Thursday, June 28, 2012

Canadian hurdle complete!

The documents managed to get on the Fedex truck headed to Kenya on Wednesday!! They are scheduled to arrive on Monday, which means we will make the deadline!!

Thank you all for your positive thoughts, prayers, well wishes and finger crossing!

I've inquired about the date of the next NAC meet and have asked for a confirmation that our documents will be submitted in time. I will keep you updated.

Tomorrow we are going to set up a table at our local June Market Fest, to sell our fabulous leather wrap bracelets... to help offset some of these adoption expenses. After our last little deferral go around, I am expecting another large invoice that is not in the budget.

Hubby has agreed to come and work the Market with me, and the kids are very excited to help as well. I may have to tone down some of the signage they have created. It's all very sweet - but I am really hesitant to plaster "Every bracelet we sell helps us to adopt our sister" messages over the display... written in 7 yr old printing, making me look like I'm exploiting my children for the pity purchase! I have about 5 dozen to sell... so here's hoping for good weather. ;)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

'Mini Dude' Super Power

My children have a super power alter ego, called 'Mini Dudes'. One thing the Mini Dudes like to do is be extreme. No fear. Mini Dudes love to explore, take the unbeaten path and 'shred' their way down steep hills.

A couple weeks ago... (when the sun was shining and the rain was not present), we hiked up Pulpit Rock.

The trail is a steep ascent, but the views are beautiful! Overlooking our town...

Mini Dude poses - this captures their Mini Dude persona's perfectly!

This video below is embedded from Facebook, and I can't seem to align it or move it... but it shows some more Mini Dude action. 

Friday, June 22, 2012

A picture that says a thousand words...

And yet none come close to accurately describing the emotions we can see in her posture alone, upon laying eyes on her sweet baby boy for the first time. See more photos over at His Cherished Ones.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Borrowing on Cocooning

Happy Monday! :) I have worked all weekend, and will be working till late this evening to meet a deadline... but I want to keep posting regularly so you all don't forget about us over here - since Blogger does not update feeds on private blogs.

SO - I am cheating and borrowing a great post that a bloggy friend of mine wrote last week. (Hope you don't mind Denise! ;)

This is one of the best posts I have read - explaining the need and reasoning behind Cocooning. So no need to re-invent this wheel!!

You can find Denise over at Pressing In... you can also find part I and III there as well. ;) She will be bringing her beautiful daughter home from Haiti very soon... so please head over and give her some love. ;)

Cocooning {part II}

My friend Shelly, has a two year old boy. He is such a sweet little guy! The other day, a young couple came to visit their home. Shelly’s son had never met them before, so he was feeling a little bit shy but quickly warmed up to them. When the couple was ready to leave, they bundled my friend’s son up in his jacket and shoes, plopped him in their car and left for home – all the way back to Italy. My friend is expecting that her son will feel very grateful to live in such a beautiful country with such rich history, and she hopes that her son accepts his new family right away. And of course she knows that language for a two year old won’t be that big of a deal for him as he was hardly speaking yet anyway.
Would you be shocked at this story if it were true? Of course! It seems cold and ridiculous. But why should Giselle’s story be any less shocking?
In our opinion,  Giselle has been raised in less than ideal circumstances, but to her the orphanage is home. The children and nannies are her family. When we go to bring Giselle home, she will be leaving everything that is familiar to her.
~ language
~ climate
~ familiar faces (and skin colour)
~ food
~ culture
~ routine (even if it’s a lack of one)
~ environment (her house, her friends, her bed, her clothes)
~smells and sights
~familiar caregivers

