Baby a blessing despite bad health

Neo Bodumela

“THIS is our baby, God put him in our path and we can’t imagine our lives without him,” says a Nelson Mandela Bay mother who adopted a baby boy despite his health problems and the difficulties she faced to adopt him.

Alice Miles and her husband, Anthony, had been married for seven years and their dream to have children was diminished when Alice had her womb removed due to cervical cancer.

“We knew we would not be able to have children of our own but we really did want to bless our marriage with a child,” she said.

“We decided that adopting would be our best bet as we wanted a baby we could raise as our own and make part of our family – we wanted the baby to be ours.”

The pair then started approaching adoption agencies in the hopes of finding a baby that they could adopt – a process that was “not easy”.

“We started sending out letters to various places and at all of these places there were long waiting lists of people trying to adopt children.

“I then went to Erica House [Place of Safety] and started spending time with the children there and learning how to go about getting to adopt one of the children there. Erica House then let me know there was an abandoned child who had some problems but from that moment on, I knew he would be our little angel,” Miles said.

Antonio, now 15 months old, was born without a soft palate – the part of the palate at the back of the mouth – and has fetal alcohol syndrome but despite these challenges the Miles family decided to adopt the child.

“In June last year, we heard about a child who had been abandoned, he was still in hospital and fighting for his life. By the end of July we had met him and everything was going well with him.

“Back then, I knew that he was going to be mine. It did not even bother me that he does not have a soft palate or his background or where he came from or that he had fetal alcohol syndrome or that he is under-developed for his age. You do get emotional but God knows best.”

Because of the fetal alcohol syndrome and his lack of a soft palate, Antonio has been developing slower than his peers but he has made progress from where he was.

“When we got him, he was in a bad way but we took him to the hospital and he really has and is making progress,” Alice said.

“There are more operations that he will have to undergo to fix the soft palate and we really do believe that everything is going to work out for our Toni.”

During their bid to adopt him officially, the process was hard for the couple as they faced questions about why they would adopt a child who was not fully healthy.

“When we went to the court to adopt him, people referred to him so badly. The person handling the case even asked us why would we want to adopt something like that … referring to him as a ‘thing’, when we could have a beautiful, bouncing, healthy baby.

“And we said that we were more than willing to have him as he is. We had waited so long to have a child and right now we cannot imagine our lives without him. This is my baby and God put him in our path for a reason.”

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