1. Where to start
Adoption has somehow always been on my mind. I was always aware of the many children who need a home and I never felt the need to be pregnant. To want your own biological child just never seemed to make sense, although it is the most natural desire for a woman.
When I became single end of July 2011, I decided THIS IS THE TIME!! I can no longer let a relationship prevent me from what I want. In 2012 I will turn 40 and, as a women, it’s the time in your life, where you need to make tough decisions. I want to have a family and if I can’t have it with a husband, well, then I’m lucky enough to live in a society and country where I can actually create my own single parent family.
First I thought, that I would probably be the one and only single person in the whole of the world that wanted this. A quick google search and I was SO pleasantly surprised to find a whole Support group for Single Adoptive Parents in Cape Town, WOWIE!! Real proof that I wasn’t crazy for wanting this. Others had gone through this and had the same desires and had successfully adopted a boy or a girl. Wow! I was SO happy! The support group comes together once a month at the University of Cape Town where we watch a movie about adoption and then it’s possible to discuss things as well. A good first stop for me to get a better idea of what I was getting myself into.
I still had the papers from Child Welfare from a couple of years ago when I went to the introduction morning. I now decided to complete them and return them as quickly as possible. I had a 5 week trip planned from September to Mozambique and Holland and knew this would delay the process so I wanted to start the process rather sooner than later. Besides a whole bunch of questions about yourself (and your partner if you have…), family, background, finances, Child Welfare would also need a police clearance and a medical report. The police clearance takes about 5 weeks but you can already hand in the paperwork beforehand. So I did. And of course I got an invite for the interviews and workshop exactly at the time when I was travelling…. Bummer! Only 2 months later, end of November, there was another opportunity so I couldn’t WAIT!!
I really like the fact that Child Welfare works with groups of adoptive parents. So immediately you have a support group and you hear all the different views of people. I loved the fact that our group was so diverse: 2 single ladies, a black couple, a gay couple, an English / Afrikaans couple and a coloured/white couple. WOW! A true reflection of South Africa. I loved the 2 days of workshops, learning from one another and mostly creating an environment of respect for all parties involved: the biological parents, the adoptive parents and of course the child. All child welfare wants to prevent is a 2nd trauma for the child.
It’s now January 2012 and I just received the phone call that my application has been approved. AARRRGGHHH!!! This basically means that you have to get ready ASAP because you might get a phone call any time now. It might also still take a couple of months. It all depends on the match making of the right parents for the right child.
PS And while writing this blog I received a phone call from Pastor John who put me in touch with Baby Haven, children’s home in Johannesburg where they might have children that are up for adoption…. Things might happen really quickly. I better get that nursery ready this weekend….
Adoption application approved – now what’s next?
2. Adoption application APPROVED
Adoption application approved – now what’s next?
On 24th of January I received the very happy news that my application had been approved. Like I said in my 1st blogpost, I can now expect a phone call from Child Welfare with the ‘good news’ ANY day.. Of course that news put me back into action and I even got a bit stressed out and was scared I would run out of time. I thought it would be good to get the baby room ready and buy a nice bed. I’m very much for recycling and re-using so I’ve been looking around for a 2nd hand one but it all took WAY too long and most beds on Gumtree were camp cots.
In one of the baby stores the shop assistant told me that most people just leave their baby in a camp cot for the first few years. I found that very hard to believe and quickly left the shop. I found a wonderful little baby shop in Greenpoint, close to where I live and the staff was super sweet and super knowledgeable. I might not have time for 6 weeks delivery time so I was happy to hear they had the bed in stock. The next day I went in and bought the bed, mattress with holes and lovely linen with little white sheep embroidered. It was delivered a few days later and the delivery guys put it all together for me in the room. Well, now I can look at the room everyday and start imagining a little girl in this bed. It’s getting very, very exciting and real!! Other things I already have been given by friends are a stroller, a pouch to carry her on my chest and a Hiking carrier.
At the moment I hike quite a lot with girlfriends up Lion’s Head in the morning early so I hope I can share that passion with my daughter. I also bought already lots of colorful toys from a single mom whose boy turned 6 already. Lovely toys. A good wash and they look brand new!!
