J.G. 's STORY
We were living in Glencoe, KZN. Our eldest daughter had just moved to the UK for a gab year after her studies. Our son was in matric and our youngest daugther had just turned 10. We were in the process of building our dream house and it was ready enough to move into, there were still a few small things to finish but life was good. I had resigned at the municipality were i used to work and had just opened a small fabric/quilting shop which I enjoyed very much.
We had a security business and our control room was quite busy with monitoring cameras and alarms. We had a older man Willem working in the control room and his son Shaun also worked as a guard for us. Shaun and his girlfriend Marietjie just had a baby a few months back and according to the willem, the grandpa, the baby boy was not doing good. shaun would reguarly come to willie and ask for money to buy milk for the baby, after a while we realised that the money was used for other things than baby milk, so now if shaun asked for money we would buy a tin of baby milk instead of giving him some money.
Willie just had a knee operation and on this particular saturday afternoon we were on our way do Dundee (8km away) to get some medication for him. We drove with the companies bakkie and usually I turned off the 2-way radio because it is guards calling the control room and the control room calling guards etc, always a big noise and weekends I do not want to hear them. This day I left the radio on. While Willie was in the pharmacy I heard Willem from the control room call Shaun, telling him that he could not get hold of the social worker. Shaun asked if Willem would be able to look after the baby. Willem said that he would ask his wife if she could look after the baby for the night as Willem's shift had just started. After a while Willem told Shaun that she could not look after the baby. Shaun then asked Willem if he would be able to take the baby and keep him in the control room for the night as he (Shaun) need to go find the baby's mother. Willem said that he would ask Willie if he could to that but he was not sure if he would cope with a baby while on duty. Willie came back from the pharmacy and I told him to call the control room because there was a issue with the baby. Willie called Willem and was told that the baby's mother had taken the baby to Shaun and told him that she did not want the baby anymore. when Shaun said that he could not take him because he was at work, she put the baby on the railroad tracks and walked away. Shaun then took the baby and kept him with him at work. It was now almost 6 o clock and Shaun said that he need to go find the mother but he could not take the baby with. Willie said that if there was no other way it would be ok for Willem to keep the baby with him in the control room for the night. By this time we were almost home again and I knew that Shaun was working not very far away from were we were driving. We decided to go and have a look what the situation was. When we stopped at the guard post where Shaun was he came towards us with the baby and pushed him into my arms. The baby was a funny grey in his face and listless. I told willie that we need to take this baby home and help him. I asked Shaun for the diaper bag and bottles. He did not have any so the baby was without a clean diaper and bottle for the whole day. Back home Willie said that he would go back to Dundee because the spar would still be open and we needed bottles and diapers and milk for the baby. The baby was so dehydrated the his diaper was not even wet. He was very very small and dirty. My daughter and I bathed him and because he was so small my daughters babylove doll's clothes fitted him perfectly, even the dolls diaper fitted him. This whole time he did not cry once or even moved while I bathed him.
When Willie came to spar they had already closed the doors and was waiting for the last customers to finish so that they could lock the shop for the night. The security guards would not open the door for Willie, and he told them that he would drive his car into the shop if they do not open, luckily the owner's wife saw Willie and came to hear what the commotion was about, she opened the door for him and helped him to get everything that he would need for a baby, fortunately we knew what tipe of milk he drank. Back home we made a bed on the coach in our room for him. He was breathing very heavily and was still not moving. He just lay on the bed and followed us with this big blue eyes, not making a sound. I made a big bottle for him because he was without food the whole day, but he only managed to drink 20ml, he was very weak. Willie gave him one look and drove to the child protection unit and told the guys the whole story. during the night he drank once but mostly slept, we on the other had was so afraid that he would die during the night that we sat staring at him the whole night, he struggled to breathe and did not turn to his side I had to turn him every few hours.
Early the Sunday morning our doorbell rang and there was someone with baby clothes, a little while later someone else brought a camping cot, a baby chair, diapers and blankets. I still do not know how they heard of the baby that we found but by 9 o clock we had almost everything that we needed to take care of him.
We took him to our house dr. He was dehydrated and mulnurished and his scin was full of little cuts that was bleeding. He also had this very ugly scar on his head that was not fully healed. The dr said that he had eczema and gave us a cream to apply. He did a thorough examination and asked us if he cries we said no. He then said sorry pal I am going to pinch you to hear what you sound like, not a peep from him. He gave him back to us and asked us what are you going to do with this child, your kids are grown up and something is not right with this baby, dont get involved. He said on the forehead there is written take me but at the back it says no returns, you guys must think long about this.
By this time we knew that his name was Justin and that he was almost 6 months old, he weighed 4.6kg and 0-3months clothes were a little big for him. He still did not cry or moved but was drinking better and were sleeping a lot.
