has welcomed his first family into ours with open arms.  Thank you, to all of you!

Adoption Perspectives – Radio Show

imageThe amazing Rebecca Vahle invited me to be a guest on her radio show called Adoption Perspectives. Rebecca is an Adoption Liason at a hospital, Parker Adventist in Denver. She works very hard to improve the ethics of adoption and I am honored to have gotten to know her. 

I’d love your support, prayers and listening today at 11:00 am MST (1:00 pm EST my time). You can stream Adoption Perspectives radio show online here: http://www.670kltt.com/Homepage/14824138

If you miss the show, it will be archieved next week on YouTube, so I’ll post it then as well. 

 

I’m on the Radio!

Rodney Lear interview photoI went into the studio and recorded the interview for the Sunday Morning Magazine show yesterday, so now you have to do your part and tune in Sunday morning (April 13th)!

If you are in the Cincinnati listening area, you can tune in live on the radio, or if you are outside the station’s reach, you can click the links below and stream the show live.  I was super nervous, but Rodney did a great job putting me at ease and the conversation flowed naturally.  Tune in to the show for information about my adoption story and upcoming books!

Here’s the schedule for Sunday Morning Magazine with Rodney Lear 

Airs Sunday April 13th: (times are EST)

7:00 a.m. on WKRQ-FM (101.9)

7:00 a.m. on  WYGY-FM (97.3)

6:00 a.m. on WUBE-FM (105.1)

6:00 a.m. on WREW-FM (94.9)

Click picture to "Like" Sunday Morning Magazine on Facebook.

Click picture to “Like” Sunday Morning Magazine on Facebook.

Failed Match Stories

ImageIt’s an unfortunate, painful event when an adoption match falls through.  While most of us adoptive parents believe strongly that a woman should have every right to change her mind and parent her child if she wishes, in many cases it is going to be okay and even GOOD for that child to be with her.  A lot of times she goes into an adoption plan thinking she doesn’t have the resources (money) necessary to parent the baby, but with love and number crunching, she often finds she can and will make it work.  While that scenario hurts the adoptive parents who had gotten excited and invested time and money, we ultimately rejoice in her decision to parent.  We know that the loss for her and the child in adoption is far greater than the loss we suffer when she decides to parent. 

So what about the cases where the expecting mother has no intent to place her child?  I have run across friends and support group members recently that have had failed adoption matches because of fraud.  Women who go through private adoption instead of an agency and prey on adopting couples for money.  Then there are women who want to believe that they fully intend to place their child for adoption, but will never end up going through with it.  Some of these women are only “found out” after it comes to light that she had a baby shower!  Some go all the way to the end of the pregnancy saying they want to follow through with adoption, they “KNOW” it’s the right thing to do, they “CAN’T” keep the baby, etc. But with that scenario there are often so many signs that the adoption plan is not going to go through.  If you try to address it with her, ask the social worker to talk to her, or try to help any way you can, she may get defensive and lash out.  What do you do? 

I have been at a cross road of wanting to tell my FULL story of what happened in our failed match (from my perspective, I’m sure her side of the story is very different), but I still feel very vulnerable.  Even though I eventually cut ties with her and try to not interact, social media and the internet seem to have a way of keeping people connected through others.  This creates a lot of stress for me, not because I don’t want to run across her, but because I know that everything I say is scrutinized.  Sometimes I don’t want to be the bigger person.  Sometimes I want to just rant and say exactly what is on my mind.  No holding back. 

One of my friends did just that on Facebook today.  My friend is not Facebook “friends” with that first match nor is her profile public, so the first match will never see the rant my friend posted… but it was GOOD! It made me question, why am I protecting her?  Why are her feelings more valid than mine? 

