Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Assignment - The Last Time I Laughed Really Hard - Vuvuzela

This may seem like a very strange title for a post, but keep reading and I will explain. The Vuvuzela is a type of trumpet that is used by our ardent sports fans in this country. It was originally a traditional instrument, whose origins date back to ancient Africa when a Kudu horn was used to summon villagers to important events. It has been converted to bright coloured plastic, and is sold all over the place. It now appears at rugby matches, cricket matches and especially soccer matches. In fact, they became such a problem at rugby matches that they were banned in one of the biggest stadiums in the country for a while. Can you imagine sitting next to someone wielding one of these things ..... not? Let me elaborate. The call of the vuvuzela sounds much like the trumpeting of an enraged elephant with a sore throat. It is LOUD, and after about 30 seconds, it is ANNOYING!

Anyway, I digress. In a moment of madness about 2 years ago, I bought my husband one of these instruments of torture as a joke - a blue one. To be honest, I didn't expect that he would really use it. I thought he'd blow it a couple of times and then it would be discarded to the back of the cupboard. I obviously didn't know him very well! David's vuvuzela gets hauled out of the cupboard regularly. The kids think it's wonderful fun, and he blasts it at the TV during rugby matches, at the dogs, at the kids, at me ....

Every now and again David takes it into his head to wake the kids in the morning with the dreaded vuvuzela. He marches down the passage and into each kid's room blowing it violently. Even Michael who is 18 still thinks it's funny. Last week he decided to do the wake-up drill again - but now of course we have Simmi. I wasn't sure how she would react to this awful noise, so I followed behind them (Simmi was crawling behind David as he walked down the passage). David blew the vuvuzela, and Simmi wasn't phased at all. In fact, she carried on following him and crawled into each kid's bedroom shouting her latest word which is "Hey!" over and over again in this giant voice. It was so cute and funny I felt weak with laughter. She made sure she went into each room and shouted at each child before crawling back down the passage after David and the vuvuzela.

So here's to keeping with South African tradition (no matter how annoying) - and having a good laugh into the bargin!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Simmi is Leaving

This is a horrible post to write. I'm not sure how to start to be honest. As per my previous post, the Child Welfare committee met last week to decide on Simmi's fate. They decided that she has to be placed into permanent care - in a children's home whilst waiting for the outcome of her mother's case.

As a registered Place of Safety, we are unable to keep her indefinitely - we are for short-term care only. If she stayed, we would then not have place for the next baby that needs our care. My heart is broken. That is the only way I can describe this. We were expecting to have her up until the middle of next year, and suddenly she's being yanked away when we weren't expecting it. I understand the logic behind putting her in a home, but to me, logic has nothing to do with it. Welfare doesn't want her to bond with another family, or bond any further with me, and then have to be removed and given back to a mother she no longer knows. My head understands, my heart does not. Devastation......

The good news is that the Welfare are engaging a Human Rights Lawyer to assist Simmi's mom in getting asylum in this country. If successful, she and Simmi will some day be reunited - and that is my prayer for both of them.

I'm still hoping desperately that circumstances change and she can stay - but aside from a miracle, there is just no way.
I have requested that Welfare allow her to stay with us as long as possible before they remove her, and they have agreed, but if there is an opening at the home now, she has to go almost immediately. I know that my intention right from the start was to help as many babies as possible, even if for a short time each, but I lost sight of that the first time Simmi smiled at me.
I feel as though I've had a hole in my heart for the past 11 years, ever since I lost my precious baby Robin to miscarriage. For the first time I've felt fulfilled and complete. It's agony to have to part with her so soon. When I rock her to sleep, I don't want to put her down. I just want to hold onto her forever. I waited for her for so long. I yearned and longed and prayed for a baby girl to care for. I don't know how I'm going to let her go - God will have to give me the strength, I don't have it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Saga of Simmi

Assignment for Mama Kat is the post below this one

It’s almost 7 weeks now since Simmi came into our lives. Today we meet once more with Child Welfare to hear what they have decided about Simmi’s future. There was a committee meeting held on Tuesday to discuss Simmi because her case is so complicated. They have investigated the possibility of Simmi’s mom being granted asylum in South Africa, but because she now has a criminal record this is not going to happen. She will definitely be deported to Zimbabwe to serve out whatever prison sentence is handed down. Apparently Welfare’s options are as follows:

1. When the mother is deported, to deport Simmi as well. Not with her mother, but separately to a children’s home or orphanage as her mother will still be incarcerated. They would try to find a home close to the jail so that the mother would be able to find her easily when she is released, and there would be a possibility of visitation.

