As we enter the final stretch of Adoption Awareness Month and given that yesterday was Thanksgiving, I thought it appropriate to take some time to contemplate the experiences, narratives, opinions and to unpack what I feel we should be aware of.
It has been a month with many organisations and individuals contributing to the understanding of adoption specifically and how it impacts the triad, being adoptees, birth family and adoptive family.
We were fortunate to be part of a wonderful campaign that was priveleged to give voice to five wonderful adoptees who shared their experiences. Click here to meet them.
Let’s have a look at some thoughts I have had, in no particular order, which have been informed by what I have been reading, learning, experiencing and teaching.
1.When should a child be adopted?…When it is necessary.
I’ve been wanting to put my thoughts on this down for some time. Be it headspace, emotions, needing objectivity or something else, this topic has been hard for me to engage with critically. I hope to add value in these next few paragraphs. I am neither the expert nor the uninformed, I am attempting to rise above and give reason to pause so that we can perhaps journey forward, not always agreeing but becoming more unified.
My thoughts relate to the narrative between adoptive parents, adoptees, social workers and in fact anyone who occupies a space in between. I have found social media over the last year and especially last few months, to have become a place that allows a narrative which, despite potential best intentions, has been negative, at times toxic and I don’t think altogether benefiting the children whose needs we are trying to meet. Continue reading
What can I say? What can I do? How am I a part of the solution?
These are some of the questions setting up residence in my mind as I find myself working through the sheer volume of tragedies that have been poured over women and children in the past few weeks.
These women, these girls, innocent, victims, moms, daughters, WHY?
I was recently asked to contribute to an article which asked Dads what being a father meant to them. I love these types of articles which allow me to put my heart on paper and give life to my passions. Amongst other things I shared that:
“It means I will seek to be connected to them, to their hopes and dreams and stand by them, even when they aren’t realised, yet. It means I wake each day with a hope that their tomorrow depends on what I build in them today.”
Being a Father is the single biggest privilege I have and the greatest journey, challenge, frustration, joy and responsibility in my life.
My day started with a “Dads Day” held by my son’s school where we listened to songs, played soccer, made bird feeders, drank coffee and ate boerewors rolls. As mornings go, this was a good one. But as I walked onto the field, flanked by over a hundred dads, present, engaged and loving on their kiddos, I was reminded of another day this week, a day where the voices of the fatherless were raised in deafening silence, asking, begging, demanding an answer to the question, WHERE WERE YOU? Continue reading
A week ago the campaign at www.childrenmattersa.org began. It seeks to raise awareness of the potential threat to Adoptions in SA should the Children’s Amendment Bill be enacted in it’s current form. In a short space of time we have seen nearly 7000 signatures on the petition and almost 12000 views on the video. We are engaging with various groups to spread the word, leverage off of contacts and raise further awareness. Please don’t stop sharing and encouraging people to sign the petition. We can’t sit by and watch as the most vulnerable and voiceless amongst us become silenced and prevented from growing up in loving families of their own. The video can be found on the above site or at https://youtu.be/nbosXtDggfI. We can’t do everything, but we can all do something. This is your chance!
As many are aware, there are some serious potential threats to the adoption laws in South Africa which could come into effect if the current Childrens Act amendment Bill is passed in it’s current form.
Please have a look at the video we helped create, visit www.childrenmattersa.org and sign the petition requesting the Bill be stopped, further consultation sought and the Amendment Bill be re-worked to place the best interests of our vulnerable children at the forefront of any changes.
Importantly, please SHARE to everyone in your community, don’t stop at clicking LIKE!
This coming weekend comes with many different forms of celebration. Some will spend their time celebrating new life, other’s family, others will share in fantastical tales of bunnies and eggs. Still, others will find themselves at the bottom of a chocolate induced coma.
I hope to spend time acknowledging that Easter is the source of my faith and processing how it actually is the culmination of the greatest adoption story ever. It seeks to end the age-old question of belonging. No matter where you come from, whether you came as a group or find yourself totally alone, the Cross and Jesus’s resurrection is the final word in our story of belonging.
Adam and Eve started the process of disconnection with each other, people in general and God. Their actions in the garden of Eden seem for many to be the deathblow to wholeness. But God…
We’ve just been blessed with a new little girl to call our own. That brings our little, or not so little family, to 6. We’ve experienced the joy and elation, from all corners, with the birth of our first child and then our second child, but honestly, as we added more than 2 children, we experienced a gradual decline in support and encouragement as our numbers increased, presumably because people felt that we “Had this” and not because they stopped caring:)
We know that people are busy, life carries on for everyone and this is the life WE have chosen. But we are also aware that there are barriers to adoption that have nothing to do with red tape and the effect of these barriers can be guarded against if communities are equipped and the would-be adoptive parents made to know that they will have the support of those around them throughout their journey. So the point of this article is simply to provide some guidelines and practical ways people can assist an adoptive family after placement, in such a way that this new growing unit knows for sure that they are not alone because there is a community of people behind them, supporting them and cheering them on in different ways.
I will divide the different ways of helping into 4 categories, starting with placement day and journeying for the first few weeks and months.
The last couple of months have been filled with a sense of impending doom for many in the adoption community. From would be adoptive parents concerned over the uncertainties of adoption laws and 12th-hour covert changes to policies, to social workers who practically are working tirelessly at jobs that may not exist in the coming months, we are experiencing a reality in South Africa that has many questioning “what is actually happening?”
Much has been written on the topic and excellent articles such as this one by Robyn Wolfson Vorster have expanded in clear detail on the facts, the concerns and perhaps some of the reasoning behind the shift in policy. So today I am not going to reinvent the wheel by writing what has already been so clearly presented before.
So this past week, the world found itself taking note of a unique holiday. This holiday was not in remembrance of the fallen, the brave warriors of the past, some great festival or battle or even a remarkable time in history which stands as a line in the sand where we see a massive contrast between the before and after pictures. This was a day, which seeks to raise awareness for something happening now and something we will be challenged by, probably until the end of time. The day seeks to raise awareness for adoption, it’s need, it’s challenges, it’s tragic past and hopefully beautiful future where the pain of a history is redeemed and given tomorrows healing.
Hank Fortener, the architect behind #WORLDADOPTIONDAY had this to say about the origins this holiday: Continue reading