Monday, February 28, 2011

Foto Friday - on Monday

Our backyard this morning. Sad to think that Feb 14th, 2010 - the crocuses were 2" out of the ground! I think we have a long way to go before we see any signs of them this year! Didn't that darn groundhog NOT see his shadow?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Second home study and a visit from the SPCA!

Today started off with a call from a local petstore. I had previously left 2 complaints with the store employee regarding the care of their turtles. Poor little lifeless turtles... heads hung on the ground, eyes closed and unresponsive to the touch. The turtles were kept in a frog terrarium... a little amount of water and no dry basking area and no heat lamp.

The owner and I had it out on the phone... his defense was that had been visited by the SPCA a year ago about his turtles (he assumed it was me that called them. - wrong.)and his turtles were found to be in great health and his store got great grades. So, we went toe to toe on almost every care issue, the water, the lights, the temperature, the frogs. (I have 2 Red eared sliders, and I am well educated on their habitat requirements.) We resolved it with his agreement to add a basking lamp and that he would read an email that I had previously made with information and informative links.

Shortly after this phone call, our Social worker showed up for our second visit. First question was how do you describe yourself? My answer - "Passionate".
Dan and I agree that we just love these visits. They are amazingly therapeutic! Questions asked of you that you would never think about. Questions that invoke thought and reflection... About yourself, your relationship with your spouse, your parenting skills etc. It's an incredible experience and unfortunate that not all parents can experience this. There are some things that we have realized could be improved or done differently... just by simply reflecting back on these questions!

20 minutes later, the door bell rings. A man introduces himself as a SPCA officer - as he flashes the badge on his belt. I'm thinking to myself... WOW... how does he know I have a bone to pick with someone!? LOL... Only to find out that someone made a report about a dog with an injured leg that has no shelter. I chuckled, invited him inside and introduced him to Mikha and Koda. Mikha is 10 years old and has bad arthritis in his rear leg. Arthritis that set in a leg that he had badly strained as a younger dog. He does limp after laying for too long or when the weather is colder. We juggle his pain meds... only giving it to him when we feel necessary as it harmful for his kidneys.
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We live in a small town, and on the edge of town. We have a very large treed lot and a walking path right behind our property. Our neighbourhood and town are very dog friendly. Dogs are off leash... etc. Our dogs are permitted to hang outside "free". They don't run away... they mainly stay on our property, and our younger dog will accompany other dog walkers on the trail. In fact, many people come walking by to pick Koda up because he plays so well with their dog.
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However, our dogs are indoor dogs. They are members of the family and they live with us. Dan and I can't help but chuckle about the silliness of it all. Yes... he can limp, but most dogs owner can tell it is arthritis in the hip.. it's quite obvious... and yes, we do let our dogs outside - but it doesn't mean we don't let them in! I try to think of what circumstances would have prompted this individual to make a report. Perhaps they walked by on a colder day, and both vehicles were not in the driveway and Mikha limped up to greet them? And so what... did they ring our door bell to see if someone was home, did they go into our backyard and look for a dog house, or a shed? We also shake our head at the fact that Mikha's long, thick coat makes him cold weather worthy for a much colder climate than here! Our average winter temp is 3 degrees above freezing! LOL... BUT... all chuckling aside, I am very happy that there are people out there that do care and do advocate for others and animals... We need to be the voice of the voiceless.

However, as the SPCA officer told my children.. "Those people should have done exactly what your Mom did with the owner of the turtles and spoke with her directly." All ended well... he was a very nice fellow, and said the situation was obvious when he walked up the driveway and met Mikha.

Hopefully, I will not have to resort to making a report. I really hope that my "voiced" concern will motivate the pet store owner to make some changes for those little turtles.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Why I Blog (*with tiny disclaimer*)

I wear my heart on my sleeve. I am confident. I have nothing to hide. I take ownership of my actions and who I am.

Blogging allows me to connect with other adoptive parents. Adoption is an incredibly difficult process and reading adoption blogs has already helped me along in this process. Adoption blogs provide information, and insight that you can't get anywhere else. They confirm that you are not alone in your thoughts, emotions and experience. Blogging is a portal for friends and family to support you and cheer you on through this process. It allows them to be a part of the journey that will bring their Granddaughter, niece, cousin, or little buddy home.

