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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.

My son was a closed adoption and we received him when he was 20 days old from the Kangaroo parents. They were broken hearted when they handed him to us as he was their first kangaroo child. I have since been back to visit them and they have looked after so many children now. They have the pictures all around their house. There is a cooling off period in adoption. When we adopted my son it was 90 days but it has now been reduced to 60 days. What this means is that from the day the birth mother signs the papers for the adoption, she has 60 days to change her mind. You may be thinking: “This is hectic.” Yes. I agree, but so is not being able to fall pregnant month after month, so is miscarrying a baby at any stage of the pregnancy, so is giving birth to a still born child, or losing a baby to cot death. These are all risks a mother must take when she falls pregnant. The chance of a birth mother changing her mind about adoption is a lot less than the above factors. Also, if the agency has any doubts about the birth mother’s decision, they will hold the child in Kangaroo care till the 60 days are up. Children being adopted outside of SA can only leave the country after the 60 days are up, so these children will remain in Kangaroo care for the full 60 days.

Having a child of a different race is difficult. People ask questions as there is no mistaking that he is not my own biological child, but when we are out as a family people are confused because my husband is not white and so they are often afraid to ask. However, there is always the brash person who feels that they can ask you anything they want. I have a friend from New Zealand who lives here in SA. She has an adopted daughter who is a Maori (so she looks coloured) and she adopted a black boy in SA. When he was small people always asked her if he had AIDS and told her what a fantastic person she was…….. strange but irritating to see how naïve people are!

The one thing I always find odd is that people think that if you adopt a child you have done the most fantastic thing. They think it’s like you’ve saved a life. Hell no…… you have not saved a life. There are thousands of people wanting to adopt children. We are the lucky ones to get the children.

Adopting a second child is in a way more difficult. Here we were fussier. With our first child we did not mind the sex of the child. We just wanted a child. The second time around, if you have the choice, then you want your pigeon pair. We received our daughter, Leah when she was 1 day old from the birth mother. (Thank God for birth mothers). She was a really lovely girl. I remember driving to fetch our daughter. We were scared as hell as we could not think of “taking this child from her mother’s arms”. It was nothing like that. The birth mother was fantastic. Yes, it was emotional for all of us but she knew she had made the right decision. Her baby would have a good life and she could go on with her life and look back and know that she had made the right decision. If I had to choose again I would go with the open adoption.

The agency asks you to keep in contact with the birth mother for 2 years after the adoption, through the agency. So I sent letters & pictures of both my children until they were 2 to the birth mothers and lots of news on how the children were doing.

I could go on for ever but it is a decision you need to make when you are ready. Your heart will rule your head on this one and in closing….. THANK YOU TO ALL THE BIRTH MOTHERS OUT THERE THAT HAVE ENABLED SO MANY OF US TO BECOME MOTHERS. WITHOUT YOU WE WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN ABLE TO LIVE OUR DREAMS.