Saturday, December 29, 2012


How is our attachment going?... many of you have inquired.

Attachment refers to the bond between the primary caregiver (usually the Mother) and her child. Biologically, this happens in utero. In adoption however, it requires more work as it doesn't always happen naturally.

Typically the adopted child doesn't understand the role of a parent as they have never had one. They need to learn that 'Mom' is a place to feel safe and secure. 'Mom' is where they receive comfort, nourishment and love. 'Mom' should, essentially, be the center of their universe. Learning this is part of the period of 'attachment'.

' Developing a secure attachment to a primary caregiver is extremely important as the child's mental representations of intimate relationships and the foundation trust often carry over into adulthood, affecting future adult relationships. "Studies of attachment have revealed that the patterning or organization of attachment relationships during infancy is associated with characteristic processes of emotional regulation, social relatedness, access to autobiographical memory and the development of self reflection and narrative."

Of course attachment doesn't always go one way - it goes both ways. It also refers to the bond of Mother to Child.

All that being said, we are happy to report that we are securely attached!

I honestly never expected it to happen so seamlessly, and perhaps I should be knocking on wood.

From the beginning, Zahra has never wanted to let me leave her sight. She wants me to carry her 90%... I spent the first month carrying her in an Ergo. We are now starting to encourage her to walk more and use the stroller a bit to save my back (she is 30 lbs!), and more recently, she now allows Daddy to carry her in the Ergo.

She never walks out of my sight (unless in our home), and always checks in with me while playing.

Eye contact, never a problem.

She has slept with us right from the start, which I firmly believe is a great attachment parenting tool. The first two nights, she slept on my chest. When she is feeling particularly whiny/clingy, I will have often lay her on my chest, skin to skin. She loves to go bed and I think it's because of the guaranteed cuddle time.

She screams like the sky is falling if I leave her or she thinks I am leaving her.

She is generally happy most of the time. She is super funny and silly. We love watching her personality unveil itself to us.

The home that she came from was quite small and she was one of the first babies to come into this home (and the first girl), so I believe this has a lot to do with her quick attachment - given that she did have a lot of care and attention and was well attached to her caregivers.

My lack of blogging certainly is not because we are having any issues, but more so that we are happily busy chasing 3 children, homeschooling, hanging laundry, and washing dishes in addition to connectivity issues and power outages. ;) (This post has taken exactly 1 hour and 24 minutes just to get it posted!)

We are very much counting our blessings and hope things continue down this path.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Kenyan elves don't make Fisher Price toys.

I browsed around last week for a Christmas present for the kids, and this is what I found.

Ocean Wonders Nesting Pails - 5,495 KES - $63 CAD/US
Never mind the fact that it looks like it 10 years old and the packaging is all beat up.
Muffin had these when she was little - I paid $10 for them.

Fisher Price Learning Letters Mailbox. 9,156 KES - $105 CAD/US
These sell for $25 in stores in N. America.
Can you say RIDICULOUS!?
Needless to say, Santa will not be gifting any toys this Christmas.
(Note to adopting parents - bring toys with you!)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

You just never know what you will get....

We approached the elevator of the 8 story building that housed our lawyer's office. Typically, elevators seems to be small and narrow here in Kenya compared to what we are used to in N. America.

We were first in line, I was holding Zahra, and another adoptive friend of mine was holding her 15 month old son, accompanied by her Mother.

As we waited for the very slow elevator, the line behind us began to increase. Slowly the elevator approached, and the doors opened. Before I knew it, we were being rushed from behind... nudged and pushed... what we call back home 'Budging in line', by men and women.... it didn't matter - every man for themselves.

(This is something that I have experienced too much of here... My kids have been rudely shoved numerous times (by men and women) while they wait in line with me, and I have had numerous men budge in line right in front of me, like they own the place and their pants are on fire. No regard for anyone else. Perhaps my 'Canadian' manners have made me too sensitive to this type of thing as I find the more this happens (cause my jaw no longer hits the floor)... I often say 'Excuse You!'... )

As we opened the office door, we were greeted by a very small waiting room (similar size of your main bathroom). 4 chairs were lined up against the wall where three men sat.

Two of them instantly sat up and asked to us to 'Please, sit.' We sat down, and the men observed us with our Kenyan children, speaking amongst themselves about us in Kiswahili. This, we have grown accustomed to.

'Do you know what we are saying?' said the one man.

'No.' I said.

'We are saying that you will forever be blessed by God for the gift of love you possess in your heart to love these children of ours. Thank you.'

'Thank you,' I said, 'that is very nice.'

Then he pulled out his wallet. 'I would like to bless these children.'

I thought he was going to pull out a prayer card or something similar, but he started to pull out money, then the other two men started to do the same. All searching their barren wallets and pockets.

'I am a Pastor, and I would like to bless these children.' as he passes me the small bills he collected. 'Please buy these children a soda.'

A soda! Ha... Certainly not what I was expecting, but a generous offer nonetheless.

Together, they collected 300 shillings per child, about $3.50 Canadian. I assure you that these men were not of the wealth to afford this donation, but they gave what they had. We felt quite honored.  

