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.

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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!

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)

 

Season Finale

Season Finale

“I’m Having Their Baby”

Sarah Baker | September 04, 2013 | 11:37 AM  (adapted from original post on Cincinnati Parent)

IHTB-collage2Reflecting where we were a year ago and filming the first episode of I’m Having Their Baby with the birth mother we were matched with and where we are today, I had no idea the happiness I would have now. While you saw on the first episode things did not go according to planned with the birth mother, we were matched again fairly quickly and now have our amazing boy Ezra. The second match came fast, but felt like forever while we mourned the loss of the baby we thought was meant for us.

Tonight, you will get a glimpse of what life is like with four of the families that were shown throughout the second season on the finale episode. We were lucky enough to be part of that. We are excited to share our happy ending. The production company came out and filmed at our home and around town with us in the spring. It has been a few months and Ezra has grown a ton since then. He has teeth, is sitting and crawling and eating “solids”. Wow, he’ll be 8 months old in a just a few days!

I have also grown, emotionally, a lot since then. While I have Ezra now, I was still holding on to a lot of grief about the loss of “Eliza” during the follow up filming. I am hoping that since I have been able to let some of that pain go since then, the episode will focus more on the happiness and joy we feel with the little blessing we have now. Ezra is a wonderful baby and I feel God had a plan when the adoption of “Eliza” fell through and Tory was able to parent her little girl, Bryleigh. I feel Ezra was the child meant for us. His personality matches ours and he fits right in. One child will never replace the loss of another, but he sure helps take my mind off it.

So, tune in tonight to the Oxygen Network at 10 pm (9 central) and please just ignore the fact that my hair is a mess in the restaurant scene and Joe trimmed his goatee way too short. I have no idea what footage they are using from the day, but by the time we got to the restaurant (which I saw in the commercial) I was a hot mess from filming all day long! Hahaha

If you missed the first episode, it will be airing right after the finale called Sharanda; Tory. Thanks for all your support!

To learn more about our adoption, follow us on www.facebook.com/OurAdoption

Family Bonding

Family Bonding

Sarah Baker | July 01, 2013 | 02:45 PM

When adopting a child, the fear of bond is even greater than it is when it’s a biological child. I can remember when I was pregnant with Isaac and reading about women who failed to bond with their child after birth. That terrified me. If I had those fears with my biological son that I carried inside me for 9 months, how would it be with my adopted son? I feared it would take us longer to bond. That I couldn’t give him the maternal love he needed, that things would be “different”. The good news is… it was exactly the same. It was surreal, but it was the same. I saw that precious baby the moment he was born and was instantly in love with him. The first night we bonded so well that by the next day I knew him and he knew me. My husband was instantly smitten and I saw him cry just holding our newborn son.

With adoption it can be hard to bond with the unborn child. You bond with an idea of being a parent. You may have names picked out and a great relationship with the birth parents… but you still fear that adoption being disrupted. In our first match, we put ourselves fully into that match. When we saw family members treating us different from siblings that were also expecting; we were hurt. But, for them, the match wasn’t real. The baby wasn’t here yet, there was no guarantee. We wanted to celebrate our excitement, but they were afraid. We had to speak up. We now understand that it wasn’t their lack of excitement for us, but that they were protecting themselves in the chance it didn’t go through. Of course, our first match did fall through and we felt like that would just support their cause of not being excited if we got matched again. It’s like a miscarriage, in the sense that you don’t know what could happen. But should the “what if’s” cause you to avoid attachment? WHAT IF it does go through? Then you haven’t prepared or mentally bonded with that baby?

So when we did get matched again, we were terrified. But Ezra’s first mother knew about our first failed match, she understood my need to be up front about everything and clarify our expectations and us to understand her expectations so that the match could be a success. After we got that out of the way, I was able to cautiously bond. I was still scared, all the way up until he was born. But, I also was afraid for her. Afraid Ezra’s expecting mom was hurting. Afraid she would regret her decision. See, the beauty in bonding with Ezra before he was born, was that I also bonded with her. She is an amazing, strong woman that chose life for her son. She chose to be the best mom she could be to him and to her other 2 children by placing him for adoption. I am so glad I didn’t allow my first failed adoption to result in shutting my emotions down when we moved forward with trying again.

When Ezra was born, we stayed a couple days in the hospital with him and them. We did not invite family, but we were on the phone a lot, talking to family and texting pictures. When we got home, our immediate family came to visit in the days ahead. Those family members that struggled to bond and show excitement fell in love immediately. Their fear of the unknown vanished when they held our little 6 pounds of perfection.

The best part is seeing our older son, Isaac, with Ezra. When Ezra was about 2 or 3 months old, I was talking to Isaac and I said “I can’t believe he’s ours. He really feels like he is OURS.” Isaac said “duh, that’s because he is. He’s my brother.”

Follow Up to TV Premier

Follow Up to TV Premier

“I’m Having Their Baby”

Sarah Baker | June 25, 2013 | 03:02 PM

tvshow sonogram picI don’t even know where to begin. An hour long show (43 minutes with commercials) is hardly enough time to accurately portray a 7 month long relationship during a pregnancy with the many ups and downs and emotions that go with adoption. The show title “I’m Having Their Baby”, implies something entirely different than what it is. It sounds like a show about surrogacy… or that these expecting mothers are required to place their child for adoption to the couple they have chosen.

Obviously that’s not what happened in our story. If you haven’t watched, here is the link to our episode: http://im-having-their-baby.oxygen.com/blogs/premiere-full-episode . If you did watch, here’s the recap: Mike, the father, was against the adoption, but developed a close bond with us, the adoption fell apart (we did not back out as the show implies), Tory picked another family, then Tory decided after delivering to parent her baby girl, now she and Mike are engaged.

It was very painful to watch the show and relive those emotions… but what started as pain, turned to anger while watching. We agreed to do the show because we wanted to support Tory in her decision to film her story. She decided to do it to show women the beauty of adoption, opposed to choosing abortion. We wanted to share our journey with her and show our friendship and the ups and downs of adoption in hopes that other adoptive families could learn from our experience. Unfortunately, the show had to make cuts and edit scenes down. What we didn’t anticipate though that those edits would tell the portion of the story they wanted to be told. It was not accurate in telling the truth of our journey. It focused primarily on the birth father wanting to keep the baby and the pain we all were putting him through. It didn’t focus at all on the friendship we had with him, other than a small glimpse when he and my husband Joe had a good man to man talk about the adoption.

We were thrilled though that it did show a small glimpse of our happy ending in the recap at the end. Seeing our precious boy make his big TV debut was fun! There will be a follow up of us during the season finale and how happy our life is with baby Ezra!

I am going to try to move on from this experience and not focus on all the things that could have been shown differently… but if you have any questions about our episode, the adoption process or anything at all… please use the comment section below. I will try to answer with the best I am able to do.