Today when I tried to console another friend on her adoption Facebook page with a comment about how sometimes matches fail before the expecting mother even knows it’s failing, because she is destined to keep her baby, but is still insistent that she plans to place that child because it is her “plan”.  I said that even though it’s very painful, it’s okay when that happens, because her child that is meant for her WILL come to her.  Apparently our “first match” also follows my friend’s adoption page and she didn’t like that I referred to her as my “first match”.  She went on to say that I had no clue what she went through, even if I thought I did.  What about what I went through in all those months?   What about what I went through the months that followed?  These are the things I’d like to say out loud, to put my feelings into words, to tell the story. 

So do I?  Do I say them?

Why should my feelings be less valid than someone else’s?  I get it… Adoption is an unthinkably hard decision.  But, I didn’t make the decision for her, she came to me after the decision was made.  It totally sucks when your friends and family abandon you and don’t support your decision.  But, I did support her in both the decision to place her child and the decision to parent her child.  Why does she get to lash out and call me out by name on Facebook, when all I did was try to help another person going through a tough time? 

Our situation can be a bit more challenging because our story (or a version of it) was told on national television.  But, really, the show wasn’t all that popular.  Not many people make the connection that we are the people on that episode 6 months ago. So she is only drawing attention to herself as being the one I was talking about, not me.  And while we are at it, let’s point out a fact my friend who ranted about this today stated, she signed up for the show, no one forced her to tell the story on national television.  No one would have a clue who she was or who my first failed match was with, if it wasn’t for that show. 

Part of me wants to protect her and not tell all the dirty things that happened in our relationship and match that failed. Or all the things that followed that prompted me to end the relationship I once cherished.  The other part of me says, why should my good name be tarnished and people think that she did nothing to me? Why shouldn’t they know the reasons behind my decision to end our friendship, when so many times I publicly vowed to be there for her?  Right now it looks as if I backed out on my word, that I am just a bitter, hurt person that should be thankful for the child I have now (which I am by the way, beyond thankful for Ezra) instead of still mourning the loss of the first baby. 

I have a voice… should I use it? (Is this a rhetorical question? I don’t know. hahaha)

 

When a Match Falls Through

When a Match Falls Apart

Sarah Baker | September 13, 2013 | 02:00 PM

This is how our first match fell apart (from my perspective). Adoption is so beautiful, but the ride isn’t always smooth.

This is how fast things can fall apart. It’s been a really difficult subject for me to talk about. We went to visit the expecting parents in their home town in September of 2012. During that visit we had a scheduled 4D sonogram. Our birth mother also had signed us up for a TV show. The producers and camera crew were there to spend the weekend with us and document our story. It was an amazing weekend… but emotions were high and many things came up that were red flags that this adoption may not be everything we and the birth parents were looking for. Our previous visits we stayed in a local hotel. This visit she invited us to stay with her so we could have more time together. We had grown into more than just a “match”, we were friends. We left feeling closer to both of them than ever, but also had concerns that we weren’t on the same page all the time with what adoption is.

The birth father never fully supported the idea of the adoption. He is 15 years older than the birth mother and has 3 children. She is the mother of a wonderful little boy, whom she gets no financial support for from his biological father. She convinced the “birth father” that together with 5 children they would NOT succeed and adoption was the best plan. He reluctantly signed papers that would terminate his rights as long as she was moving forward with the adoption. During that weekend visit, on and off camera, he told all of us that he was becoming more comfortable with the idea of adoption, but would still prefer to keep her. It was very difficult for my husband and me to move forward knowing that this father wanted to parent his baby. But we also wanted to support the birth mother, and let’s face it; we wanted a baby that she wanted to give us. That’s when we found out they were going to want more involvement in the child’s life than what we were prepared for. The father wanted custody returned to him if we were to both die and he wanted us to return with her yearly for a father/daughter dance at his church in addition to the many other visits a year we were offering, plus a lot of holidays spent in their home. This we were terrified of. If we are being honest here, we felt it may threaten our bond with the baby as her “parents”. We also didn’t want to commit to something, living so far away, that we may not be able to stick to. Broken promises, I assured myself, were much worse than hearing the truth at the beginning. Unfortunately, I hadn’t had the opportunity to express the “truth” until it was too late.

