Music That Makes a Difference 2018

Music That Makes a Difference 2018

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Jack Johnson

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Woman gives up the baby, but not the bond

Iowa City, IA (HLN) Behold the baby bump! Hollywood would have you believe that pregnancy looks perfect: big smiles, full make-up and flowing hair. But moms who aren’t movie stars know better. The reality is crazy hormones, food cravings, an overactive bladder and feeling like crap.

Callie Pregnant

But being pregnant is its own kind of pretty – a glow that trumps the gross. And rarely has it been documented quite like this…

Callie Mitchell, a photographer and University of Iowa student, chronicled her journey all the way from conception through delivery in The Daily Iowan. It is honest, raw and extremely real.

Along the way, she discovered her heart-wrenching reality, “This is my baby, not my child.”

Callie found Kristen and Bryan Doud – a couple from Cleveland, Ohio who couldn’t conceive – through an adoption agency. And together they chose to keep things open. It’s become the new norm for birth and adoptive families.

Adopting Parents

Kristen and Bryan Doud – Adopted Leo

Callie WindowOnly 5 percent of infant adoptions in the U.S. now take place without some ongoing relationship between birth parent and adoptive family, according to a comprehensive report done by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. In fact, 55 percent of the roughly 14,000 to 18,000 infant adoptions each year are fully open – where both sides agree to ongoing contact that includes the child. About 40 percent are mediated adoptions in which the agency orchestrates the exchange of pictures and letters between birth and adoptive families.

For Callie Mitchell and the Doud family it’s always been about what’s best for their baby, Leo, who was born in December of 2012.

“I’m so thankful that Kristen and Brian are in my life,” Callie said during an interview with Kyra Phillips on HLN’s Raising America. “I’m so thankful that Kristen sends me pictures almost every single day. I talk to Kristen like a hundred times a day. It’s like having a new best friend. It’s like co-mothering with someone. I’m really glad I chose this for us and for Leo.”

Callie Mitchell 1

“When we decided that we were going to adopt, we wanted to find out everything we could about adoption,” Kristen said. “Everything we learned from that was that open adoption is just the best thing for everyone all around. Usually the adoptive parents are apprehensive at the beginning but it always goes away as you enter in the relationship and time passes. I think more adoptive parents don’t choose open adoptions out of fear.”

“It’s much tougher for the biological mom than she ever imagined. These women need to be applauded. I always say that we need to give statues and medals to them,” HLN’s Dr. Drew Pinsky was asked about the new norm of open adoption. “It’s unbelievable what these women sacrifice regarding their own feelings to make a decision on behalf of what’s good for the child. In terms of there being openness in the adoption, each family – meaning the biological and adoptive parents – need to negotiate what’s right for them… clearly it’s working for Callie and child.”

“It takes a village to raise a child and in that sense, you know, the more the merrier,” Callie concluded. “Now Leo has four parents to love him instead of two.”

Written & Produced by: Ben Bamsey for HLN’s “Raising America.”

Callie's Baby

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