We did not buy the babies soda with this money, but instead tucked it away in a safe place... for our Kenyan children to remember that love can be found where you least expect it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Bonding days at the orphanage.

I'm so sorry... I miss keeping up my blog, but the truth is that I am just so darn busy, I literally collapse at the end of the end of the night. My husband has been gone for 2.5 weeks, back to Canada to wrap up some business, so I have been single parenting here without the luxuries back home like hot water, reliable electricity or a car, or corner store. I also find the task of 'catching up' very daunting... so I am going to just get it done in one post.

Day Two

We walked through the iron security gate and rounded the corner into the main room where the older children were sitting at the table, drawing. She turned to look at me, then quickly turned the other direction, pretending I wasn't there or perhaps hoping I would leave. "Zahra, look your Mum is here!" one of the Carers said. She remained steadfast, holding her gaze at the adjacent wall.

I said 'Hi' to the other children and came to her side, squating down to her level. I stroked her hand as she stared off. I began to pull some gifts out of my bag, and the other children swarmed me. I pulled out a couple books, some snacks and the bubbles. She turned her head to see what the commotion was all about... and reached for me. I took her onto my knee and asked her if she wanted to go outside. She loves to walk and be outside, and to be outside the property gates, is a treat for her.

We took the children outside the gates of the orphanage compound to look for Chameleons. Muffin and Mister held a couple little ones they found. The children were afraid to touch them as Kenyans are really afraid of them for some reason. In fact, some women walking up the lane, wouldn't even pass when they us holding them.

We spent the rest of the day playing outside with her and the other older children until she became sleepy and fell asleep in my arms. I put her down in her crib and kissed her cute chubby cheek.

Z looking out the iron gates.

Day Three

We rounded the same corner into the room where Z was being held by one of the Carers. "Look Zahra, your Mum!"... as she tried to hand her to me. She whined, giving a warning that she was close to tears. The Carer tried to force her to come to me. "Please don't." I asked. "She will come to me when she was ready."

Today she was very resilient, nothing in my bags of tricks were working. Was she mad at me because I wasn't there when she awoke yesterday? Is she tired? Is she not feeling well?

After 15 minutes, when she realized that I was going to take the other children outside, she slowly sauntered over to me... reaching up for my hand.

A woman from up the road came over and asked us if we wanted to show the kids some sheep and cows, so we walked with them all up the lane way - that was supposed to be 'just up there'... but turned into a 2 km walk. We never made it all the way, as all the children started to get tired. so we had to return. 

When we returned, I gave Z a quick bath while she stood in a baby bath basin. One of the older boys helped by pouring water over her back. It was very sweet. I dressed her and brought her into her room, shared with 5 other cribs. Laid her down, gave her a kiss, covered her up and said, "La la".

Day 4

We decided that it would be best for me to go to the orphanage alone today to encourage more bonding, and less stimulation for Z. Not to mention, Dan had to start to furnish our apartment so we could bring her home.

When I arrived, she was sleeping. I held some of the babies for a little while, checking in on her every few minutes. I wanted to be the first face she saw when she woke up.
20 minutes later, I noticed her stirring. I quietly entered her room and softly stroked her back. Startled, she glanced up... smiled, pointed at me and said 'Wewe, wewe!" in Swahili. Meaning 'You, you.'

She was happy to see me! I think she realized that I wasn't going to be just a visitor that she couldn't rely on seeing tomorrow. I was here again, and today I seemed to have won her trust. She reached up her arms and I hugged her tight... kissing her sweet lips and cheeks.

The remainder of the day was wonderful. She turned to me for everything she needed or wanted. This shift caused her to drift away from some of the Carers, refusing to go to them or look at them. I could tell that this bothered them as they repeatedly tried to capture her attention.

Z sharing her apple with the other children. This made me so proud! :)

Day 5

I went alone to the orphanage again today, and Zahra came running to me as soon as I walked into the room.

Today would be our last full day of bonding at the orphanage. I was not prepared to take her at the end required 5 day bonding period, as I didn't think she would be ready - but after yesterday and how well she received this morning, I knew she was ready.

The 3 other older children started to really act out today. They have seen this before, and they knew what was happening. I was there for Z, not for them. Instead of their usual frequent requests to be held... or trying to grab at least one of my fingers to hold on to while we walked, or their efforts to attract my attention any way possible, they were hitting me, yelling at me, pushing Zahra, spitting on one another and ripping books.

They were sad. Heart broken. Crushed. They felt so rejected! My heart broke for them all... all they wanted was to be loved and the few days that we had to spend with them, shedding love and attention on them all, was now making the rejection so much more unbearable for them.

Why not them? What was wrong with them? Why does everyone get a Mom and Dad to love them and not them?

These children are all 3... and all deserve a family. While they are too young to understand the logistics of why they are not 'freed' for adoption, they understood that many of their other friends have been taken by families that loved them and they have been left behind.


If possible, I highly recommend seeking an opportunity to bond with your child outside the proximity of the other children. Not only it is so much more difficult to bond with your child when you have 3+ other little ones demanding your attention, but it is too hard on them as well. In our situation, the orphanage was very small (14 children), and so were the grounds. It was extremely difficult to achieve any one on one time, without the other children.

