Wednesday Wisdom 22/4/2015

“Adoption is a commitment that you enter into blindly, but it is no different than adding a child by birth. It is essential that adoptive parents are committed to making it work, committed to parenting this child for the rest of their lives, and committed to parenting through the tough stuff.”

Brooke Randolph

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30 Questions All Adoptees Want Answered

This is a very practical list of questions that most adoptees would want to have answered at some or other time during their life, as they try and piece together who they are and how their story unfolded.

30 Questions All Adoptees Want Answered

Through my work as a court appointed agent with adoptees in search, I have learned that many older adoptees have persistent questions about adoption. As they grew up, they wondered about very basic information but were afraid to ask their parents.

To help other adoptees avoid the same adoption-related identity issues, I made a list of the things that the adoptees I worked with most wanted to know about themselves, their birth parents, and their adoption circumstances. I recommend that adoptive parents try to gather as many answers to these questions about adoption as they can when their children are young and the information is easier to find.

I encourage parents to share this information with their child before adolescence to promote a stronger sense of identity and avoid issues later on. Information that would be matter-of-fact to children at a younger age becomes a crisis if they’re older and don’t know.

I have been busy gathering information to share with my own nine children. It has offered them another piece of who they are.

1. What are my birth parents’ first and middle names?

2. Where was I born (hospital and city)?

3. What time was I born?

4. Were there any complications at the time of my birth?

5. Did my birth mother see me or hold me?

6. Who else was present at my birth?

7. What were the circumstances surrounding my placement?

8. Did my birth mother pick my adoptive family?

9. Did my birth mother know anything about my adoptive family? Did she meet my adoptive parents?

10. What did my birth mother name me?

11. Does anyone else in my birth family know about me? Who knows what?

12. How old were my birth parents when I was born?

13. Were my birth parents married when I was born?

14. Where did my birth parents go to high school? College?

15. What kind of students were they?

16. What religious backgrounds do my birth parents have?

17. What is my ethnic/racial background?

18. Did my birth parents marry each other or anyone else after I was born? Do I have any biological siblings? Do they know about me?

19. Did I go to a foster home after leaving the hospital?

20. What was my foster family’s name? How long was I there?

21. What do my birth mother and birth father look like? May I have a picture of them?

22. Are my birth parents still alive?

23. Do my birth parents love me?

24. Do my birth parents think about me? Did they ever regret their decision?

25. Do my birth parents have any special talents, hobbies, or interests?

26. What traits did I inherit from my birth parents? Personality? Looks? Talents?

27. Did my birth parents write to me over the years (journal/letters in a file)?

28. Are there any medical concerns I should know about?

29. If I called my birth parents or wanted to meet them someday, what would they do?

30. What should I call my birth parents?

*This post was originally published here.

Nina turns 4!

October will always be one of the most beautiful months to me. We live in Pretoria, which is also known as the Jacaranda City. These beautiful trees are in full bloom during October, and line our streets with their purple trumpet flowers. It is also when our jasmine bushes start to blossom filling the air with their sweet fragrance. But October is also the month when we celebrate Nina’s birth.

Jacarandas

Now Nina is 4 years old – and what a blessing she is to us! She is a lively, energetic girl with an imagination that can only make you laugh. She loves ballet, fairies, princess stories and dressing up but can play and jump and climb like a real tomboy. 🙂 A good mental picture of her is dressed in a fairy skirt with fairy wings, crown on the head, but feet and hands dirty and legs full of bruises. Never a dull moment!

2 years old.

2 years old

3 years old

Turning 3

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Now a big girl!

In this time we also specifically remember Nina’s very brave tummy mommy. We know she is also thinking of Nina. We pray for her, that Jesus will also fill her heart continually with His presence and peace. We always thank the Lord for her selfless act of love.

As these beautiful burst of colourful flowers after a cold highveld winter signifies the promise of summer and new life, it is also a reminder to me how our Father brought new life into our lives after going through the long and painful road of infertility.

