Tuesday, October 23, 2012



Hello Friends

So my mother has this saying that she likes to say ... I can't remember who coined it but the profundity of it hits home every now and then.
It goes like this: "Life at its best ... is still terribly sad"
Look at those beauties above ... aren't they georgeous? I just love them so much. My heart quickens, my breath catches and my eyes well with tears from the depth of the emotion that looking at them brings. With every joy, every wonder and every miracle there is this little haze of tragedy that seems to hang around. It's the bit that makes you sigh.
By now the whole world has heard of our heartbreak. Mom wrote it so eloquently in the latest newsletter but the writing of it is one dimension of something that is so deep and permeating everyone is walking around with that "sigh" ing feeling.
Our Nest has not been completely empty for 20 years. 20 years! It is such a shock to our systems most of us can't find the words to even describe the feelings we have about this.
It's like grieving for someone but knowing you have to go on for the "sake of the kids". Because of course we still have the older babies and children to care for and we have tried to keep life normal for their sakes.
So here are some of the goings on around here in the last few weeks:
Mom turned 62!
We had no money for cake so we used the donated Donuts from Rich's and it turned out really well!
Thank you Joanna for all the hard work!
The pool is being used regularly

This little one just adores the water

Smiling now but you should hear the yells
when it's time to get out!
Our current group of volunteers are extraordinary in their positive attitudes and enthusiastic hearts! We are so grateful to them for keeping up morale!
Our Preschoolers had a Sportsday and boy did they have FUN!
All the Fledgies and Grubs were invited to come watch

And then they even had a race of their own!

What JOY!

A motorbike race!

Even our CP Princess got to compete!

Life on the Farm continues to show results and I am now proficient at milking cows and producing butter (which is delicious!). We have had two more calves this month, both boys unfortunately but their mommies are now going to be able to add to our milk supply which is great :-)
This is "October 1" and I don't have a picture of "October 2" but he is black and beautiful :-)

 Christmas is around the corner so we are preparing for the craziness and busy times ahead. We always receive so many visitors in the run up to Christmas we hope this year will be filled with blessings.

We love you all

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

...and the rain came down in torrents

Hello Friends
I sometimes think if people wanted a "Reality Show" that blew minds... TLC would be the place to do it!
Here is some of what went on here in the last week.
September sees us stepping out in faith as we begin taking babies again. We have not brought babies home for 2 months as we created a gap between the cases managed by Impilo and those managed by Wandisa.

These little sisters were removed from a bad situation by the police and after a good bath and some warm food they both fell into a lovely, peaceful sleep on Mommy Thea's bed. We are blessed to be a safe haven for these little mites while their lives get sorted out.

"My Delicious" Mighty turned 9 on Saturday (note the 8 plus 1 cake :-) ) he insisted on! This is a boy that just turns me giddy with joy. He has some such a long way and has travelled such a journey, I only have to look at him and I am filled to overflowing with Awe for a God who can work miracles.
Mighty weighed 5kg's when he was 18months old, he came to TLC so we could "keep him comfortable" until the end but God had other plans. He and Faith (pictured below) are close friends as they travelled such a similar path - here she is encouraging him in his Math exercises :-)



Mighty's beloved "Granny" Irene and her family invited the 2 of us for a Birthday Breakfas! We had a beautiful time and Mighty was thrilled to recieve a brand new bicycle, complete with helmet and pump!

We celebrated with some cake at home and then we all went into the lounge to watch a DVD. We got about half way through when the rain started coming down ...
and boy did it come down!

Our "New" old house is just a glorified sievve it seems! The roof leaks so badly in several places and we had to evacuate the sleeping girls from their room as every bed had a neat little waterfall soaking the occupant!

If you look carefully you can see the falling water!

The girls room is on 2 levels so all the "surplus" water ran down into the bathroom then into the adjoining boys room

We had to put all the girls bedding and everything we could to dry out in the sun, but we lost a load of stuff I was very sad about, particularly some books I had been waiting for shelving to unpack onto!

Jerome sweeping the water from the boys room out to the back door

Not only rain fell but hail too! This photo was taken at 11am the following day and had not yet melted!

