While We’re Waiting

Waiting can be hard, lonely and devastating. The dark corridors can dull your spark of hope, the echoes of discouragement can fill your cheeks with sadness and cause your eyes to overflow with tears.

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Waiting Wombs Trust is devoted to walking with women who are waiting on the Lord to hold children in their arms. The reasons for waiting may vary but the journey’s hurdles are similar. The love, grace, care and information that you receive from Waiting Wombs Trust are unmatched. They are more than a support group, they are a family, for those who have despaired, those who have lost, those are hanging on, those who are waiting.

They are hosting a ladies conference #hopeinwaiting on September 21st to 23rd at Pelican Lodge, Elementaita.

Some of the topics that they will cover are:

  • Keeping hope alive
  • What to do when he leaves
  • Grieving
  • Adoption
  • Health

If you would like to register or partner with them, please text the word ‘Conference’ to 0723144000 or send an email to info@waitingwombstrust.org.

One of the songs that have encouraged me while I have been in seasons of waiting is

May the Lord strengthen you as you wait, may you truly run and not grow weary. May you soar on wings like eagles.

There is hope in waiting!

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The Path To Adoption In Kenya

At the heart of adoption is a conviction, one that sets your feet in motion. Good intentions are not enough to navigate this road, but with good directions and signage you will make it to your destination safely.

Grace Wanunda of Adoption is Beautiful – Kenya, shared a step-by-step guide to help anyone who wants to adopt in Kenya.

The Adoption Agency

  • Identify an authorized Adoption Agency to work with.
  • Visit the Agency for initial interview. They will ask you why you want to adopt, at this point feel free to ask as many questions as you like about all the aspects of adoption e.g costs, what it entails, procedure, home study, placement, foster and the legal process.
  • You will be required to fill forms, attache relevant documents as requested by Agency and return within the shortest time possible.
  • A social worker will visit your home and file a report if the environment is conducive for the child.
  • You pay the facilitation fee to the Agency.
  • Attend counseling as directed by the Agency.
  • Your documents are presented to the Case Committee.
  • You are approved or deferred, your Agency will advise you in writing.
  • Matching and placement is done by your Agency

The Foster Period

  • The duration of the first 3 months that you  have the baby at home is known as the Foster Period. During this time you visit the Agency twice and give a report on how you are bonding with the baby.  Feel free to raise anything that you would want the social worker to know concerning the baby. The social worker will visit you again to see how the baby is doing at home.  He/she will file a report on the same.
  • If you’ve bonded well with the baby during the 3 months you can start the legal process of Adoption.

The Legal Process (Adoption)

  • You can represent yourself or hire a lawyer if you are not conversant with the legal process.
  • The first appearance is appointment of Guardian Ad Litem – This has to be a parent, they can either be your friend, relative or a social worker.  This person should be very familiar with your journey as she/he is expected to write a report and file with the court on why they feel you should be allowed to adopt the baby.
  • The court will ask the Children’s Department officer in writing to visit you, see how you have bonded with child, write a report and file it in court within a period of time. You are expected to follow them up and make sure that they make the visit within the expected time.
  • The Legal Guardian should be a couple married by law, they are expected to swear before the court that should you die before the child is 18 years, they will stand in for you and take care of the child until the child attains maturity.
  • The Agency that declared the child free for adoption is expected to appear before the court and explain why they declared the child free for adoption and why they think its in the best interest of the child for you to adopt them.
  • The Judge will study all the documents presented and give consent for you to be the legal parent of the child. The parental rights of the biological parents are terminated thereof.
  • The Judge will issue you with a court order and a copy of the judgment.
  • Your lawyer will apply for the adoption certificate, where the child is entered into Adopted Persons Register.
  • You can apply for the birth certificate in your name.

The requirements for adopting a baby:

You must be

  • A Kenya citizen
  • 25 years and above
  • 21 years older than the child you want to adopt
  • Have a home, rented or owner occupier
  • Of sound mind
  • Free from criminal records

Also note that:

  • A single female applicant can only adopt a girl, unless under special circumstances and vice versa.
  • Married couples must be married for three years and above, they can adopt any sex. They need to work as a team.
  • Your medical report – HIV and Urine tests are mandatory (People living with HIV can adopt)
  • Financial proof that you can take care of a child, e.g salary slip/bank statement/business ownership etc

To ease the experience, please avoid,

  • Soliciting a child from anyone other than legal adoption agencies. This includes relatives.
  • Offering money to buy a child.
  • Adopting without a ‘Free-to-adopt’ declaration by a legal or authorized adoption agency.
  • Working with a lawyer who is not well acquainted with the adoption process as this may cause unnecessary delays.

Ensure that you get written parental consent from the parent or relative giving out their child for adoption.

If you feel for any reason that you have not bonded well with the child, please feel free to talk to your agency or social worker.

