Many people have commented throughout our journey that they find it ridiculous how adoption is such a intensive, difficult process to get through. At first, I agreed with them. How ridiculous that a couple with a heart for adopting a child as their own need to be poked and prodded in every area of their lives! I mean, there are people out there who some would say are absolutely not equipped to be parents, yet popping out babies left, right and centre. Where is the fairness in that? After completing the screening and preparation process, I now see things very differently. I am so glad that they made the process so intense! We are ready!
Adoption is a completely different experience to a pregnancy, yet similar in so many ways…or so I’ve heard anyway! It is an emotional journey that ventures into excitement, frustration, anger, defensiveness, happiness, contentment, celebration and impatience. But, above all, it is a journey of faith and strengthening of character, as I’m very sure parenthood will be too.
As we embarked on our physically journey to Johannesburg/Pretoria for our Adoption Prep course, we were filled with questions around what was in store for us over the next week or so. People around us were filled with just as many questions, to which we had no answers! Assumptions ranging from deeply theological lessons to learning how to physically care for your child (bathing him, feeding him, etc) were thrown into the mix and we were left with the only real option of going with open minds and no expectations.
The drive up was horrendous. For anyone living in South Africa, you know all about potholes and the state of so many roads throughout our country. I think some of the worst ones are along the route that we travel when we go to Johannesburg! We left with enough time to try get through the worst ones before the sun went down…or so we thought. The countless trucks on the road, winding through mountainous passes, made for a slooooow and painful drive. Once the sun was setting, we were nowhere near where we had hoped to be. Driving as slow as was possible (without adding hours onto our journey), we navigated through the potholes like a minefield.
Murphy is ALWAYS around! Someone really needs to teach that guy a lesson! Every time we got to the really bad potholes, there was a car coming from the opposite direction that was right next to us, meaning that we couldn’t swerve to avoid it. Unfortunately, at one of those exact moments, we came across one that was deep enough to use as a jacuzzi and braced ourselves for the impact. The damage: a popped tyre and a cracked windscreen. We pulled over and assessed the situation. Twenty minutes later and we were back on the road with our spare tyre fitted and the atmosphere a little more tense. We arrived in Joburg safely, but never happier to be out of the car!
One thing that is always guaranteed when we arrive in Joburg is that D’s mom has always prepared some sort of spoiling for us. It’s very special and we appreciate it so much after such a long, stressful drive. We unpacked the car and settled down to pizzas and beer/coke, a good catch-up and then off to bed! It was just what we needed.
The following day we had planned to meet close friends of our’s at the Annual Reptile Expo. Their oldest child has an incredible interest in reptiles (and a knowledge of them that far exceeds most adults), so there was plenty of excitement between the boys for the Expo. It’s always interesting to see what’s available and where the reptile industry is going in South Africa. Even though we had no money to buy anything, we had loads of fun running from one stand to the next (mostly after the 7 year old)! This year, the focus seemed to be on various Ball Python morphs and Tarantulas were also around every corner. There were absolutely no complaints from my side as I have such a fascination with the Ball Python morphs. However, after walking around a few times, the excitement quickly turned to sad faces as we all realized we couldn’t buy anything at all. Most heartbreaking, was the look of disappoint in the little snake genius’s eyes. I realized right there and then that I am going to have to toughen up a LOT when I become a mom. Saying “No” is definitely not easy.
Here are a few photos to give you an idea of what this year’s expo was like:
Now, we were under strict instruction from a friend of mine, let’s call her “J” and our family that we were by no means allowed back at the house earlier than 15:30 – I think we all know why. So, after driving around for awhile and stopping in at a few shops, we were stumped for where to go next. At that moment, we received a message from our friends who we’d spent the morning with. They were already on their way back home and their son was negotiating a way to get one of the Corn Snakes that were for sale at the expo. The offer on the plate was that he would pay for it out of his pocket money that he had saved (and forgotten at home). By then, we were too far from the expo to go back, but we decided to scout the local reptile shops for a similar one in the same price range. Two stops later, we had another occupant in our vehicle. It was time to go home for our “surprise”…
(The corn snake for the young snake enthusiast!)
We pulled up outside and noticed that quite a few people were already there. Yes, ladies and gentleman…this was our baby shower (aka. Adoption Celebration)! We knew about it, although didn’t really know many details, so it was still a lovely surprise and we got thoroughly spoiled by everyone. The ladies had done a fabulous job with decorating a Dr. Seuss theme (our little man’s nursery theme) for the celebration, it was SO special! We had a relaxed time, catching up with family and friends who we hadn’t seen in awhile and of course, ate cake and drank wine! Yes, that’s right, I got to drink wine at my baby shower! In fact, there may even have been a couple of caramel vodka shots involved too…
Sunday was a celebration for one of the most amazing woman I know. Mother’s Day is a difficult one for me, having lost my own mom two and a half years ago, it has become so difficult to celebrate this day. As I prepare to become a mother myself, I constantly catch myself wishing that I could make this journey with my own mother alongside me. I catch myself wondering what her opinion on things would’ve been, what she would’ve said in certain situations, and what foolproof advice she would’ve passed down to me. I miss her so much in this season of my life, but I know that I can pass her legacy on to my own child as he grows up.
Mother’s Day this year, my brother-in-law and his girlfriend booked us all in for breakfast at a gorgeous little restaurant named “Petit Fours”. The quaint, feminine atmosphere made it the perfect candidate for Mother’s Day celebrations. The menu was so different and it was difficult to pinpoint which option we each wanted to order for breakfast. Neither of our decisions disappointed us though. The food was divine! The remainder of our Sunday we spent relaxing and preparing for the start of our Adoption Prep course.
Read Part 1 of the Adoption Prep course here…