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The process of adoption can seem overwhelming when you don’t have all the facts.

Following numerous unsuccessful fertility treatments, many couples eventually accept the reality of never being able to have their own biological child, and make the decision to adopt. Some couples may already have their own children but choose adoption for other reasons. Whatever the circumstances, the adoption process is essentially the same for everyone in South Africa. This is an extract from the Living and Loving magazine. It has tons of great information on adoption that is easy to understand. It starts from the basics. Read more here.

If you need any more information or would like to contact me for any more information click here.

Adoption talk to be held in Johannesburg

Posted by Terri Lailvaux on September 07, 2012
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Category : Adoption

Please see the poster below for info on my upcoming adoption talk in Johannesburg.ADOPTION

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20% Discount on adoption books

Posted by Terri Lailvaux on August 31, 2012
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Category : Adoption

Adoptmom is offering 10 discounted adoption books to say thanks to everyone who shares info and promotes adoption! If you would like a 20% discount on either The Greatest Gift or Die Grootste Geskenk, LIKE this page and share it with your friends. Then email this promotional code 20120831 to terri@adoptmom.co.za to claim your discount.  First come, first served.  Only 10 books available!

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Picture by Deposit Photos

Trans racial adoption

Posted by Terri Lailvaux on August 29, 2012
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Category : Adoption

I have just read an excellent article here about trans racial adoption in the USA and I thought I would share it as it is so relevant here in South

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Picture by Deposit Photos

Africa.  The author makes a lot of valid points and for me, one stands out (and always has).   If you are considering adopting in South Africa, you will possibly be faced with a choice: 1) Wait a VERY long time for a baby in your race group or 2) Proceed fairly quickly through the process and build your family with children from a different race group.  Why is it then that those who choose option 2 are often judged and commented on?  While I completely understand that trans racial adoption might not be for everyone, surely no-one should feel at liberty to judge multiracial families?

Unless you have walked in another person’s shoes……..

I have feelings of joy, pride and warmth whenever I see any type of adoption whether is involves people who are multiracial, gay, single or any other type.  It means that one more needy, unloved child with no future prospects has been saved and will most likely enjoy fantastic opportunities that would otherwise never have been available.

To me, it’s simple……..If you are a good, honest, loving adult, you can make a great adoptive parent…..whatever shape, colour or sex you happen to present in.

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Should gay people be allowed to adopt?

Posted by Terri Lailvaux on August 27, 2012
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Category : Adoption

This article is taken from SA Time Live.  Please share this and comment on it so that it gets the widespread attention it deserves!

935713_787749As many as 10 different government accredited adoption agencies and social workers over a three-year period have refused to help this loving and committed couple.

Their story echoes that of Dutch couple Pieter and Dennis Duisburg* who, having registered to adopt from the Netherlands, discovered they were not welcome to adopt a child from South Africa.

Many local and international prospective adoptive parents are being turned away because of their sexual orientation.

Pam Wilson, head of adoptions at Johannesburg Child Welfare, has said there are 1.8 million children in SA children’s homes, with the potential to be adopted. Yet the website of the National Adoption Coalition states that South Africa has on average less than 2400 adoptions per year.

Discrimination is not limited to gay people. Single parent and non-Christian applicants are allegedly also being chased away from certain local agencies that believe adoption is only for heterosexual, Christian couples.

These discriminatory practices are illegal and unconstitutional.

“The Children’s Act clearly states that anyone who has been assessed by an adoption social worker and found to be fit and proper to parent may apply to adopt,” said specialist adoption attorney and founder of Wandisa Adoption Agency, Debbie Wybrow.

“It is clear that, provided you are over 18, you can be single or in a committed relationship such as marriage, a permanent life-partnership or permanent family unit. Theconstitution declares discrimination on the basis of race, gender, marital status or sexual orientation to be unfair, and prohibits such discrimination by the state or any individual.”

However, some adoption agencies – and the Department of Social Development that accredits them – are seemingly ignoring these sections of the Children’s Act and the constitution. This is causing a diplomatic embarrassment for South Africa.

In the Netherlands an adoption lobby group, Ek Sien Jou[I See You], has been established comprising gay, single and non-Christian prospective adoptive parents who are being prevented from adopting from South Africa.

