Sat 05 March 2011 and Sat 02 April 2011 (You may book either one or both!)
- Tea / coffee / juice / muffins
- Detailed info pack
- Input from a group of pre and post adoptive parents
- Talk by a guest speaker – usually a social worker
There are certain things in life that we assume. As women, I think the main assumption is that we will one day give birth. You grow up with a subconscious knowledge that women continue the cycle of life. Without women giving birth, no more human race.
We take it for granted. Nowadays, we wait longer to start our families. There are many reasons for this. We want to get our careers on track, we want to be financially stable, we want to travel and we want to enjoy some adult time with our partner and our friends. In addition to this, we lead pretty stressed lives. We are on the move, we tend to eat badly and many of us struggle to find the time to exercise. The combination of all these factors does not bode well for pregnancy!
Fertility clinics are bursting at the seams with local and foreign hopefuls all flocking to get help with falling pregnant. These people spend an enormous amount of money and emotional energy and often end up disappointed. It is an extremely stressful time and I think many people are unaware how much stress they are under. Sometimes marriages don’t make it through fertility treatments and sometimes friendships are put under pressure.
I remember when I was busy with my IVF cycles, it felt like everytime I went to book club or to visit friends, someone would announce a pregnancy. I felt actual hatred for my really close friends…..and then guilt for feeling that hatred.
My point is that women (and men) who are infertile have to process feelings of loss, grief, anger, guilt, depression, inadequacy, stress and more. This need to be counselled through these feelings is often overlooked due to time and money constraints.
The process of fertility treatment and then maybe adoption is followed but once it’s all over, and a few years have passed, how many of those unresolved feelings come back to haunt us. Are we able to be good parents, good partners, good sisters, good friends when we have all this unresolved stuff in our heads and hearts?
There are support groups and couselllors who specialise in this and I would urge people to make use of this. Contact me if you need a list of people in your area.
And so now my tiny prem baby is 6 years old! He’s just started school and he is an absolute joy. I have met an amazing amount of people over the years who have adopted, want to adopt, know someone who has adopted, was adopted. It’s a funny thing that people don’t really talk about unless the other person also has some involvement or a personal story to share. Once you are in the loop, people seem to be involved an adoption around every corner. There is so much joy in it but also a lot of fear, misunderstanding, misconception and hesitation. The law in South Africa is tight – very! Everyone is well- protected in the process and the process (by comparison to other countries) is fast and efficient.
I know lots and lots of people who have spent years undergoing fertility treatment and years being pregnant but miscarrying. Once they start the adoption process, it is often 4 – 9 months until they collect their new addition. Our adoption agencies and social workers are so good at what they do. They really care about placing the right babies with the right families. I recently met a Norwegian couple who put their names down to adopt a Xhosa baby from South Africa. The entire process took 2 years and I met them when they arrived in SA to collect their son (who had a twin sister so they went home with 2 babies!!!!). I think that 2 years for an entire international adoption is a really short time. I have heard of couples overseas wating for foreign babies who have waitied 5 – 7 years! That is hectic. If anyone out there has a story that they would like me to post on the blog, please email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know if you would like it to be anonnymous or named. I would so much love to hear from you!
We left, promising to keep in touch with updates on Alex’s progress. I counted the days down……….60 days was up on 24 Dec. They did not change their minds. On Christmas Day 2004, Alex officially became ours. Need I say more about Christmas gifts? That one can never, ever be topped!
It’s so hard to explain the next two hours. It was certainly the most emotional day ever. We hugged, we cried, we spoke, we hugged again. We clicked. We really liked them. After an hour or so, the ICU sister told us we could come in and meet him. As we approached the door to the ICU, the alarm on the incubator went off and we were hurried back to our meeting room. That was the worst 5 minutes of my life!!! I really though he might die before we’d even met him. I loved him so much and I couldn’t bear to lose him now. It turned out that he had pulled the ventilator tube out and they just reinserted it. We were finally allowed in to see the tiniest, scariest, most beautiful little person. We were petrified of him! He looked like he could break in half………all ribs & tubes & machines. We stayed late that night, just looking at him…….in silence. The ICU staff answered our few questions but mostly we just sat.
What followed was a month of highs and lows in the ICU. He had great days and awful days. Prem babies take 2 steps forward, 3 steps back, 2 steps forward, 1 step back. Every hour, every gram put on or lost, every 10 ml of milk consumed, it is all counted and at all determines how the baby is doing.
After exactly 1 month in ICU, we were allowed to bring our 1.9kg baby home with us.
His name is Alex.
We called our broker and got her working on the medical aid and off we went upstairs to meet the maternal biological family.