Adoption can happen through many avenues and under a variety of circumstances. Each baby’s adoption story is uniquely beautiful and uniquely challenging. How do you know if adoption is right for your family? What are some of the challenges you may face when adopting a newborn? How do you overcome obstacles that may come your way? In this episode, moms of adopted newborns share their personal experience.
Adopting a Newborn
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KRISTEN STRATTON: Every family is unique. Some families have two parents, some are single parents, and some have biological children while some have been adopted. Adoption can happen through many avenues and under a variety of circumstances. Each baby's adoption story is uniquely beautiful and uniquely challenging. Today we are looking at life after a family has adopted a newborn. This is Newbies.
[Theme Music and Introduction]
KRISTEN STRATTON: Welcome to Newbies. Newbies is your online, on-the-go support group guiding new mothers through their babies first year. I'm your host, Kristen Stratton. Certified birth doula, postpartum doula and owner of In-Due Season Doula Services. If you haven't already, be sure to visit our website at www.newmommymedia.com and subscribe to our weekly newsletter. You can also subscribe to our show through iTunes so you automatically get new episodes as they're released. Here's Sunny with details on how you can get involved with Newbies.
SUNNY GAULT: Alright, hi everyone! So we have these segments that we have in each show. We have one at the start of the show and one at the end of the show. In just a little bit we'll talk about the news headline, that's one of the segments we do. But there's one called “five-minute birth stories” that I want to promote because we don't get as many submissions for this but it's one of my favorite segments. And we all love to share birth stories and everything that happens to us but, can you do it in five minutes or less? That is the challenge.
If you think you can, please head on over to our website at www.newmommymedia.com . There's a gray banner on the side that says send voicemail. Click on that and then use the microphone on your computer and tell us your birth story in five minutes or less and we'll play it on the show. And just as a quick little teaser, Amber, one of our parents today, in today's conversation, she's going to share with us her birth story at the end of the show. So stay tuned for that.
The other thing that I want to say, if you are on social media, we have started hashtag and it's #supportallmoms. And I did this because, I just feel I'm on social media quite a bit of the shows and I just feel like sometimes, we as moms kind of get down on other moms. Especially there are a lot of headlines out there right now blaming parents for certain things and I know it's really easy to do it especially when people aren't doing things the way we've done them in the past. And we think we know past, right? Because it works for us, it must work for everyone.
But I really want us to just take a step back and just try to support everybody out there. As long as you're making an educated choice, you're making choice of what's best for your family. So if you see stuff out there, if you can start using the #supportallmoms. Hopefully, we can get some more positive energy out there and support all moms in doing what they think is best for their family. So try to use that hashtag.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Alright. Let's meet the mommas who are going to be participating in our show today. Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family and your experience with today's topic. Amber, let's start with you.
AMBER HALL: Hi guys, I'm Amber Hall. I have a blended family with six children. I have adopted two little ones through foster care and have three biological and stepdaughter. I'm a stay at home mom and a birth doula whenever I have time. And that's about it.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Camille?
CAMILLE MORA: Okay. I am Camille Mora and I have two children who were adopted. One was adopted internationally from Russia when he was 15 months old. The other was adopted as a newborn from Florida Soul Domestic Infant Adoption. And that was a private adoption, not through foster care. So a little different. And I am a stay at home mom. I am also in grad school getting my doctorate. And on the side, I am a CPST, which is a car seat technician.
SUNNY GAULT: You're not busy at all, are you? (Laughs) Holy cow, that's awesome.
KRISTEN STRATTON: We have very busy moms on the show.
SUNNY GAULT: I know right? We're multi-tasking mommas.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Alright. Julie, I know you are super experience with this topic as well. So why don't you go ahead and introduce yourself?
JULIE SCHMITT: Hi, my name is Julie. I have ten kids. Six of whom are adopted out of foster care. I am also a birth doula and a postpartum doula. So yeah, I'm busy. I'm a grandma, it's all good.
KRISTEN STRATTON: You wear many hats.
JULIE SCHMITT: Yes. That's awesome.
CAMILLE MORA: I should also say that my doctoral research specifically dealing with children adopted from early trauma and how that affects their ability to function in a classroom setting.
SUNNY GAULT: That's amazing. Julie said she needs to talk to you.
