I have three biological children – all girls. I had always longed for a boy child but after some failed pregnancies my husband and I gave up. I had decided that this meant I was not to have any more children. But then I met this woman who had fostered a child and I asked her to tell me her story which was about this place. I was both excited and nervous. I am a big believer in prayer so my husband and I spent a lot of time praying about this. We felt like this was our only way to get the boy we had so wished for and at the same time help someone in need – right? I did not want a child who would have ties to a biological family and who would keep visiting them. I wanted a son to be my very own. My son was two when we met. The whole family was excited. The girls were too. I think they saw him as a real live toy more than anything else. They would even fight over him.
Raising a boy was different to raising girls. Growing up he ran me ragged with his energy. My husband really enjoyed having another man in the house. My husband passed on a few years later. I always think that by fostering our boy I was able to give him a son, and it filled his life with such joy.
My boy is a little man now. It has not been a perfect journey, I have made many mistakes too. One of the biggest was not telling him when he was younger that he was not biologically mine. I feared that if I did, he would maybe not love me enough of would ask too many questions that I would be unable to answer. Unfortunately, neighbours know I didn’t give birth to him and one day he came in to tell me he had heard that he wasn’t mine. I denied it and told him that was rubbish.
The second time he confronted me about it I knew it was something we would have to deal with. So I sat him down and told him that mom and dad couldn’t have boys and they really wanted a son – that through a miracle, God decided to bless us with him. I told him that even though we don’t know his real mom, it’s a bit cool that he actually had two mothers. I also told him that were his biological mother alive, she would have wanted him to be hers alone.
These were hard days. He withdrew and I was so worried that I was losing my son. But eventually he opened up and told me his thoughts. He has also had questions about GCF and I tell him what I can and know. Every year they go to a gathering with foster parents and children. He says that sometimes he and the other foster children talk about their experiences. Some were too young to remember much like him but some grown and remember GCF.
In our culture, if a boy makes a girl pregnant out of wedlock, you look for family features on the child to determine if that child is really of that boy. I worry that if that day ever comes I will be in trouble. What if the child doesn’t look like my son but has his biological granny’s features, or his mother’s or father’s? I have no idea what those people look like. I pray all his children will look exactly like him and therefore cancel out all confusion.
I know not telling him the truth from the beginning was a mistake because it nearly broke down our relationship. Children can handle the truth if they are just told the right way. I have spoken to other parents who fear losing their children. I now believe it makes a relationship difficult if you are going to live in fear, if we just love our children right, we can leave the rest to God. But we are learning. All of us. Even in “normal” parenting of one’s biological children, one can never be perfect. It’s a trial and error and you just hope there aren’t too many errors.