This Is What Adoption Feels Like
"We signed up with a big national agency around Christmas of 2004. In
April, we got the thrilling news that we'd been matched with an expectant
mother, but a few weeks later, we found out she'd never been planning to place
the baby and instead was scamming to get support money from us; she'd even
registered for shower gifts. This happened the day before Mother's Day. I'd had
some sad Mother's Days in the past, but that one was the worst — I've never
felt so angry and frustrated.
"We got the next call from the agency on July 19. The birth parents were
a married couple in South Dakota who had two children and knew they couldn't
provide for another baby, at least not the way they wanted to. We visited them
three weeks before the due date, and when they gave us the baby's sonogram
pictures, we knew that this was it. After being burned once before, we were
cautious, but we really felt like we could trust them.
"Addison's birth mom really wanted Mike and me to be there when the baby
was born, and her doctor planned to induce her on a Friday. We went the day
before, and in the middle of the night, the birth father called us and said she
was going into labor. Addison was born at 9:28 the next morning. Her birth mom
kept saying, 'She was just waiting for you guys to get here.'
"We were all in the room together when she was born. Both Mike and the
birth father cut the cord. The whole experience was just surreal. Mike and I
stared at this beautiful baby with tears streaming down our faces, thinking,
This is the most incredible, selfless decision these people can make, to let
us be included in her birth.
"We have a semi-open adoption. Addison's birth parents called us last
Christmas, and I send them pictures regularly — they usually call us right
after getting the pictures, and we talk about all the new things that Addison
is doing. We have a whole album for her that includes her birth parents before
she was born, and we talk about who they are.
"Someday we'll have visits. It wouldn't be right to discourage Addison
from knowing these people. We've always told her that she's loved by more
people than she could ever know."
Shelby Nickel, 36, and his wife, Jen, 33, are raising four sons in
Williams Lake, British Columbia, Canada: Greg, 12, and Eric, 11 — biological
siblings who were adopted through the Missouri foster-care system — as well as
Tanner, 10, and Caden, 6. Shelby is a commodities broker, and Jen homeschools
"When I started dating my husband, I told him I wanted to adopt, as in:
'If you want to marry me, this is it!' A few months after Tanner was born, we
investigated adopting through foster care both in Canada and the United States
and were eventually matched with two brothers in Missouri, Greg and Eric, who
were 4 and 3 at the time.