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Cathy K

Thirteen years and counting....

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Cathy K

2 August 2001. The telephone awoke us about four hours before we were scheduled to board the plane for Canada. Charlene was on the line:

"Hi ouma en oupa! Just to tell you that we will pick up your granddaughter as soon as we get to Port McNeill."

Up to that point we knew about the little girl that she delivered about four months previously. She told us that the baby was up for adoption, but feared that her single status might disqualify her. In the meantime she continued with the homestudy course, while the little one went into foster care. I think we secretly hoped that other parents would come forward. Our family has been without babies for more than 35 years, and we kind of liked the freedom!

We flew from George to Johannesburg and had a few hassles when we tried to exchange our last few rands for Canadian dollars. No bank was interested. Exasperated, we boarded the plane from Johannesburg to London. Charlene gave us a very special treat by sending us tickets for business class and we thoroughly enjoyed the extra pampering. The rands were speedily exchanged for dollars at Heathrow.

Charlene waited for us at Vancouver and the three of us spent our last evening alone at a fancy hotel on the airport. The next morning we flew to Port Hardy.

We dropped Pierre off at Charlene's house and immediately returned to Ruby's foster parents in Port Hardy. They are an amazing couple; dedicated and loving. Their own five children were joined by an adopted brother and I'm pretty sure that they were quietly contemplating taking Ruby as well.

I fell in love immediately. The little one was quietly sitting in her little car seat, surrounded by at least nine other kids. Everyone of them tried to play with Ruby and she thoroughly enjoyed the attention. The husband and wife was very quiet. They have cared for this little girl since her birth and it was extremely difficult to let go. A lot of tears were shed that day.

It continued when Pierre first took his little grandchild in his arms. A special bond was formed that day, and it only intensified over time.

Ruby is the centre of our universe. Seeing her growing up into a compassionate, caring and responsible little girl makes all the initial trials and tribulations worthwhile. Charlene had to return to work almost immediately and I was plunged into the role of surrogate mother and caretaker. Helping to raise a child when you already qualify for old age pension can be challenging.

But what a journey! We are especially blessed to be part of our only grandchild's life. We live in Charlene's walk-out basement, which was converted into a comfortable two-bedroomed dwelling. We have a great view, stoep and beautiful back garden to enjoy.

Pierre is Ruby's oupa-daddy and still her most favourite playmate. Where else can she find someone who is so knowledgeable with so many interesting toys and other stuff. Pierre will always be a little nine-year old boy at heart. He loves science and electronics and Ruby absorbs his knowledge. She helps him disassemble old radios and cameras, as well as repairing broken ones. They play cards and tag and fool around till Charlene and I beg for a time out.

Ruby can hardly wish for a better mom. The things they do together! Fridays afternoons are usually mom and daughter time. They catch a movie and have dinner at a restaurant afterwards. Evenings and weekends are spent together. The two share a love for crafts (and shopping). Charlene is trying to instill her love for books in her daughter and they read together every evening. They visited Disneyland and went to San Diego alone when Pierre's sudden heart problems prevented us from joining them. Together we holidayed in Hawaii and in Mexico.

And ouma? Ruby learns different things from each of us. I love gardening and she seems to have taken to it. She helps me when I freeze produce from our own garden. I love cooking. Ruby is the one who does the mixing. So what if baking karringmelkbeskuit takes an hour longer now?

Sometimes she climbs onto my lap and begs me to tell her stories about our life in "Africa." And she quietly hugs me when she sees my tears after some exceptionally bad news from South Africa. She loves to be regaled by tales of my childhood and that of her mom and uncle. She's especially entranced by ghost stories, and I'm afraid my stock is getting low.

We learned to accept the Canadian way of life. We know we would never have made it if we stayed in South Africa. It would have been impossible to afford the enormous medical aid costs. The inflated house prices and rise in the price of utilities and taxes would have made us homeless in the end.

We are Canadians now, and still celebrate our very own Family Day on the 4th of August; the day the four of us became a new family. We are a unique family in some ways. The people of Nanaimo always notice us and I sometimes feel as if everyone knows Ruby by name. Wherever we go there will always be a few people who greet her. Ruby is surely the only Afrikaans speaking, East-Indian Canadian with an affinity for droë wors, biltong....and Irish dancing!

