Category Archives: The Journey

Adopting a new way of life


Greetings in this New Year and here’s to new chapters in all of our lives!

2013 is going to one of our most exciting years to date in our marriage as we have decided to pursue the adoption option.  I am so excited about it that the whole trauma and heartache with fertility treatments feels like a memory of another lifetime.  There is something so pure and special about the prospect of adopting a child and I just know it makes God smile.

It should be noted that adoption has always been something we had wanted to pursue.  We had hoped to do a combo of having a biological child and adopting a child – in that order.  Perhaps God prefers it the other way around 🙂

I really started hearting after adoption in October 2012 – around the time that I received the most gorgeous necklace from my brother and sister-in-law for my birthday.  It is made from paper spun to form beads and crafted by local women in Botswana (my brother and his family live in Gaborone).  The women, who make these, sell them to support orphaned children.  I just wept at the little information card that came with it – see it here –

Mothers for All_1

The other side of the card showed this –

Mothers for All_2

I immediately wanted to rush out and adopt from Botswana!!!  Out of interest, I did conduct a little research and discovered that adopting from Botswana was not going to be an option for us as you can only adopt if you reside there or plan to spend around 2 years there to complete the adoption process – ouch!  The point, though, is that this wee gift put adoption back firmly on the cards for me and (a little more slowly) for Gary (I am naturally more impulsive and spontaneous, Gary is a slow and steady kinda guy).  So we’ve been mulling it over since and decided to give it a go in the New Year of 2013.

We weighed up our options – we could either seek a baby through local children’s homes / child welfare or we could go the private route of adopting from a birth mom.  Here are the facts:

Sourcing our baby from local children’s homes / child welfare – we spoke to the head of a local baby home who informed us of two shocking things with this option: (1) We would not get a newborn baby!  Apparently there is a 6 month wait after the baby/child comes to the Home – 3 months are spent seeking any family members who may wish to take the child (they do this by advertising Nationally in newspapers) and then 3 months are spent seeking adoptive parents of the same race as the baby/children (so for a black baby they seek a black couple to adopt the child).  The latter 3 months was a big shock for us and is apparently a new law that came into effect in January 2012.  So we would only be eligible for a baby or child a full 6 months after he/she arrives at the Home. (2) The second fact that threw us completely is that the waiting list for babies is horrendously long.  Who knew?!  We had thought that with so many abandoned babies in this country that it would not be hard to adopt.  We were informed of one couple (an Indian couple) who had waited 11 years and are only now getting their baby!  I figured that their long wait was because there aren’t many Indian babies available but I was told that they were not particular about race and adopted a little black boy.  If we have to wait 11 years Gary will be in his 50’s and thinking about retirement coming up.  We cannot chance waiting this long.

Approaching private social workers for a private adoption from a birth-mom – this is the route we are taking.   The idea behind this is that we adopt a baby from a mom-to-be who is placing her baby up for adoption on birth.  We approached two private agencies and decided to go with one agency for now – Procare based in Hatrfield, Pretoria. You can check out the Procare website here:  We first heard about Procare from our friend and neighbour, Robyn.  She told us of Procare and how they are a great organisation that stems from an anti-abortion group (ProLife).  She has two sets of friends who adopted through this organisation and they highly recommend it.  From what we understand, a profile of us will go to the birth-moms who get to choose from the profiles who they would like their baby to go to.  Once the baby is born, they baby stays in the Home or with a “kangaroo-mom” for 60 days (the time given the birth-mom to change her mind about the adoption) after which time the baby then comes to us and there is then no going back 🙂 .  We really like Procare’s values and all the work that they do and so we submitted our Adoption Application forms to them a week ago.  Within a couple of days we were telephoned and asked to come in for an Adoption Orientation session with them.  So next week Friday, 18 January 2013, we fly to Johannesburg to take the first step towards making the Midlands McDowells the Midlands McDowell FAMILY!  We don’t know all the ins and outs right now, but we will definitely know more after our session at Procare.

As always, we are seeking God’s direction in all of this.  As I like to say – we will put a door out there with Procare and wait to see if He opens it and if He leads us through it.  Keep praying for our precious little child to be made available to us at the right time and please pray too for our birth-mom, whoever she may be, pray for all that she will be going through and the tough decision to place her baby into adoption – we cannot imagine how difficult it must be for her.

“He predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will” Ephesians 1: 5


A Thanksgiving revelation


We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in South Africa, however this year our church took the opportunity to mark this event.  We had a fabulous big, bare tree branch popped into the church and we were encouraged to spend some time in prayer and write our thanks onto leaf-shaped-cards and then to stick them onto the tree.  It was a beautiful idea both spiritually and to look at.

Most wonderous though was what I experienced during that service.  A GLORIOUS revelation.  I was giving thanks, quietly, for a time of peace from all the heartache we’d experienced during this past year, 2012.  We’ve been taking a break from actively pursuing any path towards parenthood and, although this initially it frustrated me, it has been wonderfully refreshing and given me a sense of restoration and normality.  However, during my thanks, I asked God, again, if he couldn’t perhaps heal my body of its dysfunction.  And then it hit me.  The Lord told me to give thanks for my broken body!  Whaaaat?!  That’s what I said!  He then opened my eyes to his view of it all and this is how he views it: 

The Lord LOVES me exactly the way I am. 