The 35 Dutch couples and singles who have joined Ek Sien Jou have close ties to South Africa and wish to adopt a child from here.

According to Ek Sien Jou, the Pretoria-based adoption agency Abba Adoptions, the only one in South Africa accredited to do adoptions into the Netherlands, prefers children not to be adopted by applicants who are gay, single or non-Christian.

The group is lobbying to have the Department of Social Development accredit a second agency – one that will allow them to adopt – to do placements from South Africa into the Netherlands.

Executive head of Abba Adoptions, Katinka Pieterse, declined to say how many adoptions they had done to gay, single or non-Christian applicants, saying only that while they still “valued” families with a Christian belief system, most of their applicants were single and not necessarily Christians.

“Please be assured that Abba does facilitate adoptions to all types of applicants that you have referred to in our national programme.”

However, the website of local Abba partner, The Infertility Support Network, states: “Same-sex applicants, atheists or couples not belonging to or not actively involved in a Christian church will be referred to other adoption agencies by Abba Adoptions.”

In the past few weeks, members of Ek Sien Jou have received e-mails from Wêreldkinderen – Abba’s partner agency in The Netherlands – stating that they cannot adopt from South Africa.

No response was received from the Department of Social Development as to why such discriminatory practices were being allowed to continue or why a second adoption agency had not been accredited for adoptions into the Netherlands.

The few gay adoptions allowed to proceed are proving to be successful.

Cape Town couple Anton Middleton and Jean Paul Krooneman explain how well their six-year-old adopted son is doing: “Although he was three months premature and has mild cerebral palsy, he is in a mainstream school and doing phenomenally well. His teachers say he is the happiest kid in the class.”

Said Wybrow: “We have amazing case studies where a child’s interests have best been met by parents with views on marriage, sexual orientation and religion that are different to ours. Checks and balances must always be in place, but family life has to take precedence over institutionalisation.”

*Couple’s names have been changed to prevent further discrimination

  • Foxton is founder of the national awareness campaign for Stop Crime, Say Hello and The Baby House in Umhlanga
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Considering that there are almost 2 million adoptable children in South Africa, the laws on international adoptions seem very strict. I understand that the best interests and rights of our children must come first and that not all people are good and kind and honest. Off course all adoption applications but be VERY carefully vetted before any adoption can be finalised.

It’s just that there are so many people around the world wanting to adopt South African children. They see the plight of these kids in the media and they want to reach out. In most cases, foreign nationals are not permitted to adopt South African children. South Africa does have a working agreement with certain countries but it is really only a handful and even then, the process is complicated and difficult. My big question as always is;
Is it in the best interests of a child to remain in the system in South Africa and never be placed with a family
OR
Is it in the best interests for them to be removed from their home country and their roots and culture to be raised in a loving family half way around the world?

What are your thoughts?images-2

Infertility & Adoption talk

Posted by Terri Lailvaux on July 08, 2012
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Category : Adoption

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS EVENING’S TALK HAS BEEN MOVED TO A VENUE IN KENILWORTH!  PRE BOOKING IS ESSENTIAL.  EMAIL terri@adoptmom.co.za to book.

Title: Infertility & Adoption talk
Location: Lower Ground Floor Boardroom – Mediclinic Cape Town – Hof Street, Gardens
Description: An information presentation about managing infertility and looking at adoption as an option. What does adoption involve? How much does it cost? Who do you talk to? What are the options?
If you want answers, come along to this talk! R 100 per person. Advance booking is essential.
Start Time: 18:30
Date: 2012-07-31
End Time: 20:00