Since I don’t really have any experience with kids or babies, I never really did any babysitting, I want to feel a bit more confident with caring and all the tasks that come with that. And somehow, the world works in such a way that God provides when you ask. A friend of mine put me in touch with a paediatric nurse who volunteers at a baby home so this morning I went with her to spend some hours with the babies. Yes, I did change a nappie, gave a bottle, put a little one who was crying at ease and just looked at all these funny little creatures with all their beautiful characteristics. There was a premature little boy, only 1600 grams, I couldn’t believe how strong he was already, holding on to my finger. It was a beautiful morning and next week I will go back again to help out and learn a bit more.
I’ve really been overwhelmed by the love of friends, colleagues and sometimes even complete strangers when I tell them that I’m adopting. Everyone is so super supporting. I’m very grateful for that and I know I will need to call on their friendly offers of babysitting and mid-night cry-outs for help. So far it has really been a wonderful experience.
3. A bit of a frustrating week…
Last week was a bit frustrating. I’m very excited that through my church I’ve been put in touch with a baby home in Johannesburg. But I also learned very quickly that I shouldn’t get too excited and that I shouldn’t try to do things the European way which is to plan everything and be very well prepared. It doesn’t work like that. I wrote to the home and then a week later I found out I hadn’t used the right email address and when I was given the phone number of the house mom, this was not the correct number. So it took a while before I finally was in touch with the people at the home.
Because I’ve gone through the process here in Cape Town, I thought it would make sense to get my file and bring it with to Jo’burg. But Child Welfare only gives the file when they’ve received a written request from the Social Worker in Jo’burg. And the social worker in Jo’burg I will only be able to meet and talk to when I’m there so there’s no such thing as ‘going prepared’. The orphanage feels it is best when I first meet the baby because I need to know if it is the right baby for me which I can only know when I’ve met her, seen her, held her and gotten to know her a bit. I ask myself: why would it not be a good baby for me? Is God going to give me a clear message: yes or no?
At this point in time I can’t imagine that it would be a ‘no’. So I need to slow down in my mind and just let it all unfold the way it is supposed to unfold. The meeting is now set for the 5th of March and I guess a LOT can still happen in the meantime. I know that she’s about 4.5 months when I meet her. I’m already flying up to Jo’burg on the 25th of February for work reasons. And then the next week, only God knows what will happen. Will I instantly love this child when I see her?
At the moment, I ask myself a lot when I see children: Will she look anything like the little girl who I will be holding in my arms anytime soon? Sometimes it is unreal, sometimes it’s nerve wracking and sometimes I get just SO impatient. My flat is slowly turning into a kiddie’s paradise. Friends have been so awesomely generous with all the things they gave me. Yesterday I was given the first tiny little clothes and on Friday a Dutch friend gave me her ‘baby box’, which we kind of like the first gym of a baby. They can play safely in there and pull themselves up to stand when they’re ready. All I need now is the baby! I’m ready!
4. Have a good laugh..
I was just reading my other blog posts and I see I haven’t introduced myself properly. Better late than never, here we go. My name is Jessy Lipperts, originally from The Netherlands and moved to South Africa in 2003. Just staying for 5 months in this beautiful part of the world was no longer an option after day 1 so when my projects finished, I decided to stay on and start my own travel company, www.planetpilgrim.com. The rest is history. Designing and organising trips for the Dutch market has been my pride and joy. It’s been wonderful to share my passion for travel and South Africa with so many people.
Towards the end of 2011 I decided I needed to expand my horizon a bit and bought a Bella Donna Finishing Classes Franchise for Cape Town & Atlantic Seaboard, Bella Donna Classes. Education and self-development has always been 1 of my many passions. When I saw the topics Bella Donna offers I just knew my knowledge and skills could be used to the benefit of teenage girls and I wanted to get involved. UPDATE 2018: Bella Donna was a VERY short adventure. I no longer have the franchise.
