One week after Purity Makena and her husband took a set of twins home for a foster visit, one got sick. The couple spent over Sh500,000 for treatment. They should have thought twice about finalising the process of adoption, but they didn’t. They have no regrets about the move a decade later
Sandra Wekesa @andayisandra
It is January and Purity Makena prepares her four children for school. They are all happy to be joining new classes. Her firstborn is in Form Two. Her second borns are a set of twins aged 11 and in Class Six.
Her last born is in Class Four. The children laugh, hold hands, and hug one another as they depart to their respective schools and classes. Looking at them, you wouldn’t guess any of the children is adopted. But the reality is that the twins are adopted.
Purity and her husband had purposed to get three children. Six years after the birth of their firstborn, the couple was contemplating on having another child. “One day my husband and I were going somewhere as we listened to the radio. Then a voice pierced: ‘Have you ever thought of adoption?’ We looked at one another. Something was planted in our minds,” she recalls.
The couple gave the issue much thought and reached out to a friend who was more knowledgeable on the matter. At this time, they had already made up their minds. “I loved the feeling of giving someone the joy of having a mother. Also, we thought there was no other way to give love other than giving a child home and loving them as our own,” she says.
Purity went to a lawyer who advised her on how to go about it. The twins were one year old when they joined the family in 2008. They first took the twins for three months foster visit as stipulated by law. “We loved twins and we were glad to have found a set of twins to adopt. Also, we didn’t want to separate the children,” she says.
Seven days into the foster visit, one of them became ill. At this time, none of the children had any medical cover since they were still going through the legal process. On the day the baby fell sick, Purity was sitting for her exams as she had gone back to school to further her education.
As soon as she was done, she found several missed calls from her husband, helper and neighbour. She was worried and confused, she didn’t know who to call first; luckily, her husband had sent her a text saying he was waiting for her outside.
“The moment I saw the text, I ran out to meet him. When I heard that my baby girl was at Kiambu District Hospital, my heart broke, we quickly rushed there only to find her put on oxygen,” she retorts. At a glance, her baby was having difficulty breathing, but all Purity wondered was how she could have left her at home well in the morning and come back in the evening to receive bad news.
Questions kept on running through her mind. After hours of waiting for the doctor to arrive, he had no answers to their questions. They decided they couldn’t wait any longer and transferred the baby to Aga Khan Hospital. “On our way to Aga Khan, I kept praying to God to keep the angel alive. I couldn’t even feel her breathing,” recalls Purity.
The baby went through several test, yet they revealed nothing. “The baby was at Intensive Care Unit for a while. I was fatigued. All I can say is adoption is a matter of the heart. If I wanted, I would have taken the children back to the Children’s Home. But I decided to stand with the baby as she fought for her life,” she says.
Her prayers were answered. The doctors were able to diagnose some hair beads that had been launched in the lungs of the child. The hardest part of this adoption for Purity was when the doctors couldn’t remove the beads using a pipe and needed to do a surgery.
“It broke my heart when the hospital needed consent forms to have the baby undergo an operation signed. I had to get a representative from the Children’s Home to sign because the adoption process had not been finalised. It broke my heart. I made a decision — to fight for whatever it took to have the twins forever,” says Purity. Within no time, the child was okay.
To her, having these children in her life has been the most fulfilling thing in her life. And the most rewarding bit is having them call her mum. Now a mother of four, two biological and two adopted, Purity argues that adoption is not only for couples who cannot conceive.
The joy of having adoptive children isn’t different for Eunice Akinyi whose son is currently in high school, She explains that in as much as the process of adoption was hard because she is a single mum, she couldn’t wish for any other person to have to call her ‘mum’ other than him. “I don’t know how different my life could ever be without my son, he has brought joy and happiness to my life and I couldn’t ask for more,” Akinyi says.