Blog Guest : Hope-full Treasures with Megan.
My guest Megan from the blog www.hopefulltreasures.co.za. is a breathe of fresh air in the blogging world. Megan started her blog when her husband and her started the adoption process of their energetic son Noah. Megan’s blog is a great resource for parents who have grown their family through adoption, in the process or looking at adoption.
I recently interviewed Megan to find out more about her blog, adoption, finding hope in the journey ,raising a son in this crazy world, and share some parenting wisdom.
1. What advice would you give someone who is looking into adopting?
Get a support network around you. And try and meet and chat to families who have gone through the adoption process as well. Every family's adoption journey is different, but it is great to have a select group of people who have been through similar experiences, who you can speak to, share what you're feeling, ask any questions.
2. What did you find the “hardest” part about the adoption process?
Our adoption process was quite quick - from the day we decided to begin the process, to the day we met Noah was 5 months in total. We were so fortunate! The hardest part for me was patiently waiting - I'm not the most patient person. I couldn't wait to hold my baby and begin our journey as mother and child. We were pretty quick with getting out paperwork done but had to wait absolute ages for one form from the DSD, before we could be matched with a baby. It was tough waiting, but when it came through, the wait was worth it!
3. What resources are there for expectant adopting parents? Im sure it is a lengthy process , what resources are there to help them work through the process. Are there groups that they can join to find a community going through the same process?
There are so many wonderful resources available. I love podcasts, and have found a whole lot of adoption related podcasts. There are podcasts for adopters about adoptees - these have really helped me try to understand and learn some of the things my son may very likely face and have to deal with one day. There is a podcast by birth mom's, for birth mom's. This podcast I have found so helpful, just trying to take Noah's birth mom into account - she is a very real part of our adoption journey, and it is so important for me, that I try and understand her perspective in some way. There are also a lot of podcasts by adoptive mom's, who share their journeys, and real life moments.
There are quite a few Facebook groups that you can join as well. For the most part, these groups are amazing, as it is a community of adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents, and it's a great place to ask questions and get advice.
There are a lot of books you can read. I've really enjoyed reading books by adoptees - particularly transracial adoptees, as we are a transracial family. Reading about their loved experiences as transracial adoptees, has really helped me gain an understanding of what my son may go through one day. Transracial adoption is so prevalent in South Africa in particular, so learning about the loved experiences of transracial adoptees, what has hurt them, what they wished their adoptive parents had done differently, had been really informative and helpful in teaching Jason (my husband) and I how best to parent our Noah.
There are also amazing children's books you can buy to read to your child. We have found those books particularly helpful in explaining adoption to Noah, as well as his personal story.
There are blogs and Instagram accounts you may follow as well - these mom's are so lovely to follow, and they are always open to chat and answer questions. The online community is a fantastic resource!
4. What are some of the reasons you and your husband chose to adopt?
When Jason and I first started talking about the possibility of getting married and starting a family one day, one of the first topics that came up was having kids. And we both had the same idea. We both wanted to adopt, as well as try to have a baby naturally. We were not fussy about the order in which it happened. We just both knew that this was what God wanted us to do to grow our family.
5. What is the stupidest question, you have been asked when out with Noah?
It's not necessarily a question, but few things irk me more than people telling us how lucky Noah is that we adopted him, and how amazing we are because we adopted him. Please do not say that to adoptive parents, especially in front of their child/children. It is such an insensitive statement to make - my child is not lucky. He suffered a trauma at a very young age, an important bond was broken and he is going to have to grapple with that for the rest of his life. At the same time, we did not save him. We chose to adopt, because we believe that is how God wanted us to grow our family. We did not adopt to try to help or save an orphaned child.
6. You are raising a young man. How are you raising him to respect women?
It is so important for us that we raise a son who will always respect women. He is 5 years old now, and we believe he is not too young to start learning now. For us it is as simple as teaching hi, that he can wrestle and do ninja moves and live his best WWE dream with his dad, but when it comes to mom, there are limits. Noah and I play around and wrestle, but we have taught him that when he plays with mom he needs to be a little gentler. We are also teaching him how to be a gentleman, letting a lady go first, don't be rude, listen when a lady (or a girl) speaks and speak nicely. These are just some of the ways we are trying to raise him to respect women.