I live by myself in a beautiful flat in Greenpoint, love hiking up Lion’s Head in the morning, spending time at Kirstenbosch gardens, have a weakness for Labradors, LOVE my morning coffee and generally just enjoy living in Cape Town. I had the privilege to travel a lot in Southern Africa.
And now, now I’m on a whole new type of journey, the journey of adoption. I think I already mentioned what an awesome journey it has been so far. Sometimes it feels unreal, am I really doing this? I guess because I’m not pregnant and physically I don’t feel any changes, I sometimes need to pinch myself or I just go the cupboard and look at all the fluffy colorful toys waiting to be played with. And then I have these great friends with a fantastic sense of humour. I had to laugh so loud when my friend brought me: An Instant Infant. It’s a pop-up cardboard of a baby. The packaging says:
- The perfect baby, All the fun, practically none of the poop
- Virtually UNLIMITED attention span!
- Cute as a frigging button
- Matches most decors J
One and only INSTANT INFANT is unconditionally guaranteed to be safe and gentle with your most precious valuables. Will not tear, stain or otherwise damage clothing. Also safe with all audio/visual equipment.
Oh dear! It’s so funny to have this ‘baby’ crawling on my table and see it smile at me. I just hope that I can exchange it soon for the REAL thing haha!!
Next time I will most likely report from Johannesburg as I will be spending some time there.
5. A bit of anxiety.
I left for Johannesburg last week Saturday. Before visiting the orphanage on the 5th of March I still have quite a busy program. When I packed on Friday, I had no clue what all to pack. First I was visiting my friend Julia and spent the weekend with her exploring Johannesburg. On Monday I drove to Sun City for a site inspection for my travel business. Tuesday and Wednesday I spend at the Sandton Convention Centre at MeetingsAfrica and while I’m writing this I’m in the Timbavati Private Game Reserve, adjacent to the Kruger National Park, doing some more site inspections, enjoying 2 nights in a luxury tented camp and jeep safaris.
And then of course Monday (the day after tomorrow, VERY soon….) it is possible that I’m meeting my future daughter. AAAARGGGHHHH! Friends ask me if I’m ready for it. I ask myself if I’m ready for it and then of course I start to worry a bit. Will I be a good mother? Will I be able to provide? Will I be able to love enough? Am I not completely crazy wanting to do this at this moment in my life? Should I not rather wait for a husband? Why do I have to do all these things (moving to South Africa, setting up a company, buying a flat and now a child) by myself? So yes, there’s lots of anxiety going on. But then I see a little girl and I ask myself: will my little girl look like her? Will she also be so cute and smile that way? I imagine myself having fun with my little girl. I imagine traveling with her. I imagine laughing, learning and experiencing loads of special moments together. And secretly I imagine meeting a lovely man who will completely accept my choices in life and will welcome my daughter and me into his life with an open heart and wide open arms.
And that’s when I decide again to trust in God who will bring to me the right child at the right time. I shouldn’t worry so much about the future and I certainly shouldn’t dwell on the past. I’ve wanted this for a long time and I’ve gone through the whole process. Social workers have judged me to be rightly equipped to do this on my own so now it’s up to me to believe in myself and ask for help when needed.
6. Patience waits..
I’m not going to lie to you. Today I wish I’d never started a blog about anything. Today I wish I could hide away from the world. What was I thinking? Of course I only had happy thoughts and expectations and I could have never imagined that I would go through the trauma that I experienced this week. But I’ve made a commitment to myself, to my future child and to Mommymatters that I would write a weekly blog so here it goes. Just so you know. I’m writing this on Friday morning and things have cleared up a LOT.
I went to the home on Monday to meet Lerato, 4 month old baby girl. I played with her, helped with the bottle, bathing, spend some hours. My friend Gillian was with me. I thought Lerato was very cute, quiet baby, content and introvert.
On the way back in the car I had no idea what to do. How do I know that this is my baby? How does one KNOW 100%??? What am I supposed to feel? How do I know that she will be happy with me and that we belong together? I didn’t know what to do and felt terribly confused.
