This guest post is by Mallory Baker, an adoptive mother.
In 2016 we had what seemed to be the perfect family. We had been married for ten years, with two happy, healthy daughters. We had just bought our first family car, just the right size for the four of us.
The girls, Alayna, age 8 at the time, and her little sister Avery, 5, finally had their own rooms in our beautiful home we had recently purchased.
Life was perfect. Then on February 22, 2016 something special happened: We got a call asking us if we were interested in adopting a baby boy.
It feels like yesterday, but then it doesn’t. He looks so grown up now, but he’s still such a baby. My baby. His story…our story is my absolute favorite to tell.
I knew what was happening that day was important–that I would want to remember it forever. I stroked his face, so soft…breathed in his smell, nuzzled his neck, kissed his cheek and whispered, “Hello Angel” in his ear.
I counted each finger, toe, eyelash. He was beautiful. The most precious boy I had ever seen. I held him in my arms, looked over and saw my daughters’ faces through the glass, smiling and also crying, gazing at their new brother.
It was in that moment, watching them, watching him, hands and noses pressed against the glass, that I knew we had made the right decision. This boy was ours.
He was born February 19, 2016 to a family member of mine. If you have read my past articles, you know we adopted him through a law called ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act).
Because he was born to a Seneca Native American woman, per the law, he is to be adopted within the tribe. And that’s how we got that phone call that regular, cold, Monday morning, nearly four years ago.
I can still remember the voice on the phone saying, “The hope is that you will adopt him.” My heart dropped. You see, long ago, as a child I always had a vision of having a son.
My favorite baby doll was even a boy. We had decided, two kids only, so after two girls I had accepted that a son just wasn’t in the cards for me. Now, here’s a voice telling me that I can have everything I’ve dreamed of. I was elated, yet also terrified of what was to come.
Adoption, is in short, stressful. Every single day leading up to his adoption I was rattled with anxiety and fear that the birth mother would change her mind and I would have to give back this beautiful baby who I loved the moment I knew he existed.
In “adoption time” our wait was short. Just 30 days after we took custody, we arrived in court, dressed in our Easter best and officially welcomed Anikyn Neymar into our family. It was a beautiful day, filled with family, love, happy tears and lots and lots of pictures.
I am proud that he has danced in every single Pow Wow since he was born. Being raised in his Seneca culture is important to me and when I see his big smile and hear that amazing laugh of his while he dances and plays his drum reminds me why this law was put into place.
He could have missed all of this. I felt guilty for a long time. I heard stories from others trying to adopt and how theirs had fallen through or had cost thousands of dollars.
I had healthy children and his adoption cost us $25 in court fees. It isn’t normal, it’s a one in a million situation and I don’t have any advice for anyone looking into adoption, other than this quote: “If you get a chance–take it. If it changes your life–let it. Nobody said it would be easy. They just promised it would be worth it.”
Anikyn is now three years old and he just started “school” (Head Start). He is mostly known for his amazing hair, that 100 watt smile and his goofy personality.
He is simply a treasure. His dance moves are the absolute best, he sings to almost every song and loves being pants-less!! He fit in perfectly with our family, like a missing puzzle piece. He even looks like his sisters. No one questions if he’s adopted.
Hearing him call me “Momma” everyday warms my heart in a way I can’t describe. He wasn’t born to me, I had to earn that title.
I became his mother through unconditional love. His father, however is another story. In late 2017 we divorced. He moved over an hour away and was seeing the children maybe twice a month.
A year later he told me he was moving back to Las Vegas, over 2,200 miles away to live with his family. I was heartbroken. I couldn’t believe my kids were losing their father.
I panicked and we briefly got back together. I thought we could make it work for the children. Turns out, you shouldn’t do anything that you don’t truly feel in your heart.
In May of this year, without any notice, he packed his things and moved to Las Vegas. The grief and the heartache that my kids, especially the girls have felt is immeasurable.
It’s been months now since he has seen the kids and he has made no future plans to see them despite me always asking. He has little contact with them and hardly any with Anikyn.
I’m glad that Anikyn is so young, he won’t remember any of this. I’m hoping what he does remember from here on out will be happy and filled with people that truly love him.
I am confident that whoever I end up with will love him and accept him like a son, because I won’t accept anything less. He deserves that promise from me.
My mother recently moved in with us and that has made all the difference. When I can’t be with him, his grandmother is. Her love for him is immeasurable. I can see her eyes light up every time he is near, which is often!
They even wore matching skeleton Halloween costumes! He may not have a full-time father or father-figure, but he does have a “Groovy Gram” to laugh and laugh with. They are truly soul mates.
I couldn’t give my children the perfect life I had planned out for them. But what I can give them is a happy mother. Through all of the pain, I am still here, standing tall, with a smile on my face.
It hasn’t been easy. It’s been the hardest two years of my life. But I’ll be damned if let this chapter of my life determine my entire story. Because I have no other choice. Little eyes are watching me.
Mallory Baker is the mother to two beautiful daughters and a handsome son who joined their family through adoption. She raises them in Salamanca, NY along with their selfless Gramma, Monica.
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