“I wish someone had told me” is a series of posts that feed into our inquisitive nature at CN&CO. Each week we hear from someone in our network about something interesting or surprising that’s recently happened or occurred to them – or lessons they learnt. These blogs are a way to pay it forward and form part of CN&CO’s belief that the world can be a better place – and we all have a responsibility to make it so. This week’s post is by Penny! And despite Penny saying that writing blogs is the only part of CN&CO that she doesn’t enjoy, we love what she has to say!

This is not something “I wish somebody had told me” – this is something I know and have always known and wish for everyone to know. As a newborn baby (I mean a real newborn) I was adopted.  My mother was already 46 years old and as there were no baby clinics in those days, she told me she nearly starved me to death not knowing how to feed me.  

Being adopted is something I was always aware of. It’s something that never had to come as a surprise. My parents were transparent about my adoption from the beginning and I believe this was crucial in making my childhood comfortable. From as early as I could remember, my parents would tell me how they went and ‘chose’ me from rows and rows of babies – making me always feel very special. Once another child picked on me about being adopted and my mother said her parents had to take what they got, while I was chosen 🙂

Imagine being 13 or 16 years of age and suddenly having to digest this kind of news.  The power of knowing is calming, like going into an exam and knowing that you’ve done the work, but it’s even more so in this case.  I’ve heard stories of kids who learn later in life that they are adopted, and battle to get their head around what should really not even be a thing.  Someone very close to me actually found out, at the age of 60, that her father was actually not her biological father, imagine the shock!

As an adopted, and an only child, I’ve had a very privileged life probably more so than what would be normal.  Although not rich, I was sent to elocution lessons, the book lovers Club, the chess club, piano lessons, ballet and horse riding lessons, camps in the holidays and more!

Then came my turn to have my own children. This didn’t happen easily. Mel and I were lucky enough to adopt two of our own children, Warren and Craig, and just as per my experience we transparent with them about their adoptions.  Warren was in fact contacted by his biological mother at the age of 21, and he wasn’t bothered at all. I believe his calmness to the situation was due to the fact that he’s always known. There is so much in the power of knowing, imagine if he hadn’t been told and he suddenly received that phone call.

It is amazing how things happen, three other couples who were very close friends of ours also adopted around the same time as Mel and I. We went to meetings in Pretoria (which is where my children were born) together with two of our friends, which made the whole experience even more special.

In life, everything is not always easy.  Warren has been a great achiever (so Mom thinks!) whilst Craig definitely has his little problems. However, as a family we are stronger and closer than most.  Perhaps we all know in the back of our minds how much of a miracle it is that we all came together? And how special our bond is.

I would really recommend adoption to anyone who cannot have children.  My children continue to give me endless joy and gave me and my husband the family that we would otherwise not have had.