Months before you were born and before we even heard of you, I started building a collection of baby accessories! It was weird to be able to love someone, you have never met, that much. Waiting for “a baby” was exciting but also tiring. I wanted you and I wanted you immediately! I found great joy in simple unpacking and repacking all your baby accessories…I loved you even though we didn’t know you or that you were a black baby or even that you are a boy. We knew nothing about you, yet, along with praying for you, we loved you!
Among us three sisters, I have always been the one to love a baby doll. While the other two played with sort-of-like-barbie dolls, I would be changing my baby’s nappy, feeding her, or renaming her. It was my pride and joy to buy real clothes for her and feed her real porridge. I never thought it might prepare me for your arrival!
I am never one to shout for joy or cry in public, but when we saw that first photo of you that dad sent, all of us jumped for joy and shouted our praises!
When I think back to that first day—the day we brought you home, I remember a sweet silence filling the lounge as I sat alone, holing you for the first time. It was a dream come true! At the baby house, I was the third sister to hold you, but I was the one who had the privilege of presenting you to mom and dad. It was a very surreal moment in our lives and we were all in awe of the moment. Mom bottle-fed you, tried to burp you and then dad held you…photo’s were taken and we were leaving with a baby to our name! In the car, mom sat in the back seat with you, tightly wrapped in a blanket, with a blue dummy in your tiny mouth. We were quiet most of the time, probably just in awe of the occasion.
When we got home, aunty Rosie, our maid, granny and nanny, welcomed you with open arms, as did our gardener! Inside the house, granny waited to hold you! She loved you from the beginning! It was around lunch time, so lunch was served and I wanted to hold you again. Mom finally consented to me holding you and left the lounge. Now it was just me and you. I was actually holding the baby that I had prayed for—that I had loved before I knew it was you! You were sleeping peacefully and looked like an angel. You had thick, curly hair, a short, cute nose and toes that I called peas!
In the days that followed we had little, if any school and we relished in loving you! We often ran down the stairs at night to fix another bottle, sterilize others or grab a dummy from the sterilizer. I often sat next to you, watching you sleep as I guarded you. Sometimes reading a book and sometimes simply staring at your cute face!
After about 2 weeks of having you in our family we moved from Cape Town to Durban. We moved back to the mission station where we came from. As the days slowly dragged by, with it being June/July holidays, I was babysitting you almost 12 hours a day! We had a kangaroo pouch for you and I was constantly seen around the mission with you strapped to me chest. Eventually, you got so big and heavy, I tried to move you to my back without succeeding!
We watched how God provided for us on the mission and His mercies just never ceased! A few days after arriving at the mission, somebody had donated a whole box of 12 boxes or baby porridge! You were the only baby on the mission and that was God’s way of providing for you, too!
We adopted you on the 30th or May, 2013 when you were exactly 5 months old. Now, you are a growing, healthy boy of 2 1/2 years and our love for you grows daily.
I used to be very aware of the fact that we have a black baby, especially when people stared at us. But, when people stare at us now, I wonder for a second what’s wrong with them…your skin color doesn’t matter anymore. You are a Botes and we love you as you are!
All I want you to know one day is:
I love you, Baby and there is nothing that can make me love you any less. In fact, with all my kissing you up, you won’t have a sweet 16!
I love you, Ben-Joshua!
Your Akha (older sister in Tamil)