I was going to write this blog yesterday but I had to do the Adopt-A-Cot updates and the internet was so slow I ran out of time ... and so this is what happened yesterday ...

Joshua (my volunteer) was away the whole day as he is attending a First Aid course which left him exhausted by the end of the day. The kids were happy enough as they love the now empty and clean "middle room" to run through as it echoes and so they busied themselves while supper was cooked.

After supper, baths and devotions we put the kids to bed and I unpacked washing and cleaned up a bit. Matthew made the new batch of laundry soap and Joshua went to use the internet at TLC to call his dad. Just before I went to bed I thought I'd check my hair for lice (yes .. I know ... EEEuuuuwwww) but it has to be done when you have so many bodies around and so I was checking ... and ofcourse just because the day hadn't quite been long enough I DID find some and so I had to do the first round of treatment before bed.

So I was pretty pooped by the time I went to bed... and then at 2:45AM!!!! The cows start bellowing and bellowing!

At first I thought maybe the one pregnant cow was delivering but their were too many bellows for that so then I thought perhaps prowlers had got in and seperated the herd somehow ... and that made me a little scared so I figured I'd leave them to fend for themselves until morning.

But then I heard a loud "SWISH SWISH" sound from outside my window and when I sneaked a peak the cows were pulling at the big leaves of the tree outside my bedroom so I knew I'd have to get up ... blah ...
anyhow out I go with my hair like a punk rocker because of the lice treatment ... in my "flower power" designed pajamas ... bright blue gumboots and holding onto my torch in one hand and a cattle whip in the other (this is the part I reckon would've made the Reality TV ratings go through the roof!)
It's easy to laugh now but at 2:45AM I was not really feeling it!

So at this point I was still under the impression it was going to be a fairly simply process of herding them back in through the gate they must've somehow unlatched ...
Only to find that the gate was not unlatched it was completely flattened! The heavy rains had softened the soil enough to simply allow the beasts to walk right over the blooming thing!

So there I am in my "costume" lifting a very heavy, filthy and rusted metal gate into a standing postion  and trying to reattach the thing with bits and pieces of scrap metal wire and chains from all over the farm! Which once reattached could not be used to herd the cows back through!!!

I don't know how many of you have herded cows but they are fairly logical creatures and so once I started herding them they naturally all made their way to the place where they had come out of ...
finding this locked they proceeded to scatter in all directions and it took me a good 30 minutes to get them all to realise that they could use the nearby gate that I had OPENED for them!

Ai yai Yai! ... and these are the days of our lives!

We Love You All

Friday, September 7, 2012

It was the best of times ... it was the worst of times

Hello Friends

I don't know about you but I find it very hard to know what to write here when things are tough. I never know if it is a good thing to put too many negative things on or if it makes people feel like we are somehow making things seem worse than they are.

SO please read this post (and all my posts really)with the awareness that this is just me, the human being who often feels weak and unequal to the task set before me.

When I was growing up there was a fun fair ride called the "Cocopan" at a local theme park. It was like a big boat that swung back and forth slowly at first and gradually faster and faster until the riders were almost perpendicular with the ground at it's highest swing. I get so ill on Rollercoasters and so I never had the courage to ride on it but I could feel the anticipation as the riders hung suspended for a moment and then the feeling of relief when they were caught safely back into their seats.

Well, this is what life has been like for a long time here at TLC. There are a million of these swings that go on in every aspect of our day and it wears one down.

The month end loomed large and menacingly on the horizon for us this August. Our cleaners, cooks and farm workers all treading water waiting for the reprieve of another months wages only to find that the balance on our bank accounts stayed at the zero mark. We managed to drag some money from other projects to pay everyone half and thanks to some of our international friends we could settle the rest within the week but people are not happy.

The insecurity wears you down.
Salaries are only one component of the crises.
What about kids like Paul whose medication keeps him functioning but costs a fortune.
What about the petrol that we need to get to school, clinics and meetings?
What about paying the electric bill ...
What about the empty bread cupboard ...
What about ...
What about ....

