Tag Archives: adoption

Chosen Ones … Part 1: We Were Chosen!!!

OMG!!! I got THE phone call on Tuesday … late afternoon … from a number I didn’t recognise. Mom had popped in as she was in the neighbourhood, so we were chatting idly, having the wine or coffee debate, when my phone rang. Glancing at the number, I assumed that it was an adoption enquiry for one of the kittens we have available for adoption, through the rescue organisation I’m part of. I didn’t recognize the number. For a brief moment I contemplated not answering and getting back to them later, but my inner voice said, “Answer the phone!!”. It was 4:45pm, Tues 17th September 2013.

Chantal’s voice was on the other end, our social worker’s assistant and right hand person, who’s mobile number I don’t have stored on my phone. Just a few nights before I had spoken with Wilna (our social worker) about getting our Police Clearance Certificate and Form 30 (a clearance to say you’re not registered as a child offender) from her for another adoption agency we were talking to so that we could broaden our search. I therefore automatically assumed it was about the forms … but it was THE phone call!!! The one telling us that we were put forward to a matched birth mom and SHE CHOSE US!!!! With my mind reeling I asked a bunch of questions about her and the birth father. Could this be true??? Could this be happening??? Chantal’s voice was filled with excitement on the other side of the phone, mirroring the excitement I was feeling. Next step a meeting with the birth mom … to be scheduled on Thursday, as she wanted to meet us.

When our conversation ended, I looked at my mom with disbelief and my heart pounding so loudly in my chest, that I thought I was going to faint. What we had been waiting for. Baby boy due soon … very soon … the details kind of buzzed around in my head senselessly. I had to tell LH!! Do I tell him over the phone? …. No I would tell him in person when I went to fetch him from the office … His car has been in for repair after a minor accident. The look on LH’s face when I told him was happiness, fear, excitement all in one. Everything I was feeling.

Thursday’s meeting with our birth mom was nothing I expected and oddly everything LH expected. Cape Town was being lashed with a real icy winter storm, as we drove through to Somerset West. Dashing out of the cold and the relentless rain into Wilna’s warm offices in anticipation of what was to come, we were terrified! What if the meeting didn’t go well? What if she didn’t like us?? After a chat with our social worker Wilna and Chantal, affirming our wishes, the moment had come to meet our birth mom. With the roads flooded, the meeting almost didn’t take place, but Chantal was determined to find a way. As our birth mom walked into the room and we said our hello’s, then she let out a nervous sigh as she eased herself into the chair and said “I’m terrified”, at which point we laughed nervously telling her we were just as terrified and the ice was broken. Here was a young lady, making the hardest and bravest decision of her life – that of entrusting us with her baby. With her belly protruding out in front of her, she bravely explained to us why she had chosen our profile and why she was making this decision. I sat there with complete admiration for her courage. My heart went out to her for the decision she is making because of her life circumstances. With no family support, an ex-boyfriend who shirks responsibility and want to distance himself from the situation, she is alone with only the support of social workers. It was a magical meeting where fear, laughter, tears, hope and love filled the room.

Our baby boy is due on 24th September 2013 … just 3 days from now … or any time now. We’re waiting for the call to tell us our Birth Mom is in labour.

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Where To … Part 4: In The Blink Of An Eye

In the blink of an eye life often has unexpected turns around every corner. Just when you think you’re headed in the right direction, an event happens that makes your lose your way again.

We met with our prospective surrogate mother, who seemed like a lovely person, week before last at the fertility clinic. LH and I left our initial meeting with her feeling elated and hopeful and started the ball rolling on meeting with her husband who wasn’t at the meeting, psychometric testing, draft surrogacy agreements, attorney appointments etc …. During the last two weeks however I had tried to, on a numerous occasions, to contact our prospective surrogate only to find that she never answered her phone. I guess from time to time we are all guilty of that, but something was starting to niggle at me.

