Thursday, April 16, 2015

I Said It

At the end of 2014 I warned on Facebook that this coming year would be very bumpy and that everyone should hold on tight.

I was serious. The sense of foreboding and knowledge that this wouldn’t be a calm year just washed over me and while people were celebrating the new year, I was entering with fear.

It’s only April and the things happening all over the world are all one terrible nightmare. And as for the barbaric attacks on foreigners, I’ve stopped myself from seeing any pictures. People post graphic images on their walls and it turns me off. Why would you want to share pictures of hacked up people? I choose to grieve in silence. I cannot imagine the fear and pain those people are going through. I cannot understand that any normal human would do that.

And I wonder why God saw it fit to keep me safe. Yes, I live daily with pain of some sort, but it’s not the type of pain inflicted by a baying mob of people holding weapons. I’m not about to lose a limb in the next 5 minutes. Nor my life.

When I think of the horror and sheer terror in the Germanwings aircraft, my mind wants to shut off. And it rightly should.

I cannot imagine the chaos that’s going to happen when the rest of the Bible is fulfilled. I want to go past it. I want to live in beauty. In a place without terminal cancer, paralysis, death. I want it gone. I want to hear Him say, “It is finished.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

As she put her daughter in my arms…

Where to begin? Our son woke up at 1:35 am. Yep,  a tad excited! I took a final picture of the two of them as the “only children in the family.”

IMG_2682

Husband went to work first, as our appointment was for 10:30 and we met there. There was a bit of panic as there was a couple sitting outside on the bench and the woman was crying. We feared it was the birth parents and totally panicked! We felt so bad for them!

But it wasn’t!

The children got to go meet their sibling first while we chatted with the social worker and waited for birth parents to arrive. We were at New Life Centre, a place I mentioned before where women/girls in crisis pregnancy go and get taught life skills, are counselled etc. It’s run by the Methodist Church.

After the panic with the crying woman, it was a bit of a relief to see birth mom coming in with a smile. Whew. But still surreal. And even more surreal once we got talking. She was so open and honest. She even spoke about how it was God who ordained that little girl come to us because she had tried ways and means of baby girl not making it but failed. That’s how panicked she was. Yet at the same time, she loves her. They offered her a certain family to parent the girl but she wasn’t ok with them. With us, she’s happy that we’re Christian and live in the country. How weird to know that she’d had other options overseas but chose us here when many think overseas is the land of milk and plenty. And humbling. This baby was really chosen for us in many ways.

And so, it was time. She went to fetch her. She placed her in my arms. And as she put her in my arms she told her daughter, “Here’s your mommy.” I almost cried but didn’t want to make it even worse for birth mom. Oh, birth dad was there as mentioned and he was totally ok with us too ;-)

                   IMG_2689 With the magistrate

After the hugs between us, pictures of them with us, we parted and went off to court with another adoptive couple and our kanga moms. Court was so quick! Went in, there was no queue, signed 4 pages of something (I didn’t even read it!), got our profile back so we can show it to baby, went in to see magistrate and 5 minutes later we were done!

Oh…Her names?

The first one is a Xhosa that refers to the sun rising and bringing light (We want her to be like the sun of righteousness) and the second one is a Hebrew one that means Given by God.

Lathitha Amarissa Nkomo

Can’t wait for the whole bureaucratic process to be done so all her documents reflect her identity. And yes, we did tell her birth parents the names.

Our first night was interesting, to say the least. Girl was gassy! She was very noisy but not awake…But I couldn’t see that from my bed so kept waking up to check on her. She woke up twice to drink…Poor thing was just restless. I don’t blame her. Imagine being moved yet again to people with different skin colours, people you’ve never met, different surroundings, different language (She was being spoken to in Afrikaans) It’s too much for her little brain to process. But I’m sure she’ll be more relaxed as time goes by. Her favourite place is on my chest. Not easy for cooking or chores or making yourself breakfast! But hey, after her restless night, it’s the best I could do. Don’t want a cranky, sleepy, tired baby if I can avoid it.

