I'm Just a Mom
1 October 2015 at 20:28 0
just-a-mom Shopping is always an adventure with Liya - not for us, but for people who see us while we're out. I'm used to the stares. I'm used to the smiles. I'm used to people telling me how wonderful I am. I just say thanks and move on. The truth is, I'm just a mom. Of course not just a mom, for mother's have many facets. I just happen to be a mother through adoption. If it weren't so, you wouldn't notice me. The parentless may grimace away from my children running in circles, or I may get sympathy from other mom's when my child throws the beetroot out the trolley. But you wouldn't notice me. But instead, our life outside our home consists of stares and weird and wonderful comments. But I'm just a mom. You see, I didn't choose adoption to be selfless. I chose it because I wanted children. It was a completely selfish choice. Only now has it become selfless because of the world of parenting. Not because my children are adopted, or "rescued". I am a mom, yes, but I am also a wife, a daughter and a sister. I am an artist, a gamer and a lover of Christ. I own my own business. My daughter is outgoing and happy; she loves cuddles and tickles, and her baby brother. So when you see us out, come say hello, and get to know my kids and me. And you'll see, there is more to us than the different colours of our skin equal to adoption. We are much, much more.
Would you ever seriously consider adopting?
17 March 2015 at 18:55 0
What do you think about adoption for yourself personally? Do you love or hate the idea of it? Is it not for you? I am looking for any and all answers. Please vote below, and elaborate on your answer if you can. The votes and answers are completely anonymous. adoption-sm

    Would you ever seriously consider adoption?

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    A Blessing in Disguise
    29 August 2014 at 20:35 0

    Everyone knows the peculiar comments we get from strangers and friends alike. One particular comment that stands out for me, especially because it's said so often, is people telling me how blessed Liya is to have us.

    Honestly, most of the time we forget Liya is adopted. She is so much ours, that adoption has simply become a formality. I also long got over having "missed out" on pregnancy and birth, and even missing the first year of my daughter's life. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy - it was (and sometimes still is) very difficult and I felt isolated and different for a very long time. When I finally mourned for the children I could never 'have' and started to get to know my little Liya, I realised blood didn't define whether I loved my child or not, nor how much. I remember cradling Liya one night as she slept in my arms, and feeling so much love for this little soul it hurt.

    Every day I thank God for giving us this little girl, and that is why I find it peculiar that people tell us she's blessed to have us. She is most certainly the most amazing thing that has ever happened to us.

    This last Sunday, we had a baby blessing for her and another very special little girl in our lives, Juliette. We don't believe in Christening or baptising (babies specifically) because it isn't biblical. What is biblical is Jesus loving and blessing children, and that's just what our church did.

    A very special friend in our church, Marc Ries, prayed over Liya and us, and it so touched my heart. We know from the last 5 short years that honouring God brings us so much joy, and his prayer will forever remind me to continue in that:

    "Father God, I thank You for Bryan and Lisa.
    Thank You for them in this body.

    I pray for them as a couple and ask that You please protect their marriage, may it always be centred in You.

    I ask Holy Spirit that you would help them to be obedient in fulfilling their God-given responsibilities as a husband and as a wife and that they would be an example to Liya.

    Please help them to love and honour one another.

    I charge them today to teach Liyalethu the truth about Your Word in line with your instruction to us in Deuteronomy 6:6-9:
    'And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to Liya, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.'

    May Biblical truth always be the foundation of their home; and may their home be a sanctuary where all who enter will be tangibly aware that Almighty God dwells in this place.

    In your gracious, loving and all-powerful name I pray this, Jesus. Amen."

    She is most certainly our blessing in disguise.

    Your Adoption Questions… Answered!
    7 August 2014 at 23:00 0
    I get asked so many questions about Liya and her adoption. Wherever I go, whatever I do, people are so interested. Sometimes they ask questions or make statements which they clearly haven't thought through. And what is the right thing to ask, anyway? People are just interested. When we first adopted, I just wanted to blend in and feel normal which, with our family in particular, is not easy. The reels of ridiculous questions I got didn't make it easier. So I wanted to share some of those ridiculous questions and comments we've gotten so far for a good giggle, what I truly think when I hear them, and some things I would've preferred to hear...

