Friday, November 29, 2013

Winter (SNOW!) Sensory Bin

Tomorrow is the last day of November, and we still do not have snow on the ground!
Zahra is so eager to make a snowman! She draws and talks about them all the time.
I decided since I can't control the weather, I would find a way to make my own snow. I googled my way to some wonderful recipes, but decided to go with this one.

It is cold to the touch!

It powders like real snow!

It compacts like real snow!
What is it!?
It is so simple!!
Are you ready for it?
6 cups of baking soda
1 cup of hair conditioner
Yep, that's it!
Our bin is pretty large, so we tripled this recipe.
The cost? $7
Chances are, you live in a less remote place as we do, and will have better luck finding 'winter' animals, like penguins and polar bears!
My kids laughed at me when I brought home the donkey, sheep and turkey. But hey, these are animals that do live in our snowy climate!
Tips for this craft: We purchased a large $2 bottle of conditioner from Walmart that had a very strong floral scent. The scent is rather overpowering really. I highly suggest purchasing a non scented conditioner if you have the option! I would have loved to do a non scented with some peppermint essential oil! (Unless you are able to find cheap peppermint conditioner!)
My older kids LOVE this just as much as Z does!
(Not safe for consumption - so watch the little ones!)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

In Studio Photo Shoot - 1 yr

We've been home for 5 months now!

I've been wanting so badly to get photos done, but since we are still recovering financially from the last years events and preparing for upcoming needs (new vehicle, flooring, toilet - ALL I want for Christmas is a new toilet BTW. How is that for low maintenance!?), we had to forgo the type of photo shoot we normally would have. You know the one in nature, of candid shots instead of staged shots?

The thing is, I am capable of taking some pretty good photos, but Dan likes to take photos of his thumb prints, and without a tripod (hmmm... another gift idea? Of course my husband will (Should ?) be reading this. ), it means we are unable to have a family picture. Also, I am finding that more photographers are no longer offering digital files for a set fee. You have to pay for the session, then for each individual photo or package - printed. I prefer to have the files, for uploading, and editing/playing around with, and I don't need a bunch of prints, nor a $400 bill. I don't mind paying for a photographers time, but just let me buy the digital files. Non edited even.

I need to make friends with some hobby photographers. Anyone?

So we went to Tot Shots. They offer a digital photo package for $50 (in addition to other package of your choice.) Perfect. Affordable.

Zahra wasn't exactly what I would call the perfect model, as she was uncooperative in the beginning and then just wild at the end. (Certainly this is where a photographer would have come in handy!)





Adoption Conference / NAC update

Get yourself a cup of coffee and sit down to read the presentations that were given at last week's East Africa Adoption Conference.

To quickly summarize what I took out of my reading last night is they are trying to modify the adoption program to assist with the adoption of more boys. Girls are preferred in domestic adoption in Kenya (due to inheritance/cultural reasons), and currently girls are only permitted to be adopted by single females. (Although, we have seen medical exceptions.) It looks like they may be changing the ruling on the single female adoptions to allow the adoption of boys as well. Good news!

Another subject I was happy to see was the presentation given about attachment. As adopting parents in the Western World, we read and read and take classes on this. However, this is a fairly new concept in Africa, and I don't mean 'attachment' in itself is new - I mean education and attachment therapy. One example would be their preference for the child to have their own bed, and how we as parents feel like we have to 'skirt' around this issue, because we 'co-sleep' with our children to build attachment.

In other good news, I have to make an Edit to my last post. I gave the wrong link for the Gazette. The issues are posted to the web frequently. The link for the updated issues are here. I cannot currently get this link to work, but I do know it was working before, so I believe they may be doing maintenance on the page.

Nothing has been published about the NAC yet, but we are told to watch for the November 29th issue, this Friday.

Hopefully, this is week will mark the end of this delay, and you all can get back to actively 'waiting'. Adoption does have a way of fine tuning ones patience. I don't know about you, but 2012 was the year I discovered my first grey hair. It's fitting I suppose.

Friday, November 22, 2013

A 'Hopeful' NAC Update

My last update explained that the NAC could not reappointed until it had been announced in the Gazette that it was disbanded. (It can't be official unless it is published as I understood.)

However, this week, we were hearing that we should be watching the Kenya Gazette for news on the reappointment of the Committee. Leaving us wonder about the disbanding publication.

The Kenya Gazette is published online. The paper is published every Friday, and believed to be available from the Government printers.

