Miracles are easy, it’s the impossibilities that takes longer

2017 was a life changing year. It’s the year when we took the 7-week-old Daniel into foster care in February and then Leah and Tobi in July, just 4 weeks old.

Leah had major health complications and it took 4 and a half years of admissions and multiple surgeries at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital for her to be a healthy little girl.

Our lives became a blur of activity with the children as babies, and then as toddlers. Seeing them grow and develop was very satisfying and we celebrated each milestone as they reached it.

As they grew older their needs changed, we were often panting as we ran after them, rescued them from getting hurt or just keeping up with three energetic preschoolers.

In 2020 I (Gretha) suffered an injury to my back because of a fall off a ladder. I had major surgery and four days after I returned from the hospital, we had a home invasion, where I was held at gun point. A second surgery followed. In November of 2020 I was admitted to a Mental Health hospital for PTSD and a major depression episode. I had to be admitted again in March 2021 to sort out my treatment and medication.

During this time Gerhard carried a double burden caring for me and the children and I insisted that he be admitted for stress and exhaustion. After the initial tests more testing followed and in June 2021, we received the very sad news that he was suffering from Mild Cognitive Impairment or Early onset dementia/Alzheimer’s. This diagnosis shook us to the core.

We realized that with my depression and Gerhard’s diagnosis it would no longer be a healthy environment for the children to grow up in. We had to make the excruciatingly painful decision to let the children be placed for adoption.

Most of the professional people that we spoke with, said it is normally a challenge to get adoptive parents for a 4-year-old child, not to say 3 of them! It broke our hearts to think of separating them because they grew up together as siblings, but in the end, we decided that it would increase their chances to be adopted, if Tobi and Leah stayed together, and Daniel goes to a separate family.

Late 2021 Gerhard had to stop working as Treasurer for SIM SA, which was also a big adjustment to our daily life.

Amid all the above, our prayer for the children was that: 1) they be placed into a Godly family, 2) they be kept together and 3) that we could have a role as grandparents in their lives.

Late in November we heard that there was a possibly of a family who would adopt Tobi and Leah. Daniel’s paperwork at the Department of Social Development had gone missing and therefore he wasn’t available for adoption. Our social worker from ABBA Adoption Agency worked hard to get all the twin’s documentation ready. In faith we also started working on Daniel’s documents.

Early afternoon on 10 December 2021 a white Kombi stopped at the gate and Christiaan, Nicolene, Elene and Chenene – the new family – walked into our lives.

After all the excitement of meeting each other, we settled down around our stoep table and my first question was:” tell me the story of how you came to the decision to adopt the twins.”

Amid a flood of tears Christiaan told us their story. (This is a very short version.) Christiaan was born again on 15 June 2017, the day that the twins were born!

In 2019 he was driving when the Lord showed him two boys with black hair and told him to raise them to God’s glory. His first thought was that it is medically impossible to have more children. Their daughters were already teenagers.

With series of twists and turns they realized that they are to adopt twins. One day at church a lady walked up to them and told them that the Lord wants them to adopt children. They were grateful for the confirmation and then the lady continued: “and you are not to separate them.”

A couple of weeks later one of the daughters told her mom that she had a feeling that there is a little girl in the picture. They were approved to be adoptive parents after undergoing the necessary training in November 2021.

While the preparation was happening on their side, the situation became more difficult on our side, and the prayers of numerous people carried us. It felt like months of waiting since we heard of the family who might adopt the twins.

Early in December 2021 we received the call from the social worker confirming the new parents’ commitment to adopt the twins. The date to meet the new family was set for 10 December, on our 38th wedding anniversary!

Although we knew weeks before of the possible new family, Nicolene and Christiaan only received their phone call from their social worker on 7 December. They were told that there was a third “sibling” but that he was not available for adoption.

During the week we received some photos to prepare the children for their new family. It was very difficult to tell Daniel that he would not be going to the new family as well.

Nicolene took up the story and said they knew immediately that they wanted to adopt Daniel too – because they were not to separate the children. I was sobbing as I thanked the Lord for granting our second wish.

Christiaan continued to tell us that he doesn’t have close family and that they wanted to ask us to be grandparents to Tobi, Leah, and Daniel, but for their daughters as well…  Needless to say, there were many tears and laughter, worship, and praises around our table that afternoon.

The “new” family moved into our guest flat for the weekend but had to leave on Sunday because of other commitments, yet they planned to return on the 15 since the twins’ documents would be ready by then.

Because they wanted to adopt Daniel as well, our social worker went into overdrive and liaised with her counterpart at DSD, where another miracle unfolded. Getting two social workers – who do not know each other – and a magistrate in one office was also a miracle.

The twin’s documentation was done on Friday 17 December, and the new family decided to spend the weekend with us in the hope that Daniel’s documentation would be ready by Monday. On Tuesday morning they had to leave to go home and saying goodbye to Tobi and Leah was the most painful thing we have ever done. We arranged that we would take Daniel to them as soon as his documents came through.

About an hour after they had left, our social worker called to say that Daniel’s documentation was in order and that they could take with him as well!

I immediately phoned Nicolene and told them the good news. They were almost at Somerset West but turned back to Cape Town with great gladness.

Saying goodbye to Daniel was just as difficult but there was the consolation that the “Tornado Trio” were together.

We shared this story with some friends and Larry’s comment was “Miracles are easy, it’s the impossibilities that takes a little longer.”

We give God the glory and the honour!

Gerhard and Gretha Venter

Gerhard.venter@sim.org

0614241332

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