Meet the Mama {Mireille Porter}

Welcome to the first post in the ‘Meet the Mama’ series. It’s so helpful to hear other people’s stories and today we hear from Mireille Porter about her family’s adoption story. 

Tell us a bit about your family.

I met my husband while both studying at Medical School and we have been married for 7 years this year. Our biological son Joel was born in August 2012 and is tall and slender and as fair, blonde and blue eyed as they come. Joshua was born in March 2014 (making them a tight 18 months apart) and joined our family in July at just over 3 months old. Josh is big and strong and as dark and afro-haired as they come. They are an amazing pair – so similar in so many ways (mostly in volume levels and activeness and curiosity) – and get along playing together already.

Did you always know that you wanted to adopt?      

Yes, since before I met my husband I was interested in adoption as a way of making/growing a family. I was involved in a Children’s home for several years and this together with experience of being a Doctor in South Africa exposed me to the reality of the magnitude of the crisis we have in our country and the reality of children growing up without families. My husband felt the same way before we were even married and it was I think just a question of when.

Did you use an agency or did you go through Child Welfare? What would you recommend?

We went through Procare- a private social work agency which facilitates adoptions. We found the process, although long and administratively tedious, a pleasure and would definitely recommend them.

What was the hardest part of the process?

Waiting for the phone call to say there was a baby for us. I used to say it felt like being engaged but you didn’t know when your wedding day was or who you were marrying but just knowing it would happen and it would be amazing! Full of excitement and anticipation but with so much uncertainty and the balance of being expectant and prepared with not going mad from waiting.

What was your first night together as a family like?

Our first night was so peaceful. Josh was so calm and didn’t “react” to all the changes around him. It felt like he, like us, was exhausted from all the excitement but while we were wide awake and buzzing he just wanted to be warm and cuddled and fed and put to sleep.

What is your funniest adoption-related family story?

Would have to be the comments my husband gets when he is alone with Josh. From congratulations of “I am just so proud you and your boyfriend decided to adopt” from strangers at coffee shops to “is this your baby?…The mother must be very dark if this is your baby” to which my husband replies “Well, her father is from the Congo” and they reply “Well, that makes sense then”. The hilarity of broken assumptions helps us keep grace for the less gentle remarks.

Do you celebrate ‘adoption day’ with any traditions?

We haven’t had our Gotcha day type celebration yet as Josh has only been with us for a few months but feel we will make it a day about our family as it marks the day our family became what we are today.

Advice for the screening process?

Celebrate every milestone like it was a month or trimester of pregnancy. Enjoy it, bask in the glow of expectancy and acknowledge that somewhere out there there is a baby growing- let yourself be excited – parenting is full of fears but we cannot let them distract us for one second from the joy of anticipation.

How can friends and family best support those adopting?

Celebrate with us! Use the traditional pregnancy type shower/ shopping/ Christmas stocking for expectant baby things and then add creativity – be expectant with them! Oh and stop asking them if they have gotten the call – they will tell you when they do!

Top tip for doing life as a rainbow nation family?

Not always easy but surround yourself with people who are different from you – that look different, that are from different places, that have different family stories – break any perceptions of what “normal” is, what a “normal family” is – make your own normal – the new normal. Don’t ignore that your child’s story might be different to others around him or your other children – help them grow and explore that part of their identity, giving them pride and strength in who they are – if you don’t help them form their identity then the harsh words of bullies or social silliness might.

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WIN a Snuggle Bunny Hamper with Soul Naturals & Heart Mama Blog {CLOSED}

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I stumbled across the Soul Naturals Facebook page this week and just love everything in their product range – I love the trendy kid’s outfits, the accessories and the fact that all skin care products are made from natural and organic ingredients. I love supporting local momtrepeneurs and am so excited for this giveaway.

Nahtalie and Lonneke Egersdorfer, are the founding owners of Soul Naturals. This is what they say about why they do what they do,

“Having a child is a pivotal event in any person’s existence. It redefines you as a human, as a caregiver, as a responsible member of this planet and as an active and fully present participant in this crazy-wonderful thing called life.

We are two such mums. What initially began as a search for the ideal soothing bum cream for our own tots has culminated in the creation of Soul Naturals. Our online store is stocked with products from crocheted loafers to baby massage oil – all of which are made from natural materials, making them sure to be as gentle as a whisper on your little ones.

Only the most natural and organic ingredients are used throughout the Soul Naturals ranges, with the primary aim being to care for your most precious beings whilst doing as little damage to the environment as possible. So if you have found yourself here through recommendation, or by chance, take the time to browse through our unique products and enjoy making the right choice – for both your child’s today and tomorrow.”

