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When The Child I Was Adopting Died My Experience
I’m writing this post as I want to share my story of adoption. This is not the story of being adopted myself but my experience of wanting to become the Mother of an adopted child and how it all began.
My story is long and I’ve split it into a few post, I hope you enjoy part one.
I grew up wanting many children, at least seven and I often joked that I’d have a whole rugby team of 15 kids. I love kids and being a Mother was always my number one dream. At the age of 16 I was diagnosed with PCOS, Polycistic Ovarian Syndrome and told I could have difficulties in the future having children.
Rather than worry, I accepted at a young age that there was a possibility I would not bear my own children and that I may need to go down the route of adoption. Adopting children was and has always been part of my life plan.
At the age of 23 I was married to a Tongan man named Tevita. We were in love and very happy at the time. We wanted to begin a family of our own and become parents but I could not fall pregnant. As much as we tried to have a baby, It did not happen so I underwent investigations to be told my “eggs” although present, did not mature and pop out each month, therefore I could not get pregnant without assisted fertility treatment.
At the time I was overweight. I was around a size 18, weighing in about 95kg and was told in order to have a child I would have to weigh around 75kg. Losing 20kg was a huge task and something I really struggled with.
Being married to a Tongan man, we considered going down the route of adoption. When I first married Tevita we had lived in Tonga for many months and been asked by his uncle if we would consider adopting his children.
Luatangi was the name of the Uncle. He was a poor man married to a lovely lady. He and his wife lived in a tin shack, with no floors, no bedding and little food. They had no work and would go to the sea to find fish to feed their three little children. Luatangi’s children were called Tuifua, Folola and Lisa.
Tevita and I agreed to adopt Lisa. Lisa was the middle child aged two years old. Lisa was a beautiful little girl, skinny and malnourished but much loved. Tevita and I were going to give Lisa the life Luatangi wanted for his daughter. We went to see a family lawyer to start the adoption process. We sent clothes and food to Tonga for the children to help the family get by and began completing the documents for immigration.
Then at the end of 2006 I got a call. Lisa was in hospital with pneumonia. She had been in the sea with her mother searching for fish and become very unwell.
Tevita and I flew to Tonga and visited Lisa. She had almost completed the adoption process but she was very unwell. We took a photo of Lisa with her mother and told them once she was out of hospital we would take her back to New Zealand.
The following week Lisa died. This was a heartbreaking experience for all involved. The family were devastated. They had no photos of their child, non whatsoever but luckily I had taken a picture of Lisa and I was able to print it and have it framed for the family.
After Lisa died, we had a family meeting in a little village in Tonga. Luatangi and his wife asked us to take Folola. We agreed to do this and began the adoption process once again.
We flew back to New Zealand and began our adoption. As we waited to hear from the lawyer we received a phone call. This time Luatangi’s wife had caught pneumonia. She died in the night and Luatangi was left to care for his 4 year old daughter Folola and baby Tuifua on his own.
Tevita and I processed the applications to adopt the children, however when we flew to immigration for the children’s visa’s the immigration officer said no. It’s was a well-known fact that the immigration office in Tonga was corrupt.
In fact when we lived in Tonga in the village of Houma, on Tongatapu Island one of the deciding officers who worked for New Zealand immigration was our next door neighbour. The neighbour was a woman of power and control. Families would come to her parents home bearing gifts and money in return for “immigration favours”.
I was told the neighbour had intervened and stopped our applications in the hope she could get money from me. She knew I was a teacher and had a well-paid job. We decided to return to New Zealand and try again in six months.
However life changed. I lost 20kg and was eligible for fertility treatment. Tevita and I decided to go ahead with the IUI treatment in the hope my eggs could be stimulated and fertilised. We agreed we would have our own child if we could and adopt Folola and Tuifua as well.
My IUI treatment was successful. I fell pregnant with Sylvia. We were under a lot of pressure for many reasons and our marriage began to fall apart. There are so many reasons for the breakdown of my marriage and that is a long story.
However, the fact is 9 months later a beautiful little girl was born. I had a natural birth and my baby was called Sylvia Elizabeth Folola Kainga. My beautiful baby was the best thing that ever happened to me. Tevita and I had every intention of adopting Tuifua and Folola who were still in Tonga however my marriage turned violent and I had to leave.
There are so many reasons my now x-husband became the way he did and I think the biggest reason is depression. He was under far too much pressure and dealt with it in the wrong way. I had no choice but to leave with my 6 month old daughter and start a life on our own.
Becoming a single mother my dreams of having more children were dashed. Folola and Tuifua remained with Luatangi in Tonga and Tevita went on to have a second little girl two years ago in New Zealand.