I went through infertility treatment etc.  2 years of it!  The ultimate result was a total hysterectomy.  I mourned my inability to have children ever since and have tried everything in my power to find a child to love and nurture.  I may never understand why but a year ago, many many years after I started trying to have my own child,I was chatting to a social worker of the CMR and jokingly enquired if he perhaps had a child available for adoption.  He said he did.  I started to hyperventilate and my mind went into a tailspin.  I thought I would have a stroke or a heart attack.  I rushed through to my secretary and told her what I had learned.  I saw in her eyes the same tears that were pouring now my cheeks.  It was tough convincing my husband who has 4 adult children of his own to walk the road with me. I was so determined, I decided I would do this alone if I had to.  I went to see the Commissioner of Child Welfare whom I have known for 20 odd years and he told me not to fret, we would sort it out.  Lots of red tape but as from July 1, 2011, my darling gift from God came to live permanently in our home.  A year ago,I bought a stroller as he could not walk long distances or fast, having been kept flat on his back by an abusive father for the first 18 months of his life.  He was like a tiny robot. A mere 12 months later, he is totally integrated into society, eats like a tiny gentleman with a teaspoon and a cake fork, using a napkin correctly and says please and thank you when he is served in restaurants.  We can take him to any social function and know that he will fit in, behave admirably and entrance every person who chats to him.  He has just turned 4, counts to 20, loves drawing and music, takes swimming lessons and Monkeynastix and on July 3, we go to the Children’s Court for the final time when the adoption will be made final.  I love my son more than life itself and I pray that God will spare me to see my darling complete his secondary if not his tertiary education.  I am enjoying every minute of being a first time mother at an age where most women already have grandchildren.  And I am so grateful for this privilege, I can never explain words how I feel.

 

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Are you looking for information about adoption in South Africa. Read this inspirational story below to see how it worked out for this couple.

“Our journey for children started 5 and 1/2 years ago. Our infertility journey was a 5 year battle and they were the worst 5 years of my life.

If you have ever suffered infertility then you will understand the feelings I am about to share. Infertility attacks us as women at the core of our being. We were made by God to bear children – this is our primary goal and our core reason for being. So, when we cannot produce offspring our very essence for living is attacked and questioned. Often, during our 5 year struggle, I just wanted to die. There were many days that I was disappointed that I had woken up. At times I even prayed that God would take my life whilst I slept, and I was angry with Him when I woke again the next morning. I felt useless and a waste of space because I couldn’t bear children. Yes, I was successful in my business, I provided for my husband, I had a nice house, we lived a nice lifestyle, but those were all external things that gave me no joy at all. So, on the outside it all looked dandy – but on the inside I was a mess.

I found a picture once of a burnt tree – a tree still standing in the ground, but black from the fire, no more signs of life in it, not bearing any leaves or fruit, just a dead tree. I felt like this tree – burnt, withered and for all intents and purpose: dead. The only reason the tree still stood in the ground was because of its roots. So, even when I was in that deep dark hole, I still recognised that my roots were still intact and that they were rooted in God – even though at the time God was not feeding me (or so it felt).

Our infertility journey started with a miscarriage and to this day I still do not know why God took away my one and only chance of my own biological child. It is an answer I will not get in this life – but beware God when I get to heaven one day it will be the first question I ask. (The second is: why are men so different from women?). The longer we struggled to fall pregnant again the more depressed I became about my loss and the emotion of grief overtook me.
Yet – we continued to the best of our ability to make a pregnancy happen. We endured 2 IVF cycles, 2 AI’s and I had major surgery all in the hope that God would bless us with a miracle. The doctor was not convinced I could fall pregnant naturally, but he did not believe in my God of miracles. But God did not give us that miracle. And the longer He took the more grief stricken I became. The grief dominated my every thought and deed. I presented to everyone this all together exterior, but I felt totally black inside. I woke with a heavy darkness on my shoulders, I felt like I was walking around stooped under the weight of this burden. I was a terrible friend, wife and daughter because I had no emotional reserve to give. My job depleted me even more emotionally and I was running on less that empty. I wanted to run away from it all – from my husband, my job, God, my life.

Then one day – God worked, and unbeknown to us His plan started to take shape.
In February 2011 my husband and I had just completed our 2nd failed IVF attempt. And being a very practical, I-will-make-it-happen-for-myself sort of person I promptly decided 2 weeks after the failed result that we should adopt. We knew nothing about adoption in South Africa so, off the adoption agency I dragged my husband for an information session on adoption. Well – little did I expect my emotional response! I walked out of there a crying mess, thinking: I can’t do this. So we went home and I realised that I had still not mourned the grief of my infertility, and that I was in no emotional place to adopt. And God knew all of this. His master plan working itself out slowly.
In May 2011 my group of girlfriends in God (whom I meet up with once a month to pray) layed their hands on me and prayed. They just had a sense that May was my month and that I needed prayer to release me from the black darkness of grief that dominated my very being. So, on that cold May night, God started his path of restoration. Also in May, unbeknown to me (or anyone else), God conceived Mia.
Life carried on as normal but slowly, through prayer and a very helpful book about shattered dreams God started peeling the layers of darkness off me. Then in June 2011 God released me from my grief in one almost miraculous swoop. We were away for our yearly weekend to Barrydale and through the book God told me in no uncertain terms that He has taken my shattered dream and made a way for a better dream. I felt like a cloud, like I was able to stand up straight again and I was not dominated by my grief. My burnt tree started getting water from its roots. I got the most amazing sense that God had a plan – I did not know what that plan was, but He had a plan for us. I was not sure if it meant biological children, but I knew it was a plan for children. And still, little Mia was growing nicely in her biological mother’s womb.