The director spoke with us briefly about today and suggested that she would take the older children out of the orphanage the following day when we were to take Zahra home. We were very grateful for this.

Day 6

My only son's birthday. There is no greater gift than that of getting a new sibling! He was so excited to be able to bring her home on his day.... a birthday we will always remember.

We arrived just as Z was waking up from her nap. I changed her diaper (which was towels in a over sized plastic covering - thank you to those that donated cloth diapers, we have left a bag full here.) and cleaned her up as best I could considered the mess that was in that diaper. Off came the 2 layers of onesies and blue, boy overalls.

Good bye layered, shared, gender neutral/ boy clothes - Hello pink and frilly! She was now mine... and dressing her in a pink frills, leotards and white leather sandals and a cute little flower head band, felt like my writ of passage.

All the staff members sadly said good bye to her. Some more than once. She will clearly be missed. She was the very first girl to be taken in at this orphanage, and I think they all had a soft spot for her.

Zahra got in her car seat with no hesitation. Her eyes as big as the moon, watching out the window... as we backed out the driveway. She remained quiet, taking in all the sights of the country side as we drove along. She likely had only been in a car a handful of times. I wonder what was going on in her head during this drive. So much to see... so much wonder.

After a long day, we undressed Z of her pink frills and put on the cutest sleeper I had. I laid down with her on the bed and she quietly fell asleep on my chest. I stroked her hair softly, observing all the little details in her hands, face, ears etc... Mourning the loss that her first Mother had in not being able to keep her. Feeling so grateful that she was so well cared for, fed and loved for her first 2 years.

All my prayers had truly been answered. 
Door decorated by two of Z's little Kenyan - soon to be Canadian (BC local!) friends.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Glass Slipper

Do you recognize these shoes?
The ones that have symbolized our daughter to be for over 2 yrs now (found on the right side column)?
I received these shoes in a random surprise package from Baby Steals.
They were the very first pair of shoes that I had gotten for our baby.
At the time, I didn't know her gender, or age, and certainly not her shoe size.
In fact, I was certain that even if we had gotten a girl, these shoes wouldn't even look at her feet for a very long time.
They were much too big.
As you can see, they fit her like a glove.
A coincidence?
I think not.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Meeting Zahra

I'm on African time now... sorry it has been so long. We are just getting settled in and are now hooked up to the internet, so I will try to back track and stay current from now on. ;) We have been in Kenya for 2 weeks now and I have a lot to share!

We landed in Kenya in the evening of the 23rd with our 15 pc's of luggage plus carry on.

Tracy met us at the airport bundled in Canadian flag bunting.

It was a wonderful greeting, we were so happy to finally meet her. She has been an amazing support for us here, assisting us as we get on our own two feet on Kenyan soil.

The following morning we woke up bright and early, ready for the day to meet our new family addition. We had a quick meeting at our agency office and then headed to the orphanage with another Canadian family who we were travelling with who also have a child in the same home. We decided it would be best to be introduced to the children one at a time, so we could enjoy each other meetings and assist Tracy with the photographing.

Dane and Corrie met their little guy first. He is just 14 months old. A very cute, happy little guy who seem to take it all in his stride. It was wonderful to take witness to their wonderful meeting. I would like to share with you our meeting with Z in the form of a letter to her.

Meeting You - a letter to our Joy.

We stood outside the cute, little 3 bedroom block house that you have called home for your first two years of life. Little baby outfits pinned up on the line drying in the hot African sun, beyond that a large pile of dirty diapers were collected, while a little playground built from wood sat in the forefront.

I started to get choked up and felt a few tears roll down my face when I realized that the moment was upon us and I would soon be seeing your beautiful little face. As you rounded the corner of the doorway, carried by your Carer, I knew I had to choke those tears back and be strong for you because you were so frightened.

I felt so sad for you, you were so scared and confused. I wanted to take you into my arms and comfort you. I wanted to reassure you that you would never feel this scared and unsure again in your life, but I knew that it was my very presence that was making you feel this way. I reached out and took your hand, softly speaking your name. Your eyes glazed over as you stared off into space, internalizing your fear. The Carers felt bad, they tried to bring your out of it. I could tell that they were worried that I would I would feel bad, or perhaps that I wouldn't see you for the bright happy girl you are. 'She's just shy', they said as they tried to hand you over to me. You instantly shrugged away. 'It's okay', I said... 'let's just take it slow.'

I pulled out the bubbles hoping that they would catch your attention. Sadly, it seemed to heighten your fear as I don't think you had ever seen them before.

I handed you a toy train and you refused to take it. I was not worried. Your
attachment to your Carers and your strong will only reassured me that even though this may take awhile, we would be inseparable once it did happen. I think you and I are a lot alike, and I can appreciate your strong will. Things happen on your terms, and only when your 100% sure... I totally get it!

Your Carer took the train and handed it to you. You started to flick your finger over the wheels, making them spin over and over again. This fidget toy seemed to help you some.

The staff decided it would be best to go inside. The Carer sat you down on the couch, and I sat next to you. You moved as far from me as you could while continuing to spin the toy train wheels.

