A touching Adoption story…from the pen of Gillian, adopting parent

The word ‘adoption’ can bring so many different images to mind – perhaps an abandoned kitten or puppy shivering at the back of a cage at the local animal shelter waiting for a new home, or a perfect-looking family in a photo with ethnically different children smiling back at them. Yet for me adoption meant looking down into my arms and seeing love there. Not the kind of love made of puffy hearts and rainbows, but instead a love that burns and encompasses all that we as mothers know the moment we hold our child to our breast. Yet, in that moment when I first held her, this child who was born of another woman, joined with me in a moment I can never forget, no matter how many children I could bear.

I have two children – one came from my under my heart and the other came from within it. Adoption was the answer to our hearts desire to provide a child that was already ‘here’ with a family that would love her as if she had been born into it. And in many ways she was – she was longed for, prayed for, dreamed about and wanted just as my biological son was. The adoption process is not an easy one for an adoptive parent. In the case of a pregnancy, you can work out the date of the expected arrival almost to the day. In the case of adoption, your dreams are at the mercy of a fairly impersonal process that can seem like it is taking decades! Our experience of the adoption process was that even though it seemed to take forever – actually it took just less than ten months – it always had the future of the orphan at its core. Every question, every piece of paperwork, every meeting with the social workers was to make sure that the life of this vulnerable child, who had already lost so much, would now be given the right to be nurtured and loved within a family structure.

And at that moment on the 18th March 2010 her Place of Safety mom placed Kayla, a new-born baby abandoned at birth, in my arms and she became a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a grandchild… She is the reason that I am blessed to be called ‘Mom’ again, she is the reason that I have learnt so much about love, and she is the reason that I see a miracle unfolding before my eyes every day.

And so it is worth it all – the mounds of paperwork; the challenging questions; the medical tests; the waiting, without knowing what is happening; the meetings – because she, like every other orphan, is worth fighting for, dreaming for, hoping for… Without the dedication of her social workers that made sure we were suitable parents, able to give her a life of love, she would not be ours today. Yes, the adoption process is challenging, frustrating at times, and a minefield of emotional ups and downs, but at the end there is a prize worth the journey – a child, once without a family, is welcomed home as a precious son or daughter.

Reunite a foster child with his biological family

Through investigative Social Work we succeeded to reunite a foster child with his biological family, as his family thought he was deceased. It was an emotional and yet joyful time for both the family and the child. Two foster care children from our program are currently employed by Child Welfare Tshwane, one as an intern within human resource management at our Head Office, and the other at the drop-in center as a care worker. Almost nine hundred families are serviced within the Tshwane area with an astounding 1414 children in the foster care program. Proudly, thirty five of the 1414 students matriculated in 2013.

Reunite a missing youngster

In mid-October 2013 the South African police service brought a child to the Child Welfare Tshwane Risk and Intake office. The child was picked up in the middle of the night, by patrolling officers. The biggest challenge for officers was that the child was unable to effectively communicate with anyone and no missing person docket was opened that was a match. Through research on social media, it was determined that the child was indeed reported missing by loved ones, and we were able to determine where his biological parents lived and who he was. We were able to safely and securely reunite the youngster with his next of kin.