Last week the bombshell started dropping. Our psychologist KB emailed me with an urgent request to discuss concerns about our potential surrogate. What emerged from KB, our attorney who’d had previous dealings with her under a different name, and subsequently from our own investigation, was alarming and disturbing to say the least. The dirty trail of deceit, outright lies, to fraud … the trail was long … the trail was scary … What her ultimate objective was with us remains unclear, but from what little interaction we’ve had with her to date, her intentions were clearly not good. I severed all ties today … and resolved to continue our search for a surrogate mother.

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Where To … Part 3: We Love It When A Plan Starts Coming Together!

Firstly a belated Happy New Year to everyone following the blog!! I hope that all your dreams for 2013 come true.

Wow! So much has happened since my last entry. LH and I went on a much needed 2 week holiday to the Maldives. The trip was a surprise ‘gift’ from LH for our 3rd anniversary and it couldn’t have come at a better time. We were both emotionally drained and needing ‘time out’ for just the two of us and what a better place to have ‘time out’! In true LH style, when we boarded the plane to Dubai, I had no idea where we were headed! Our days were spent diving the crystal clear warm waters with a myriad of different schools of colourful fish, odd looking ocean creatures and coral, cycling around the island, lazing around our private pool, sipping on cocktails, massages at the spa and dining on delectable Asian cuisine.

Feeling energised on our return, I threw myself into finishing off our adoption profile. Reviewing what I’d done thus far with ‘fresh’ eyes, I scrapped it and started again! I was surprised by the range of emotions I felt whilst putting it together.
* Frustration – what to include / exclude;
* Hope – our baby could arrive any moment once our profile is submitted;
* Anger – why is it so easy for others to become parents and yet we have to ‘promote’ ourselves to a complete stranger;
* Empathy and sadness – if selected by a birth mother, we gain a family of our own, whilst she loses a child;
* Self doubt – will the prospective birth mothers like and connect with our profile … choose us as the couple to raise their child?
I was pleased with the final result of our profile and looked forward to receiving the printed copy in the post at the end of December. On the 4th January we delivered our profile to the social workers, along with all the other original copies of documentation and were registered on the central national database of prospective adoptive parents. The ‘wait’ has officially begun …

Since that fateful day 14th October 2010 when we lost our daughter 5 months into my pregnancy, then again 29th August 2012 when we lost our son 13 weeks into our surrogate mother’s pregnancy and the graveyard of little embryos in between, I’ve not cared much for Christmas and New Year. It’s a really difficult time for me, especially this past festive season where everything seemed to be hanging in the air – so much uncertainty. Waiting for our adoption profile to arrive, worrying about our trusty doc who was gravely ill, wondering whether we’d ever be able to find another surrogate mother, wondering whether the fading hope I hang onto every day is just a foolish dream. It was therefore such a lovely surprise when I received a phone call from our trusty doc just last week with news that he is well, back at work and has a potential surrogate mother for us!

With hope restored, perhaps 2013 will be our year after all! With conservative excitement and some trepidation, we’re pressing forward and making the necessary arrangements / appointments with psychologists, attorneys etc … And so our surrogacy journey begins anew …

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Where To … Part 2: The Way Forward

My mind has been in a million places since I last wrote in the blog. At one point I was just about ready to give up, feeling exasperated, frustrated and totally hopeless. The brain however should not be underestimated (even mine!) as it is a wonderful organ, which finds a way to heal and seeks clarity, restoring our hope and our dreams. So although the frustration of our helplessness seems insurmountably great, our loss unbelievably painful, we are not defeated and remain determined to succeed in our journey to parenthood.

