Friday, July 31, 2009

Yes, I am still planning on posting my journal on here. I'm not procrastinating. I just need to get my journal off the laptop I took to Ethiopia but it doesn't have a burner so I have to use an external hard drive. Ok, the truth is, I just have to do it. So much to do, so little time. So in the meantime, I thought I'd post some pictures . . .

The kids are enjoying their new little brother and as you can see above, they already welcomed him into their reading club. Even Samara is doing well in her role as a big sister. Overall she's pretty good with him although there are some things you can hear around here more often: "Samara, be gentle", "Samara, his arm doesn't bend that way", "No Samara, he can't have your chicken", etc. Don't worry, we won't let her babysit anytime soon!
P.S. To all you expert bloggers . . . does anyone know how to transfer text from a word document to my blog? Cut and paste doesn't seem to work. Please let me know if you can help. Thanks.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

We're Home!

For those of you that don't know, I just arrived home on Saturday afternoon after spending 10 days in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. There were a lot of circumstances that lead to this last minute travel and I hope to blog all about it. I was able to journal while in Ethiopia and I will also share that with you when I am able to find some time. Here's an email I sent out to family and friends yesterday:

Hello everyone. Denver and I made it home safely on Saturday afternoon at around 1:30. I'm still in shock and can't believe that the events of the past two weeks really happened. My emotions have been through the ringer - pulled every which way. When I left for Ethiopia two weeks ago, I had every intention of staying as long as I had to and at that point it looked like it was going to be weeks or even months. Now here we are, two weeks later, all together as a family of six. God is good! Despite the extreme stress and uncertainties and although this trip was not AT ALL what it was supposed to be, we saw God's hand working clearly many times. He watched over all of us, kept us safe and healthy and never once let us down.
When I think about saying thank you, I don't even know where to begin. So many of you played huge parts in all of this and we want you to know how much we appreciate you and what you've done for us. We couldn't have done it without you and your support and prayers mean so much.

Denver is doing relatively well. He has been through a lot and he is extremely overwhelmed. Aside from two parents that love him to bits, he has three siblings that are in his face 24/7. They can't get enough of him and he needs to get used to all the activity in our home. He's a happy and content baby and he's eating and sleeping really well. Him and I are still getting used to Canadian time but the jet lag doesn't seem nearly as bad comign home as it did going there - for that I am thankful. Last night Denver fell asleep at 6:30 pm and I followed about an hour latera. The next thing I knew, it was 4:30 am and Denver was awake and ready to play. I feel quite refreshed today after having nine hours of solid sleep - can't remember the last time I slept so well.

Please continue to pray for us as we go through this time of adjustment. We're all getting used to the changes and it's going to be a while before we're back to some sort of normalcy - is there such a thing as "normal" with four young kids??? I also want to ask you to continue to pray for the situation with our agency and all the families that are caught up in the mess. We have some dear friends that were waiting for referrals, some others that hope to travel soon to pick up their kids and some new friends that I met at the guest house in Ethiopia that are waiting for visas so they too can return home soon. We know that God can make these things right and we pray that His will be done.

On my last day in Ethiopia I was able to visit the orphanage where Denver spent the first month of his life (before he was brought into our agency's transition home). One of the caregivers there was wearing a shirt that said "God will never let you down" and I thought it was so appropriate after all we had been through. I just want to leave you with this verse from Psalm 55:22: "Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall".
Love you lots.


Here are some of the pictures that were taken on Saturday. I can't believe I'm posting the one of me doing the ugly cry but I think it portrays the relief I felt at finally being on Canadian soil with our entire family all together.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Adoption Friends

On Sunday afternoon we went to a bbq at the home of another family adopting from Ethiopia. There were five families there all together - two couldn't make it. We had such a great time! They have a beautiful home with lots of room for the kids to run and play. It's such a blessing to hang out with other families that have adopted or are adopting - specifically from Ethiopia (one family has adopted from both China and Ethiopia). It's fun to get to know each other and share the joys and concerns, the ups and downs of international adoption. Here are a few of the many pictures we took at the bbq.

A cake with the names of the children referred to our families over the past few months. What a neat idea!

I had no idea Victoria was such a cat lover. Those who know me, know she did NOT get that from her mother (right Aunt Christy??)!

A little visitor

This morning we had a visitor at our place. We found him wandering around under our van in the driveway. He just stared at us as we took some pictures and then wandered out into the garden. After a while he had enough and walked across the street into the neighbour's backyard. A few hours later we saw him again walking down the street to the end of our court. Although he's kinda creepy and not the cutest looking baby I've ever seen, I did feel kinda sorry for him as he was clearly lost. He was so tired and looked as though he could hardly keep his eyes open. I hope he ended up finding his mama so he could finally get some rest (and not come back to our place again!)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Family Outing

Last Friday evening we got an email from a friend saying she had five tickets for a Blue Jay game for the following day and they were unable to go - does anyone want them? After briefly discussing it with Mike, we decided to take them (thanks Marg!!!). When we told the kids where we were going the next morning, they were beyond excited. We were actually going to see a real live baseball game in Toronto! At this point I have to admit I was having second thoughts about taking three small children to such an event. But it ended up being a lot of fun. The kids were very interested in the game and asked all kinds of questions. They really wanted to understand what was going on so they could cheer when appropriate; however, the Jays ended up losing 10 - 0 so there wasn't a whole lot of cheering going on. Regardless of the score, we had a great time and it was a very fun family outing.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Remember me???