KRISTEN STRATTON: That's wonderful. Well, thank you so much for being on the show. It's nice to have all of you here.
SUNNY GAULT: Alright, before we dive into our topic today. We'd like to talk about headlines on the show every now and then as it relates to newborns, and parents and things of that sort. I found this headline. Here you go. It says, “baby on board: Flight from Saudi Arabia to New York makes an emergency landing at London Heathrow as a woman gives birth mid-journey”.
So you know, we see all these funny stuff, but not funny to the mom, not funny to the parents but like moms giving births in cars and stuff like that. But think about your own birth just for a second and take it out of whatever situation you were in, now put it in an airplane. I know, I had so much stuff going on. If it would have been on an airplane, I don't know how this woman would have done it.
So here's the scoop. This happened, as of today's recording. It happened two days ago. So this is a very fresh headline. Like I said, it was a Saudi Arabian airline, it was supposed to go to New York, it didn't make it there. The woman gave birth on board on this flight and then it's cute, this article actually has the flight attendants having a picture like they are all huddled around the baby. Holding the baby up for a photo. It has a picture of the plane and all these kinds of stuff.
So it had to land due to a “medical emergency”. And, that's the story in a nutshell and so just that I get you guys perspective on this. Like, that to me is kind of crazy. Can you imagine, not only giving birth on a plane but also, I mean, how many passengers, did you guys see how many passengers? I don't know if this actually said how many passengers are on board. But this woman, obviously, childbirth can be a very painful experience, right? Can you imagine the passengers on the flight listening to this happening? It's crazy.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Yes. I mean I've heard other women in labor when I was at the hospital having my babies or as a doula, I've been present at someone else's labor. Sometimes, you can get vocal that happens. This is a perfect reason why all flight attendants should be trained doulas or midwives. And also I’m really curious what’s the nationality of that baby. What about the citizenship? Who does that baby belong to? Well, obviously the mom and dad, but what country? And do you put longitude and latitude on the birth certificate? How does that work?
SUNNY GAULT: Anyway, it does say that they were flying over Northern Ireland when it made the first emergency call. I don’t know if that factor, I mean is this an Irish baby now? Because that’s where the call was made. I don’t know, they touch down in London. We’ve actually talked about this with regard to breastfeeding and breastfeeding laws. Like, what are the laws on planes if you’re flying across states? You know what I’m saying, this has come up in different conversations we’ve had on our own very shows for sure.
CAMILLE MORA: I wonder if they have a VISA because for sure I know for my oldest son, he traveled to America on a Russian passport with a US VISA and as soon as the plane touch ground on US soil, he’s an automatic citizen.
JULIE SCHMITT: Interesting.
KRISTEN STRATTON: So he’s English. The baby’s English now. He’s Irish for a while, now he’s English.
SUNNY GAULT: There has to be something we can get to change.
CAMILLE MORA: Well, my son is dual citizenship. The baby would have the citizenship of the parents’ birth country.
SUNNY GAULT: Okay. So maybe that’s what they’d do. It’s interesting now, right? It’s crazy. So yeah, welcome to London little baby. We’ll go ahead and post a link on our Facebook page if you guys want to check this out.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Today, we are talking about adopting a newborn. Our expert today is a foster parent, mentor and trainer with over 20 years of experience, Julie Schmith. Julie is also a birth and postpartum doula serving in Temecula Valley, California. Julie, welcome to the show.
JULIE SCHMITT: Hi. Glad to be here.
KRISTEN STRATTON: So Julie, what are some of the reasons a family may choose adoption to start or grow their family?
JULIE SCHMITT: I think for each individual family, a family that’s looking for adoption as a possible way to either grow their family or start their family. There are so many variables that go into that choice. I know for us; I can speak about why we went to that direction. We have four birth children and I was told I could not have any more children through our own conception. So we felt like we have more to give. We felt like we have a good family. Good things going on with our family, so we thought well what about foster care? What about just helping kids, starting that way and the kids came and they never left.
Not all of them obviously but a lot of them. So we didn’t like just fall into adoption but we kind of hoping to adopt. But, that’s kind of how we got there. I know for a lot of other families, maybe they can’t conceive for whatever reasons and they look into adoption to start growing their family. Other people maybe have a couple of kids and then think adoption sounds like a great idea to grow their family. Or they want to help, again they have the same heart to say let’s help, and they look at it from that’s perspective and then add to their family.
