As a TV anchor, Bob Gallaher has covered a lot of stories in his day.
But few of them are likely as close to his heart as this one.
In this segment for WEAU 13 News, the Wisconsin newsman has turned the camera on himself to share his own open adoption story.
The segment includes interviews not only with Bob and his wife, but also with their daughter’s birthmother and her parents.
As Bob explains, open adoption is a life-changing event for everyone involved and serves three purposes: “A child receives a home and the love of a family, birth parents have the assurance their baby will be cared for and the adoptive family is blessed with the joy of loving and parenting a child.”
The story begins when his daughter’s birthmother, Sammie Pohle, finds herself pregnant at age 15. Initially, she’s not sure whether adoption, or even open adoption, is right for her.
“I think that’s always in the back of my mind,” she says, “and every night I went to sleep, do I really want to do this?”
But with the support and encouragement of her parents, Sammie turned to an adoption agency and started to explore her options in more detail.
In all, she went through more than 70 adoption profiles before she eventually chose Bob and Colleen. The connection to them was instant.
“I knew within the first hour I felt there was a connection, that we would have a future with you guys being in our family,” she says. “Those tiny little details, they turn out to mean the most because the little saying that the kids did, just the pictures of you guys bonding with them, you could tell that you would be great parents.”
In the 16 months since placing her daughter, Mary Kate, with Bob and Colleen, Sammie and her family have had visits and been able to watch her daughter develop and grow.
As Colleen explains, “I feel so grateful to be a parent, it’s a privilege, I’m so grateful to be Mary Kate’s mom and every day I think to myself, how did I get so lucky to have this baby as my child.”
“It’s not lost on me that the reason that I have the opportunity to be a mother is because of Sammie. And as Mary Kate gets older, we will let her know all the choices that Sammie made for her best interests. And they were very painful, difficult choices, but they were selfless and loving and she thought was best for her child.”
Sammie’s father, who was initially skeptical about his daughter’s decision, says he has since become an advocate.
“I didn’t know what open adoption was, and you go into it with all these reservations,” he says. “But I would tell anyone in heartbeat to do it, if you’re not ready for parenting.”
But perhaps it’s Sammie’s social worker who best sums up their story. “Open adoption is the coming together of two families because I don’t think anyone can have too many people love them.”
Watch the full story here.
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