Monday morning the magistrate phoned us and told us to come see her immediately as we could not just take a baby. The birth parents went to the social worker and told her that Justin was visiting the Steenbergs. At the courthouse the social worker as well as the birth parents were present. I had justin in the baby chair and he was sleeping, I asked the birth mother if she wanted to hold him but she declined she did not even looked in his direction. The magistrate asked us if we were coping with a baby in the house. She then asked us if we were willing to foster him for 2 weeks. I asked her what would happen to him if we did not foster him, she looked at the parents and told us that he will have to go to the Ladysmith orphanage it was clear that he would not be going back to his birth parents. We all know how it goes in a state orphanage and I did not have the heart to let him go there being as weak as he was. We told her that we were willing to foster him, she told us to think about it long and hard and after 2 weeks we must tell her what we decided, again it was clear do not take this baby he is damaged goods. We signed the forms to foster Justin for 2 weeks. I had a quilt/fabric shop in town and my friend had to open the shop for me while we were at the magistrate. When I arrived at the shop there were about 20 cars outside. Inside all my quilting clients were waiting for me and this baby. The old ladies were crying, some were praying for us, and all of them had a small gift for him.
We realised that he were very weak and needed some physiotherapy so we took him to our local physiotherapist. She evaluated him and told us that she does not work with such small babies and that we need to take him to Riette Smith an occupational therapist in town. I contacted her but she was on holiday and would only be back in town in 10days time, 2 days before our 2 weeks fostering would end. Everyone that we talked to told us not to get attached to him, basically let him go to the orphanage he is not your problem. He was drinking better, started to cry although he would get a fright at his own voice and would then stop crying. willie bathed him at night in the big bath filled to the rim and he would hold justin at his shoulders and he would then float like a little toadpole, not moving at all, I still call him paddvissie (toadpole), he loved the water and would almost fall asleep in willies hands. We talked about what we would tell the magistrate and decided that if only one person told us to keep him before our 2 weeks were over, we would do it, no one did. We had an appointment with the therapist and told her his whole story before the session with him started. she took him in her arms, did a few exercises, rolled him on a big ball he looked like a wet cloth in her hands not realy lifting his arms or head. she told us that he tested to be the same age as a 6 week old baby, he could not hold his head, could not roll over could not held anything in his hands. He was damaged. As we were getting ready to leave she held justin above her head and wiggled him, dont worry big boy she said we will fix you for your new mommy and daddy, the next day we went to the magistrate and told her that we would continue to foster him and that we want to adopt him. she just shook her head and smiled.
He received theraphy every week and he was such a fighter he almost never cried and always tried his best. He was eating some porridge and vegg and was moving more, the tannies in my shop decided to help so they made braceletts out of bells to put on his arms and legs so that every time he moved them it would make a noise, somedays he looked like a christmas tree. Riette told us that we must put him in a baby swing to help with the theraphy, we attached a swing to the balcony in our house and we swinged him, he loved it when we told Riette she just laughed and said he was suppose to swing gently not the way we were doing it with the wind blowing trough his hair
He started to give a small smile if he saw us, he did not like to be cuddled but would be quite content to lie next to me on the bed or sit in his baby chair on top of a table while I was working. The ugly mark on his head was from when he was born but his little body did not have the nutrition to heal the wound, his head began to take a nice round shape and the wound was healing nicely. He loved his bed and if I put him down for the night he would wiggle his body into his blankets and fall asleep.
We were appointed as his legal guardians and the social worker came every few weeks to check to see if all was still fine. I had to take him to the hospital for his standard appointment with the dieetition as he did not gain weight when he was with his birth parents. When I took him the first time she could not believe that it was the same baby. She told us that his birth mom would bring him to hospital and say that his head was hurting because he was crying a lot and then she would tell the nurses that se was going to the bathroom and she would just dissappear. In the state hospital you need to bring your babies own milk and diapers and you need to stay there to feed him as the nurses were not willing to care for small babies.
This happened on a regular basis, it got so bad that the nurses would asked the other mothers for milk for him and eventually the dietition kept a tin of milk in her office and whenever he was admitted she would make him a bottle, feed him and stay with him till he fell asleep.
He also had to go for a brain scan in pmb because he was not growing as a normal baby should, the mother refused to go with him in the ambulance and eventually the father went with him but he was so weak that they did not perform the scan because they were not willing to give him meds to sleep for the scan.