    Here we go:

    "Is she adopted?"

    This is the most common question, and for obvious reasons I guess... My immediate "Lisa" response is screaming sarcasm. This is a dumb question.  This would have been a much kinder and more thoughtful question: "Is this your daughter?"

    "Why is she black?"

    Yup, I've gotten this two or three times. It usually stumps us. There is no appropriate answer for this. Is it even a question?

    "Just you wait, now that you've adopted, I bet you'll fall pregnant!"

    Adoption was not our Plan B; it wasn't our while-we-wait action plan. Our plan was to start a family. Implying that we're still going to fall pregnant because it hasn't been hurtful enough not getting pregnant, doesn't make it better. It also makes our adopted daughter sound like a stand-in. Don't say it to an adoptive couple, ever.

    "Are you still trying?"

    Oh often, trust me.  Seriously though, we have chosen to 'stop trying'. Adoption changed our lives more than we could have ever imagined. When I wanted a baby, it was for selfish reasons I didn't quite understand. I just naturally wanted what most married couples want I guess. No matter what the situation though, all pregnancies, babies and children are very special and each situation can make or break you. Adoption made us. Please don't ask adoptive couples if they're still trying...

    "What language does she speak?"

    Seems ask-able, right? Except I got asked this, twice, before she was even a year old. She was able to mouth sounds like Ta and Da. Anyone know a 0-year old that speaks a language? I don't think this is ever appropriate to ask.

    "When did you get her?"

    I know you're trying to ask "When did you have her?" translated for adoptive parents. Please don't ask this unless we've been talking a while. She's not a gift, and she certainly wasn't delivered by the stork.  Try "How long have you been a family?"
      It's hard to say the right thing. For me personally, I feel the best when we are ignored (as an adoptive family!) and people aren't staring at us. This only really happens when we're around close family and friends. However, when there's lots of new families all over the place and the topic of conversation is when your family started, it can't be avoided. I also understand people are curious and want to connect with us. So stick to these two questions: "Is this your son/daughter?" and "When did you become a family?". You can't go wrong. Then you can kindly ask what our story is and I will tell you what I'd like to, the way I'd like to. Be sensitive around adoptive couples, be sensitive to new parents, and be sensitive to couples who don't have children yet or those who choose not to have children. Like a wise woman said to me recently "It's none of your damn business".
    Liya’s 2nd Birthday
    2 August 2014 at 15:00 1
    Today, our little angel turned 2, and we celebrated her birthday at Let's Meat in Lonehill, with family and friends. She has been in our lives for just over a year, meaning we've been parents for just over a year (We survived! She survived!). We celebrated our first Mother's and Father's Day this year and learnt a whole BUNCH of new things I decided I wanted to honour her - and our other kids in the future - every year on their birthday, to mark and remember the special year gone by.

    Memorable Days:

    • 3 Aug 2013: Celebrated her 1st birthday. Most of our family and friends met Liya this day, and celebrated her birthday and 'arrival' into our family.
    • 12 Sep: Took her first, adorable steps
    • 27 Oct: Visited great gran Sheilagh in CT! Also her first flight
    • 27 Dec: 12 day holiday with Uncle Mark & Aunty Colly
    • 24 Jan 2014: Started swimming lessons with daddy
    • 29 March: First signs of potty training at 21 months!!
    • 9 April: Welcomed her cousin, Madison, into the world

    Liya's first words:

    • Ta
    • Dada
    • Mama
    • No (lol)

    Some of Liya's first, and our favourite, 'sentences':

    • "I not naughty"
    • "Bye ouma. See you morrow"
    • "Food cold. Daddy naughty"
    • "Daddy come" with the hand gesturing daddy as we leave the house
    • "Pease" and "Tank you"
    • "Oupa? Kom skep!"
    • "Where's mommy/daddy?"
    • "No" and "Ja" are of course suitable answers for ALL questions
    • Pointing seriously at my food "Eat mommy"

