This is the one topic that everyone and his uncle wants to know about, so without further adieu here it is…..
We stayed with my parents while we were in Cape Town for Hannah’s placement, they live in Durbanville which was great as we had to appear at the Bellville Magistrate Court at 9am. Walter and I were both very excited and very nervous at the same time. Just after 9am Eloise from Procare called us to say that she was running late to meet us at court, that there had been a problem but was nothing to worry about. Apparently the assistant to the Magistrate of the children’s court had contacted Eloise informing her that they had no paper so they were unable to print our paperwork for our adoption to be finalized (I freaking kid you not!!!) so Eloise had been forced to race back to her office, to print out all the documents for the courts so that our paperwork could go ahead!
Eloise arrived at court just before 10am and thankfully we were taken straight through to see the magistrate and get all the paper work signed. It was quite funny that hour we spent waiting… quite an experience. When we’d tried to enter the court house, a massive scuffle had broken out at the security entrance, guards were man handling a group of 3 men out the doors and guards inside slammed the doors shut and we got stuck in the middle of the scuffle. There are some seriously shady and scary characters hanging out at the court house and to be honest, I was a little scared! Once were were inside, we sat in the waiting area while we waited for Eloise and after about 10 minutes Walter said their was something wet under his shoes…. when looked down, we were both sitting with our feet in a puddle of something that looked suspiciously like vomit! After dry heaving and racing back out through security where we spent 10 minutes wiping and dragging our feet on the grass and gravel, Eloise arrived and we got the formalities over with.
Finally we headed off the the New Life Center which is part of the Bellville Methodist Church, they offer a home to women and girls who are in crisis pregnancy and work closely with Procare, often housing many of the Procare mom’s. It was decided that this would be the best place for our placement to occur as the place of safety caring for Hannah was a bit further away.
When we arrived at the New Life Center, Tannie Toekie from House of Thembiso was already there with Hannah. Of course our social workers didn’t want us to see her until after we’d met with our birth mom, so they wrapped her up in a blanket and removed her from the lounge where we had to wait. You have no idea how hard that was, I so desperately wanted to snatch the blanket off her and just have a look at her.
Shortly after that Hannah’s birth mother arrived. Wow. Just wow. Firstly she is absolutely gorgeous and so very very brave. We chatted with her for about half an hour or so. It was really great getting to know her a little. According to her Hannah looks a lot like her birth father and it was awesome to hear how they had chosen our profile. Apparently they’d gone in for a meeting with their social worker, to collect the profiles that had been matched with them. The SW ushered them into her office and left them for a moment. They both noticed the pile of profiles on her desk and ours was on top of the pile. Apparently they both looked at the cover photo’s, turned to each other and said that that was the one, that we were the family they wanted Hannah to come to. Of course when the SW returned to her office, carrying the pile of profiles they had been matched with, they were both disappointed to discover that our profile had actually been earmarked to go to another birth mother. But after some discussion, the SW agreed to let them take our profile as well. Hannah’s BM knew that we were the ones and this was confirmed for her even before she’d read it, she got her best friend to read through all the profiles as well and even her best friend told her that ours was definitely the right one for her. Hannah’s birth father, apparently, chose us without even reading our profile, he looked at the photo’s on the front and back cover and just knew we were the ones!
After that our SW’s said they were going to have Tannie Toekie bring Hannah in, but her birth mom requested that she be allowed to fetch her and hand her over to us as she wanted to do the actual placement. The look of pride on her face when she walked in carrying Hannah will stay with me forever. I still get a lump in my throat when I think about it, when I remember the love, awe and pride that shone in her face as she carried her baby over to us for placement. During the tough times with Hannah, I just remember the look on her birth mom’s face at placement and I’m reminded of what a privilege it is to be raising this precious little girl.
Tannie Toekie also did a hand over of all the little things that Hannah had in her short life. From the little cup used to feed her in the hospital, her umbilical cord and hospital bracelet, her first outfit from the hospital, jersey’s and hats that knitted by an old lady who had visited the hospital and given these to her, the teddy bear that was in her cot at the house, her towel, dummy and bottle she’d used over the 60 days she’d been housed there, a little doll given to her by an old lady who was at the church service that House Of Thembiso attended where they had all the babies in their care blessed. It’s a very special box with lots of special things that are part of Hannah’s story.
We chatted a little longer after that, exchanging gifts. She’d bought Hannah and Ava a beautiful princess story book and had written a letter to Hannah explaining her decision to place her. Reading that letter brings me to tears every single time. And we bought her a Pandora bracelet and added charms onto it that had Hannah’s birth stone in them. For Hannah’s birth father, we had bought a beautiful pocket watch and had Hannah’s date of birth engraved on the lid as a keep sake for him.
After that it was time to start saying our goodbye’s, after much hugging and kissing, she asked if she could give Hannah one last kiss goodbye and after that, she turned on her heel and walked out. I watched her go and was overcome with emotion at her bravery, completely fell apart and started crying my eyes out. I can never begin to imagine how hard placement must be for birth mothers.
After that, we said our goodbye’s to our social workers and Tannie Toekie and took Hannah home to start our lives as a family of 4.
One of the many things that has stuck with me from our day of placement is the amazing and inspiring people we met that day. From the woman who runs the New Life Center to Tannie Toekie from House Of Thembiso. Walter and I have decided to do whatever we can to support these great initiatives and will be making baby goods donations to House of Themibiso and financial contributions to New Life Center. If you have been moved or inspired by our story at all, please could I ask that you do the same? Every Rand donated will help these worthy causes.
Bank: Standard Bank
Branch: Tyger Manor
Acc Name: Methodist Church New Life Centre
Account #: 071895124
Branch Code: 05041041
Any contributions are welcome (sponsorship, volunteer work or a donation) please contact Sonja to make arrangements