Werner and I are beyond excited (and naturally a teensy bit nervous) to finally kick start the adoption process with Wilna Malherbe Adoption Services in Strand and fulfill our dream of making a home for our very own Baby Els.
It may surprise you to learn that adopting a baby in South Africa is by no means an inexpensive endeavor. The costs involved can easily rack up to anywhere between R30,000 and R60,000, depending on the agency/private social worker you work with and the services they provide. The age of the child/infant also affects the costs, as there may be medical fees involved.
It's important to us to be as transparent as possible throughout this process with regard to the expenses and to share our hearts with you. See the updates section below to follow our progress.
Our journey started in 2013 when we started trying for a baby. After a few gyne visits and weird compliments like "you have an immaculate womb" and "what a happy little cervix," the Doctor eventually suggested that Werner gets tested by an Urologist to get his sperm health and count looked at. Apparently his swimmers are "perfectly healthy," but here's the kicker: Normal sperm densities range from 15 million to greater than 200 million sperm per milliliter of semen, so we were hit by a ten ton truck of earth shaking, ground swallowing emotions when we heard that the love of my life had fewer than 1 million sperm per milliliter.
It's nearly impossible for me to express the absolutely and all-consuming feeling of loss and the soul-destroying hopelessness that comes with doctor after doctor telling us "you will never be able to conceive naturally." There was a period of denial and when it finally sunk in, great despair. It rocked our marriage and tested our faith in ways our friends and family will never truly understand, but not for one second did it shake our love for one another. If anything it made it stronger, deeper, more real. We wept together, held each other up, and fought back the darkness TOGETHER.
Then in 2015, my aunt gave us a glimmer of hope by suggesting we try IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) through Groote Schuur's Fertility Unit -- because, let's face it R60k-R120k per pop at a private clinic was out of the question. The costs at Groote Schuur were much more affordable at around R16,000 to R20,000, depending on the medication used.
The first two cycles were tough, but Werner and my incredible mom supported me through all the countless hormone injections, mood swings, spontaneous waterworks, bouts of depression, intrusive examinations, painful egg-harvesting procedures, and weight gain. But cycle #3 was the hardest, because on March 15th 2017, I lost my biggest supporter to Acute Myeloid Leukaemia: My mom.
The two week wait to hear whether we were pregnant was torturous and when the doctor finally called us in, the news was not good. Another negative result. She suggested that I too get tested as my left ovary was not responding to any of the meds they gave me and I was producing below the required amount of ova and thus lowering our chances at conception substantially. (As if 20% was a healthy probability in the first place.) My results were no better. It turns out, my egg reserve was basically depleted at age 32.
And yet, somehow God had taken our 5 year nightmare and transformed it into a new found expectancy and hope. An unshakable peace had found us, and although we weren't out of the proverbial woods just yet, we felt comforted and held.
He shifted our thinking away from loss and grief to an understanding that we were meant to adopt all along. Not because we needed a child, but because this special child needed us and was destined to be our Baby Els.
It's now 2019, and our adoption journey has just begun. After much research and prayer, we've decided to adopt a new born white baby, so that he or she might bond with us from the get go and so that there would be no cultural discrimination or exclusion down the line. (This is a real issue and concern for white adoptive parents who wish to raise any baby with a different race and/or cultural background to their own, especially in a culturally diverse country such as South Africa. So, although we would love to adopt absolutely ANY little person, we made the decision to choose a child closest to our own race and culture.)
Needless to say, finding a white pregnant biological mom who made the brave decision to give her baby up for adoption is incredibly rare in South Africa, but at the same time we believe we have received favour from above for this child and we are filled with hope for the future.
We hope that by inviting you into this journey, you will see yourself as part of the community we hope to build around our Baby Els as he/she grows up. We would not be able to do this without your love, support and prayers. We LOVE and APPRECIATE each and every one of you!