Then I started thinking who I could ask for advice. I guess it had to be God. I sent an email to the pastor of the church I go to. She had put me in touch with the baby home and was very excited for me and was asking all the time how things were going. I honestly told her that I didn’t know what to do. She gave me a verse to read: Phil 4:4-8. I read the verses and then the answer came to me about 1 split second later which was quite amazing:
I can’t take this decision and I don’t want to take this decision now. The responsibility is too big and I can’t take it on my own. I need someone to take the decision for me. I can’t go out and look for a baby. There has to be some sense of belonging. So I decided that I want to wait for Child Welfare in Cape Town to match me with a baby. I’ve spend hours with them in workshops and interviews. They know me, they’ve visited my house and I see them each month at the Adoption Support group here in Cape Town. They will be able to support me after the adoption has taken place as well. I was very happy with my decision and I just wanted to go home and be in Cape Town. The next morning I still went back to see Lerato and to make sure that I’d taken the right decision. It also helped a lot that I knew Lerato was in good hands. The home is lovely with only 4 babies and I’m 100% sure that she will find her forever parents very soon.
In the afternoon I phoned the house-mom to tell her about my decision and then she said something that really kind of hurt although it was true. She said that she’s seen many families who came to adopt and she couldn’t see that I connected with Lerato so she also wouldn’t have advised me to adopt her. She then also told me that Lerato was actually not yet ‘ready’ for adoption. Social workers still needed to advertise for her to find possible family.
And then I started to worry and feel bad and think all the horrible things: Will I ever be able to connect with a baby? Why must I necessarily do this on my own? Why did my ex not want a future with me? Will I be able to give enough love by myself? Should I be doing this? Why complicating my life? And on and on and on and on….as one does.. And I just wanted to go home. I was in Johannesburg where I don’t know much, driving around with a GPS and just wanting to go home, home to Cape Town and walk the mountain.
I managed to fly back still on Tuesday night and I was so happy to smell the ocean and see my mountain. Now I know I need to be patient and I can’t go out looking for babies, the right one will come to me at the right time and this was not the right time. Wednesday I was so so sad and couldn’t stop crying and feeling sorry for myself but in the afternoon I started to feel better. After hiking Lion’s head again in the morning and being back home, the whole trauma is kind of over and I know I needed to go through this to understand. I’m now just chilling about the whole thing and focusing on my work, friends and enjoying life in Cape Town. Whatever happens will happen and I will patiently wait to see how life will unfold over the next couple of months or perhaps even years.
I wish I could ‘hide’ this blog but I feel very strongly about writing honest and open about my experience. It will hopefully be helpful for other adoptive parents-to-be.
7. Taking a break
After last week’s blog, I needed to take a little bit of a break. Girlfriends had already planned a weekend away on the West Coast and it was great that I could still join. The best thing I could have done. Just chill, relax, lie by the pool and talk nonsense with the girls. We stayed at a beautiful farm house. If you need to get away from Cape Town for a bit and you don’t want to drive too far, this is a perfect spot. During the week we hiked Lion’s Head almost each morning.
Cape Town has all these special spots and for me it’s the best way to put everything back into perspective and clear my head. Writing helps me a lot as well so there’s no need to constantly talk about what I’m going through. In fact it feels as if I’m facilitating my own counselling through blogging, haha!! When people ask me: ‘How is it going? Any news on your daughter yet?’ And I don’t feel like talking about it, I can just point them to the blog and they’re fully updated on all the happenings. Perfect!
The whole week I mainly focused on work and didn’t think too much about the adoption. I updated my social worker at Child Welfare and told her what happened in Johannesburg. I’m no longer in a rush and will let things unfold in their own time. I had this idea in my head that I had to have a daughter before my 40th birthday in April. I prefer not to think about it for a bit and the way I felt for most of the week is that if it doesn’t happen for the next 2 years, then that’s apparently the way it’s supposed to be.
But then I reminded myself again what my grandmother told me once when I was about 7 years old. Every Saturday afternoon I would go to my grandmother and I would help her bake apple pies for the whole family. These were actually very thin apple sauce pies, grandma’s special recipe. Really delicious! During one of those afternoons my grandmother would tell me that she thought I would go to Africa later in my life and that I would go and help African kids. That was her vision for my life. Isn’t that quite extraordinary? Somehow I forgot this story until I’d already moved to South Africa.