Continue Reading

A Transracially-Adopted Child’s Bill of Rights

Adapted by Liza Steinberg Triggs from ‘A Bill of Rights for Mixed Folks’ by Marilyn Dramé

-Every child is entitled to love and full membership in her family.

-Every child is entitled to have his culture embraced and valued.

-Every child is entitled to parents who know that this is a race conscious society.

-Every child is entitled to parents who know that she will experience life differently than they do.

-Every child is entitled to parents who are not looking to “save” him or to improve the world.

-Every child is entitled to parents who know that being in a family doesn’t depend on “matching.”

-Every child is entitled to parents who know that transracial adoption changes the family forever.

-Every child is entitled to be accepted by extended family members.

-Every child is entitled to parents who know that, if they are white, they benefit from racism.

-Every child is entitled to parents who know that they can’t transmit the child’s birth culture if it is not their own.

-Every child is entitled to have items at home that are made for and by people of his race.

-Every child is entitled to opportunities to make friends with people of her race or ethnicity.

-Every child is entitled to daily opportunities of positive experiences with his birth culture.

-Every child is entitled to build racial pride within her own home, school, and neighbourhood.

-Every child is entitled to have many opportunities to connect with adults of the child’s race.

-Every child is entitled to parents who accept, understand and empathize with her culture.

-Every child is entitled to learn survival, problem-solving, and coping skills in a context of racial pride.

-Every child is entitled to take pride in the development of a dual identity and a multicultural/multiracial perspective on life.

-Every child is entitled to find his multiculturalism to be an asset and to conclude, “I’ve got the best of both worlds.”

Get ready for summer with Squish

Getting out of the house with your baby or toddler can feel like the relocation of an entire circus.  Take a few Squish Baby or Squish & Go pouches along for easy, self-feed meals-on-the-go.

Packaged in lightweight, consumer-friendly pouches with twist nozzles that increase convenience and reduce the mess.  Sand-free beach snacks, light-weight hiking fuel, stress-free food on the plane, train or in the car. Celebrate the start of Summer with the kids by popping some Squish pouches into the freezer and creating a ‘Summer Slush Snack’!

The Squish Baby range ‘spout pouch’ packaging encourages self-feeding in babies eager for eating independence and introduces them to a variety of new flavours. Squish Baby can be mixed with cooked vegetables, meat, pasta or rice to create a tasty meal or snack and are specially prepared for you to introduce your baby to first foods. Squish & Go offers a range of purees for all ages. Enjoyed as dessert enhancers, lunch box snacks or energy boosters, Squish & Go is a multipurpose, convenient addition to anyone’s meal plan.

Check out the Squish website by clicking here.

From orchard to pouch, Kira just LOVES Squish & Go. Self feeding has never been so easy or fuss-free! (You know you're onto a good thing when you don't mind licking spilt baby food off your fingers!)
From orchard to pouch, Kira just LOVES Squish & Go. Self feeding has never been so easy or fuss-free! (You know you’re onto a good thing when you enjoy licking spilt baby food off your fingers!)

 

Yes, they belong to me!

Adoption is a funny thing. Blended families are everywhere you look, but our existence can still raise an eyebrow or two at, for example, Cavendish. I am quickly going to recount two laugh out loud moments that have recently taken place at this popular mall down the road.

One. Let me set the scene. Ryan is trying on jeans at Woolies. I am collapsed on the couch that is strategically positioned at the entrance to the changing rooms. (Woolies you read my mind. Taking Husband shopping is far more exhausting that one can imagine.) The pram is wedged ‘out of the way’ (a pram is always in the way) and Ilan is running sprints down the aisle towards the Woolies cafe and turning around every few seconds to check that I’m watching his fabulous display of very fast running. The security guard is hovering at the entrance. A concerned shopper walks slowly past Ilan who is now rolling on the floor. She looks around. She summons the security guard and they look around together. They’re looking for Ilan’s mom. Where is she? I am five metres away. This is too amusing so I let them look a little bit longer before I give them a wave. Embarrassed shopper scurries away. Ilan runs back to me. We all go home without jeans.

Two. It is possibly the second time in my three years of mom-ing that I spot a vacant ‘Moms with Tots’ bay and I can’t believe my luck. What a good start to the day. Little Miss and I hit the shops, load the pram with groceries and head back to the conveniently-close-car. I manage to find the parking ticket and am pleased to find that the car keys are in my Mary Poppins bag and not forgotten in the car door. There are a few steps leading down to the car and so I leave Kira in the pram, a mere four steps away, while I pack the groceries into the boot. A dear old lady is standing next to the pram as I return for yet another transfer. She asks if I know where this gorgeous little one’s mother is? She’s right here I say. (I really was right there).

Life is is interesting when you don’t look like your kids and they don’t look like you. Yes, we don’t look the same but we belong together.

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