Thursday, June 30, 2011

Proud Mama moment...

As I entered the school yesterday, I ran into Muffin's teacher... who reached out to touch my arm. "We missed you at the awards..." she said. (I had in fact called the school to inquire about this and was told it was an individual classroom thing where parents were not expected, and she was unsure of the time each class would be doing this.) "'Muffin' won the Christian Fellowship Award." 

"Oh really?" I said, not quite understanding the greatness of such. Then she got a bit teary eyed and said "Thank you so much for her, she is just beautiful... thank you..." and then gave me a great big hug. (To which we both then discovered I had gum on the shoulder of my jacket... nice!)

Afterwards, I found out that the Christian Fellowship Award can only be given to one girl and one boy. It is awarded to the child who best exemplifies the qualities of a good Christian. This is such an honour as a Mother. Although we are not "practicing" Christians (ie. attend church on a regular basis)... we still teach our children (as do most parents) to be good Christians by treating others with love and kindness, to be a good friend and help others in times of need. Honesty and integrity etc... 
Excellent report cards are normal for her (and expected), but this is a testament to her character and who she is as a person. Sure, we help to mold our children... but I really do think that both my children were born with love and kindness in their hearts. Nothing can make me more proud. I want for them to be good, kind people above all else... and it makes me beam with pride to know that they have accomplished that!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wanna see something cool?

Check out this webcam of an Osprey nest in Creston. It is live streaming footage. You can watch the Dad bring in the fish several times a day, the mom feed and shelter the chicks. It is very cool!

I started watching a few days ago... and watched as the 3rd and youngest chick was not able to compete for food (and Mom paid no attention...tssk tssk!), and unfortunately died. I don't know what happened to it afterwards, but it does not appear to be in the nest anymore.


Enjoy!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Interesting tidbits about Kenya!

Kenya is named after Mount Kenya - which means "Mountain of Whiteness". Mount Kenya is 17,000 ft high and is the second largest mountain in Africa.


Kenya is known as the "Cradle of Mankind" - the original garden of Eden! Kenya is the ethnic homeland of us all. Lake Turkana is where the first Home erectus took his first steps upright, discovered in the form of fossils dating back to 6,500,000-50,000 BCE.

There are 56 national parks and reserves in Kenya, offering sanctuary to some of the world's most ancient and threatened creatures. This country is home to some of the last primordial rain forest and more species of birds than anywhere else on the earth!


Kenya is the adopted home of more than 70 different groups of migrant Africans - where the national attitude is summarized by "Hakuna matata". Meaning "no problem" - remember Lion King?

"Karibu" means "welcome" in Swahili, and is the common answer to "Hodi?" which translates as "May I draw near?" Swahili (Kiswahili) is the national language and English is the official language. (This mean no documents have to be translated in the adoption process!) There are also many different ethnic languages including Bantu, Cushitic and Nilotic. There is estimated to be around 80 different dialects! Most Kenyans speak 3 languages, their mother tongue, Swahili and English.

Kenya's tribal mix is approximately: Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 12%, Kisii 11%, Meru 6% and other nationalities 10%.

The Maasai is one of Kenya's best known tribes.
"The Maasai have long remained the ideal mental conceptualization of the Western European idea of an African "noble savage." Tall, elegant, handsome; walking with a gentle spring of the heel, seemingly proud and indifferent to all but the most necessary external influences." S.S. Sankan
The Maasai are known for their constant quest for water and grazing for their cattle. The have a "mystical love of their cattle." The milk and blood of their cattle are their preferred diet. Clad in the red shuka (blanket), intricate beadings, dagger and plaited hair - the Maasai are visually stunning.

The life expectancy is Kenya is 48.93 and 50% of the estimated 35 million residence live below the poverty line. 85% of the population over the age of 15 are literate.

Nairobi is the capital of this country. Nairobi is from the Maasai word "Nyrobi" meaning "Place of Cool Waters," also known as the "Green City in the Sun" and "Safari Capital of the World!"

