Meet Jonica. . . A mother to four children with four different fathers, and despite what it may seem, their story is the most heartwarming, unconventional journey that reinstates faith in humanity.
Q. Can you share a little about your journey into motherhood?
In all honesty, I’m not an overly maternal person. I don't coo over babies and I never liked the idea of being pregnant. I could have easily been done after having Caja and becoming a single mum but when I met and married Clint, having a child was important to him and we were lucky enough to have Jonty. The perfect pair, one of each, what more did I need. That’s what I thought.
And now I’m a mum of 4. 4 kids by 4 dads. Don’t judge me. I’d been in Vanuatu for 2 years on maternity leave with Jonty when I was asked to adopt Hendry.
“I already have a baby”, Jonica said.
“1 small boy, 2 small boys”, came his reply.
And I guess I kind of agreed. Jonty and Caja had a 9 year age gap and I felt it would be really nice for him to have a brother close in age. I didn’t realise how close though, they’re only 5 months between them. They’re in the same class at school. We call them 'twiblings'.
Q. What was the most challenging part about this process in making Hendry's adoption official?
It wasn’t an easy process, navigating the laws of two countries, but it was possible and around a year later, he was legally ours.
The law in Vanuatu is actually a closed adoption but it just never felt right to us because Henny’s birth family loved him and his mamma Ruth was putting him before herself and I admired her for that selfless act of love. And so we started our own unofficial open adoption. And so far, so good. We go back and visit a couple of times a year and Mumma Ruth has been out to Australia too. It’s really important for Hendry to keep connected with his family, his culture, and his country. Actually all of my kids call her mamma ruth now. And her family call me mamma Jonica. So that’s 3 kids and 3 dads and this time I was definitely done.
Q. Can you share a little bit about Stanley story?
Having the twiblings was a lot, but then one day when they were about 4 years old I got a call from a social worker in the UK. My father had recently passed away and my sister had been struggling over the years and this really shook her.
Unfortunately, my nephew Stanley needed to be placed elsewhere and they always tried family first. He was 7 months old. What followed was a really difficult year of emotions, visas, court cases, while Australia was in the midst of one of the strictest lockdowns the world has ever seen.
I’ll be honest, after some big conversations at home, a lot of late nights and a lot of tears, we decided not to go ahead with our application for him. But I guess, some things are supposed to be and that plan kind of turned upside down.
A year later, I found myself in hotel quarantine in Sydney by myself with three preschoolers for two weeks after coming back from the UK to collect him.
That’s my unconventional journey into motherhood. It’s been a rollercoaster. But actually, I love it. I love having a big noisy family. They have their friends over, it’s crazy and it’s perfect all at once.
Q. How do you celebrate Mother's Day?
Mother’s Day for me is bittersweet, I absolutely celebrate with the kids and I enjoy all of the attention and their naff handmade gifts they give me and if I’m lucky some Francesca pieces I keep sending my husband links to. But also, I’m mindful that there are 2 biological mother’s out there who are not celebrating with their children they birthed, but I am. I am very aware of that!