A Story Of "Hope" Among Us

Haluk Umut

A loving family with two children... Haluk, Nurcan, Dünya, and Doğa of Umut ('Hope') Family. A true love story that started with the decision of adoption of a couple who could not have had children for many years where they adopted and faced with one of the most beautiful surprises of their lives during the process... While we were interviewing with the Umut family, who embraced two babies with an interval of 46 days after waiting for years, we felt the utmost joy, so much emotion... we heartfelt their stories... We hope each line will inspire you, and we thank Haluk and Nurcan Umut for telling us their lives with all their sincerity, and we wish this interview would be a special memory for Mr. Haluk on Father's Day.

Hi Mr. Haluk and Ms. Nurcan; you have realized your surname and become a hope for life. Let's start with this first. How did you come up with the idea of adopting a baby, what did happen in the process?

Hello first... In fact, it was the baby to become a hope for us. We have been married for 15 years. We have received treatment for many years, yielding no results. We both had a great love for children, and we wanted to be able to convey this love… Such a thing has happened... In 2016, it seems we had separately started to study adoption procedures unaware of each other. One day while chatting, we asked "Can we adopt?" simultaneously. Our wish was common, we wanted to have a child that would spread joy to our home, thank goodness it happened that way... Therefore, we were not the hope for the child, the child was hope for us, changed our life, colorized it, became our world… That's why she is called Dünya (World).

We applied to adopt in 2016 and waited for 3 years. After completing all the documents and making our application, we started to wait for our daughter. And in this waiting period, you are not informed until you reach the 20th rank, you just wait. After reaching the 20th rank, they notify you as 19th, 18th, etc. A stressful period, a three-year pregnancy period!

How does it feel to hug another baby as a mother and father with the same excitement while there is a baby that you expect to be born in your belly? We guess not many people have experienced this, it must be an incredibly special feeling…

N.U.: It is exceedingly difficult to fully explain. I was 7 months pregnant with Doğa, she was a lively baby. While we were waiting at the meeting room that day, they brought a baby wrapped in a pink blanket, she was 13 days old. Our hands were shaking, both of us were crying unknowingly. When they gave her to my lap, I smelled her and said "Welcome, My World". No words can define that moment. I put her on my left side. Her sister softly slid on my right side as if she had given space for her. Then I turned to Haluk and said, "Daddy, hug our daughter."

H.U.: It was an indescribable feeling; it is hard to express what we did experience at that moment. Normally, Social Services call the female candidate but since they knew Nurcan was pregnant, they called me to avoid her experiencing that sudden excitement. I could not convey this news to my wife on the phone. I run to her as if I were flying. I said get ready, we are going to take our daughter tomorrow… She couldn't believe it; everyone was suddenly shocked… Families were shocked…

The next morning, we went to the orphanage with our families and relatives as if we were going to a normal birth event! It was a festive mood… As the relatives wait at the door at birth for the mother and the baby, we exactly experienced the same.

N.U.: You know, when they give your baby on your lap for the first time in the delivery room, the smell of the moment... It was the same... This smell was the smell of our daughter. I realized once again that what matters is not giving birth, and I say this everywhere, any time; what matters is not giving birth, it is giving that love, feeling that excitement… As when you get an ultrasound, you see some parts of the baby, but you realize that you become parents when they put your baby on your lap... that is what I exactly want to express.

Back to that day, paperwork at the center was delayed and they told us they can give our daughter the next day. I said no, it can't be, my daughter shouldn't be in the center for another day…

H.U.: Nurcan, in her pregnant state, was crying as "she is my daughter, she shouldn't stay here one more night" and I didn't know what to do... The governor's signature is required to take the baby away from the center. The working hour was to end at 17.00, the signature was done by 16.58, thus we could have taken our child and leave.

N.U.: I recall crying as "I am going to spend the night here if I cannot take my baby home". Thanks to them, they sped up the procedures somehow and we returned home with our daughter on that same day. The whole block was waiting in front of the door, meals were cooked, some inflated balloons, everyone was in front of the door…

We lived this process as a real pregnancy without keeping it secret from anyone… Everyone was waiting for that moment of “birth” as excitedly as we did. We came home with horn sounds etc., an exact festive atmosphere. Numerous people came home, like visiting the hospital when someone gives birth. Some brought chocolates, some brought flowers... The home was turned into a big hospital room.

And you did all these when you were 7 months pregnant...

N.U.: Doğa gave us a great comfort after we hugged Dünya, she became less active, waited for the day to see the world, to see Dünya with patience... As if she said, "Until I arrive, mom would belong to my sister". We were able to fully concentrate on Dünya. My pregnancy to Doğa was a risky pregnancy and my doctor did not want me to do anything because it could cause miscarriage, including taking Dünya into my arms. But I said no, she was on my lap all day. Dünya and Doğa were also incredibly pleased with this situation. Yes, she arrived a little early, but still, the time we spent until they both arrived was good. I seemed to have given birth twice at home, with 46 days apart…

How did you feel when you first received the news of pregnancy, how did you tell it to your spouse?