Although we were fostering him the birth parents still had visiting rights and once every week they would came to willies office and spend time with him. One day while at theraphy I mentioned to Riette that he has terrible nightmares, he would start screaming and I would not be able to wake him up and when he was eventully awake he would cry for 3-4 hours. He also seemed to be struggling with the theraphy, one week he would be doing great and the next week he would be tired and fussy. His eczema also started to flare up again. She had the same toy in her room as what he had on his pushpram and I told her that he loved the toy because when willie took him to see the birth parents the previous day he hold on so tightly to the toy that it came lose from the pram and he was holding and playing with it the wole time. As I was putting him in the car seat Riette came running to me and asked me if I can remember if he gets nightmares after seeing the birth parents and that I should keep track of his eczema the nightmares and the visits from the birthparent, for the next 3 weeks he had nightmares and excema flare ups right after visiting with his birth parents, it was also after seeing them that he would struggle with terephy. We decided to keep the birthparents away for 3 weeks, telling them that he was sick, we were away on holiday etc. He did not have so many nightmares, his excema dissapeared and he did great with therapy and as soon as they saw him it all stated to go wrong again.
We went back to family court and asked for the visiting right of the parent to be terminated. We had to do a official evaluation with the social worker and birth parents. We had to do this in the crises centre where they have a room with a hidden camera to record what was being said and done in the room. I took him to the dr the day before the evaluation and there was no excema, he was healthy and smiling. The next day as we got to the crises centre, there was something wrong with the camera, while willie was trying to help them fix it Boeta fell asleep in the combi and slept for about an hour. I had to wake him for the evaluation to start. We went into the room and he played on the carpet with some toys. then we had to leave him and the birth parents came into the room. He kept looking at the door where we had left, when the birth mom hold him he tried to push her away and started crying trying to look past her as the door. I left a bottle of water and tin of milk in the room with him, and she tried to make him a bottle, got the mixure wrong and he did not want to drink it, when she put him down on the carpet he laid down turned his back to her and fell asleep, about 15 min after he had a nap in the combi. The birthmom did not take any notice of him and played on her cellphone . The social worker stopped the session and told us we can take him home. The next day after having nightmares the whole night he was covered in excema and I took him back to the dr who gave me a report to say that he did not have any excema the previous day and that he was certain that it was due to stress. The court terminated the parents visiting rights and he started doing really good with teraphy. By this time it was eveident that something was very wrong with him he was 8 months old and had just started sitting on his own. We decided to legally adopt him but the birth parents refused to sign him off to us. We then stared with the adoption process in which we had to prove that the parents were not fit to parent him. We again went back to the hospital and got a report from the dietitian and nurses about his neglect by the mother. We went to the places they stayed, and found a black neighbour who told us that Marietjie would leave him on a blanket on the floor with just a bottle of water and would then leave for the whole day, he would be crying so long that she would go and look and would take him home with her and try and soothe him. We took him back to the drs in pmb and they could not believe that he was looking so good, they gave us a very favourable report. The dietian at the local hospital gave us a report stating the neglect that the mothr showed towards him. We put our house on the market to pay towards this long adoption case as we had to get an advocate to help with the process.
One afternoon after work, me and a few friends was at the local wimpy drinking a milkshake when Willie phoned me and told me that Marietjie was with him and that she was willing to sign the papers so that we could adopt him. My friend quickly send out an sms to all my "tannies" from the quilt shop and they stared a prayer circle. Marietjie signed the papers but Shaun refused. My tannies told me to have faith as they were all praying and 3 weeks later Shaun went the the magistrate and said that he was there to sign the adoption papers. We realised that we need the move to were there were good drs and good therapist's to help him. He was 11 months and could not crawl or even sit on his own for a long period of time. We sold our house, our businesses and decided to move to Pretoria but before we moved we wanted to baptise him. Becasue the adoption was not yet legal our preacher said that he would baptise him just on his names and not use our surname. He was then baptised as Jacobus Gerrit, willie's dad and my dads names. The church was so full that sunday and my friend made a video, the people were crying so hard that that was about all you could hear on the video even our preacher was crying the whole time. The next week we moved to Pretoria. He got theraphy once a week with the best therapist and at 18 months he started walking. He still some nights had terrible nightmares. We noticed that he would walk into tables or even walls and was always full of bruises. The therapist said it was because he was carried around for the first few months of his life in a carrycot with a blanket covering it, he could not judge distances. His teeth started to break and spllinter and would cut his mouth if he was eating. The dentist said it was because he did not get calsium while his mother was pregnant with him and event after he was born he did not get proper milk to drink. We had to had all his teeth pulled and the dentist made him a nice pair of front teeth which he implanted under anesthesia. The next day he fell from the stairs and out came the teeth I phone the dr in a panic and he said to bring him in so that he could see the damage. Ii took JG and the teeth to the dentist and he said that his mouth would start to swell in a few hours and that he would need anesthesia again to put it back or seeing that it was after 5 in the afternoon he would wait for us to came back at 7 after he was bathed and sleepy and he could try and push the teeth back in, he gave us some premed to make him go to sleep, when we walked in at 7 JG was as chirpy as a new birdy smiling and running around. Tthe dr said I must put him in my lap and hold him and he would try to push the teeth in wile I hold him, but before he started he asked if he could pray for him, while he was praying JG fell asleep and the dr put the teeth back in no problems.
