Thursday, July 25, 2013

Splash! One of many firsts!

2 and over used to be considered an older adoption. Then, as adoptions became more difficult, it has slowly risen to 3 and now 4. However, most parents still request babies under 2, for reasons we all can easily understand. Mainly, because they want to experience a baby and don't want to miss out on many of those special moments in their first years.

Zahra was 26 months when we first met her. I thought that yes, I too would have preferred a 'baby'. But what I didn't expect or think about, is that I still get to experience many of her firsts. No matter what age you adopt, you will get to share in many new experiences. Everything from first grocery store shop, first ice cream, bouncy castle, sand between the toes, bubble baths, pony ride, spaghetti dinners, swimming pool... etc. Large or small, you literally are experiencing almost everything with them the first time.

You don't realize the simple daily things, until you see the wide eyed stare as she watches a playmate squirt water out of this long green hose. She goes to touch it and can't figure it out. How did he do it? Then, when you show her, she spends the next hour enamoured by this simple little thing.

Life is full of many amazing things to her. So really, other than the time that we could have been lovin on her and experiencing her own milestones, there is so much that we didn't miss out on, that I never took into consideration!

Splash Park

Her take:
Cold water spraying from every angle.
Why are the children running through this water?
Why is this fun for them?
Wait a second, there is a practical solution to this... It's an easy way to get a drink!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Home Sweet Home

We are home!

Just a few days shy of 8 months since we stepped on Kenyan soil, we landed back home on Canadian soil!

A gaggle of family and friends eagerly waiting our arrival. Posters and balloons in hand, and all wearing the same 'Adoption Rocks' t-shirts.

The cousins waiting. Blurry, unfortunately (haven't rec'd photos from family members yet)...
but it gives you an idea what was waiting for us.

First impression?

As I looked around at the vast Albertan landscape on the drive home, I felt like I could breathe. I mean the deep, deep breath kind of breathe. Fresh, clean air. Wide open spaces, clean and garbage free. I didn't realize how I missed this, and how clean and fresh it feels.

Secondly, I went through a weird depression a few days after being back. Thoughts of 'What am I doing here?!'. Feeling like my life here in Canada is really quite pointless, considering the difference that one can make in Kenya and the potential to help others. I felt like I was in a halfway world, neither here nor there, and I wasn't really interested in talking about Kenya. I felt like no one would understand what we saw and the experiences we had and I didn't have to energy or desire to explain that. Of course walking around in our small 'white' town with a cute little Kenyan is not very inconspicuous, which made things a bit difficult. People are curious and ask questions, and I did my best to dodge any eye contact to avoid all the 'explaining'.

Well, I think I might have been a wee bit tired. 4 hours of sleep in 50 hours.

A couple weeks later, and it seems like our lives are right back on track, and sometimes it feels like we never left. Surreal; a dream. I am happy to meet people and share our story now. In fact, because of Zahra, we have met a lot of new people! Needless to say, I think I almost know every other 'black' person in town! Jamaican, Brazilian, African... awesome!

How did Zahra travel?

We left Nairobi at 11pm. 8.5 hour flight, 12 hour layover followed by another 8.5 hour flight. She did absolutely fantastic! There was only one minor melt down in London, when she taking 'a walk' with Daddy because she (understandably) was getting a bit cranky at the dinner table. Well she threw quite a tamprum for Mommy during this walk. He was sure that by the way she was screaming, everyone in the airport would surely think that he was kidnapping her. But it's Heathrow... everyone seems preoccupied. Mommy to the rescue, she settled down in a few minutes and was happy to snuggle up for a nap.

She loved the airplane, the food, the drinks, the movie screen. It really helped that we boarded with her carseat, which elevated her to a level that made viewing the movie possible. (Those screens tip up, not down.) The carseat also helped her sleep comfortably. I really recommend the carseat on the plane! (Make sure you get a transport bag with wheels for it though!)

Are we happy to be back?

Hands down, this is the most frequent question we get and I don't think I answer it the way everyone expects. Sure, I am happy to be home to my cushy life of soft beds and couches, dishwasher, front loader, vehicle, lovely parks, reliable internet and power, garden, clean mountain air, ice maker, long hot showers, deep freeze, Costco.... and yes, I could go on and on. However, we do miss the simplicity of life in Kenya and the ability to easily assist and make a difference. We miss our Kenyan friends and yep, we miss having coffee on our balcony, watching the African sun come up (or go down in with a cold Tusker in hand!)  I miss hanging laundry and my husband misses how well dressed everyone was. We miss the Kenyan greeting... Kenya is our home away from home, and yes, we will be back.

I have so much blogging to do and so many stories and photos to share with you all. With reliable internet and power, (and a computer that works!) I should have no excuses.

Let the credits roll....

As we have come to the end of this journey, we owe a great deal of you a 'Thank you', or as we say in Kenya, 'Asante'.

Starting from the beginning,

First and most importantly, thank you to all who believed in our dream and supported us.

Thank you to...

... those who gave us an ear for our vents and celebrations as we rode that adoption rollercoaster.

... those who supported our Good Works Bracelet sales.

... those who gave or lent us suitcases and those who helped us pack up the house.

... those 3 families who lovingly fostered our dog, cats and turtles for 8 months.

... to my sister who threw us a good bye/ baby shower the night before we left.

... to those who hosted my husband when he had to come back to Canada. Those who fed him a good meal, and those who gave him a soft place to crash.

... to friends and family who sent Christmas gifts, cards and stockings plum full so the kids could experience a very blessed Christmas morning.

... to my Mom, Sue and Uncle Eric for visiting us in Kenya. It really meant more to us than you know!

... to those Angels who sent clothing, hockey sticks, socks and crocs, cash donations for the orphanage, each time my husband returned.

... to those who supported our 'Mogra Baby House Fundraiser' by way of purchasing a necklace, bag or cash donations/

... to the kids' school for organizing cards for the kids, a classroom skype across the world, collecting donations and assisting us with our homeschooling.

... to those who met us at the airport with wide arms, waiting to welcome us all. To my sister, (once again!) for organizing it all! You are amazing!

... to those who lovingly stocked our fridge and pantry with essentials upon our arrival. Honestly, this was the greatest gift ever!

... to those who shower love on our new addition, making her feel loved and welcome.

... to those who are at our beck and call to help ease us in our transition. Dinners, help with our yard work, clothing and gifts for Zahra.... etc.

... and last but not least, to you my blog readers and cyber friends for sticking with us, and your encouraging comments over the years.

This was a combined effort. We could not have done it without you all! (or at the very least, we would have become mentally unstable! ;)



Here are some photos since we have been home.

Getting acquainted with 'Home'.

Canada's newest citizen!
Srunchy nose, cucumber eaten smile.
Holding a baby chick!
PS. (Those of you who follow our facebook page, know that I do keep it updated daily. If you want to see more photos of Z, head over to the FB page, where you can get the daily details of what Z is up to, and how she is enjoying her Canadian life. Otherwise, I have every intention of becoming more a frequent blogger again. Honestly. ;)