Our Adoption Journey

Our journey to start a family through the miracle of adoption.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Our Adoption Profile - (and my secret fashion faux pas)

The most enjoyable part of our journey so far was definitely creating our profile. For those of you who do not know - when adopting you have to compile a personal profile of your life and family. This is then given to expecting parents who are considering an adoption plan for their child.
When a baby becomes available for adoption the birthparents specifies their preferences for the forever family that they wishes the baby to go to. Profiles that match these specifications are then presented to the birthparents and they then choose the one that they like most. It is therefor extreamly important and much sweat, tears and effort goes into these profiles as it should be a heartfelt, photo filled, eye catching and creative document.

There are several ways how you can create your profile, the most popular would be creating either a scrapbook or a photobook. I've never scapbooked before so thought that it would be a great challenge and a chance to learn something new. I got a beautiful white leather scrapbook from my SIL, bought some extra pages and accessories and rose to the challenge!

We got the following guidelines from "The Agency" on how to create the profile:

  • Obtain a fine looking photo-album, scrapbook or something similar that fits your personality.
  • Plan your profile thoroughly before you start writing, pasting and decorating. 
  • Must have a minimum of 10 pages.
  • You can use names, but no surnames, addresses or contact numbers.
  • Use as many photos as possible to tell the story of your life. Use descriptive text next to the photos. Keep in mind however to maintain a balance between the photos and writing within your profile.
  • Elaborate about your hobbies, talents, work, religion and reason for adoption.

When planning our profile I decided to divide it into the following categories and work accordingly:

  • Cover page - This included a nice photograph of ourselves and a relevant quote (I will reveal the secret of our cover photo to you a bit later in the post)
  • A letter to our birthmother
  • About us - Our story
  • Meet Riaan
  • Meet Juanita
  • Our lifestyle and occupations
  • Our house and surrounds
  • Our family and friends
  • Our pets
  • Our views on parenting
  • Conclusion - Our promise 

The most time consuming part was deciding which photographs to use. Having spent almost 10 years of our lives together we captured a lot of memories and it was really hard to choose only a couple. For our cover photo I had a few of the nicest ones set aside and eventually chose a photo that was taken at a friend's wedding. Me and Riaan both had nice new clothes, looked happy - all bushy tailed and bright eyed! However, as I inspected the photo a thunderbolt of realisation hit me right between the eyes. I had my top on the wrong way round!!!!! My cheeks caught fire and I was soooo embarrassed. I spend half an afternoon and a whole evening prancing around in my brand new clothes between a hundred other guests, feeling oh so smug with myself - all of this while wearing my top "agterstevoor om"! How many of the guests actually noticed it, I do not know, but not a sole took a minute to shove me into the ladies room and helped me into my top the right way round. Why I did not realise all by myself that the front is actually the back until a couple of months later I can also not explain. I really really believed at the time that I had it on right and Riaan even assured me that I do look rather lovely... 

So after picking my shameful self up off the floor I turned to photo editor and helped myself into my top the right way round. And I got to use the cover photo that I chose without the worry that the birthparents would laugh themselves to tatters on my behalf. 

Our Profile Cover Photo

 The Original Photo

And at the end of it all I created a beautiful profile of our lives. Me and Riaan got to revisit some great memories and we got to take stock of our lives. My wish is that our profile will end up in the right hands on the right time and that it will make our dream of becoming a family of 3 come true.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

"We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life.
But those who make their journey home across time & miles,
growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,
are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us
by God's very own hands." 
--- Kristi Larson

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The Art of Patience

I stumbled across this lovely quote and after reading it I could feel my soul being freed a little bit. Just what I needed.
After contemplating I kicked myself in the butt - twice - and then I reprimanded the impatient me. We live in an ever increasing impatient world, sprinting through our hurried little lives. We race to work and back, cursing at the traffic, we rush through conversations and hastily plow through our meals. We are so very busy, but in our busyness we make mistakes and poor decisions. We forget to take time out, to breath and to think. We miss out on the beauty that surrounds us and while waiting we get frustrated and lose hope.

So today I'm making a pact that I will become more patient. I am a nature lover and a country girl, so I will remember the lessons that nature teaches us. Instead of getting frustrated I will become excited and hopeful, and when we receive our little bundle of joy it will be the most precious thing that I've ever had, and more so because of the wait. I will remember that life unfolds at its own pace and that by being impatient things will not happen any faster. 
"The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it open." – Arnold Glasgow

Some tips on how to cope and be patient while waiting for "The Call":

