Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Cape Town

Another great family time of many firsts!  We spent the recent school holidays in Cape Town so that meant the boys first time on an airplane so as you can imagine there was great excitement.  We bought them some little Spiderman wheelie bags that they could pull along like ours and they absolutely loved those. I actually hate flying but I love travelling so I had to keep my brave face on at all times. It was easier this time because I had 2 busy little men to keep me occupied during the flight.  They asked a million questions and at one stage Rog and I got the major giggles because little Max had a serious case of “Suza Bum” and was stinking up the cabin big time! We got some really bad looks but what else can you do besides laugh? It was rather a relief to land in CT and step out into the fresh Cape Air. Note to self – pack some air freshener in my handbag next time.

Another exciting first about this trip is that this time we did a house swap with a family from Cape Town so while we went to their house they came to ours and the boys took great delight in staying in the beautiful and child friendly environment.  We were diagonally opposite a lovely little park in Tamboerskloof Rd and we had beautiful views of Table Mountain from the corner coffee shop right next door to where we stayed.  We did loads of activities just for the kids, things like movies, the aquarium, harbor cruise, Ratanga Junction, Boulder bay penguins, caught the train, cable car, played in the park etc and so when it came to “adult” things like trendy restaurants, shopping, exploring etc we asked them to have a good attitude and they did (most of the time J), they really did exceptionally well. 

We had long afternoon sleeps after busy days and although they would wake up rather tired most days they would soon be right as rain to head out for dinner and super excited to dress up again.  My boys just love their clothes and we get a huge kick out of it.  On the first Friday night we only went out for supper at 8am and first did a long walk up Long Street, the boys eyes were wide as saucers at the crowds and thumping music coming out of most places. They got loads of high fives and smiles everywhere they went. We eventually found a suitable place to have supper right up at the top of Kloof Street and loved ever minute of the beautiful vibe.  We seem to be super lucky in that if the boys have a late night and go to bed at say 10pm then they sleep late i.e. most mornings they slept till about 8am so it worked out well!

Some of their highlights of the week were, going to the opening of the Red Bull Studios with “Ollie” where they got to sit in the recording studio and Tom even had a turn on the drums, visiting the beautiful oranjezicht market and playing on the swings, everything at Ratanga, seeing their first squirrel in the park, seeing a penguin bite the silly man later known as the “penguin attack”, meeting the crayfish fisherman near the boats at Hout Bay, watching the man feed the fat seal out of his mouth, buying a fish at Kalk Bay, making pizzas at home with Adriaan and Kady and going in the cable car. Tom said that the top of Table mountain was boring because there were no animals there so can’t say they were super impressed with the views.

Most afternoons when we headed back home, the boys passed out and Rog hit the couch and then I would head back out to town and go shopping and missioning up and down any side street that caught my fancy. I explained my need to escape to Rog by saying its like you being in Bali when the surf is cooking and you can’t surf – I love CT with a passion and I love coffee shops, restaurants, galleries, shops etc and there is only so much of that you can you with 2 little men and 1 large man giving you “the look” so I soon found my balance by having afternoons out to head off on my own – it was heavenly!

We loved every minute of time spent together and with my brother Adriaan (Uncle Ollie), the boys have really missed him since he moved to Cape Town. They now enjoy knowing where Ollie lives and can picture things we tell them about.  They also took great delight in meeting their Capetonian cousins for the first time, they were showered in love and spoilt with gifts - what a blessing, thank you all! I feel like after a holiday like that we could go pretty much anywhere as a team – thank you Rog for our beautiful adventure. When I was there I bought a little wooden plaque which says “Dream Believe Do Repeat”  - Life is an adventure – Lord pls help us never to waste it!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

The Holidays

This Christmas was our second Christmas with the boys and it was very different. They knew exactly what to expect and they where beyond excited. We counted down the days right from the 1st December and the last few days seemed almost unbearable for them – it brought back a lot of memories for me and felt like our first real Christmas together – the last one so much happened all in one go that I could not really prepare for it nor take it all in so this one was better.

We had a holiday in our hometown and stayed close to home for the whole holidays except for a two-night adventure to Lake Jozini north of us.  We are blessed enough to have the use of a family cottage on the beach just around the corner from us where Rog spent his youth.  The boys created some memories of their own this December and our days where filled with wake up at your leisure, have breakfast, put on baggies and head for the cottage where you either lived in the pool or on the beach and you ate when you were hungry and slept when you were tired – a holiday indeed!