    Liya's favourite songs:

    • Twinkle Twinkle
    • I Love You (Barney)
    • Thank You Jesus (Prayer)
    • Baby Bible class songs (Biscuit song, goodbye etc.)
    • Old McDonald
    What an incredible year it has been being Liya's mommy. Everyone who meets her, loves her; she has an amazing social personality, and she is super well-behaved. We are loving every second of watching her grow and learn, and all the hilarious things that come out of her mouth that are such a true reflection of her mom and dad (from shouting at the dogs, to demanding you eat your food and correcting us when we have song actions wrong). A special thanks to all our amazing family who have supported us, and loved her so dearly. It made our first year of parenting so amazing.

    Blessed through Adoption
    22 April 2014 at 09:28 7
    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 9 months, with stories and findings running through my head constantly. This is the 5th time I am writing this post, with the last 4 posts 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 2 years of our marriage, the last thing I ever wanted was to have a baby. I think my mind about having a baby changed in 1 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 and 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. 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 white children just aren't easily available in South Africa. There are rare cases, and there are also international adoptions - but these cost hundred's 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're 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 a op in April, and the nurse shared how her daughter had adopted a beautiful coloured boy after 7 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 toward adoption. 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. 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.

    Meaningful Facts

    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 2nd cousin, Laigan (who is exactly 1 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 and I - Lisa and Bryan.
    Adoption, Lisa
    Learning to Trust God
    24 May 2013 at 09:06 0
    For as long as I can remember, life was always good. I never experienced any huge tragedies, I grew up in a fantastic, stable home and received a good education. When I was ready to leave home, I met and married a wonderful man, we got a house and we lived happily ever after. Well almost. I grew up as a Christian, and although in my teen/young adult years, I slipped away, God was waiting at the other side to forgive and forget, and life continued. Although I never thought this way, in my heart it felt like nothing life-threatening would ever happen to me. I would live an average, healthy life, make a family and die at a ripe old age. Of course, I don't think this is the plan God has for our lives. When we're comfortable, and everything goes our way, we tend to become 'lukewarm Christians' and there's nothing amazing about that. For a God who saves and changes lives with power, there is no way this is his plan for us, and I learnt this the hard way. About a year and a half ago, Bryan and I decided to start trying for a baby. I honestly thought it would be the easiest thing in the world and that we'd be pregnant in no time. And it is one of the easiest things in the world - you just have to look around at all the babies and pregnant women plaguing the malls to know how easy it is. Our friends and family are falling pregnant left, right and center, some without even trying. So as you can imagine after 3, 6, 12 unsuccessful months later, I was beginning to stress. Actually, that's an understatement... I became depressed, my faith in God suffered and I allowed all sorts of lies to rule my life and beliefs. Eventually, we went to a fertility clinic, and it cost us R6,000 just to learn that we simply cannot have children naturally. This was crushing news, and came from an insensitive doctor who didn't seem to care about the couple who had no money. We both need expensive treatments/operations to try increase our chances of falling pregnant... The last year and a half has been a painful, uphill battle that never seems to end, and now they want us to spend thousands on treatments that may not work. We decided not to pursue it. Instead, I am trying to take a step back and renew my hope and faith in God, and take rest in Him alone. This entire time I feel like we've been trying to force it and do things in my own strength - and then wonder why things don't turn out! I forget so easily why we need our Creator so badly. For so long after failing to conceive, I believed I didn't deserve to have a baby, that it wasn't what God wanted for my life - and it hurt like hell. I then heard 2 scriptures one morning from a clip my mom sent me that said "Delight in Me and I will give you the desires of your heart. For it is I who gave you those desires" (Psalm 37:4, Phil 2:13). For the first time, I realised God gave me the desire to have children, and he would give that to me in His time. I was suddenly set free from this lie... So for now, I am sitting back and recommitting my life and hopes to God. We are leaving all the 'doors' open and trusting God to show is where to go. He has blessed us with a heart for adoption, so we have applied and will try wait patiently, and I guess we'll keep trying too. Only God can radically change our lives, and in that, we will be blessed.