Adoption on Hit TV Shows “Nashville” – Adoption.com

AdoptionNashvilleOn the TV hit show “Nashville“, main character Juliette Barnes is in the bathroom tossing cookies and as she wipes away the evidence, she dials her ex-boyfriend Avery to tell him the news she found out… she is pregnant and it is his. On a previous episode, Juliette learned she was pregnant and assumed it was from a weak moment, one night stand she had which destroyed her relationship with Avery. At the abortion clinic she is determined to go through with the procedure until the sonogram technician informs her she is further along than she thought, indicating the baby is Avery’s, not from the affair. Despite the circumstances, many women with unplanned pregnancies are forced to make a decision. While abortion may never be an option for some women, it is for others.

To Read more about this show and it’s connection with adoption, visit adoption.com.

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I Deserve a Baby Too!

A mother's love smallIt is really easy to get caught up in our own pity party when we face infertility or have set backs in adoption.  We see women getting pregnant on accident, we stop watching the news because we can’t handle watching stories about abused children, we lash out at family members who are expecting a baby or complain about their kids being bad, and we cry at the sight of pregnant strangers in the grocery store.  Experiencing that grief makes us desperate and sometimes with desperation we lack reasoning skills.

Adoption is an emotional roller coaster all on it’s own, but then factor in the reasons you may have come to adoption; infertility, health, relationship status, sexuality, etc, and you may have extra emotions tied to the adoption journey.  While I have seen this many times lately in the adoption forums I go to, I am not going to claim I too wasn’t guilty of all the emotions that this entry is about.

Adoption isn’t easy for the expecting mother who made an adoption plan to place her child.  She is doing it for her own reasons.  She may struggle every day with her decision.  She may feel guilt that she cannot provide her child with the life she wants.  She may change her mind every day in the things she wants her child to have.  She may waiver on what she wants out of the adoption relationship.  But, let’s face it, it is her child.  It is her decision.  We have to just be willing recipients of the child with open arms.  And we need to know when it’s time to walk away from a match that is not going to work.

I know it’s really hard to do, but keep in mind this isn’t about what you are or are not deserving of… but it is about her and HER child. (Of course you deserve a child, it just might not be her child!) This is a super stressful situation for you when she begins questioning things in her adoption plan or her match with you. I experienced a disrupted match because the expecting mom second guessed all her choices when it came to us. We were matched very early on and as our friendship grew, so did her need to know things about me on a personal level and on a parenting level.  When an expecting mom chooses and adoptive family, she often romanticizes a life she envisions for her child as well as her future in your and her child’s life.  I could not live up to her expectations and the match dissolved.  It was devastating.  The expecting mother may be freaking out and the emotions she is going through are no less valid than yours. Even if she is second guessing some of the choices. She may have people in her other ear telling her she should have picked a stay at home mom or someone that lives closer or in a bigger house.  It my experience, the earlier in the pregnancy that she makes decisions, it seems the closer the time gets those decision start to waiver. (Obviously this isn’t the case for every early match.) I would much rather have a woman come to me with adoption as her choice and feel fully at peace, than trying to make the match happen because she thinks she’ll eventually be OK with it.

It’s really scary for us adoptive parents to go through, but we just have to accept what God gives us and remember that it isn’t another woman’s job to make us mothers. She is giving us to her child… not her child to us.

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Choosing Adoption

Choosing Adoption

Sarah Baker | November 11, 2013 | 01:14 PM

Along our journey many people have asked us, “why adoption?” There are many ways to become a parent. Most people find that natural pregnancy is the means to expanding their family. When pregnancy doesn’t come easy, people may resort to more time, fertility treatment, artificial insemination, IVF, surrogacy, sperm donors, egg donors, etc. Adoption isn’t for everyone, so it’s understandable that this question may get asked. However, sometimes the questions is just out of curiosity to learn your story, other times people ask “why adoption?” with a tone that implies it is not the choice they would make. Early in my life, I felt drawn to adoption.

When I decided it was time for me to start my family, there were restrictions to adoption like age and years married. I also didn’t have the big bank account to fund my adoption, so we pursued getting pregnant. Pregnancy happened quickly for us; in fact it was the first month we tried. I am glad I was able to experience pregnancy, but it wasn’t without complications, despite my young age and good health. I had HORRIBLE all day sickness for months. About the time my appetite came back, I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. Then came the hand and ankle swelling, my eye sight worsened several times and I had to keep getting new scripts for contacts. My entire birth plan went out the window; 48 hours of intense labor, an emergency C-Section and all night long hemorrhaging… but I had a perfect 8 pound 8 ounce baby boy, Isaac, to show for it all. I knew after that, adoption was the only way I could add to my family again.