KRISTEN STRATTON: And what are the typical avenues through which families find the baby to adopt?
JULIE SCHMITT: There are quite a few avenues. There’s a private adoption, there’s foster care but that’s more of a risk you don’t necessarily get to adopt every baby that comes into your home. There is out of country adoption which is also great because you’re helping orphans. So, each way that I think a family or any way that a family can grow their family through adoption is an experience and one that they choose base on probably their life experiences or what they feel like they can deal with because this can be challenging.
KRISTEN STRATTON: So what’s the difference between an open adoption and closed adoption?
JULIE SCHMITT: Well, I’m actually an adoptee myself. And my adoption is what we consider a closed adoption. So what that means for me is that, I know I’m adopted but I don’t really know anything about my birth family. I don’t have any identifying information. I don’t know really how old my parents were when I was born. I don’t know where they really lived. I don’t know anything about them except that there were a man and a woman. And I was conceived and the decision was to place me for adoption. And that’s pretty much all I know.
Open adoption would be a birth mother had come to a conclusion that she’d like to place her baby. So then she would begin searching for a family whether it would be a single parent, a two-parent family. Whatever that what she wanted and then she would either go to an attorney or go to an agency or if she knows someone. Sometimes that happens like somebody knows someone or the doctor that they see knows someone who wants to adopt. And they go that route.
KRISTEN STRATTON: And so they would probably have access to more information? They’ll have their terms.
JULIE SCHMITT: Yes. The parents might decide to have an open adoption. The bio family might say if you say yes to adopting our baby. If we choose you, we want to see our baby on a regular basis. And I can live with so many different ways of so many different people. Or they could say, just send me a letter or send me pictures. Or I don’t want a… It may be open; you know everything you need to know but they don’t really want to continue that relationship. Maybe they’re open to the kid content with everything.
CAMILLE MORA: So I also wanted to add, there are also semi-adoption? And that open adoption to close adoption is kind of on a spectrum and that one we’re talking about that. It really is the comfort level of the adoptive parents and the biological family and however that work. And that can certainly change over time as relationships are built and based on the child’s needs. And that everything, ideally the open and close adoption should be based on what is best for that individual child in their particular situation.
I think that’s important for potential adoptive parents to know going in. That what they think they want for their family may change as the needs of the child they bring in to their family will have an impact on the type of adoption they end up having.
KRISTEN STRATTON: So, I’m curious now, how did you decide that adoption was the right choice for your family and for you?
CAMILLE MORA: Well, my particular situation, we cannot have biological children. So we decided pretty early on our journey that adoption was the route that we wanted to take. And for us, we believed God lead us to that pretty clearly. Especially with our first adoption to Russia. That was really clear that we have to go there. And then with our second adoption, it was very clear that a domestic adoption was the route to find a child that we were meant to parent.
KRISTEN STRATTON: And Amber, what about you?
AMBER HALL: We actually started the process to adopt through foster care before we’ve got pregnant with my son. When we’ve got married, my husband had a three-year-old already. We wanted to grow our family and we didn’t want a huge age gap between her and her siblings. So it was something that, I always was passionate about adoption and my husband kind of just went along with it. Until we started doing foster parent training and classes and then he really started to take the range from there and it became something that he was also passionate about.
So we just kind of continued with the process and then we got pregnant with our first. And just kind of kept on going along and the timing of everything wasn’t exactly how we anticipated since I ended up being pregnant both times as we adopted. But it was what is perfect for our family so we chose foster care just because we came across a lot of statistics that were pretty staggering to us. Just about what happens to the kids that are going in the system and what their future looks like realistically.
So we just felt like there’s no reason for us not to, other than pure selfishness. I mean, people still call us crazy. I mean people still call us crazy though, while actively having biological children as well.
KRISTEN STRATTON: You're brave Amber. You're brave. That's a good thing.
AMBER HALL: Thanks.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Now, Julie, how often are newborns available for adoption and does that vary based on the type of adoption a family is pursuing?