So I strongly believe that being in Africa, living in Cape Town and adopting an African child is definitely the life that I’m supposed to live, at least that’s how I feel. I might just need a bit of time to get myself back into the right frame of mind, feel confident again and stop listening to the negative voices in my head that try to talk me into something different.
8. Getting my groove back.
You can imagine that I get a LOT of questions when people find out that I’m in the process of adopting a baby. It’s not really on top of people’s mind to see adoption as an option for their wish to start a family. In most cases couples want biological children and if they can’t have them, they will visit a fertility clinic and research their alternatives. So when I’m at birthday parties and my friends ask me how I’m doing, there’s always at least 1 person or 1 couple that is very interested in the story.
And I have to be honest, I find it quite inspiring to suddenly see their eyes light up with possibility: “hey, maybe this is something that we can consider too…?” To encourage people to at least research the possibility of adoption really gives me great satisfaction. I don’t know when I’m going to have my baby, but to be a positive ambassador for adoption and the work of Child Welfare is really great. Once people know that I’ve gone through the whole process they start asking questions: So how old will the child be? Will it be a boy or girl? And of course the white South Africans ask hesitantly: Will it be a black baby? Will she/he have HIV?
And I keep explaining the process and how difficult it must be for a first mother to give up her own child but that in fact it’s an act of Love to do that. There’s a lot of judgement around giving up a child for adoption, I notice. Another thing I’ve noticed, is that for men adoption is often more difficult than for women. On 3 different occasions I had married women come talk to me about that they had wanted a child. They were not able to conceive themselves and they were willing to adopt. However, their husbands were not able to go that route. They either only wanted to have a biological child or they didn’t want to have a black or coloured child. Hm, wow! That got me thinking…I’m actually in quite a privileged situation to be single and to be able to make this decision on my own.
As difficult as it is, no one can stop me! All 3 women felt that their life is quite empty now that the possibility of having a child is over. It obviously also had an impact on their marriage and some got divorced. I realise that not many people discuss all these issues before they get married but perhaps it’s an idea to do this. It also made me realise to indeed: Count my blessings and don’t compare my life with other people. I guess single people idealise the married life whereas couples maybe sometimes wish they were by themselves.
With regards to what’s happening on the adoption front. I’ve updated Child Welfare about my feelings and hesitations and they were super supportive and understanding. I haven’t put the process on hold. At the moment there are no babies who are up for adoption so I will most probably still be wait listed for quite some time. All good!
9. The Freedom of Choice
On Human Rights Day I was invited to be a guest on The Taxi Radio Show with Rolene Sher. She’d invited 5 women: one had a child when she was 14, one was 7 month pregnant with her 5th child (she and her husband would have 8 children by then), another lady had just given birth to her 2nd child whereas she hadn’t been able to conceive for about 7 years, there was a lady from Marie Stopes which is a clinic for termination of pregnancies and then there was me: single woman who would like to adopt.
We talked about the freedom of choice we have in life and that there’s no one who can keep us from making the choices that are good for us. Sometimes the choices are difficult and family is not always supportive but especially when it comes to having a child, it’s a very personal choice. Yes, we can ask for advice, yes, we can get advice, sometimes maybe ‘unsolicited’ but a woman in South Africa should have the freedom of choice.
I felt a bit controversial when sitting in the studio and talking about this because at the moment I don’t know what to choose anymore. At the moment I’m very insecure about adopting. Things, like not having the grandparents around are starting to worry me. Grandparents are often a very important support system and mine are in The Netherlands so they will not be around. I’m a bit concerned about becoming isolated, me and my baby on the couch. I’m concerned about doing it all on my own.