I pulled out stickers and started to stick them on the other children, hoping you were watching and taking note of the fun they were having with them. After a few moments, I reached over and stuck one on the back of your hand. Your reaction was like being stung by bee, so I continued to just focus on the other children, allowing you to become more comfortable with the situation.

Some time had passed and you still were not showing any signs of giving in. I started to wrack my brain for more ideas. Then I remembered my iphone. I had downloaded a few apps for toddlers the week prior. I pulled it out and turned it on to animals and animal sounds. You turned your cheek, but I knew you were listening. I tapped the Bee to initiate the buzzing sound as I buzzed with my fingers and playfully tickled the necks of the other children. We moved on to the dog, cat, lion and so on... You started to steal little glances as your interest piqued.

Then a miracle happened.

The 3 yr olds came in from school. Your eyes lit up, and your whole demeanor changed. You were so happy to see them. They came rushing over to see what this wonderful little toy I had in my hand was, when you scooched your little bottom over as close as you could get to me, laying your hand over me - proclaiming that I and the iPhone belonged to you and no one else. Human nature, orphanage competition, and Steve Jobs may have brought us together in that moment... but it didn't matter to me, my heart melted in that touch and I knew you and I were going to be just fine.

Day 2 tomorrow...(if internet permits)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Confessions - My 'lines' have been crossed.

It's crunch time... so I literally have to write this in under 5 mins.

My hubby has been slaving at work to get things done. The other night he worked until 2am, then back up at 6am. That leaves me to manage every.thing. else. I think I may be over my head here. I am honestly not sure if I will get everything done on time. One way or another it will get done though, even if it's not done the way I want.

So with things in overdrive, our lives are in complete disarray...

The proof? Oh let me count the ways...

I used 3 ziploc bags in each of the kids' lunches today, and didn't care.

I have thrown paper and cardboard in the garbage because it was closer than the recycling bin. Add to that tin cans and plastic bags.

I am encouraging the use of plastic cups, cutlery and plates.

I have used cleaners that I uncovered from the bosom of our sink cabinet - full of who knows what toxins. That includes a magic eraser that just about took my skin off - note* - wear gloves!

I have purchased fabric softener and used it to leave our towels and bedding soft and smelling lovely. I also purchased Downy Unstoppables which I am in love with and don't even want to think of all the chemicals in them. I will live in ignorant bliss for another 10 loads or so... (I also use them as room fresheners as well).

I have missed breakfast and lunch on most days. (But increased the coffee intake.)

That coffee now consists of instant coffee as I have packed the kitchen away.

I let my son eat pumpkin pie for super last night. (It's squash at least right?)

Tonight's dinner was Sunny Boy porridge and toast.

I'm considering a 7 day fast or shake cleanse to save time not having to worry, but then realize that I still have to feed our children - so I consider frozen food, and if I had one - I would surely consider the microwaveable variety! (Do you hear me Tracy?! You know it's bad when!....)

Sorry earth... and my dear children who may be skipping a couple food groups these days. I promise to resume my responsibilities to you once I can find my way out of this maze of boxes and into the arms of Kenya! 11 days until we board that plane!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Counting our blessings..

Every child is a blessing. But with this particular referral we have so much to be thankful for. Wanna know more details about Z?

She is 27 lbs. According to this growth chart, she is in the 50th percentile. This means she's completely average... which is an amazing thing for a little girl in an orphanage in Africa! This eases our mind to know that our little girl has been well cared for... giving her such a great start.

She has spent 96% of her life in this one home. It's a relief to know that she didn't spend too much time in a hospital or at other homes, being moved place to place.

Her social history is a best case scenario. While abandonment is never an easy pill to swallow, I have dreaded the thought of having to explain a worse case scenario to my daughter. Infants left in latrines. So sad, and I am so relieved that I don't have to explain that one. While we will never know why she was abandoned, we do have reason to believe that she was loved... and we do have some pieces of information that may bring her comfort later on. An abandonment with ill intention, abuse or perhaps simply having no information at all... were my worst fears.

Her name. I'll be honest with you... I am not a big fan of 'older' Americanized names, or many common biblical names (most likely because they are 'old'... lol) - which is the majority of names of children in Kenyan Orphanages. I'm not going to start listing names that I wished she didn't have, as I'm likely to stick my foot in mouth... so I will tell you that I had always said that I hope her name is 'Faith', 'Hope', 'Imani' or something else, that I can't say without giving away her name (obviously!). So when I heard her name... I had tingles run up and down my body. What are the chances?

Her big beautiful eyes. We have originally requested 2 children because we wanted them to have someone in the family they could identify with. This went out the window when we were only approved for 1 child. Knowing there is so much about her that will be different from us, Muffin and I wished that she could at least share our big eyes, so we had a physical feature that all of us girls shared.

It is Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada... and wow, do I have a lot to be thankful for!

We have a travel date now, flying out on the 21st and landing in Kenya on the 23rd. We will be leaving our home on the 19th to get to Calgary. A lot of miles to cover in those few days, and a lot of things to do before now and then.

I will leave you all with a perfect little smile. (Look at those little chiclet teeth!!)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

That moment...

