My husband and I had always discussed adoption and the fact that we would like to adopt a child at some point in our lives. To be able to change a child’s life from one of despair to one of hope and life was an opportunity we wanted to take. We started trying for a family, but after a year without falling pregnant we found out I had poly cystic ovaries. This means that it can be more difficult to fall pregnant. We had to make a decision; keep trying to conceive, or adopt first and have biological children later? We decided to look more seriously into adoption. We were honest with each other and shared concerns we had: what if we loved a biological child more than an adopted child? What if race was an issue? What if our child had issues because of being adopted? What if our friends or family didn’t support our decision? But we talked through these issues and realized that giving a child a chance at a new life was more important than any worries we had.
We got married in August 2007 and had decided to start trying to conceive immediately. I got off my contraceptives and hoped it would happen within three months, with teenagers falling pregnant everyday how hard could it really be? I was in for a shock of my life. A year later nothing had happened so we decided to seek medical advice.
After various intrusive tests for trying to do something so special, private and beautiful we discovered my fallopian tubes were blocked. The only way for me to conceive was through IVF. We saved some money and in 2010 March we started with treatment, we conceived but lost the baby at 8 weeks. It was sad but we were optimistic because it worked. In June we tried again and it worked but 3 weeks later the embryo stopped growing and we lost the pregnancy. With the funds almost depleted and our hopes shattered we were faced with a decision to make. We could either try IVF for the last time and that would be the end of it if it did not work or consider adoption.
I wrote this essay hopefully to encourage a reader somewhere to consider cross-cultural / trans-racial adoption. In our country thousands of orphans are in need of mommies and daddies. And I don’t know – thousands? – of couples are desperate to have children. Can’t these people find each other somehow? My husband and I are white South Africans, of German and Scottish stock, and we adopted two Zulu children: a 3-year old girl, and six months later a 2-year old boy. Another six months later we were discussing when and how to adopt a third child, but by then – surprise! – I was already pregnant with a little boy. The way it all came about is a long and lovely story. I can’t possibly tell it all in this letter, but want to answer some questions we are often asked, relating to the cross-cultural aspect. Perhaps it will encourage someone somewhere to seriously consider adopting a child of a different skin colour.
Dalene* and her husband battled to conceive a child for several years. They attempted fertility treatment six times without success and having faced one devastating disappointment after another, decided they had to consider another option to fulfil their immense desire to have a child. They approached an adoption agency and embarked on the process to become registered as adoptive parents. After three years of waiting, knowing that it was just a matter of time and their family would be complete, Dalene and her husband finally got the call they had been dreaming of. A birth mother had identified them as potential candidates to raise her child, and wanted to meet them. “We approached the meeting with mixed emotions. Would she like us? Would she misjudge us? We sat down and started to talk and immediately felt a connection. We asked each other lots of questions.”
Nadia’s* health made pregnancy a risky situation. Nevertheless, she tried to conceive and underwent fertility treatment until she decided that it was time she and her husband considered adoption. After three years of waiting, a birth mother chose them from a selection of adoptive parents and virtually overnight, Nadia and her husband became parents. “We received the call from the adoption agency and heard that a birth mom wanted to meet us. We were so nervous. She had had her baby boy eight days earlier and had decided to give him up for adoption because her circumstances were difficult and she already had children who she was struggling to care for. Nadia says, “When she reviewed our profiles, she saw that my husband loves to fish. She remembered little of her own father but did recall that he was a passionate fisherman. This helped her decide that we were right for her little boy. We assured her that this child would be raised with every opportunity to experience and enjoy the outdoors.”
Dit was nie vir ons ‘n moeilike besluit om na infertiliteitsbehandeling, aanneming as ‘n opsie te oorweeg nie. Ons het nie verder kans gesien vir die emosionele “roller coaster” ritte van die behandeling nie en wou graag terwyl ons relatief jonk was darem pa en ma word. Groot was die opgewondenheid toe ons genooi was vir die keuringsonderhoude, maar die selfbeskerming bly deel van jou sodat jy nie te opgewonde of optimisties wil wees nie.
