I’ve been scarce… I know. In August I took over Adoptmom from Terri with so many high hopes for this business. Then life threw me some curveballs. My little girl started having some issues at school (all mostly sorted now thankfully), my little man is 2 (need I say more) and we moved house, a much longer and bigger move than I thought, even though it was literally only to the house next door. Renovations are so much more difficult than building from scratch… Especially if you are on a very limited, basically non-existent budget! I’m a perfectionist and living in a less than perfect house with loads to still do to it kills me.
Anyway, so all these high hopes for Adoptmom and very little time to actually sit down and put them to practice. But 2016 is a fresh new page, I want to follow my dream and turn this passion of mine into something my children will be proud of one day. I have had a few requests from the Adoptmom website and Facebook and every time I realise more and more just how passionate I am about adoption. My own adoption story has quietened down for the moment so I don’t seem to think about it every waking moment like I have been for the past 2 and a half years but whenever I do, I know this is what I am meant to do with my life. This is where my passion lies.
What’s new since then? I am qualified!! I now have my Diploma in Counselling and can start practising. When is the next question… I have also realised that the next course I want to do is Child and Adolescent Counselling – this is a long term goal though, possibly to start towards the end of 2016. I want to be able to help adoptees through their adoption issues as they reach those years where they have more questions…
I’ve sat down to write this blog post many times, but for some reason I can’t blog from my WordPress app on my phone or iPad. I can get it right when I sit in front of the computer yes, but sharing one with my husband makes this rather difficult. So, if anyone has any advise on how to get this to work, please help! But hey, that could also just be an excuse for not getting my butt into gear and actually doing it.
I thought that if I put my ideas and goals onto paper it would help me stay focussed, but I think publishing it to my blog will keep me even more on track as I have more than just myself to not disappoint. (Holding thumbs)
My plans for 2016:
- First stop – marketing the business. I want to get the Adoptmom name out there and help those needing guidance in this very difficult but totally worthwhile process. I’m going to get my car branded and design some awesome flyers and have them displayed at the local hospitals, schools, adoption agencies, doctors offices, libraries, notice boards etc.
- Online marketing – I need to get listed on all online directories I can find as soon as possible
- Expand my databases – if you say the name of a little town anywhere in South Africa, I want to be able to give you the name of a social worker or agency in that area
- Blog plans – I want to start writing more. Blogging got me through the most trying times in our adoption. I also want to write articles about adoption, the process, pre and post adoption, how to’s and general guidance
- Workshops – I would love to approach schools and do adoption training with the children, parents and teachers
So, in a nutshell, you now know what I have planned for 2016. And I know what I need to do and have you as my reason to stick to it
Here’s to a productive and exciting 2016!
So I’ve been contemplating the whole week about what to write and how to introduce myself. Terri has been such an absolute source of inspiration to me. She has guided me and taught me so much about the adoption world over the last 3 years. I will be ever grateful to her. She has left quite a big pair of shoes for me to fill…
My adoption story is a bit different to the average adoption story. (Average adoption story?? Really, there is such a thing as an average adoption story??) I am a biological mom of a beautiful 8 year old daughter, Leah and an adoptive mom of a 2 year old little boy called Kai. About 3 years ago I met a woman with a 5 month old little baby. The little man instantly crept into my heart. He was teeny tiny and had 2 heart operations in the first 8 days of his life. He was being fostered by these amazing people. At this time my husband and I had been trying for baby number 2 for about 6 months so I was quite taken by this little dude.
I started baby sitting him once or twice a week to help out and fell head over heels in love. As we built up a relationship with his foster parents, we learned via them from his tummy mom (biological mom) that there was a local 16 year old girl who was pregnant and needed help. She was possibly going to put her baby up for adoption. My husband, Andrew and I knew, this is it – there was a reason I hadn’t fallen pregnant instantly like I did with Leah. We so badly wanted a sibling for her and here is this girl who needs a loving home for her angel.
Long story short, one evening we received a call to say that she had had her baby and we should give her a call, which we did. We went to see her the following morning and she wasn’t 100% sure what she wanted to do. Confused, heartbroken, sad and happy all at once, I could see this girl had so much on her plate…
We offered her baby a warm, safe place to stay for a week whilst she decided what she wanted to do, as her living arrangements didn’t offer much protection from the cold, being mid winter and all. She came home with us to see where her baby was going and had a very emotional goodbye with her little man, but very happy that he would be warm, safe, fed and loved. She spent quite a while looking at our family photos and my daughter’s room, which made me feel like she was longing to be a part of a family…
So the little man stayed with us for the week and after that week passed tummy mom said she would love for us to adopt her beautiful baby boy.