IMG_2695

And yes. It’s amazing. I am loving having her to bits. I don’t see how we can top this. I don’t see how any little one we adopt later will be as adorable as she is! AS snuggly as she is! As cute as she is! (Proud Mama talking. I told myself I’d never become one of those moms who says her child is cute!)

Not sure why my watermarks are still stuck with last year’s date. I’m going to end up leaving them there. Changing them each time is a schlep.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Placement Pt.1: Preparation

Car seat-check

Diaper bag-Just need to sort out a bottle

Petrol in the car-check

Heart-not sure!

We hate dummies (pacifiers). Absolutely do. We never bought them for our first two and never even planned to. Our princess uses dummies. Avent dummies to be exact. And so, for the first time ever, we bought a pack on Sunday. Why? Well, our little one was first in hospital, then in a baby home, then with a kanga mom and now coming to us. That is already a lot of disruption and loss. Why would we take away her means of ‘security’ and comfort right now? She heard Xhosa while in the womb, has been hearing Afrikaans now, and from today will be exposed to English and Xhosa and a bit of Afrikaans. We are new to her, our home is new to her. It’s just not fair on her. And so we caved. Good thing one of the baby shower gifts was a dummy steriliser ‘thing,’ I didn’t know such things existed, teehee.

Heart.

The birth parents will both be there. We are glad about that. Right now, it doesn’t look like she’d be rejected and that makes us glad. I pray her mother has many many years ahead of her so that at age 18, they can meet and our little girl can ask about birth siblings etc. Everyone deserves to know their history and to hear directly form the horse’s mouth why they were given to another family.

We have enough background info on them to know what to give them as keepsakes, mementos and proof that we will not forget them. He will get a tie in his favourite colour and we are framing a promise to her so she never doubts that she will be taken care of. The promise reads as follows. (We put her favourite flower at the top, and birth dad’s at the bottom. Hope they stay together! My friend’s daughter’s birth parents split up and didn’t end up living the open adoption they’d asked for. I hope that though ours is only semi-open, that the lines of communication will ever be open…)

“Our Promise to You

clip_image002

Our promise to you is that your child will be loved deeply, cared for unselfishly, nurtured joyfully.

Our promise to you is that your little one will know how valued they are, how important they are, how they are fearfully and wonderfully made and how precious they are-to us AND to you.

Our promise to you is that the little one will always have food in the stomach and love and joy in the heart. Our house will be their home, her fears our fears, and her joys our joys.

Our promise to you is that your little one will know that because of your choice that day, there is a future of tomorrows filled with hope and peace.

Our promise to you is that we will train your little one to love without prejudice, to seek to be kind, caring, respectful, gentle and to reach the stars. This little one is loved- will always be loved, this is our promise to you.

clip_image004

Heart…

I cannot imagine what it was like to come to the decision to not parent. What it was like to sign papers terminating my rights as a parent. To sit out 60 days and not change my mind and be ‘ok’ with my child going into temporary foster care. But I can imagine that it was a decision made with much love and care. A sacrificial decision. And we honour them for that decision.

And so, I wonder. HOW will I behave at placement? How do I take a child in their presence they haven’t seen since birth but was theirs and take it for my own without crying for them and rejoicing for the little girl who now has a family? How do I feel joy over a little child who won’t be going into permanent state foster care but rather into our ecstatic family knowing her womb was filled until December but felt forced to make a decision that led to empty arms? How do I balance both emotions? Did they discuss abortion? Did she consider dumping the child? Did she wonder if her frail health can survive pregnancy and birth? Did she worry over the baby and rejoice that she was healthy? Was she worried that she went into labour preterm? Did her small size bother her? What was in her mind when a few weeks after birth she signed papers to say she was no longer the (active) mother? I’ll never know. All I can do is control how I respond to what I see in her eyes today. And I don’t know how exactly I’ll do that! I’ll see in a few hours’ time.

But before then, we’ll (Kids and I. Dad is on his way to work) be looking for a tie. They said their Christian so he should probably find an opportunity to wear it at some point. If not…Oh well, he can still look at it :-)

Monday, April 13, 2015

Shoplifters Anonymous

“Hi. My name is Thandi and I’m a shoplifter.”