Blogging is a way for me to de-stress and get it off my chest, akin to journalling.

Blogging about adoption is to raise awareness... and help others find their way to their journey. On that note, once this adoption is complete, it is my goal to give back to Africa via missions, fundraising etc. I need readers to make it successful!

*Enter Disclaimer*
Although, I am quite aware that I am "putting it all out there" for the world to see - and quite content with that - , it does not grant anyone permission to tell us how to live our lives or offer unsolicited negatively toned advice or opinions. Welcomed here, with any thoughts and feedback, is fellow adopted parents, and supportive friends and family.

Read my blog for no other reason than because you like what I have to say or have an honest interest in our journey... *Exit Disclaimer*

I appreciate all those who do follow along with me on this journey... I hope my blog can one day provide you an ounce of information and support that I have received from reading your blogs and those of others.

My promise to you is to keep it real and honest. I will also keep it public for as long as possible. There may be a time where I have to become very vague about the country or details about our child... but only for the safety of the child and the adoption process/travel in country. However, if you know me or shoot me off a message - you will likely get more details than you needed! Also, obviously... I am trying to keep agency info etc. under the radar, but have no problems disclosing that information as well if you send me a message.

Please... don't hesitate to leave your comments, I love to hear your thoughts and see where you all (y'all?) are from. ;)

Blessings,

Jolene

Monday, February 21, 2011

This Mom is going Green(er)!


Why? Because I spend waaay too much money on purchasing organic products when they can be easily made at home. Green is healthier for you, the environment and your pocket book!

If you are not an organic consumer - you may find some of these listed in your household product ingredients.


MIT (methylisothiazolinone)
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
DEA (diethanolamine)
Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate
Propylene Glycol
Tocopheryl Acetate
Parabens
Aluminum

These are just some of the harmful chemicals that you will find in your shampoo and other beauty products.
With your skin being the largest organ - it is only soaking these nasties right up! These chemicals are known to cause cancer, birth defects, Alzheimers, rashes, dandruff, infections, blisters, hives, reduce fertility and cause hormone inbalances - just to name a few. ;)

So, feel free to join me in the upcoming weeks as we make all natural, organic household products such as shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, lotion, deodorant and cleaners. It will not only be easy (and most ingredients you will already have!)... but fun too! (And I guarantee you they will work!)

Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Home study visit #1

We had our first visit yesterday with the social worker. She tells me that our agency requires 5-6 visits! Isn't that unusual? I thought 3 was the norm. I guess that's why their homestudy is $500 more than other agencies?!

Anyway, we are lucky that she just happens to be on vacation... so we can squeeze these in sooner than later. She is a very nice, lovely woman. We really enjoyed our time with her... We went through 4 pages of questions that basically give her a sense of who we are and why we are the way we are. (Nuttier than squirrel poo! lol ;)

We are looking forward to the next few visits... the sooner the better.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

War on the pantry moth!

I have been battling these darn things for years! It all started with a batch of hemp seeds. All I wanted was a little nutritious salad topper, and I ended up with a pantry infestation.
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Since that time, I only store food in airtight containers and I do weekly pantry scrubs. If you don't properly store your food, they will find a way in. I have had to throw out 3 brand new bags of rice because they have gotten in when they have not even been opened!

I have learned that they love nuts and seeds the best, and are not fond of spices or tea. I have also learned that if you can get rid of the food source, they simply cannot survive. However, they. are. clever! Just when I thought I got rid of them, they turned up in my daughters room. Food source - an old bag of hamster treats that she had stored in her bedside drawer. So we did a culling and a cleaning. They disappeared again... only to come back. Where? In my office that is in the basement! Food source - a couple almonds left in a bag that got pushed behind a stack of envelopes. Culled and cleaned. They came back a couple more times at no ones fault other than my own... bird seed that I thought would be okay because it had a ziploc closure. After properly storing the bird seed, I also took a tip from my neighbor and applied stickers to all the holes in my pantry walls. (You know the holes for moving the shelves... apparently they get in behind these holes and that's why you can't get rid of them!) So today, I saw a little bugger flying around my office. I swatted him and then started another thorough cleaning. Food source: A Reeses peanut butter wrapper.
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I guarantee you... I hardly left a crumb of that one little peanut butter cup behind! But yet... they have somehow found enough to feed off. Once you find a moth... you need to locate his larva friends. But, remember - they are clever! This is what I found:(Iphone quality - sorry) Can you see them?
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How about a close up?
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So, I open the sucker up (which has never been opened before!)... and find this hidden inside:
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I told you they were clever right?! They have been winning this war for 2 years now. I would love it if anyone had any advice... or ideas... Is there anything I can do that I haven't already haven't done!? I have also found larva cocooned (as in the photos) in my folded fleece sheets that are in the linen closet. Not near any food source. They were much smaller than normal. I don't know if they got desperate and took to eating fleece? I hope they aren't evolving, the damn things!