He MADE me just as I am. 

I am the way I am because he has plans for me, this is for HIS glory.

I am PERFECT, just the way I am.


Immediately I recalled a saying I’ve heard my Dad preach – I am God’s and “he don’t make no junk!”  I was shocked and released from pain all within an instance.  

It has been quite a mind shift but it is now the ONLY way I can view my body.  What did I write on my card in church?  I wrote – “I give thanks for a broken body”.  To be honest, I now don’t see my body as broken, I see it as beautifully different, moulded for His purposes.  And I can’t WAIT to see what he has in store for us! 


A short cycle and short temper


My recent cycle kicked in balancing out the long cycle I had last month.  Last month I had a never-experienced-before 31 day cycle; so naturally the pendulum had to swing the other way this month and it yielded a pathetic 16 day cycle – did my body not even try to have a normal cycle?!?!  I mean, what was that?!?! 


Really not sure why it was so short this month and so long last month.  The one possibility is that this month’s cycle stemmed from the ovary that is failing quicker than the other, causing the shorter cycle this month.  We’ll have to see if this is a pattern though before we can fully assume this line of reasoning. 

This is now my shortest cycle so far, recently I have gone down to 18 day cycles.  16 days now makes me a bit nervous.  I can’t help but feel that this is a sure sign that my impending early menopause is around the corner and to be honest it is a little scary.  I am totally not the type who panics about getting older, seriously!  But on fertility lines, once I hit menopause, the chances of me EVER getting pregnant are pretty much zilch – outside of a miracle of course. 

So, it would seem logical to make a mad dash back to the Doc and beg for another round of IVF.  However, I don’t feel any desire to do this at this stage – bizarre!  In fact, about a week ago I emailed the Doc (well I had to email one of the ladies at the clinic and ask her to send my mail onto him, as I don’t have a direct email address for him) to say a million thanks for all their care and attention with us and to say a very sad farewell.  In the letter, we told the Doc how sorry we were that we could not go through with his next IVF programme he had drawn up for us – due only to a lack of funds.  I had kinda hoped he would offer to reduce our programme cost (a friend who is with the same doc told us that had done this a couple of times for them and suggested we ask, I couldn’t do that outright) but alas – no response!  Not even an acknowledgment of our note.  I did however subsequently get two love notes from the Doc’s rooms asking for outstanding balances on my recent laparoscopy that our medical aid did not cover.  Boy was I an unhappy bunny!  Not the kind of response I was hoping for.  It really hurts that the only responses to our letter of thanks and farewell were two bills. 

So for now, things remain quiet on the home front, we continue to wait (as per the Lord’s instructions to me), pray and hope for some direction from God.

Which foot forward


During our morning readings today this was at the top of the page:

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern the will of God” Romans 12: 2

How we needed this right now, how desperately we want to discern God’s will for us going forward!  We are not entirely sure which way to go next.  We have prayed and prayed for guidance with seemingly no answer. 

I am an action kinda gal.  Gary is a ponderous and patient kinda guy, so naturally I have been tearing my hair out with the fact that he is waiting and thinking and not taking things in a new direction for us.   Last night, I got down on my hands and knees, face to the ground and asked God what I (Sian) should do – I believe I heard him say “wait”.  Oh boy!  I hope I was wrong as waiting is not one of my strengths.  If God is telling me to wait, then I hope it is not a long wait!

We must point out that we do have a plan, we are just pondering and praying on whether to kick things up a notch and put the plan into action.  However, the past few months (with the surrogacy and then IVF attempts) have been such a whirlwind and all happened so so so quickly.  We think that maybe taking a little time out just to breath, think, talk and wait a little is what is required.

Either way, we know God has something exciting in store for us – he ALWAYS does!  What we need right now is simply prayer for direction, scripture to inspire and strengthen us – and real wisdom for discerning His will.



It’s been a while since I last captured my thoughts here – the reason for this is that there has been a lot on our minds and it just seemed too complicated and uncertain to put pen to paper.  But even capturing the thoughts and ramblings is important for recording our journey so here we go – our attempt to pen it all down in this short post and the post to follow (too much for one post).

We are not pursuing another round of IVF. 

The reason is not because we no longer wish to go this route, we would love to give it one more go, we do not, however, have sufficient funds to do this.  We are around R15,000.00 short for another attempt.  This is a tad too much to put onto the credit card – my poor card has wept every time I’ve pulled it out since we began this journey and I have only just recently settled these debts (we had funds set aside for the bulk of the IVF but all the smaller bits and bobs went onto my credit card which accumulated into a large amount very quickly).  The one great difficulty with IVF is the cost and toll it takes on your wallet.  Gary and I are not ones to rack up debt – we don’t even have clothing accounts or store cards.  So we’ve handed the matter over to our Lord – if He wills it, we trust that He will provide for it.  If not, we will move forward, seeking His will in a different direction.

And we are already pursuing a different direction.

‘Let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.’  Colossians 3:15