Today is World Adoption Day. We are celebrating today by introducing you to Jules. Jules came into mamahood in a more unusual way than most of us, she and her husband Ryan have adopted three beautiful babes.
Did you always know that you would want to adopt?
Yes, but we just didn’t know when. Adoption has been on my heart for the longest time and it is something that Ryan and I discussed before we got married.
When did you start looking into adoption?
We’d been married for about a year when we started chatting about kids and we decided to look into adoption. The timing of this chat coincided with an ‘adoption looking in’ talk that we attended which was hosted by Wandisa, the adoption agency that ultimately facilitated each of our adoptions. When you have access to information, it makes the decision-making process so much easier.
What about adoption appealed to you?
I had a strong desire to be a mom and to have a baby, but I didn’t yearn to experience pregnancy and so adoption made sense for us in both a heart and head kind of way. I had been exposed to the orphan crisis through my work as a Physio and had always felt the tug on my heart to be part of the solution. Culture says that your baby needs to carry your DNA, but our children have our hearts completely and this is really all that matters.
After you adopted your first baby, was the process easier to adopt your second baby?
It was easier in that we knew what to expect and we had an existing relationship with our adoption social worker and agency, but we still had to go through a screening update and fill out all the forms again. The process had also changed slightly since our first adoption and so we were required to undergo a psychological examination (which included drawing a picture of a house, a person and a tree and explaining scenarios in pictures) as well as read and review some adoption-related books. All certified documents are only valid for three months and so this paperwork also had to be re-done.
It’s easy to start to feel resentful about all the adoption admin, but adoption social workers only have the best interests of each child at heart and so there is no option but to get on board, and to get on board enthusiastically.
Tell us about the day you got the phone call, telling you about each of your babies.
Our social worker phoned us each time to tell us about the potential match and asked if they could send us a referral via email – this included some photos and details about our babies and where they had been staying up until that point. We imagine that opening up that referral email is the same as viewing your very first scan and so we made sure that we were always together when we opened it up. It’s a surreal moment seeing a photo of your baby for the first time.
Can you describe your first day together?
Our first night back home with Ilan was quite bizarre. I woke up to the sound of a baby crying and after a moment of confusion, I realised it was OUR baby crying! Instant parenting.
What was the toughest part about choosing this path to motherhood?
The toughest part is probably dealing with the desire to bond instantly with your child and this isn’t always the case. It’s also quite taxing keeping your child’s specific ‘adoption-related needs’ on your radar while going through normal parenting routines and ticking off developmental milestones.
Do you have any family rituals?
We celebrate each child’s adoption day with a special family meal together. We like to acknowledge the day that each of our children joined the family and make a bit of a fuss of each child on this day. We’re also putting together a ‘Life Story’ book for each child which is a great way to make them familiar with their story and give them the opportunity to chat through the details in a safe way.
Is motherhood everything you thought it would be?
Yes, and more. It’s beautiful to see the world through your child’s eyes and to be forced to slow down sometimes. I’m surprised by how often my heart just wants to pop with the deepest love for my kids – I love being a mom to my three kids.
Pictures snapped by Ilze Louw.
Follow Jules’ blog at Heart Mama Blog.