The New Baby on The Block
When Kolene Zittel, a 26-year-old X-ray technologist, found out she was pregnant, she knew she wasn't ready to be a parent. But abortion wasn't an option either. And as an adopted child herself, one who has no idea who her birth mother was or the circumstances under which her mother had placed her for adoption, she had a keen interest in choosing who would raise her child.
Kolene wanted her child to grow up in a small town, raised by a family with strong Christian faith and a large extended family, as she had. When a friend told her about open adoption, she began searching the internet, looking at potential families on agency websites. Then she stumbled on the Zumdahls. "I liked the way they looked, and they fit everything I wanted," she says.
Greg and Whittney Zumdahl, of Baileyville, Illinois, had been married three years and had been trying to have a child for two years. They had grown up in neighboring small towns in Illinois, with most of their extended family in the immediate area.
Kolene sent them an email that night. She was four months pregnant.
The match seemed ideal from the start. Just weeks after her first email, the Zumdahls flew Kolene in from her home in Omak, Washington, to meet the entire family for Christmas. "That nailed it for me," she says. "They were so nice, such a big, warm family." In May the Zumdahls flew into town for the birth. The plan was to be in the room while Kolene delivered. However, the birth wasn't progressing as the doctor had hoped, and an emergency c-section was necessary. The doctor told Kolene she could have only one other person in the room for this procedure. "Of course, she chose her mother," Whittney says. "Who else would you choose?"