Charlotte is a fellow heart mama that I ‘met’ on Instagram a few years back and I’ve loved following her family’s journey. She’s a dynamic girl mom and I have no doubt that her girls will grow up as fierce little feminists who will change the world. Charlotte and I and were in touch a many months ago about her sharing her story on my blog but her second daughter had just arrived home and things were a little crazy for them. Life has settled a bit since then and I’m so glad that I can share the Bieldt adoption story here today.
Tell us a bit about your family
Our family of four is heavily oestrogen dominated and consists of mom Charlotte, our two beautiful little girls Zion and Zarah and of course daddy Freddie.
Dad is an engineer and a shift worker which has its ups and downs. He is a loving husband and father and would do just about anything to keep us girls happy. I am blessed to have married him and we look forward to see our lives grow in all that God has in store for us.
I myself am an entrepreneur and manage my own social media management company #thatsocialgirl; as well as a part time writer and blogger. Motherhood has been life-changing for me, taking me on an unexpected growth curve. I am truly in love with my daughters and am blessed to have them in my life. So much so that Freddie and I are even talking about nr 3, but perhaps not right away.
Zion arrived in our family when she was 4 and a half months old, and has been with us for just over 3 years. She is an amazing, adventurous, intelligent and kind little girl. Highly talented, blessed and strong –we are very keen to help her identify her purpose and support her in the pursuit of it.
Zarah arrived in our family when she was 2 and a half months old, and has been with us for 17 months. Zarah is the cutest baby we’ve ever seen, singing, bubbling, caring and loving. On the other hand, she is strong-willed, focussed and can be a real fighter. We believe she too has a very specific calling and we’re excited to discover it alongside her.
As a family we mostly love attending church and spending time at home. We also go to the gym regularly, where our little rascals follow their own programme while we exercise. Our kids love the outdoors as well, something we consciously breed a respect for. So we love outings to the beach or parks.
Did you always know that you wanted to adopt?
I’ve known I wanted to adopt since age four. I just knew that I would one day be the mom of a little chocolate coloured girl. I believe God impressed that vision on my heart at a young age as life got complicated for me during adolescence and I might not have been as receptive to that calling later in life. To contrast this with my husband’s side of things; he never gave it any thought till I brought it up. He had a logical and systematic turnover in his heart and grew into the idea over the space of a few months.
Did you use an agency or did you go through Child Welfare? What would you recommend?
Our church arranged info evenings for prospective adoptive families and invited social workers from different agencies to do presentations on the subject. Our first encounter with a specific social worker sealed the deal for us. Our recommendation would be that if you can afford it, use an agency. For a complicated and sensitive matter like adoption it is assuring to deal with professional and experienced social workers, doing things right the first time. We don’t have any experience with Child Welfare, but believe God’s grace extends as required to each family and each unique situation.
What was the hardest part of the process?
The screening process is quite demanding and invasive, along with the hefty (albeit well justified) price tag. However, becoming the parent of your first child will always be the ‘hardest part’, irrespective of the process of how the child arrived. It is something we are naturally created for, yet also a mammoth task which no one can really prepare you for. So again, parenthood overshadows the process in all respects and the ‘hard parts’ fade away compared to the challenge of raising healthy children. A caveat: Do not be discouraged by this, adoption is absolutely wonderful and highly recommended. Also rest assured that you are screened for financial and emotional readiness when going through the adoption process.
What was your first night together as a family like?
Interestingly, we had two vastly different experiences here. Zion, whom was four and a half months when we got her, was very happy and aware during the handover process. She was also bubbly and chatty when we loaded her into our car and drove home. She was smiling all through the ‘arrival’ photoshoot as well. Unfortunately as dawn set in, Zion realised she was not in her familiar environment and had quite a cry session. Perhaps as first time, first DAY parents any baby crying was a heart breaking experience for us. Regardless, it carried on for about 20 minutes, after which she relaxed, slept with her dummy and that was it. After that it was business as usual and we never saw that ‘fear of the unfamiliar’ look on her face again.
Zarah on the other hand, whom was only two and a half months old, was completely oblivious. She he was handed over into Freddie’s arms at the adoption agency while she was fast asleep. She opened her eyes briefly and went back to sleep again. She mostly slept through the entire trip home as well as the first evening with only a small peep here and there.
Before becoming a parent I imagined a two month and four month old baby as being pretty much at the same developmental level. However there is a world of difference as we saw with our experience.
What is your funniest adoption-related family story?
I can’t really recall a funny story right now, although my husband and I both encourage ourselves with the fact that when the occasional public toddler tantrum hits, we can theoretically just step aside and look around for the parents of this dear sweet tantruming child.
Do you celebrate ‘adoption day’ with any traditions?
We do celebrate the day our kids came home, but only in a low key manner. A gift and perhaps a trip down memory lane as a family suffice for this occasion.
Advice for the screening process?
I can only speak from our experience with ProCare regarding the screening process. I can honestly testify that we were very impressed by the process being efficient and professionally executed. My advice is simply to be mentally prepared for the process. It is quite lengthy, invasive, thorough and tiring. Just like an athlete mentally preparing for a long race, so it would be helpful knowing upfront that this process is demanding and time off work need to be arranged for the specific days on which assessments take place.
How can friends and family best support those adopting?
I suppose there is the ‘generic’ support people can offer anyone having a baby. Probably top of the list is supporting with cooked meals during the first few weeks of parenthood. Thereafter any logistical support is valued: transport, cleaning, errands, shopping etc. In the case of adoption, friends and family can do a quick bit of research to get on board with the correct language use (don’t ask adoptive parents it they want kids of their ‘own’, the correct term is ‘biological kids’). Approach such a family with sensitivity around the topic of adoption and interracial issues and rather let them set the pace for answering questions and sharing personal info.
Top tip for doing life as a rainbow nation family?
Approach each day and situation with plenty of love, grace, patience and a healthy dose of fun! At the end of the day we are just normal people doing life and loving each other as best we know how. There are people who are confounded by our family dynamic, others who are curious about it and still others who could not give a hoot, ha! Live for the people you love, their opinion is the only ones that matter.