JULIE SCHMITT: It definitely varies base on the type of adoption a family is pursuing. If it's a private adoption, when families go into that, they typically will state to either the attorney they're working with or the agency they're working with. What they believe is their perfect match. We want an infant or we'll take a slightly older child or whatever their preferences are. So it really depends and as Camille was saying it sometimes families have in their minds what they think is the perfect fit or the perfect child for their family. And then they're presented with something completely different by an agency or an attorney, you know, a child that becomes available.
They have to rethink what they think perfect is. And their family will then change the phase of their family the dynamics of their family becomes different than what they thought was going to be the reality. So that's always interesting as well. In terms of through foster care, very rarely although I know it does happen but very rarely in infant place with the family, like say right at birth, they were told that this child is available.
Typically, they might be placed with a family of the foster child, with a foster-adopt designation with the idea that this baby will end up in adoption but we can't guarantee that. That happens actually quite a lot. I used to know the statistics really well before but it’s varying now because the pendulum in terms of what the courts are doing changes and it’s in a change, it’s in flux right now. It seems that the judges are giving parents more time to work on their lives to get their kids back. So babies that are being placed are not moving into adoption just quickly. At least right now.
KRISTEN STRATTON: So then that kind of places children who are in a temporary home or foster home may be at a higher likelihood that the parents might lose that baby even though they wanted to adopt that baby?
JULIE SCHMITT: Correct.
KRISTEN STRATTON: And so how much notice do family typically received when the baby is available for them?
JULIE SCHMITT: When it comes to private adoption, there’s a process that they’re going through and typically a birth mom has picked a family and then the family and the birth mom either met in person or Skype or they’re on the phone. It depends what their level of comfort is and how they want to go about that. Or they’ve communicated through e-mail, texting, letters, and then they move forward with that process and then when mom has her baby, then if everything goes well, they receive the baby into their home. And that’s how it goes from there.
I know of people who’ve said we put our paperwork into adopting through a private agency and the next day we’ve got a call. So I’m sure this can happen. It’s probably not typical. In terms of foster care, like I said, it’s so rare for a baby to be placed straight from the hospital with a family, potential adopted family without the caviar that we just don’t know for sure. But there are a lot of variables in a foster care adoption.
KRISTEN STRATTON: And I’ve heard that some international adoption that can be years that they're waiting for a baby.
JULIE SCHMITT: Yes. An international adoption, sometimes, because of the red tape, because of the process, on how lengthy it is in terms of getting the home study done and all the paperwork that has to be done with the country which you reside and in the country which you are hoping for placement from. You know, that takes time. So I don’t believe, in my understanding that babies are typically not placed straight from the womb. It’s usually a process where there are couples of weeks to several months’ old before they’re actually in the arms of the potential adopted parents when it comes to the out of country adoptions.
CAMILLE MORA: In our case with our Russian adoption. We actually completed our adoption in nine months. And I found that as long as if you were open to any gender, any race and mild to moderate special needs, they have children waiting for families. As supposed to families waiting for children. And I think that’s important of any adoption. The more open potential adoptive parents are to different parenting situations the faster you’ll be placed for the child because we only waited nine months and that was actually just the time it took for us to complete our paperwork. Once our paperwork was completed, we actually had a referral the very next day. Other families waited more than a year for their referral because they only wanted a girl.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Right, that makes sense.
CAMILLE MORA: Especially in international, if you are open to boys in international adoption. You’re not waiting that long. Especially if you’re open to non-baby boys.
JULIE SCHMITT: It’s interesting that you should say that about boys because the same holds through in foster care adoption.
CAMILLE MORA: That is true and especially if you’re open to adopting outside of your race.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Outside of your race…
CAMILLE MORA: Our youngest is bi-racial; we didn’t wait for a referral either.
AMBER HALL: That part of adoption that we took was through foster care. As I said before and what we did was called concurrent planning. So we didn’t do traditional foster care in the sense that we took in a child for two weeks or two months and then suddenly go back home and then go back to their family. We said we are open to taking cases that were already moving towards adoptions or look like they’re going to be that way based on the previous history whether mom had previous CPS issue or whatever that’s kind of how those cases work.
There aren’t a lot of them. But we waited about a year until we were placed with our daughter. Then three years later we were placed with our second one but not out of being on a waitlist but because they were biologically related. So we did also fill out one of the sheets where you can choose gender and just family history, health history, mental illness. Those type of things. What are you open to taking? We left our pretty open because we felt like when we receive a referral call, we would just look over the specific case and determine if it is something that we felt would be a good fit for our family and for our particular skills at.
