Celebrating 5 Years of Being Family!

It is October in Pretoria – the most beautiful month in our beautiful city! I never get tired of seeing the streets of our city lined with the most vibrant green and of course purple trumpet flowers of the Jacaranda trees. We have also been in the grip of a heat wave, with temperatures soaring above 33 degrees for nearly two weeks now and it seems that spring was just a rumour. With the high temperatures we have had to make plans for the children to cool down as we do not have a swimming pool. Buckets, hoses, sprayers and even a big crate do the trick so that they spend hours entertaining themselves and cooling down.

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Watching my two kids play in the water, fills my heart with joy and gratefulness. They splash, laugh, tease each other and of course fight with each other like any other set of siblings do. And that is what makes me happy – they are just like any other siblings, regardless of the fact that they don’t look like each other or like us. We are family!

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So many days I am aware of how God created each child uniquely and specifically for our family. Nina is a strong willed girl, not really phased by other’s opinions with an imagination that may have her end up on stage. Siya on the other hand is a people-pleaser. Enjoying attention and wanting people to like him – and of course he succeeds in this wherever we go. These unique traits of them have already helped them in handling situations. Siya recently started school and having Nina as his big-sister has helped a lot. She protects him like a tiger and handles all the “Is he really your brother?” questions without blinking an eye. Of course we have to help her and teach her the correct words to say, but she isn’t offended by anyone trying to tell her he cannot be her brother.

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In the past few weeks we have celebrated both their birthdays. Siya turned two end of August and Nina turned 5 a few days ago. Birthdays especially are a time when I am reminded of this wonderful and precious blessing that we have experienced with the adoption of our two children. In the normal day to day life of being family we tend to forget how we became family. We are a normal family with the normal ups and downs of parenthood. Days are filled with instructing and disciplining our children, breaking up fights, nagging them to eat their food and clean up their rooms. Mornings filled with the rush to get everyone on time for work and school. Bedtime routines that can sometime go on much longer than hoped for.

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This week, 5 years after becoming parents for the first time, I have been thinking so much about this road that we have been on. I have been thinking about our struggle with infertility and what an incredible heavy burden it was at the time to carry, not really believing that there will be a time where I am completely at peace with the fact that I will never conceive. I have been thinking about how we wondered and prayed about how our family wlll handle adoption, and how we were blessed with a loving, open-armed family welcoming both our children. I have been thinking about the moments I first met each baby – Nina as a newborn giving her first cry and Siya when he was 7 weeks old. And then of course I have been thinking a lot about our childrens’s brave tummy mommies. Always grateful, always humbled beyond words for their selfless act of love and gift of life to us!

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I have also been wondering lately what our lives would have been like if we didn’t go through these trials and things happened the way we thought and hoped that it would. If I had a choice, what would it be? And then I can say with a certain heart – I will not choose a thing different than how it happened! The trial of infertility brought to me a new understanding of what it means to live with my eyes fixed on Jesus and hoping and longing for an Eternal Life with our Heavenly Father. Adoption taught me a deep gospel truth of how God adopted us into His family (Eph 1:3-10), and I truly believe that I would never have understood this completely if it weren’t for experiencing this personally.

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Looking back on our journey I can echo Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 8:28

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

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Moving Beyond Infertility

This short post sums up so much of the emotional complexity when dealing with infertility and making decision to refocus your energy on adoption.

Part of this process is to make peace with the fact that you most probably will never conceive your own biological children. As one sentence in this post says: “You have to mourn the children you will never have in order to heal completely.”  

I was emotionally raw after every round of infertility treatment, and unsure how I will ever be able to come to terms with the fact that I might never conceive, never experience the wonder of having a baby grow in my womb, never look into a child’s face and recognising my own or my husband’s features.

Our journey with the fertility treatments ended not necessarily by our own choice, but we were advised by our specialist that it is probably futile to pursue IVF further. So we were forced to redirect our efforts and focus on adoption.  During this time we read a book “Adopted for Life” by Russell Moore which helped tremendously.

I was  initially worried whether I would have to carry the burden and pain of infertility for the rest of my life, but our Lord was and is faithful! I always tell people that God did a miracle in my heart once we started the adoption process. The moment we decided to move on, I felt as if a dead weight was lifted from my shoulders. I felt free! For the first time in so many years I could see pregnant women and not feel as if I wanted to break down and sob. I could attend friends’s baby showers without feeling resentful and pitying myself. I could start looking at baby clothes in the shops and not despair that I will never experience the joy of buying clothes for my little babies. What a blessing! What a miracle!

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It is 5 years now since our last effort to fall pregnant, and my heart is filled with gratefulness and joy! Grateful that I could experience the miracle of adoption. Grateful that I am blessed with two beautiful children. Grateful that I could learn so much from our Heavenly Father about how He adopted us into His family. Grateful that I can be a mommy!  I am filled with joy when I see my husband playing with our kids. I am overwhelmed with joy when my little girl throws her arms around me and tells me: “I love you to bits!!” .

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There are definitely still days that I wonder what it would have felt like to experience pregnancy. There are times that I wonder what our biological children would have looked like, or how their personalities would have been. But when these emotions come and linger a little bit longer than I want them to, I choose to rejoice and praise our Lord God and thank Him for this blessing!

Read the post “Are You Done Trying? On mourning, healing and accepting infertility” here.

 

What makes a Joyful home? 10 Reflections

I came across this inspiring blog post on Tim Challies’s blog.

The writer gives 10 reflections from her journey as a mother and how a joyful attitude changes the whole atmosphere in a home.

Here are her 10 main points:

1. Fill the home with laughter

2. Realize a mother’s power in her home

3.  Remember that work is a good gift

4.  Read God’s Word as a family every day

5. Show affection continually

6. Celebrate ordinary days

7. Play

8. Remember that joy is a moment by moment choice

9. Love one another

10. Pursue the One who gives joy

Nr 8 is especially challenging to me to realise that to be joyful remains a choice we make, and even if the day started out very bad we can still choose to be joyful!

I encourage you to read the whole blog here.