In the past weeks we’ve started walking the avenue of adoption, have had our adoption screening and are patiently waiting for the feedback whilst preparing our adoption profile. Simultaneously we’ve decided not to give up hope on the surrogacy front and are actively looking for a surrogate, exploring options available to us both locally and internationally. One thing I have come to terms with is that I will never have a biological child of my own – a full sibling to Stella, but it’s a reality I’ve now made peace with (finally), so we’ll be going straight to donor egg. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I thought I had 3 options for a surrogate mother, but sadly all fell through:
1. Surro Mom 1 – considered too risky taking our history into account as she’s had 4 caesars, which compromises her uterus
2. Surro Mom 2 – the commissioning parents became parents through adoption, but then decided to also do IVF starting January 2013.
3. Surro Mom 3 – has medical complication and we felt was doing it for the wrong reasons as her decision was purely financially motivated despite the changes to the SA law.

As we’ve come to learn the hard way, this journey is one that we cannot map out step by step. There are so many unknowns, so many hurdles and unexpected obstacles. I’ve adopted a saying “What will be … will be” … whilst it doesn’t wipe away the tears, the anguish, the loss, the pain of what has happened in the past, it makes the inability to control what happens in the future more bearable. All I can do in the meantime is try to set the wheels in motion as best I can.

For now I’m focussing on two tasks – that of finding a surrogate mother and putting our adoption profile together. We’re hoping that someone out there may find it in their hearts to give us the greatest gift we could wish for.

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Where To: I’m a Good Enough Person … Aren’t I?

With the forces of nature seemingly determined to stand in my way, blocking my path and intent on sweeping a cruel hand of devastation to destroy any progress towards my wish for a family, I’m finding it pretty darn hard not to start second guessing myself. Perhaps I’m not meant to be a mother? Maybe I don’t deserve to have a family? What am I doing that is so wrong?

Whenever these thoughts have clouded my judgement, I’ve desperately tried to push them away by screaming at the world:
I AM worthy!
I DO deserve a family!
I WILL make a great mother!
WTF??

Yesterday I read with disbelief a news article about a mother (is she a mother?) who is on trial for murdering her 5 children. She stabbed 4 of them with a steak knife and drowned her youngest in a basin who was just 2 years old. She blamed it on her abusive relationship with the children’s father and financial problems. WTF????? What kind of a pathetic excuse is that?? Here I am – solid marriage with LH – financially secure – would never lay a vicious hand on a child of mine and yet … I can’t even have ONE???? What’s up with that?????????

As you’ve probably guessed the last week has been a cycle of:
- Complete disbelief / numbness
How can this happen to us – yet again?? Have I run out of tears?
- Irrational blood boiling anger / fury
The effing doctors that didn’t figure out there was a problem before embryo transfer, the effing egg donor who didn’t know she had a bad gene, LH & just EFFING EVERYONE!
- Guilt
Our SM had to go through the trauma of miscarriage. Our egg donor now going to find out she has a major genetic issue.
- Helplessness
Nothing in this process has been in my control … and it still remains out of my control … I can’t change anything
- Devastating sadness and gut wrenching tears
I’ve lost two babies. Our precious Stella who was 100% healthy but was encased in my patched up uterus that ruptured and now our son, who although encased in the perfect uterus of our SM, had severe congenital heart failure due to a partially formed heart amongst other problems, making survival an impossibility.

What does the future hold for us? I really don’t know. For now LH and I want to take a bit of a break, pull ourselves together, build up our emotional strength, before we think about how best to move forward. In all honesty I’d be really happy with a vacation from reality right now, but unless someone has some kind of gizmo to port us into another happier dimension where things are constantly in our control and just always work out, that’s unlikely to happen any time soon. So for now, I’ll put on a brave face and muddle through everything until it all starts getting a bit clearer.

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IVF IV Part 0.4… In response to the comment from “me”

In answer to the comment to my previous blog post which read:
“You know, adoption is cheaper and a lot less selfish as it helps a homeless child. Why can’t people that claim to be sooo desperate for a child see that?”

