We began our adoption process about four and a half years before we met our daughter. At the start, we knew we had lots of time to wait in front of us, so after filing all the paperwork, and having our home study conducted, we got to work keeping busy with life as we knew it. We worked long hours, we socialized, we kept busy with our son, Owen, and his busy soccer schedule, we went on several vacations: we basically just did what we could to distract ourselves from our yearning for another child. No doubt we enjoyed our lives and felt fulfilled, but our family felt decidedly incomplete. Losing both of our beloved French Bulldogs in the meantime added immense grief to our wait, and we hoped and prayed that we would receive the good news of a match without further ado. We did our best to ensure that Owen felt all the love he could from us, but we couldn’t wait for him to have a little sister, and for us, another child to love and dote upon.
We (finally!) received word of our match from Liz Gifford of Adoption Options- a breathtakingly beautiful little girl from South Africa named Luna- on January 19, 2022. Once we received our child proposal, the wheels really set into motion. Our Owen would have to leave his routine of school and soccer for 6 weeks, and he was nervous. As excited as we were to finally welcome our daughter, Paul and I wondered how this process would feel for him as well. Owen’s school principal and teachers could not have been more helpful, and he was able to stay connected with his class and keep up with his learning, not missing a beat. His teachers also honored how important it was for Owen to have time and space to get to know his new sister, and for us to have this treasured time as we grew our family. And what a time we had! We toured the beautiful country of South Africa, making hikes, hitting up several beaches and pools, and enjoying the incredible hospitality of our bed and breakfast host and tour drivers. These amazing experiences helped us tremendously to gel as a family, and get to know our sweet new daughter, and she, us.
Since arriving home on April 2nd, we can honestly say that Luna’s transition home and our transition to adding a toddler to our brood has gone far more smoothly than we imagined it might go. Luna has endless energy! We are extra mindful of getting enough sleep, brewing the coffee right away, and spending as much time as we possibly can outdoors. Luna is a force of nature. She is strong willed and charming beyond measure. Her sweet smiles, and her sly smiles, appear what feels like 100 times a day. She adores her brother, and he adores her right back. Owen is teaching Luna to play ministick hockey in the basement, and she has already developed a beautiful soccer kick. Luna loves swimming- and any water play, and she loves to climb. She also loves dancing, and she feels the music more than any other child I’ve known. She learns the melodies to songs so quickly, and she sings and bops around nonstop. Thankfully, it seems we all have the same taste in music, as we’re all singing and humming all day long! The best refrain for me, though, is hearing Luna say “Mom” (followed by various questions or comments- some clear as day, and some we’re still working out the meaning of!) all day long.
Luna loves books just as much as she does physical activities, so as much as she is highly social, she is also content to “read” book after book! Luna is incredibly affectionate with all of us, with her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, with our family friends, with our dog, Dorothy, and our newly welcomed second rescued pup, Ruben. And everyone loves Luna right back. She glows, and anyone around her enters into that glowing warmth. Luna is such a joyful girl; she keeps us busy, active, and growing by the minute. She also has an amazing sense of humour for her young age, and our days are filled with even more laughter with her here. We are so very lucky to have had Luna join our family- she has brought so much to our lives in such a short time, and by the number of smiles and hugs and kisses she gives us, we are certain she’s feeling the same.
It has been a lifetime since I started dreaming about adopting a child, and the reality of this adventure has far surpassed anything we could have imagined. We are not naïve–we know there will be hurdles ahead in raising Luna and making optimal choices for her. And there is no denying that the house is louder, the activity constant, and Luna entered the classic 2 year old phase a bit ahead of schedule! But, we are certain we were meant to be together as a family, and for us, all of this is what happiness looks like.
We are forever grateful to Liz, Sharon Gollert (Family by Adoption), and Robyn Shepstone in Durban for all of their help and support in bringing our incredible daughter, Luna, home to us.