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
I sat there holding my wife’s hand, the door opened and led by the hand of his older brother, our first adoptive son entered the room. He took each step without knowing, without thinking, resting in the hope that those he had come to know as family in his first year were doing their best, were protecting him, were sending him home.
I stood there in awe as this beautiful little boy conquered the distance between us and landed in our arms. My heart was full, my emotions responding like the explosion of a fireworks display. My son was home, the boy we had prayed for, the one we longed for, the champion who had risen above all th e challenges he had faced was about to cross the finish line and we were celebrating with tears, with joy and with an overwhelming sense that the enemy of orphanhood had been defeated.
One day they will arrive. Without celebration, applause, smiles or a hope. They enter the world by the hand of a hero who chose to give life and extend blessing to another family. But there is no time to celebrate, this is a time of great loss. Tears form and fall, not out of joy but from grief. Thoughts of regret, remorse, pain judgment fill her mind as she reluctantly releases her greatest gift to another. The grief, the poverty of mind, of situation and heart have led her to this day, a dark day, the darkest day. She holds only to a hope, a hope that flickers and settles her soul, gently encouraging her that he will be safe, he will survive, He will succeed, he will love and be greatly loved. Continue reading
8 Years ago we began a journey. It was a journey of discovery, a journey with highs and lows but as with all journeys, it starts a process that seems to show that when one ends another begins.
8 Years ago we started dreaming and planning to make adoption a part of who we are and how we grow our family. Today, with two adoptions under our belt and while busy with a third, we are continually amazed at how the process of giving a family to child may seem to bless the child the most, but actually, it is the family who receives the greatest blessing and honour of being able to extend love to another in a way that profoundly changes everything about everyones lives. We are truly honoured to have the love of our children, no matter how they enter our hearts!
Today we are also blessed, as the first family assisted by the The Father Heart Fund is about to become a reality. A special woman is about to become an incredible mom and a little girl is about to be grafted into the hearts of Many. Continue reading
I am currently reading a book at the moment entitled The Spirit of Adoption: Winning the battle for the children. It raises some important questions and recounts some crucial events in history, one of which is the famous American case of Roe vs Wade which legalized abortion in the first trimester of pregnancy and how Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff in that case became a pro-life activist after realising that Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception’. It wasn’t about ‘missed periods’. It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs.
I find myself in a unique position. I believe I have a different perspective. I am certain God has allowed me to occupy a space where my voice will find favour with various groups in our beautiful South Africa.
I am fortunate in that I have the opportunity to dream about the futures of my three amazing children. I can occupy my thought life with the hopes and dreams of my sons’ growing into men who stand for what is right and true. Who know when to sit and listen whilst at the same time, confident in their ability to know the times when they must stand with confidence and speak with courage. My beautiful girl brings me such joy, her strength and poise allow me to confidently declare that she will inspire some and she will convict others. She dresses herself with beauty and boldness, and yet she is not even 2.
Raising a blended family, brings certain perks. If I am honest, I love being slightly different, I love going to the shops and seeing that double take on a stranger’s face when they see me and then they see one of my brown people. I say “my brown people” because my son refers to people of similar colour that way, and seeing as he is mine, so are they.
I like thinking I am part of a solution, I like to think I am creating a bridge between pink and brown. I like to think my son’s and daughter will be better positioned because colour won’t matter to them, it won’t feature in their thought processes, it won’t inform their value judgements or influence their opinions. BUT, am I foolish in believing this, because it will matter to YOU?
We pride ourselves in the knowledge that we live in a time like no other. A time where the amount of information created, consumed and freely available is beyond anything we’ve experienced in the past. We exist in a time where at the push of a button, we achieve access to nearly every answer man has ever discovered or needed. I have in the palm of my hand a venerable magic wand which, when fully charged, is able to give its possessor God like knowledge and understanding.
From the correct spelling of the world longest word (pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis for those of you who’d like to know) to the requirements to produce atomic energy, every single person has the ability to answer every single question ever asked, and in most cases correctly.
So why do I get the sense that in spite of limitless knowledge, common sense and general good choices seem to be on the decline?
I have heard it said that those without children, know the most about parenting. It seems as though the moment we are thrust in the reality of parenthood, we lose all that wisdom that seemed to ooze out whenever we saw a child acting out or a mom/dad attempting to get their little one to do something. Oh how I long for those days where I knew it all and unashamedly would let parents know with my gaze of all-knowing-ness.
But as much as those without children may have attained new heights of enlightenment, the one thing they will never know until they themselves are parents is the almost spiritual connectedness we as parents feel toward other parents and their challenges, successes and losses. I feel this when watching things like America’s Got Talent. I have absolutely no connection to the 12 year old girl who blows the crowd away with her voice, but when I see the love in her parents eyes, the pride, the hope and the joy as she gets that golden buzzer, at this moment I find I connect with them. I am proud, I feel emotion and I’m so happy!
But as much as we can feel joy for one another’s successes, we feel an equal but opposite loss when there is pain. When moments arise where worlds are shattered, time stands still and people battle to breathe as a result of their loss. In these times, our worlds shatter with yours, out time stands still too and we lose our breath with you.
South Africa is a country with a fractured past a challenging present, and at times, a worrying future. adding fuel to the complexities that come with 11 national languages, many different tribes, huge economic divides, massive unemployment and unresolved racism/prejudices are worldwide events such as #BLACKLIVESMATTER, #BLUELIVESMATTER, ISIS and general uncertainty.
I sit today a little scared! Not because of crime, not because of the uncertainty, not even because of terrorism. Today I find myself more aware than I have ever been that my children may experience things I cannot prepare them for. They may experience things that many have been exposed to for centuries, but for them it will be a lesson that I feel ill-equipped to teach effectively. Continue reading