I am appealing to biological parents out there. When you meet someone who has no children or someone who is busy trying to have children, consider that they might be going through a very tough time. Too often I counsel people who are devastated (and annoyed) by the people closest to them. Whilst we all know that our nearest and dearest mean well, they sometimes say the silliest things. When you are loaded with hormone injections and undergoing your 4th, 6th or 10th year of endless miscarraiges, IVF cycles and strain on your marriage, the last thing you are equipped to handle is flippant remarks.
The strange thing is that most of the time, these remarks come from couples with at least 2 “perfect, shiney” biological kids who were both conceived within 1 day of trying.
Don’t get me wrong. We want to be happy that you are pregnant for the 3rd time “by mistake” and we want to appreciate the remarks made about our lack of kids ………….. but we can’t.
One day, years from now, when we have our own kids via natural conception, fertility treatment, surrogacy, adoption or theft, we may be able to look back and laugh at it all. In the meantime……….shhhhhh. Just a hug will be fine thanks.
I get a lot of enquiries from people asking me if adoption in South Africa is even possible. They seem to be under the impression that it is really hard to adopt in this country. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have an abundance of adoptable babies & children, we have highly skilled social workers at accredited agencies and we have a very tight law. (The new children’s act of 2010) (April 2010)
So why the perception by the public?
In my opinion, there are a few reasons.
1) The social workers are very, very overworked and agencies are understaffed so reaction time to answer calls & emails is often slow.
2) There is very little useful information available on the internet
3) There is a dire shortage of white adoptable babies
4) The topic is not widely spoken about and so people do not know where to turn
I remember when I wanted to adopt a baby 7 years ago, I was under the same impression. A few Google searches and a few phone calls yeilded no information at all. I eventually found the info I needed via word-of-mouth.
As with any “industry” there are bad and good people and bad and good offices.
The difference here is that the good ones are so very, very good. Once you make contact with the right agency and the right social worker, the process is fast and easy. (+/- 4 months)
For anyone in South Africa or elsewhere wanting to adopt a South African baby, think hard about the option of a cross-racial adoption. There are so many needy black and coloured kids and you could open up your heart and provide a lifetime of joy. So many people are waiting and wishing for a white baby……think outside the box…..a baby is a baby and it will grow up taking on the persona & traits of its adoptive parents.
Just think about the possibility…….just think….please.
The new ad campaign…………………….
I am going to go and watch this film over the weekend. Has anyone seen it yet? “Like Dandelion Dust” is a compelling drama about a young boy who lives an idyllic life with his adoptive parents on the coast of Florida. It’s a postcard childhood until the day they receive a disturbing phone call: his birth parents want Joey back. A judge’s decision could tear him away from the only home he’s ever known. One family is determined to keep the son they love, the other to begin a new life, one they’ve always dreamed of, and rise above the challenges of alcoholism and domestic abuse that have plagued them. Joey’s future hangs in the balance as issues of parenthood and class warfare play out. Someone must make the bravest decision of their life; sometimes the greatest love is letting go.
Starring Academy Award® Winner Mira Sorvino, Golden Globe® Nominee Barry Pepper, and introducing child actor, Maxwell Perry Cotton.
I read your article in the May Essentials and it was like reading my own story. I too am an adoptive mom and my son, who is now 20, was also a little blonde, blue eyed bundle of energy and sunshine.
I understand that overwhelming joy of finally being blessed with a baby. Our hearts were bursting with love and fulfillment. We also made it clear as early as our son was able to comprehend, that he is a special child whose birth mother chose us to raise him and that we are eternally grateful to her for that ultimate gift.
This sunny little boy who was so confident in the knowledge that he was so cherished, had his heart broken when he started school. He also proudly told everyone at school that he was adopted, but unfortunately other children felt perhaps he was more special than them, or less lucky to only have 2 parents instead of 4, and the name calling started.
The cruel and painful things that were said to him broke our hearts. A favourite quote was – your real mommy didn’t want you and threw you in the dustbin. There were worse insults but I will not repeat those awful things that were obviously communicated from ignorant parents to their children. He had started retaliating and every break time was a nightmare for him. Naturally we sought intervention from the school authorities, but by that stage he had already been labelled. We all went for counselling and in the end we had no option but to move schools. To cut a long story short he himself decided to keep his special information to himself and to only share with special understanding friends.
When our son was 4 we were also blessed with a beautiful daughter, who completed our family. When she was of school going age her brother gave her hard-earned advice – “Don’t tell anyone you are adopted”. We also raised her with the same values as her brother, letting her know how we thank God every day for her and her birth parents, but unfortunately she was also not spared the poisonous name calling. It is so sad that these children, who were made and given out of love, have been made to feel demeaned and inferior to their peers. Why should they be made to feel ashamed of who they are and carry secrets?
Our children are now both young adults, with maturity and wisdom beyond their years. They both have battle scars from society’s cruelty but this has only served to make them sensitive to other people’s pain. Through all the pain and counselling over the years we are a staunch, loving, close family and we are so proud of our children. My motivation for writing to you was that your story touched my heart, and I felt I had to tell you that although you adore your son, there will be hurtful people out there who will not understand or love him the way you do. I pray he is spared the hurt that was inflicted on my children. When I reflect back to when our son was a baby I think I was living in a bubble of ecstacy, that after so many years of infertility God had answered our prayers, and I believed everyone out there would be supportive and happy for us, and love our son the way we did. I have a group of friends that I met through the baby clinic many years ago, and we are all adoptive mothers. This has been a wonderful support base, as it has helped the children see they were not alone, as well as being a sounding board for us Moms. We have cried and laughed together, and watched our children blossom and grow. Unfortunately as our children have matured our get-togethers have lessened, and in closing I must tell you something my son said when I tried to encourage him to attend one of our lunches – “Mom we don’t want to be constantly reminded that we’re adopted, we just want to be normal kids” – isn’t that what every parent wants?
Ok – so something very odd happened to me last night. You know when you are certain how you feel about something? So certain? Then it happens and you react in a totally surprising way? I am babbling but my reaction to news yesterday was so strange.
Then I got to thinking about fate and timing and all those things. Should we take notice of them or should we just trudge ahead ignoring signs? Should we have such strong opinions on things we don’t really know much about and have never experienced?
Then this morning, I go onto Facebook and I see this:
“15 year old girl holds her 1 year old son. People call her a slut. No-one knows she was raped at 13. People call a girl fat. No one knows she has a serious disease which causes her to be overweight. People call an old man ugly. No one knows he had a Serious injury to his face whilst fighting for our country during the war. Re-post this if you are against bullying and stereotyping.”
And again, I think….who are we to have our minds firmly made up about stuff we know nothing about? Surely, being open to all possibilities is the better way to live?
Your comments please!
The next group adoption workshop discussion on adoption will take place on Saturday 04 June 2011.
09h30 – 12h30
Tea, coffee, muffins & info pack.
Venue in Kenilworth
R 250 per person
Book now: firstname.lastname@example.org