Last updated on Jun 10th, 2021 at 06:44 pm

Detours: Our journey has been full of them. It has taken us seven years to get past one long detour that seemed to take us off the route we had mapped out for ourselves.

A spanner in the works

While we were engaged, it was my husband who brought up adoption, even before I did. I was the one who convinced him that I ‘needed’ to experience pregnancy once before we adopted. After all, it’s such an easy thing to do with our being out of the country, not settled yet, lifestyle and my body was “designed” for it. Talk about ignorance! It is not always easy to fall pregnant. Thandi_picAs the months went by, as the stash of negative pregnancy tests grew, as the tears started flowing, I faced our first detour. No baby in our first year. No baby in our second year either. Finally in our third year, our son came. And so did a second child when I fell pregnant only three months after the first one was born. Talk about another spanner in the works! That was not our plan at all. The plan was, “Have one child in our first year and then maybe when she or he is two or three years old, adopt a second child.” At the time we found out we were expecting, I thought to myself, “Oh well, this is great! It took us longer to get here than planned, but all is OK. And hey, the more the merrier, we’ll still adopt.”

Then came Reluctant Spouse Syndrome

And then Reluctant Spouse Syndrome hit the family (as I call the reluctance of a spouse to commit to adopting). I entered years of waiting to adopt. Yet another road block in our journey. I kept nudging here and there but my nudges didn’t work and I wasn’t about to give a huge push, so I held my peace. Any time someone announced a pregnancy, my heart ached. My husband even became reluctant to tell me when a colleague was expecting because he knew I so desperately wanted our own bundle.

Why was he suffering from this ‘Syndrome?’ Firstly, it was a question of finances. We always planned on being a single income family as we planned for me to educate our children at home. He worried that his salary wouldn’t be able to provide for more children. Secondly, our children were difficult babies. They both suffered terribly from colic and reflux and the months of sleepless nights had scarred both him and me. Thirdly, he felt guilty about my bearing the ‘burden’ of raising the children. In the first few years of our marriage, he did a lot of business-related travelling and sometimes would be gone for longer than a month. He did not want to imagine me parenting even more children, possibly babies who cried day and night, all on my own. These were all valid points, so silently I waited and prayed. Then I gave up.

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A family of four, until things changed

a family of fourOn the 14th of September 2014, an acquaintance asked if she could perform a free family shoot so she could add to her photography portfolio. The day we went to the beach to help her out, we were a complete family. I believed Reluctant Spouse Syndrome was chronic and un-treatable. We were a family of four and always would be.

But just a few weeks later, things changed. One day at church while leading a study on families, my husband decided to tell the church – not me – that they should pray that we adopt! He told them it was something he’d been wrestling with during the previous week and confessed that he was the problem – he knew that I have always been ready to adopt. The utter joy I felt at that moment cannot be explained. And my calculating mind thought, “Ha ha, I’ve got you now! You can’t change your mind again because I have the whole church as my witness!” The following week I was online doing research. Less than a year later, we have one little precious bundle, and we are going to start the process for another in October of this year (2015). The actual adoption process itself, deciding which agency to use for the adoption, what we would go through to get our first bundle of joy, was unchartered territory and involved another paradigm shift and very slight detour. But, I’ll leave that experience for another day.