Stacy is a very special Heart Mama – not only are we friends and (almost) neighbours but little Faith is betrothed to our Judah. It’s true, my boy will go to battle to win her heart! We met the Saggers when they visited our small group and we soon discovered that God was at work in the timing of our meeting because unknown to us, adoption was already on their hearts, and unknown to them, they were about to join a small group with two adoptive families – us and the Hamptons! (You can read the Hamptons story here). Thank you for sharing your story, Stacy!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your family
My name is Stacy, I’m wife to my wonderful husband Graeme and mom to my beautiful daughter Faith Aviwe. I’m pretty disorganised (the only form of grocery shopping that I know is panic shopping on the way home and the only ingredients that I always remember are milk, wine, oats, wraps, cheese and peanut butter (dinner is not fancy in the Saggers home), I work at a research company based in town (great coffee), my parents and one of my sisters (who, together with my other sister in Grahamstown, will soon be sending out a Facebook request for you to LIKE “FAITH’s BIGGEST FAN CLUB – daily pictures, updates and video’s straight to your mobile phone) live just around the corner, effectively setting us up with on-call babysitters and a never ending supply of love and support. My husband and my daughter are everything to me; every day that I wake up and I see them is a wonder to me; how did we ever find each other in this world?
Did you always know that you wanted to adopt?
Yes, my husband and I discussed adoption even before we were married. For sure we had a few challenges along the way which led us to question God’s plan for us but ultimately, we’ve always known we would adopt.
Did you use an agency or did you adopt through Child Welfare? What would you recommend?
We used an agency called Procare. They were absolutely wonderful – they held our hands the whole way through the process and they continue to offer us support post the adoption. We highly recommend them.
What was the hardest part of the process?
The wait! After we had submitted all the forms and done all the interviews and were finally declared “fit for adoption”, we just waited. To be fair, we only waited 3 and a half months but to us it was three and a half years. The day we got THE call that our little girl was ready to come home (well at the time, home affairs had her pegged as a boy but that’s another story)…. Well I can’t describe the feeling of amazement and wonder and the joy that filled our hearts.
What was your first night together as a family like?
Well our little girl went right to sleep when she got home so Graeme and I sort of looked at each other with a kind of “now what” shrug. So we ordered pizza, poured some wine and put a series on. And just before the first pizza slice was eaten, our little girl let us know that she was ready for a nappy change and some night time partying. And so brought to a close uninterrupted evenings of pizza, wine and series. So yes, best night ever.
What is your funniest adoption-related family story?
I don’t know that it’s terribly funny or even that its adoption related but we laugh about it a lot. On Saturdays, we take Faith with us for the Rondebosch Park Run. Graeme pushes her in the pram (and is always neck and neck with another father competing for the prestigious ‘first in the pram category’). Well Faith puts her feet up on the bar of the pram, crosses one leg over the other, sucks on her Squish baby food and waves her hand at the runners as we pass. Like the queen of England. But in a pram.
Do you celebrate ‘adoption day’ with any traditions?
I don’t know, do we? Our first anniversary is yet to arrive…
Advice for the screening process?
Accept it as part of the process that will bring your child home. While the process does feel tedious and at times terribly intrusive, it has so many advantages. For one, it forces you and your husband to discuss areas of parenting that you may not have considered if it had not been explicitly asked of you and for another, the workshops are so insightful in that they guide parents through the business of raising a well-adjusted child rather than simply focussing on the basics of keeping a baby alive.
How can friends and family best support those adopting?
The best support that friends and family can give is to treat families born by adoption like any other family. Something that tends to hurt me a little is when people ask me why I chose to adopt. Why does anyone need to know that? It is a special family secret that I share with my husband and daughter that is of no consequence to anyone else. Other information related to the adoption is just as sacred to us – it is all a part of our daughter’s life story which we will share with her and allow her to share with the world if and when she is comfortable to do so. So the best support you could offer those adopting would be exactly what we have received; lots of love and support. And offers to babysit.
Top tip for doing life as a rainbow nation family?
Know that people can’t help but have love in their hearts when they look at children, regardless of race. More often than not, when I catch people looking at Faith it’s because they are so taken with her gorgeous smile, not because she is adopted.