Thursday, June 26, 2008

Our Adoption Journey

I had a hysterectomy in 1993 before I turned 22. I felt a lot better after the operation my health improved so the loss of my uterus did not had any negative impact on my wellbeing and emotional state at that time, My future husband talked a lot about adoption because he was adopted so I always said, its not biggie we will adopt


We got married in 1995. Then as a newly wed couple suddenly due to unforseen circumstances we had to be parents too my little sister, a very outgoing 15 year old teenager! My sister stayed with us till she was 21 and in 2001 she took on a working holiday in the UK, got married there and starts her life there... In 2003 my uncle sat us down and said to us, listen you two, are you going to adopt now or what? Is your family only going to be just the two of you? It flicks a switch on in me and we started to talk seriously about adoption in 2004.

What a shock!! We couldn't get on any lists in Gauteng, all waiting lists were closed for Caucasian babies, and it didn’t even occurred to me to phone for other agencies outside Gauteng. I thought that’s it. We are not destined to be parents… I also had very limit adoption information; I only got about 5 numbers from the internet. Also the people around us did not know squat about adoption, we got all this negative incorrect information that did not helped us at all!


Mia’s story…

I was talking to my friend about it and another woman overhead us, she approached me and said her husband sister's child is pregnant but cannot keep the baby. Would we be interested in meeting her? My heart skipped a beat! We agreed to meet the Birth Mom. Two days later the woman phoned me and said the BM wants to meet us as well and she is 23 weeks pregnant and it is a girl. That weekend we met the BM and that same day we met her, the BM said to us this is your child, she then asks me if we decided on a name yet. I told her Mia
(Mia is a Italian girl name and the meaning of the Name is “Mine”)

We contacted a church agency in PTA to help us with all this. We went through the screening, meetings and doctor’s visitation, the BM went for counselling. Because we know her and brought her to the agency we were not place on the waiting list and it would be considered an open adoption. We paid for all hospital and medical expenses. Mia was born on the 8th of June 2004 - 16:55 on a Tuesday afternoon. I was present at birth and the doctor handed Mia directly to me I remembered I look down on this very red screwed up little face and I started sobbing, gasping for air … The moment was very intense for me. I finally have a little baby in my arms.

We went for hospital visits with the SW the next 2 days. The Friday morning she phoned me and said we could meet her at the hospital. When we arrived with the car seat and nappy bag ready and geared up to fetch our baby she stopped us and said the BM is not sure anymore. We couldn't get Mia yet… I was DEVASTATED!

Two weeks later the Birth Mom phoned and ask if I’m still interested.. She will talk to the Social Worker, that same day we drive to her place and fetch our little one. Mia stayed with us for 4 weeks when the BM phoned and demanded her back. Sadly it happened twice more… and just before the 60 days after crushing our hopes and fuelling our hopes she demanded Mia back again. We finally went to an advocate to try and helped us. I refused to give Mia to her. We were almost convicted of kidnapping because the BM said that we are keeping her child from her. The children’s court rule that Mia be placed in the care of the BM permanently and no adoption will take place. Sadly after all our efforts and fights and prayers we had to give Mia up.

Jano’s story

I was still broken and beaten, depressed and did not even consider adoption again when in November 2004 I started seeing babies all around me, I yearned for a baby… I started phoning again and JHB welfare gave me SASSWIPP’s number, I phoned all the SW in Gauteng and then started with other regions. I spoke to a few SW who talked to me about adopting mixed race babies, We actually met other adoptive parents with mixed raced babies to talk to them and I don’t know how and when it click that we considered adopting cross racial but we where ok with the idée, March 2005 - My eye caught Procare who wasn’t even listed but they were mentioned because of involvement of other adoptions. Huge was my surprise when there was a branch in PTA and even in the same suburb as we staying, 2 minutes from my home!!


I phone Christa and she said come see me Saturday – so we started with all the screening, psychological testing and home visits. She talked to us about the limitations of white babies and would we consider adopting cross racial/cross cultural? So we put in our ‘request’ that we would be open for a Mixed Raced baby, or Colored baby or a Caucasian baby. After we where approved we started making our profile. Our Profile went to the houses for the Birth Mothers in May 2005. I remembered I phoned Christa every month for an update. And then on the 19th of December 2005 she phoned me and said our profile was picked and that the baby would be born in 3 weeks. I was on cloud 9! I could not stop laughing; text, phoning and I just had this dreamy stupid grin on my face!

The 20th of December at 07:00 she phoned me and said: your son has been born 05:20 am, weight 2.75kg and is 51cm... He’s got a medium skin colour with dark brown hair. How fast can you get to Cape Town!? We scrambled to get everything ready! Luckily I arranged with our HR months before so it was just a matter of signing papers to get my adoption leave approved. We flew to CPT to go and collect him.