KRISTEN STRATTON: When we come back we will continue our discussion on adopting a newborn baby. We’ll be right back.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Welcome back to the show. We are continuing our discussion with Julie Schmith. Julie, once a newborn is placed with the family, what are some of the challenges that come with that transition?
JULIE SCHMITT: So when it comes to a newborn, depending on what that child’s background is. And yes, a newborn has a background. And a lot of people they think, what? But, how well was that baby cared for in utero makes the difference. Some children from other countries, the moms didn’t have very good or adequate prenatal care. So there may be things that were missed during her pregnancy about the health of the fetus that’s growing and maybe mom didn’t have adequate nutrition, maybe it’s a poor country and so she didn’t have adequate nutrition so there are lots of things that can happen as a result of that.
Same thing with foster children when they’re placed; mom typically is thinking of other things other than her pregnancy which is how the baby ends up in foster care. So often times, they’re lacking nutrition. That outside world is chaotic, and that’s what they feel inside as well. So it affects their growth and their brain development and everything, even in utero.
So there’s that and then when it comes to private adoption. Yes, maybe there’s more peace concerning the situation and once the decision has been made to place. But I’m sure there were times when mom was stressed or even continued to be stressed during her pregnancy. So I think that can sometimes transfer to the newborn. And so when the baby comes home, I just had to take to use the word, normal newborn. I think there was lost. I think the newborn was suffering from loss no matter how well or not well those parents were treating their fetuses as their growth in their womb, that’s the voice the baby heard. Those are the sounds the baby heard. The movements. Everything else is what the rhythm of life is what the baby was accustomed to. And when we take them out of that environment and take them to our homes, we are inundating them with everything is new.
CAMILLE MORA: I think that from an emotional standpoint, it’s important to remember that even in infant adoption, there is a break in the attachment cycle as she just pointed out. And that can put a child at risk for attachment issues. I mean they are less likely to happen in newborn adoptions but definitely not unheard of. And also remembering that children generally don’t become available for adoption and placements aren’t made because the biological parents have a stable home that they can bring a baby into.
The things that surround those situations often times, and sometimes are drug abused, alcohol abused and things of that nature. So when you are bringing a newborn baby home, some of these babies are going to withdraw, some of them, I know in domestic infant adoption, private adoption. Sometimes placements are made for private adoption ahead of time because the birth mother knows that without that placement, the child won’t enter a foster care. And so that’s an aspect of domestic infant adoption that is not often talked about.
KRISTEN STRATTON: So I’d love to hear about more your experiences when you first brought your newborn home.
AMBER HALL: With our first daughter that we adopted. We basically got a phone call saying that she’s going to be discharged from the hospital within 72 hours. And they wanted her to go straight home from the hospital with her foster or adopted family. So it was pretty quick, it’s quite a whirlwind. So once we got that call, we went to see her in the hospital and then we got home within two days of seeing her for the first time. It was crazy to say the least, and we already had other children so we're going based on previous experience. And so we had to realize that this is different. And though I didn’t carry her for nine months inside my womb, we saw a newborn at home.
So everything is different, and so we had to realize that it’s the same situation, we needed just to ask for help, and having meals drop off was a good thing and we were in the trenches of staying up all night with a newborn and everything. But also realizing that you can’t exactly just like carry on with life business as usual because you have a new baby. And in our case, our baby was in the hospital for 11 weeks, so coming outside into the world was a big change for her. And so we have to kind of deal with a little bit of adjustment period. Just getting used to being out in crowds, it was a lot of stimulation for her.
So we kind of had to choose to stay home a little bit more than we normally would. Things like not passing her off to let everybody hold her all the time and trying to make sure that me and my husband were really bonding with her. I’ve had the experience of being a mother to biological children and to non-biological. And so there’s a difference there. And so I had to give myself a little bit of grace in terms of just cutting myself some slack but you know it’s going to take a little bit more work. It’s different.