So I guess it’s been a while since I’ve posted eh? Wow . . . over a month. Where does the time go? There’s nothing specific taking up my time, just a whole lot of everyday living.

  • Since we passed court on May 20, I’ve been “nesting”. Organizing, sorting, chucking, donating, cleaning, reorganizing, etc. I’ve gone through a lot of clothes for Denver, sorted them all by size and am trying to predict what size he’ll be wearing. On our last update pictures, he was wearing a 12 month sleeper that we sent along in a care package. It fits him pretty good already and wasn’t even six months old when the pictures were taken! I’ve gone through Victoria, Austin and Samara’s clothes. I’ve even gone through mine and Mike’s clothes and got rid of a lot of stuff that we never wear anymore. I’m feeling lighter!

  • I’ve also been doing a bit of packing. Putting things together that will be useful for travel. I want to be somewhat prepared when we get the call to go ahead and bring him home. (Can you really be totally prepared for something like that?!?!?)

  • We went to get our needles. Ok, when I say “we”, I mean Samara. The three of us went to the travel medicine clinic so we could get what we needed and as it turned out, Mike and I didn’t need anything because we were all set from when we traveled to China 2.5 years ago. Poor Samara though. We had been telling her that all three of us would be getting “poked” and then it turns out she was the only one that needed not one, but two needles. She was so brave though . . . cried a little until the nurse gave her a candy necklace. Candy works every time!

  • I’ve been running again . . . mostly on my own (or with our dog Teagan) but trying to get back into the swing of getting up early to run at 5:30 am with the great bunch of girls that I used to run with a few months ago. I miss them when I don’t run with them and I’m much more motivated when I run with a group. I just don’t have the same conversations with Teagan!

  • I’ve been doing a lot of typing. For those of you that don’t know, I work part-time doing medical transcription from home. I’ve been doing it for over seven years and I’ve been blessed to be able to stay home with my kids and still earn a bit of cash. However, it’s been taking over lately and I’ve been very overwhelmed with it all. So, I’ve had to cut back and let three of the doctors know that as of the end of June, I won’t be transcribing their notes anymore. It was really hard for me to let go of them but I know it’s best for me and my family . . . especially after Denver comes home.

  • I was in BC for a week at the end of May/beginning of June. My sister-in-law had her third chemo treatment and so I was able to help out with the kids and whatever else needed to be done. It was so good to be there and visit and catch up and just see how they’re all doing . . . which happens to be quite well despite their circumstances. Thanks for letting me come and visit guys. Keep up the fight Christel – you’re a trooper and a huge inspiration!

  • The kids are out of school for the summer already. Again, where has the time gone? Victoria finished grade two and Austin finished kindergarten. I can’t believe they’ll both be in school full-time next year! So here we are trying to get used to being all together all the time with no specific routine. I bought the kids some workbooks so they can work on math, reading, writing, etc. during the summer. We work on it for at least an hour every morning (during the week) and they actually love it. In the afternoon, the kids always have an hour of “quiet time”. That means they are each in their own rooms either reading or doing something quiet on their own. We all need this time. It’s good for them to take a break from each other and it’s good for me to have this quietness too. And then of course there’s a whole lot of playing in between too.

  • We plan to do some play dates and visits with friends at parks or splash pads/wading pools too. My sister-in-law and I have decided to “switch kids” for a full day once a week. That means one week I get the girls and she gets the boys and the next week, it’s the opposite. She has a daughter Breanna that’s Victoria’s age, a son Zachary that’s Austin’s age and a daughter Cassandra that’s Samara’s age. So it works out really well and they play quite nice together. We’re hoping it will be a good change for the kids (and their mamas!).

  • We’re getting together with a bunch of adoptive families (adopting or adopted from Ethiopia) next weekend. We’ve gotten together with the women and small children before but this time it will be our husbands and all the kids too. Can’t wait! Since we saw each other last time, two more families have gotten referrals and hopefully there will be more in the near future.

  • It’s a very exciting time coming up for my friend Catherine. She’s probably about a month (at the most) away from seeing her daughter Hannah’s face for the very first time. After waiting over 39!!!! months, she should be receiving a referral from China in the month of July. I can’t wait! She’s been such an amazingly patient mama and such an example in the adoption community. Did I mention that she’s waited for 39 months??!?!?!?!?

So that’s it. I didn’t mean to be this long winded but I guess that’s what happens when you don’t post on your blog for so many weeks. I will try to do some more posts to catch up in the next little while. If you have a blog that I usually follow, I am still reading and following along . . . just not commenting all the time. I hope all is well with everyone.