Beyond our wildest dreams

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Parents: Caelim and Jodie
Children: Cade And Cody aged 4 & 1 Respectively 
INTRO Thank you for allowing us a glimpse into your adoption journey and family unit Caelim and Jodie. You give us yet another unique look at the fact that there is no prototype family to adopt and thus help us educate society better on the option to adopt to not only give a family a child, but give a child a family!
 Q1 Can you tell HOLAH and our followers a little bit about what brought you both to the decision to adopt your first child, Cade?
 Adoption was always going to be part of my journey. When I met Caelim it was one of the very first things he knew about me. Between that, and many a weekend spent in a baby home, it was never a case of if we would adopt, the conversation was only ever going to be around when we would adopt. It was a deep desire in my heart from a young age, and something I wasn't going to let go of. How Cade arrived into our family, is not the usual adoption, but we were blessed with a precious biological family, that has been an incredible support to us, during some of the toughest moments, as well as an extra set of hearts to love on our boy. When it comes to adoption,I think most people have the plan of what to expect. In our case Caelim wanted to do the get married thing, have a biological child and then adopt .. In that order. SURPRISE – we adopted, got married, and then little Cody joined. And we wouldn't change it for the world! Cade was the star of the show at our wedding, and what a precious memory for us to always hold close to our hearts!
 We know that Caelim you have been invited to speak in our upcoming worksop as "the husband who was pro adoption" from the start. This indicates it is not often the case? Can you tell us a little bit more in your opinion, why that be? As well as what made the decision so clear cut for you from the start?
 Honestly speaking, when I met Caelim, it wasn’t something he had ever considered. We have always been intentional about welcoming kids into our home, and have spent many a weekend with tiny little feet running through the house, feet of kids that biologically aren't ours, but always held such a safe space in our hearts. When you get to know the kids one on one, and realise the value that you are able to, so easily have on their lives, as well as the fact that they are each little humans of their own, it completely changes the game. It was no longer about 'those kids at the baby home' They had a name. And that became very significant in our journey. If there is one thing we can encourage, it is to get to know them as the children that they are, with the purpose that they carry, and not label them as the abandoned child, or child in crisis care as that does not define them. We have discussed in depth why males tend to be more hesitant when it comes to adoption, and from our discussions, it seems to be a common theme to not want to stop their blood line. It is also a very different territory for the male that doesn't have the natural mother instinct, and this has taken work on Caelim's behalf as well. Adoption, and the full journey takes effort. But boy, oh boy is the effort worth it.
 Q3 Can you tell us a little bit about your experience with welfare in KZN when you first embarked on adopting your eldest child? What were the barriers and what were the positives in dealing with the system, if any?
 Regardless of our dealings with welfare, and how the system works, it is so important that we don’t base our adoption or fostering story around the system. I am so intentional about the fact that no child in this world should be subjected to a poor life because of whether or not a system is easy or not. There are reasons why it isn't as simple as we may hope for, but I can tell you, that knowing what I do now, and having experienced some of the lowest lows through this journey, we would do it again a million times over!
 Q4 You have since added to your gorgeous brood with Cody, was this decision to have a biological child a difficult one for you? vs adopting another child instead?
 Not at all. We always knew we wanted another child, and didn't have a set plan of how that was going to happen. We had no complications falling pregnant, so we knew that was part of God's plan all along. Adoption was never going to be a second option for us. We had numerous options, all of which were very much on par, and nothing could have been a second option to us. Cody fitted in like a glove, so chilled, and has allowed his brother to be the wild child that he is from the beginning. I truly believe that the right kids come to your family at the right time, no matter how they get there.
 Q5 Do you foresee any more chidlren in your families future? Biological and / or adopted?
 Depends who you ask 😉 one would say we are totally adopting again, the other would say we are at capacity … soooo perhaps chat to us in a year or 2 and see who wins this 😉
 Q6 Can you tell us a little bit more about your son, cade? Incl at what age he was placed with you both, his forever family and how he has done since?