The flag bears green, black and red. Green for the land, black for the people and red for the blood spilled in the struggle for freedom.


For years Kenya had the distinction of registering the highest population growth in the world. Until recently, a man's social and economic status was largely determined by the number of children he sired. It was not uncommon to hear a man boast of fathering a hundred children, since polygamy was widely accepted. Kenya tradition also says that once married, the couple must name a child after each grandparent. This means that they would have to keep producing children until they had 2 of each sex. Kenya has recently experienced a decline in the population growth due to the impact of AIDS, and also from the growing realization that today's families cannot support so many children.


The source of all this information can be found in Kenya - Culture Smart! by Jane Barsby. I highly recommend it!


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Rhubarb upside down cake...

I have 4 rhubarb plants in my yard... and until yesterday, I have had no use for them at all! I am not a baker..., the only pies that come out of my oven are beef pot pies. However, upon RSVPing for a block party, we were asked to bring a dessert. I have to admit that the thought of running down to the market and grabbing some home made goodies - did enter my mind! But, Dan had my van... so I was stuck at home. Then I remembered the gigantic rhubarb plants that take up so much room in my garden... I showed Mister how to pull the stalk out, not to cut... etc. and we set off to bake a rhubarb cake. Mister ate marshmallows, helped measure and stir and patiently waited by the oven door. The smell was so amazing that we had to "taste" it the minute it came out! It was yummilicious and didn't last long at the party! I had quite a few recipe requests... so rest assured - it is worth trying!


Here is the recipe...


  • 5 cups chopped fresh rhubarb
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin
  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the rhubarb, sugar, marshmallows and dry strawberry flavored gelatin. Pour into the bottom of the prepared pan, and distribute evenly. Mix cake batter according to package directions; pour over the ingredients in the pan.
  3. Bake for 50 - 60 mins in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Run a knife around the outer edge of the cake to loosen; turn out onto a large serving plate while still hot. Allow the cake to cool before serving.


Next time I will likely add another cup of rhubarb. I served it with whip cream, but it would be even better with ice cream!!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Six degrees of freeze your arse off at the market!

Seriously, I have had enough of this weather! 6 degrees last night was what the Nelson Street Market was met with! We were wet and cold and needless to say, we did not stay long...



(I think my camera was stealing the souls of these poor children - check out the eyes! lol)


We did manage to catch our favorite Nelson band however...


On the adoption side of things... we had to postpone our meeting with Sunrise on Friday. Dan was under pressure to get a project done at work. We hope to re-schedule for the 30th!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My Adoption (and other) Abbreviations

Yes, I will admit it - I am terrible for using shorthand in my emails and my blog. Can't help it - it's what got me through all those Marketing classes when the Prof. was going a mile a minute. (See... did it again!)

I typically try hard to correct all of my abbreviations, but occasionally miss one or two. So I thought I would compile a cheat sheet for those who may not be familiar with them...

PAP - Prospective Adoptive Parent
SW - Social Worker
HS - Home Study
E - Ethiopia
CIC - Citizenship and Immigration Canada
RAD - Reactive Attachment Disorder
BIO - Biological

Rec'v - Receive/d
LOL - Laugh out Loud
DH - Dear Husband
DD - Dear Daughter
DS - Dear Son
BTW - By the Way
IMO - In my Opinion

Muffin - My first born daughter
Mister- My son
FIL - Father in law
MIL - Mother in law
SIL - Sister in law

I think that is all I use... may have to update though as I go along!

On another note - it is the first day of Solstice, and I do believe that sun is making an appearance!! Yipee!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The stink has left the building!!

Dan's arm is still not 100% - in fact, he can only lift 5 lbs with it... so tackling a chicken coop on his own was just not going to happen. However the damn chickens were not only stinking up my house, but they were getting way too big for their small cage. I begged my Dad to come and help Sat. am. He came over early and they managed to tackle one side of it before we had to leave for a FD brunch with Dan's Dad. We had to build it in 2 pieces so it could be moved in the future.

