Category: Home

‘I’m adopted’ {Gaia Giovannini}


Gaia is a qualified social worker working in child protection and adoption and today she chats to us about her own story of adoption and shares some advice for adoptive parents. I met Gaia during our screening process with Wandisa (our adoption agency in Somerset West) before we adopted Kira – it was one of those potentially awkward couple interviews where we had to chat about our relationship, parenting styles and discipline and answer probing questions. Well, it was only a little awkward. Thanks for sharing your story with us, Gaia. Continue Reading

What to do when your kid has the eczema itch

wpid-img_20150723_122633.jpg So, I have two sons who both have the itch. The itch that is worse in winter. The itch that keeps them awake at night. The itch that drives us all crazy.

I’ve read that eczema is worse in winter because the temperature drops which means a drop in humidity. Lower humidity means drier skin – overall Cape Town eczema is worse than Durban eczema. Heaters and air conditioners also dry out your skin which means that winter comes with a double dose of dehydration. Winter usually also means spending more time indoors which increases your child’s exposure to allergen triggers like house dust mites and pets. Adoption literature points to the insight that eczema flare-ups could be a psychosomatic symptom of internal stress that you child is experiencing. So many potential triggers! I think eczema is usually a combination of all of the above.

There are many different approaches to dealing with eczema, but I’ll let you know what we’re doing to manage our itch situation and what we do when we are faced with a flare up. Our treatment program is an individualised program for our boys and is endorsed by our dermatologist and paediatrician – so what works for us may not work for you. If you’re in the same boat as us, you’ve probably tried every cream on the shelf at Clicks and every remedy recommended to you but when you find something that works for you (that glorious day!), you’re not really willing to mess with a winning formula. If you haven’t found a good skin care regime yet, listen up.

Here are some skin care tips that have worked for us:

-Bath the kids with Epizone E ointment instead of regular soap and pop a few drops of Epizone Bath Milk into the bath.

-Use Babaderm Shampoo & Conditioner. Wash your kids hair in the shower (or at the end of their bath time) and make sure that you rinse them thoroughly from head to toe after you’ve washed their hair. I’ve found that the Babaderm shampoo doesn’t irritate eczema-prone skin as much as other shampoos.

-Use Epi-max Plus (with urea) all the time as a moisturiser. And I mean all the time. Be very generous when applying the Epimax and let it soak in slowly.

-Use prescription cortisone during a flare up – we use Mylocort for the face and Lenovate for the body (Lenovate is much more cost effective than Advantan – ask your Doc). We find that the ointment is better than the cream.

-Give your kid anti-histamines before they go to bed. We use Texa syrup.

-Keep their nails short. That’s right, snip snip snip. We’ve tried everything to stop the kids from scratching, including wearing mittens at night, but the best thing to do is just to keep their nails short.

-Figure out what food makes the kids itch and avoid it. For us that’s dairy, fish fingers and crumbed chicken, tomatoes and tomato sauce.

Good luck with your itchy kids, Mamas – I feel your pain! On the upside, our paed reckons that they’ll outgrow their eczema by the time they start school. That’s only a few years away so there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Anyone got any miracle cures that I haven’t heard about?

Epizone-E epimaxbabaderm


Home Affairs, don’t go breaking my heart.

Home Affairs, you really are breaking my heart. I just want my family to have matching surnames. You have such a helpful call centre but consistently give me news that I’d rather not hear. Yesterday I heard that Ilan’s application for surname change on his birth certificate was never submitted to Head Office – it was spelt incorrectly when we went to collect it in September last year. There was no record of our request. Anywhere. No record. It was especially hard to locate my boy ‘on the system’ because his original ID number has been cancelled but he has not yet been issued a new one.

I also heard that the status of Kira’s name change is ‘being processed’. No one knows what that means, not even The Helpful Lady on the other end of the line. She suggested that I email (fax is preferable though) all six Home Affairs forms, plus the entire adoption order to her so that she can query the status on our behalf. She emphasized that each attachment should be sent through in a separate email which means that I’d need to send her a mere twenty emails in total. No biggy.

This is the next part of our forty minute conversation: ‘Oh, you don’t have copies of all the forms you submitted in September? Well, you can just pop to Home Affairs and collect the blank forms, fill them out again and then email them to me. Oh yes, you’re right, Home Affairs won’t let you leave with all those documents. Hmm, well you can ask them to email the forms to me directly. One at a time.’

Welcome to the world of adoption paperwork. It just never ends until one day when it does and we plan to celebrate that day with dances of joy and perhaps a glass of champagne. In the meantime, thank you for giving me so many opportunities to grow my patience muscles, Home Affairs Wynberg.

*This is a true story with no exaggerations. Although this is our story, your story may be different and you may not have to learn the same lesson of patience. This will be your loss, but you will more than likely have to learn a different sort of patience when your little one arrives. (This is a whole different level of patience.) We’ve found that it is important to find humour in the midst of adoption-related frustration, you see. This is how you will survive. The meme below helps us to laugh when things don’t seem funny. (This is the pc version of the meme. The original is even funnier.)

Adoption paperwork