Lucky Du Plessis shared his incredible adoption story on Twitter this week and had Mzansi in tears.
It’s a story about two kids from different backgrounds who became friends, it’s about a mom who recognised a little boy’s need to belong. It’s a story about resilience, and success, and changing perceptions. But mostly, it’s a story about love.
“Charl was the only Afrikaans kid who wanted to be friends with me in the entire Afrikaans school,” Lucky began his Twitter thread. The two youngsters were just six and five-years-old at the time.
“A few years later his parents decided to adopt me,” said Lucky. “They looked after me for many years before they adopted me, because the person I stayed with was a drug addict and alcohol abuser.”
After reading this, we just had to know more. All4Women got in touch with Lucky to find out more about his story.
“I was adopted before it was cool,” laughs Lucky. “South Africa was still trying to work out its kinks and people weren’t as accepting as they might be now.”
“People said things to my mom. But it comes to show that if people care, amazing things can happen. A family put their lives on the line for me and sacrificed a lot because they wanted to make a difference. Love will always triumph over hate.”
Here’s how it all began:
Lucky was born in Johannesburg into a household that abused drugs. He attended school at Laerskool Florida where he met his now brother, Charl. The two became firm friends, and over the years, Lucky became part of the Du Plessis family.
“Marikie (Mickey) and Erik adopted me officially at age 12, but unofficially around seven or eight,” recalls Lucky. He joined his brother Charl, who was a year older than him, as well as his sister Erika (5 years older), Lenadri (8 years older), and Philip (10 years older).
What inspired a mom of four to adopt another child?
Lucky posed this question to his mom. Here’s her beautiful response:
“I think there are two parts in this question. We first took you in. Later we adopted you. When we took you in, Lucky, you were a little lost boy left in a big world with no guidance and a place to call your own.”
“You were Charl’s friend and lost and vulnerable. I was a mom of four children. I knew how important it was to belong. So we took you in.”
“Adoption was not on our mind. You fitted into our household like a glove. You loved every moment and we loved you. Dad always said it was easy to like you! Adopting you was just a formality. You were adopted the day you came to stay. It was not a decision, it was a journey. We loved you.”
Kicked out of church
The adoption created some upheaval in the community that the family lived in. In fact, the Du Plessis family was even asked to leave their church!
“Mickey’s church kicked them out because their son was black,” tweeted Lucky.
All4Women asked him how this made him feel. “It was one of those things that I also can’t really remember well. But whenever situations like these happened, Charl would always say something that would make me laugh. For instance, he told my parents ‘It’s fine we don’t like coming here anyway. It’s too early and it’s not fun.’”
His sister also stood up against racism. “My sister broke up with her boyfriend because he said he can’t date someone who had a black brother. So she told him “Bye Felicia“…”
“I think hate is taught. When I got to school I saw all the kids that hated me because I was black. And then saw what my family did, and I realised it’s not everyone, it is a select ignorant few.”
A new birthday
Lucky’s family stood by him no matter what. Mickey even created a ‘birthday’ for Lucky as he didn’t know when he was born.
“After many discussions with the school, Mickey got the school to allow her to take me to Sandton Clinic and they scanned three fingers on my right hand,” recalls Lucky. “They worked out I was born in 1987 between July and September. Mickey then chose the middle month, August, and the middle day 15th. And that is now my birthday.”
“I think everyone thinks their birthday is special but mine feels extra special.”
“Growing up in an Afrikaans school we played rugby. It was a religion in this part of town. My brother Charl was good without even trying,” says Lucky. “I wasn’t good because of my size. Whenever I played it hurt so I would stop or cry…”
“Charl didn’t have any of this because our dad was a first team Stellenbosch player. Charl would tell me things like ‘You can’t cry in rugby you just have to have to hit them back harder’. So one day he strapped padding to a tree and he made me hit it 20 times on each shoulder every day.”
“He made me hard because he saw how much I wanted to play rugby. Even though he didn’t enjoy it as much. In grade 5 he was the first kid to play first team for the primary school. And I was the second.”
“Rugby changed my life”
“Rugby changed my life when I was younger,” says Lucky. “It gave me opportunities that I could never have had.”
“I became the first black head boy of an Afrikaans School, it got me a scholarship to St Stithians and led me to play Craven Week at 13 and 16 years. It just opened up opportunities that I couldn’t have had without rugby.”
“But it all started with a blond haired, blue eyed boy who didn’t see colour – just a friend.”
What’s the hardest thing about adoption?
“The same thing that’s difficult about South Africa, our different cultures,” says Lucky.
“If you live in Australia and you adopt a white child and everyone else is white, it’s fine, you don’t even have to tell the child they are adopted.”
“Here they stand out, they know, they can feel it. People always look at them and ask questions. And then there is issue of speaking the vernacular.”
“And finally, the hair saga. If you are white and adopt a black child, please don’t try and do their hair…It’s one of three things I tell people when they do adoption research!”
Lucky is now a career-driven husband and father
Lucky is a big advocate for adoption.
“Adoption is absolutely amazing. Because you are giving someone another chance at life. Thank you to all those amazing people who have done that. All those Mickeys out there who didn’t care that the church kicked them out because their son was black. Adopt and make a difference, because it matters.”
Lucky is now a thriving, career-driven 33-year-old. He has been married for the past four years and has a little boy called Diego. He recently joined KZN’s East Coast Radio station and is manning the Weekend Breakfast show between 6 and 10am.
Thank you for sharing your story with us, Lucky!