We fetched cousin Jake on breakup day and there he was waiting for us at his school with bags packed and fishing rod on his shoulder. Thomas especially misses Jake a lot – he spends so much time being an awesome big brother to Max that I love having Jake around and seeing the change in Tom – he gets to be a “little brother” and he relishes this time.

Our bunk beds arrived just in time for school holidays and now we can comfortably sleep 4 in their room. It has always been my dream to have a house full of kids and I found myself sitting in the room and starring at the beds for ages when they first arrived – they gave me such a thrill! The boys love their room so much and so that was the end of Max sleeping in his cot and the beginning of another big step away from babyness – boo hoo!  A bittersweet moment indeed.  How is a mother supposed to cope with underpants and big boy bed all in one month – nooooooo bring back the nappies and cot!

Our trip to Jozini was fab except for the moment on the boat where things started to float on the deck and Rog pointed to water sprouting through the floor like a fountain and then tried to tell me that this boat was unsinkable … (but could I just take the wheel and go full taps to keep the nose up while he pulled the plug from the back to drain it.) Sure thing Luvvy I will keep just stay calm while we speed through crocodile and hippo infested waters with our children and you remove the plug from the boat???? Yes well clearly we lived to tell the tale but it was a close call in my booksJ - Rog will tell you a different story.

Back to school was perfect and we did not have even one tear – I would be fibbing if I told you that I did not do a little victory dance with myself as they drove off with Rog on the first day of school!  As much as I love my boys – alone time is also a very beautiful thing ;)

Sunday, 15 December 2013

1 Year Ago

This week was one year that we have been parents, that’s 365 days of parenting 101 - crash course “learn as you go” style! We are preparing for our second year with the boys and cannot help but reflect back on what has been an awesome and inspiring first year.

This year was a year of many firsts for us as a family. Next year a lot of what we do will be for the second time around and my gut feel is that things will get better and better and more and more fun as we go.

The boys have grown so much this year, physically and emotionally – if they keep growing at this alarming rate I may need to reduce their meal portions or find that special dust that you sprinkle on their heads to keep them “small” - it is just TOO scary!

Max has a pair of warm jarmies that used to fit him perfectly but are now skin tight. His arms, legs and tummy pop out of all the gaps. I put them on him every now and then for a laugh and then Rog and I have a fat giggle at our little munchkin running around the house looking like Gammon with all his baby rolls sticking out.

We tell Max that doing squats fixes all booboos so when he has fallen over we kiss it better and then ask for 5 squats - he gets a massive applause when he is done and forgets all about his injury. This has been an excellent distraction tool and keeps Rog and I entertained for hours!

Thomas has got faster, taller and stronger and he eagerly does his pushups, sit-ups and squats whenever we remind him to. We have a future champion sportsman there with a highly competitive nature and this year he has worked hard on learning how to loose gracefully! My big boy is an old soul and is wise beyond his years – he melts our hearts on a regular basis and we are constantly humbled by the love that he has for his little brother.

So to conclude we have had an awesome year, and adventure of note with two of the best little people we will ever know. This week has been a real time of reflection for us. We said goodbye to one of the greatest icons of hope this world will ever know and I cannot help but think that if it wasn’t for Madiba and what he did for our country and our hearts, would we have these precious boys today?

We have never been as happy nor have we ever been as grateful as we are today. Thank you Lord for our beautiful family!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Part Two

Hello Friends - Sorry this took sooo long!

...A couple weeks later we received a call from social services asking us to come in for a meeting.  I don’t like this because it means that they want to discuss something big and therefore need a face to face - so I secured the meeting date and then Rog phoned back and asked what it was about.

It is about the “type of adoption” was the reply. The family want you to consider an open adoption.  The father feels that why should his brother be able to see the child while he cannot and so he wants to meet and discuss this option.

At this point I need take you back a little and tell you a little about The Biological Family  - Have written about them in a separate article so read that here if you like http://findingourlucy.blogspot.com/2013/09/their-story-where-is-all-started.html

We went in for the meeting and along the way we discussed opening our hearts to the possibility of all this and mostly not to panic.  Rog asked the question – “So if we had not bumped into the Uncle we would still be heading down the closed adoption route and why now had this changed?” 

You see for the father, (Max’s Dad) he was ready to give consent to the adoption, at one stage he had indicated that he wanted custody of Max but the courts would not allow the boys to be split up and so he backed off and said that he would only fight for them if it looked like they were going back to their Mum (not on good terms with her and did not trust her to take care of either of them.)

