Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Thankful Thursday

I have a few friends and relatives who are going through tremendous mental strain. It could be unemployment of the breadwinner, a baby who might not live through birth or if the baby does they might need surgery immediately…They each have lives I wouldn’t quantify as easy.

Yet they remember things I mentioned long ago and take the time to ask about them. Some always ask if we’ve heard anything regarding the missing lady and others check on my little niece and her cancer battle. Others ask how my back is doing or how my IBS is…It is amazing that in this world in which it’s all about me, there are people who sincerely think of others. I have acquaintances with frivolous lives, who really enjoy having fun and never mention anything serious… We all have friends who enjoy being centre of attention.

This is my early Thankful Thursday post. I am thankful for friends and relatives who remember, who care and who show concern. It means a lot and it’s not going unnoticed. Times are tough, you have serious challenges yet you are able to lay aside your own very valid concerns to care about others, to ask about things I mentioned months ago. That is true love. Thank you.

Monday, November 24, 2014

What’s in Your Public Photos?

I’ve noticed that the pictures we post in social media say a lot about us. Generally, one assumes that what you post a lot of, is what is on your mind a lot, what you like a lot, what you’re passionate about. So..what if most of your pictures are of yourself? What if you constantly post 5 pictures of yourself in various poses just for the fun of it? No special occasion, no special place, mostly of yourself and maybe one gratuitous shot of someone else? Nothing of the scenery or surrounding? What does that say about who you are?

I told one young lady that the impression formed because of posting many pictures of herself in many poses gave a certain impression about herself. I told her that it made us think she really ‘loves’ herself and is frivolous. She acknowledged that she had no clue and that she really is shy and retiring and doesn’t feel that people like and want her in their circles. So, is she then trying to boost her self-esteem by hopefully getting many “likes?”  Is she trying to communicate with those who do not communicate verbally? Is she crying out for acceptance in a world that only tolerates her? I wonder…

What about the scantily clad pictures taken in expensive resorts next to sparkling pools? I guess I’m subjective here because the doctor I chose was chosen because of his love for nature, rather than such types of recreation. There’s something about keeping certain things for your private album instead of publishing it for the world to see. Yes, you like red BMW or Mercs but we don’t need to see hundreds of pictures of them. If you claim to be a Christian, we’d rather see what makes your Christian heart beat faster, not what makes your machine-loving heart thump.

All I know is that the pictures we choose to share say a lot about us. Sadly, we may be conveying the wrong message. We may not realise that the image we are portraying is doing a us a disservice and that we are deeper than what we seem to be. It’s time to think. It’s true what they say, “A picture is worth 1000 words.” Let’s ask ourselves if the words our pictures are sharing are words that are true. And if not, why then are we lying?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

“HOME” school in pictures

Not sure why we bought desks for them!

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In this one, their ‘children’ were being taught by the big bear between them

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You can’t separate a boy from his toys!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

He Finds My Worth in Me

There is something to be appreciated in a husband who loves me and appreciates me for who I am, not for what I can do. Who sees me, not what I can do.

blogmom

A year or so ago, I had a terrible bout with IBS, anemia and back pain and the normal old flu. I dragged through some weeks until I was closer to normal. A friend came over when I was better and said, “Wow, now I can see you’re feeling better, your kitchen cupboard doors are clean.”

Wow.

Yeah, it really irked, though I cannot explain why. All I know is that from then on, I have never wanted her in my home again. There’s just something awful about someone looking around at your home looking for flaws that not even your own husband has noticed. You know how sometimes you have dust bunnies that appear over night under the sofa? I don’t want her there to spot them.

Secondly, I realised something else. Even if I had not been sick, what if my cupboard doors were still ‘dirty?’ Would she then have told herself that I was lazy? I believe so. Mainly because that’s how someone else was spoken of. Someone with a young child. I would ask, “Are you sure she’s not overwhelmed with the baby and her studies?” (Yep, the person was also studying and a stay at home mom like me) I’d also posit that maybe she was dealing with postnatal depression and just didn’t have the energy. But nope, the conclusion was that the lady was lazy and a slob. So much for how we are counselled to rather have an untidy house and a well-cared for, well-taught child than to have a tidy house while neglecting the spiritual and emotional health of the child, if we are to neglect any.

On the other hand, we find my best friend, my husband. I know of men who come home and say to their wives, “But what were you doing all day?” if they find something undone. Then you have my rock. He’s the type who leaves home saying, “Now, don’t overdo it! The house won’t fall down if you don’t get everything done!” And if he gets home to a gleaming house, he’ll gently chastise me for having probably damaged my back in the process. He is willing to come home to no food. Or he’s willing to have bread. The “have warm food ready for your man” thing isn’t his thing. It’s even worse at times like now when I’m not well. He leaves with instructions to rest. And yes, he really gets sad if I don’t. If it were up to him, he would probably hire a house help. But yeah, we homeschool mom are frugal and if we had any extra pennies, would put them to good use elsewhere rather than to have strangers cleaning up our messes.