The cage part done. You can see Dan favoring his right arm.

Day 2 - Father's day. Dan never asks anyone for help (but is always the first one to help others)... so most projects just do not get finished. You know the shoemakers kids have no shoes thing?... Luckily, a friend and employee of ours stopped up to drop his son off (whom we were hiring)... and saw that we were in over our heads with the task we needed to accomplish - and jumped right in to help. I am so grateful. Without him, this would never have happened.


Part 2 - the coop.


Leveling the ground was not an easy task either!


The kids were getting in on the action... building their own coop.

Muffin sporting great work clothes!


Mister drilled steady for 2 days! (One look at this pic, and I think about birthing that big 'ol head - and you guys wonder why I want to adopt the next one... pfft! ;)

At around 4:30 - we decided to push to just get it chicken worthy. It was framed to have a window, a laying nest, sliding door, and a big door with a window on the front... We just boarded it all up for now. It will do for a week or two, until we have time to finish and paint!


The inside... framed for a window, the laying nest and the outside sliding door - but just boarded up for now until we can  finish it.


The end project... not finished, but finished enough to house chickens. (That structure off to the Right is the treehouse that this blog was named after - it too is unfinished...don't even ask when it was started... lol)

Beer worthy!

Happy Chickens! (5 weeks old - look how big they are!!)
Thank you to all that helped - I am ecstatic to have the stink out of my house!!

**EDIT - It appears that I may have painted an impression of an indoor barn in my house! Ha. Perhaps some further explanation is required. Chicks need to be kept very warm and therefor are often kept in the house until they are old enough to withstand colder temps. These chicks were kept in a cage, in an unused room. No different than guinea pigs or parrots. Their shavings were changed daily and the room had ventilation via the window. They are not disease ridden fowl. They have all been vaccinated upon hatching... and have never been in a barn, outside, or with any other farm animals etc. They only remained inside for 4 weeks... and there was absolutely nothing unsanitary about it. It's not like we had them up on the dinner table, with our cats, dogs, turtles and parrot! Come on now! HA!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day...

To my Father...


And to the man that lets me sleep in on the weekends, 
Supports my every whim, 
And is the best Daddy that I could have ever asked for our children to have!





LOVE YOU!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Where are you!?

Where did you go? Your E.T.A. was March 20th, yet we have not seen hide nor hair of you!
Are you on Maternity leave, sick leave,... was there a death in the family?
No phone calls, no emails, no post cards. No show!
We thought we caught a glimpse of you last week, but alas, we were mistaken!

Unfortunately, you chose Winter to fill in for you instead of Summer... and because of this, my gardens have failed miserably, and the damn chickens are stinking up my house!! 
I hope Summer is not offended by your actions and decides not to make an appearance also! Can you please send her a memo and let her know she is expected to arrive promptly on the 21st? Tardiness will not be accepted and under no circumstances is Winter to stick around! He is tired, weary... and certainly has put in enough hours this year. Let him rest.

Signed, 

Soakin Wet n' Cold

Friday, June 17, 2011

Rich, Crazy or Angelic?

As this is our first adoption, we are just starting to experience the reactions of others towards the news of our adoption. The fact that we are considering relocating our family to Kenya for upwards to a year, does make the process a bit different than most... so it is to be expected that most reactions are going to be more extreme.

It appears that people seem to immediately categorize us as different from them. We are doing something they could never do, because:

We must be rich.  I wish. No, we are not rich. We are no different than the rest of you who struggle to pay their bills, children's braces, hockey lessons etc. To afford this adoption, we have sold our boat, and will likely have to mortgage a piece of property that we own out of town (read - retirement fund) or we will have to sell it. Most people who adopt do not come from a great deal of money. They too, beg, borrow and fundraise to make it happen. Where this is a will, there is a way - and people find the money.