We love you dearest Nina!! Our prayer for you is that you continue to mature in a girl that will love Jesus increasingly and live for His glory.

 

A Letter to Her Daughter’s Birth Mom

In this post the writer shares a letter that she has written to her daughter’s birth mom 7 years ago. It really brought me to tears. We were also in the very fortunate positioned to have met and spend some time with both our children’s birth mothers. They will always be part of our family and I love seeing and recognising their features in my children. Both birth mothers are very brave women who I admire for their selfless act of love and the gift they have given us in entrusting their children in our care.

The Letter She Wrote to Her Daughter’s Birth Mother

 

How Our Family Started – Nina’s Special Story

Children come into families in different ways – some by caeserian section, some by natural birth and some through adoption. In our case its been adoption.

After trying to conceive for several years, going through numerous tests and procedures without any positive outcome we decided it was time to investigate adoption. Before we got married, while going through a premarital course we discussed how we would handle infertility and decided then already that we would definitely keep adoption open as an option if it gets to that. We even went as far as to say that even if we were to have our own biological children we would still like to adopt “one day”.

December 2009 we were finally faced with one of the biggest decisions of our lives so far – to stop fertility treatment and pursue adoption or carry on with the hope that we might conceive someday. During our December vacation we both read the book “Adopted for Life” by Russell Moore. This might have been the most important book that focused our efforts and energy into the adoption process.

Back home after our holidays we started finding out about the process and the various options. In the end we decided to go with a private social worker as it was common knowledge that this route was by far the easiest and least tedious. But still little did we know about all the paperwork, home studies, police clearance, family interviews etc etc.

Adoption Paperwork

By June that year our profile was ready and all the paperwork done – we were ready to be “paper pregnant”! A few weeks later my mom phoned me about a friend of their neighbour that knew about a young girl that was pregnant. Due to her circumstances she was unable to keep her baby.

Would we send our profile to them? This wasn’t the first time we would hear about a situation like this. So we actually didn’t give too much thought to it but did forward our profile.

3 weeks later I got a phone call on a winter’s afternoon. It was the pregnant girl’s sister saying that her sister wanted us to adopt her baby if we still wanted to! Wow! I had to pinch mysef and relive the conversation a few times before I realised that this was really happening!!

A week later our social worker flew down from Cape Town and we all arranged to meet at O.R. Tambo Airport. The emotions were surreal. What would she look like? What will she think when she meets us? Will she change her mind?! Finally the day arrived and we went to the airport. I spotted her immediately in the Spur and my first thoughts were – Beautiful!! She had big blue eyes, porcelain white skin and a shy smile. The meeting went well and we arranged to go with her to the next gynaecologist appointment. There we met our beautiful daughter for the first time on the sonar screen! The next few weeks would be characterized by an emotional rollercoaster ride! Excitement mixed with anxious thoughts – was this really happening?!

Finally the big day – 7 October 2010 – arrived! What a strange mix of emotions… We left our home early to avoid the traffic to Johannesburg – we couldn’t be late for the birth of our daughter!! We met our biological mom and her sister in the labour ward and had a special time together, exchanging gifts. Nina’s biological mom made her a quilt with her date of birth on it. We treasure it and keep it safe to give it to Nina at the right time as part of her special story.

Nina quilt

Just after 8am our perfect gift was delivered by c/section! I was in the theatre along with our very brave biological mom’s sister. After the paediatrician checked her, he handed her to me and I could hold my daughter for the first time! A true heart-stopping moment!! I was admitted to the labour ward with Nina and was her mommy from her first breath! I will always thank and praise our Lord for this incredible privilege! After 2 days we were all discharged and it was time to say goodbye. It was sad to greet everyone, but our hearts were full!

Nina geboorte

Family photo

Now Nina is 3 1/2! She is a joy – exuberant, full of life, laughter and adventure! I truly hope that one day I will be able to tell her in as much detail as possible about the brave, selfless act of love her “tummy-mommy” did by entrusting her into our care! We thank God our Father for the special privilege He has given us to experience the joy of parenthood and the wonder of adoption!

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