So to any young men who may be reading this, my request is…IF you do believe your lady is lacking in the housekeeping department, find a gentle way of finding out why. Find out if she’s overwhelmed, if she honestly doesn’t notice certain things (by doing them yourself). And don’t sweat the small stuff. Yes, as keepers at home, we MUST make sure the house isn’t dirty. As my husband once said to the church, if there are children do not expect the house to STAY tidy. And don’t expect the wife to constantly be going behind the children wiping up every little spill as soon as it happens while trying to make sure the pots don’t burn and watching the other child so they don’t draw on the walls. (ok, he just said don’t expect a super tidy house when there are little children around because for all you know, the wife DID clean but then life happened. Don’t expect her to keep sweeping all day long;-) )

For we are more than housekeepers, we are mothers and wives first and foremost. And temperance dictates that we prioritise. Our children and our husbands come first, and what they need, are energetic, ‘not too tired moms’ and wives who have had time to enlighten their minds, who have had time to read their Bible and STUDY them, who have had time to nurture their children and train them, women who are educated in the important things of life who still do ensure the house is in a liveable state,  rather than women who have turned into “mere household drudges.”

We are more than our ‘duties.’ We are thoughts, ideas, inspirations, counsellors, guides, mentors, lovers. We have more than just chores, we have hopes, bodies that ache, minds that get overwhelmed, children who get sick, children who need care, relatives and friends who need our ear. We don’t belong to our families, we belong to God. We owe it to Him to be moderate. And in so doing, we will be healthier. God doesn’t care about cupboard drawers if you have done your best. And young men, neither should you.

Monday, November 17, 2014

What Does “Homeless” Mean?

What does it mean to be “fatherless?”

(This might be info I’ve already posted. If so, ignore!)

As we continue with the thought of adoption, one thing needs to be borne in mind. I grew up thinking I would adopt one day. Just because I love to love, and I knew that there were orphans who needed love. I felt that I needed to make a difference to them and give them a home. I wanted to love a child into adulthood. My husband was not an adoption-minded man at all. Well, we were going to adopt –that was HIS idea (which I was totally fine with) a second child but before we could ‘close the baby factory,’ our girl was conceived and that ended the adoption thoughts.

But as the babies became toddlers and much less colicky and refluxy (Yes, I made that up) I once again yearned to have more children. I soon started telling my husband that we needed to adopt. He would laugh at me like I was crazy, he he. Which, considering these two WERE DRIVING ME CRAZY wasn’t as insane a thought as I thought it was then. Then I thought of our finances as a single income family and stopped talking about it. Till this year again. This time he would say to me, “But look at how sick you are. Think of your back also. Taking care of a little one might totally break you and you’d never get up from bed again.” Minor victories…At least now he was worried about me, not just laughing it off.

Later this year, when I brought up adoption again, dear husband said to me, “Well, you’d better pray that God tells me we should do it. Because the bulk of the work would be on your shoulders and I don’t want you to struggle. But if you truly believe God is calling us to do it, then you’d better pray He shows me.”

That very next Sabbath, I was doing a David dance in my head! There we were, sitting down and (we are Family Ministries leaders) leading our weekly discussion from the book Adventist Home and during the discussion he says, “People, this chapter is a challenge. Especially for me.” My heart started beating loudly in my head as he continued. “As I read this chapter, I realised something…In the same way you prayed for us to be able to get a home out the city, please pray that we can adopt.” You could have blown me over with a feather! And what made it so much more amazing for me was that he said it publicly. There was no way he could change his mind after that. He was truly committed!

Which brings us to the adoption issue. His reason isn’t only to bring a child into the family. Part of it is from Isaiah 58, and so many other scriptures that talk about how we should care for the fatherless and bring in the homeless into our homes. Now…We have orphans. But we have other types of babies who are adoptable. Are these babies fatherless if their fathers don’t care about them and pretend they don’t exist? What if the father insisted the child be aborted, is he still a father? What if the child was conceived due to rape or incest, like the case of a 14 year old girl who gave her baby up for adoption…Then does that count? And what about the homeless? Are they only homeless if they are out in the streets? What is a home?

I have come to realise through researching the adoption procedure and process here in South Africa, that my dreams of adopting an orphan may not be the dream God wants me to live. Maybe His dream is for me to take in a homeless baby, one whose father may very well be unknown-gang rape being one example :-( What about the child who was fond abandoned on a dump? That child is homeless too.

