When I first heard that my daughter and her spouse plan to adopt a black baby boy, I had quite a number of concerns: “You have only been married for over a year is it not too soon to have children?” “You do not earn big salaries, how will you be able to cope financially?” “Who will look after the baby when you are at work?” “A black boy will have difficulties to be part of a white family, especially when he grows older.” “This is not the picture I had in mind for my grandchild.”
The process for adoption went ahead and all the relevant social work and statutory requirements were met. Everybody, including my wife, seemed to be very happy and excited. I, however, did not even talk about it because I was struggling to come to grips with the idea and my concerns remained.
Then the first day arrived when I saw him. He was still very small and everyone was smiling and exited and wanted to hold him. When they suggested that I should hold him I declined and said not for now. I normally do not like to hold small babies and normally do not get excited about babies. In this instance, it was even worse for me. I did feel somewhat guilty for not being happy and not holding him, but I realised that I was being honest with myself and family. I did not judge or condemn my daughter for the adoption but it was quite difficult to come to grips with the reality thereof. I must admit that although I am not a racist and have friends of colour, there still might have been some old deeply hidden paradigms that were challenged inside me. Things that made me think, especially from my Christian perspective on life. What did inspire me though was to see my daughter being overwhelmed with joy! I realised how much this moment meant to her.
Time went by. I saw the baby more frequently and got to hold him. I thought about the fact that God, in His infinite wisdom, allowed this young boy to end up in my daughter’s home and in our family, and not in the township where his natural mother lives. And yes, although there will be challenges for a black boy in a white family, there will also be many benefits and opportunities for him. At first, when my daughter referred to me as being his grandfather, it made me feel uncomfortable, but I became more accustomed to the idea.
As the baby grew older, I got very fond of the little one. When he started walking and started to say his first words, I shared the exited with the other family members. One day he was waggling down the passage and called out for me: “Oupa! Oupa!”. Well, I think that was a defining moment in my relationship with him.
Eventually that what everyone predicted (and I might have doubted) became true – he crept into my heart and I started loving him. The natural relationship between a grandson and grandfather started to develop and I started showing him things and telling him things and spending time with him when he visits. I am discovering his unique personality and his amazing character, alertness and observation abilities. I love playing with him and having fun with him.
Today I feel proud to introduce him to other people as my grandson and I am looking forward to seeing how he will develop in future. I aim to be there for him as a granddad for as long as I am privileged to share the wonderful gift of life with him. I thank God for letting him into my life and for enriching it.