That moment,
when I have my baby girl snugged in tight against my chest.
Our hearts entwined...
Her head nestled under my chin.
Soft breaths of peace slowly rising from her chest.
I glance down slightly to kiss her sweet little head.
Close my eyes
take a deep breath...
breathing in all her sweetness,
 thanking God for this most precious gift.
THAT is the moment
I cannot wait for.


Monday, October 1, 2012

It is with great JOY that we announce to you our REFERRAL!!

I will just get right to the photos, because I know that is what you are after!

First peek... 
I love this... the wonder in Mister's little face...thinking she is so cute
Muffin is about to jump through the screen and squeeze her she is so excited

 Awwww.... Mister wouldn't stop putting his hands all over his face, what a new emotion for him. 
The wonder in Muffin's face... 

Daddy's little Princess!

Mommy's Joy!

I wish I could show you a photo of her. I have been looking into this... some people show photos of their referral, some don't. Some have to sign documents stating they won't. It seems to vary country to country, agency to agency. There are no concrete rules, and we have not been given any instructions. However, just to play it safe, we are going to withhold from sharing with you until she is in our arms at least. It's killing me to do it too! But I can offer you some information.... 

She is 2 yrs old

She is beautiful (of course!)

She has yummy medium brown skin

She has kissable full lips

She is a LEO (Can you believe it!? I'm a Leo.. and love Leo's ;)

She is fiercely independent and decides who will hold her or not. (Hmmm strong willed Leo... never!)

Last but not least... one thing I wished for, was some big, beautiful eyes...

and I think you can agree, we got it! :)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Things to see and do in Kenya!

Your in Kenya, removed from your work, friends, hobbies etc.... what do you do? (RELAX... I know, but you can only do so much of that! ) This is a recent question that has been brought up by parents with little ones who are completing their foster period in Kenya.

I always found that it was much easier to parent by keeping your children active. Sitting at home can make you stir crazy.

So what can you do with your toddler in Kenya?

Well, a wonderful Mother on our adoption board gave us this fantastic list of day trips around Nairobi. I know many of you will be able to use this information as well!

Enjoy! :)

Elephant orphanage: Program is between 11-12 everyday.  Fun and interesting.  KSH 600 (approximately  $7.50) 

 Giraffe Sanctuary.  Can easily be done with elephant orphanage and potentially one other thing in Karen. 

 Nairobi National Park  $40 for just the park. For $60 there is also an animal orphanage and nature walk. You can see giraffes, ostriches, rhinos, lions, antelopse, and zebras—however, it is also possible to see almost nothing. 

Hell’s Gate National Park animal viewing; About an hour outside of Nairobi.  Pretty park with canyons you can hike.  You can do bike and walking safaris. No elephant and very rare to see any cats. Bike rental (500 KES)  and a canyon to hike (be very cautious of flash floods in rainy season.) 

Naivasha lake  Right next to Hell’s Gate. It is possible to hire a boat ride and see hippos and all kinds of birds.
Nakuru-two hours from Nairobi. It is possible to do in a day. A beautiful park—you almost always see Rhinos. Lions are very likely. Can be done in a day. A beautiful waterfall where you can picnic. 

Paradise Lost. Camel and horse rides, play ground, waterfalls, boat riding, Mau mau caves, picnic area etc. 

Village Market. Small play area with train for small kids; Waterpark (my kids used to love), bowling alley, movie theatre, food court, and a child minding area where you can leave your kid while you shop.

Bomas of Kenya. Cultural center; traditional dance show, huts from all the different tribes of Kenya, a restaurant, arts and crafts shops (they will harass you) and playground. Often warthogs running around. 

 Highend arts and crafts store. No bartering. Nice restaurant. Small play ground. In Karen. 

Spinners Web (another nice craft store over on my side of town. 

Kazuri (women’s cooperative beads)

Kitengela Glass (glass artsy place—a big hit with many of my more artsy friends)

The National Museum - ask for a tour guide when you enter. Little ones will enjoy more than 100 stuffed birds (all Kenyan species), other animals and a real snake pit.

Karura Forest - Lovely with some beautiful falls. 

Train Museum - Always a favorite with the boys. 

Amani Ya Juu a sewing-marketing-training project for marginalized women in Africa. Shop or relax in the oasis like garden cafe. There is also a playground

 for the children.

Anything else that you may have enjoyed that I don't have on the list? Please share, and I will add it

 I'll also link this to the sidebar so we have easy access to it. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

There is no doubt...

These kids....

Are ready for a baby sister!

This weekend we were up to our eyeballs in cleaning out the garage...

At the same time, we were also looking after a friend's 2 yr old boy. The kids love this little man, and completely dote after him. 

Mister played with him all morning...

Different day - but I love how attentive he is with him, holding his hand, and always helping him. This little man looks up to Mister like he is the Moon and the Stars. XO

And Muffin did arts and crafts with him all afternoon. 

These kids literally looked after little man all day. They fed him, played with him, took him to the washroom (I only got called in for one butt wipe)...

 Muffin thought of the crafts on her own, dressed him in a smock on her own... had different painting tools for him try, like forks and straws. She's a really little Mother hen. ;)

It warms my heart to sea how nurturing and loving they are to younger children.
They cannot wait to do all these things with their little sister. 
 I know they will be such a huge help to me.

