Monday, September 6, 2010

Samantha Rachel Simphiwe

Finally, Simmi has a name. Finally, she is a South African citizen. Finally, she has an identity.

Simmi's adoption was finalized on 12 May 2010, and we were presented with the final documentation on 23 August 2010. She is now named Samantha Rachel Simphiwe - however I have yet to recieve her new birth certificate as the Department of Home Affairs has been on strike since 24 August 2010!

Her names all have meanings that are special to us, and tell the story of her coming to live with us.

1. Samantha - this name was chosen by Daddy. It means "God heard". I love it because I prayed fervently for a baby girl and God heard my prayers.

2. Rachel - this name was chosen by Mommy. It means "beautiful". It's significance is found in the story of of Jacob working, praying and waiting for 14 years for his Rachel. I waited a long time for Simmi.

3. Simphiwe - this name was chosen by her birth mother. It means "God gave her to us". We kept the name because of its significant meaning, and because it's part of her history.

Even though she has such a long list of names, we still call her Simmi. She is treasured, she is loved, and she is ours!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dear Mr President

Dear President Zuma,
This is my 2nd email regarding the following matter. I am begining to see why the Department of Home Affairs has a suicide on their conscience. I am foster mother to a 2 year old girl, Simphiwe. She's been in my care since she was 9 months old. She was born in South Africa, Tembisa Hospital to an undocumented, illegal Zimbabwean mother and South African father. The mother & father are not married. Simphiwe's birth was not registered, and once the foster care case was finalised on 3 April 2009 I attempted to register her. I was met with refusal from Home Affairs. The mother was in prison at the time, but they would not allow the South African father to register her because the mother had no documents, and was in prison. Even though we had proof of the birth (which the official at Home Affairs in Kempton Park took from me with the application form), all we were issued was a "foreigner" birth certificate (Unabridged Birth Certificate with no id number). When I was handed this certificate, the official at Home Affairs said the following, "This child is going to suffer because of this birth certificate."
We wish to adopt Simphiwe, but adoption cannot be finalised without a birth certificate, and home affairs will not issue a birth certificate without adoption papers! In the meantime, our family is stuck in the middle, and this child is being punished by the state due to circumstances beyond her control. She's being denied the right to a family. Also, as a child in the foster-care system, she is currently a financial burden on an already overburdened State, a burden that we will gladly relieve the State of.
According to Home Affiars Edenvale, Simphiwe is now considered to be an "illegal immigrant", even though she has never been in any other country aside from this one. Nobody seems able to assist me with this, nobody is willing to get involved or make a decision to help this child. I have been to Home Affairs in Kempton Park seven times, and to Edenvale twice regarding this issue. I do not know where else to turn.
Simphiwe was born here, she has never left South Africa. She is not Zimbabwean. She has been living with us, a South African family for most of her life, and will continue to do so. Please help us - we are desperate to give her an identity and stability in knowing she belongs.