The social worker explained that yes, the father had previously indicated that he would give consent to the adoption so perhaps our chance meeting had stirred things up a little.  He had also now shown great interest in meeting us and seeing Max again and so we semi-reluctantly arranged to meet with him and discuss his position.

He also wanted to see Max so that morning I bathed and fussed with my little boy, dressed him up all smart and we headed off to meet his natural Dad (Last meeting was 2 years ago). Rog and I both held on to him a little tighter while we wanted in the waiting room and finally a man walked in and told the receptionist that he was waiting to see the same lady that we were waiting to see. He looked over at us and we stood up and awkwardly introduced ourselves.  Our social worker walked us all over to a meeting room and then left us to talk amongst ourselves.

For the next 30minutes he gave us his version of what happened with the children and he interacted a little with Max. He introduced himself gently as Uncle Colin to Max and he showed no sings of disappointment as Max treated him like a complete stranger. He was very pleasant and very decent and was mostly just delighted to see Max looking so well. He said that he would sleep well for the first time in a long time and that his heart was happy.  He explained his uncertain future in the country and showed signs of sadness and regret over what the children had been through.

They have not been on good terms and so we were worried about whether he would be able to convince her of this before the next court date which was in 4 days time. We then waited out the 4 days and finally received a call from a delighted social worker on Friday afternoon saying that they had both signed consent to the adoption and that she offered her most excited congratulations!  

And so as with any adoption there is a 60day cooling off period which will allow the parents to change their mind and we will wait until the end of October for that, before we truly celebrate… BUT having said that we have every reason so believe that all will be well, God has brought us this far. We will also have to meet with the parents in order to discuss visitation and contact rights and a binding agreement will be signed which will of course always act in the best interest of the boys. All visits will be supervised by us and we believe that surely some contact with the Natural family is less confusing than no contact. We pray that it may reduce some of the pains or confusion that they will face growing up and that God will turn this in their favor and bless and protect them through it.

And so we are nearly there and soon it will be time to chase the ID docs and deal with the Registrar of adoptions in Pretoria etc so more patience will be required I am sure!

Whew if you read to the bottom – thank you for reading – that was a long one… and now you can see why I did it in two parts! Am so grateful for the interest you take and that you have chosen to share in our story xxxXXXxxx  I hope that one days as adults my boys will read this blog and know that we loved them and fought for them from day one and that many many people care deeply about them.

Their Story - Where is all started

Thomas was born on the 06/10/2008 in Addington Hospital in Durban. His birth weight was 3.78 kg and his birth length was 48cm – he was the first born to his young Mother only 18yrs.

Max was born on the 16/01/2011 in Inanda. His birth weight was 3.56kg and his birth length was 52cm. His birth Mum was 20 and his big brother Thomas was 27 mnths old at the time.

Max and Thomas are biological brothers.

I used to have more information here on their story until I saw a comment on another adoptive parents page which I understand and agree with. These are not my words but I share their hearts attitude towards this and so I have copied and pasted their comments here.

"As difficult as it is to keep this information to ourselves, our kids’ stories are not for us to share. Their history doesn’t belong to us. We aim to tell them the best version of their stories in an age-appropriate way as they grow up and if they choose to share it one day, then that’s up to them. South Africans must pray that our collective heart breaks for the issues that break God’s heart. We need to pray that the cycle of poverty and injustice in our country is broken. The reality is that God is building families through adoption despite a fallen world and it is by the grace of God that we don’t find ourselves in the same position as our children’s birth moms. Adoption means understanding, not judgement."


Monday, 16 September 2013

Devine Intervention or Curveball?