Yesterday we went to Babies R Us to get a mattress protector and nappy bin. We also wanted a baby bath changing table thingamajig so decided to compare prices with Baby City first, so we left.

As we were walking out the door, my son asks, “Mom, but what about this sheet?” Oops. We told him to go back and put it in.

I’m sure i’ve told this one before but for the sake of any new readers I’ll tell it again.

The day our daughter seemed to want to make her appearance, we were also moving house. We went to the shop and called my mother so they could come get our son. He was 1 year old and moving with a little one is NOT easy. While on the phone, the contractions started coming closer together. I was trying to hold it together so that they wouldn’t suspect I was in labour. To them, our “home birth with private midwife” idea (VERY cheap and relaxed if uncomplicated pregnancy ;-)) was crazy but they’d accepted it but I knew that if she knew labour had begun, she might panic.

So there we were in the shop, trying to find pyjamas for the boy. My husband whispered to me that we needed to hurry up before my water broke in the shop, and that soon the shop workers will know I’m in labour and start worrying. We walked out, with me still on the phone trying to say good bye to a mother who wouldn’t stop talking! AS we get out onto the sidewalk, the shop assistant came running out, “Excuse me, you forgot to pay for that!” Oops. Dear husband was ushering son out and holding pyjamas and we totally forgot about said pyjamas!

So here it is, “Hi, my name is Thandi and I’m a shoplifter. But I’m not very good at it because I don’t actually aim to do it.”

Friday, April 10, 2015

“She’s So Chubby and Cute!”

is what our son said when we received photos of our soon-to-be daughter. Her parents are both living, one (not sure about the other) with health challenges. So, we will send updates and photos for two years so they know she’s doing well and thriving. I can’t imagine how bad things need to be for me to sign consent for adoption and not change my mind in the 60 days I have… I cannot fathom what it’s like to be a birth mother.

Oh, I guess I should have mentioned that yesterday was our matching meeting/presentation. We got all the background info about her birth-I finally have the Sabbath baby I always hoped I’d have, ha ha ha-and background and medical history. All things that adoptees in closed adoptions didn’t get. She was tiny and premature-but not super early.

We will meet the birth parents when we go to court. I don’t even know how to feel about that. As in, I’m GLAD! I’ll have pictures to show her and tell her that she wasn’t dumped, she wasn’t aborted, she was lovingly placed in care and be able to show her pictures of the woman who decided she needed other parents. How awesome yet scary. As another mom and I discussed, it’s a joyous occasion, becoming a “forever family” for a child, but to have to know that it’s due to something ‘awful’ is not good at all. How do you rejoice when you assume she’s not exactly jumping with joy? I know that many want their babies to go directly to a forever family instead of having to wait in kanga care first. Maybe she’s breathing a sigh of relief that finally the baby has found a home and parents who will be what she needs…

Maybe like Jochebed, she’s relieved that her child is ‘safe’ from ‘harm.’  And like Moses was named by her adoptive mother,we too are naming our little girl. If she can be like Moses-minus even the one mistake he made-then there will be rejoicing in heaven. I pray that in the same way we teach our children to think of others, that she too will care more for others than for herself, just like Moses did. I pray that when she too is ‘old’ and meets with her biological heritage (if they’ll want to) that she will bring goodness to them, as Moses did when he went back and took his people out of darkness.

When I look at the baby that was dumped in a toilet. When I think of the one who died…I thank God for the gift of taking care of one of His precious ones that He saw fit to bless us with. Somehow, for whatever reason, her parents have done the best they could to take care of HER needs. Babies do not need to be put in plastic bags and dumped. They do not need to be thrown into pit latrines. THey do not need to have ants eating them while baking on a rubbish dump. They need families who love them like Christ does. And that’s only possible with Christ Himself. Here’s to the last few days of “Imperfect Mom of TWO.” May our baby girl be a light and source of life to others.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Yes, I Can

                        inlove1 (Can’t recall where I found this)

I’ve read some questions from people asking if it’s possible to love an adopted child as much as you can love your biological child.

I’ve seen it with my own eyes and it’s possible. The group of moms we were with had total and complete love for their children. And one does have a biological child too, so it’s not a matter of not knowing any other kind of love.