**Side adoption note - First home study is TODAY! Yippee!

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Price of Convenience

2 years ago, I traded this:
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for this:
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I recently stumbled over a fantastic article that can explain (much better than I can!) why I got rid of my microwave. You can read it HERE.

"Research has shown microwave ovens to incur serious damage to food during the heating process – from tearing molecules in food apart, causing some nutrients to become inert, to altering the composition to make a healthy substance carcinogenic. There are also issues with plastic containers leeching into the food and exposure to radiation coming from the microwave during the cooking process."

While I had stopped using microwave containers and plastic wrap long ago, the fact that the nutrients were being "zapped" out of the food I was feeding my children - forced me to make the change. (I cringe when I see Mothers warming baby's milk in the microwave...!!)

In exchange for the microwave, we purchased a small Bravetti convection oven. I was concerned about the amount of energy used to heat an entire oven to warm up one piece of pizza. This little oven is fantastic! It can heat up a piece of pizza in minutes, and double as a second oven for Christmas time etc. I cook asparagus in it all the time and use it to brown all my nuts and seeds and salads etc. I can honestly say that I don't miss the microwave. I still sometimes eat convenience food such as frozen lunches (Eek I know - but they are the healthy kind! lol)... in which case I will empty it into a saucepan, or simply heat it up in the convection oven. It does take longer than the microwave - but at least I'm not eating nutrient devoid food anymore! I challenge you to make the switch!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Who doesn't love a sale?

When we used to live near the city, I would make 2 big clothes shopping trips a year. One in February and one in September. I would buy discounted clothes from the season past for my kids to wear the following season. This is the cheapest way to purchase clothes! Never mind consignmnet, or thrift stores - I typically get my clothes cheaper than I could at a thrift store! Living 3.5 hours away from the nearest city centre has certainly put a cramp on my shopping, and has increased our clothing budget. However, sometimes I can find some good deals at the big box stores we have here in Nelson. Last weekend I went out on the hunt for a winter jacket for Muffin next year. Found some great deals on jackets, but nothing her size. This is what I did pick up though...
4 pairs of jeans, 2 spring/fall jacket sweaters, a really nice pair of ski pants for Mister, and a nice summer jacket for Muffin. Not bad for $80!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

No one wants to hear...

... me whine, cry, kick, and complain. I am trying to bring forth a post full of joy and bliss... But, this is all I got right now.
These few words asked of me by my agency director - "Are there other countries you would be willing to explore...?" has made me sick. to. my. stomach.
This confirms my fears. She knows. I know. Adopting from Africa is a damn near impossibility. Let's be realistic and not sugar coat this now. I have been following 6 Africa yahoo groups for over a year. Ethiopia (2), Rwanda, Congo (2), and Uganda. I have been stalking hundreds of blogs for over a year. I know what's going on out there in the world of African adoptions. DRC - supposed to be this new, quick pilot program. That's all fine, until everyone hears about it! Canadians don't stand a chance in this program, because we have to work through a US facilitator. All but 2 DRC agencies are no longer taking new clients (due to huge waitlists). Our facilitator is one that is still taking applications. Guess what this means? (Ever try to make your way through a sea of buffalo?) Their waitlist that was at 80 a month ago, is likely at 120 and steadily growing... I am told you need immigration papers and be dossier ready to get on this list.
In Canada, at our agencies... we are put on waiting lists at the start of your homestudy. So where does that leave us who are on the list at the Canadian agency? No where... as we still don't qualify to get on the list at the US facilitating agency. In the dust. And, by the time our agency agrees to continue this program past the pilot stage, the facilitating agency will have a list that can rival any Canadian Ethiopian list. Which, essentially in my mind - means that a viable DRC program no longer exists in Canada, and will not UNLESS one these agencies decides to facilitate themselves.
So. I sit. And question... And wonder... Why? Is it all for nothing? Does the likelihood of adoption mean that my children will be double digits and my husband will be over 50 - which brings a whole new issue and limitations to the table? Am I just throwing money out the window? Yes, in all likelihood... I am paying thousands of dollars for an experience of a life time... home study, agony, aggrevation, frustration, disparity - it's like a torture retreat. I am the realist in the family - Dan is the fantasy man. It would be so much easier to go through this process with his eyes. However, I hold an itty bitty sliver of hope - that some child will pop up somewhere, or an African country will perhaps open up - so I will continue to fight. And I am stubborn. Resilient. I will not lose this fight lying down. So I will kick, and scream from the mountain tops if I have to... because there are 50 million orphans in Africa!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Straight up - Tulip!