I yearn for the day to see together with their sister for the first time. It cannot come soon enough. 
(Yes, that's right. Still. no. news.)

Friday, September 21, 2012

My current reality...


Upon Boxes...

And stuff, everywhere...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pouty Face

I have been told that our Kenyan agency has not yet received the medical reports. I stayed up quite late last night to get that answer. Wish there were more details. 
 Tired, Pouty Face

Cardigan - Costco / Pout Face - No Referral

Only foreseeable option to me this morning was a coffee and a White Chocolate/Ginger/Pear Muffin. Probably worth 1000 calories.
I enjoyed every one. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tomorrow is another day...

Disappointing. :(

My agency said they did not receive anything today.

I'm tired of telling people 'tomorrow', and more importantly, I'm tired of telling my kids 'today'. Twice now, I have woken them up with 'Guess what today is?'... The first day the excitement was abundant. Today.. it was like 'Yay.'. Obviously, I will not need to stop holding my breath.

I don't know what happened... or why the information did not come in. The medicals were supposed to be picked up yesterday.

I'm a bit lost for words, as I was certain today was the day. After the news, I went and sat in the toy room and sorted beads from lego and seashells... because I just didn't know what else to do. I have so MUCH to do. Flights have to be paid for, Visa applications have to be sent off. Homeschooling reports and agendas need to be done. But I feel like this referral is holding me back. I keep saying to myself - I will finalize all this when the referral comes in. I'm playing it safe I guess. So I will continue to pack up the house, seek renters and pet sitters etc...

The amount that has to be done is quite overwhelming actually... and I'm not quite sure how it will get done. We seemed to be constantly pulled in a million directions and it's hard to focus on getting any one thing done.  I have cancelled soccer for the kids, and all any other formal lessons and activities, to give us more time on the home front.

Our date to Kenya will likely have to be pushed back another week now... there really just isn't enough time between referral and departure any more.

Sorry for the disappointing news folks, tomorrow is another day. (Hopefully!)

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chill the Champagne!

Referral is going to be knocking on our doorstep this week!

Yes... Wednesday is supposed to be the day. Apparently they have been waiting on a current medical that is being picked up in a matter of hours and will be sent to our agency on Wednesday!

 Hold on... technically speaking , if they pick it up 'Tuesday in Kenya'... why would it not be forwarded to our agency the same day - meaning middle of the night tonight? Hmmm... perhaps there is a little mix up, and maybe it will be tomorrow!

Now... I have gotten myself a little worked up.

I was told that they were picking it up Tuesday and sending to it our agency for Wednesday am. Maybe they are picking it up Tuesday and forwarding it on Wednesday, which would arrive at our agency Wednesday morning. Frazzled. I'm sure I've just confused you too....

I'm freaking out on the remote chance of it arriving tomorrow. Now that I got myself in a tizzy, perhaps I should be drinking that champagne instead of chilling it!

Stay tuned dear internet friends. Either way, 'the' day will be upon us soon! :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

It's complicated.

Lately, I have been giving a lot of thought to how parenting our adopted child will be different from parenting our 'homegrowns'. I think this is a good time to start the dialogue with our family and friends about this.

Children don't come with an instruction manual unfortunately, and many times we as parents have to parent from instinct.

With our homegrowns, issues are typically straight forward. If my child were to drop her lollipop on the ground and have a hissy fit, jumping up and down and screaming like a Banshee - I would not replace that lollipop. I would assume that she either A. is tired and needs a nap or B. needs to learn that temper tantrums will not be benefit her or produce the desired outcome.

No more candy if you are going to behave that way Missy. Nah, uh. Had you behaved appropriately instead of acting like your head was about to spin around... I would have replaced that Lolli.. your behaviour certainly does not deserve another. Remember this for next time. 

I think this would have been a normal reaction for many parents.

But what if your child is adopted? Adopted children come from tough places with a past of rejection, abandonment, fear etc. Their hearts are broken and they need a lot of healing.

So - say Zahra drops her Lollipop and erupts in a 10 magnitude, full force temper tantrum... a reaction that completely does not fit the 'event'. Peaking in on the situation, some parents may say, ' That child deserves a spanking (we do NOT spank), or 'What a spoiled rotten brat, she deserves a 30 minute time out in her room.', etc. 

But what 'if' her temper tantrum has nothing to do with the dropped candy at all?

What 'if' the dropped candy opened the door and paved the way for her tears to flow... and out they pour, and pour... crying for hours. Spilling her pain and sorrow out until she has no tears left.

THIS is the case for many adopted children. They are hurting and they often need a door opened, such as this minor event to allow them to cry. Crying is part of the healing. Often times parents of adopted children can feel the tension and pain in their children and sometimes have to create a situation that allows the child to find their tears. Perhaps something as simple as saying 'no' to a request to watch TV, while they stand by ready to hold them tight while they cry and cry. Tears not for the TV, but tears for everything they have lost in their young lives and the pain it left behind.

Does this make sense?

So in this instance, putting Zahra in her room for a nap or a time out would be the wrong reaction. The right thing would be to pick her up, hold her tight and allow her a safe place for her tears to fall. Soothe her and acknowledge her pain.

