Today 9th November 2016 is #WorldAdoptionDay celebrated worldwide, the wonderful blessing that adoption can be.
Adoption Statistics in South Africa based on a review of the Registry of Adoptable Children and Parents (RACAP) as at November 2013
- 297 unmatched parents registered – 14 Black, 190 White and 43 Indian
- Girls are preferred to Boys
- 50 applicants would consider a child with special needs (HIV, Mental or Physical disabilities)
- 29 possible parents for around 429 children registered on RACAP
- 2013 only 1699 adoptions took place, down from 2840 in 2004
That said, today being World Adoption Day I thought I’d share with you our personal story. So here are Darren’s thoughts back in 2014…
The decision to adopt a baby was not our first option as we desperately wanted to father a child or two of our own. However having considered the exhaustive process as well as the reality that surrogacy would still not guarantee us a baby, we settled on the adoption route and initiated the search for the ‘perfect’ process to follow. The time frame from when we made the application to the first moment we held our son in our arms was a mere 14 months, although it felt like a lifetime. Now a few years later, we realize every single day that God has a plan for each of us and that plan cannot be rushed, wished away or altered in any way. It is, what it is.
Despite all the advice, support, reading, on-line searches and, and, and…nothing could have prepared us for fatherhood. It turned our lives upside down, made us re-evaluate our priorities, sold the sports cars for a family wagon, canceled all the clothing shop cards and changed the man cave, the sanctuary, and the study into a baby’s room.
And you know what; we would do it all again tomorrow!
Our son has taken over our lives. At 4 he is a healthy, strong, charming, handsome kid…he charms his way into the heart of every single person he meets with his smile. His vocab is growing daily and surprises us with words we often wonder where he heard them first…at home, at the park with his friends or at school? We can’t keep up with his growth spurts and the ever shrinking clothes which need to be replaced so often.
We have wild and lofty plans and aspirations for this little boy who has become the center of our universe but even though we want him to become a Springbok rugby player, a doctor or even the future President of South Africa, we want him to be happy first.
The decision to adopt a baby was the best we have ever made and has completed our lives. The journey is a long one and we are under no illusions and know that we may be faced with many challenges but we are determined to give our son the best we possibly can and help him become a positive contributing member of society. We keep his birth mother in our prayers and will always be grateful for her having made what was probably her toughest decision.
We encourage anyone considering adoption to take the step to create a home for a baby, toddler or older child who has no other option in life. Your love for your son or daughter will know no boundaries as they creep into your hearts and you realize that emptiness you sometimes feel when you are alone, sad or depressed is forever gone!
Two years later I asked Darren a few questions …
HKL – What has surprised you the most about being a dad?
The fact that MY parents were right about most things I was ever reprimanded for! And secondly that reprimanding your child is less about being spiteful or vindictive and really more about caring, loving and looking out for your child…you really don’t want them to make the same mistakes you did or get hurt the same way you did.
HKL – Have you seen your dad or parents in how you parent your son?
Absolutely, and this relates to my statement above. The one thing I will admit to is that with the advantage of hindsight as a guide, I will make more time for my son and actually let him and his needs take priority over anything else. I am not hating on my folks or throwing shade but I truly believe that I could have been a little more settled and confident in who I am had my folks played a more visible role in my life especially at high school stage.
HKL – What do you love most about being a dad?
The fact that my heart now beats outside my chest…and its finally a tangible touch, see, feel reality in my life.
HKL – Last words to Gay Couples or Single Gay men considering adoption?
Second by only a very small margin to ‘coming out’, adopting my son was one of the most liberating and life fulfilling moments that I will never be able to fully explain to anyone who has not gone through the same process or who have children of their own.
Looking to become a parent or one already … why don’t you consider adoption and make a difference in a child’s life?