I’ve been ‘waiting’ since I was 10 years old for this to happen. It’s been a long journey with detours and stops along the way. But the wait since last week has opened my eyes and answered the question, which will probably be modified once I meet her.

For us, adoption was never a plan B. We were going to have one biological and one adopted. After all, why ‘make’ more when there are already waiting children? For us, that was our desire. (Nothing wrong with having only biological children by the way. We just felt it was right for us.)

I have been through a bit. Infertility diagnosis and quitting treatment after 3 rounds. Considered adoption in Kenya but the whole paperwork thing wasn’t going to hack it so we were going to wait till we got to South Africa and were employed.

You know what happened then.

But the yearning never died. I suppressed it when these two were still babies and I was their primary parent while their dad travelled a lot with his work. Ok, the trauma of two babies suppressed that desire! But as they became toddlers, my heart once again began yearning and wishing for the little bundles…

And today we wait. The surge of panic that hit me when we were told we would have to postpone our matching meeting/presentation told me a lot. I am in love and am missing my daughter. Yet I haven’t even met her. Thankfully we will get her pictures late tomorrow evening (If nothing else comes up, and right now, I’m in an “Expect the unexpected mood”) and I’ll get more information about her routine etc.

But what kills me more than not having her pictures and vital stats, is knowing that she’s so close by but my hands are tied. She’s in the closest town to us as you drive to Cape Town. We were in that very town on Sunday. We drove past it to church the day before. We were there on Monday. Yesterday I was meant to go again but my heart could not bear it. I want my girl. I want to smell her. Touch her (apparently soft, chubby cheeks). Carry her and tell her she has a family.

Protocol is that until Court, you cannot see your little one. (That’s with our agency, I know others actually want you to bond even before you go home together. I was in touch with KZN Child Welfare and they told me they want parents to bond for 2 weeks before they go home.) Well, we could see her if there was something concerning about her health or some special need or something. But we have no ‘reason’ to see her. She’s so close yet so far. She’s ready. We just need that one test and then have the next available Court date. If not for the test, she might have even been home by now. But we don’t live our lives on “what could be…”

I miss her today. I am ready to show her Christ’s love which is even better and purer than mine. On Sunday, the kanga mom we saw who knows our little one and whose foster babies love our girl to bits (Yes, our little one has gone to their foster home more than once) said she believes this waiting period, when you know there is a child waiting but you’re stuck until a particular date, is the worst of the whole process. I laughed but didn’t think so. Now I know. She was right. The hours are crawling by.

I had no idea it was possible to miss someone you’ve never met.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Your Mountain

                         IMG_2171

I wrote this for the adoption group recently, but I’d be happy if you could please substitute whatever your mountain is that you’ve been waiting for. Uncertainty when you’re waiting for something good can really bring one down. It breaks the heart and burdens the weary. May you adapt and substitute for whatever your mountain is because after all, I believe we all have mountains that God has promised us. May this year be the year you get yours, if it is His will.

“For all those who are waiting patiently but with tears. If God has promised it, that mountain will be yours. I was reading my Bible just now and I thought of everyone who's been waiting, especially those who've been waiting for longer than a year.

Caleb was 40 years old when God promised him that unlike the others, he (and Joshua) would inherit land in Canaan. He was 40 years old when he went against the norm.

The promise had to be claimed when he was 85 years old. A whole 45 years later, he still clung to that promise and when he saw that what God had said had come to pass, he knew it was time to claim the promise. "Give me this mountain."

I pray that for many-if not all- of us, THIS is the year in which you claim your promise. When you say to God, "You promised that when the time is right, I would have a child to call my own. Now therefore give me this child."

Joshua 14:10- 12 "And now, behold, the Lord hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the Lord spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old.

As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in.

NOW THEREFORE GIVE ME THIS MOUNTAIN, whereof the Lord spake in that day; for thou heardest in that day how the Anakims were there, and that the cities were great and fenced: if so be the Lord will be with me, then I shall be able to drive them out, as the Lord said"

Blessings to all who wait. Our promised gifts aren't all the same, just as Caleb and Joshua were to receive different pieces of land, but the God Who promised is. And what He promised you, will come to pass.~Thandi”