Ba­bies of the Heart A cou­ple shares their jour­ney with adop­tion


Your Baby & Toddler - - Contents -

HAV­ING TRIED FOR a cou­ple of years to con­ceive, the Beleys reck­oned it a bless­ing in dis­guise that they weren’t able to have chil­dren the bi­o­log­i­cal way since Joanne hadn’t par­tic­u­larly yearned to be preg­nant. “It [not be­ing able to carry] brought adop­tion into sharp fo­cus,” she says.

But in spite of their in­nate love of chil­dren, the adop­tion process wasn’t an easy road for ei­ther of them. Their process be­gan in 2009.

“Due to cer­tain dis­clo­sures in the ques­tion­naire [that prospec­tive adop­tive par­ents are re­quired to an­swer], we were asked to see a psy­chol­o­gist for a num­ber of ses­sions. Af­ter do­ing so and hav­ing been found fit to adopt, we were matched with a child. But when we got to the court to sign the pa­pers, we couldn’t go through with it,” says Mickey.

Al­though nei­ther had any re­sis­tance to adopt­ing, nor any doubt that it was what they wanted, fear of the enor­mity of par­ent­ing got the bet­ter of them. Joanne says the dis­ap­point­ment of hav­ing opted out at that stage felt like they had lost a child at birth, and for at least two years af­ter that they weren’t able to dis­cuss the topic of chil­dren. “Then one morn­ing in 2014 as we fin­ished pray­ing we both heard God say in a clear voice in our hearts that it was time to adopt,” says Joanne. Soon af­ter that they went to see their so­cial worker at Pro­care and at their first meet­ing they were pre­sented with pho­tos of two ba­bies. “That was when we saw our boy for the first time,” says Mickey, re­fer­ring proudly to Joshua.

Joshua was five-and-a-half months old when he went home. He’s now three­and-a-half years old and clearly thriv­ing. He’s en­er­getic, in­quis­i­tive, talk­a­tive and quite ob­vi­ously mad about his dad. A spe­cial con­nec­tion with his mommy is also ev­i­dent and he’s both pro­tec­tive of and af­fec­tion­ate to lit­tle Daniel.

“Josh is big-hearted,” says Mickey. “He’s also ad­ven­tur­ous, lov­ing and very kind.”

Daniel, who was three-and-a-half months when he went home, is now nine months old and – in a word – de­li­cious! I strug­gle to keep my hands off him, and his dot­ing folks in­dulge me. Joanne de­scribes Daniel as “so­cia­ble, de­ter­mined and full of laughs” and I can’t help but won­der if this isn’t all the re­sult of nur­ture, be­cause these at­tributes seem to per­fectly de­scribe her and Mickey.

The Beleys have kept both of their chil­dren’s birth names as their mid­dle names be­cause they like the names and what they mean, but also be­cause they hope that this will give their boys a sense of be­ing con­nected with their be­gin­nings. Mickey says they feel “ten­der-hearted” to­wards their boys’ birth mother for what she has been through and that they have im­mense re­spect for her for mak­ing the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to put up both her sons for adop­tion.

“We have had peo­ple tell us we’re a bless­ing but we al­ways ex­plain that we are blessed and our boys are the bless­ing. It’s a priv­i­lege to raise these two gifts from God. It’s tough be­cause boys empty you phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally, but then they fill you with joy in a way that noth­ing else can!”

Par­ent­ing and adopt­ing have trans­formed the Beleys’ lives in such a beau­ti­ful way that I am told they have in­spired oth­ers to adopt – not only peo­ple in their cir­cle of friends but in one case, a cou­ple they met in a hos­pi­tal wait­ing room.

“We’re just happy to share our story, and we’re cu­ri­ous to hear other peo­ple’s sto­ries,” says Mickey. This is what prompted them to start an in­for­mal group for par­ents of adopted chil­dren. “We want to learn from peo­ple who are ahead of us in the jour­ney of adopt­ing, and we would also like to be a source of en­cour­age­ment to oth­ers who are walk­ing the same jour­ney as us.” The group gath­ers once a month, usu­ally to meet with and lis­ten to an in­vited guest who may be a par­ent of both adopted and bi­o­log­i­cal chil­dren; a tran­sra­cial adoptee; or a sin­gle par­ent of adopted chil­dren.

The Beleys say that if you are con­sid­er­ing adopt­ing, their best ad­vice to you is to: • Try to be as well-in­formed as pos­si­ble so that you un­der­stand the process and are pre­pared for all pos­si­bil­i­ties; • Gather sup­port from fam­ily and friends be­fore you start the process; and • Meet and spend time with adop­tive fam­i­lies so that you can ex­pe­ri­ence how your life might change. YB

Mickey and Joanne Be­ley are big-hearted peo­ple: big on lov­ing peo­ple and big on serv­ing those in need in Cape Town. Karen Read learnt that they’re big on adop­tion too, which is how they came to be the par­ents of Joshua (3) and Daniel (9 months)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.