Australian basketball star Cayla George has opened up about an incredibly selfless act from her sister-in-law, who gave George her baby, Pearl.
Serena, the sister of George’s husband Kailou, helped the couple because they had been struggling to conceive.
“My husband is a Torres Strait Islander, and in their culture they have a custom of island adoption between family members that’s been around for generations,” George told Channel 7’s Sunrise program.
“It’s only (just) become legal, there was bill passed in 2020 to make it officially legal, so good timing!
“Kailou’s beautiful sister Serena gifted us with baby Pearl. We got to name her though, so I’ve had her since birth. She has just been the biggest blessing in our lives.
“And I will be forever grateful and thankful to my beautiful sister-in-law for her selfless action of gifting me with a child.”
The custom in question is called Kupai Omasker, and involves the consensual transfer of a child from its birth parents to another set of parents.
Before the change in the law, the family identity of these children did not align with their identity under Australia’s legal system, with all sorts of cultural, social and legal implications.
“The last 12 months have been pretty unreal,” George told Sunrise.
“Being a mum, she kind of takes all my thoughts and my mind, and it’s helped me play as good as I have this season,” she said.
“(It gives me) perspective on life. After a loss I just grab her and everything seems to be all right.”
The Opals and Melbourne Boomers star was speaking in the wake of winning the Suzy Batkovic Medal on Sunday night. The award recognises the Most Valuable Player in the WNBA.
“Becoming a mum has been the best thing ever. But like I said on stage, I credit this win to my daughter Pearl,” she said on Sunday.
“She’s given me perspective and a new mentality, I don’t have time to overthink about my performance. I love seeing her in the stands in a purple jersey, it makes so happy. And now finals time is anyone’s time, and I’m looking forward to seeing how they play out.”