This Particular Life

Preparing our homes and our hearts for adopting a child.

Sonia Billadeau March 22, 2014
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I kissed a lot of toads before finding my prince five years ago. Raymond was a year younger than me and the most wonderful man I’d ever met. As a broadcast journalist, I’d covered everything from war in Mozambique to rhino captures, lion darting, and the unrest that shook South Africa before the 1994 elections, but hadn’t yet found the kind of love that made me question whether I ought to slow down a bit and start a family.

Ray, however, was so wonderful that I began to question my life. Was it enough? Warm, funny, exciting, and extraordinarily understanding, Ray was the head of a Durban-based investigation company. He shared many of my interests and we clicked the instant we met.

At the time, neither Ray nor I had ever contemplated marriage, but Ray confessed he’d thought about having children. After we’d been living and working together for six months, I finally found myself thinking about it too. Suddenly it felt like the most natural thing in the world to marry, so we did. And a year later we decided to take the plunge into parenthood.

Even though I was 39, I got pregnant almost at once. Our ecstasy, however, was short-lived. I miscarried at three months. I’d been so cavalier about having children, but now I wanted them desperately. I had the great husband, the beach house full of dogs and parrots and horses, and I wanted a baby to complete it. My gynecologist was candid that my age was against us so we began hormone treatments, which quickly failed. Then we went the IVF route and that failed too. I felt disappointed and devastated. I would have tried it again—I’d have gladly put up with those five injections a day, and worse—but Ray and I began asking ourselves what would happen if we succeeded. The odds of my having a Down’s syndrome baby and other complications were growing with every year. And how long would we have to try? We decided to call Pregnancy Crisis in Amanzimtoti and were given the name of a social worker who arranged private adoptions. She impressed us immediately—so down-to-earth and positive. She explained all that was involved, and we went for medical checkups and counseling.

We are now on the adoption waiting list. We’ve been told that it may take us anywhere from two to five years, but that feels like no time at all to wait for a healthy newborn to share our life and our love.

People may wonder if I regret waiting so long before trying for a family, but I wouldn’t have wanted a baby without this particular man, this particular life. If I hadn’t met Ray, I would still be chasing down wild stories in big cities at late hours, but instead he and I are, hand-in-hand, preparing our home and hearts for the child that belongs in this particular life with us.

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Sonia Billadeau

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