Our son will soon be an American citizen and then his traumatic journey to the USA will finally be accomplished.

Cathy K.

Edited by ckotze
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Karen

A heartwarming story, if ever I heard one, Cathy!

You have enriched Ruby's life and she has enriched yours, and it will continue as you travel your life journey together.

I think you are both fantastic grandparents who have been blessed with fantastic granddaughter, who is being nurtured by a caring mother and family.

I wish you all many happy and healthy years together, enjoying making such wonderful memories.

Well done to you all!!

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Ingrid Brunkhorst Hurrell

Thank you, Cathy - for sharing from your heart.

You have no idea how much I needed a good news story today!

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Lorrett

Beautiful "story" Cathy. May you continue to enrich each others lives for many years to come.

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Dedré

Cathy, congratulations on the 8 years. Thank you for sharing.

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Guest Barbara

What a wonderful story. Congrats to you all.

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Cathy K

Thanks for the comments. Our Lord works in strange ways. Who would have thought that He would go all the way to South Africa to find a family for a little unborn baby in Canada. We can only continue to pray for His guidance. So much of this story is a pure miracle.

Cathy K

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Just J

:lol: Let me wipe all these tears away from this beautiful and warm story!

Thank you for sharing this story of love with us.

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dieulefit
Thanks for the comments. Our Lord works in strange ways. Who would have thought that He would go all the way to South Africa to find a family for a little unborn baby in Canada. We can only continue to pray for His guidance. So much of this story is a pure miracle.

Cathy K

Amen to this and a great story!

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Snoepie

Ag genade Cathy, ek het skoon nou n traan in die oog nadat ek julle 8 jaar storie gelees het.

Ruby is waarlik geseend dat sy so n wonderlike huis en familie gekry het. Ek kan sien sy het n fantastiese lewe saam met julle.

May God bless you and your family every day.

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Tokkie B

Great story! This is just further confirmation that prooves that God work in magic ways. God's grace is unbelievable generous!!! What a blessing to adopt a child - no one can ask for a bigger gift!!!!!

Edited by Tokkie B

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CharleneK

Exactly! Ruby is not the lucky one: we are. She has enriched our lives immeasurably.

Charlene

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Sean-Tienie

I realize the post is an old one but really enjoyed the read - thank you

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Cathy K

And the journey continues. Yesterday we celebrated our thirteenth year in Canada. Today is "Gotcha Day," remembering the day Charlene became Ruby's mom and we became her oupa and ouma.

What an incredible thirteen years. Ruby is turning into a beautiful teenager and we're incredibly proud of her.

Canada has been very good for us and I seriously doubt that we would have enjoyed the same quality of life in South Africa. As one grows older, your medical needs increase. We would not have been able to afford private medicare in South Africa, so state hospitals and state doctors would have been our only option. Paying the ever increasing utility bills and rates and taxes would have been impossible on a fixed income. Our friends in South Africa are now moving into retirement villages. The cost is exorbitant and security comes with a stiff price.

We truly live in paradise. Safety is a given. We have traveled more in the last thirteen years than ever before. Visiting other countries, exploring Canada, what an incredible privilege!

We're also proud to be Canadians. I will always cherish my Afrikaner heritage, but we realise that our future is no longer in Africa.

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Hendie

Baie geluk Cathy. Jy is reg Kanada bied soveel! Voorsped vir die volgende 13!

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Nelline

I re-read this post with a tear in the eye. Congratulations Cathy!

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Cathy K

Ruby is a young lady now and remains the apple of my eye. I can't imagine life without her.

ruby1a.jpg

Edited by Cathy K
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Jules

Awesome story to read. Cathy you have a real talent for writing!

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Cathy K

We blinked! And suddenly 18 years have past.

Ruby is finishing school this week and will start her studies at Vancouver Island University this fall.

Her PROM was yesterday. What an awesome journey!

IMG_5961.jpg

IMG_5962.jpg

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Jules

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing this story as it unfolded over the years. For those of us on this board for a long time it’s like we have watched her grow up. Time flies way too fast.  

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