I love the simple elegance of spring flowers. No filler, muss and fuss - just an abundance of simplicity. For Valentine's day I purchased my Mother in law 5 bundles of tulips, a vase and some river rocks. I put them together right at the flower counter of Safeway. The lovely florist gave me a hand, and accented it with some purple tule. She then asked me if I had any pennies. I dug into my pocket and came up with a handful of change. "Why is that?" I asked.
"Pennies make the tulips stand straight up and last longer."
Really!? I had never heard that before! She said they liked the copper.
So, when hubby gave me a bunch of tulips for Valentine's, I decided to try it. In went the pennies with my stones.
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This is what they looked like when I first put them in... and typically this is what they look like for days afterwards.
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And this is what they look like, one day later! Yep, they are standing straight up that's for sure!! In fact, you can't even tell they are the same bunch of tulips, it appears as though I removed half of them!
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It's too much for this vase, and does not balance out. I prefer them to be fanned out a bit more like in the before picture... so unless I was using a thinner, taller vase - this is not a look I would strive for. However, it is quite impressive!
Some websites say this is just a wife's tale... and really all pennies post '96 don't even contain copper! But... as you can see here - it did the trick! (Viagra for flowers!! ;) I am interested to see if the pennies will prolong the life of the tulips. Apparently, aspirin is supposed to have the same affect.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Blessing or a Curse?

Imagine (the agency we have been on a waiting list with for over a year for the Ethiopia program), has merged with Mission of Tears. They will be shutting down their agency location and all files will be transferred to the MOT location. What does this mean for us?

1 of 2 things.
It will either help our case - operations will be better managed, and perhaps referrals will pick up pace.
(CHOICES does not work with Imagine, but does contract with MOT. This is a big bonus for us, as we would have had to pay more money and transfer our HS to a cooperating agency, should we finally get the call from Imagine. It is comforting to know that our agency can now act on our behalf for either DRC or Ethiopia (Imagine).)

or

It will hinder our process. We do not have a file with Imagine. Our name is simply written on some scrap of paper that has probably worked it's way under some dusty filing cabinet. The list is known as the "new client list". This is the waiting list to get a file to be on the official "Waiting List". Will MOT honour this list? I certainly do not want to lose my place in line that took me 12 months to get there! I have spoken with (and followed up with an email) MOT, and they have yet to get back to me. There is also some talk that MOT has age restrictions, which may affect us with Dan's age.

I guess we have come to that fork in the road, where we have to wait and see if the vehicle veers left or proceeds to the right. I am hoping this is a sign!

Friday, February 11, 2011

55 Random Things about ME

I just uncovered a list I wrote on Facebook a couple years ago... I found it interesting and thought you may too! I added a couple more... and may eventually get to one hundred.




