Monthly Archives: March 2013

MATERNITY LEAVE

Standard

Well, I’m off!

There were times where I didn’t believe I would be able to say that I am going on maternity.  Today is the glorious day that I put my Out of Office auto assistant on my emails and my telephone at work and am heading off.

It’s confirmed.  We collect our wee Grace on Tuesday morning and head for court at 10am to change legal guardianship from the Safe House to us.  The whole adoption process follows in the months thereafter and hopefully soon she will be a McDowell.

We aren’t hooked up to the internet at home so I will try log on at an Internet Cafe from time to time to give you pics of our precious tot and to update you along the way of our first 3 months with her.

God is GRACIOUS!  And we can’t wait to experience His Grace in person.

xxx

We’re adopting!!!

Standard

Angels are serenading us it dawns on us that we’re about to become a Daddy and Mommy!  Yip, we’ve found our little lass and have started the process of adoption.  Her given name is Grace (a name we will keep).  She’s 7 months old (yesterday was her month-a-birthday), robust and healthy and with a smile the size of Africa 🙂

We met her on Saturday.  On Thursday we had a call from our Social Worker to say that our chance encounter had yielded an appointment to meet two adoptable babies at a safe house nearby.  We were thrilled and keen to let everyone know but we were also hesitant to do this as we knew it could also possibly turn out to be disappointing.  So instead, we waited the two days out before our appointment, before telling everyone, we only told our immediate family and friends.

Saturday dawned and I honestly couldn’t make simple decisions.  I second guessed all my choices on what to wear and more, thinking it may affect the way the babies responded to me.  For instance, what should I wear?  It must be casual – jeans, and cheerful – pink scarf – check.  How much perfume to apply?  It must be just a drop instead of the usual misting, nothing too overpowering – check.  What jewellery or do I go without – babies love to pull on necklaces so maybe just earrings and a ring – check.  What scent of body lotion should I put on – I opted for vanilla for a home baked Mommy smell – check.  It’s crazy what went through my head but I guess it helped me know that I did my best.

While driving there I told Gary how I had prayed that IF one of these babies was for us, that something in her name would tell us – perhaps her name would start with an M so that it could team up with Molly as a middle name.  What I did not expect was God to entertain this silly hope of mine… Grace was a name we had chosen almost 5 years ago as a middle name for our future baby.  I swear my heart skipped a beat when they introduced Grace.

The other wee baba was Okuhle.  A cute 6 month old with sad eyes, we just knew she was not our little tot.  I held both Okuhle and Grace, and a couple other babas that clambered onto my lap.  But we only had eyes for Grace.  Grace is a happy baby.  She has BIG eyes and smile that reaches your soul.  You just look at her and she graces you with a smile.  When she smiles, nothing else matters.  She took to Gary like a fish to water, even serenading him on his lap.  She’s bright too, copying me when I tapped her with one finger (she tapped me back with one of her fingers) and when I clapped her feet together, she did it on her own afterwards – making me so proud already.

We tried hard to sleep on the decision of whether or not she was for us, but to be honest, I think we’d made up our minds to adopt her the moment we put her down to walk out the door.  We couldn’t wait till Monday to let our Social Worker know our decision – we sms-ed her on Sunday! 

It appears that all should go smoothly as Grace is fully adoptable, i.e. no birth-mom to change her mind and no same-race family to adopt her – this is a huge weight off our minds!  Our Social Worker is aiming to have Grace with us by the first week of April, two weeks’ time.  So I’ve given notice to my work and they seem happy to oblige me with a standard 3 month maternity.  It’s been a whirlwind since we met Grace – the future grandparents are planning shopping sprees for the new granddaughter, our church gave thanks on Sunday and prayed blessings over us, and my work has already started a collection for us!

We’re revelling in the madness – we have two weeks to get all in order – mostly we’d like to get the nursery set-up and get as much sleep as possible!  We’re praying the adoption paperwork is easy and that the process is quick – Grace will effectively be in our foster care pending adoption which can take a few weeks or months (not sure really).  We’re simply focusing right now on giving huge thanks and praise to our Lord above – along with buying diapers and other necessities 🙂

A chance encounter

Standard

Sunday saw a wonderful chance encounter for us. 