This is Giselle with Rachel - the woman who runs the orphanage. It is obvious Giselle loves Rachel so much!
I have to wonder what she thinks every time white people come through the orphanage doors. “Are they bringing me treats/toys? How long will they hold me before they leave again? How can I get them to hold me the most/longest? Which of my little friends will disappear with this person – or will it be me who disappears?”
Many people go to visit the orphanage and give some love to the children. Of course, getting affection is always a good thing, but in a child who is about to come home, we have to consider how this will affect their thinking towards their new family – do all white people give some affection then leave? Then, occasionally a family arrives to bring their new child home… what do the other children at the orphanage feel when one of their friends disappear with a visitor, never to be seen again? Will the fear of loosing another little friend teach her not to give her love even to her siblings when she arrives home? Will she worry that if she loves Amara, Amara will disappear someday like her best friend at the orphanage did?
Even if Giselle remembers me from previous visits (which I highly doubt), she will expect me to leave her again, because I always have. She doesn’t distinguish me from the many other white people who come, then leave. She will notice that something is different about our visit when she comes on day trips with us, and eventually spends the night in our room. It will probably scare her. On previous visits, I have found that she is happiest at the orphanage because that is all she knows.
Currently she rarely leaves the orphanage grounds – unless she needs to go see a doctor, or attend an adoption-related meeting. She doesn’t go on shopping trips, or to church. She doesn’t go to a local park or visiting at a friend’s home. The orphanage is her life, day in and day out.
When she comes home to our family, she will go on the trip of her life! On an airplane, a night in a hotel, riding in a car seat for the first time with her arrival into Canada. The smells, sounds, climate and language will all be different. And of course… she still won’t understand why she is with us. She will probably be wondering when will she be going back home?
After our arrival home, it will take her time to realize that she belongs with us now. This is her new home, and we are her new caregivers (parents). If we have many visitors (just like the orphanage), how will she know one of them won’t take her away again and take her on another crazy trip? How will she know whom to trust? If we take her on a lot of outings (church, grocery store, sports events), not only might she be overwhelmed, but how will she know exactly where home is? Of course, many of these thing she will figure out eventually (and in the process most likely grieve her losses of all that is familiar), but our goal is to allow her to figure them out quickly… so she can get down to the business of feeling safe with us, growing and learning in many other ways.
When Giselle first arrives home, we will stay home with her as much as possible (this is called cocooning in the adoption world). We want her to feel comfortable here as her new home, and with us as her new family. For at least the first 6-8 weeks, we will not take her to church, grocery shopping, errands, or any other public place where she could be touched, prodded or feel completely over stimulated. When a baby is first born, the new family often take a few weeks to settle in at home and get to know each other, keeping outside interests to a minimum. That is what we are hoping to give to Giselle. Adoption professionals recommend that a child be cocooned (or intense therapeutic parenting time) for 1 month for every year that child was not with you. That puts Giselle at about 10 weeks of “therapy” IF she comes home this summer at 2.5 years old.
What will we do? Cuddle! Listen to music, cuddle. Play little games, learn to speak each other’s language…cuddle. Crafts, massage, read books and play in the hot tub. More cuddles. Eat, try to make lots of eye contact and cuddle some more.  Hopefully play in our back yard a lot, eventually go for walks to the park. Get her used to our dog, and (hopefully) figure out how to help her sleep well. She will sleep in our bedroom with Darren and I so that when she wakes up, we are the first faces she sees – she will never be left alone. We will carry her, hold her while she drinks her milk (hopefully from a bottle), feed her, do her hair, dress her in all the clothes we have been dying to put her in, and give unending hugs and kisses. Either Darren or I will carry her in a carrier as much as possible. We will not have any visitors come into our home the first few weeks, and after that only family members who are very close to our family. When we see she feels ok and safe with that, then we will slowly introduce friends, and gradually some quick little outings. No one outside of our family will hold her, change her, feed her or comfort her for a very long time.
Does it sound like we are reverting her back to being a baby? I hope so! She has missed out on so much babying in her life.  For her to heal well, we hope to go back to that time of her life and give her all of the nurturing and love that she missed. Will she enjoy this? She might or she might not. She is used to being independent.  Her ‘survival skills’ have gotten her this far and it might be hard for her to let go of them now to learn her ‘family skills’. Or, she might just soak it up. I am praying that God has been preparing her heart for this. That she will delight in learning how to relate, trust and give in a safe family setting. You can pray for us too! This will be a hard a stretching time for us. We will miss our friends, outings and regular life. How can you help? I’m so glad you asked…
Part 3 coming soon.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Consent of the Children

So, as it turns out, the 2 documents that the NAC said were not there - our government approval and the issue with the citizenship- were indeed. The Kenyan agency still needs to confirm with the NAC on Monday, but we are pretty certain that we will not have to provide anything extra in this regard. They did however want the children to be interviewed by our social worker. 

I managed to track down the social worker on Tuesday evening... and she was able to do the interview that very night. (Thank goodness.) Since then, there has been a few delays. Our home study agency wouldn't let her print it on their letterhead to match the home study... but it took two days of mixed messages to figure that out. A draft has been sent as of today to my agency, but I haven't been able to reach my social worker again. I was hoping to FedEx this today. She is super busy, and I feel really bad about pressuring her - but one day now could cost me up to a month down the road. This document has to get stamped at Foreign Affairs, the Kenyan Embassy and then on to the Ministry to be couriered to Kenya... which will likely cost me another $500.

As a precaution, my agency also sent a consent form for the children to sign and be notarized - consenting to the adoption. The lawyer got a good laugh out of that, but then again he was also shocked that it would cost $500 to FedEx this around the world. He was like, "Really!? - $500! Just to courier these 2 papers!?"...  and I was like, Really!? - $20 per document just for the 2 seconds it takes you sign your name on them!? 