*** Today, I heard from 2 sources, that Mr. Hussein himself has said the NAC HAS BEEN REAPPOINTED and will be published soon in the Gazette. Yes, this is hearsay, and I realize that information can be lost in translation - but 2 sources (coinciding with previous information) is good enough for me publish it. I know you all could use some good news right about now.

I know there are many for you who were hoping to be in Kenya before Christmas. I know how hard it is to keep missing these dates, and being left waiting, and wondering. For all of you, I will leave you with this.

Have a great weekend!



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Oh Baby!!

Prepare yourselves!! This is cuteness over load right here!!
I have learned one thing from this all... I love babies! (Lord help me not aquire 12 more.)
Baby announcement cards!! A local Mom asked me to do up her cards, and made the mistake of giving me access to her dropbox account.
Someone help me, cause I couldn't just stop at this one:
The design she requested in a 4x6 - (although I redid the colours to match her photos)

 And this is where I went to next....


Squishy, little, yummy baby!

And... my personal favorite. I edited the photo with a focal B&W. (5x7)

I am not a professional - but 'BOY' did I have fun!
I design these cards in exchange for a small charitable donation to an orphan care foundation. If you are interested in having your own custom made design by yours truly... see here.

Another NAC update

Facts we have learned this week.

The Children's Department has moved to the NSSF building, C block, 5th floor. Apparently, this is just opposite of the Milimani Courts, and the building is under renovations, so it is a bit of a task to locate the offices.

We know that Family Court is proceeding as normal.

Families who are stuck, unable to get their COC's, have been told by their embassies that the disbanding of the NAC is not 'official' as it is not yet pronounced in the Kenyan Gazette, therefor, there is not a whole lot they can do yet.

If you have any information, please feel free to share it in the comments below.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

More Christmas Cards by Donation!

Two sweet families approached me this weekend to design them a card. What fun!
This card was created in like to another design that Cara had found on the internet. Everything is almost exactly the same, except the wording and I made the font colour match their clothing.

Seriously! What cute kids!
This one was a lot of fun for me, as this family recently accepted referrals for 2 boys from Africa! So exciting! (I did cover their faces and change this families name for the protection of the boys they are waiting to adopt.) You may recognize this as design #12. from my original post.
Don't you love the little boots and maps!? Sister is quite the cutie too!

Thank you families for entrusting me to your family Christmas Card designs and supporting Linked Through Love - Orphan Care Projects!

If you are interested in getting your own custom Christmas Photo Cards (in exchange for a small $10 donation to a great cause), get the info here!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

November 11th, 2013

Yes, I realize this girl needs her own Fashion Magazine.

Her date to the parade...

Kenya Adoption Update

We have not gathered much more new information.

We do know that families who have been to the Children's Department are being told that they cannot get a COC (certificate of conformity) because the NAC no longer exists. These families are being caught in a very difficult position. Legal parents of their Kenyan children after passing court, but unable to obtain visas etc. to go home to their countries without the COC.

IF something is not resolved in these cases, these families will need to start contacting their countries political offices and embassies to have their embassies make an exception.

We have reports that family court is processing adoptions as usual.

I really want to spread messages of hope, and not fear. However, I think it is important that while being hopeful for the best, we are preparing for the worst.

I want to draw your attention to a few news articles that may or may not be an indicator of what is happening, or may or may not reflect the current political tone.

Kenyan Parliament Votes to Withdraw from Hague

Where does this leave international adoptions if Kenya is no longer a member of the Hague?
Could the current NAC disbanding be influenced by the movement to withdraw from the Hague?

PBO Act to cut Foreign Funding of Non Profits/Societies

The Adoption Societies only get paid a couple hundred dollars to perform local adoptions, most of their funding comes from international adopters.

Please don't jump off that boat yet. This has not happened yet... but we need to keep our eyes and ears open.

Please help us compile information. If you have information, please email me, FB message me or leave a comment.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

First Custom Card!

Thank you to the Wilkinson Family for being the first to order a Custom Photo Card!

If you want to learn how you can get your own custom card and assist in an orphan care project at the same time - check this out!

Disbanding the NAC - New information

We have received new information this morning. We are seeing notices of Approvals and Deferrals from Danish, Swedish, Italian, and Finnish families. Specifically with LAN, and KCH. We have not heard from any KKPI clients yet. These approvals are from September. There was indeed a meeting in September.