The relationship isn’t as natural and organic as it is with the biological child. So the second time around though, it was a lot easier. We know a little bit more of what we are doing and we were able to bond with the baby much sooner before bringing her home as well. But we’d like to say that the first one that we adopted though she wasn’t our first child, she’s our third child. She was our first adopted child so we were very much like first-time parents with her and because we were first-time adoptive parents. And there’s a big difference between the two.
So when you’re adopting, if you already have biological kids, you kind of have to step back and think about the fact that this is a completely different experience and you have to handle it really different than you do with maybe you had in past with your biological children.
KRISTEN STRATTON: So now, Julie what are some of the ways, I know that Amber and Camille have talked about some very unique circumstances. What are some of the ways parents deal with those challenges?
JULIE SCHMITT: When I was mentoring, let’s put it that way, mentoring foster parents and adoptive parents. One of the things that I kind of brought up was to self-care. Take time for yourselves. And also to look at your motives behind the adoption and check them if there’s something that needs to be addressed in your past or your history, that will help your future with your child. Do that. Do it and get it done. I know for me when my oldest adopted child came home. He was six weeks old. But he was still experiencing withdrawal symptoms. And the poor thing could not sleep; I mean the change of state for him was it’s not going to happen without a struggle and a fight.
And I have had four biological children before that. All of them were nursed, we nurtured, yada, yada, yada. And this was totally newbies to me. Thankfully, I had worn a couple of my children. Babywearing some of my children, before it was popular because my children are 30s people. Not my adopted kids but my birth kids. And I thought, maybe what I would do was wear this baby and kind of replicate the womb experience with him as much as I can, as often as I can. He’s getting that nurturing and caring and his needs being matched, the way they should have been. That’s one thing I think that people can do too. It's trying to think outside the box of parenting a little bit. And don’t be so worried about if they’re sleeping through the night or you know if they are meeting all the milestones.
CAMILLE MORA: I can second that. We baby wore in the beginning especially with my child from Russia because he was at huge risk for attachment issues. Given, spending his first year and a half in a Russian orphanage and baby wearing I think for sure saved us. I think another important aspect is you can’t necessarily parent these children the same way you would parent a biological child. Sending them on time out alone is going to break the attachment cycle you were trying to accomplish.
You need to do time-ins; you need to have them be with you on your lap. Everything you do needs to help the connection to that child. A great book, it’s called The Connected Child by Karen Pervis, and it really helps with bringing in the connection and that attachment and everything in everyday life and how to deal with meltdown because these kids need something different. And that’s really important. Like sleeping alone should not necessarily be a goal if you’re dealing with attachment issues.
KRISTEN STRATTON: That is so interesting. I would never have thought of that as being a trigger for causing emotional distress because you’re right. If you’re living with your biological child and they know that you’re there, they know that you’re always going to come back, they know that when you cry, someone’s going to answer the cry. But if a child grows up without that for a short period of time, that is so impactful. I never…
CAMILLE MORA: I know it’s not a punishment to a child who doesn’t have an attachment. Like whatever, I’m not even attached to; I’d like to go be alone because that’s what I’m used to. That’s where I feel in control. That’s where I feel safe and we need to teach them to feel their world is controlled. And their world is safe when they’re with us.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Wow. That’s pretty powerful.
AMBER HALL: So as I’ve shared before, racing an adopted child is much different than racing your biological one. It can come up with lots of challenges depending on the child’s history. Where they came from, why were they place for adoption? Those types of things make the difference especially the age of the child when you bring a child home. Both of my girls were relatively young when we brought them home but our first one was 11 weeks old. And she was at the hospital that whole 11 weeks. So she didn’t have any visitors coming.
The extent of her care and bonding with anybody was just the nurses coming in and feeding her. And during those times, I mean, it’s not like she was left lying in the hospital with no stimulation. But it’s very different when you just have different nurses coming in, going, and this is their job. It’s very different feel to the baby than it is when somebody is coming in and maternally caring for them.
So it can be a challenge and so we had some bonding issues and some attachment problems with our first baby because there was so much time that she was in the hospital, unable to bond with us and, not able to bond with her biological mother either. On top of that, she was being treated for drug withdrawals. So it was a challenge, and we look back and we think that we knew what we were doing because we’ve had other kids but really I had no idea.