You are free to do a medical test on the child you are adopting, before you commit to take the child.

When choosing a legal guardian, choose someone you can trust, they are your child’s second parents.

It’s important to note that not everyone who supports you right now is for your child. Write a will and include your child in it prior to your demise, this will reduce the chances of him/her suffering in the hands of relatives.

Every Adoptee has a right to know who they were before adoption, feel free to walk them through the journey, if you don’t tell them, someone will do and they might not tell them in the right way. It can lead to rebellion!

If you would like someone to hold your hand as you walk this journey, please give Grace a call via 254-724-841-245.

 

Adoption is Beautiful

‘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.

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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!”

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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.”

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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.

Blessings,

 

 

It’s Time to Declutter Your Beauty Products, Cleaning Agents and Medicine Cabinet

Happy new year 🙂

About two years ago, I formed a tradition. At the beginning of the year, I declutter my hair and beauty products, cleaning agents and medicine cabinet. It’s a tedious but rewarding exercise. The first time I did it, I was shocked by how much junk I had in the name of products. I was just a hoarder, and I was holding on to expired products.I was horrified when I realized I’d been using some expired products without knowing.

I was poisoning myself slowly.

In the process of decluttering, I read the ingredients lists and saw just how many chemicals I was bombarding my endocrine system with. It was too much. So I resolved to use less chemical laden products where possible.

I replaced most of my sweet smelling lotions with natural oils, my hair products with natural ingredient products, commercial cleaning agents with home combinations (vinegar and bicarbonate can do wonders.) My house keeper was surprised to see how many uses vinegar has. I’ll share some of the ways I use it in my next post.

It has been a journey trying to eradicate most of the chemicals, especially since I like sweet smelling products. But it has been rewarding. I have found alternatives that are kinder to my body and I feel much better. The pain and inflammation has largely reduced.

This is the rule I hope to live by: If I can’t pronounce the ingredients, I probably shouldn’t be consuming the product in question.

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Take time out and go through the products in your home. Throw out what needs to go, and start using products that are kinder to your body.  If it doesn’t have an expiry date and it is not a completely natural product, throw it out. Very few commercial products are meant to last forever.

It may seem like you have gone at a loss, but in reality, you have gained in terms of your health. Health is wealth. Your body can now get a breather from the toxin overload.

Here’s to a healthy 2017!

Blessings,

Ess

Celebration Time C’mon!!!

The festive season is here, and it’s time to celebrate the birth of Christ and the year that has been.

As we wind up 2016, take stock of your year. Write down the things that you are grateful for; what made you happy ; what made you sad; what you are leaving behind and what you are carrying forward into the new year.

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Celebrate yourself!

You’ve made it through a whole year despite the challenges and curve balls that life has thrown your way.

Write a letter to your 2016 old self, tell her how wonderful she is, remind her that she is able to achieve all of her goals. Encourage her to keep dreaming, and living out her dreams.

Happy holidays,

Ess

The Conversation Needs To Go On

Gone are the days when parents could wait for the eve of their child’s 12th birthday to broach the subject of adolescents and sex. Children are maturing much earlier now, also, they are exposed to a lot of informative content from a tender age. Their attitudes and thought patterns are formed long before they hit teenage.

The truth is that we live in a highly sexualized world.

Just because you are not talking about it doesn’t mean that your child is not listening.

The world is filled with opinions and children are wired to learn, from whoever is teaching.

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You can’t wake up the eve of your child’s 12th birthday and decide to be an authority on a matter they have heard about over the years from everyone except you. Unlearning is harder than being taught.

The seemingly uncomfortable subjects need to be discussed . Children can sense discomfort and shame. We as parents have to be careful not to pass on baggage to our children. If a certain topic makes you uncomfortable, perhaps you need to look within and see what exactly makes about it makes you feel uncomfortable and deal with it.

A truth zone

In my first post, I wrote about how I was told pads were called ‘mkate’ (bread). Honestly, it was such an unnecessary lie, but it stuck in my memory.

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It made me decide that my home will be a truth zone. There are enough lies being told out there, for me to come and add on to. My children need to know that I can be trusted to tell them the truth.

Can your child trust you to be honest with them?

When I say honest, I don’t mean spill all the beans, but tell them enough to satisfy their curiosity. Tell them the age appropriate truth.

Listen when they speak

It is important to listen to your children when they speak. Ask questions about both the small and grande things about their lives and listen. Turn down the noise, put away the gadgets and listen. Find out what makes them happy, their current interests and opinions. It’s easier to identify behaviour out of the norm when you know what the norm is.

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The conversation needs to go on. It starts now. Honesty starts now. Cultivating a relationship with your child that allows you to teach them the truth and life skills starts now.

We can sit back and blame the rotten society for our children’s beliefs or we can stand up and speak the truth.

You are an authority. Take your position and speak boldly.

Blessings,

Ess