I know you all know what I'm talking about but it helps me to put it down ~ it's a little cathartic :-)

Zoe was very ill this month and we all felt true terror when an x-ray revealed "an abnormality" on the base of her skull. After a visit to a Neuro surgeon and an MRI investigation the doctor was satisifed that the swelling is stress and tension related and therefore could be treated non-invasively. A small consolation when life is throwing all its weight around!

The farm continues to make progress and we are happy to announce the addition of 3 new goats to the flock and we are still expecting a few more.

There are 2 females and a male so far.

The calves born in May and July are doing well. We are planning to wean them in the near future which will allow us to milk twice a day and supplement TLC's milk costs even further. So far we have been able to reduce our purchase of milk from 175L per week to just 50L ~ a great saving and very satisfying aspect of the farm. Joshua (my volunteer) and I are in charge of pasturising the milk and have learned how to make our own butter from the cream so that is another nice saving.

May having a look to see what was left after milking

We also now make our own laundry washing liquid which has the potential to save us almost R4000 per month ~ one more salary saved!

Sibu mixing the washing liquid
We had 2 birthdays this week. Both Theresa and Alexander celebrated a birthday on the 4th!
We got a donation of muffins and doughnuts from the fabulous confectionery company called Rich's and they were able to blow out their candles.
Theresa turned 10!

Alex's first birthday! Big Brother Matthew helped blow out his candle.

Yesterday saw a huge rain/ hail storm arrive in Johannesburg. Quite uncharacteristic for so early in the season and everything got a thorough soaking.
Playground turned Pond

Tiny hail covers the paving

The big girls throwing hail balls.

With all the rain and cold that came along with it, FOUR of our vehicles broke down leaving us having to do some major logisitical gymnastics to get everyone home from school again and forcing Joanna to have to leave some of her kids with Mom for the night as the only available car did not have enough space for all of her family.

Unfortunately our cars have been sorely neglected in favour of buying food and medicines and now we are crippled every other day when one or the other vehicle won't move.

We had a visitor here the other day who shook their head and commented on how irresponsible it was for us to allow things to get so bad around here. I was sore pressed not to make a sharp retort about how easy things might look from his perspective but how very very sickening it is to have to make those kind of choices and decide on those priorities. When the cloth has been cut and it is too small there is only so tightly you can curl and only so much of yourself you can cover.

Anyway ...

The kids are all well and full of the joys of spring.

Playing in the Sprinkler at the new farm

Theresa and Rayne enjoying an afternoon chat
We continue on in faith and thank you all for your heartfelt prayers and support.

We Love You All

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A more up than down weekend

Hello Friends

The last week was just a busy and frenzied time - not that unusual by TLC standards, I guess.

The down part: Firstly our darling Sue, in the office lost her mother-in-law to be very suddenly. There are no good words to minimise the shock and hurt this sort of loss brings.
Then we got news that Similo and Nadia's uncle passed away suddenly. I am so full of sorrow for their mommy as I know that she was closest to him and now she will be carrying an extra nugget of grief that she really could do without.

Finally, one of our goats got ill and prematurely delivered a set of twins. Sadly neither kid was sufficiently developed to survive but the mommy is doing ok now, thank goodness.

The happier parts were related to several visitors who popped in. We were thrilled to have a visit from the Jeschke Family from Stuttgart with their daughters Marula (previously Eva) and Juanita - their newest addition.

We also had a marvellous send off for Solly and Lebo who are finally Swiss citizens! It was a lovely buffet party where we all got to spend time together and just relax and enjoy the company.

It always leaves us with such a contented feeling to spend time watching these families and seeing how well God has managed everything :-)

We were blessed to celebrate Brendon's 16th Birthday and even more blessed to have a small amount of money to use on repainting and decorating his little bedroom, which had over time come to resemble much more of a "cell" than any teenager would like!
Our wonderful volunteer Joshua managed the project and did a superb job! Brendon was the happiest boy at TLC that day!

