TCNJ Magazine - Winter 2020

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42 The College of New Jersey Magazine CLASS N O T E S W I N T E R 2 0 2 0 "One lady started calling her Celebrity Baby, and it stuck." R oger '08 and Christina Contrafatto Mosteller '08, MAT '12 are no exception to the adage that adoptive parents have to be ready for anything. In their case, it's the nickname that caught on at daycare for Isabella Rose, their now 1-year-old daughter — "Celebrity Baby." Last summer, Izzie started arriving at daycare wearing rhinestone-bedazzled baby sunglasses. "When we walked in, people were like, 'Oh my god,' and everyone went nuts," Roger says. "Then one lady started calling her Celebrity Baby, and it stuck." Yet Izzie's temperament is clearly the opposite of diva. Taking Izzie to the doctor one day, Roger recalls a staffer marveling on her ability to just sit and observe. At daycare, "when the other kids take her toys, she looks at them and grabs another toy and just continues," he says. TCNJ's tennis team, circa 2006–08, is where the couple first got to know each other. The chemistry between Roger, a U.S. Marines sergeant who served in Kosovo, and Christina, who'd had a stellar tennis career in high school, didn't go unnoticed. "We used to have team dinners at the Olive Garden if we were away on a match," Christina says. "One time they made us sit together and lit a candle just for a joke." After the couple wed in 2014 and bought a house in Pennington, New Jersey, the idea of adopting a baby hung in the air; Christina herself is an adoptee from El Salvador. "I always wanted to adopt," she says. "People who knew me in high school knew that was a plan of mine." But Roger wasn't sure he wanted to go that route. So the tennis instructor (him) and Ewing 's Fisher Middle School gym teacher and high school tennis coach (her) decided to simultaneously pursue having a baby the traditional way and through adoption. When biology didn't cooperate, they explored domestic adoption until a third match with a birth mother firmly clicked during Thanksgiving 2018. Christina's family shared their own adoption experience with Roger. "If you're afraid you won't connect with her, they said, don't be, because you'll see there'll be an instant connection," Roger says. "It helped a lot to hear how they felt." When Isabella was born on January 19, 2019, she hit instant star status with both families. "My sister walked [into the hospital] and almost immediately started bawling her eyes out," Roger says. "She was so excited," Christina says. When it was time to bring Isabella home, "We told Roger's dad we'll be home at 2 p.m., and his dad's like, 'Alright, I'll be there at 12:30.'" And, as predicted, Roger felt an instant bond with Izzie: "I couldn't imagine not having her in our lives." —Renée Olson

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