Wednesday Wisdom 30/12/2015

“There is an instinct in a woman to love most her own child – and an instinct to make any child who needs her love, her own.”

Robert Brault

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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.”

Wednesday Wisdom 24/06/2015

“I believe one of the most sacrificial acts of love adoptive parents can do is to give up their preconceptions and agendas about what their child’s views “should” be and be open to hear the conflicting emotions and thoughts their child often experiences.”

Sherrie Eldridge

* Taken from the book Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wished Their Adoptive Parents Knew

Sibling Love Knows No Boundaries

This photo blog is just beautiful! Mom captured moments between two siblings (one biological and one adopted).

http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/anna-larson-barely-different-sisters-photography

It reminds me of precious moments that I’ve also pictured with our two children. Nina really adores her brother, and always loves to tell anyone asking that it is her brother – not understanding yet why people may question this.

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Wednesday Wisdom 12/11/2014

“If you love someone unconditionally and with your whole heart, then you will do what is best for them, not you. I have never learned a harder lesson than giving my child up for adoption, I probably never will.”

Sarah, birth mother

Wednesday Wisdom 10/09/2014

“It has been said that adoption is more like a marriage than a birth: two (or more) individuals, each with their own unique mix of needs, patterns and genetic history, coming together with love, hope, commitment for a joint future. You become a family not because you share the same genes, but because you share love for each other.”

Joan McNamara

The Random Moments When Love Happens

This post is real and beautiful. I love her honesty in sharing her emotions.

The random moments when love happens – by Martina Dahlmanns

Martina Dalmas kidsI often remember the moment, when I first held you in my arms: my heart beating a thousand beats a minute, my mind spinning with the many new emotions of this one moment, which would change my life forever; in that first second, when I tried to take you in all at once, searching your tiny, sleeping face for something familiar, that would spark off the firework of love that I had anticipated so many times in the days and weeks waiting for your arrival, in that split second I realised, everything was different from what I had thought it would be.

And as I was forced to drop all my expectations, judgements and assumptions, I started to understand that my love for you – like any force of nature – would make its appearance on its own terms. I could not build or model it on any previous experience and literally had to start from scratch together with you.

The wiser part of me knew without a doubt that it was there and as much a part of me as my breath and my heartbeat – but sitting on that sofa with a whole new life in my arms, not feeling what I had expected to feel, I simply panicked.

The panic did not leave me over the next few days. It got company instead: A strange sadness took hold of me, something primal with no words and no pictures to describe or explain it, just waves and waves of feeling washing over me. Feelings of fear and separation coming from a place and a time, when I had no speech and no understanding.

I don’t know who cried more during these first days we had together, you or I! In the few moments between holding you, feeding you, bathing you and trying to put you to sleep, I walked around in previously familiar rooms like a survivor of my own personal tsunami, feeling disoriented, sifting through the debris trying to identify familiar pieces of myself.

Leah and KalaThen, slowly and almost unnoticeable at first, like a sunrise on a misty winter day, everything changed again, and the first beams of love reached me, totally new and unexpected! I knew then that I could do this, I could begin my journey as your mother, stepping into the unknown and simply trust what you in your wisdom had known all along: that we were both exactly where we were meant to be.

Of course, being my own life long prophet of doom, I managed to slip back a couple of times, and there were – and sometimes still are – moments of deep insecurity when I feel, I am not the mother you deserve.

But mostly I stopped expecting of myself to be and feel a certain way and – for the first time since I can remember – I allowed my feelings to reveal themselves to me, instead of trying to anticipate or control them.

Since then, there is a moment in every day, when I think of you or look at you and my whole being simply dissolves into love. It is the most basic and joyful experience of my life – and I don’t have to do anything in order to earn or deserve it.

What you taught me is that simple: Love can’t be planned or controlled or willed into existence or even anticipated. It just is. And it is in all those random moments that make our life together. It is there, in the perfect curve of your mouth smiling, in the shadow your eyelashes trace on your cheeks, when you are asleep. It spills over in your giggles from the back of my car, when you sing silly songs with your sister and it lives in the corner of your room, where you set up a picnic for your dolls this morning. It is new every day and it teaches me to be curious again.

So from the deepest, wisest part of me, where all that love patiently waited for me to catch up, I thank you for being my child today and teaching me every day how to simply be.

Your Mother

* The post was originally posted on the Cape Town Adoption Support website. You can read it here.