We must be crazy. Okay, perhaps a little. But in the sense that we love adventure and view a relocation as a great learning opportunity for us all! Just to be sure that we are not completely nutz, we did ask our social worker! Ha! She felt this was a fantastic opportunity for our family and that they kids are at a perfect age to do this! So there you go - professional approval! ;)
Anyone is capable of this... Yes, work does get in the way doesn't it? But - many people take their maternity leave during this period so it does not interfere with work. Because we are self employed, we are not entitled to mat. leave unfortunately. Which, actually makes it more difficult for us financially.

We are Angels. Yes, we were initially compelled by the desire to help - but I really don't consider us Angels (at all! lol). Perhaps we are being guided by Angels... but that is as far as I will go. I honestly think that we will take more away from this experience than what we will be able to give. Giving is truly the best gift that one can experience, and there is not a feeling on this earth that can compare. 

The fact that we are about to embark on this amazing journey, must mean we are different in someway - otherwise everyone else would be doing it as well. So what is it? I've thought about this often. Why don't more people adopt? The only things that I can think of, is they have not been "touched" by adoption. Adoption is an amazing thing... but typically something that one does not think about unless they have read a blog, heard a story or met an adopted child, or an adoptive family. Seeing all those Haitian babies crammed into a small mud hut after the earthquake, is what got to me.  When I started to google - my heart became overwhelmed with amazing adoption stories. Many of which are in the blogs that I have posted to the right. 

Why was I so impacted by the Haitian orphans, or the adoption stories of others?  My heart was unlocked as a child in Grade 7... I still have vivid memories of the little African boy from the African Children's Choir telling me the story of how soldiers came into his village and he watched them kill his parents. He was able to escape and run for safety into the jungle. The look in his eyes as he was telling me his story, stunned me! I recall just being fascinated by the courage of his words while searching for the sadness in his eyes. I was shocked that this little boy wasn't crying. I expected him to react in a way that I would have, or any other Canadian child would have. He was 8. I now know that he had built up a guard. One that protected him and enabled him to survive. What I thought was an eery blankness in his eyes, was indeed an disengagement from his trauma. He pushed that so far down, buried it deep. I wonder now if that little boy was ever able to feel safe enough to let it all out and cry for the loss of his families and the trauma that affected him so. 

There also was the tale of one boy who raised his 3 month old sister for months in the jungle when he was 3. 3! His parents too were killed by rebel soldiers. This little boy would experience overloads - a couple times he would just run and hide in the furthest, darkest place he could hide. I remember crawling in to coax him out of stacks of hundreds of chairs in the school gymnasium when the teachers could not convince him to come out. I too had no luck and eventually one his African guardians had to come in and talk him out. The trauma that these children had endured was unfathomable by me at the time. 

Amazing enough was the joy and life these children had! They had experienced the worst of the worst... but yet a balloon would literally make their smile light up a room! They were so appreciative of life and everything around them. You could not help but feel compelled to be around them, to help them, to teach them, and to love them. Because of these joyful souls, "Africa" got into my bones and would help create the story that is now unfolding before us. 

But I digress (majorly I think :).


So the only thing I am left with now is the thought that I was obviously very much so impacted by the African children I had spent time with when I was 12. This experience opened my heart and allowed me to be so deeply affected by the the images of the Haitian orphans, that it propelled me to investigation adoption. (Just goes to show you how life experience as a child can plant seeds for the future!) Since then, I have been touched by many adoption stories and really feel that this is the path we should be on. I hope this explanation can (kinda sorta?) make sense to those of you that really think we have fallen off our rocker... While anyone can do this, it may not be right for everyone for a variety of reasons. Perhaps it is just not your calling. There certainly is always room behind the scenes to support those who are adopting though! One cannot solely adopt on their own! It takes a great deal of support! You can help by lending a supportive ear, support a fundraiser, offer assistance with child care etc. There are a million ways that you can help an orphan come home! You don't have to be rich or crazy... but you may just be someone's Angel!