2. Keep Simmi here in South Africa in foster care where at least she is safe and well-cared for. However, there is then the probability that she will never see her mother again.

3. Convince the mother to allow Simmi to be adopted.

4. Grant the father (who doesn't want her) custody. Simmi is the product of an extra-marital affair and her father’s wife doesn’t know she exists. This would mean that the wife would then have to bring up the product of her husband’s unfaithfulness, and the chances are that she will resent Simmi and mistreat her as a result.

Now I am very nervous. At 15h00 today I will find out what they have decided to recommend. What huge controversy surrounds this precious little person. She doesn’t even have a birth certificate because her mother couldn’t register her as she is here illegally. I can’t bear the thought of her being sent to an orphanage. The situation in Zimbabwe is grim, and I can’t imagine her being well cared for, or even fed if they send her there.

On the other hand, what about her mother? How will she feel about never being able to see her baby girl again? I can imagine the heartache because now I’m facing it too. How will she feel if her baby is sent to Zimbabwe, knowing what is waiting for her there – why did she come to South Africa illegally in the first place – desperation to get away from there. Apparently, the mother has no rights here at all because of the circumstances.

As I write this post, I am listening to Simmi playing outside with the other children, screeching with delight and clapping her little hands. She loves school, and she’s so happy here. I’m praying & holding my breath ……….

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Assignment - The First Time I......

The first time I saw my daughter dance she was 4 years old.
There were ballet classes at the nursery school that she attended. I remember the ballet concert at the end of the year. My then husband leaned over and whispered to me - "Oh my goodness (well probably not those exact words knowing him), she's like a baby elephant!"

I remember pink leotards and tiny ballet socks and shoes, and practise, practise, practise. She wanted to be a ballerina.

Now it's pointe shoes and Royal Academy of Dance membership, and teacher exams. As the most senior girl in her ballet studio, my Sherae is the dancer all the little girls in thier pink leotards and tiny ballet socks and shoes look up to. They all want to be like her. She's a ballerina.

This coming Saturday is the year-end ballet concert. I know that as usual I will cry when I watch her float effortlessly across the floor. I know that the applause for her dances will sound louder to me than for any of the other dancers.

I'll be standing there clutching the camera and the video camera, trying to watch, take photos and record at the same time, whilst battling my emotions. It seems like yesterday that my "baby elephant" was prancing across the stage - thump, thump, thump. Trying to point her toes, and twirling in front of the mirror.

The first time I saw my daughter dance, I never imagined I'd still be watching 12 years later.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My 10 Pet Peeves - Assignment

Once again it's been a long time since I last blogged. I'm living in baby land. Anyway, my ten pet peeves - I chose this assigment because it sounded so easy.

1. This is a new peeve, but it definitely ranks as number 0ne: People staring at me in the shops because I have a black baby. Everytime I go out I have to steel myself against this and stop myself from yelling "Hey, what are you looking at - you got a problem - you want a problem?!?"
Madonna, Angelina (embarassed cough), um, I'm not sure how to break this to you, er....... I know you think everyone stares at you because you're famous......... Sorry, that's not it. It's because you each have a black baby!

2. Anybody who is always late and doesn't bother to let me know.

3. Bad table manners.

4. People who smoke - especially when around children, when pregnant or breastfeeding.

5. Rude, badly behaved, nasty, tantrum-throwing children. Let me clarify, all children try all these things from time to time, but they have to be taught from the outset that it's not acceptable behaviour. I managed to teach mine from when they were small - it is possible!

6. Speedo swimming costumes (the ones that look like tiny underpants) on any male older than 5 years old.

7. Kids' inability to put ANYTHING into the dishwasher which is right next to the sink which is the dumping ground.

8. Human Airbags. IE: people who allow small children and babies to sit on their lap in the front seat of the car, or people who just don't bother to strap their children into a car seat.

9. Irresponsible fathers. My ex used to be my prime example, however, upon meeting with Simmi's father, I've a new perspective on this. In court last week he informed the magistrate that he doesn't want Simmi because he has 3 other children from various women, and Simmi is not a boy! This is Africa...

10. Good grief, I'm on number 10 already! I could go on all day... Well at number 10 we have Bad Service. No matter from what source, restaurants, shops, builders, plumbers - whatever. I hate to receive bad service and can get extremely vocal about it. Clear the room if you ever see me storming into a shop!