We noticed the pregnancy too late; it had already been 3 months. Since we had been going through treatment for many years, we did not even think of the possibility of pregnancy. We went to a hospital, but the work hours were over, we did a blood test, then got the result. We could not believe that the result was positive. Two people at the hospital yard who could not believe what they had just seen... We were overwhelmed by surprise rather than joy... We said that the only way to get rid of our surprise was to see the sac, and at 19:30 in the evening, we started to look for an obstetrician on duty. So, we would be convinced by seeing her on ultrasound. We found the doc, ultrasound was done, we saw the sac, we heard her heartbeat… We were flying with joy!

I would also like to add, motherhood is not about pregnancy or breastfeeding... I can say this very clearly as someone who experienced them all. It is to be able to give love when you take a child on your lap… In fact, that is the essence of motherhood.

Family elders, relatives, friends… How were their approaches while you were experiencing all these?

When we made this decision, both our families and our friends supported us because they knew very well what we lived through and experienced, they always supported us. Their suggestions and approaches were also the same, that just giving birth is not enough to become parents, but it needs to give love to a child, to provide development and lead her/his life. When we made our application, they were with us again and from the very first moment, they adopted the Dünya as well. As her arrival was not clear, gifts started to come in the process. Of course, the baby's gender was known… "We bought this for our daughter, we bought this for our granddaughter, I thought this for my niece..."

But we did not want to share the news about Doğa immediately… We thought in case we were to experience what we had before, at least we would not to excite and upset our family once again. When I was pregnant for 4 months, we called our family to our home on the Feast of Sacrifice. We prepared a nice breakfast. We have also prepared cameras beforehand to record and immortalize their reactions when we report the news. While everyone was reaching for the breakfast plates, my wife said, "I'm pregnant." Everyone looked at each other in disbelief. My wife shouted again, "I'm pregnant." This time cries and tears began... All got mixed up.

Will Dünya and Doğa siblings learn the truth?

We will not keep the adoption as a secret from our two daughters. We do not approve of any secrets within the family, so both of our daughters will learn this with the pedagogue support at the age of 4 and we will stand by them. Of course, this is a process that we do not know. Are there any points that we are afraid of? Of course, there are... We do not know how our lives will be like from now on, what will happen when they reach the age of 18... but today we cannot even tell our biological children what to do. We try to plant love and family ties and we hope to be successful. We want them to grow up with a love for siblings and family.

What are the adoption procedures? How does the process begin and how does it continue?

You apply to the Social Services Unit of the Ministry of Family and Social Policies. Some documents are requested. Insurance registry, total years of premium payment, whether if you have the competencies to take care of a child, a full screening delegation report from a public hospital, etc. are requested. It is great that this process is handled so seriously; they evaluate psychologically and physically.

Then Social Services visits your home and examines the information you have declared on site. They check the details such as whether the child will be in a suitable environment, will s/he have a room, etc. You become a Foster Family for the first year after receiving the child. During this period, you get visits 4-5 times without notice. During these visits, they follow the child's development and psychology. After completing a year, a court passes the custody to you.

You experienced another first a few months ago… Double birthdays within a short period.

We had a small wedding… Doğa was born on March 5 and Dünya was born on January 16 (but it was January 29 when we got her on our lap, so we prefer to celebrate that day as her birthday). In those days, we only got studio shots and core family celebrations. But we had a big party on the 16th of February… Altogether... Neighbors, friends, relatives…

Children's birthday preparations were quite enjoyable. Some may say what it takes to be so much, all these decorations, etc., but it is particularly important for us and we did everything with pleasure… We wanted everything to be exceptionally beautiful, we wanted them to have that pleasure once again while looking at the pictures in the future because they won't remember...

Your love for your children, life, and human life is real and felt tangible. How do you guide those who will read this life experience and think about adoption, being a foster family, visiting orphanages?

Humans live with love… Be sure to read L.N. Tolstoy's What Men Live By?. We shared this book with all our loved ones, those who were with us when we got our daughters on our lap. We gifted this book to them instead of things such as sugar and chocolate. Love must be shared and transferred. We will be incredibly happy if our experiences will lead to a family for a person, for a child.

We gained this consciousness later as well... This applies not only to people but also to institutions… What is missing in the experiences that we do not encounter much is not known as well. But acting by acknowledging these experiences is the important thing and Ford Otosan has realized that. It granted benefits to foster families and adopters. We hope this consciousness to multiply and spread.

As for your question... what kind of the way we suggest... There are a lot of kids at the orphanages. And all these kids need love… Many factors such as fear, social pressure, and anxiety may be preventing the steps you want to take. There is a perception of a foreign child… But believe me, there is no such thing when you put that child on your lap, s/he becomes your child. The state gives tremendous support, and single people can adopt when they meet favorable conditions as well. In the past, there was an age criterion, now they removed it.

There is also a foster family institution. In a foster family, the state also gives you a salary based on the child's age. They pay the insurance premiums of the mother if she is not working. The state fulfills its responsibilities very accurately so that no children can be left in the centers and all children will grow up with love in a family environment.

You can transfer your love without making more radical decisions such as adoption and being a foster family. Go and spend an hour in an orphanage. What really matters here is the time, it is not materialistic... Every new love brings happiness to children. And the children in the orphanages are happy to do something together... Playing games together, dining, reading books… We really recommend everyone to experience this at least once in their lives.

Thank you very much for sharing your life with us with all your sincerity. Have a happy, healthy, and beautiful day with Dünya and Doğa.