After six years of trying for children of our own with lots of losses including several ectopic pregnancies and two failed IVF attempts, Renata and I decided we wanted to adopt because we had so much to offer children. We both believed we were meant to be parents and that our family unit did not feel complete without children.
We are now the proud parents of three children, two boys and a girl, all of whom we adopted in ‘open adoptions’.
On 31 January 2003 we put in our profile, not expecting anything to happen so quickly. It was in for one week and we got a phone call from our Social Worker to say that we had been chosen to adopt a baby boy who had been born two weeks earlier – did we want to adopt him! What do you mean, we would love to I replied. Taiki Te Whiu was born on 15 January 2003. We met his birth mum at the CYFS office the following day, everyone was nervous. Birth mum gave us permission to visit Taiki at the foster carer’s home. We went everyday, sometimes twice a day to feed him and bond with him. Two weeks later birth mum signed the Adoption Consent, enabling us to take him home with us. Taiki came home with his whakapapa which is very important for him to know his Hapu and Iwi. It all felt so natural and so right. We both decided to keep our children’s given names at birth.
Contact has built up over the years. We call in to his tummy mummy at work every few months, with photos and copies of school reports. Taiki has also met his birth grandmother, uncle, aunty and cousins too. His tummy mummy has told us that she does not regret adopting her son out and that she loves the visits from Taiki.
When Taiki was eighteen months old we put our profile in again. But after a year nothing had happened. We moved to Brisbane for a complete change. We stayed there for a year but the yearning for a sibling for Taiki was too strong, so we shifted back to Christchurch to try adoption again.
In December 2006 we put our profile back in the pool. Then in October 2007 we got a phone call from our new social worker saying that we had been chosen to adopt a baby boy. Kya Rawiri was born 1 October 2007. We got the phone call on a Friday, so we had a very anxious weekend. We met birth mum and her support person on the Monday at the CYFS office. Birth mum hadn’t named him, she wanted to name him with us, and we both came up with Kya Rawiri. Birth mum gave us permission to visit Kya at the foster carer’s home. We went everyday, sometimes twice a day to feed him and bond with him. It was a very emotional time as birth mum found it hard to get to the lawyers appointment to sign consent, so we were all set for consent to be signed one day, but it wasn’t signed until several days later. After birth mum signed the Adoption Consent we took our little treasure home. We couldn’t believe that we had blessed again.
Contact has been a gradual process, which we are still building on. Kya’s birth mum knows that our door is always open for her and her whanau.
In November 2008 we put in our profile yet again. We didn’t know what our chances of getting chosen were, given that we already had two children. In July 2009 we got a phone call from our social worker saying that we had been chosen to adopt a baby girl. Manaia Te Aroha was born 28 July 2009. We couldn’t stop crying, we didn’t believe that we had been blessed yet again, and that it was a girl was a bonus. We met birth mum at the CYFS office. Birth mum gave us permission to visit Manaia at the foster carer’s home. Once again, we went along with her brothers’ everyday, sometimes twice a day to feed her and to have special bonding time with her. A few weeks later birth mum signed the Adoption Consent, enabling us to take her home. Manaia also came home with her whakapapa which is awesome to have for her identity.
Contact has been great. We have lots of contact via email, text and visits every few months and send lots of photos. Manaia has met her birth Taua as well. We keep birth mum updated on Manaia’s milestones too.
All our children know who they are and how they came to us, so there are no secrets. They all know right from the start, that they have got a special tummy mummy. We believe open adoption can be a positive experience, challenging at times, but well worth it. Adoption not only gives the child an opportunity in life, it gives birth mum’s the opportunity for them to fullfill their lives while also seeing their baby grow up cared for by people who are in a position to parent.
Sometimes I have to pinch myself! I can’t believe that we are parents to three beautiful children. We are so proud of them. Renata and I, along with our whanau and friends have had our lives enriched by having the opportunity to parent through adoption. Our precious children have been a blessing to us all. They have brought us lots of love, laughter, tears and happiness, which we could have only dreamed of.
We would like to make a special acknowledgement to our three special tummy mummies as they have given us the greatest gift of a whanau and we will always be thankful for this.