When the Child I Was Adopting Died My Experience

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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.

Lisa Ahau

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.

When The Child I Was Adopting Died My Experience

Angela x

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  1. What an amazing story. I really don’t know what to say.
    To get where you are today shows what a strong woman you are. Sylvia is fortunate to have you as her mother.

    1. Thanks Alan, It’s been a crazy roller coaster ride my life but we are in a much better place now. 🙂 I’m blessed to have Sylvia.

  2. What a post. It’s always interesting when other people decided to share their story. This was by far one the hardest and toughest stories that I have read. It must have been such a difficult time for all those involved. Being blessed with your beautiful Sylvia was an absolute miracle and one that I’m sure you’ll always be grateful for. My daughter is a miracle baby and she’s a gift that I will forever be grateful for. I was told from a young age that I may never be able to have children of my own. Months of trying and wanting a baby for so long, we began to think that perhaps being parents wasn’t meant for us and started to talk about adoption. Something that we are still keen on doing. Thank you for sharing your story xxx

    1. Your welcome Kelly-Anne. Yes it’s something I still hope to do in the future but it was a incredible roller coaster at the time. That’s for you. Miracle babies make us appreciate them just a little bit more.

  3. Wow what an incredible story I had no idea this had been going on thank you so much for sharing this story with us, this must have been such a challenging thing to go through x

  4. Oh my goodness. I cannot even describe how I feel right now in words after reading this. I am heart broken but inspired but sad but thrilled for you all at the same time. It’s weird. But true. You are a strong strong single mother and I commend you for that.

  5. This is such a very sad and heartbreaking story. I’m so sorry you went through so much pain in your quest to adopt these children. I’m very happy that you were able to have Sylvia though, that is a bit of a miracle in itself and a great gift in your life. It’s really unfortunate that your marriage broke down, but I’m thankful you and Slyvia have a good life now.

    1. Yes we are so blessed. I’m glad my marriage failed as I have the sweetest husband now and the best life!

  6. Such an amazing and emotional post. I’m so glad you got your miracle baby. Every baby is a blessing! You are such a strong woman, and it’s great that you will be able to pass this on to your daughter.

    1. Thanks Tara. I think it is sad but it is quite common is poorer countries for these things to happen. It just reminds me how lucky I am to live in a blessed country like the UK.

  7. This must have been such a difficult time in your life and I’m so sorry to hear that you had to deal with such heartache. I’m glad you have now found happiness with your little girl. Thank you for sharing your story.

    1. I’ve been told my life would make a great book and I think so! It also can help others so is good to share!

  8. Thank you for sharing this story, it must have been so hard to live through. I’ve always been interested in adoption but don’t know too much about it so I’m always grateful to read about people’s experiences.

    1. Your welcome. I think writing about adoption from different perspectives can help others. It’s something i’d love to do again one day!

  9. Wow, I was speaking to a couple who are adopting a child yesterday and they are really giving themselves heart and soul to this child. I cannot imagine the trouble and grief you have experienced and I wish you and your family every happiness as you continue to move forward. Lx

  10. Poor Lisa and her mother, how cruelly they were taken. Despite the breakdown and the violence in your marriage I am happy that the dark cloud had a silver lining which was Sylvia. She was and still is your miracle child x

  11. I have a cousin that cannot bare child. She’s been married 2x and neither turned out well. Both cheated on her and she decided fur babies were best for her. She loves coming around our children or just children in general!

  12. Wow. This story broke my heart a little, but I’m so happy you were able to have your own child. I wish you the best and pray for your success.

  13. That was a whirlwind of a story. I feel so much for your longing after the child talhat you were adopting fell ill. Life really throws its own turns. Thank you for sharing your story though.

  14. I think I would feel the same way. Everything was prepared and you were just simply waiting for her. I guess some things are just not meant to be. You were blessed with such a beautiful daughter though.

  15. Thank you for opening your heart to us. You are a wonderful and tough woman. You deserve everything an that includes your gorgeous angel 🙂

  16. What a story! What a life! I love hearing about life stories… and I thank you for sharing such a personal part of yours with us. I think it’s amazing all you’ve been through to be where you are now. I hope the other two children you were hoping to adopt are well. And I hope Tevita is well too. So glad you were able to become pregnant with Sylvia! What a miracle. <3

  17. Oh that was heartbreaking! But the best thing that happened is your daughter. It’s a good thing you left and start a new life. I wish for more success for you.

  18. I wish nothing, but God’s great blessings for you and your little ones! I’m a single mother too. You are so strong to have gone through this and to have done it graciously. He’s got a plan for you!

  19. I’m so sorry to hear about her tragic death. It was fortunate that you had a picture you were able to provide her family. It sounds like you have had a roller coaster ride in becoming a mother and I am disturbed that your marriage turn abusive. I’m glad you were able to escape.

  20. My heart feels for you in all that you had to go through. Sometimes when things aren’t meant to be, they just aren’t. Nothing in this world could ever force it. I’m so happy you found a little sunshine in all this. Your daughter is a ray of light.

  21. What a crazy story! Im very sorry for what happened to you and to Lisa! Sadly most of us dont think about this things until they happen to somebody close or us… I think you did the right thing that you left, many people dont have the courage to do it and suffer all their life’s not to talk about the kid who has no choice… wish you the best!

  22. This is both heart breaking yet beautifully written at the same time. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  23. This is an amazing story!
    We all go into marriage thinking it is forever but it does not always turn out that way. For many reasons, people just grow apart.
    Good luck on your parenting adventures!

  24. Thanks for sharing your story. I feel inadequate to respond to such a powerful post. I am sure it took courage to pen that down. I am really moved by what you went through, all that you mentioned. But it’s what you left unsaid ….that really left me shaken. Your daughter is really lucky to have such a brave and amazing mother.

  25. Thank you for sharing this with us. I know it had to have taken some courage just to write it. Heartbreaking to hear about this too. Sorry for your lose.

  26. There are no words. I’m just astonished and wide mouthed, hoping this was a well written script but it isn’t. You’re a very strong person and I applaud you for that. I hope better things come your way.

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