Consent? Of course we consent!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


... that I will share with you.

Yesterday... I was fooling around and made some cool things.

I am not a graphic designer by any means - in fact, I can't even figure out Photo Shop!! (what a waste of $100!!) But picmonkey made me look like a pro!! So easy to use!!!

And yes - please go ahead and steal those Kenya map photos... there isn't any floating around the world wide web... so it's about time some were made accessible. I don't mind sharing!! ;)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Private!! Deferral cont...

Private! Oddly, it makes me uncomfortable rather than comfortable. I don't want to leave people behind, and I really want to advocate for this program and increase awareness. However, I think it's best that I put our adoption first right now.


At the May 16th NAC meet, our application was deferred until the 'shortcomings have been addressed'.

"The application was found to have the shortcomings as follows:

-Lacks approval of the relevant government authority in Canada.
-The issue of citizenship of the child to be adopted not addressed.
-Views of applicants biological children not captured.
-Finally, the application lack a forwarding letter KKPI."

To date - there has only been 1 application in Canada that has been approved - so they are new to our process in addition to our documents. I believe from KKPI correspondence via my agency this morning, these documents are indeed included, but perhaps were overlooked. No further documents are needed.

The views of our children - the homestudy did express what our children think about our adoption, but it did not elaborate much. We are told that they need to be interviewed face to face about their views of the adoption. I was able to hunt down our social worker, and have left messages on 4 different channels. I hope she is able to respond ASAP.

At the end of the day - this means that our dossier will not be ready to be reviewed again until July. If it is approved then, we will not find out until late July. We have so much riding on this approval - but can't wait too long to commit to a date to rent our place out. We initially wanted to leave in July. The furthest we can push it back now is September. The kids are not enrolled in school here as we intended to homeschool them in Kenya. Houses are always rented prior to the school year... it would be so difficult to rent it out any later. So, it is looking like we will set a concrete date of Sept. 1st and pray that it works out.

Yes, I fear the unknown... I fear that we will be delayed again, or referral will be very slow to come. BUT, on the other hand - I will be in Kenya and I think a physical presence may be helpful in expediting the process should there be delays. We cannot afford to stay there any longer than necessary however, so it is fine balancing act.

Stay tuned. ;)

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Few Things... (We have news!)

Okay... so I was going to turn on that 'private' switch this am, to only find that my contacts have disappeared! Meaning, I have to re-enter all of your email addresses from many different sources... so it takes awhile. Perhaps tonight.

However, I wanted to just thank you all. It is so nice meeting those of you who have remained in the shadows until now. Some, from foreign countries who don't even share the same language as me (thank you Google Translator), others right from Canada who are also thinking about Kenyan adoption, and those who are simply interested in our journey! Thank you for your kind words, and for keeping us in your thoughts, and following along! Please don't hesitate to jump right in and comment or join our facebook page - I love hearing from you!

Second thing I wanted to share with you, - is I wanted you all to take a peek at Give 1 Save 1 today - a fellow Canadian adopting from Africa. Please check out her great video, cute boys, and if you could spare a dollar or 2 to help them out, that would be great!!

Third - my best bud Tracy and her family are currently en route to Kenya to start their adoption journey. She and I have shared thousands of texts, several phone calls, a good number of morning coffee skypes. She lives in Illinois and we have never actually met, but we connected instantly and share a common bond. (And, I think she may be almost as crazy as I am... so we seem to understand one another. ;) I would like to wish her a safe, smooth journey and that her adoption unfolds just the same. Please keep her in your thoughts as they transition to life in Kenya and chase after their dream! I will certainly miss our daily chats... and will have to resort to early am's and late evenings now.

I know... get to the news already!! Right?

Last but not least on the agenda - In this edge of your seat (well at least I am at the edge of my seat, and possibly my sanity), saga that I am staring in ... we have received news on our approval. The status is 'Deferred until shortcoming are addressed.' Short comings are missing documents and information.

(Big let down... I know. Certainly not very exciting... where is the climax in this story?) 

This means that our timeline is compromised which is very disappointing to say the least. We are back at the drawing board... waiting for some info, before we make some decisions. The unknown and things that I cannot control are taking a toll on me... I don't like living in limbo with kids, pets, house, and business, not knowing what or when to expect things to happen. We are going to seriously consider setting a 'move to Kenya date' and hope the adoption details fall into place around that time. Just considering this option brings me great calmness. I guess I just need to get behind that wheel and control at least one aspect of my life!!

Please - send me your email address in the comment area ( I will not publish it) or email to thompsontreehouse at gmail dot com if you would like to have access to our blog while we go private until approval. (If you have not already done so.)