We went to our local grocery store to pick up some supplies for our depleted pantry and no sooner had we hit the bakery when we spotted a man with a pram with a gorgeous, little, lass inside.  It had to be an adoption (we reckoned) as he was white and the wee tot was either coloured or black.  We both stared for a reasonable amount of time (before risking appearing psychotic) and then Gary and I smiled a smile of “maybe one day” to each other.  We had just turned our attention back to the bakery counter when we heard a shout of “Daddy, Daddy”, so we whipped back around and saw the most wonderful display of bouncing brown curls on a little girl running towards the man-with-a-pram.  My heart did flick-flacks as she was so adorable – she was coloured and entirely edible, I swear.

I couldn’t keep my eyes off of them.  Every isle we sailed down had us passing by them and they must have thought me crazy, staring at their wee lasses at every turn.  Eventually, I decided we had to ask, so I approached them to ask if they had adopted and through who. To our delight they were more than happy to share and we discovered that although their eldest was adopted through a private organisation in Johannesburg, their tiny-pram-bound-tot was through the local Child Welfare.  Even more delightful was the discovery that their Social Worker for the adoption was our Social Worker …. AND … this Mommy is the Director of the local Child Welfare!!!

Turns out, they are battling to find adoptive parents for the babies at Child Welfare and there are a couple of babies (she suspects 3) that are adoptable at present – well I began waving my arms in the air like a real crazed Momma say “here we are! Pick us! Pick us!”  Thankfully they laughed and agreed to help.  They suggested our Social Worker contact them and we’ll go from there.

Haaaaaaalelujaaaaaaah!

So, we’ve given the message to our Social Worker and wait with baited breath.  We have only one more screening appointment and then we’ll, hopefully, be approved as Adoptive Parents opening the door to adoption.  This is the first time in quite some weeks where we feel hope, especially after the negative responses we’ve had from the agency handling little Lou (Lindelwe).

So, as always, we simply trust and obey our Lord and hope that meeting this fab couple was a God-incidence and not a dead-end coincidence.

Lindelwe (Lou) – letting go

Standard

Last week, I contacted the agency handling little Lou’s (Lindelwe) adoption procedures.  I wanted to inform them that we had 2 screening sessions left and then we would be approved (hopefully) as adoptive parents.  I wanted to ask what they would need from our Social Worker in order consider us as parents for Lou, as and when she becomes adoptable. 

I had barely said “hi” when I was interrupted and told to rather be in contact with head office (I had phoned their local social worker who is directly handling Lou’s file).  I sensed that this was not a good sign.  I replied that I had been in touch with the Cape Town office and not heard much back.  I apologised for calling her, said I didn’t realise I had to go through Head Office and explained (very quickly) where we were at in our screening and our desire to still pursue Lou.  I can’t recall very well what her response was but it was not great, beating round the bush and always suggesting we speak to Head Office.  I do recall her saying that because we haven’t been screened by her she doesn’t know us so would need some kind of report from our Social Worker but really we should have been screened by them.  In chatting to our Social Worker about this it seems that they are earmarking their own lists of adoptive parents over us and we are really doubtful that they will consider us.  At every turn, it feels as if they are trying to put us off 😦

I hate uncomfortable situations like that – I wanted to scream down the telephone line that we are a great couple, a healthy, happy, Christian couple who will provide a great home to this child!  Instead I simply said sweetly “ok” at the appropriate moments and “goodbye” at the end of the call (which did not last long). 

So for now, we feel we must let go of this child.  I still dream about that sweet face and just pray that the Lord has a glorious future lined up for her.  If for no other reason, I met her to pray for her.

Book-buddy

Standard

I’ve recently finished reading this book and cannot recommend it more, it is top of my Book-buddy list:

 Inconceivable_book

Shannon and her husband, Dave, are a Christian couple that battled infertility for many years and then went the adoption route.  It is a book that reveals one woman’s heartbreak in infertility and the challenges she and her husband faced in adoption.  Although they live in America, what they went through is relevant anywhere in the world.

