And, last but not least, here is the final post of the Adoption Photo Challenge for Adoption Awareness month – thank you for joining us on the #heartmamajoy journey this past month. 

Day 21, SEEN | It’s not always easy being a little girl with big emotions. This year has been a bit of a rollercoaster for our family as we’ve been learning how to parent Kira well, realising that a few foundational ‘building blocks’ need some ongoing attention from us.
My love, I wasn’t there right from the start but I’m here and I see you.

Day 22, TOGETHER | There are definitely moments when ‘mommy needs space’ & all I want is for the kids to stop jumping on me, clinging to my legs or wiping their fingers on my jeans but life is definitely better together. 📷 by @ilzelouwphotography

Day 23, SAME SAME, BUT DIFFERENT | Brothers from the same mother, our adoption miracle.

Day 25, OFFICIAL | We’ve spent a fair amount of time and tears in court rooms & Home Affairs these past few years. I could bend your ear telling you about everything that went wrong along the way, but we’re out on the other side (as of last week) and have 3 x unabridged birth certificates safely stored in our filing cabinet!

The process was, at times, incredibly frustrating & inconvenient but in many ways this process added ‘weight’ to our adoptions as this mom right here had to fight for our kids’ official documents, an adoptive moms alternate experience of agonizing labor. Worth it!

Day 25, BEST ADVICE |  Ilan says earlier, ‘Mom, there’s a surprise for you on the chalkboard.’ I only went through to look a few minutes ago & found this love note from my boy who is learning to write.

Best advice from a colleague: ‘There’s never a perfect time to start a family.’

We started our family just a year after we got married, we were living in a small flat & had no money to our name. Seven years later we have three beautiful kids, one of whom has started writing my name in a heart on the chalkboard. So glad I listened to that advice!
Day 26, HUG | Siblings who side hug! Yip, they’re real siblings. If a stranger asks whether they’re ‘real siblings’, my standard response is ‘They are now!’ They bicker and they cuddle and they steal each other’s toys which makes it all ‘very real’.

Day 27, CULTURE | Our daughter is Xhosa and so although we are raising her to appreciate all aspects of our shared South African heritage, it’s our responsibility to expose her to Xhosa culture and language as best we can. Grateful for teachers at a diverse school who have this on their radar & affirm our daughter as the Xhosa princess that she is. (Also, I’m so ridiculously proud of my girl for doing her dance despite being overwhelmed by the crowds, she’s a rockstar)

Day 28, REPRESENTATION |  Ilan called me to see what he’d been doing on the tablet, ‘Mom, look I made Kira!’

My heart always swells when I see evidence that the kids identity as black kids with brown skin. To ensure that this continues so naturally, I will carry on being that mom who walks into a toy store & speaks to the manager about the lack of black dolls on their shelves & shows my little girl photos of Miss Jamaica rocking her hair that ‘goes up’. Let’s all be #thatmom, and not just those of us with dark-skinned kids.

Day 29, PRIDE | There’s nothing quite like an end of year concert to bring out the mom pride. Ilan assured me that ‘I would cry tears of happiness & excitement’ at the concert & boy you were right. I was very proud of your elephant stomping to the sound of Impi and you sang with joy & gusto. Well done my love 🐘🐘🐘

Day 30, HOORAY! | This is the face of a four year old who is riding her big girl bicycle to get ice cream & has just spotted the magical Golden Arches – hooray for a family adventure that cost r25 for ice creams for our whole family of 5 🍦🍦🍦🍦🍦

Ice creams aside, the biggest hooray is for completing this 30 day photo challenge for #adoptionawarenessmonth! There were days when I felt like I’d bitten off more than I could chew by starting this challenge…Thank you for joining us, I hope you found the behind the scenes look into our adoption story a little bit insightful? My heart is for people to consider adoption when thinking about starting or growing their families, but with the understanding that adoptive parents commit to a life long journey of learning. May we always remain teachable for the sake of our kids.

Thank you for reading this far! You can read Part One over here & Part Two over here or pop over to Instagram to see the original posts and check out the other images on the #heartmamajoy hashtag.


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