1. I am the oldest sibling of 6.
2. My biggest fault is my need to be in control served up with a side of perfectionism... I guess I am a true "Leo".
3. My favorite colour is green and pink, but most of my wardrobe is brown... it is the new black after all!
4. I need to read before I go to sleep at night.
5. I once bred Cockroaches... yes it's true, even Madagascar Hissers!
6. I also bred Silkworms.
7. If people new me they would find that strange, as I USED to be very afraid of moths and butterflies... now I just prefer them to be under 3 inches before they land on me...eeeww.
8. I love sushi.
9. I love to cook, the more gourmet and challenging... the better!
10. I suck at baking, because I find following a recipe very challenging, as I always tweak recipes when I cook - and that does not work with baking!
11. I had an appendectomy when I was 35 weeks pregnant with Mister.
12. My feet are a size 6.5 - 7.. and I cannot wear a heel without a heel strap as my foot would fall off the shoe - darnit!
13. I love shoes... you will never be too fat to wear your shoes!
14. I love to travel in my shoes... I want to see the world!
15. I love my son's "cuddlies" in the morning.
16. I love the smell of lemons and eucalyptus...
17. My daughter makes me beam with pride.
18. My life goal is to adopt not only a child, but Africa into my heart. 19. The only food I cannot eat is olives... yuck!
20. I have a strange attraction to men with long hair.
21. I am going to do my best to take up a new sport this spring... perhaps Squash.
22. I have a really great Spaghetti Squash recipe if anyone wants it!
23. I eat vegetables people may have never heard of or would never buy... rapini, kale, swiss chard and bok choy to name a few...
24. Sitting here now I realize that I forgot to eat lunch today and that might explain why I keep coming back to the topic of food!
25.I think my husband is the best husband in the world, not because I am biased... he just really is.
26. We are organic junkies, I try to provide my children with the best nutrition possible. I hate that we can't always afford to buy organic meat.
27. When I was in High School, I wanted to become a social worker and work in an adoption agency. How ironic is that?
28. I ended up going for Business Administration, because I became concerned that if I were to become a social worker, I would end up with 12 children and working for free.
29. The first time I ever went skiing with my husband, I totally stuck my ski tips in the hill, and the chair ran us over.
30. I am now scared of departing a chair on the chairlift.
31. When I was 15, my BFF and I pierced our belly buttons ourselves!
32. I don't have any tattoos, and I would need a REALLY good reason to ever get one... not just because I think daisies are pretty.
33. I really dislike my current business/working position and constantly look for discractions to get me out of work.
34. I peel a banana the right way - not like monkeys do, despite my husband's efforts to prove that monkeys are professional banana peelers.
35. My husband is 13 yrs older than me. That freaked me out at first, but I fell in love with his maturity and charisma. He exuded chivalry in ways that no man of the age of 25 could!
36. I now realize that wasn't necessarily a product of his age, but just who he is.
37. I LOATHE it when fellow Facebookers deny you access to their wall. What is the point of being my friend on facebook? Obviously, you either have something to hide, or we are not close enough - and therefore you should just "un-friend" me!
38. I also don't like when people emotionally unload a facebook rant about their "baby's sperm donor not paying the child support that month" etc... Please have the respect for your child not to diss on a public forum about their bio parent. It is so immature and tacky.
39. I do not work out as much as I should - I plan to change that.
40. I can skip meals all the time without it bothering me.
41. I realize that not eating regularly really hinders any weightloss efforts.
42. I love gardening... esp. tomatoes. I get such great satisfaction out of growing my own food!
43. Yes, I am a soccer Mom with minivan to boot. Honestly, once you go minivan you will never look at another vehicle again.
44. If I won the lottery, I would pay of all our debt... and travel the world doing missionary work along the way.
45. I procrastinate doing laundry.
46. My favorite cake is carrot cake with cream cheese icing the way my Mom makes it. No one can make it the same.
47. I feel bad for killing insects or mice... I will take them outside if I'm in charge. (I know... they will only come back, but still I can't do it.)
48. I once had 2 chameleons for pets, and that is why I bred the roaches and silkworms.
49. My children are the center of my universe.
50. My toothpaste does not contain flouride - I refuse to use it.
51. My all time guilty pleasure is watching the Bachelor or the Bachelorette!
52. It drives me nuts when people cannot accept scientific fact ie) global warming has been confirmed and organic is better for you. What would be the consequence of believing this? You may start recycling and eat an apple with no insecticides/pesticides - that would just be TERRIBLE!
53. I am currently in a state of confusion in this adoption process... how many, what country... etc. I need God to speak to me!
54. I do not like my cats or anyone/thing else in my office - they always seem to make a bigger mess of it than what it already is.
55. I am researched obsessed -One example- my friends will tell you that to buy a carseat etc., I will have to compile a 50 page report of research on which one is the safest and best to buy and why. And then I will hand out the report to anyone I feel could make use of it, then it drives me bonkers when they don't heed the advice and carelessly (in my mind) make a purchase decision. Which brings me back to #2. Hmmm mmm.

