Embarking on the adoption journey has been quite an eye opener. I’m most surprised by how ignorant and hurtful people can be. You would be amazed by some of the cracker comments I’ve received from people who’ve heard about our plans to adopt. The general public are as ignorant about the adoption option as they are about fertility and fertility treatments. But the most surprising part is that some of the most ignorant and hurtful comments and bits of assvice have come from the very community that I thought would understand our decision to adopt.
Thankfully, I am protected by the law, which means that I am entitled to the same rights as any other mother. That means that from the time of the baby’s birth, our medical aid will register him/her as a dependent on our MA even before the final adoption is declared!I can also claim UIF while on maternity leave. And yes, even though we’re adopting, I’m entitled to the same maternity leave as any other expectant mum.
It also means that yesterday I had to have the rather uncomfortable and nerve wracking discussion with our directors regarding what maternity benefits they would offer. I work for a small company, its the first time in 8 years they have a female employee who will be taking maternity leave, as a result, they have no policy. They were wonderfully supportive when I explained the process of adoption and how we needed to come up with a plan so that should I have one of those sudden adoptions, we had a plan in place for my clients. The only part they didn’t seem too thrilled about what the time I want to take off. Given that I will probably only ever go on maternity leave once in my life, I want to be off for as long as possible and I’ve told them I’d like to be off for 6 months. But given how wonderfully supportive they’ve been through all my IVF’s and miscarriages, I just know that they will come around to this rather sudden news.
Its all quite surreal to be having these discussions. In some ways it feels premature and then yesterday, a special friend who has been wonderfully supportive and kind and shared her adoption journey with me, said something to me that made me realize that none of these plans were premature. She told me that I should not feel silly about making all these plans and about even starting to shop for our baby, that on paper I was an expectant mum.
I really like that, its so true, I may not be pregnant, but I’m a mum in waiting. Somewhere out there the child God has chosen for me is waiting.