“Life's most persistent and urgent question is: what are you doing for others?” - Martin Luther King Jr.

(I know, I always leave my man out of the equation... While I may be the driving force in this "adoption", my man is the driving force to relocate to Kenya. He traveled to Africa when he was young boy and has fond memories of it. The images that were burned in his mind of many starving children, disabled with polio, etc... is his adoption motivation. Experiencing this African culture as a child is his motivation for the relocation. He would like to give our children the same opportunity to experience another culture... to live it and breathe it. One day - I'll get him to come out of the shadows and write a post.)


Thursday, June 16, 2011

The scent of a lady.... moth!

I have never seen one of these before. Dan went to pick up a cheque from a couple blocks down from our house, and a moth had coincidentally landed on the cheque, so Dan brought it home to the kids.


This poor thing later got slammed by a nasty rain storm, so we relocated it under the window sill when we got home later that night. The next morning the moth was gone. We looked on the ground, and lo and behold - there were now 2! Mating on a leaf! Or as Muffin said "Mom, their butts are stuck together!"

How amazing nature is... for a male moth to have smelled her pheromones from so far away in the night, to locate her, hidden, behind our front steps!

The Polyphemus Moth (Antheraea polyphemus) is a North American member of the family Saturniidae, the giant silk moths.[1] It is a tan colored moth, with an average wingspan of 15 cm (6 inches). The most notable feature of the moth is its large, purplish eyespots on its two hindwings. The eye spots are where it gets its name – from the Greek myth of the Cyclops Polyphemus. The caterpillar of the Polyphemus Moth can eat 86,000 times its weight at emergence in a little less than two months. It is widespread throughout much of North America, from southern Canada to parts of Mexico.
Source

How unfortunate for this Moth to call "here" home - when it could be in sunny Mexico!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Step by step - Citizenship Application Part 1...

Although they appear straight forward, they are not! To apply for citizenship of your adopted child, go here. If you would like to apply to sponsor your adopted child as a permanent resident, go here.

(For those not familiar with the process - a potential adoptive parent (PAP) needs to pre apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to be able to verify you are eligible to sponsor a child for Immigration - or to confirm your Canadian citizenship to apply for your child's citizenship.)

Don't even think about calling CIC unless you have first read the PDF instruction manual.

When you do call with the following questions:

A. Do I need to include my husband's ID?
B. Do I need proof of my own name change via marriage?
C. What is the current timeline?

The answers are:

A. The manual clearly states it's required of the person applying. If you are the person applying, then you only need to provide your own.
B. (After directing me to the PDF twice, she also was unable to clearly understand who they were asking this of - she needed to consult with someone else.) The name change documents are required by the adopted person only where applicable.
C. 20 weeks (!!!!!!!!!)

After those questions are asked - you provide all of your husbands documentation as well (JUST IN CASE!), then you provide all of your name change documentation as well (JUST IN CASE!).... cause you certainly don't want it sent back!

Proceed to your nearest notary and inquire about compassionate rates for adoption - as it is not going to be cheap to notarize all of your documents (and extra documents) as true certified copies.

Fedex your application because Canada Post is on strike. But please take note - the address they give you in the PDF is a box # and no courier will ship to a postal box. To save you the call and a long time on hold - the address for the CPC Adoption for citizenship is:
CPC Adoption
47-49 Dorchester St
Sydney, NS
B1P 5Z2

$200 for the fee to process the Part 1 (2 applications)
$40 in notary fees (And the lady at the desk was nice enough to ask me "... and why do you want to do that?" (adopt from Kenya) - nice eh? I had to be nice though because I was trying to get a discount - need to come up with something real witty for the next person who asks me that though!! Ideas???)
$32 in courier fees

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Today's Rant

I know this is an adoption blog... but really what would be a blog without a rant here or there? And quite frankly, I have something to get off my chest.