... so that's a little quirky peek into my oddball brain. Hope it didn't scare you off!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Married White Couple seeks Black Friends

Okay, so a question has been weighing on my mind.

Is it fair to adopt one black child into a white family with bio children only? I don't know...


Is it better for that child to have a white family than no family at all? I would hope so...

So, I think to myself that it will be fine as long as we surround this child with others that he can relate to... S/he needs peers and adults that they can look up to and that can council us on hair and skin issues etc. While I am master at research on the inernet, I cannot provide the knowledge of the experience of being black in a white world. That is something that only a black person would truly understand. I try... I really do. I read about this every night. But I know it will not cut it.

We live in a small town. There are 2 biracial (black/caucasian) children in our school. 2! I love this school though and my other children attend and love it as well. I know that the public school would likely have more diversity. However, the reason I choose this school was because it lacks any bully nonsense. It is a really close knit, religious school. I digress. The point is that we do not have any "black" friends. There are a few African adopted children in town whom's Mom's I know (and hope to get to know better) - but I honestly do not know one African Canadian adult!... in fact I can't ever recall seeing a black female adult in town.

I know that it would only be better for a child to grow up with someone else they can relate to. Someone adopted, someone black... A sibling perhaps? However, at what point can we extend this? 2 kids are expensive, never mind 3. 4 would mean that vacations would now be limited to driving distances, as airfare and accomodation is not feasible for a family of 6. 4 would mean that all activities would have to be cut down to 1 each/ term. 4 simply means a lot of things that we can no longer have and it also means that our time will now be divided by 4. Where do the scales tip... with the loss of so many things for our children on one side but the gain of 2 siblings on the other? I'm not sure, but my heart is heavy for the poor child who feels singled out everytime he looks at the family portrait.

I have said this before, and have tried not to give it too much thought - as I know it's highly unlikely. Twins would be the easiest scenario to adding 2 siblings to the equation. Twins mean the same homework tasks, the same pick up and drop off times, the same activities at the same time, sharing a bedroom etc... it really would just make everything easier than having 2 sibling of different ages. So for now my thoughts remain - 1 or twins... and in the interim, we need to locate a more diverse group of friends!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dr. Phil's Do's and Don'ts for Transracial Adoptions - Family Tips

Some helpful tips found HERE for the adoptive parents, as well as friends and families.

DOS

Do treat your son or daughter like any other child.
You shouldn't treat your child as inferior or superior because they hail from a different culture.

Do support your child when curious strangers ask questions.
If a stranger inquires about your child's background, Dr. Phil says it's fine to reply, "Yes, isn’t she wonderful? She comes from such a wonderful culture!"

Do respect your child’s privacy.
Are you unsure how to handle intrusive questions about your reasons for adopting? Dr. Phil offers the following tips: If they ask, "'Where did you get her?’ That’s something you may not want to share with a stranger and talk about her like she isn’t even there,'" he says. "It’s great to just scoop her up and say to the other person, ‘You know what? I’m really not comfortable talking about that with you.’"

Do treat prospective adoptive parents the same as expectant parents.
If someone you know is bringing home a child from another country, treat that person as if they were bringing a baby home from the hospital. You may plan a baby shower or celebrate the child's arrival with presents.

Do acknowledge and celebrate differences.
You shouldn't pretend that your adoptive child has the same racial features as you and your family. To help your son or daughter appreciate the beauty of his or her heritage, provide toys and dolls reflective of that culture.

DON’TS

Don’t introduce your child as adopted.
The child should be referred to as your son or daughter.

Don’t assume adoption is a second choice.
People choose to adopt transracially for many reasons. Don't assume that adoption is an inferior choice to being a biological parent, or that the parents felt the need to "rescue" a child from a Third World country.

Don’t jump to conclusions about the birth mother.
Don't ask questions about why the child's biological mother placed him or her for adoption. Instead, choose to regard the adoptive parents as the lucky ones for welcoming a beautiful son or daughter into their home.

Don’t tell parents they’ll have a child on their own.
Don't regard the adoption process as inferior to giving birth. Not every woman is able to conceive, and many women consider the adoption process as rewarding as carrying a child.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

EYE am infected!