3 months later he was playing on the trampoline with his sister and out came the teeth and this time it broke. We went back, into theater and he got a new set of teeth. 6 months later he slipped and fell and out came the teeth, the dentist said that this time he could not put them back as his mouth could not accommodate another set of holes to fit the teeth into, we would have to wait for his mouth to heal completely and that he doubt if his permanent teeth would ever came out. 6 months later his permenant teeth came out and they were strong and healty, little bit scew but strong. We noticed that his left eye was tuning inwards, took him to the dr and he had to have a operation to correct his eye.
We took him to dr Erasmus a neorology pediater, who diagnosed him with adhd and also asked for a mri to be done as his speech were very bad, The mri revealed that there were indeed brain damage and that it was as a result of him being shaken or slapped when he was a baby, his brain was damaged where his speech are formed.
In this time his biological sister was born and we called the magistrate court to say that we would be willing to take her because we knew that the social worked would remove her from the parents care. She was 11 months old when she was removed from their care, we phoned the social worker to say that we would take her, the social worker's daugther had just died the previous day from meningites and a temporary social worker did not know about us and she was placed in Ladysmith in the orphanage we tried every thing but she was in the system and we could not get her out, We made such a racket that the orphanage gave her a party on her first birthday and sent me photos. We tried fostering her but pta social workers were not very helpfull, they promised to come do a home evaluation but never did, then when I went to them and explained the situation they said that their computors were down and they could not send a report to Ladysmith, I went home took my laptop went back and asked them to use my laptop they refused. Eventually we heard that Angela was placed in foster care with people in Newcastle, at least she was no longer in the orphanange. After a year her foster mom contacted me and asked for help to adopt her seeing that the birth parents also refuse to sigh her adoption papers. I sent all the reports that I had from when we tried to adopt JG and the court signed Angela's adoption papers on behalf of the parents and they were declared unfit parents. Angela is 2 years younger than jg they look very much alike and her parents love her dearly.
When JG was about 6 yrs old he had a bath with his dad and Willie told me that he do not feel his testicles when he washed JG. We took him to an urologist and he did a scan but found nothing ,he then said that he would do a small operation to insert a camera to see if he can find them, it would be a 15min operation. An hour and half later he came to us and told us that he is very sorry but he could not find any testicles, one boy in 15 000 is born without them and JG was that lucky nr 1. He was very small for his age and the dr said that this was most properly the reason and that we had to take him to a hormone dr to get growth hormones to help him develop into a boy and eventlully a man. This would mean that he would most properly be taking hormones for the rest of his life. We made a appointment to see dr van Dyk. He examined JG and found no testicles then he drew about 10 bottles of blood to see which hormones to give him. We needed to see him in 6 weeks time for the results, he also tested for all the syndromes that can be tested in SA. In 6 weeks time we went back to dr v Dyk. He took out JG's file, flipped trough it and told us that he could find nothing wrong with him or his hormones and that he could not help us. He asked if he could examine him once more he called me and said come feel, there is 2 testiceles a 2ml and 3ml size, he is normal. Willie stared to cry and the dr started to cry, willie told us that one night in this 6 weeks waiting period, JG was lying in bed with him and he had put his hand on his stomick and prayed and asked please heal him, we called dr Bongers and told him that JG had testicals he did not believe us but they are there and they are normal and growing and JG is very proud of his "enkels"
He started to go to a special needs school. and he loved the friends, he is very lonely we are old and his siblings is 10 -21 yrs older than him. We noticed that he was sitting very close to the tv and was constant falling over things, had his eyes tested and they were very very bad he was almost blind. He broke his spectacles about 5 time before he realised that he could not see without them, he is on his second stronger pair and needs to have his eyes tested every year. He would refuse to swim when we were on holidays and we realised that it was because he could not see, his new very expensive glasses is made from silicone and he is able to swim with them.
His brother loves him very much and always says that he will take care of JG when we are no longer able to do so. JG puts a lot of pressure on everyone around him especially on a marraige and I do not think that it would be fair to his ouboet and his future wife to put that on them.
school fees, as it is a very small private school they do not get funding from the education department, and they are getting really expensive and I do not think we will be able to keep up, we have been to every special needs school in pretoria and his is the best of them all, there are some real bad ones out there
speech theraphy, it he could speak better he would be able to communicate better and he would calm down considerably at the moment he gets very frustrated if he tries to tell us something and we do not understand
the adhd and depression medisine is very expensive but we are managing it
He is turning 13 in April and is a real teenager with all the mood swings etc.