Let’s hear from Marileze, a Heart Mama who became a Mom in her 40s by welcoming little 8 month old Nina Katlego into her family. Thank you for sharing your story, Marileze!
Tell us a bit about yourself and your family.
I’m a single white female from Springs, Johannesburg, who adopted a child in my 40s. I’m a qualified bookkeeper, working as a credit controller at a French freight company and currently studying further toward a Project Management Diploma. I have Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and have never been able to fill my heart’s desire to become a Mom naturally. I decided in 2014 to take a chance and try adopting a family. It worked and 8 months later I had my daughter!
Did you always know that you wanted to adopt?
I always said I would adopt if I could but the law was against me adopting as a single person for many years. And then when I finally gave up having kids the law changed to my advantage.
Did you use an agency or did you adopt through Child Welfare? What would you recommend?
I adopted through a private Social Worker. I have heard many different stories regarding the different methods to make use of, but I would rather use the same Social Worker for my next adoption.
What was the hardest part of the process?
The waiting is the worst! Waiting to hear if you are good enough, waiting for the next step, waiting for the forms to be sent, waiting for people to accept you are adopting, waiting for the call, waiting for court dates, waiting for other people to decide your life’s path, waiting, waiting, waiting!
What was your first night together as a family like?
Ours was a little overwhelming. My daughter was 8 months old already and didn’t cope well with all the new in her environment. She didn’t even have a blanket that was familiar so we didn’t sleep much on our first night. I was in awe to have her home and had expectations that I was scared would not be met.
What is your funniest adoption-related family story?
My father is a very open minded person and is now the proud Grandfather of his “Chocolate Granddaughter” and my baby is just smitten with her Bappa.
Do you celebrate ‘adoption day’ with any traditions?
I will be doing so going forward in future. The past year was our first and I missed it completely as we weren’t part of a group or club who kept us informed.
Advice for the screening process?
Have hair on your teeth and take deep breathes. Think positive thoughts and your actions will be positive.
How can friends and family best support those adopting?
Exactly like they would a pregnant relative. I missed that since my support only kicked in 6 months after my daughter came home.
Top tip for doing life as a rainbow nation family?
Expect the worst from people and you’ll be surprised to find the best most of the time. And because you were expecting the worst, the bad doesn’t seem half as bad as you expected. I have experienced mixed reactions from all different kinds of people but nothing has made me feel like I wanted to crawl in a hole or hide my child. I feel that if I treat people with respect, they will most probably do the same and then accepting my rainbow family will be easier.