Ba­bies of the­heart heaven

MATCH MADE IN Some grow in your tummy, oth­ers grow in your heart

Your Baby & Toddler - - Front Page - BY KAREN READ

We were meant to be, Gabe and I. I be­lieve it with all my heart,” says An­gelique Ardé, a vis­i­bly love­struck Cape Town mother.

“Gabe was four months old when he came home, in Oc­to­ber 2015. I was 44. My sis­ter, Jac­qui, who was with me when I fetched him, has al­ways said that we are so well matched. ‘He’s a gen­tle gi­ant,’ she says. (He weighed eight ki­los at four months!) I’m tall (not gi­ant-sized tall, just tall) and very re­laxed. I’m grate­ful Gabe isn’t a high-en­ergy child; I reckon it could make sin­gle par­ent­ing a bit more tir­ing.”

For some peo­ple, be­ing un­mar­ried and child­less by the time they are forty is part of the plan. “I wasn’t one of them! But I thank God that my plan didn’t prevail, be­cause an adopted baby wasn’t in it. I can’t imagine life with­out Gabe. I adopted be­cause of my cir­cum­stances, and had a deep sense of peace about it from the be­gin­ning. I have an adopted cousin, and she’s as Ardé as can be. Our en­tire fam­ily has al­ways be­lieved that she was al­ways meant to be a part of us. I sup­pose you could say that for me, adop­tion is spir­i­tual. It’s also not un­com­mon in my faith com­mu­nity. And it’s mostly tran­sra­cial, so there are many fam­i­lies that look like us.”

An­gelique says her en­tire fam­ily was sup­port­ive of her de­ci­sion to adopt, with the ex­cep­tion of her fa­ther. “My dad’s very tra­di­tional and has strong con­vic­tions that a fam­ily con­sti­tutes a man, a woman, and their off­spring. He’s also a prod­uct of the old South Africa, so he had con­cerns about the tran­sra­cial thing. I knew he would come around, be­cause he has the soft­est heart. Just be­fore I got Gabriel, I phoned my par­ents to ask my dad if he would give me his bless­ing to name my son Gabriel Max — Max be­ing my dad’s name. There was a long si­lence on the other end of the line. My mom came on and said, ‘Dad can’t speak right now. He’s very emo­tional.’ He was crying. I can’t re­mem­ber her ex­act words af­ter that, but I knew we were go­ing to be al­right. My par­ents proudly re­fer to Gabe as their new grand­son. He may as well be flesh of my flesh.”

I won­der if it’s more dif­fi­cult for sin­gles to adopt than it is for cou­ples. “A lot of peo­ple ask me if the au­thor­i­ties are re­luc­tant to al­low sin­gle peo­ple to adopt. Thank­fully they aren’t. My process was easy – and fast! I was screened, ap­proved and matched with Gabriel in six months! I went through Abba in Belville. They’re a pri­vate agency, which I sought out be­cause they charge on a slid­ing scale, and I couldn’t af­ford tens of thou­sands of rands.”

But surely it’s more dif­fi­cult for sin­gles to cope than it is for cou­ples? An­gelique dis­agrees: “I think in many ways, it’s eas­ier. From day one, I’ve known that it all falls to me to meet my child’s needs. There is no one else to bath him or change him or to get up in the night to feed or to con­sole, so I have no ex­pec­ta­tion of any­one com­ing to my aid. I ap­pre­ci­ate that my friends with part­ners can easily get into con­flict over whose turn it is to sleep in or take time off. I’m on duty 24/7. The flip side is I get to do things my way and there’s no one to crit­i­cise me. I have amaz­ing sup­port in my sis­ter and ex­tended fam­ily, and my friends. They are a great source of en­cour­age­ment – not to men­tion meals and in­vi­ta­tions to join in fun things. We are not alone.”

An­gelique says the best thing about adop­tion is that it gives you brag­ging rights. “I had noth­ing what­so­ever to do with Gabe’s good looks, su­pe­rior intelligence, never-end­ing cute­ness, and over­all yum­mi­ness, so I reckon I can brag to my heart’s con­tent and no one can ac­cuse me of be­ing vain. A pain in the rear end, yes. But not vain.” I think she’s only half-jok­ing, be­cause she is sud­denly very se­ri­ous: “I’ve never loved like this or known love like this. It’s out of this world.” YB

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.