What is it with women who rant and insult their children's Fathers - or biological Father's on Facebook? Terms like "Dead beat Dad", "the Loser... and "Sperm Donor" are commonly heard. They air their dirty laundry about these Father's not paying child support, not being involved etc. To make the issue worse, the children of these women are not only on Facebook, but a FB friend of their Moms and can see the terrible things they write about thier Fathers.

It is a shame that these Fathers are not stepping up to the plate. It's terrible - mostly for the child. So go ahead and make that child feel even worse, because not only does he feel abondoned by his Father - but now you just continue to twist that knife in their heart by insulting the only bio Father he has, the one whom half of his genetics came from! Remember, your child had no involvement here - it's not your child's fault that he has the Father he does.  The only person who had a choice in this situation was you. You choose that man to Father your child... so don't make the child pay for it every day! You should never insult a child's biological parent! It can be horribly destructive to a child who already lacks self confidence! Grow up and start being a supportive parent to your child!

Acckk!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dreaming of Africa?

Read May's edition of Chatelaine - Dreaming of Africa. An article on travel in Kenya! I'm slow to getting around to my magazine reading... but was quite surprised to come across this, this afternoon. Take a peek - stunning pictures!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Finito!!

Today marks the finalization of our Home Study! See the 5 month ticker over on the right? After busting my butt to get the home visits and all paperwork done in 2 months - I was so disheartened to learn that I would have to wait another 3 months for our Adoption Education to finish - and it felt like an eternity! During the course of these 5 months, we have been around the world starting in the DRC (Congo), to the US and now to Kenya. That doesn't account for Haiti - where we first felt the pull of adoption, and then Ethiopia where are hearts were captured and we signed on to the program wait list 17 months ago! The agency has since been taken over by another agency and they will not honour that wait list. They call it a roller coaster ride for a reason - and I'm pretty sure we haven't even stepped foot in the car yet!!

Thank you friends and family for all the reference letters and extensive questionnaires you did on our behalf! It is so nice to know that we people like you on our side!

Onward and upward - we have a meeting with Sunrise on the 24th, where we will be officially signing on to transfer our HS (home study) and enter the Kenyan program! Yippee!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Who she may be...

First of all, why a girl? Simply because my last baby was a boy, and we feel that having another girl would best suit the dynamics of our family.

Originally, when we were on the "Imaginary" Imagine list... we were going to request a girl under the age of 4. We felt that due to research and a lot of reading - a child whom has spent the first few years of their lives with the birth family, would have an easier time transitioning and attaching. Most children in the Ethiopian orphanages don't stay in them for long before they are adopted out.

From Kenya, we will be asking for a girl under the age of 2... preferably as young as possible.

The children in Kenya have a different life. While you hardly ever hear of abuse social histories in E, it seems  more common in Kenya. If we were to adopt a 4 year old in Kenya, it is likely that the child has experienced a great deal of trauma in addition to having spent a long time at the orphanage as adoption is not very common. Luckily, most of the orphanages in K. are wonderful and take fabulous care of their children.... Although there are absolutely no guarantees, and every child differs - we feel there is a greater chance of having attachment behaviour problems with an older child whom has had this experience. In a different life (or if I did not currently have children)... I would love to take in an older child! But, with 2 children at home, I also need to consider their needs.

Not to be overlooked is that all adopted children experience trauma, loss and grief no matter what age or country. A newborn can most certainly mourn the loss of their birth mom. They know her scent and her voice... and they love her. When you compound that with many of these little one's abandonment experiences of being left in garbage dumps, ditches and pit latrines - left in the cold, dark, hungry and all alone with no one to respond to their cries -they most certainly will have some challenges to overcome.

Insert #2... or #4. We know one thing for certain. It is better for the child to be able to identify and relate to someone else. Imagine how lonely it would feel to not only be the only black child in a white family, but also to be the only one adopted and the only one from a different continent! However, going from 2 to 4 is huge! We know the cost associated with that will be a huge burden to our family and will change our children's lifestyles tremendously. But to have a sibling that looks like you and with whom you can relate to - is priceless.

