We recently adopted a beautiful baby girl called Liya. Since having her, I have never wanted to write more! There are so many new feelings, thoughts and things I have discovered over the last nine months, with stories and findings running through my head constantly. This is the fifth time I am writing this piece, with the last four pieces being too raw with emotion (good and bad!), so I finally decided to sit down and start with the most important part of this whole process: How we have been blessed through adoption.
My testimony of adoption starts years back
God gave me a heart for adoption in my teen years, but I was so far from ‘growing up’, it soon disappeared into all my other hopes and dreams. When I met and married Bryan, children weren’t even on my mind, and I had grown up never looking after or even playing with small children. For the first two years of our marriage, the last thing I ever wanted was to have a baby.
I think I changed my mind about having a baby in one day. A close friend of ours had just had a little boy, and we held and cooed over him when he was just a few days old. I remember driving home and telling Bryan I wanted a baby, and I went off birth control the same day.
A few months later, we were still not pregnant. At this point, adoption was starting to creep into the back of my mind, but we really wanted our ‘own’ baby, so we carried on trying – seeing all sorts of different doctors, trying all sorts of pills and following weird advice. After about 15 months, I really started to worry and I just wanted a baby no matter what. This was when we first seriously considered adoption, and found our way to an amazing social worker in Roodepoort.
Deciding to have a baby is a huge decision. Deciding to adopt – an even bigger one
The first time we saw her, we were adamant we wanted a white child. Deciding to have a baby is a huge decision. Deciding to adopt is an even bigger decision. Factoring in trans-racial adoption just wasn’t on the table. We quickly learnt that white children just aren’t easily available in South Africa. There are rare cases, and there are also international adoptions – but these cost hundreds of thousands of rands, and if we were going to adopt, we wanted a baby from our own country.
Up until now, I had felt so disconnected with God. I felt like He was keeping me from having children. Things like “He’s God, why can’t He just give me a baby?!” and “Why do stupid abusive parents get to make babies and we can’t?” plagued my mind. And of course we were our own worst enemy. However, after we started pursuing adoption, I started seeing God’s hand in everything. Suddenly, everywhere we went, we saw parents who had adopted children of a different race. I had an operation in April, and the nurse shared how her daughter had adopted a beautiful coloured boy after seven years of failed fertility treatments. It was stories like these (plus a misdiagnosis of endometriosis) that slowly pulled us away from treatment, and more and more towards adoption.
A life decision that hadn’t been part of our plans
Bryan and I prayed and worked through the idea of adoption, a life decision that hadn’t been part of our plans. The final event that helped us make up our minds was meeting a couple who were in the process of adopting their SIXTH child. They were Christians who shared their sincere story of infertility and adoption, something that hit so close to home it was hard not to cry. We left there knowing it was God’s plan for our lives, and that we could deal with anything that came our way in terms of interracial adoption.
In July 2013, we finally decided to see our social worker again – except this time, our whole mindset had changed. We didn’t mind gender or colour, and we also didn’t specify we wanted the youngest baby possible. We believed with all our hearts that God had a child in mind for us, and we didn’t want to limit His plan for us. Once our hearts had changed, God changed our lives beyond anything we could’ve imagined.
‘Our hope has arrived’
On the 25th of July, we brought our beautiful baby girl home, days before her first birthday. We named her ‘Liyalethu’ which means ‘Our hope has arrived’, and she certainly was the answer to our prayers.
Liya, and our journey with her as parents, is a living testimony of answered prayer, God’s endless blessings and God’s perfect timing.
- Her name Liya: Long before we even considered adoption, we wanted to name our daughter Leah. We just loved the name, and it’s also from the Bible. The day we were going to meet Liya for the first time, Bryan met a woman named Liyalethu, Liya for short, which means ‘Our Hope has Arrived’. This ‘upgrade’ from Leah meant so much to us, plus it keeps some of her heritage as part of her life forever.
- She shares her birthday with her second cousin, Laigan (who is exactly one year older). It is very common for members of our family to share birthdays, so this is very special to us.
- By chance, her name is also a combination of my husband’s and mine – Lisa and Bryan.