A couple months ago I was alone with the boys at a local shopping centre when I made the last minute decision to pop into a fast food outlet to get the kids a snack.  I had some grocery shopping to do and have learned that shopping with hungry kids can be like trying to hit the snooze button on your alarm in the morning...its better to just get up.
Sometime through the snack session I noticed that the manager was watching us rather intently. This happens a lot as you might has guessed – ALOT. I think that this comes with the territory of cross-cultural adoption, everyone is trying to work you out and I am quiet used to it by now.
So we pay our bill and leave the shop and the manager comes out and asks if these are my kids – I explain that we are in an adoption process but yes they are my kids and we say goodbye.  Then later I am walking the isles of the grocery store and I see the same guy at the other end of the isle not really shopping but just walking around a little aimlessly. Eventually he walks up to me again and says Hello again and asks me straight up what are my kid’s names.  I explain that they are Thomas and Max and then also give their birth names Nhlanhla and Anesu.  He then told me that he knew these boys that they used to live very close to him and that he remembers them well. He said a quick goodbye and walked off, I watched him and noticed that he made a phone call as he was walking away.
My heart was racing a little by this stage because I was a little uncomfortable with the situation and the level of interest and just unsure of what was happening and how to handle it.  I paid for all my stuff and pushed the boys out and the same guy was standing waiting at the exit and walks up to me again!
He comes straight up to me, this time a little more emotional and says “I have just called my brother on the phone and confirmed that this child (points to Max) is his son.” I felt like what can only be described as full blown feeling of panic rising inside my chest while I tried to remain as calm as possible in front of the kids. He went on to describe the history of the children as I had heard it from the social worker and it was all 100% correct. As he spoke I began to feel calmer – he was in awe of the children (who were completely zoned out and unaware of him) and was clearly very happy to see them. He was well spoken and polite and was speaking in a way that was not making the children uncomfortable. He went on to say how happy he was to know that it was really them and then opened up his wallet and took some money out, gave it to me and asked me to buy something for the children and thanked me for what I was doing for them! He asked me to bring them around again sometime to visit and said “May God Bless You!” as he walked off...
Will fill you in on how this “chance meeting” has impacted the adoption process very soon and we believe that it was for good - Praise God! -  so Part 2 to this story will be positive not to worry friends – hope to have it ready for you soon! xxx

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Busy Bees

End of July already can you believe it!  One of the things that this blog is showing me is how time flies. Every time I write a new post I double-check the date of the last one because I cannot believe where the time has gone.

List of things that have happened since my last post - I started Pilates, went to my first Mothers & Teachers Dinner, took the boys to their first beach music festival, attended a wedding with the boys, bought a horse, bought a motorbike, read a parenting book, watched a parenting DVD series, almost finished converting the garage into a play/wreck room for the boys, kept up with shop admin and wages, did our home and personal filing for the year (Had done no filing this year at all) and a few other bits and pieces in between. Oh Yes - There were 3 weeks of school holidays and a busy 3 weeks those were! 

These days I am trying to fit less into my days. I am trying to simplify and live in the moment.  I am so tired of rushing everywhere.  Less is SOOOO more – I totally get it! 

I have instituted a couple new things in my life like Sunday Solitude Day. We had a lovely family breakfast together and then Rog took the boys and went up to the farm… and …. I had the house to myself for the WHOLE day!  It was such BLISS and I love my Rog and I love my boys but what I treat! I did so many things I had wanted to do for ages. For a compulsive list ticker off person this is like therapy.  I need one of these a month so SSD is here to stay.

I have also started to turn my phone off for short periods of the day so that I can isolate myself from the world around me and be present – it is awesome and quiet addictive, I am building up to Technology Free Fridays where computer and phone goes off for the whole day – THE WHOLE DAY.  Rog recently left his phone at home on a family weekend away and it was amazing – I loved it!

So SSD and TFF here we come – yeeeha!

The biggest things to happen this month are by far my new Horse – Maverick and Tom’s new motorbike – YAM A HA.  I have wanted Maverick for 30 years and Tom had wanted YAM A HA for “His whole life” he tells us. He is 4.  He definitely has his Dad to thank for this one.  Rog took such joy in scouring the countryside for a good little bike for his big boy and Tom is completely and utterly obsessed with it.  My quiet disapproval melted away when I saw his little face – well done Rog!

Max has one foot in both camps for now, he rides his “Motorbike” in his horse-riding helmet and yells “Giddyup” and “hhhhhimmmmhhhimmmm” in the same sentence?  Lucky Maverick is very forgiving else we might have a problem on our hands.

Happy Days!
Love you Rog

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Our Holidays!

My husband Rog and his business partner recently returned from a 3-week business trip overseas.  Three weeks is a long time for a 2 year old and 4 year old to be without their Dad.  I was determined that we would make the most of it and that it would be an adventure for us all… and it was!  The boys have only been with us since December so I really did not want them to feel “abandoned” in any way. That sounds so dramatic but it is something that we are very aware of.  We spend a lot of time prepping the boys for anything new in their lives – we never spring anything on them unless it is a fun family activity and we never take away anything suddenly.  We have seen huge rewards in doing things slowly.  We took time to explain what it was all about and where Rog was going etc and they were very interested especially Tom. 

I also planned a little holiday for us to shorten the time here and my Mom and I took the boys up to the Midlands for 6 nights.  We stayed in a little cottage on a beautiful farm and we completely unplugged for a week – it was amazing!  No rushing in the mornings, no nagging to get anything done by a certain time, no being late for anything – it was like a total detox of "busyness" – I loved it and so did the kids!  They boys loved the farm and made good friends with the dogs, donkeys and horses and even tried their hand at fishing.

