KIRSTY Peters and her husband first laid eyes on Steven 12 years ago. The 2-year-old was part of a group of children about to be baptised in church that day.
“He was sitting next to us and his beautiful big brown eyes just locked into mine. We were spiritually connected, instantly drawn to each other.
“After the baptism my husband and I volunteered to assist the children in the orphanage. This is where we finally got to hold and connect with Steven.
“We both fell in love with his beautiful spirit and continued visiting him until we completed the formal adoption process and could finally take him home as our son to live with us. What a gift and blessing from God.”
Child protection statistics estimate that there were 5.2 million orphans in South Africa before the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic this year.
For Peters, adoption was not something she had thought much about, but today she is immensely grateful “for the way God has knitted us together and better than I could have ever dreamed of for myself”.
A few years after adopting Steven, the couple had their own biological son, Joshua.
Now Peters has documented her experiences in Super Stevie, a children’s book dedicated to her adopted son, which will be launched on Monday – World Adoption Day. She describes Super Stevie as a powerful tool for adoptive parents and children.
“It’s a tough journey and a rollercoaster of emotions. Adopting any child is a walk into the unknown. It takes faith. Adoption is a rewarding journey overall and a self-discovery of the parent/person you become during this team process.”
One of the stories in Super Stevie details the youngster’s realisation that he didn’t grow in his mom’s stomach, but in her heart.
“My mommy told me that families don’t have to match. You don’t have to look like someone else to love them. I am the big brother in my family. I have a little brother called Josh. Before he came along it was just me.
“The first time I felt different was when my mommy was pregnant with my brother. I was 3-years-old at the time and one morning, my mom was thrilled when my brother kicked her tummy from the inside. She called me to come feel him kick, I was so excited to feel my brother talk to me by kicking to say hello. I asked my mom if I kicked her too from the inside of her tummy. My mommy looked at me with tears in her eyes.
“She gave me a big hug and explained that I grew in another mommy’s tummy but was placed there by God just for her and my dad. Instead of growing in her tummy I grew in her heart and I was specially chosen, I was a miracle too and adopted.
“I was so surprised I didn’t even know I was so very special and so unique. I have come to realise that a family may not have the same genes, colour eyes, smile or colour skin but a family is built and grown daily with love, joy and patience. We don’t choose our family. They are God’s gift to us, as we are to them.”
For Peters, adoption has been a defining blessing. Now she wants to inspire young minds and touch and transform hearts by providing children with a real-life South African story to work through their feelings in difficult situations.
By identifying with the primary character, adoptee children can learn to make sense of some of these difficult situations they might encounter, and find the language to express and address their emotions provided by the Super Stevie character, she said.
“For adoptees, and any kids who feel different or have been bullied, I want them to be reminded to believe in themselves no matter their difference. I want them to know how their uniqueness is their gift and superpower. Every child is a beautiful masterpiece created for a unique purpose. They are also not alone on this journey, Super Stevie the character is right there with them.”
Every child, she says, deserves the unconditional love of a family and it was this belief that compelled her to write this story and share this as widely as possible to other adoptee families who also often feel alone and overwhelmed on their adoption journey, letting others know what they are experiencing.
“Having a biological child after adopting has brought up some big conversations with my kids and what it means to be a family and where each came from. It has truly been an incredible and tough experience to walk alongside my boys as they process their own stories, difficulties, challenges and identities.”
¡ Fifty percent of all Super Stevie sales profits will go towards supportingadoption NPO, TLC based in Johannesburg. Visit www.superstevie.co.za for more.
The Saturday Star