 I am so sorry baby. I am so sorry your first Mama wasn't able to be a Mommy to you. It must be awful to not even know who she is or why she felt like she had to leave you. I am so sorry your first years were spent in an orphanage. I am sorry that you may have had to cry yourself asleep, alone and scared. I am so sorry I couldn't have protected you from the things that may have happened to you. I am so sorry you miss your friends and nannies at the orphanage. I am sorry you have lost the only home you knew, the only bed you knew and those who cared for you. I am so sorry that you have experienced more grief in your first  years than many people experience in a lifetime. I am so sorry baby. 

Yes, I think it's fair enough to say that she will have earned the right to cry - A LOT.

If we couple this with fact that she also is just a regular toddler or child... how the heck do you know what reaction is the right action? Of course we don't want to allow her to get away with murder and grow up to be a spoiled rotten brat. We do have to discipline and correct her... we can't always coddle her when she is upset. But how do you know what reaction is the right action?

It's a fine line here folks, and I have an image in my head of an incident taking place - Zahra pulls another child's hair, or smears poop on the wall... and I stop and do nothing, because I am analyzing it over in my head. Why is she doing this? Is she hurting? Is she acting out of ...? Do I scold her, hold her, give her a time out (in)?... and I frantically flip through my adoption parenting book looking for the answer while the situation escalates to the point of no return.

It gets complicate to the degree that as adoptive parents, you start to analyze every picture your child draws, the way they play with their ear, right down to why are they picking their nose!?

It also just isn't about temper tantrums or behaviours, but it's also about how we treat our children . Feeding them a bottle at the age of 2, 3 or 4, wearing the baby in a sling constantly even though they can clearly walk, feeding them by hand even though they are capable. What you may see as 'babying' them - is actually 'bonding' them. We missed out on so much of it, we need to go back to the beginning sometimes and try to establish it.

It's hard and it's complicated. I know a few new adoptive parents going through some of these challenges now. I try my best to offer suggestions, and to lend a ear or participate in a brain storm - but I am only a Mother of biological children. No adoptive parenting experience here. (yet)... and I find myself stumped for the answers.

So please stand behind me, support me and my judgement as her Mother. A Mother who is trying to weave through these tight tangled webs. Trust me enough to know that I am taking advantage of all the literature and advice of those who came before me to navigate my way. It may not always make sense, and we may not always get it right... but we will do the best we can.

Edit to add: I recently just stumbled upon this great blog post that can further explain how a lack of control in the decisions that were made to ones life earlier on, can explain the need for defiance (control).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Spicy Love!

A good friend of mine has generously offered to throw an Epicure party to help with our adoption expenses.

I LOVE Epicure. If you have never tried it... I would really encourage you check out their catalogue.  Some amazing new flavours for the Fall/Winter '12 Catalogue!

A note from my friend:

"If you are interested in purchasing some spices etc - you can do so at this link.

 It will be attach to the Thompson Fundraiser. As soon as you check out, it gets shipped right to your door in 24 - 72 hours! At the end of the month, they can pick there free shopping spree items, and either choose half price items, and hostess gifts or draw a name and let someone else have them....


Lots of sweet Christmas ideas! Let's get all your shopping needs done...  "

I don't know about you, but I am sooo looking forward to trying out the new
Maple Bacon Sea Salt!!

NAC meet - Sept

Is to be held on the 19th. Not this week as hoped. :( Good luck to all those who are still waiting!!

Speaking of luck... you'll never guess what happened today. Flat (like blown) tire on the van. Ugh... it's comical really. At least that is the approach I have decided to take today. So it's now parked down at the lake and we have to get it towed because Dan couldn't get the spare out.

BUT - we have been told that we can expect news very soon, they are just waiting on one more paper. ;) Yipee!!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


The van died before it had a chance to get stolen. :(
It won't change gears out of park. Unfortunately, we have no choice but to pay to get it fixed now, we need to get to work and school... and Calgary to leave for Kenya! $$$

May's little problem in the back end miraculously fixed itself. When we got back from Kenya, she was back to normal! What a relief! Must have been that honey! ;) She still has not laid an egg since, so we are hoping that the problem does not reappear when she does lay again.

And... we still have no referral. I must get asked 5 times a day about it.  I have nothing - no information. at. all. We were told 3 weeks ago that they were expecting it in 2 weeks. I emailed our agency last week and still have not heard back from her. Ugh.

Canadian adopting friends of ours in Kenya found secure, affordable housing in a new development. 2 bdrm apartment for 400,000 KSW. Fourways Junction Phase 1. Check it out! The grocery store is 2km away, so walking distance at least. ;) It's not furnished, but to completely furnish it will cost approximately $2K, which you can recoup when you leave by selling it. We like this area and many of our friends live around there - so I think this may be a good option for us.

I'm still waiting on the kids' updated passports, then I will be able to confirm flights and apply for visas.

NAC meeting has not been confirmed yet, but they are hoping it will be on the 11th - if not, the 19th. ;)

Monday, September 10, 2012

Spontaneous Combustion

I think I mentioned before that we had to drive 4 hours to get the kids' passports? Perhaps on Facebook..

The trip ended up being a nightmare.