The second time around, it was easier, because we had already kind of walk to that path and the more history with the baby because they have the same mother but we were able to go and start being with her in the NICU when she was about five days old. So that made a big difference in being able to bond and being there earlier. But long-term, my girls are only three and one, so they’re still pretty young but we always have to kind of examine different troubles that we have, with behavior, whatever. They’re the ones that are the older one, is it related to having some attachment issues. You still have to kind of consider the fact that there was trauma at birth and was there trauma ever? You know, that’s the question. How much their environment inside the womb impact how they are outside the womb because of what they were ground in and how are they born into the world.
I mean, a lot of times, we don’t realize how much that can impact to who we are as a person. And so, having that for a friend of your mind, and not ever thinking that you are completely beyond that is helpful because then, anytime a problem arises then you kind of had a point to go off of there in terms of being able to look at, where you might be having a problem but those are important, you just ask for help, you know ask for a break and to be honest with yourself and not feel like a horrible person if you have raw moments of honesty, where you just don’t know what to do and especially if you are dealing with one of our children has special needs and so that has been a challenge as well.
Raising a child that we’ve adopted that has also special needs. It’s difficult but you need to make sure you have a good support system in place to help you and anybody that’s not supportive don’t have them around in your life because that can really be toxic and take away from what you and your child’s needs.
KRISTEN STRATTON: So, I would love to hear from all of you about, now that you had these experiences and you know you look back. What are some pieces of wisdom that you know, you had someone tell you, or you would like the people listening that are either starting their adoption journey or you know considering it, to know?
JULIE SCHMITT: One thing that I realized while I was going through foster parenting and then eventually of adopting was that, you know when I would get to a new place with a new child will come live with us, my whole life, it was like somebody you know threw a bomb in the house and everything exploded because everybody, the dust have to settle. You’ve got a new human being in the house; you have to figure out where he or she fits or how you’re all going to mash. And it’s funny because they were being placed either adoptively or foster because I didn’t give birth. It really didn’t occur to people who are my friends and family to say, hey let me bring you a meal. Can I come over and help you with some laundry? It was mostly because I didn’t give birth and this really wasn’t an infant that was keeping me up all night. You know and I was like, guys I am not sleeping. Hello!
KRISTEN STRATTON: You’re still a new mom.
JULIE SCHMITT: So that’s the kind of advice, I’d like to give to the people of the people who are adopting. You know it’s like, this is a new baby, this is you know, this is real, so help them out and in terms of what, you know, what I would say, I wish people could have told me what I could do to like to help myself emotionally, be prepare for that.
AMBER HALL: For me, I think it would really educate yourself about attachment, educate yourself about the lost these children experience. There are so many great books out there about attachment and trauma in adoption about newborn and newborns and the loss they experience. Losing their birth parent and don’t think that because you adopted a newborn, that they’re not going to experience those losses, that trauma and remember like what was already stated that the In Vitro environment absolutely matters and don’t be afraid to use early intervention.
I think that’s huge because we want these kids to have the best outcome, we want them to attach, we want them to build those bonds that are essential to be a functional human being in society and a happy healthy person.
CAMILLE MORA: As I shared before, it is important to make sure that have a support system in place and not just necessarily have to be another adoptive family but just making sure that you have friends and family around. And definitely one in your community in your area that can come and walk alongside you and help you on days that are hard and come and sweep your floors, and do things around the house so you can bond more of your child or when they’re getting older, when you need a break, you know, they can come over and watch the kids and you can get them time to do some help care.
One word of wisdom or advice that I would give a family considering adoption is that no matter which path that you take to become a family whether that be In Vitro Fertilization, surrogacy, having your own biological children, adopting internationally, domestic adoption, foster care However it may be, it’s the path filled with unknowns. And you don’t know what the future holds.
But the biggest thing is just to make sure that your motivation and your purpose behind it, isn’t about growing your family or having a family but it’s about making an impact on a child’s life and giving a child a loving stable home and helping them through whatever they came from, and that means to be your sole purpose in adoption. It needs to be about that and not at all about yourself. So you really got to take it and to step back. Look at your motivation and your reason behind it because if your motivation isn’t for the child, then it’s going to make it really hard.
KRISTEN STRATTON: Well, thank you so much Julie and our wonderful parents who are joining us today and sharing their wonderful story. And for our Newbies Club members, this conversation after the end of the show. As Julie will share some tips for introducing your adopted little one to friends and family.