I had a chat to a married friend who is also at the age that she should have kids now, well, at least if she would like her biological kids. She and her husband decided that they don’t feel ready now and that they rather opt for adoption in about 5 years time when they’re both 45. The freedom of choice… It got me thinking again. I’m starting to consider if there’s not a better way, as a single person, of making a contribution to a child’s life. I used to volunteer at The Shine Centre, help primary school kids catch up with the English language. Maybe I should start doing that again? But then there’s still that fear of never having a family and becoming a bit bitter about it…
I have to say that it is quite amazing the conversations I have when I talk openly about my doubts and fears. Yesterday I ran into a lovely couple with 2 gorgeous kids. I told her my plans but then also my fears. And she told me that even when she was pregnant with the 2nd child that she had the same fears as I’m having now: becoming isolating, always being able to provide, losing your freedom. It was quite a relief to find out my fears are not so unusual. For the moment I’ve decided that I’m not ready so this morning I’ve written an email to Child Welfare to ask if I can put my adoption process ‘on hold’. To be continued…
10. Holiday times
After some quiet time I now feel ready again to blog about my adoption journey. The more I speak to other mothers or mothers-to-be I realize that all the emotions I’m going through are quite normal. Nobody knows in what way their life is going to change once baby has arrived so anxiety, fear and sometimes even sadness are all part of the process.
One of the amazing stories I heard at the Adoption Support group. Each last Thursday of the month, Child Welfare organizes an evening for adoptive parents (to-be) and their kids so last Thursday I went. I had a chat with a single lady who had adopted and then a few months later she fell pregnant. So she was now a single mother of two kids, both under 2 yrs, while working full time. Wow!! I couldn’t believe how relaxed she was and just did it all on her own. My fears just disappeared..
Last weekend I went away with 3 girlfriends to the Wilderness National Park. Every time I travel, I think: Next time we perhaps have a little person joining us… Would that be ok? The more I think about that, the more excited I get. I check if places are child-friendly and if in general it would be a good place to bring a child. Wilderness National Park is a FANTASTIC place for kids. We saw quite a few families with babies and kids. Or perhaps, I just saw them because that’s what’s on my mind at the moment. There’s a big lawn to play, the self-catering cabins and houses are very well equipped and Garden Route mall is only 15km away to do all your grocery shopping. Wilderness is smack-bam in the middle of the Garden Route so day trips to Knysna & Plettenberg and anything in between can all be part of the fun. We mostly stayed in Wilderness , enjoyed hikes up to the waterfall, walk on the beach and enjoyed braais at our cabin.
My girlfriends, all fabulous & beautiful single women, are also getting quite excited about the fact that Baby Lipperts might arrive any time. It will add an extra dimension to the fun. I guess I’m just creating my own ‘Modern Family’ with no husband but about 23 fabulous Auntie’s. Although I will obviously not be out and about as much as I am now, I do intend to have a full life and go on adventures. For example, we hike Lion’s Head almost each day of the week. We meet at 6am or 6h30 in winter and hike for about 45 minutes. Quite often I see a man or a woman with a tiny baby on their back going up. I think it will be great to teach kids an appreciation for nature and for this beautiful city we live in from a very young age.
I can’t wait to hop in the car and experience the country and travel with a little one. I think it will be one mighty adventure and gives me a whole new perspective. South Africa is such an awesome country and kids are well loved. So keep an eye out for child-friendly travel advice, places to go to, see, do and experience.
11. So how long is the waiting list
Friends, family as well as strangers often ask me this question so I thought it would be useful to dedicate a blog on this.
It is quiet on the adoption front, at least in my case it is. Although I’m as ready as I can possibly be, I’ve come to realize that I might still have to wait quite some time. I’ve just come back from the Adoption Support group. There was a couple with the cutest little boy, 7 months old. He was placed with them about 7 weeks ago.
I was absolutely struck by the resemblance of the little boy and his adoptive parents. He could easily be their biological son. It was amazing. This obviously can only be the case if kids and parents have the same complexion which in my case will not be possible because there are no white children up for adoption. But that’s unimportant now.
What I’d like to point out is the magical matching that the social workers do. It seems they have a gift to match babies with their adoptive parents in quite an incredible way.