And so, as I work on preparing an adoption profile for a birth mother who might choose to hand over her (fatherless and homeless?) child with us, I realise that the question of open vs semi-open vs closed adoption might come up. I don’t know what type of situation the social workers will work with. Not a few times the mother has been counselled to rather place her child for adoption rather than to abort. What I do know is that if the baby has not been abandoned or orphaned, they assist the pregnant child or woman to keep the little one. There are social workers specifically set apart to do all they can to ensure that these precious bundles remain with their mothers if their mothers come for help. These social workers deal with horrific situations, young teen, raped by her father or uncle or cousin. Young lady, gang-raped. This is not a rosy picture of a happy, cooing baby found at your doorstep in a comfortable basket with a note saying, “I can’t take care of my baby, please help me,” as I grew up thinking when I thought of abandoned babies (thanks to romantic novels). Some babies are born in hospitals and their mothers walk out, never to be seen again…Some babies belong to helpless widows who can barely feed themselves and know they will never be able to earn enough even for themselves, let alone for their children. All I know is that everyone, no matter what their story is, deserves a home. Every child deserves a father.

Every child deserves a mother and a father who will be able to feed them, clothe them, care for them. Every child deserves a family where incest is not the norm. Where they will not be born to also be raped by their father-grandfather. Every child deserves love in a close knit family. And it is time for us to see if we can be that family for one little child.

And so, we begin our adoption journey in the middle of next month. Two orientation interviews at two different adoption agencies before we decide who we feel more comfortable with. (Find out how they work, how the process goes. I know we need police clearance certificates to prove we don’t have criminal records. We need to prove we are not on the National Sex Offenders Register. We need health assessments to prove we are not terminally sick…) This time next year, I may very well be an “Imperfect Mom of THREE!!!!”

Excuse any typos, need to rush off…

Thursday, November 13, 2014

White Adults, Black Children

Full circle.

Those who were readers of this blog since 2008 will remember how I wrote a lot about adoption. It was just a topic that was very close to my heart. At the time, I mostly (only) found blogs from overseas…

                       transracial adotion SOURCE

Anyway, here we were again, talking about adoption from a South African perspective this time. There are more adoptable children than prospective adoptive parents. Secondly, with black people making up the majority of our population, this is mirrored in the race of the children who are up for adoption. Thirdly, there are VERY few black people who are looking to adopt. This leaves us with white parents with black children.

What irks me is how I’ve read how this type of trans-racial family gets racist comments, intrusive questions, assumptions..all verbally..in front of their children! This actually disgusts me. No matter what I’m wondering is going on with you, unless you need help-like if you’ve fallen over and I want to know if I can help you up-it is none of my business!! What gives perfect strangers the right to ask, “Is he yours?” or “Is this your maid’s child?” “Are you the child’s nanny?” Those are the innocuous though still curiously rude questions. Then you find the ones asking how these parents can love a black child. Aren’t they scared they’ll catch a disease? Does the child not stink? Why did you adopt from our culture, this child won’t know it’s heritage. (Um, then why don’t YOU adopt into your culture. And what IS the child’s culture? Are they Venda? What if the mom was Xhosa and the dad Sotho-then which culture are we talking about?It is a minefield out there-bombs coming from all races- for some of these families and what hurts is that the children also hear these questions. Not only that, they get asked these questions too. I know of a family that ended up pulling their child out of school and homeschooling them because of the teasing regarding being adopted. People, young and old, can be so wrong!

The solution? Muzzle everyone who doesn’t know how to be polite. Put dark sunglasses on everyone who can’t keep their stares to themselves…Oh, you mean a real solution? I don’t know.

When I see white adults with a black child, I always wonder to myself (or quietly to hubby) “Hmm, do you think they are foster parents or adoptive parents?’' I just think privately to myself, “I wonder how old he was when he came into the family.” I don’t do the staring thing. In fact, I become so conscous-even before having read people’s experiences-that they might get stared at that I avert my eyes BEFORE it even looks like I’m staring. We sometimes would joke that I’ll be assuming it’s an adoptive family when maybe it really IS the house help’s child. And so what if it was? :-)

There are allegedly cultural taboos that stop black people from adopting. Something to do with ancestors not accepting a child from a different family and all that. I grew up in a Christian home, surrounded by Christian friends, so have no idea how widespread this taboo is and how many black people really believe it. But until we start adopting, we should be the last group to criticise a white family for adopting ‘our’ children. If you don’t, who will? Why leave a precious one in the system when there are loving people out there who want him/her?

My blog will continue to speak here and there about adoption in the following months…The good news is that there are people who pay no attention to trans-racial families. People who love without seeing colour. For that, I am thankful.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

“Why would you want to adopt?”

I asked the children the other day if they would be open to us adopting a little sibling for them. This is the conversation that ensued.

“So, would you two like it if we adopted a little sibling for you?”

“Yes!”

“Why?”

Girl: “Because Audrey” (girl at church) “has a little sister so I also want one.”

“Ok, and why else?”

“Then we can play with it and carry it around.”

“So you want a living toy?” in my most incredulous tone.

“Yes.” I guess my incredulity was not noted.

“How about the fact that we have lots of love to give and there are children who need a loving family? Or that we would love more children so why not add to our family by bringing in a sibling that’s already born and would love a family?”

Them: “Aww, those are good reasons too.”

I just hope that if we ever did adopt, they wouldn’t put their living toy on the back of the vacuum like they did with this one below…

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