Meet a Mom: Carla

I’m so excited today to bring you a little interview with my friend Carla (aka Superwoman). Carla’s husband and mine have been friends for over 25 years and we’re really lucky to have them in our lives. Carla’s the type of person that will still find time to make you a homemade meal and drop it off, just because she knows you’ve had a baby and have NO time to cook. She does this all between balancing her work and family life and not only that, she’s gorgeous and hilarious to boot. Here’s more about her…

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1. Tell us a little about your family. 

Pete and I are both from Cape Town originally, however we met in Jozi, which is one of the many reasons why I love living in this city. We got married in 2005 and have three children, Kyle (6), Ashley (4) and Sam (1).

2. Tell us more about how Sam came to be part of your family – did you always know you wanted to adopt a child? How does the process work?

Adoption has been in our hearts for a long time.  Even before we had kids, Pete and I had chatted about the possibility of adopting.

First you need to find an agency, or you can go directly to the Johannesburg Child Welfare Society. A social worker will be assigned to your case and will walk you through the entire application and provide post-adoptive support. You’ll need to obtain clearances showing you’re not on any sex-offender registers and have a clear criminal record. While you’re waiting for these clearances, you undergo interviews and psychological tests  to ensure that you’re in a good space to have a child.

They’re not looking for “perfect parents”, because as we know, these don’t exist! They just want to make sure that the process is in the best interests of everyone: the child, his or her birth mother and the adoptive parents. Sam was actually placed with us very quickly, but in some cases it can take much longer.

There is quite a bit of red tape that has to be done after your baby comes home with you, which include the formal adoption order and then the name change. This can all take a while – we were given legal guardianship of Sam the day he came to live with us but it took eight months for the adoption to be finalised.

IMG_22743.    How has the experience lived up to your expectations – was it harder/easier? How did your other kids deal with having a new brother?

This experience has been one of the best and at the same time probably the most terrifying of my life. I was naïve before and thought I’d fall in love with our baby instantly and we’d be this fun, loving family of five. It took a while to find my feet as he wasn’t newborn, he was seven months old and had a totally different routine and did things his way.

It was a process, but one that has ended up with me completely in love with my little boy and deeply grateful for his presence. People often say that “we’ve done a good thing” by adopting him but it’s completely the other way around! He’s a treasure and we’re so lucky to have him in our lives.

As for my two older kids – they’ve been incredible. We’d prepared them that they would soon be getting a new brother and that he may look a little different from how they looked and that he would have grown in another mommy’s tummy. Kids are wonderful, they say what they mean and they don’t skirt around any issues. In fact, they even walked around telling everyone that would listen that they were getting a black brother;). Although our daughter Ashley was very honest on the day we got him and couldn’t stop expressing her disappointment that Sam wasn’t a girl! (she’s since come around;)

We’ve had some wonderful and enlightening conversations with them about race, identity and family and feel really blessed that we’re able to shape their worldview in a real and lasting way.

4.    As a busy parent, what are your top lifesavers whether they’re products, activities, websites or people?

  • Leftovers! I cook in bulk and then we’re good for 2 or 3 days. There is the occasional moan, but there’s a lesson in that too:)
  • Chore charts for the older two: they’re obsessed with getting smiley faces, so I’m finding that helps them with owning things like dressing, brushing teeth etc.
  • Date night: we can’t ever put our kids above the wellbeing of our marriage. We check in, connect and catch up. It’s essential to not just become two people that manage a home well together, but instead two people that actually like each other and have a good time.
  • Quiet time before the day starts: things run smoothly if I’m up first and have some time to myself before the rush. I pray, plan my day, pack lunchboxes, and then get on with it.

You can read another Meet a Mom instalment here.

Nov 2013 227

 

 

 

 

 

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