The only thing I can think of to make the transition from 2-4 easier, is to ask for twins. Now I know you may think I'm nuts (and perhaps I am! Ha!)... but here is my logic. Although, I know... twin babies will rock my world, I know it will be easier in the long term. Twins can share a room, clothes, toys... They will likely be interested in the same activities. Being the same age, they require the same time pick up from school, soccer, dance etc... It is difficult to juggle activities for different ages, so we would like to keep the juggling act down to 3. This way, we get 4 for the price of 3 juggling acts... !

Because there are so many ramifications to either choice, we have decided to leave it in fate's hands. We will ask for both and get whom most needs a home, and whom we are meant to get. Nope... no planning there. See... I can leave some things in the air!

What worries us both the most - is getting one, and then having the need to adopt again! In someways, having your cup overflow... causes contentment!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Her name...

I know people who give birth not knowing what they will name their children. They want to wait and see who they look like. Sometimes, they wait weeks... (you know who you are! ;) I completely understand it, but it is so not me. I'm a planner - always 3 steps ahead.

My daughter's name was chosen years before I was even married! It's Irish, 2 syllables, and is originally a boys name. Thankfully, my husband who also has Irish heritage - approved of it. Muffin's middle name is Sierra - completely from nowhere, but meaning "Mountain". We lived in and love the mountains, so we thought it was fitting and pretty.

My son's name was chosen during my pregnancy with him. I thought I had created the name - but it is now very popular, so apparently I should have patented it! Ha. It is also Irish in origin... I created it by adding a letter to an already Irish name, and then found out that it actually is an Irish name. Mister took my husband's first name as his middle name.

I know it is still very early - but it's only natural that I have a name chosen already. I will share it with you now... even though I know I may have to delete it later on. When we are blessed with our adopted daughter - her name will be Zahra. Zahra is African in origin... Swahili meaning "Flower". And that is what she will be, our little flower. Swahili is the national language of Kenya (in addition to English!)- so it will be perfect for a baby Kenyan girl! Zahra from what I understand is pronounced - ZEE- ER-AH. Obviously, this will cause some difficulties in the English pronunciation, and she will be forced to spend the rest of her life correcting others - so we will pronounce it ZAR-AH. But we will likely call her Zee... for short. We will keep her first born name as her middle name.

NOW - don't get all crazy and stuff - but there is the slight chance that we will ask for a single girl or twins. Why, is a whole other topic which I will save for later. However, if this does happen - the other sibling's name will start with an "A". A - Z. The beginning and the end. Amen.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

2 Little Miracles...

My director was out of the office yesterday, so I expect to speak with her later this am...
I will leave you with this FANTASTIC video. The story of 2 little miracles...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Kenya Adoption Requirements

Well, after asking/praying for some clarity followed by a dream of being attacked by a lion in my bed while I slept - (What kind of clarity is that!!?? A little ominous don't ya think? lol) - I did wake up to an email from KKPI.

The adoption requirement as listed on their website is the following:

E. Persons Not Allowed to Adopt



The following are prohibited by law from adopting a child in Kenya:
1. A person who is not of sound mind
2. A person who has been charged or convicted previously of child abuse offence; or is a
homosexual
3. Joint applicants who are not married to each other
4. A sole foreign male applicant
 
Not very detailed - however, this is further information that I found on LAN's site:
 
Adoption requirements in Kenya:-



• The applicants MUST be aged between 25-65 years at the time of submitting application and MUST be at least 21 years older that the child.
• Joint applicants MUST be married to each other for at least THREE (3) YEARS.
• Single foreign applicants may not apply for adoption unless under special circumstances
• The child to be adopted MUST be at least 6 weeks old and resident in the Republic of Kenya.

