Grace Khethiwe McDowell is home! We couldn’t be more proud. Both Momma and Dadda are doing fabulously and Gracie is flourishing.
It’s so hard to think back to the day we got her – it feels like a lifetime ago, when it was only 3 months ago. 2 April 2013 came with such excitement! Here we are, all packed up with my “momma bag” and ready to meet our wee lass and bring her home. My parents came through for a few days to help us out.
Excuse the squinting but it was a REALLY HOT and sunny day. The orange packet over Gary’s shoulder was a bunch of toys we sifted out from donations from family and friends to give to the home – a nice gesture we hoped in return for our baba. We went in two cars, my parents following. We picked our social worker up and headed for the Children’s Home. Here’s our bundle of joy with our social worker…
And with my parents – her Nana and Grandpa…
And with us – yay!
We changed her quickly – we had brought a little outfit for her so as not to take any clothing away that would be needed by the home for their other babies – and headed for Children’s Court for approval of guardianship pending adoption (technically called change of place of safety, pending adoption).
Did we mention it was HOT?! It was also a typical government, administrative nightmare. The Magistrate had not arrived that day and so another one had to be called in. We sat with our wee lass that was new to us and us to her and had to try and figure out (in a cramped waiting room) how to best care for her as new parents.
Gracie also had a bad cold we discovered and coughed up a storm! EVERYBODY was telling us how best to help her, one lady even marched me down a corridor to get water for her, never mind that I had been giving her a week rooibos-water mix, NO, I had to do what she said. *sigh*.
A few hours later, though, we had the paperwork to take her home – what joy!
Gracie settled in VERY quickly and was happy to adjust to our routines. I won’t lie, in our second week we had three days of her testing the routines and screaming up a storm but we kept at it and she settled down again and has been a dream since. She sleeps twelve hours straight at night making it very easy to still have adult time. We are blessed.
She’s been a sheer joy. She is such a happy chappy, a social bunny that is more than happy to be passed around and loved by anyone.
She loves to be busy and stimulated, so much so, that we got her into playschool sooner than we thought we would. In her second month with us, she started going half-day and took to it like a duck to water. After a couple of weeks, I had informed work that our cherub would be going full-time to playschool in June thus freeing me up to come back to work one month early, if they were okay with that – they were eager to oblige.
Our babs has been at playschool full day for one month now and is flourishing in the stimulating environment. She comes home so happy and beautifully tired that we know she’s in the right place during the day. It is a home-based school that has been around for 22 years. Being a home based school is reassuring – say if something happens that makes it impossible for us to get to her normal time she can be cared for by the owner there. She is very popular at the school with her sunny and easy-going nature and is often seen in the arms of some of the older children who attend after-school care there. She is also learning Zulu there with the black carers which is something we really wanted for her.
Just some more brag pictures from the past couple of months…
Grace was also baptised recently and we were so blessed by the support from so many people – family, friends and fellow parishioners. My dad is a minister so he conducted the service and baptised her at his church in Margate – what a special moment. Here we are, all together as a family on the day –
She was loved up by all…
Gracie also got to meet her God-father, my cousin Ryan.
My Mum made her a BEAUTIFUL white and yellow dress that I unfortunately don’t have a picture of her in 😦 We changed her into her red and white mini mouse outfit that afternoon as it was more comfortable for her.
During my maternity leave, we were given the increadible blessing of meeting the Doctors who attended to Grace the moment she was abandoned. It was an amazing God-incidence, we were told more about the day she was abandoned and her first few weeks spent in their care. We were even given photos and clothing of hers from when she was in their care at only two weeks of age – I will post about this soon, promise. Here’s a sneaky peak though of Grace at 2 weeks old …
So that’s where we are at. Gracie turns the big 1 (already?!?!) this next month on 2 August 2013. And the final adoption should come through in August – we can’t wait.