Isn't this pretty!? I developed this infection on Saturday night. Dan's sister and brother in law were out visiting us, and we were out for a nice dinner, but had to cut the post dinner cocktails short as I was afraid of freaking people out with my eyeball. This is what it looked like right before bed, and I wish I could show you what it looked like when I woke up! It was nasty! It was almost swollen shut, bright red and the white of my eye was swollen past the cornea... it looked like jelly. Gross. Needless to say, I went to Emergency. I got quite a few looks! The nurses and doctor were quite impressed. The nurse said it was the worst infection she had ever seen and the Doctor called it "very impressive". She gave me a prescription for oral antibiotics, but because I had cold on that same side of my head (odd I know), I was pretty sure it was from the cold. So... I waited it out and it did eventually go down - however, that night the same thing started in the other eye. Dan got me some polysporin drops, and that seems to be keeping it from getting out of control like my left eye did. If you were to see me right now... you'd see 2 puffy, seepy, bright red eyes worthy of glowing in the dark I'm sure.

Hubby asked me for his passport at 5am this morning, and I was literally fumbling through my night stand blind because my eyes were so caked! Yuck. I'm praying for sunshine today so I can hide behind some sunglasses!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The apple a day with added benefits.


Quick snack tip...
This is one of my kids' favorite snack! Apple slices with a sprinkle of cinnamon. (Of course, when are leaving the peel on, you want to ensure that the apple is organic.) The addition of cinnamon not only makes the apple slices more appealing, but there are a great deal of added health benefits as well. Quoted from the healthdiaries.com.

1. Studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol.

2. Several studies suggest that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.

3. In some studies, cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections.

4. In a study published by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland, cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.

5. It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood.

6. In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.

7. When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.

8. One study found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.

9. Researchers at Kansas State University found that cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices.

10. It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.

I love any tips that can help speed up my morning routine... so I love this apple cutting tip. Instead of cutting the apple the traditional way of slicing it in 4's or 8's and paring out the core, I simply cut the flesh off the core in 4 cuts... cutting a square around the core, and then further cutting those peices down if necessary. Not the best 'how to' description, but if you have a look at the cores in the picture, you may get a better picture of what I mean.

Happy snacking!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Discouragement


I read a report last night on the future of adoption from Africa. It was note very encouraging to say the least. The report predicted that in 2011, the amount of placements from Africa will be halved and the amount of parents signing up to the programs will be doubled. My agency's website indicates that adoption will not be possible for all, and some may leave the program empty handed. This is so discouraging. It seems as though the Ethiopia program is hitting road block after road block and recently it was just announced that they would be shutting 45 orphanages and deinstitutionalizing 900 children! Someone posted the following UNICEF job description on the Ethio adopt board that I frequent - http://unjobs.org/vacancies/1295951280038

It is possible that the agency we are on the waiting list for (Imagine), may have some orphanages closing... making the adoption process even more slower than it is now. Basically, if you want a child by the time your 30 - you better sign up when your 12! (I told you before that I tend to exaggerate when I get worked up?)

To make things worse, every other program I consider closes or develops a waitlist that is way beyond a year. I have already been waiting over a year. And in that year - Ethiopia has slowed down so much that my estimated 1 yr wait... will likely be 2 yrs (JUST TO START THE DOSSIER PAPERWORK)... then another year + to get a referral? Rwanda closed, just as I was looking into an independent adoption... and now, I already know what lies ahead for me DRC - by the time our HS is done, the waitlist to submit a dossier will be a year. AND, the country will be so unstable, it will be at risk of closure too.

Am I willing to start this adoption process fully knowing that we might come out empty handed? NO. What is the worst case scenario? US adoption. AND, I only say worst case as a US adoption will not be fulfilling the intention of this adoption. I could conceive right now and have an infant in 9 months. However, the point is not to bring another child into this world, when another could be saved from poverty and dispair. If I don't adopt from the US, that infant will still not dealt a hand of poverty. I believe that (don't hold me to it - more investigative work needed!) every healthy infant in the US is very adoptable... and will be adopted. If I adopt from Africa, it would be a child under the age of 4 - and from the US would be an infant. There are many couples out there with no children that struggle with fertility, would I be taking away their opportunity to have an infant?