The birth mother, young and not truly wanting adoption, seemed to also be having a hard eliza bellytime with separating herself from the baby. She called the baby by the name we chose and referred to me as “mommy” when she would tell me that “Eliza” was saying goodnight to me each night. But, she had loved and cared for this child in her womb for 7 months and was now forced with the very real fact that she chose adoption. Meaning someone else would be parenting her baby girl. This was something she was having a very hard time with. Almost daily I worried about her emotional attachment AND the one I was forming to the baby as well. We provided her with a counselor of her choice so she could work through what she was feeling and help her come to a decision she was comfortable with. I fully believe that if a mother wants to move forward with adoption, then that should be supported. But if a mother wants to parent her child, then she should have that option without feeling guilty for making the decision. I checked in with her all the time, making sure adoption is what she wanted. She always assured me it was. But, I felt I needed to prepare for her to change her mind anyhow. Gut feeling I guess. I couldn’t talk directly with her private counselor, but I often reached out to the one provided to her by the adoption agency. Whenever I was concerned for her mental stability or how she was handling her choice, I made a quick phone call asking the agency to check in on her. Sometimes, I knew I wasn’t the right person for the “birth mom” to talk to.

I had always told her we would like the baby to know them and see them “as much as possible”. Being that we live 4 hours away, both work and have an 11 year old son that is active in many school, sport and music activities, we thought they would understand that would probably mean a few times a year. After all, she already knew that we were already running into scheduling conflicts with our visits during the pregnancy. When we returned from our visit, everything seemed to crash and fall apart. She started asking a lot of questions, that I thought the agency had already clarified with her, but she was feeling the need to ask me directly. When I told her we could visit her 2-4 times a year and they could also visit us, she was devastated and it led to two solid weeks of her being very upset and angry with me. I tried everything to fix it, but it just wasn’t enough. She only heard what her emotions filtered. I told her it was ok if she wanted to keep the baby, because it felt like she was not happy with the amount she would get to see her if she went through with adoption. She lashed out again. She didn’t understand why I thought her emotions meant she wanted to keep the baby. To me though, that is exactly what she was saying. I wanted her to know it was ok.

I admit there were times I had a very hard time containing the anger I felt when she lashed out at me. She accused me of lying to her, leading her on, not trusting me and betraying her. It’s natural to get defensive when a person feels attacked. There were times I let my emotions get the best of me and I responded to her hastily. But, no matter what, it is understandable that a scared, young mother is terrified of this process and I am the best person to lash out at… I was, after all, the threat, the woman “taking” her child.

As things began to mend with us several weeks later, she found out that by switching agencies, (She switched because the agency and myself wouldn’t participate in filming us for the show having a mediated meeting to rectify our differences.) the consent form signed by the birth father was no longer going to be used and he would have to sign all over again. She was scared of what may happen because she says she still wants to move forward with adoption. The new agency began showing her adoptive parent profiles and she is telling me about them. This is what got us into this mess in the first place that blurred line of friendship and adoption. It hurt very much hearing about new families she was considering and picturing them with the baby I was just weeks ago so certain was going to be in my arms. We knew we were not getting the daughter we thought we were going to have. It became very hard to maintain a relationship with her when I felt sick to my stomach and so much stress and depression over this situation.

After time, and convincing my husband that this wouldn’t happen again, we moved on. We got matched again a few months later and we now have our beautiful son, Ezra. But that doesn’t take away the pain, the loss, the sadness, the anguish, the anger… Having never had a miscarriage, this must be the heartache that is felt? When the baby was born, she did decide to parent her. Her and my relationship took time to move forward, but we did try. It was just last week that I made the very, very difficult decision, that for my mental health and the happiness of my family, it was time to move on. I wish her well and hope that she succeeds in life and reaches all her goals. She has a beautiful daughter now. I wanted to remain in their life, but I realized it hurt me and stopped me from healing. It may have been a selfish choice to move on from our friendship, but one I do not regret… so far.

Is a failed match something you fear? Have you had one fail in the past? I’d love to hear your experiences.