  • Spend time with supportive friends and family.
  • Develop friendships with other adoptive families.
  • Keep a journal or a blog. After adoption it is nice to re-read your experiences. You can share those experiences with your child.
  • Avoid, if possible, people who ask questions you don't feel like answering. Learn and acknowledge your personal limits. Don't permit yourself to be offended by thoughtless questions.
  • Grieve, be excited, acknowledge fear, and look forward with hope. You are embarking on the most glorious of experiences.
  • Be prepared with necessary baby items, but don't have a beautiful empty nursery just waiting for a baby. To walk by an empty crib/nursery day after day just causes added pain. Have the basics you'll need, but store them until you need them.
  • Set the parenting, child-care and infertility books aside occasionally. Indulge in a good novel.
  • Take an class / course. Pursue one of your interests individually or as a couple.
  • Keep abreast of life. Don't put it on "hold" just because you are "waiting."
  • Be careful of your diet. Now is no time to indulge in unhealthy eating because you're "waiting" and deserve an extra treat.
  • Use your time to prepare to be the best parent you can.
  • Enjoy the present. Take walks, hikes and trips together. Relish the company of your spouse.
  • Have faith, pray often and never give up.
  • Work hard, play hard and go to bed tired.

How do you practice patience? 

The Sound of our Journey

It is a fact that the different eras of our lives are recognised and remembered by the music that played in our rooms, halls, houses and cars at the time. I grew up with Bles Bridges, Rina Hugo, Geraldine and Lance James (to name but a few). At boarding school the halls filled with Roxette, Duran Duran, Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, Salt-n-Pepa and Alanis Morissette. We did the Macarena, were Livin La Vida Loca and doing some Tubthumping. We cried to I don't want to miss a thingIris and Candle in the Wind. I fell in love to Daniel Bedingfield's If you're not the one and got married on Vicky Sampson's African Dream. So many memories..

Today I found the song that marks our Adoption Journey and I hope to live up to it.

While I'm Waiting - John Waller

Follow the link for more of his music: http://www.myspace.com/johnwaller

Tuesday, 21 August 2012



"She was good at waiting. That seemed like a sad thing to be good at.” 
Ann Brashares, Girls In Pants: The Third Summer Of The Sisterhood

Monday, 20 August 2012

Our baby, our compass

As part of the adoption process, we had to go for Psychometric Testing to establish whether we will be fit as parents. I do agree that this is very necessary indeed and often think that they should make this compulsory for all people of child-bearing age. Anyway...

Having grown up in a house where the notion of seeing / needing a psychiatrist was made fun of - as it were only crazy people who need to do that - this was my first experience as such. I was terrified! What if I fail? I thought about the first time that I went for my driver's license. I did not get the damn parallel parking right and I failed. It was such an ENORMOUS disappointment. I cried so hard because I let myself down and was not good enough. So I imagined the doctor asking all this impossible questions, then after looking deep into my soul she would say no, not good enough, you fail and you will not be receiving your baby. I had a couple of little heart attacks while playing scenes like there over and over in my head.

And then finally the day arrived. We met the woman who would weigh our future in her hands and she turned out to be nothing like we expected. Our SW did give me a heads-up that she is not the stereotypical doctor, but we were still surprised. She looked like somebody's grandma - she had an awesome bun on her head and was very approachable.

We each got a questionnaire to complete, where-after she analysed it and gave us her opinion and findings. She was SPOT-ON. I was actually amazed at how she was able to put all of my feelings into words. She gave us some very good advise and some pointers and told us that she will be recommending us as adoptive parents. Relieve flooded over us - I still cried a little, but because we ARE good enough!

As we were about to leave she said something that will forever stuck with me. She said that we are both still searching for the things that will make us the best that we can be, and the happiest that we will be, and that she feels that our baby will help us with this. That he/she will be our compass.

Friday, 17 August 2012

On days like these..

It's been a long, long work week. I do love my job, but working in the Real Estate sector leaves us open to abuse from a lot of different angles. We deal with owners, tenants, Body Corporates, maintenance companies, lawyers and my favourite by far: the call centre workers of the City of Cape Town. Too many problems, too many fights, way too much struggling to get even the simplest of things done...   I feel a bit spend and vulnerable today.

It's days like these that really gets to me. That gets me questioning and over-thinking. I do like to wallow in misery every so often and on days like these I get in over my head and enjoy a good slosh. And then there, in this mud of misery I would ultimately start thinking about the unfairness of it all. Why must life be so HARD? When I was young I really looked forward to all of this. To be all grown up, to work and be independent. To meet the man of my dreams and raise a family. Guess it doesn't always work out so well, or it turns out to be nothing like you expected and you feel all let down and disappointed.

And adoption is hard. It is tough to let go of all your preconceived ideas about becoming a parent and to make peace with the fact that your journey is going to be very different from the one that you imagined for yourself. It is tough to be so sad for the loss of one dream and so absolutely happy about this new road that you are following. It is tough to really LIVE through every day while you are endlessly waiting for this miracle to happen to you. It is tough to have to admit that you have no control over the process and to be able to throw your open arms into the air and surrender to the total uncontrollability of the situation. Like my grandmother surely would have said: "Laat Gods water oor Gods akker loop".

I am trying Grandma, some days are just easier than others.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

The People Rooting for Us

We are EXTREMELY lucky in the sense that our family and friends are all very supportive of our decision to adopt. Sure we have had the odd question or remark here or there, but overall everybody is happy for us and looking forward to the day that we receive "The Call". It really breaks my heart to know of people who's families and/or friends do not support their decision.