Here are some comparables:
US adoption

-Infant
-easier attachment
-higher risk of medical condition
- Many health concerns are not discovered until 18 months
- Risk of exposure to drugs, alcohol and cigarettes
-Maintain a relationship with birth Mother.
-High risk of lost adoption
-Mother changes her mind

Africa

-Toddler
-based on child's experience, attachment may be more difficult.
-Less risk of medical conditions
-child is old enough for any conditions to be apparent
-No risk of exposure to drugs, alcohol and cigarettes
-risk of delays due to malnourishment
-More difficult to maintain a relationship with birth family.
-The African experience, and the connection that will encourage us to re-visit and assist with missionary work etc.

As much as I would loooove to swoon over a newborn - I really don't know if we are prepared mentally to go back and do it all over again. It would be an incredible experience for the children, and Muffin would eat it all up... Something that certainly requires some more thought and inquiry. When your mind has been set on one direction for so long, it's hard to imagine taking another. It would be much easier for me if I could browse a list of birthparents, talk to them and get to know them and perhaps *click*, but really - I think it works the opposite way. *Sigh*

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

On my mind...


Sick with the flu and have spent the day on the couch thinking about the abandoned children in the world. A memory that I had long ago forgotten about, came back to spend the day with me.

When I was 35 weeks pregnant with Mister, I had an Appendectomy (that's a whole other post I'll save for later!). Because I was pregnant, I spent my hospital stay on the maternity floor. I was the only woman on this floor that did not have a new born baby. The woman I roomed with was recovering from a c-section, and I woke everytime her baby needed a feed. I didn't mind... I was so in "Mommy" zone... all I wanted to do was to hold and nurture an infant. My baby at home (Muffin) was 16 months old and an hour away. I missed her dearly and found myself just craving to "Mother". One evening as I walked down the hall, I saw a bassinet beside the nursing desk. I found it odd that it wasn't in the nursery, or in the Mother's room. I peeked in and saw the most beautiful little baby boy. He literally took my breath away. The nurse noticed me admiring this little angel and gave me a smile. "He's adorable." I said.
"Yes, he's pretty special isn't he." I gazed at him for a few more moments and went back to my room.

The next morning, I was doing my rounds past the nursery again and I noticed this little angel being rocked in the nursery by an older hospital volunteer. I knew something wasn't right. I looked over and noticed the nurse I spoke with the night before. I decided to just put it out there... "Is the baby's Mother ill?" I asked.
"His birth Mother left 2 days ago." My heart immediately broke for this little prince. Upon further inquiry I was told that they thought this infant may have FAS.

Later that afternoon, as the nurse was doing her rounds, I asked (almost begged) if I could look after the abandoned infant... I explained that I had nothing else to do, and I would love to feed him, or rock him to sleep. She apologized and explained that only hospital staff and certified volunteers were allowed to care for the babies.
I spent the rest of my stay walking the hallways, trying to catch a glimpse of him and love on him from a distance.

Today, he would be 6 yrs old. I wonder if he found a family to love him and rock him to sleep. His Mother was a lady of the streets and he was likely exposed to not only alcohol but drugs as well. Despite his unfortunate start, he was beautiful - a gift from God, and he deserved to be loved.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

How it all started...


It all started January, 2010 with Haiti. Watching the images on TV of all those orphans compelled me to try and do something about it. I soon found myself on the phone and computer 8 hrs/day... to find out that adoption in Haiti would not be possible. However, the spark had already been lit!

My new full time job became researching adoption programs. It didn't take long before I fell in love with Ethiopia. January 21st, I added my name to a long waiting list of families wanting to just register for adoption from Ethiopia. Requesting an infant would likely take 6 yrs to complete. Our requested age limit has been increased twice now. Initially it was 0-2, then 0-3 and now 0-4... however, a year has passed and we still have not heard from the agency.

If I want to adopt in my lifetime (okay a bit of exaggeration), I need to look at other programs. We are 100% certain that we want to adopt from Africa (well if truth be known, my husband is more open to other programs than I am). I briefly looked into Rwanda, however they are now closed while thay implement the Hague. DRC Congo looks like the next possibility - however, it is increasingly becoming more popular, and where the wait was 4-6 months for a referral, it is probably more like a year if not more now.

We have decided to start our homestudy, so that we have the flexibility to jump on an opportunity if one arises. We are steering toward DRC, with our fingers crossed for Ethiopia... while seeking to learn of other African program possibilities as well.

50 million orphans in Africa... it really shouldn't be this difficult!