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‘Baby Wait’ looks at adoption from both sides

Leanne Italie

NEW YORK Pregnant at 18, a high school dropout, Genavieve Diggs knew she wasn’t equipped to raise a child, but after surrendering her newborn for adoption, she nearly changed her mind.

Under state law in Connecticut, where she lives, Diggs had 30 days to make sure the adoption was what she wanted. Such post-birth waiting periods are common in the patchwork of laws governing adoption around the country, in Diggs’ case an arrangement where the two dads she had chosen had agreed to grant her regular visits with her baby girl.

The waiting period nearly melted her resolve.

“The 30 days were just a rollercoaster of emotions,” she said. “I had just had the baby and all my hormones were going crazy. I had to struggle, to tell myself, you know, ‘You can’t take care of a child right now. You’re not ready. You’re not ready emotionally or financially.’”

Diggs poured her sadness, longing and frustration into “The Baby Wait,” a new, six-part documentary series on Logo that focuses on agonizing post-birth waiting periods from the perspectives of both biological and adoptive parents.

Mark Krieger and Paul Siebold, the Manhattan couple matched with Diggs, agreed to appear on the show to shed light on same-sex couples who want to adopt. They were in the delivery room when baby Morgan was born and handed over to them first as Diggs lay sadly nearby.

Later, after agreeing to the adoption but still in the 30-day wait, Diggs laments as she shops for baby clothes, camera rolling: “I honestly wish I could just take it back and be her mom.” She explodes in anger during a fight with her parents as the clock ticked, Krieger and Siebold already home caring for the baby.

“It was a very vulnerable time,” said Siebold, who does public relations for a real estate company in Manhattan. “Genavieve, this is her baby, and she loves Morgan and anything could have really happened at that point. Thank goodness she had a certain amount of time to decide whether she was making the right decision.”

Diggs moved ahead with the adoption after the 30 days passed and sees Morgan regularly. The show premieres with her story and that of Morgan’s two dads on Tuesday, with other segments featuring other same-sex and heterosexual couples.

The series, produced by Tony DiSanto and Liz Gateley, coincides with a heart-wrenching account of domestic adoption gone wrong in the October issue of Vogue magazine, headlined “The Long Wait.”

Openness in infant domestic adoption has become the norm, according to a report from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. But such arrangements, with contact ranging from cards sent to biological parents once a year to regular visits, are often misunderstood by those outside of the adoption community, the report said.

“In the case of open adoption, I think people might intellectually understand, but this show sheds light on the emotional and experiential level,” said DiSanto, “The Baby Wait” producer who with Gateley is behind such reality hits as “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant.”

“This show sort of starts where most other shows would climax, so it starts with the birth and the hand-over, and the fact that that could change,” said DiSanto, himself a parent with his wife through a surrogate mother. “We thought to really tell the story the right way you need to have that parallel path and tell both sides. We look at this as being one way that a modern family is formed.”

‘The Baby Wait’