Saturday, October 27, 2012

Adoption Reality TV Show On US Open Adoption: Very Different From The Ukrainian Adoption Process

While Ukrainian adoptions are closed and final, most US adoptions
are open, and depending on the state and other factors, subject
to a waiting period in which the biological mother may take back
the child.

This 6 part TV documentary by the team thatbehind such reality
hits as "Teen Mom" and "16 and Pregnant" follows one US open
adoption story and tries to bring all perspectives to the table.

Even though I think there are some major stereotypes presented in
the show, it is great to bring awareness of adoption and the
process to a greater audience.

Enjoy, Susan

TV's 'The Baby Wait' tracks adoptive, biological parents during
highs, lows of open adoption

By Leanne Italie, The Associated Press

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Pregnant at 18, a high school dropout, Genavieve
Diggs knew she wasn't equipped to raise a child, but after
surrendering her newborn for adoption, she nearly changed her

Under state law in Connecticut, where she lives, Diggs had 30
days to make sure the adoption was what she wanted. Such
post-birth waiting periods are common in the patchwork of laws
governing adoption around the country, in Diggs's case an open
arrangement where the two dads she had chosen had already agreed
to grant her regular visits with her baby girl.

The waiting period nearly melted her resolve.

"The 30 days were just a rollercoaster of emotions," she said in
a recent interview. "I had just had the baby and all my hormones
were going crazy. I had to struggle, to tell myself, you know,
'You can't take care of a child right now. You're not ready.
You're not ready emotionally or financially.'"

Diggs poured her sadness, longing and frustration into "The Baby
Wait," a new, six-part documentary series on Logo that focuses
equal attention on agonizing post-birth waiting periods from the
perspectives of both biological and adoptive parents.

Mark Krieger and Paul Siebold, the Manhattan couple matched with
Diggs, agreed to appear on the show to shed light on same-sex
couples who want to adopt. They were in the delivery room when
baby Morgan was born and handed over to them first as Diggs lay
sadly nearby.

Later, after agreeing to the adoption but still in the 30-day
wait, Diggs laments as she shops for baby clothes, camera
rolling: "I honestly wish I could just take it back and be her
mom." She explodes in anger during a fight with her parents as
the clock ticked, Krieger and Siebold already home caring for the

"It was a very vulnerable time," said Siebold, who does public
relations for a real estate company in Manhattan. "Genavieve,
this is her baby, and she loves Morgan and anything could have
really happened at that point. Thank goodness she had a certain
amount of time to decide whether she was making the right

Diggs moved ahead with the adoption after the 30 days passed and
sees Morgan regularly. The show premieres with her story and that
of Morgan's two dads on Oct. 30, with other segments featuring
other same-sex and heterosexual couples.

The series, produced by Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley, coincides
with a heart-wrenching account of domestic adoption gone wrong in
the October issue of Vogue magazine, headlined "The Long Wait."

New York writer Jennifer Gilmore chronicles her failed attempts
to conceive with her husband and their two years of trying to
arrange an open adoption, so their baby's biological parents
could be part of their lives. The difference: This story's ending
wasn't a happy one for the childless couple.

There were false starts with birth moms who chose other families,
disappeared or decided to parent their babies after all. And
there were many of them, including scammers looking for money.
The desperate couple finally agreed to fly to St. Louis soon
after a hurried contact with a woman who had just given birth two
months prematurely and wanted to arrange an adoption.

Holding the tiny baby hooked to wires and machines in the
hospital, Gilmore and her husband, Pedro Barbeito, decided they
couldn't handle the newborn's special needs and walked away,

"In reality," Gilmore writes, "there is no fairy tale. There are
far fewer babies than those who so badly want them. And adoption,
while often the best arrangement possible, is, by its very
nature, about loss. Everyone is grieving."

Karen Vedder knows the loss firsthand. In 1967, at age 24, she
surrendered a baby girl for adoption the old fashion way: knocked
out cold during the birth, the infant whisked away at the
hospital without so much as a chance for her to see or hold her,
before Vedder even knew the gender.

Reunited years later with her daughter, after raising four sons -
one of whom is Pearl Jam drummer Eddie Vedder - she believes
today's prevalent open adoptions aren't the perfect answer.

Visitation arrangements often dwell in a grey area legally. If
access is cut off or curtailed, it takes mountains of money for
birth parents to fight back in court. And pre- and post-adoption
counselling provided biological mothers is often skewed to favour
surrender, said Vedder, who lives in Carlsbad, Calif., and is
former president of the advocacy group Concerned United

On TV and in movies, she said, "It just amazes me that we're
always these unsavoury people who really don't deserve to keep
our babies. The sympathy is always with the adopting parents. If
the mom changes her mind, nobody says, 'Oh good, that baby's
going to be raised by his or her mommy.' Everybody feels sorry
for the couple that wanted the baby."

Openness in infant domestic adoption has become the norm,
according to a report from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption
Institute. But such arrangements, with contact ranging from cards
sent to biological parents once a year to regular visits, are
often misunderstood by those outside of the adoption community,
the report said.

"In the case of open adoption, I think people might
intellectually understand, but this show sheds light on the
emotional and experiential level," said DiSanto, "The Baby Wait"
producer who with Gateley is behind such reality hits as "Teen
Mom" and "16 and Pregnant."

"This show sort of starts where most other shows would climax, so
it starts with the birth and the hand-over, and the fact that
that could change," said DiSanto, himself a parent with his wife
through a surrogate mother. "We thought to really tell the story
the right way you need to have that parallel path and tell both
sides. We look at this as being one way that a modern family is

Come Nov. 1, Morgan will turn 1. Diggs will be there for a party
planned by Krieger and Siebold two days later at the couple's
second home in Pennsylvania. Now 19 and about to earn her GED,
she has no regrets but does have tearful moments of loss despite
seeing her baby once or twice a month.

"I'm in a great place," she said, explaining that she's back in
touch with Morgan's biological father, who now also visits the
baby but is absent from the show. "It's an amazing feeling that I
still get to be her mother."

If you or someone you love would like to expand your family,
provide a permanent home for a needy orphaned child, welcome a
sibling for an existing child or discover an alternative for
infertility treatments - contact us to learn more about Ukrainian
adoption, Adoption Services International can help.

Adoption Services International unites loving US families with
Ukrainian children. We provide a unique combination of western
quality service (including a maximum guaranteed adoption fee),
personal adoption experience, affordable local cost and 20 years
Ukrainian experience.


Upcoming Events:

Ukrainian Adoption 101:

Conversation On International Adoption: Opportunity, Process,
Concerns and Questions

Monday, November 12, 2012 6:00-7:00PM

Location: Califon Book Store: 72 Main Street, Califon, New Jersey

Ukrainian Adoption Information Meeting

Wednesday, November 28, 2012 7:00-8:00PM

Location: Wellness Rocks: 133 Rupell Road, Clinton, New Jersey

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