7. You are very open about Noah’s adoption . How do you explain what adoption is to a child?
When we did our orientation with Child Welfare, one of the things they explained to us was how to explain adoption to your child. First of all, don't try to hide the fact that your child is adopted. It will always come out, and when it does, it will cause so much pain. Make adoption a part of the vocabulary that your family uses. This is where children's books on adoption are so great. And when the time comes for you to have to share more of your child's story with them, refer to their birth mom as their Tummy Mommy. Refer to yourself as their Heart Mommy. This is how we refer to myself and Noah's birth mom when we speak about his story. Explain to your child that while they were growing in their Tummy Mommy's Tummy, your love for them was growing in your heart. When we explained this to Noah, he seemed to understand it as much as possible, taking his young age into account. We constantly speak with Noah about his Tummy Mommy. He will often ask about her, and we answer him as truthfully as possible, in the most age appropriate way. We will never, ever put her down or badmouth her to anyone, especially Noah. She is an integral part of our Noah's life story, and we will always show her that respect. We have found it helpful to follow Noah's lead when it comes to speaking to him about adoption and his story. We will never lie to him about his story. We only speak about it when he brings it up. And when he brings it up, we ,are sure to stop what we are doing, so that we can focus on him and sharing his story with him, and answer his questions.
8. Has your family been supportive during the adoption process?
We have always made it known that we would be adopting one day - our family has always known that about us. So when we decided to start the process, they were super excited for us, and really went all out to be there for us and support us.
9. The adoption process can be hard on a marriage or relationship , what advice do you have to couples who have decided to adopt?
Make sure that you are both on the same page. Firstly, do you both want to adopt? If one of you is unsure, please take the time to reassess why you are going through the process, and the possible negative effects it may have on your marriage. It is so important that you are both 100% on the same page throughout the adoption process. If one of you has any concerns, it is so important to communicate this with your spouse. Keep your lines of communication open. The adoption process can be long and stressful. It is important that your marriage stays rock solid so you can support each other and walk this road together. You will be welcoming a child into your family, who has gone through a lot in their young lives. So please make sure your marriage is strong, for your sake, and for your child's sake.
10. Are there any misconceptions regarding adoption that you would like to address?
When someone tells you they are staring the adoption process, please don't respond with comments like "oh as soon as you adopt a baby you will fall pregnant" or "are you at least going to try and have one of your own?" These comments are not helpful. Firstly, you don't know the back story, if there have been fertility issues or miscarriages. You just don't always know. Also, my child is my child, whether he was adopted or I was pregnant with him. Please choose your words carefully!
Also, every family's journey is different. Every adopted child's story is different. The adoption process can be quick for one family, or take years for another family. You never know. That's why a support network is so important - this is a group of people who will walk this road with you. You will need them!
11. Covid-19 has affected many people. Has it had an effect on how you parent?
I have definitely learnt how to be just a little more patient. Especially when it came to online learning. Covid 19 has been a blessing in disguise though, as it has taught me to be a lot more present with Noah, especially because he is an only child. It has been so great to spend such focused quality time with him, which all 3 of us have benefited from.
12. If you were the President of South Africa, what Law (Bill) would you Sign into Law.
Gosh, I have had to give this question some thought. I would probably look into passing laws on adoption, and making it imperative that the interests of the child come first. Unfortunately this is not always the case. I would put laws into place where reunification with the child birth family was first thoroughly investigated and considered, and then if reunification is not an option, adoption would be the next step.
13. What social stigma does society need to get over?
We are a transracial family. Our family may not look the same way yours does. But we are still a family. We know and are fully aware that it is not always common to see a family that looks like ours. But You don't know the story of each family. So please keep your judgments to yourself!
14. What values do you try to instil in your child?
Our number one value as a family is our faith and relationship with Jesus. We have made it a priority to teach Noah about Jesus and why He is so important in our life as a family. We also value honour and respect, and it is so important that we teach Noah to honour and respect every single person he meets, regardless of what they look or where they come from. Quality time is also high on our value list - it is so important that we teach Noah that our time together as a family is a priority and so important to us.
15. What is the most important piece of parenting advice you have received?
Everyone will have an opinion of what you should or shouldn't do for your child. They will view themselves as an expert. However, they forget that they are an expert on their child. You are the expert on your child. So go with your gut. And if something does not feel right for you and your child, don't do it. Rather do what you feel is best.
My name is Megan. I have been married to my husband, Jason for almost 11 years, and we are parents to our sweet boy, Noah. He is an energetic, bubbly, happy, busy 5 year old, and our lives are so much fuller because he is in it! We have been in Cape Town for about 3 years now, and while it has not always been easy, we have been so happy to be back here! I work of an NGO - I manage the charity shop and I am the secretary for the Board. That's what keeps me busy during office hours. I blog part time over at www.hopefulltreasures.co.za. My blog was started when we started our adoption process, as a way to keep our family and friends updated with our journey and it has grown from there! My husband is a Pastor in training, so we are eagerly waiting for the next adventure!
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Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/hopefulltreasures