This little project really reminded me what a difference it can make in a life when you have a little piece of beauty to call your own.
Theresa's birthday is coming up and I would love to decorate her room with some pretty goodies and a nice bedcover. If anyone would like to help me do that please conside sending the money via our online button and reference it: THERESA

Finally, we have decided NOT to do a big TLC party for Heritage Day this year. There are so many things that are happening on that day and so we are looking at postponing our celebration to coincide with Mommy Thea's Birthday instead :-) We'll keep you posted about what's what as we go forward.

We Love You All

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A South African "Snow day"

Hello Friends

Well first of all a BIG Thank you to everyone who read and read and read on our behalf :-)
Nobody who replied could find the "express prohibition" of post placement contact in the Hague Guidelines and all say the overwhelming feeling in the document is one of support for open contact and respect for the child's origins. It will therefore remain TLC's policy to embrace our families and continue to be the link to their past in a way that only we can ~ we hope you all continue to feel the overwhelming love and support from your TLC family and we want you to remember you are always welcome and invited to contact and visit us!

Beating Heart, ;)

It's been a strange "non-week" here. Lots of little things going on like visits from good friends, volunteers coming and going, meetings and letter writing etc.

The bits that stand out are: Using our own cream to make our first batch of TLC Butter, grating soap bars to make our very own laundry detergent (which we hope will save us a lot of money by not having to buy) and of course the "SNOW DAY" yesterday :-)

SNOW is a big deal in Johannesburg and even the lightest dusting brings things to a standstill :-)
Yesterday we got enough to make a few snowballs and feel the icy burn of holding snow in bare hands. Here are a few pictures - I'm afraid the kids were at school while it snowed so I couldn't get any pics of them in it as it melted so fast.

The willow tree behind the swimming pool,
Sasko loving the cold weather and camoflauge!

 The Parkhome and chapel.
Beautiful garden ;-)
 Tommy and Ellen attempting snowball fights, Benji watching with glee.

Dominique runs into the fray! 

Well, I have to go now. The call of duty you know!

We Love You All

Saturday, July 28, 2012

HELP! Fancy some "not so light" reading ... anyone?

Hello Friends,

I need to enlist the help of some people who have the time and inclination to do a little research on our behalf.

We are trying to find the answer to 2 important questions and try as we might ... and believe me we have tried, we cannot find the specific answers we are looking for.

Question 1:
We have been told that the document "The Implementation and Operation of the 1193 Hague Intercountry Convention: Guide to Good Practice" explicitly does not allow TLC to have contact with intercountry adopters after placement takes place.

Naturally this would leave us broken hearted and so we have been reading this document over and over again to find where this is stated. I have even emailed the Secretariat at the Hague for an answer. Perhaps we are all blinded by our own personal disbelief in the possibility of such a severing of roots but we cannot find any such stipulation.

If anyone has the time and inclination ... PLEASE read the document and help us look for this.

Question 2:
We have been instructed to not place any identifiable pictures of children with court orders against them on our websites or materials unless we have the express permission of the Presiding Officer of the court.
We are ofcourse willing to comply with this but in the interests of fulfilling legal mandates to the best of our abilities we would like to see the Chapter and Verse of the Children's Act or its Regulations where this is stipulated.

Again, anyone who thinks they can help with this please visit www.acts.co.za (http://www.acts.co.za/children_s_act_2005/index.htm)  or Google around the topic and see if you can find anything because we are battling to get answers around this issue.


My Geese have taken to having their morning bath in my fountain outside the front door! It's so funny to watch, they get in 2 at a time and swim around and around the Sea Horse Fountain statue, honking like crazy for a few minutes and then they hop out and the next two plop themselves in. It really is very funny.

"The Big 6" ... My boys heading off down the lane to the Mainhouse, on their way to hop on the school bus. They are quite the gang now and all doing well.

My Beloved First Born turned 13 on Tuesday!! We went out for a celebratory dinner as he share a Birthday with my Uncle Berend who turned 74!

This week the Mandela Day Legacy continued. We had 2 Hotdog Parties

My dining room and boy's bedroom painted ...

And Loads of Fun on the Jumping Castles!

Change is never easy and it's good to know that we are loved.

We Love You All