The Story of "Prince"
"Prince" was our very first baby. He came to our home at just 9 days old. His mother made the extremely brave decision to put her little boy up for adoption. She works as a domestic worker for a kind family nearby. They allow her to live in their home with one child. She already has three little girls, two of which have to live with their grandmother because she can only care for her youngest where she works. When she found out she was pregnant, she knew she wanted a better life for her next child. At the hospital, on the day he was born, she signed the adoption request paperwork, despite her family's opinion, her community's opinion and even her religious leaders' opinions. Adoption is extremely brave in this culture. And yet that's what she wanted for her first born son.
You see, in this culture based on ancestral "protection" and worship ceremonies, many people actually believe that the death of a child is better for them than to be removed from their ancestral heritage. Thankfully, the organization "Prince's" mom was working with, worked hard to find an adoptive family of the same culture, which is quite a feat in a country that legally has 11 national languages so no one culture feels left out. But a family was found, nonetheless, and this sweet boy was matched with a loving new mum and dad after staying with us for six months.
"Prince" was our first baby. So he was first cared for by our director, Auntie Kris (Kris Freudenthal) for a few weeks until a staff could be found and hired. Then he was watched by two loving aunties (along with the other babies that came during his stay) every day and spent his nights with another loving auntie watching over him. At the time, we struggled to afford enough salaries to cover the weekends. So Auntie Kris again took over and kept "Prince" and another one or two babies in her apartment/flat on the weekends until the night shift started. Thankfully, as we grew with babies, we grew with sponsorship and were finally able to afford a full staff. This sweet boy was loved on by six different aunties (and one Uncle Tyrone - our farm manager) while he stayed with us. And he was blessed to have several other playmates to keep him occupied as he grew physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Every evening when we put our "Prince" to bed, we prayed over him a special prayer written by Auntie Kris and hung over his cot. Every morning, he listened to wonderful Christian worship music while he learned to "sing" and dance along. And every afternoon he was cuddled and prayed over by Auntie Jess, Auntie Kris, or any of the other loving aunties.
He was an absolutely wonderful first baby! He paved the way for every child that came after him and he carried that blessing with him with his unfailing joyful spirit and never-ending smiles and laughs! He was truly a child of joy!
On 6 December, our sweet "Prince" finally met his new family. At the last minute, unfortunately, his birth mum was too afraid to sign the final adoption paperwork. However, she did agree to "long-term" foster care, which is a very normal practice here in South Africa. This means that his adoption family, although quite saddened by the change in plans, was still able to raise him for the next two years as if he is their own. Then, in two years time, the adoptive family, the birth mum, and our "Prince" will report back to court to see the magistrate and make a plan for his future. If his mum decides to sign the last paperwork then, he will officially become adoptable. But if she does not, he will remain in their care and come back to court every two years until he ages out or another plan is made for his care.
While his ending was not at all what we wanted for him or his adoptive family, we were still so very thrilled to have our "Prince" in our care and we LOVE that he is still close enough for us to keep an eye on and be available for if anything ever changes in his life. We continue to pray for our little man every single day, as we do for all our babies that move on past our care. We keep his photo on the wall and talk of him so often! He is an amazing testimony of the truth that we lean on daily that "God cares for you more than we ever could." And we KNOW He's got His eye on our "Prince" and is planning great things for his little life.
We thank God so much for our little "Prince." And we praise Him for the continued support of others to care for him and all of our littles.