Tell us a bit about your family
I’ve known John, it seems, forever. We were in a group of friends when we were younger and then went separate ways before meeting up again in the UK. We’ll be married 8 years next year. We both quite like our ‘home bubbles’ and are kinda nerdy at heart.
Did you always know that you wanted to adopt?
Not really. I figured that by age 25 I’d be pregnant or at least have had 1 or 2 kids already. We fell pregnant in 2009 and miscarried at 9 weeks. It was around 2011 with no success in falling pregnant that I brought the subject up. We waited 2 more years hoping for it to happen naturally and finally, John agreed for us to go ahead.
Did you use an agency or did you go through Child Welfare? What would you recommend?
We went through Child Welfare and I have two co-workers who come from this organisation so it was like getting a ‘cheat sheet’ before we had even received the paperwork. Child Welfare then received a call from Abba Adoptions to say there was a little boy ready for adoption. There have been a few articles about the struggles Child Welfare as a whole is experiencing with lack of staff and funds etc. so when we apply to adopt a little girl, we will go through Abba Adoptions.
What was the hardest part of the process?
Wondering if we would ‘fail’ during the process, would there be something that made us not suitable as parents. Too little money? Our home not big enough? The social workers at no point gave us any clue if what we were saying was right or wrong or if it looked positive for us. Trying not to let that show through was hard.
What was your first night together as a family like?
Sleepless. Luca slept like a baby but mom and dad spent most of it awake just to make sure he was breathing!! The day was rough at first when we fetched him from the home but he settled really quickly and his happy personality took over.
What is your funniest adoption-related family story?
We haven’t really been asked any obvious questions so no chance yet to give any witty comebacks. The funniest thing so far is me accidently putting uncooked maize porridge in Luca’s formula bottle and raking my brain as to why our poor child is crying and pushing his bottle away. Not my brightest move.
Do you celebrate ‘adoption day’ with any traditions?
‘Adoption Day’ will definitely be celebrated, we’d like Luca to know that August 29th was the most amazing day of our lives. I’m not sure what tradition we may start but it’s fun to think about it.
Advice for the screening process?
Be patient. It’s easier said than done but this process can move at a snail’s pace. Your social worker will not be rushed. It can feel quite repetitive on the paperwork you complete and the questions you are asked. We chatted extensively about the different scenarios a baby may come from, what were we happy with, what would we possibly consider and what we simply, as first time parents, could not take on. We found that thanks to already being on the same page, my husband and I didn’t struggle during the application and interview section. The process can be quite personal, they really do look at you from all sides so be honest in your answers to them. At the end of the day, they want to place the right baby for you.
How can friends and family best support those adopting?
Be excited for them and with them. As adoptive parents we are already overwhelmed with our own fears like – will he/she like me? What if we don’t bond? And even so far ahead as ‘what if they want to find their biological parents and we’re forgotten?’ If it’s a crazy fear, we’ve already thought of it so when offering advice on how to handle these things or when you ask us what would we do if… be respectful and understanding. Sometimes all we need is just an ear to listen. This is an amazing road to walk with us and as you would make any new expectant mommy the centre of attention, let it be the same for the adoptive mommy.
Top tip for doing life as a rainbow nation family?
Show that you’re a proud mom or dad, that your child is special, his/her story is special. You’re a family, it doesn’t matter how you got from point A to point B. When my sister in law was explaining to her son that he would have a cousin who would look different to him, all he said was “as long as they love each other, it doesn’t matter.”