American Idol contestant Amber Fiedler shares her decision to make an open adoption plan for her birth daughter.
Fiedler made headlines last week when she revealed during her audition that she planned to place her daughter for adoption. Since appearing before the judges, Amber welcomed her birth daughter, Nora, and candidly spoke with Raise about her open adoption arrangement, her beautiful birth experience, and how she’s feeling post placement.
ON AUDITIONING FOR AMERICAN IDOL WHILE PREGNANT
I signed up for American Idol before I found out I was pregnant. I almost didn’t audition, but my mom said, “Why would you let this stop you?” I auditioned five times before I got in front of the judges, starting in July.
The night before the judges’ audition, I almost didn’t do it. I thought, “I’m forever going to be the pregnant girl on American Idol.” But then I thought, “You know what? I’ve gotten this far. Obviously, God wants me to do it because I’ve auditioned for American Idol in the past, and I’ve never gotten this far. It’s all in God’s timing. I’m just going to do it. I’m not going to question anymore.”
I auditioned November 6th, and I had Nora November 16th. I went to Idol’s Hollywood Week the week after she was born.
ON PEOPLE’S MISCONCEPTIONS OF BIRTH MOTHERS
People need to understand that we’re human, just as much as everyone else.
No one knows the whole story. They’re just going off of what they saw on American Idol. Some people missed that it’s an open adoption or think that I’m just going to just dump this baby into the system. I’ve had people ask me, “Why did you get rid of her just because of money? People would have been there to support you.” That’s not the only reason I made this decision. I made it because of my life growing up, because of my own mother, there were a lot of reasons.
I don’t think people really understand [birth mothers’] choices. We’re just as human as you, and when you make a choice, I’m sure you think it’s the right thing to do for you, and it’s really frustrating when people tell you it’s not.
I was not being smart with my life before I got pregnant. I was throwing it away. I was drinking a lot. It was getting really bad. When I say that Nora saved me, she really did. She got me out of that.
I was irresponsible when I first got pregnant, but I’m taking the bigger action now, and I’m going to be responsible for this baby.
ON WHY SHE CHOSE ADOPTION
When I first found out I was pregnant, I was terrified. But I just kept hearing God say, “You’re going to keep her, you’re going to keep her.” And I thought that meant I was actually going to keep her. I felt this weight on my shoulders, I was just so scared, and I didn’t know what to do.
Then all of a sudden, I thought “Why do I have this overwhelming feeling? If this is what God wants, I shouldn’t feel like this because God brings peace.” I was talking to my mom — she’s not my biological mom, but she’s kind of taken me in the past few years — and we were talking about what adoption would look like. After talking to her, I felt like that weight was lifted off my shoulders. I said, “If this is what you want, God, I’m trusting you. I’m trusting you will provide. I’m going to let you lay it out for me.” And two days later, a woman came up to my mom at work — she works in our local theater — and said, “I know you know a lot of families, and we’re adopting, so if you know of anyone…”
It was just so crazy.
ON HER OPEN ADOPTION ARRANGEMENT
I knew the family before I chose them, through the theater. They are the most amazing family ever, and I know their kids, who are just so happy.
I’ve never felt so at peace about a decision in my life.
From the beginning, when I was pregnant, and even right before Nora was born, they would say to me every single time, “It’s okay if you change your mind. We understand. We’re here for you now. This is not just about the baby, so if you change your mind, it’s okay. We’re not going to be mad at you.” They tell me all the time, “You’re a part of our family as much as she is.”
I moved to New York about a month after I had her, so when I’m in New York, I don’t get to see her a lot, but any time I’m home, they say, “Anytime you want to see her, just call us. Anytime you want a picture, just call us.” I never have to set up a time or a date with them. They are so willing, it’s amazing. And honestly, it was a little overwhelming because they wanted me to be around a lot. And I loved it, don’t get me wrong — I LOVED it. But I had to be the one to say, “I love that you guys are wanting me to be a part of her life, but I have other things I have to do, too.” I was planning to move, and I had to step back. I think they were doing it because they knew I was moving to New York, so they wanted me to see her as much as I could before I left.
ON HER HOSPITAL AND BIRTH EXPERIENCE
I chose to have the adoptive mom, Christina, in the room with me. I had her catch the baby, and it was the most beautiful thing, just seeing the joy on her face. I saw her heart fill up so much, and it was such a peaceful delivery. Even the doctors were crying and saying, “That was the most beautiful birth we’ve ever experienced.”
A few hours later, I went in and saw Nora. A lot of people were like, “You better not see that baby after you give birth to her or you’re going to change your mind.” But I went in with Christine, and I held her and took some pictures with her. Even then, looking at her, I was like, “Wow, this is the most beautiful baby ever. I love her so much, but she still isn’t mine.” I didn’t feel that. When I saw her in Christina’s arms, I was like, “That is exactly what is meant to be.” And I’ve never felt so at peace about a decision in my life.
ON HOW SHE FEELS POST PLACEMENT
I feel so at peace about it, but people are like, “What? How? This is such a traumatic thing for anyone to go through. How can you feel like that?” I think it throws people off. They think I have no heart or no emotion. “You must have no love for this child if this is so easy for you.” But it’s so easy for me because I know it’s the right thing. I know this is what I was meant to do.
I don’t sit here and wonder “Oh, what would it be like if Nora were here instead of there?” I never have those thoughts. When I was pregnant, I just had this feeling that “This is not my baby. This is someone else’s baby,” and I think that’s why I was so scared.
A lot of people ask me, “Are you okay? I know you’re going through this hard time and your heart must be so heavy,” basically saying that I’m depressed because I made this decision. But I’m not depressed. I’d be depressed if I hadn’t made this decision. I don’t think people really understand [birth mothers’] choices. We’re just as human as you, and when you make a choice, I’m sure you think it’s the right thing to do for you, and it’s really frustrating when people tell you it’s not.
I kind of wish that my mom would have done that for me. My mom was there physically, but she wasn’t there, you know? She was a drug user when I was growing up, and me and my brother were always doing stuff on our own at a very young age because my mom was there, we could see her, but she wasn’t there.
A lot of people say it will be so sad for Nora to not be around her birth mom, and I always tell them, she didn’t lose a mom. She gained a mom. She gained a whole new family. And she didn’t lose me. I can see her all the time.
You can follow Amber’s journey and hear more of her music on Instagram at @amberfiedler.
Jessica Butler is the co-founder of "Raise Magazine," stepmother of two, and adoptive mother of one. Prior to "Raise," she was a writer on USA’s "In Plain Sight" and TNT’s "The Last Ship." She and her husband, writer/producer Warren Bell, co-created the Nick at Nite series "Instant Mom," based on her life as a stepmother. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and six-year-old son, Levon.