It started just as we left. The reverse signal light died. So we stopped at a gas station, and as Dan turned the engine off... I notice it sort of rumbled to a stop.

He put a new bulb in and jumped back in to the van, ready to get on our journey that we were already late for.

It was a scorcher of a day, and the kids and dog were all panting in the back seat. I clicked the button to roll the windows down... and nothing. So Dan stopped the car, reversed back to the gas station and popped the fuse lid while I looked in the manual to see what fuse it was.

We replaced the fuse and nothing.

Back in the car, we decide we will stop at the dealership in the next town. Driving down the road... 30 degrees outside is when we realize that not only do the windows not work - but neither does the air conditioning! One window in the van rolled down 4" is the only thing that stopped us from a complete melt down in that van.

A stop at the dealership resulted in nothing. They had no time to help us. Passports and timing was of most importance, so back on the road we get. Hot and sweaty could be kept at a minimum so long as we were still moving as some air flow would come in through the vents. It still did not stop Mister from vomiting about half way there though.

We stopped at a gas station to let the dog breath and clean Mister up to find that they don't have a public washroom. I can't tell you how mad that made me. So I used some paper towel from the gas pump and some water I had in the van to wipe him off.. and then I dumped the puke bucket (never leave home without it) on the side of the gas station property. (That'll teach them! ;)

Back in the van... we now notice the radio also does not work, nor does the lighter input for my phone. Ugh.

Fast forward - passports done and Dan drops me off at the mall to get school shoes for the kids while he goes to the dealership there.

They don't have much time, but did offer to check all the fuses (all good) and then offer the advice to clean the battery connections. So Dan runs to Canadian tire and buys the tools to do so... cleans them all up, and nothing. By this time, we have also discovered that not only is the van completely haywire - but it does not shut off. That's right - turned off, keys out, engine still running. So now he is having to disconnect the battery to get it to shut off. Lovely.

In the van... ready to head home. It's dark and it's starts to rain. Flick on the windshield wipers and NOTHING. Windows start to fog up... no defrost. Then we realize that the lights don't work - unless he holds on the high beams! Are you kidding me right now?!

I looked at Dan... "2 kids in the van, up a mountain pass at night, in the dark, in a van that is completely screwed up... is simply crazy. We need to go back."

We certainly didn't plan for an expensive night in a hotel, but at least they took pity on us and extended Dan the seniors rate. Ha!

So now our crazy van remains 'unfixed'. We have just spent $600 on it in the last month, and Dan believes this problem is $1000 fix... so it remains broken. The 'options' may not work... but one thing it does do is run, so much so that it refuses to we still drive it. It just has to last another month before we are off to Kenya, and we know we will have to hope for perfect weather on our long journey to Calgary for our departure, in addition to no night driving.

But there is more that I secretly hope for. Spontaneous combustion is one.... and should I mention that if any criminals out there are looking for a good target - it's blue, and can likely be found still running on a street somewhere... just waiting for it's next 'adventure'.

But please, whatever happens...  make sure it does not come back to us in one piece. Thank you.

Update: In the end, the problem turned out to be a fault with the Remote Starter. Once the remote starter was removed - the problem was gone. $100 at the Garage. THANK goodness!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sisterly Love

I believe I got a few of you with my last post. Judging by how many of you read it anyway... readership went through the roof. Glad to see your all still awake!

Honestly, I really had my sister in mind when I wrote that. My sister who stalks my FB, my blog, and is my most frequent texter and caller. I think she just may be more exciting about this than we are. (Well... at least overwhelming details seem to be squelching my excitement these days.)

I just knew that within minutes of posting that post - I would hear from her! And here it is....

And yep... I'm still laughing... 


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Meet Margaret!

Margaret Ngami

No, this is not a referral - Margaret (on the left) is our sponsor child with Plan Canada.

Did I fool you?
 That wasn't very nice of me was it - lol... I know many of you are eagerly anticipating our referral as much as we are! When I saw this photo, I knew it just had to be done! Sorry about that. (Insert evil laughter...)

Margaret is 10 years old... one year older than Muffin. We have sponsored her for over 6 years now! Yes, before we ever decided to adopt, and certainly long before we decided to adopt from Kenya. What are the chances of that?

These last photos above were taken 2 years ago. The ones below are older. 

(So glad they got a new camera!) 

Margaret, from what I can tell, lives alone with her Mother who is 32 (similar in age to me). 

We will be visiting Margaret in Kenya and look forward to bringing her a backpack filled with gifts, hopefully in time for Christmas. 

I have purchased a few back packs that a few friends of mine have sponsored to fill for other children in their village. 

I will have to think about what to get her Mother from Canada...

We very much look forward to visiting her. It will be a fantastic opportunity for the children to see how 'real' Kenya lives. It will also bring them a deeper connection with our sponsor child and hopefully show them the importance of lending a hand, and how a little can go a long way in helping someone less fortunate. 

Our sponsorship dollars do so much for not only Margaret, but for their village as well. 

If you would like to consider sponsorship - please visit Plan Canada

2yr old Chiwaya is waiting in Kenya for a sponsor. 
With Plan Canada you can choose the age, gender and location... right online! ;)