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This Is What Adoption Feels Like

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"I found an agency that offered the opportunity for real openness — not just letters, but calls and visits. I e-mailed couples I liked, and John and Amanda just fit. I wanted a Christian family, and he's a minister. And I'd spend hours on the computer talking to Amanda — my mom and her husband would both tell us to go to bed!

"When I was five months pregnant, we met and became even closer. I went to Amanda's baby shower and she came down to go through birthing classes with me and my mom. On September 26, Eden was born; John and Amanda chose her name. Amanda and my parents were in the room, which is what I wanted. I held Eden first, and Amanda cut the cord and gave Eden her first bottle.

"We visit all the time. When they were living closer — they moved from Indiana to Illinois when Eden was almost 2 — I'd babysit for them. Now I visit every two months or so. Eden is very possessive of me — she'll say, 'I'm talking to my Bre!' She also tells everyone how she came out of Bre's belly.

"I got engaged earlier this year, and when I marry next August, John will perform the ceremony, Amanda will be a bridesmaid, and Eden will be the flower girl.

"I do sometimes wish she could be here with me; birthdays, holidays, and Mother's Day are hard. But then I wouldn't have her parents in my life. It's a catch-22. I have hard days, but for the most part, I believe my daughter is where she's supposed to be."

Redbook Adoption Black Girl

Cheryl Sams, a 41-year-old computer programmer in Atlanta, adopted her daughter, Lauren, now 2, through a national Christian agency. Cheryl is exploring adopting a second child through foster adoption.

"I've known since high school that I wanted to adopt a child someday; I'm not sure where the desire came from. As I grew up, I knew that adoption was for me whether I got married or not. I even began going to adoption conferences years before I actually brought my daughter home.

"I got started around my 37th birthday because I wanted to adopt an infant and thought I'd be too old for an agency to place a baby with me if I didn't adopt soon. The social worker told me I should expect to wait awhile, because birth parents often don't choose single parents. Usually single parents get chosen when the birth mothers don't want to choose and leave it to the agency.

"But only three months later, on a Monday, I got 'the call' from the social worker, who said, 'I have a baby for you!' I said, 'Really?' I was both excited and scared!

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