Forgive me if I’m not very well equipped to handle your flippant remarks, but I will do my best. I will start by saying please think before you speak and consider that we are going through a very tough time. Perhaps your opinion may be a luxury and actually not worth much at all, because your children are biological and were easy to conceive. Your tone indicates to me that you have not personally experienced losing a pregnancy, a child or lost the ability to conceive, as anyone that has been through such experience could not possibly be so brash and inconsiderate. Until you have personally known what it is like to lose your uterus, almost lose your life, be left in ICU holding your tiny dead baby in your arms following an emergency Caesar, trying to commit to memory every detail of her face … her hands … her feet … you could not possibly know or relate to the subject. I’m guessing you probably tell your friends who’ve experienced a miscarriage, “well you can always have other babies”. Well, it’s not other babies they want! It’s the one that they have lost!

You speak of adoption as if it’s like popping down to your local shelter and simply selecting one from a myriad of cribs and saving a little soul in the process. If you took the time to research the topic of adoption before callously commenting, you would understand this is not the case at all. For your benefit and for others who have the misfortune to come across your sadly uninformed wrath, let me briefly educate you by firstly addressing your comment in the hopes of introducing some compassion into your communication style:

1. “You know” … having been down this avenue and researched the topic, yes I do know – only too well. What differentiates me from you however, is that I also understand.
2. “… adoption is cheaper …” – Whilst this isn’t about ecomonics, adoption isn’t necessarily cheaper and has its own merits and pitfalls. There is an extensive screening process that normally involves orientation meetings, interviews with social workers, full medicals, marriage and psychological assessments, home visits, police clearance and references. Once the screening process is complete, which can take anything from 6 months to a year to complete, applicants are placed on a waiting list for a child. The official placement of the child with the adoptive parents is a legal process, carried out through the Children’s Court. All of this, not surprisingly, costs money.
3. “ … a lot less selfish …” – Adoption and IVF both carry financial, medical, and family dynamic risks. Neither could therefore be considered a more selfish or selfless act than the other. Don’t get me wrong, adoption is an awesome and fantastic choice for couples and their extended families who reach that decision together. Then again, so is having a child that is genetically linked to you.
4. “ … as it helps a homeless child …” – I have to ask how many homeless children you have helped in the last 3 months or in your lifetime … and I don’t mean sticking your hand out of your car window at a traffic light with a few coins. Or better yet, how many homeless children you have adopted? I would guess that it’s probably none. I won’t bore you with the details of how many homeless, abandoned and abused children we have helped over the years and continue to help through a haven for abused and abandoned children that we are closely linked to.
5. “Why can’t people that claim to be sooo desperate for a child see that?” – Adoption is a beautiful path to parenthood for those who chose that route. Adoption however is not an easy fix and not a cure for the pain and hurt that comes with infertility and the loss of a child. Adoption is also not an easy fix for the children who have been put into the system through no choice of their own. Adoption has its own share of heartbreaks and hurdles, with some couples waiting years to receive a placement. Adoption is a journey that in itself requires preparation, not just for the adoptive parents, but for the extended family as well. In short, adoption is a lot harder, expensive and time oppressive than it seems.

Additional factors to take into consideration when adopting are:
- There is a cooling off period of 60 days in adoption in South Africa, during which the birth mother may change her mind and reclaim the baby.
- It takes a long time, anything from 2 to 5 or more years for a placement to happen.
- The deficit of genetic markers and possibility of not being able to ‘relate’ or connect.
- Adopted children often experience issues relating to abandonment, loss, rejection, trust, intimacy, guilt and shame, mastery and control, and identity.
- The role of genetics in potential disorders and future issues of the adopted child. We know and understand what our genetic make up and history is, however that of an adopted child remains a mystery.

Ultimately it’s all about personal choice and respecting that choice. For now LH and I are yearning for a baby that is biologically and genetically ours. We have discussed and are in agreement that we will consider the option of using donor eggs, should we get to that point. Whilst these are choices that we have made, adoption will always be an option, but one that we will need to carefully consider, taking our personal circumstances and family dynamics into consideration.

So in the meantime … shhhhhh … reserve your harsh and uninformed comments. Just a hug will be fine thanks.

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