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COUNTING ON CAMERON

Published June 2015
By Shelbie Bostedt, Intern, and Samantha Spengler, Intern

Adoption can be a complicated, emotional process. For Chelsea Armstrong and Matthew Bailey, the journey was longer and more difficult than they hoped or anticipated—but they’d do it all over again.

“Adopting is the best thing ever. It’s a beautiful experience,” Chelsea says.

Two years after having their biological daughter, Worthing, Chelsea and Matthew chose to expand their family through adoption and turned to The Cradle. They were given an estimated 13-month wait time, but ended up waiting for almost twice as long.

The couples’ two-and-a-half years on the waiting list included two change of heart situations, which happens when the mom decides to parent rather than place her child. In one situation, they were matched with an expectant mother who changed her mind about making an adoption plan before her baby was born. The second situation was more difficult for Chelsea and Matthew. They held the baby at the hospital and named him before his mother ultimately decided to parent him.

But they wouldn’t have to wait much longer.

Two weeks after the second change of heart, Chelsea and Matthew received a call about a baby boy, Cameron. He had some serious risk factors in his medical history, and his birth mom wanted him to be placed with the longest waiting family who were open to those factors. Chelsea and Matthew had no hesitation. They met Cameron for the first time in a belonging room adjacent to The Cradle Nursery.

“We walked in and I just felt so right,” Chelsea says. “He was so beautiful,” Matthew echoed. “It was love at first sight for me.”

Today, Cameron is an energetic toddler who turned two on May 11. The family now lives on the island of Majuro in the Marshall Islands.

“We really want to show both our children the world and let them know how many possibilities are out there for them,” Chelsea explains. “Cameron is a celebrity on the island.  Everyone loves him.  He makes every person he meets smile.”

Although they were originally drawn to The Cradle because of the agency’s practice of open adoption, Chelsea and Matthew do not currently have a relationship with Cameron’s birth mother. They send her quarterly photos and updates, and remain hopeful that the relationship will change in the future.

Meanwhile, the couple is enjoying raising a baby for the second time and Chelsea is feeling more relaxed.

“It’s way more fun having kids!” Chelsea said.

Chelsea’s advice to other waiting parents is to continue living life and try not to dwell on the wait. She and Matthew did some traveling and spent lots of time with Worthing during their long wait for Cameron.

“Just be patient. Eventually the child that was meant to be yours will find you,” Chelsea advises.

Looking back on their long adoption journey, Chelsea and Matthew feel that bringing Cameron into their lives was well worth the wait – and the difficulties along the way.

“Our family is complete now,” Chelsea says.

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