They made many pretend phone calls to their Dad, Rog gave them an old cell that doesn’t work anymore and they love to play with it.  Whenever they felt like talking to him they put through a very cute call on their phone where they would tell on Mummy or their brother and then fake report back what Dad had said.  They also had quite a few real Skype calls to their Dad and that really helped them to be able to hear his voice over the time.

I made the boys a cross off calendar and only gave it to them when there was 10 days left to cross off – Tom loved it more that I thought he ever would and if he ever left for school before remembering to cross one off he was close to tears! I had to promise to remind him later in the day. Max still randomly throws out “One more sleep” even though Dad has been home a while so I think it may have been lost on him.

They hardly slept the night before Rog came home and it was just so precious to see how excited they where to see him!  Rog missed them terribly and could not believe all the little changes that had happened in 3 weeks. We had a super fun weekend of catch up and it is more than lovely to all be under one roof again!

Thursday, 16 May 2013


This is how I feel lately – like there is something new in the air.  So many people say to us “those are two very lucky little boys” and I am always grateful, I understand the heart behind that - but the truth is that I feel like these two boys have saved my life.  They have injected a new joy into what had begun to feel like a desert in my heart and YES it is very hard and I am tired most of the time BUT I have never felt better!

My head is filled with ways to teach them and lead them and correct them and share my life with them and my heart is filled with new ways to love them every day. So THIS is how it feels to be a Mother!  Yeeehah!

The other day I uploaded about 8 new video clips onto YouTube and I got back an automated message saying “Congrats, your videos are now on YouTube! Nice job haleydecharmoy! Looks like someone’s been inspired lately” - I had a little giggle to myself because I realized that I have become one of those super gushy Moms who thinks everything her children do is adorable and the world simply MUST see it!

I love photographing and videoing the boys – I always joke with Rog and tell him that they will be presenting Top Billing in no time and he just gives me that “You have lost the plot lady – they are going to be too busy playing for MAN UTD” look. We’ll see about that!

I could never understand how women could go on an on about their children – I would often escape and join the guys around the braai, somehow I fitted in better there. Well I am happy to say NOT ANYMORE sister, I totally get it – if you want someone to bend your ear about the joys and frustrations of adopting come and hang out with me! 

This photo cracks me up - this scenario happened all on its own - they scratched in my hair drawer and discovered these rollers stick rather nicely to Max's long hair (they have seen me use them) and then proceeded to act like a Mommy giving a hiding. CLEARLY they find themselves very funny!

Mother's Day

So this was my first Mother's Day and I loved it!  Mother’s day has had a bittersweet taste for me in the past. Yay cause I could celebrate having such a wonderful Mom and Mum in law but also not Yay because it reminded me that another year had passed and I was still not a Mom.  I felt excluded and all the negative feelings that go with that and to cut a long story short - I was always glad when Mothers day was over.

This Mothers Day however was a GAME CHANGER! I was up super early with Max and so fell into a deep sleep when I managed to get him back down again. I woke up to the noise of both boys trying to carry the tray and Rog doing his best to help them not to spill the coffee all over me.  I got the hugest hugs and kisses and lots of offers over who was going to help me open my present. They gave me a beautiful bottle of perfume, which Rog and Tom chose together. Rog said that Tom was VERY fussy and kept saying no and NEXT until they found the right one!

When I told Tom how much I loved it and that they where so clever because my other one was nearly finished he said very confidently “Don’t worry Mom when this one is finished we will just buy you another one!” BLESS HIM! When I put some on later I made sure that I did it in front of them and they where both practically dancing for joy to see me use it – Soooooooo cute.

We went to LINC church and listened to a beautiful blessing of a message by Mark Slevin.  I asked the boys if they wanted to stay with us in the “Big Church” seeing as it was Mothers day and was told a definite “NO – Children’s church please!” Total win win situation – thank you LORD!

After church we headed up to the farm to spend the day with the folks – my mom joined us later and we loved our time together. The boys love the big garden, lovely food and extra attention they get up there.

My short stint as a Mom has given me a new appreciation of my Mom and all that she poured into my life – Mom you are amazing! It has also given me a deep sense of gratitude to God for allowing me to experience the blessing of mothering these two children - I am happier now than I ever thought possible.

Max came running up to me today proud of something he had done. He stuck his lips out as he came closer and shouted, “Kiss Me!” I have no words to describe how that made me feel. Thank you Lord.