Staff Spotlight – Malefa Semakela

What is your job title and what is your role in working with Small World?

I am the Representative of Small World Adoption in Lesotho. I am the liaison person between Small World and the Ministry of Social Development. I make sure that paperwork on the sending side is well organized in line with the Hague. I meet up with adoptive parents and help them through their stay in Lesotho. I work closely with the Lesotho Program Director in giving updates and reports on the state of adoptions.

How long have you been working with Small World?

I have been working with Small World to help children get forever families for 8 great years . The journey started back in 2013 after Lesotho signed the Hague Convention and it has been a good since then.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

After all the paperwork and waiting, the look on both the adoptee and the adoptive parents when the child first walks into the room and they get to meet them for the first time is priceless!! It is the most fulfilling feeling ever to watch… .

Also, towards the end of the parent’s stay in Lesotho, I enjoy it when the adopted child doesn’t cry for me or the care facility workers anymore. For me, it shows she/he recognizes who the parents are and that the detachment of previous caregivers and attachment of new ones is going well.

How have you grown personally from working at Small World and with their families?

I have learned a lot. Personally, I am a bubbly curious person who is always willing to learn, and I get to learn a lot from interacting with the adoptive families. Working with Small World families has helped me grow a lot in the way I used to do things. I am now paying attention to little things that I could have otherwise left unattended. Being part of the Small World family has made me understand better and appreciate the unconditional love God has for everyone.

Small World families travel miles and come to Lesotho trusting and knowing they will meet me (a Social Worker they have never met face to face) that makes me want to always perfect my game. It is through their trust and faith in the process that I have personally grown spiritually to have faith in the Lord that in due time He will make the way.

Why do you love adoption?

Everything!! Every child should grow in a loving environment and adoption provides exactly that. I think adoption is about the only way we can truly achieve James 1:27. The children are better off in the forever home because the welfare system can have an everlasting impact on their lives. I love to be in the legally recognized adoption framework; My dad was adopted. His mother passed on when he was little, so he was taken to live with a distant relative who didn’t share his surname. He grew up there attending school during the week and herding cattle during the weekend, until he went to work in South Africa mines and eventually married. That’s when me and my five siblings were born to the now deceased mother. To this day we still regard that “adoptive” family as our grandparents’ place, and we have lots of cousins. When I became a Social Worker, I told him I work for an adoption agency. He was so happy that I am helping children have families. So, I guess that is why I love adoption, it’s sort of in my story.

What is a memorable story and how you have seen God move through the Small World?

One memorable story I called GOD’S TIMING IS PERFECT

Through Small World we managed to finally find a home for a child who has to be the oldest child I have ever processed paperwork for. The child has had 2 disrupted adoptions in her life, and this was the successful one. From delayed paperwork to having Gotcha Day amidst the Covid pandemic. Power of God and His grace was all needed to see her home. This adoption took extraordinarily hard work and pushing through barriers in the adoption team. Most of the Social Workers used to say, “I will reach the epitome of my career when she is finally home”. Indeed, when she got home there were tears of joy. All thanks to Small World.

Why is the Lesotho program so important?

With the escalating rate of orphanhood caused by both HIV/AIDS and COVID Pandemic, the program is needed because the children find a forever Christian family. It is best because Small World is Hague Accredited and Lesotho is signatory to the same convention, therefore adoptions are ethical. With Lesotho there is a minimal chance of adoption disruptions.

What is your favorite Bible verse?

Revelation 21: 4!!! I can’t wait for that time….