Then, in July 2011, I had major surgery to my uterus, ovaries and bowel. I had 2 surgeons and the operation lasted 3 hours. The outcome was bleak and the doctors did not have any hope of natural pregnancy, even after the major operation. But, as I said earlier, the doctors did not believe in my God. So we persisted with more fertility treatment. Still, unbeknown to us, little Mia was developing well and growing into our little baby.
Then in November 2011 I had my last fertility attempt. I was lying on the procedure room table and the doctor was performing his task. As I lay there I cried and cried and cried. I told the doctor: I like you, but I hate this place (the infertility clinic). I thought to myself: what am I doing here? Why am I still walking this road of pain? I can’t do this anymore. I have had ENOUGH! Needless to say – that last procedure did not work and with that negative result my husband and I called it a day on fertility treatment. We had a good December holiday, not timing our sex patterns, eating too much, cycling a lot and not doing anything right in order to fall pregnant. At this time Mia was into her 7th month of gestation, and I am sure God was looking down at us from heaven thinking: you silly fools. You spent a year trying to fall pregnant whilst I have got your little baby growing very nicely, thank you very much.
He probably was saying: go to Mauritius you fools instead of wasting your money on fertility treatments, I already have your baby sorted. How foolish we humans can be!

Then in early January 2012 (now Mia is already 8 months in gestation) my husband and I sat down and had a long discussion about adoption in South Africa. We both answered some questions individually and then compared the answers. The questions were: 1. Do we want children? And, 2. Do those children have to be our own biological flesh and blood? We both unanimously answered yes to no.1 and no to no.2 So, adoption it was.
We took a while to get all the forms signed and filled in. We had started renovations on our house, so that took most of our time, and the forms were quite a performance to fill in. Rightly so, the adoption agency wanted to know everything about us, even just about what colour underwear we wore! So, it was only toward the end of January/ beginning of February that we finally sent our forms off to the adoption agency.
Then on 16 February 2012, our little Mia was born. She only became known to the agency on that day. We arrived at the agency on 27 February 2012 for our first interview. We were slow to send in our forms and Mia only became know to the agency on 16 February. The timing was perfect. There were just too many coincidences for it to be coincidental. God had it all planned and timed perfectly.

After the whole interview process and home visit, we finally got the call on 30 March 2012 to say that we were approved for adoption. So, in inverted comas – we were ‘pregnant’. Ironically, 30 March was my due date for the one and only pregnancy I ever had. Weird? I think not, more like: God.
Then 6 weeks later (which again, is also a miracle in itself to wait such a short time), we were telephoned to say that we could collect our little girl on 17 May 2012. WOW!
Now – here we are 10 days later, the proud parents of a baby girl that was destined for us all along. God had been working His plan for that last 5 years. His plan was always for us to have little Mia as our daughter and He knew just when the right time would be for us and for her to start our lives together. So, after 5 years of heart ache and pain, I finally see that God is at work in our lives. He seemed distant and quiet to me, yet He had it all planned from the beginning. The last 5 years will always hold a painful memory and my heart will always bear a black spot for the grief of infertility. But, I am no longer dominated by this grief. I am exhilarated by the knowledge that God is at work in my life and that He always had a plan for us. He never forsaked us and He loved us so much that He gave us the greatest blessing we have ever had on this earth: the Miracle of Mia.”

“I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” Psalm 63 v2-3 Mia in Hebrew means: wishing for a child.

If you want to know more about adoption in South Africa, contact Adoptmom via email

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