 Our darling, firecracker, high energy, wild child Cade. We were incredibly blessed to build a relationship for him many months before he was legally placed with us in December 2018 at 18 months. It was so tough for us waiting on the legal paperwork for him to officially move in to his forever home. He has the most infectious positivity and joy. You cannot meet Cade and not smile from ear to ear (and I am not just saying that because I am his mom) He has developed beautifully, and brings all the energy to any room he enters. I so often have to remind myself that he is adopted, and often just sit and stare at him, going through the motions of his intense little life and all the things he has had to endure in his tiny 4 years, but he is a hero in every sense of the word. We are incredibly intentional about working through his trauma with him daily. Children that have gone through adoption carry trauma with them, whether it is noticeable or not, and we allow Cade to express himself as and when he needs to. He goes to bed each night and part of his night time good nights is 'thank you for being my best friend' .. We have desperately tried to create a space that allows him to openly be who he is and cheer him on like best friends do. This kid is destined for absolute greatness, and as his parents, his best friends, and his greatest cheerleaders we will always speak those words into his life. Nothing he has gone through will take away from the purpose that he has in this world … and we are here for it!! The pink tutus, dancing classes, unbelievable swimming skill, a 6 pack at the age of 4 that comes from who knows where … We are here for it all, because this boy is made for so much more than any of the bad things that have happened to him .. so back to your question, how is he doing? GREAT! And even on the hard days (which we do have!) he still manages to find what fulls his soul, and overflows that joy onto everyone else.
 Q7 We know cody is still little, but so far has their sibling bonding [& typical sibling rivalry!] been something that has come naturally?
 Oh my goodness, are these 2 going to keep us on their toes! We are so grateful that Cade was part of everything. He knew he was getting a brother, he knew his name, and welcomed him so naturally into our lives. We were nervous initially, as cade was our only child, and everything revolved around him, and we all of a sudden had to share our time. But this boy handled it like a champ.They are a a perfect example of brotherly love and rivalry all in one. Every night there is a game of tag that either ends in hugs or tears … you never know what you are going to get. But the love these 2 carry for each other is beyond precious, and really has taken very limited effort on our behalf in creating that bond. It has come so naturally, and Cade very proudly walks around telling people that Cody is his brother and is the first one protecting him on the play ground. It is the sweetest thing, and such a precious gift to witness their brotherhood.
 Q8 What, in your opinion @Jodie has been the greatest highlight of adopting a child? [besides motherhood itself!]
 This is such a tough question. When you have a dream, like adopting from a young little girl, and then that dream comes true, and it exceeds everything you could have ever imagined, it is the best feeling. If there is one thing that has been highlighted for me through this journey, it is that the children are the real heros. There is this terrible stigma attached to children that have gone through adoption, and how their trauma turns into 'issues' later on in life. These kids are heros from the very beginning, and everything they have been through is completely out of their control. I wish we could start seeing the child for who they are not the circumstances they have been subjected to. i could write a book about the lessons I have learnt through our Cade, but instead I am the lucky one that gets to witness everything he is, every day.
 Q9 Have you discussed cades adoption story with him and if not, do you plan to do so once he reaches a certain age?
 We have discussed as much as a 4 year old needs to know. Cade's story is his story, so we do believe in sharing the parts of his life that have influenced who he is, as well as brought him to the space that he is at now. We are intentional about sharing his biological family with him, and he often mentions his other family, and calls them exactly that. We want Cade to know love, complete and overwhelming love, and I do believe that sharing his story with him, will full him with that. He knows that his brother came out of my tummy, and he came out of his other mums tummy. He knows that he is a different colour to us, and we are intentional about reminding him that it is part of who he is, and how he got the colour of the skin he got (he is very proud of his gorgeous brown skin, and that it is the same colour as Spirit the horse). As time goes on, we will share with him the parts he will be able to handle at those times. He knows HOLAH holds a special place in his heart, and walks in there like it is still his home, and is often a fighting match to get him in the car again. We are not ashamed of his story, and want him to walk his journey with pride, because through it all, he still is the winner and hero of the story, and we will do anything to make him feel like that.
 Q10 If you could give HOLAH friends and followers, who are considering fostering or adopting a child but have too many uncertainties around the idea,  one word of encouragement and / or advise, what would it be?
 The first thing I would encourage is to ask questions. Do not believe all the stories you hear of peoples struggles. And if you hear of the struggles, you must know how worth it, it all is if people continue going through with it. Start with volunteering. Open your hearts to the beauty of the human behind the label, and if you have the means to, invite these little people into your homes and hearts, you will be forever changed!!!