We met Eloise at the McDonald’s in Goodwood; she drove in front of us to the place of safety -Ubuntu House. We wait in the living room when Eloise and the Birth Mom appear. She’s beautiful; she has an incredible smile and the shyest saddest look in her big beautiful eyes. I still remember her cropped white denim capri pants she wore... She wanted to meet us and gave Jano directly to us. She named him Arthur and the house of safety called him King Arthur… when the House Mother appears with Jano my heart grew so large in my chest I though it is going to burst, I remembered I bit my lip so hard just to stop me from crying, the blood was rushing so loud in my ears, I struggled to hear sounds around me, the BM wanted to handed us Jano herself but she couldn’t I felt so sad and hurt for her she was so strong and brave and then I couldn’t stop myself from crying. I’M TAKING HER BABY ... I’M TAKING HER BABY ... I’M TAKING HER BABY – it felt like I’m screaming it, it went over and over in my head… she cried and kissed him on the forehead and looked me directly in the eyes and asked me to look after him (kyk mooi na hom.. she said..) She then turned and walked out. I will never forget that moment. Only then could I concentrate on this little crumpled of a button lying in my arms, 2 days old, he was so tiny, it was a shock to look down and see the skin contrast but I felt my heart go out to him, he is now mine and then I cried again… (JA I cried a lot on that day..)

When Jano was 1 year 4 months we decided to apply again at Procare for a 2nd placement – Jano was a very bright, happy and very inquisitive little boy and I did not want him to grow up alone. He loves to be around people.

Liam’s Story

We handed our profile to Christa again in April 2007, Christa said to us we must prepare ourselves for a longer wait because most BM want to place their babies with Childless couples. Huge was our surprise when she phoned the 11th of May to say a BM chose our Profile and the baby is already born the 25th of April. We decided on Rohan but later changed our minds to Liam. The 23 of May we flew to CPT again to go and fetch our bundle! Eloise met us at the airport and drove us directly to the safe house. We met in a different safe house 'Rockababy' we waited in the living room, Sunnette and the BM met us there. Liam’s BM was so tiny she is almost a head shorter than me AND I’m SHORT! She named him Caleb.. She just wanted to meet us and told us please to tell him she is doing this out of love for him to give him a better life. This 2nd meeting was not that emotional as the one almost a year and a half ago. But still I felt sadden for her. She left very quickly and sadly did not want to see Liam. When the House mother brought Liam to us I could believe it he was so tiny even for a 6 week old baby. My mother’s instinct kicked in immediately with him. I felt so overprotective over him; Eloise drove us back to the airport and jokingly asked us if they can start looking now for a daughter for us LOL!


Both my babies are legally adopted and I would if I could choose do it exactly the same again. I love them unconditionally and wholeheartedly, they are my children and I would protect and shield them for as long as I can.

I will tell them about their tummy mummy's and that they are kind-hearted and had unselfish grown-up love to want the best for them that they choose us to be their heart mummy and daddy. They are not abandoned Children they were chosen to be placed in a family that would love and keep them safe. They are special. I will not keep them from their heritage and if they want to go and find their birth moms when they are 18 I will help them to find M and C…

I cannot thank M and C enough for choosing our profile, they put their trust in us to bring up these beautiful 2 Godsend children, I cannot imagine our lives without them.

If it wasn't for M and C I would not have been a mom today.

THANK YOU. I love YOU and I'm ALWAYS thinking of you.

You changed my life.

4 comments:

Nadine said...

Hi Melanie

My naam is Nadine en ek woon in Waverley (net om die draai van jou)! Ons het in April hierdie jaar ook 'n kleurling baba deur Procare aangeneem, Brandon is nou sewe maande oud. Toe ek jou storie lees toe ervaar ek weer al die emosies (hartseer, blydskap, baba gaan haal in die Kaap ens.) Jou seuntjies is pragtig!

Esther said...

Hi daar lees nou eers jou storie, dit is stunning, het saam gehuil, my kinders kon nie verstaan dat ek so huil nie. Hoop ons ontmoet mekaar gou.

reluctantmom said...

I am sitting here having a little cry at my computer. Do you know how difficult it is to hide behind your monitor at work?

We are also looking at adoption - I contacted Child Welfare and am going through for an orientation meeting tomorrow. People have recommended Pro-care and I called them too.

I really have no idea what I am in for. When Pro-Care said that it will probably cost about R30 000.00 I must confess my heart did sink quite a bit.

What was your experience in terms of what you had to do and the costs involved. It is so difficult thinking about costs when you are thinking about taking on a child, but it seems to be one of the issues that has come up, woudl appreciate yoru making contact with me through my blog if you do not mind.

http://reluctantmom.wordpress.com/

Anonymous said...

Good point, though sometimes it's hard to arrive to definite conclusions