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.”

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.

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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.

 

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.

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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!

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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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