Fast forward few years and Isaac’s dad and I decided to divorce. We are still great friends, we just married very young and grew apart as husband and wife. We ended our marriage to save our friendship. I then met Joe and as we were getting to know each other, I told him my story of giving birth to Isaac. I told him I didn’t know if it was possible for me to have more. He said it didn’t matter to him either way. If it was unsafe for me to have more children, then we would adopt or not have any more, but he wasn’t going to let it stand in the way of us being together. WOW! He’s a keeper right?!? After we were married, I saw how wonderful of a step dad he had become and my need to parent a baby with him began to overwhelm me. We looked into adoption, but were again overwhelmed by the price and the wait that it may take for us to become parents. We started “trying” to get pregnant. Honestly, I figured it would come quickly. But after a year, then two, we realized something was wrong. We were both tested and found out that we were both infertile. My eggs didn’t release, I had hormonal imbalances and massive fibroids and his sperm were deformed from a Varicocele. Even using IVF with sperm washing would be slim for us to conceive. We did not want to spend money on something that was not a guarantee when we could put that money toward adoption instead. We did not have a burning need to have biological children, just children. It was the experience we craved not the DNA.

We started saving money and learning about all types of adoptions and gathering information from various agencies. Many times we felt defeated and unable to move forward. We were overwhelmed with the information we got from agencies and the financial stress of it all. During that time we continued on with our lives and each month I secretly hoped I was pregnant, just because it seemed easier, despite how I knew it would probably be a miserable pregnancy based on my first experience. It was 4 years into our marriage that we decided to stop looking at adoption passively and start pursuing the plan. It became very exciting and scary. We started telling people our plans and asking for support.

That’s when the questions started. Everyone seemed to have an opinion on our plans to adopt. People would tell us about how their sister did IVF, how their aunt had a closed adoption, how we should adopt from another country, or through foster care, how once we adopt we’d get pregnant, or how we may not get chosen because we have pets, we have another child, we have a small pond in our back yard, a two story house, etc., or how we wouldn’t be able to bond with the baby because it’s not really “ours”. Then there were the questions of race, gender, drug exposure, etc. Everyone had something to say about the method we decided to become parents. I am sure many of these questions were from lack of knowledge or concern, but after hearing them over and over and sometimes more than once from the same person, it became offensive to us. Like our decision wasn’t respected. Like we didn’t have a large enough mental capacity to have talked to our doctors or made our decisions based on facts.. Adoption was in our hearts and we felt that was where our child was growing. We felt alone and that these questions would turn into years of feeling like our child wasn’t accepted.

Luckily, with some prayers and tears, we were able to talk to the people closest to us and understand where they were coming from and educate them on our choices. When our son was born, he was welcomed into the family with loving arms and many joyful tears. He is treated no different than the other children in our family. He IS their brother, cousin, nephew, and grandson.

I still get asked why we decided to adopt by people. Our answer, we just wanted to be parents.

To follow our adoption more, “Like” our facebook page at www.facebook.com/OurAdoption

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.

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

Setting Preferences

Creating an Adoption Profile

Setting Preferences

Sarah Baker | August 12, 2013 | 02:42 PM

One of the first steps in moving forward in adoption is setting your preferences. This guideline will allow you and your agency to help find you a match that will be best for everyone involved. It is a difficult process though. There are so many things that come into play when adding an adopted child to your family. The first piece of advice I have is, be realistic.

In being realistic, you must know that the expecting mom may not have the income or knowledge to care for the pregnancy as if you were the one carrying the child. She may have limited prenatal care. She may smoke. She may have a poor diet. She may use drugs. She may drink alcohol. You have the option and the right to limit what you will accept in an expecting mother that chooses you though. Every box you check “no” to, limits you to the number of expecting mothers your profile will be shown to.

Do your research, understand what each thing could mean for your baby and if it is something you are capable of dealing with. For instance, smoking can cause low birth weight and future allergies or asthma. Is that something you can handle? The checklist will usually allow you to even narrow down what drug exposure you will accept and what you will not. It may even ask if you wish the baby to be tested at the hospital for drug exposure so you can properly care for the child. Alcohol can cause series delays in development and brain function, so this is the one I urge you to pay the most attention to and learn about to see if you are able to handle a baby that may be born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Sometimes the expecting mother may know that she is carrying a child that may have some needs that will require medical attention from the beginning. It could be cleft palate, heart defects, short or missing limbs, Down Syndrome, etc. Talk it over with your partner and your family. How much can you afford, what will your insurance cover, are you emotionally prepared for these cases? Just keep in mind, that not everything can be detected in the womb. It is no different than if you were pregnant yourself and sometimes our babies are born with challenges or medical needs.

This process allows you to also chose a gender if you wish, the races you are open to, the amount of medical history you want, known allergens, and level of openness in your adoption. It is important to take time filling out this form and fully understand it. Research things you are unsure of so you can either prepare to possibly deal with it in the future or have the knowledge that it is not something you can handle. This process is not just about getting a perfect baby, but getting the child that is meant for you. No one can blame you for understanding your own limitations if you set your preferences to include some things you will not consider. Most adoption agencies will also allow you to re-evaluate the preferences down the road. A lot of couples will be overwhelmed with all the possibilities and later realize that those things may not have any effect at all on the baby or your ability to parent the child and you can ask to make the preferences less defined.

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.”