We have also received confirmation from the press that the NAC was disbanded on September 30th. You can read about it here.  What does this mean? I really don't know. They have left us hanging in this article, and information to/from agencies is not very forthcoming.

We have also received word about an East African Adoption Conference in Kenya, in November. You can read about it here. The focus of the conference appears to be raising awareness about local (domestic) adoption and mainstreaming the process. This is great news... but again, where does that leave international adoptions - I don't know.

I am hopeful however, that upcoming changes could be very advantageous to the process. We all know they could easily shorten the residency with a few simple changes.

For those who are on the edge of their seats waiting to hear news, please consider joining our 'Adopt Kenya' Facebook group. For confidentiality reasons, it is only for Moms currently in process (or previously) adopting from Kenya. This means you must be home study approved, and working on your dossier at the very least.

Monday, November 4, 2013

How your Custom Holiday Photo Cards can help orphans!!

As you know, I have been having a lot of fun dabbling in Graphic Design (here, here and here), so I might as well put it to good use.

I have decided to offer Custom Made Photo cards for a minimum donation of $10 to the Linked Through Love Foundation. (For any of their orphan care projects, DRC or Kenya.)

The photo cards will be offered in jpeg file format 2100 x 1500 to print in 5x7 format at your local photo studio, Costco, Walmart etc., or online. (I really don't recommend the kiosk printing machines at Walmart though, I find the quality to be terrible.) Or if you like, you can pass along your Holiday Greetings via email, Facebook etc. with a digital copy.

This is open to anyone around the world.

Here are some templates that I have created. You can choose from any of these....

Or you can get something a little more custom, like this.

All the above can be customized, and colors will typically depend on what I have available, or what best compliments your photo.

For more templates, see here and here.

For Baby announcements, see here.

How do you get started??

1. Email me the photo(s) you would like to use in large file format. Email to jolenelath at gmail dot com

2. Choose a template above.

3. Tell me the exact wording, including punctuation and capital letters. Check your spelling please.

4. Any changes or preferences, let me know.

Once you have confirmed with me, please make your $10 donation over at Linked Through Love and email me your receipt.

I should be able to have a turn around in 1-2 days, depending on demand.

*If your not in the market for Christmas cards, I can also do birthday cards, facebook cover photos etc.

* I can also do some photo editing if you throw a little extra in the pot - Got a bad tooth, skin blemish, forgot mascara, shiny forehead....? etc. :)

What do you say? It's a win/win situation... let's help those children find a warm bed to crawl into with a belly full of food this holiday season!

PLEASE help us even further by sharing this post on your Facebook pages, blogs etc. This offer is available around the world.

Let's get started!

Kenya adoption - Breaking news

It has been confirmed this morning that the National Adoption Committee (NAC) has been disbanded.

There have been no meetings in September or October, 2013 and it unknown at this time when the committee will be reconstituted.

The new Government is currently restructuring.

"When I took office about two months ago, I promised that we will radically change the way the Government operates so that it is able to deliver efficient and effective services to the people. That journey has begun with our restructuring of Government ministries and the naming of Cabinet Secretaries. These secretaries have been tasked with the responsibility of implementing our development agenda across all sectors of our economy."

Kenyatta as quoted here.

We are seeing a new change within immigration and the issuance of passports. They are no longer issuing Kenyan passports to adopted children who do not have a birth certificate (most).

"Immigration Dept. stated that they have been "interpreting the law" incorrectly by giving adopted children passports since their citizenship is unknown.  What they are now issuing is Identity Papers (which is just a piece of paper with their picture on it)."

For some countries, this will not affect your process as your governments will accept this document. For those of us who need Kenyan passports to fly on, you will now need to obtain a court order (confirmation from courts of citizenship) for passport issuance.

This is not a large deal, but could tack on an extra few weeks to your residency.
Let's hope that Kenyatta's restructuring is for the best, and it manages to weed out some of the corruption.

I am sad for you in process, but urge you to hang on to hope.

I am disappointed by the Governments (depts/agencies) lack of communication. The Kenyan way is to not be the bearer of any bad news... which seems to affect the flow of communication.

This is unfortunate news, but what is worse is to allow those in process to believe that their dossiers have been submitted, and that meetings have taken place, and that they are all waiting for word of approval. Leaving these families on the edge of their seats. every. day.

This is wrong. It is much easier to 'know' the truth and deal with the facts rather than not knowing.

I hope this changes in the future. Notices should be made on all websites, media and notices followed down the lines of agencies.

Hang in there everyone!