It’s been a very difficult few years since the adoption but I wouldn’t change it for anything. We have all had our ups and downs, tummy mom and I have grown quite close and then had our not so good moments too. This is where Terri came in. This woman helped me through a very confusing and difficult time, she is an absolute angel! She put me in touch with some amazing people and I eventually started my Facebook group called Adopt and Foster SA . I wanted an online support group that was accessible to those in a similar position as me, those whose lives had been touched by adoption and fostering. The group grew quickly and it has been so helpful and rewarding for me. I have met the most amazing group of people.
A few months ago I started studying for my Diploma in Counselling. My aim is to be able to help and guide anyone whose lives have been touched by adoption and fostering. Terri and I got in touch again and she approached me to take over Adoptmom. I am so honoured and grateful as I finally get to follow my dreams, my passion in life. Adopting Kai has totally changed my life; it has made me realize where my passion lies.
I should hopefully be finished with my studies in the next few months, so until then I won’t be counselling yet. I will be offering adoption information sessions and selling Terri’s stunning book.
I hope that I can guide and assist you as Terri has done over the last few years. Thank you for being such an inspiration to me over the last few years Terri, I hope to make you very proud.
This is my last post as Adoptmom. Almost 11 years ago, I adopted my son, Alex and my world changed in so many ways. I wrote a book, studied to become a counsellor and opened up Adoptmom. Over the years I have supported and provided information to hundreds of people and watched forever families grow and made some wonderful friends. Now it’s time to hand the reins over to a younger, newer adoptive mom; someone with her own stories, experiences and a network of support.
I am blessed and honoured that Angela Mouton will be taking over the reins of Adoptmom with immediate effect. I will let Angela tell you all about herself in the the way that she chooses to but in the meantime, you can join her Facebook group Adopt and Foster SA and chat to her there. Angela is an adoptive mom, a biological mom, an adoption counsellor and MORE.
Please support her as you have supported me. I wish you all the best Angela. I know you will be as happy at Adoptmom as I have been. xxx Terri
I have decide that 2015 is the year for change…big change. It’s been 10 years since I adopted my son and on a personal and work front, the last couple of years have been challenging. I have been given the wonderful opportunity to close some doors and open some new ones and that’s what I am doing in 2015.
Sadly, Adoptmom is a door that I am closing for now. It’s been such an honour and so incredibly rewarding to have helped so many people on their adoption journey and now I must help myself on my own journey.
Thank you for understanding! Below please find some helpful contacts.
Facebook support pages:
I recently started a new full time job so I am going back to my monthly adoption talks as I am unable to do one – on – one appointments at the moment.
The adoption talks will take place on the middle Wednesday afternoon of each month at my home is Southern suburbs, Cape Town. You can also join the group via Skype.
To book your space at the next talk, contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
This piece written by adoptive mom, Robyn Wolfson for All 4 Baby is really informative and I think many people will find it a very useful resource.
The adoption process may seem lengthy and complex. But, according to adoption advocate Robyn Wolfson Vorster, it is all worth it when you one day, look into your child’s eyes. She sets out a comprehensive guide for interested parents.
Stage One: Starting the adoption process
This might seem obvious but the decisions you make during this stage may determine how successful your adoption process will be. It involves:
- Making the decision to pursue adoption. If you have a partner, you need tomake this decision together.
- Choosing a social worker and / or agency. Popular culture has led people to believe that they can adopt without a social worker. This is incorrect and frankly inadvisable. You need a social worker to help you navigate through all of the legal challenges of adoption and shield you from exploitation (there are always people who will take advantage of you if you are desperate for a child).
- Only social workers accredited for adoption are able to process adoptions. Be sure to check your social worker’s credentials before you begin.
- Where possible, try to get a personal recommendation before you choose a social worker. If in doubt, contact the National Adoption Coalition for a list of reputable social workers and agencies.
- Remember that your social worker will evaluate your suitability to be adoptive parents and drive the process of selecting your child so it is essential that you are compatible and able to trust her.
- Agencies and social workers vary is their pricing, timing and policies. Be sure that they disclose these details and that you take them into account when selecting one.
- If possible, avoid agency hopping—it can be a cause of concern for social workers.
Stage Two: The screening process
The screening process may seem quite daunting but don’t be put off— while time consuming, these tasks are relatively easy for you and your partner to complete. They include:
- Participating in a series of qualifying interviews with your social worker
- Obtaining a police clearance
- A medical, including blood tests and a chest x-ray
- A psychological assessment
- Compiling a summary of your finances
- Obtaining clearances from the National Child Protection Register and National Register of Sexual Offenders
- A marriage assessment (or an evaluation of your previous relationships)
- Submitting references (three per partner)
- A group session
- A home visit from your social worker
- Creating a family profile (without identifying features). This is given to biological mothers who want to choose their child’s adoptive family and the social workers who will match your family to a suitable child.
If everything is in order, your social worker will confirm your eligibility, list you on the national adoption database and start looking for a child for you.
- Social workers are very busy people but for the most part, the screening process will move as quickly as you want it to.
