I come from a large and close family – one of six children. My home needs to be filled with family and friends – as much as possible. When I discovered at age 18 that I could not have kids due to a genetic condition, I always knew that I still wanted to have a family and be a mom. My husband, one of three children who also have a strong family bond, knew about my condition from when we were dating and was open to adoption in our future.
I am the oldest sibling and we had been married for 10 years when we got the call that our son was ready to meet us. At the time, my younger brother and sister-in-law were expecting a son, the first grandchild in the family. The Sunday before we got the call about our son, I attended my sister-in-law’s baby shower and happened to chat to some of the guests about how, when our call came, I would need to get ready quickly, without a more definite time frame. It happened the next day – before my nephew was born, his cousin had already come home!
We named him Tyrael, the name of the Archangel of Justice in angel lore. His birth mom had a lot of love for him and placed him for adoption as a gift to his family. We have so much gratitude for her sacrifice and realise that she made the bravest and most difficult choice.
Prior to adopting, we knew that we needed to be aware of the hostility that could come with a trans-racial adoption
We read many stories and testimonies and prepared ourselves to face the challenges with love. I’m sure that the journey will not always be smooth, but parenting in general is filled with pitfalls and our goal is to raise our son to the best of our ability and always let him know that he is a person with great value, huge potential and lots to offer. Already he has been given the precious gift of life by his biological mother and we know his life will be filled with purpose and zeal.
To be honest, our adjustment to life as a family of three was pleasant, with no trauma at all. Up to six months, Tyrael had been at a children’s home and he was in a wonderful routine and slept really well. He had also been used to sleeping in his own cot and responds to a darkened room with ambient music very well.
We were amazed that despite holding onto us and really wanting contact, he did not seem stressed, and adjusted well to new surroundings.
We have not experienced any symptoms of anxiety or emotional distress and see him growing into a confident, strong-willed toddler who definitely knows his mind.
So now we have eight mouths to feed, us, Tyrael and five furkids: three canine and two feline. This is deeply fulfilling and though it makes for a lively home life, it is what both of us cherish. We are delighted to see that our son already has a very social nature and enjoys spending time with his friends and family. He greets his special people with delight and smiles of genuine joy as it is clear he has missed those he cares for. He also loves his furry family lots.
Our advice to those considering the option of adoption is to be as authentic as possible
You will be raw and vulnerable as third parties assess you, your home and circumstances. Preparation mentally and emotionally, as well as physically, will make you great parents. Try to get ready for having a child in much the same way as a pregnant couple would. Keep your hearts open to the process, because it is worth it. Believe in miracles, because they do happen!
For the family and friends of an adoptive family…
The best thing you can do is to accept the child as you would a biological child. Don’t over-think it or you will appear fake – treat this as their real child, because it is. Adoptive parents have the same challenges as biological parents and also may have some emotional scars and trauma to work through. Be gentle and try to communicate with them to establish what they need at the time – as you would with any new parents. Do throw a baby shower and express your support – that will mean the world to them.
And finally, if you do adopt, try to have a thick skin and not react negatively to people who are not as familiar with adoption as you are. People will definitely notice that you are a mixed-race family. I was rocking my little boy to sleep in a baby carrier strapped on to me in a restaurant and an African man (from central or Northern Africa) asked me where the baby’s mother was!
Sometimes you just have to laugh.