Katrine Anker-Nilssen meets the wonderful family behind the Upper Highway Baby Home
The Stanton family has always been passionate about children. Kerry and Gary got married 22 years ago and had Samuel (20), followed by Rebecca (17). Their adopted daughter Simangele became part of the family at four months old. “When Sma turned 10 and Gary retired from his full-time job recently, it was the perfect opportunity for us to start dedicating more time to babies again,” says Kerry, who also runs a successful environmental consulting business. “We assisted other facilities with baby care, and this really confirmed our intention to start our own baby home – providing an opportunity for abandoned babies to be loved and cared for in a safe environment.”
The adoption-based Upper Highway Baby Home in Summerveld is a registered NPO, and cares for under-twos until they can be placed in families in South Africa or Canada. “The babies are part of our family whilst they are here. A nursery is connected to our house and looked after around the clock by us, five permanent staff and a huge volunteer base that has quickly become an integral part of the baby home,” says Kerry.
“Our babies play with their siblings beautifully, they know what it’s like to go to the shops and to the beach, they do school runs and interact with lots of people and our pets on a daily basis. This way we can be sure that happy, well-adjusted tots will be confident when they meet their new families for the first time.”
Kerry runs various courses on baby care for students and scholars, and also offers a community service programme. The warm and loving baby home has become a sanctuary for everyone who visits, and is thankful all the donated goods from our supportive community. “We also have professionals who give of their time to help with the babies – such as a paediatrician, a clinic sister, an OT and an audiologist,” says Kerry.
The UHBH is at full capacity with six babies, but in the process of registering as a cluster facility – and will then be in a position to help 12 babies at a time. An extension to the nursery is under construction, which will allow for more space when completed.
“Our lives have become a lot busier and we are never off duty, but we could not be happier. Each morning we get the first gummy smiles of the day, and in the evening the baby smell and comfort of the last cuddle before they are placed in their cribs for the night is priceless,” smiles Kerry.