A couple of months ago I met up with an adoptive single mother who told me that she was amazed how perfect she and her son ‘match’. At the time she was adopting a friend of hers was going through the process as well. They’d both applied for boys with the same agency. They could have placed the 2 boys the other way around, right? Yet they didn’t and both boys have found their perfect mommies.
Tonight I saw another matching miracle performed by the social workers, where parents and child after 7 weeks, look as if it never has been any different. This was the story that the parents shared tonight at the support group. The little boy has been comfortable and relaxed from day 1 and slept 4.5 hours on the first day at his new home. They haven’t experienced any bonding issues. This family was radiating a sense of belonging that many biological families might not even experience. Isn’t that incredible? I thought it was pretty amazing and I can only applaud the work of Child Welfare.
So there is no waiting list. It’s not a matter of standing in the queue and waiting for your turn. Some couples wait 3 years for their perfect little baby and others are overwhelmed when they receive a phone call only 1 week after their approval. It all depends on the babies and that’s the way it should be. The baby (with a little help from the social workers) chooses his or her parents and not the other way around.
12. Adoption Support Group
Adoption support group, an adoptive mom and her 22 yr old daughter talk to us
Yesterday we had another Adoption Support group evening. These evenings are organized by Child Welfare and always take place on the last Thursday of the month. I try not to miss them.
Most of the times, there are only a handful of people but yesterday the room was packed and there were not enough chairs to accommodate all parents (to-be). Clearly the topic was of interest to many.
Both mom and daughter introduced themselves shortly and it was mainly the daughter who explained how important it was to tell your child from day 1 that he or she is adopted. This is mainly important for same culture adoption where it is not so clear and where the child might even look like the adoptive parents.
I noticed that some people were reluctant to tell their child but then others gave us a whole new perspective on adoption. That we can be proud to be allowed to adopt. We went through a screening process and we were approved, approved to bring up a child. Anyone can fall pregnant but to adopt is not possible for everyone.
Then there was the example of when the child becomes obnoxious and starts using the adoption to hurt the parent: ‘you’re not my real mom’, you don’t really love me, I’m going to my real mom now. And then the different reactions of the parents. Some helped their child pack their bag and bring them to the bus stop LOL (of course there was no where to go from there…) and others started to reason and to explain until the child would completely forget what the discussion started about in the first place. All such good insights to hear.
If there’s a file of the birth parents with the social worker, the child can get the details when she turns 18 year. A meeting with the birth parents or mostly it is just the mother, can then be arranged.
13. She’s HERE!
Ok, now I got myself into trouble. Little Rosie came into my life on the 5th of December 2012 and I have not written one single word since then. May I please use the excuse that I’m having way to much fun with the precious little baby and that I simply did not have the time to put my thoughts and feelings on paper.
Since 20 September I knew that a first mom had picked my profile. But that were all the details I had. I had no idea when the baby was born and how long I would still have to wait. Biological moms have 2 months to reconsider and normally the social worker will not tell you anything until those 2 months are almost over but in my case they told me earlier because I was planning a business trip end of November. Although I was very excited, I was also very aware of those 2 months and tried to temper my enthusiasm a bit. Gosh it is actually so difficult now to get back all those memories and think of how and when things exactly happened.
I was in doubt whether to go to Barcelona or not but Bianca, the adoption social worker, advised to just go on the trip and keep living my life. They would plan around that if need be.
Mid-October I then got the email where the adoption agency wanted to meet up with me and go through the babies’ details. 15th of November we had that meeting and I saw the first picture of what soon would be my child. She was so beautiful! Such a happy smiling baby. Wow!! Totally overwhelmed of course and no idea what to do first. I just had this picture frame in my bag and showed everyone that this was going to be my daughter on the 5th of December.
I still went to the tradeshow in Barcelona but my head was not really there as you can imagine. What was nice that I also planned a couple of days in Holland with my family. It was the last time that I would travel by myself. Lots of shopping happening and I had a very special evening with my girlfriends in Amsterdam. Most of them already have children and I got to see a very different side of them. The support was just wonderful and people have been so incredibly generous. Friends of my mom, friends of friends, strangers, everyone got excited about little baby Lipperts.