‘Family doesn’t only happen genetically’, is a quote that needs to be shared widely.
November is Adoption Awareness Month. Some of the stereotypes that surround adoption are, ‘Adoption is for the rich, foreigners and people who have difficulties conceiving. However, the narrative is changing, more and more people are embracing adoption as a beautiful option.
Grace Wanunda shares her life and heart with us; adoption was never really her option, but it became one of the best things that she ever did.
Grace is the epitome of grace, she is strong yet tender and a well of wisdom. She is a born again Christian, and an introverted, single mother of one adopted beautiful daughter called Angel Faraja. She has never been married and doesn’t have any biological children. Her and Angel are blissful together.
Some of the things that she loves are good worship songs and listening to her favorite preachers Bishop Noel Jones and T.D Jakes. Praying is also at the top of her list of things she enjoys doing.
A person that is in need of help tags at her heart strings. She believes that her humble background and wilderness experiences have made her heart beat so hard whenever a situation, where someone needs her help, presents itself.
What inspired you to Adopt?
“It all started in my dreams,” she says, “I had a dream that I didn’t understand the meaning, after much prayer asking God to reveal the meaning to me, He started speaking to me more clearly. However, because adoption had never been my option, it took sometime before I got to understand what was in the mind of God for me. Every time God would bring another dream, and I would not connect it was about adoption, because I was completely against it. I remember, I kept praying like this ‘O God of all secrets, according to Deuteronomy 29:29 reveal to me the hidden meaning of this dream, whatever it is I will do, I will not fear men, but I will live to fulfill that which you have called me to do’.
I watched a TV program called Faraja by Jamila Mbugua, she interviewed a couple who had adopted two children due to infertility, it’s there that I learnt that a single person can adopt. There was an adoption officer who explained the process, though I didn’t know of any agencies at the time.
I continued praying and one day I went to the salon and my hair dresser, Josephine, gave me a True love magazine and on the cover was Caroline Mutoko and her adopted daughter Nduku, I literally trembled as I opened up to her that I had been dreaming so much of adopting. I shared with her my ‘good’ reasons of why I can’t adopt, but Josephine took the opportunity to encourage me on how adoption is a blessing. She said that I should pray over it and reconsider. As we spoke she promised to connect me with one of her clients called Hellen, who happened to have adopted, and worked for Little Angels Network Adoption society. As we were speaking, Hellen walked into the salon, that was not just a coincidence, it was a confirmation that God really wanted me to adopt. I took her number and promised to call her to know more about adoption.
Then came the roller coaster of emotions
“I rushed out of the salon and went straight to my car and broke down. I was mad at God! However, I recollected myself, went to my house and I prayed, “God, this is my last test, if you are calling me to adopt, I am going to call my mother now! I will tell her about adoption and whatever she say, that I will do, so speak through my mother.” I called my mother, and spoke to her about adoption and explained all the negative things that people say about adoption. When I was done, she asked me “What have you been waiting for?” She continued, “No one takes care of another person’s child, unless God is involved. If you thought about it know that God has called you into it. Go ahead and do it. Let no one stop you.” She continued “Who adopted Moses? She was the daughter of Pharaoh, she was unmarried, let no one stop you. God doesn’t look at your marital status he looks at your heart. You have my blessings, go ahead and adopt.”
I was overwhelmed with emotion. Adoption was not my option, I expected my mother to say “NO” so that I could tell God, ‘You see, she refused and I have to obey her,’ then I remembered I had asked God to speak through my mother, therefore, I knew that it was God speaking through my mother.”
Two months later ,in denial, I decided to visit Hellen and she shared her journey and fulfillment. She took me through the process and later gave me the number for Little Angels Network Mombasa Social Worker called Anne. I called Anne and visited her in office. There I took the forms and started the adoption process.”
What was the process like?
“From application, my approval took about two months, however, the placement took about 6 months. A single applicant can only adopt a baby of the same sex, therefore, I could only adopt a baby girl. Statistics show that many single ladies are adopting, meaning they only adopt girls, on the other hand, most couples prefer girls to boys, making the demand for baby girls shoot up and that leads to a longer waiting period for placement.
After placement, I took my daughter home for a foster period of 3 months. When the time lapsed I hired a lawyer who filed the case with the High Court of Mombasa. She charged Kshs. 40,000/= as the legal fees. The legal process took another 8 months to be granted the parental rights. In case a parent doesn’t have the legal fees, they can represent themselves in court.”
What was the biggest challenge that you faced?
“My biggest challenge was the anxiety as I wait for placement. I was so depressed because of the fear of unknown! I thought it would be easy as pap but the 6 months really weighed me down. Nevertheless, my daughter was worth the wait!”
How did life change when Angel came home?
“My life changed for better! My priorities changed, Angel was at the top of my priority list. My investments changed they became more baby-oriented, I took an Education and Health policy immediately. I started going home immediately after work, I would go home for lunch and there are times that I sneaked from office to check on her.
My MD gave me one month and I thank God for him, for all the support that I received. My journey has been one of the best! The most successful and fulfilling thing I have ever done in my entire life is Adopting. My precious Angel is a miracle baby, she has been in good health all through. Now, at 3 years, I only attended clinics. Her growth has been from glory to glory, she feeds very well and sleeps throughout the night. She is full of energy, loved and favored by God and men.”
Grace is the Chairperson of the Adoptive Parents Support Network that offers support and advice to adoptive parents. They have a Whatsapp support thread that is a safe space for parents to share their challenges and celebrate their victories. Their intention is to reach as many parents as possible, to walk together and to enjoy the journey.
There are 84 parents in the group to date. Anyone who has done adoption the legal way or who has been approved for adoption, is welcome to join them.
To help create awareness on matters adoption, Grace founded a Facebook group Adoption is beautiful – Kenya where she shares regularly.
Gems of wisdom that you’d like to share with someone thinking about adopting?
“Adoption is divine, it is godly, it’s a blessing, it is doable, it’s not only for the rich nor the barren, but for all of us. There are so many children in the homes who need us. The Government of Kenya banned inter-country adoptions, meaning, no foreigner is allowed to adopt a Kenyan child, for a long time there was a perception that adoption is for foreigners and the rich. Now that they are not allowed to adopt our children, would you consider adoption? No child deserves to live in a home. By adopting a child you will give that child an opportunity to be raised in a family set up, which is far better than most homes.”
Jesus said Matthew 18:5-7 5And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.”
Grace’s story has been such an encouragement to me. Adoption is beautiful.
If you would like to contact her, please reach her on +254-724-841-245.