SUNNY GAULT: Alright, so before we wrap up our show today. I promised you guys at the beginning of the show that we’re going to have a “five-minute birth story”. And we do. So, Amber, I’m going to turn this over to you and tell us a little bit about what happened to you on your special day.
AMBER HALL: Okay, so here’s my five-minute birth story. It’s my third pregnancy and I historically go past my due date. About a week past my due date, according to my calculation. I woke up around 4:15 in the morning. My two-year-old is in bad with me with a fever because she was teething so I really didn’t get a really good night sleep but didn’t feel totally exhausted. So I woke up, was feeling some contractions but I was able to go back to sleep in between them.
Fifteen minutes later, I couldn’t fall back to sleep because they were getting stronger and stronger so I woke up and got in the bathtub and started timing them. And I noticed that, men! These are long. They’re a minute to a minute half. And they’re pretty consistently right up to four minutes apart. After about half hour, I’ve got my husband up and told him, okay, let’s start our stuff together. Let’s call our doula. We called her and told her we’re going to start heading to the hospital. Because our plan was for me to labor there instead of our home since I had so many kids and we just felt like I’d be able to do better if we are at the hospital earlier rather than later.
So, we started packing up, and I had to go to the bathroom and we are just trying to get out of the house with all the contractions getting really strong. And my husband was like, what do I do? She’s not asking me a rubber pack; she’s not asking me to do anything so we start heading out. I’m standing outside by the car waiting for him to come out. And my water broke. So he comes outside and he was like, do you want new pants? And I said no, they’re just going to get dirty again. So we got in the car and I haven’t got some towels so I step into the towel in the front seat of the car and he drives about a hundred yards and I said, stop the car. Stop the car! He was like why? And I was like, stop the car! I can’t have you driving right now. So okay, he stops the car. I just feel my contractions were just like on top of each other.
For some reasons, distinctly on my head, I felt like I was going to get a break. I was waiting for the break and then he could drive. It just couldn’t have him driving and I think I knew that I was in transition. So he’s texting our doula like, she won’t let me drive, what do I do? Please tell me I can go. So finally, she’s like, ok you can go. I had told me anyway that, okay let’s go. By that, we were already in the car for like 30 minutes. He starts heading to the hospital. We were about ten minutes away from the hospital. He’s taking all the long ways. So I’m telling him where to go. He’s still kind of like okay we can’t be that for long. She’s still telling me where to go.
We were about two stop lights away in the hospital and all of a sudden I said, she’s crowning like I just felt her head dropped. He’s like, okay what do you want me to do? And I was like, park the car. He’s like, I can’t park, there’s no place to park. He holds up in front of the hospital and he said, do you want a wheelchair? I said I don’t want a wheelchair. Her head is out, come pull my pants down. He pulled my pants down and he sees the head, just a quarter to halfway at that point. And I wasn’t even pushing. She was just being ejected from my body. And he’s like, do I stand and catch? Do I run in? And I was like, don’t touch me, don’t touch me.
So he runs in and asked one of the nurses to call up to L and D, and a lab tech intern came out and was like you guys needed to call an emergency. And I was like oh her head is down. And she was like, 911. And one more contraction and my baby was out on top of me. I was sitting in the front seat of the car and it was great. Everything was perfect, she was just fine. The nurses came out within like two minutes and got me a wheelchair and pull me upstairs so I could deliver the placenta. And it was no better way to have our last baby.
SUNNY GAULT: That is so awesome! When I said at the beginning of the show that we talk about the plane. Yeah, people delivering in cars. Yeah, I know exactly what you’re talking about. That is awesome Amber. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. And if you’re listening, you’re like I have a great story that everyone needed to hear. Please let us know. Send us an e-mail. Reach out to us on Facebook, or you can go to our website and leave a voicemail there. Share your story just like Amber did.
KRISTEN STRATTON: That wraps up our show for today. We appreciate you listening to Newbies.
Don’t forget to check out our sister shows:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed their babies
• Parent Savers for moms and dads with toddlers and
• Twin Talks for parents with multiples.
Thank for listening to Newbies. Your go-to source for new moms and new babies.
This has been a New Mommy Media production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. While such information and materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified healthcare provider.
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