My Dad bought it for me some months back when we were doing IVF , it didn’t resonate with me as much then as it did now when I read it again; perhaps because a good chunk of the book is about their adoption process and Gary and I just weren’t at the adoption point yet.  That’s not to say the book didn’t impress me back then, it did indeed.  I am not sure where my Dad bought it, quite possibly at a Christian bookshop but I am sure you could get it online too. 

No matter where you are in your infertility journey this is a book to have on your nightstand and I recommend reading it more than once as you journey along.  It won’t necessarily give you hope and it doesn’t promise miracles from God.  But what it does give you is a sense of sisterhood-in-infetility.  It will give you the knowledge that what you feel – the anger, hurt, disappointment with God – is not crazy and unreasonable, what you feel is important, understandable and what we all, who are on this rollercoaster ride, feel to similar degrees.

Happy reading!

In it together – how’s your man coping?

Standard

I met with a new friend-in-infertility this Saturday over a cuppa and a LARGE slice of chocolate cake (a girl must).  We had a brilliant time and laughed, cried and just heard each other out.  No one gets the heartache of infertility like a sister in the same situation.

Among the many things we chatted about she told me how she’s learnt to ask her hubby how he’s feeling during their fertility treatments (they’re doing IVF and surrogacy).  I could feel myself slap my face!  My hubby is not infertile, he’s healthy and good to reproduce.  I am the infertile one – the one who went through all the treatments, the one who broke down monthly when her cycle kicked in, the one who felt like it was me and only me who suffered through those treatments.  I am ashamed to admit, I forgot to ask how my hubby was REALLY doing.  My friend is also the infertile one in her marriage.  She told me how she found her man crying over a crib that was set up for visiting friends.  He’s not an emotional man, he’s a mature, business, cool, calm and collected kinda guy.  Seeing him in tears broke her heart and slapped her into the realization that he suffers too.

Just because our men might not be as demonstrative as we are , we need to be more aware that this doesn’t mean that they don’t feel our pain and their own.  Perhaps they’re just trying to strong … for us. 

Adoption of course is a little different – it levels the playing field.  I am not the “infertile” one as such, we are both at the mercy of social workers, we’re in the same boat now.  Still, shouldn’t it be viewed this way with fertility treatments too?  We’re partners after all – what affects me affects him too!  If I am infertile, that makes US infertile, we are both affected and both afflicted emotionally.

Thanks dear friend for the wake up call.  I spoke to dear hubby over the weekend and he’s gonna write a post on how it all feels from a man’s side.  I can’t wait to post that entry!

Lindelwe (Lou) update

Standard

We’ve been advised not to visit little Lindelwe (or Lou as she is referred to at the Safe House) until she is adoptable.  We’ve honoured this and kept our distance.  I feel blessed though to have the owners of her Safe House keep us a somewhat updated on what’s happening with her.

We heard on Monday that she was booked for her blood tests Tuesday.  This is the biggest set of blood tests she will undergo, they determine results for a myriad of illnesses including HIV/Aids.  All of Tuesday I thought of the little tot and her tests.  It is rather an ordeal for the wee ones as the nurses draw blood from the heel which is painful and the babies cry hard.  Sometimes not enough blood can be drawn and the baby has to go back at a later stage for more.  I prayed all of this week that it went well for Lou, that they drew enough blood, that she didn’t hurt too much.  I also prayed that the results will be positive and healthy.

We are not sure when the results will come in or if we’ll even find out about them before she becomes adoptable.  Lou is our wild card you could say – we are not sure even IF she will become adoptable (her Mother or her Mother’s family may still decide to take her back).  But if she does become adoptable … we want in!  So we carry on with our screening and pray for God to guide her Social Workers.  We pray for her safety and that the Lord is doing the best he can for her.  That he will put her into the loving arms of the parents he’s chosen for her (even if this is not us).

Keep safe, little Lou, may our Lord keep you warm and snug under his wings. xx