03 August 2008

{On the day you were born}
This challenge brought back some heartfelt memories of being adopted. If you read the journaling (see below) for this layout you will understand why I don't have any photos of myself as a baby and only a handful taken during my childhood. It was therapeutic working through all the thoughts and emotions surrounding how I came to be. Thanks Tracy, for letting me realise once again how fortunate I have been.
I was in a Children’s Home in Port Elizabeth, South Africa from when I was a baby and was adopted (never formally) in 1967 at the age of three-and-half years by Roelof (50 years of age) and Phoebe Walters (48 years of age). Phoebe was a remedial teacher at the Children’s Home and I remember clearly how I use to stand on the tip of my little toes to be able to peep through her classroom window to see whether the tea tray has arrived. If it was there I couldn’t wait for her to pour me half a cup of Steri-Milk. This was nearly a daily occurrence. Six months later she and my dad adopted me.
I can also remember the cot I use to sleep in at the Children’s Home. This cot was to become a mental block later on in my life. Just after I was adopted Roelof and Phoebe, who was a very sociable couple, frequently visited friends for dinner parties. As I was brought up the real strict old fashioned way i.e. kids in bed not later than sunset, it often happened that I was put to bed in a cot at these dinner parties. Of course this psychologically triggered unhappy memories of the Children’s Home where I slept in a cot. Therefore it was always a mission to get me to go to sleep in a cot, because I usually cried myself to sleep.
Another vivid memory I have of life in a Children’s Home was how we use to walk up a very steep set of steps late afternoons to be checked into the home for the evening. At the door someone would stand with a huge bag of peanuts and raisins and put a scoop of this into every child’s cupped hands as they entered the home.
I never knew my biological parents and having been placed in the Children’s Home since I was a baby, there is no recollection of my biological parents. I always knew that I was adopted since my foster parents reinforced this from the day I arrived into their family. At the same time they also instilled in me that I am loved as their own child, and even more.
The fact that Roelof and Phoebe Walters never adopted me legally and only remained my foster parents, have always been a sore point for me. It resulted in the uncomfortable situation where I had to go by two surnames i.e. Van Tonder (my biological surname) and Walters (my foster parents’ surname). I never felt that I really belonged to either of these surnames. At school I use to have the surname ‘Walters’ on all my books, but was registered at the school as ‘Van Tonder’. So sometimes when an announcement was made for me to see the headmaster or at prize giving ceremonies, I was announced as ‘Van Tonder’ and my classmates obviously wanted to know why I have two surnames. I always felt very awkward and never really knew what to say … a big stress during my childhood.
I have never had the urge to determine who my biological parents were or to meet them. As I feel that I owe everything to who and what I am today to my very special Dad Roelof and Mom Phoebe.
- Content Signing Off


  1. You learn something about someone every day. This has brought tears to my eyes. You must be very proud of what you have become and achieved, considering the start in life that you had. Desire, you are truly more of an inspiration to me than you were already.

    Your layout is stunning and the wording is very touching.

    Lots of love

  2. You really are a remarkabl woman. So may would be bitter having had the start in life that you had. My sisters were very bitter at being given up for adoption, I was bitter because I wasn't! Life is a funny old thing.

    Love the page for your foster parents, a wonderful tribute to them

  3. This is beautiful and has been done with so much emotions...well done.

  4. Anonymous9:45 AM

    I always knew you were a VERY special person. It must have taken alot for you to put this down on paper and publish it - in all the years I had no idea about your passed. I know it doesnt take away how you feel, but , you should be really proud of yourself, for being the most amazing person. The best part is you definately belong now to a very special man - Conroy. You both deserve each other sooooo much.
    I really miss our lessons with you ............
    The Green Mamba

  5. Anonymous8:32 PM

    'n Baie besonderse post Desire!

  6. Anonymous9:44 PM

    Desire, thank you so much for sharing this with us all - it is a very special story (or rather life) and I am very blessed to know you. I too, miss you so much and wish I could turn the clock back to have some more lessons with you!
    Love from
    Carol (the other TP)

  7. Wow this is an unbelievable touching story and your artwork reflects it.
    How amazing to have such vivid memories, Ican hardly remember a thing from my childhood.
    funny how life is.
    You have achieved so much and should be so proud.

  8. Lisa has sent me an email with the beautiful message and I thought I will post it here:

    "Hi Desire

    Glad to hear you are keeping well. I have been keeping up to date with your BOM Challenges and must say that I am so impressed by what you have done and am seriously thinking about doing the challenge myself. (the time factor is an issue for me) You really are such an inspiration - you are a beautiful person - inside and out!

    Enjoy the rest of your week
    Lots of Love

  9. Such a sensitive journaling and great layout for it. Really touching. M.Carmen

  10. You are a living example of making a success of your life in spite of a difficult start in life...You are a true inspiration...and your story gives me hope.

  11. Desire, Life can be hard, harder for some than others. You are one great lady and friend, these experiences made you what you are to-day. You were meant to be adopted and loved by this wonderful couple and join a loving family you share to-day. Remember the happy days. With love Little Me.


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