My name is Nell and before adopting my son, Luca who is now 10, I had 8 IVF's, 2 miscarriages and about 5 Artificial Inseminations. I had given up hope with fertility but life without children was not an option. The one big difference between fertility and adoption is that in adoption - YOU WILL HAVE A BABY AT THE END OF THE DAY.
I am married to a Non White South African so adopting across the colour line was easy for me. Also, as I have mentioned to many of my friends who have wanted to adopt but are unsure about crossing the colour line, a child is a child. Only when you want a child so badly that you don't care what family, friends or the rest of the world has to say……. will you make this choice.
I am a 42 year old mom to 12 year old Gia and 5 year old Rio. I had no problem conceiving my daughter (which surprised both me and my doctors) as I underwent a liver transplant in London whilst living in the UK in 1993 and was initially warned that pregnancy might not be a viable option for me. I was closely monitored during my pregnancy, but I feel the hospital was negligent in the care I received during labour and the birth as given my history at that same hospital, I probably should have been offered a caesarean right away, but being an NHS hospital, I was left in labour for 20 hours and only then was a C-section suggested. I initially refused and doctors gave me another hour in which to deliver her naturally, which thank God I did, although I did haemorrhage quite badly. Looking back now, it was probably the trauma of that delivery that resulted in secondary infertility when we decided to try for another baby when Gia was about four.
Wat ‘n wonderlike pad om te stap. Daardie oproep dat jul dogtertjie binne paar uur in die lewe gebring gaan word. Oppad Tzaneen toe kon ek nie my oë glo nie, ons gaan uiteindelik ouers word. Ek onthou dit nog soos gister toe ek daardie lang hospitaal gang afstap en ons dogtertjie gewaar wat rustig vir ons wag. Sy was so mooi - die pragtigste engeltjie. Ek het haar dadelik vasgehou en kamer toe gevat. Ons kon nie ons oë van haar af hou nie.
Ek en my man het eerste hand se kennis oor die hartseer van onvrugbaarheid. Ons ken ook die volkome vreugde en geluk wat aanneming bring. Die volgende is 'n opsomming oor die buiten gewone omstandighede wat ons gelei het om aanneming te kies. Al wat ek nog ooit wou gehad het uit die lewe was om kinders te hê. Ek kon nie wag om met 'n gesin te begin nie en ek het gedink as jy 'n baba wil hê, raak jy net swanger en kry een. Dit was nie die geval met my nie en dit het my 7 jaar geneem om dit te besef.
Toe ek Robbie ontmoet het, het ek geweet dit is my droom man. Die man vir wie ek die Ja-woord gaan gee, ’n man wat so lief is vir kinders soos ek is. Ons het vir so bietjie meer as 2 jaar uit gegaan, in die tyd dat ons uitgegaan het ons altyd van kinders gepraat. Ons albei is so lief vir kinders. En ons het geweet dat die dag wat ons trou wil ons dadelik begin met ’n familie. Ons was en is nog altyd reg daarvoor. Na ons troue het soveel mense vir my heeltyd gesê. Oh jy straal so, is jy seker jy is nie swanger nie. Dis waar al die swangerskap toetse begin het. Elke maand wag ons vir daai positiewe toets maar niks. Ag okay dit was maar toe net 6 maande, hoekom vat dit dan so lank wonder ons.
It’s really something that never occurs to the average girl or woman. We are so certain that one day we will grow up and have babies (those of us that want them). It’s nature and it’s a calling. I remember as a little girl saying things like “when I am big, I am going to have 2 children”. And later when I was a teenager, I would say things like “when I become a parent, I will never be strict like my parents are”. Then as a young lady in my twenties, “I will only have children after I turn 30.” Note the common thread…..When I…..Not if I have children. We all assume and we never consider the thought that it will not be possible. So like everyone else, after a few years of marriage, my hubby and I decided it was time to expand the family. I went off the pill and we got down to practising!