So while we are waiting for our little bundle of joy to enter our world, so too are all the people supporting us. The "excitement" has calmed down a little bit, so they'll ask once in a while whether we received any news yet (of course we have not), but in their own way they are anticipating and planning for the big day. My mother gets full marks for preparation. Sadly we live in Cape Town and my mom in Mpumalanga, so we do not get to see each other that often. While we were still busy with the paperwork I kept her updated and by the time that I went to visit we were at the "waiting" stage. She told me that she had been crocheting with some of the yarn that's been "laying around the house". When she showed her handy-work to me I had to stifle a hysterical giggle. She had made a mountain of baby clothes!! Sets with little sweaters, hats and socks, booties, ponchos, blankets and even some christening gowns! It was awesome! When packing for my flight back I had such a hard time to leave it behind - but I did get in a couple of pieces, seeing that I have a lot (it seems like the whole world's worth) of friends that is pregnant and having babies at the moment and it made wonderful gifts.

One of my mom's beautiful creations

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Why Adopt?

Our story differs a bit from the norm as we do not know the source of our infertility and we did not go for any grueling treatments or procedures. I am almost 34, never been pregnant or had a miscarriage in my life.

We were late starters, Riaan and me. When we moved in together 9 years ago we did not want to start a family. We struggled through our 20ties to find our feet and our place in the world. But we got ourselves together and got married when we were both 30 years old. And then we were finally ready for a family. So the trying started. At first it was fun and we were full of hope - this was going to be easy! We both come from families who had big families and no problems popping out babies. There was nothing to worry about. Then the first month went by, nothing. Second month, nothing. Third month, nothing  - etc etc etc. Somewhere during those early months my period was a couple of days late and I was convinced that I was pregnant - had all the early pregnancy symptoms. I took a test (the one and only test that I ever took) and it was negative. It broke my heart. I swore that I would never take a test again unless I had no period for 3 months in a row. Never happened though, have one every month.

Going through this for 2 years made me realise that I would not survive treatments of any kind, whatever the problem is. Having an immense fear of doctors and hospitals to begin with I could not imagine dealing with the disappointment of going through the process and then ending up not being pregnant.

So, I started thinking about adoption. Then I started e-mailing. I've send e-mails to every possible contact that I could find on the web. I got a lot of Delivery Failures, a couple of replies, most of them referring me somewhere else and a couple that said that their applications were closed. And then finally someone referred me to Procare. I completed their online form and got a response! Success at last!
I went home with the info & application form and spoke to Riaan about the idea. He said ok, lets do it. And so we did. Our journey began.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Kalahari bushmen and the end of the world

So I'm all new to this whole blogging experience, but am proud of all the things I figured out over the past week. It took my mind off a couple of other things and at the same time it gave me some reflection on our adoption journey. As we have reached the waiting stage, that is practically all I am doing. Waiting... The fact that I'm sort of a procrastinator and during this cold winter months a big hibernator does not improve the situation at all :-)
Then tonight while contemplating about the topic for my next post I turned to my very supportive hubby to get his insight and maybe some good ideas.

This is me: "I'm thinking about a new topic for the next post on my blog, what do you think I should write about?"
His answer (keep in mind that he does know about the blog and what it is about and I even let him proofread before I post): "Maybe you should write about the Mayan calender and the end of the world, but put a SA spin on it and tell everybody that you found a calender of your own, which the bushmen left in the Kalahari and that the world will end in 2013" (BIG smile)

Needless to say, an appropriate response still escapes me! Please feel free to share some of your partner's better moments.

The Adoption Process

Our Journey through the Process:

  1. 26/11/2010 - We e-mailed our details to the Agency.
  2. 21/01/2011 - Orientation Session where the process and all the details were explained to us.
  3. 02/06/2011 - We completed our Application Forms and returned them to the Agency.
  4. 10/10/2011 - Had a Home Visit by our Social Worker.
  5. 16/11/2011 - We went for Psychometric Testing.
  6. 30/11/2011 - Interview with our Social Worker.
  7. 03/02/2012 - Panel Meeting for final approval, we also handed in our Personal Profile and Police Clearance Certificates.
  8. Waiting for "THE CALL".  

For more information about the Adoption Process in South Africa, please visit the following links:

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Hardest Part

186 days...

That is how long we have been waiting. Officially that is. We started our adoption journey in October 2010, went through the whole rigmarole and finally had our last panel-meeting on the 3rd of February 2012. The day the wait started.
I always knew that this would be the hardest part. That is probably one of the reasons why it took us a fairly long time from our first session to the last meeting. I know of people who have done this in a matter of weeks. We decided from the start that we would take it in our stride and enjoy the journey. We were not prepared to rush to the end and sit and wait.
But we have arrived and it has proved to be no fun at all. Well, maybe a little!