- Some of these tasks involve expense (such as the medical, police clearance and psychological assessment). Be sure to budget for them.
- Social workers are open to you stating your preferences regarding your child (including age, gender, health, race and whether the child was abandoned or given up for adoption consensually). Be specific, but realistic (for example, if you are an older couple with children and you want a white new-born baby, you may not be successful). Also remember that some criteria make it harder for the social worker to find you the right child and this will make your wait longer.
Stage Three: Waiting for a child
This is often the hardest part of the process. After a period of heightened activity everything goes quiet for a bit and it seems that not much is happening. But nothing could be further from the truth. While you are waiting, your social worker is busy looking for suitable children and your child’s social worker (usually not the same person) is ensuring that the child selected for you has been qualified for adoption.
Stage Four: Meeting your child
And finally you get the call—your social worker has a child for you. She will brief you about the child and ask if you want to proceed. If you agree, she will organise for you to meet your child.
Places of Safety handle these meetings differently. We visited our daughter for three days before taking her home. We learnt her routine and preferences and were allowed to feed, bath and change her, put her down for naps and introduce her to our family.
While everyone is understandably anxious to take their child home immediately, this time is essential for bonding and if the child is older or particularly anxious, homecoming may be delayed.
When you take your child home, the Place of Safety will provide you with a “leave of absence” which will authorise you to keep him or her in your home until such time as the legalities are finalised.
Stage Five: Completing the legalities
The last stage involves completing the legalities through the Children’s court. This includes:
- The social workers submitting all of the documentation to the court.
- Adoptive parents signing papers to effect the child’s change of name.
- The court granting the adoption order and changing the child’s surname to that of the adoptive parents (if required).
- Sending the order to the National Adoption Register for registration.
The child then becomes the legal child of the adoptive parents (as if s/he were born to them) and has all of the same rights as a biological child.
Once the legalities are complete, adoptive parents can apply to Home Affairs for a new birth certificate which includes the adoptive parent’s details and the child’s new name. This should take three to six months.
The adoption process may seem lengthy and complex, and to some extent it is. But from experience, I know that one day when you look into your child’s eyes, it will all be worth it.
About the Author: Robyn is a writer, survivor of IVF and a passionate adoption advocate. She is mom to a biological son (7), an adoptive daughter (2) and two step-daughters in their twenties.
I hope this is helpful to any of you out there who are thinking about adoption as an option.
This is a piece written by Bruce Gorton on 09 September, 2013 in response to the article that morning on discrimination in international adoption.
Copied from: Times Live
There are a few things I, as a South African, have always felt that I could feel proud of.
As an atheist I have always felt kind of proud of how our nation does not particularly discriminate on grounds of religion.
Our constitution, driven to a large degree by the ANC, is one of the most progressive ones in the world, and our nation is ultimately a secular nation.
Poppy Louw’s article on how our foreign adoption agencies are being run shattered this illusion of equality.
“Prospective adoptive parents from overseas allege that most agencies overseeing inter-country adoptions discriminate against homosexuals, non-Christians and single individuals.”
This is the sort of thing I would expect to be slamming America for, not my own country.
There are many who will claim that being against gay adoption is just political correctness, and the ‘two daddies’ scenario is harmful to the child.
To these people, I point out that actual research has been done on LGBT adoptions, and that research has found that the children suffer no disadvantages. To proclaim that such discrimination is wrong is not a matter of being politically correct; it is a matter of being simply correct.
It is often claimed that culture is important, and thus that requiring prospective adoptive parents to be Christians may be excusable on these grounds.
When we claim we do something because of culture, it is because we know that otherwise it is inexcusable.
Culture is what gave us Apartheid, culture is what gave us colonialism, culture is what gives us girl children being kidnapped into marriage, culture is what gives us racism, tribalism and xenophobia. Culture is a cage designed to keep the sheep separated while the wolves dine on lamb.
Culture is invariably an engine of injustice, because whenever an injustice occurs there will be somebody proclaiming that as their culture. Culture is nothing more than an excuse.
The interests of the child must come first, and those interests are not served by discrimination on religious grounds.
When we have organisations like ABBA requiring people to prove that they are Christians with a letter from their church, that they be straight and that they be married for five years in order to adopt a child, we see their cold callous calculus.
They would rather express their disapproval of certain religious views and lifestyles, than see a child growing up in a loving family. Those children who remain in institutions when there are willing, loving parents available are but collateral damage in their culture wars.
I blame the ANC for a lot of this, because ultimately we have laws which are supposed to prevent this sort of thing. Our very constitution does not allow this sort of thing.
And yet it still happens because without enforcement, laws are just pieces of paper with ink on them.
We are the rainbow nation, we should not be spitting on the rainbow flag by not allowing gay people to adopt. We are a nation proud of our diversity of views and ideologies, how can we allow such minor differences as religion dictate who gets to adopt?
This is not the South Africa that was promised in 1994.