And this is what is required as per KKPI:
 
B. Formal Application



If you meet the requirements given by the law, e.g. age limit, you will be issued with an
application form. Your application is only considered formal when you hand in your duly
completed application form. The following should be attached for citizen applicants:


· Photographs of each applicant (full length and colored)


· Application letter to the Adoption society


· Letter from (proposed guardian + ID)


· Copies of national identity cards or passport


· Copy of marriage certificate (where applicable)


· Copies of most recent pay slip(s) (where possible)


· Copy of most recent bank statement (where possible)


· Reference letter from your religion of affiliation


· Copies of land title deeds, share certificates or any proof of ownership of assets
or property


· A letter f from a friend and another from a family member supporting the
adoption


· Certificate of good conduct


· Applicants’ birth certificates
 
Okay - so still left with some questions, I requested if there was any further requirements. They ask for a letter from your religion of affiliation - does that mean they have specific faith requirements? What are the specific income requirements?
 
I rec'd this response today:
 
"All the requirements are as tabulated in our website and any other

information you can get it from Sunrise Family Adoptions in BC. There are no
faith requirements but if you are a regular church member them we require a
letter from your religion of affiliation.


Also as stated in the website, we do require your salary statements, letters
from your employees or a business licence or any other form of registration
if in private practice or in business."

WE fully QUALIFY then!! How can that be... that all is working out in our favour so far? (Knock on wood...)

I have telephone meeting set up with Sunrise this afternoon just to try and tie up the last little bits of questions we have... and then we may very well be setting up our appointment to sign on to the program!! I think I have just experience my first adoption butterfly!! ;)



Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kenya Adoption - pieces of the process.

I apologize for leaving anyone hanging. Trying to sort through the information - or more correctly, trying to obtain the information is taking some time. What can I tell you so far?

"Kenya ratified to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of

International Adoption in June 2007. Procedures under the Children Act and the Children’s Adoption
Regulations and court rules are mandatory for any person who desires to make an application for
adoption.

Any applicant interested in adopting a Kenyan child must come through an approved adoption society in
Kenya. It is these approved adoption societies that make an application on behalf of applicants wishing
to adopt a Kenyan child. There are four approved adoption societies:

Kenyans to Kenyans Peace Initiative (KKPI) Adoption Society

1. Kenya Children’s Home

2. Little Angels Network

3. Child Welfare Society of Kenya

International adoptions can be conducted in respect of a child upon the application of a female
applicant or two spouses or who are not Kenyans and who are not in Kenya provided that legal
requirements to that effect are met.

International adoptions are processed through an approved foreign adoption agency in conjunction with
an approved Kenyan adoption society to make international adoption arrangements.

For an agency to be recognized as conducting inter-country adoption from Kenya, it must be duly
registered and recognized under the laws of its origin country. The agency must also be recognized to
conduct inter-country adoption in Kenya."

NOTE - that the numbered lists of societies seems to be a typo - there are 4, but KKPI is not numbered. This information was taken from the KKPI website.

The scoop relative to us Canadians is that MOT works with LAN (Little Angels Network), and Sunrise works with KKPI. I have seen LAN representing itself on many forums... they seem to be a very "visible" society and welcome questions. I have been in contact with KKPI... and they have been wonderful! So helpful in answering my questions in regards to safe neighborhoods, and recommended orphanages to work with etc. They have offered to help us obtain a rental and will set up with a volunteer program at one of the orphanages - for our whole family!

If you are looking for information - don't be afraid to go directly to the source. Often times, it's much quicker!

The information that I am now waiting for is confirmation on the process time... it was estimated to be 8-9 months. I have been hearing talk of 1-2 yrs, however I am unaware if this is normal... In most of the cases I have heard about, it seems this is the case if you are resident of Kenya. ie - living there prior to the start of the adoption process. I also want a list of requirements that we have to meet to be approved. I believe we should have no problem qualifying - but I want something in writing before we jump in and waste time and money.

I am hoping to get these answers tomorrow - I will post any official requirements if I can get them!