Saturday, December 31, 2005
Rebecca and I had fun with our friends visiting Cullen Gardens. I couldn't believe how busy it was! Guess when word got out that after 25 years the gardens would be closing their doors early next year everyone wanted to squeeze in their last visit...and squeezing is what we did. What normally takes about 2 mins. to park and pay for entrance into the gardens took about 30 mins! The cars were backed up for 1km in every direction just to get into the parking lot! It was a bit of a wait but well worth it. It was fun to take 1 last nostalgic tour before it's closing. The year I was in Bible College across the street from CG we were given annual passes so often wandered over to enjoy the gardens and village. This little place holds a lot of memories as it's also where I got a 2nd job in order to purchase my piano. (Hmmm...come to think of it I think I've been there with every guy I've ever dated. Maybe it's not such a bad thing it's going! ;o) I may not have been there often over the past few years but I'm glad it was there and will miss it.
Saturday afternoon Sharon and I took Victoria and Rebecca into the city to see, 'Disney on Ice - Monsters Inc.' It was a great afternoon and the show was a lot of fun! The girls always enjoy spending time together and last year Sharon and I started a tradition of taking them somewhere special around Christmas. We have fun planning the day and shopping for matching outfits for the girls! Not sure how long they'll want to dress alike but for now it's something they look forward too. They were even excited that their hair happened to be 'a bit up and lots down!' They get such joy out of life and being together and we enjoy nothing more than listening and watching as they spend time together.
The last activity on Rebecca and my schedule for 2005 will be a New Year's Eve party with friends. I've shared a wonderful friendship with Rob and Lisa, Ronn and Heather Lynn for years but Rebecca just me Ronn and Heather Lynn's daughter this year at the cottage. She and Rebecca hit it off right away so R's looking forward to seeing her friend again.
Talk with you again in 2006!
Thursday, December 29, 2005
I'm also looking forward to this weekend as it's booked with lots of fun activites!
Since this blog was originally started to keep family and friends up to date on my adoption journey I figured I'd give you an update...even if there's nothing to update. As of yet, I haven't heard if my file has been approved by the Ontario Government or not but if not yet, then I'm sure it will be soon. While I'm waiting I'm working on the documents I need for my Dossier to go to China.
I'll be sure to let you know when I hear anything!
Friday, December 23, 2005
The funny thing is, I knew she had grown some but in my head thought, hmmmm...hope I'll be able to keep the pictures from our 2 trips straight. Looking at these pictures I know it won't be a problem! Look how much you've grown Boo!
Thursday, December 22, 2005
Rebecca was excited and did really well saying good-bye to Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa. Our flight left Toronto at 6:25am and we landed in Orlando to a warm, sunny day around 9:20. It took us about 2 hours to get to the hotel (went throught Customs in FL rather than TO) and by that time Rebecca had already made a couple of friends. Disney currently offers complimentary transportation called the, 'Disney Magical Express' so our luggage was taken care of for us. We were dropped off at the front door of Pop Century. Check-in went smoothly and we were ready to go! Since our room wasn't quite ready yet I checked our carryon luggage with the luggage department and we took the bus to Magic Kingdom (MK). The ride to MK is about 15mins. from Pop Century (PC) which is the furthest park from our hotel. Disney's transportation is super efficient (as is most everything Disney does) so we didn't wait long for our bus. Busses run every 20 mins. so you never have to wait long.
Upon arriving at MK we had a bags checked (a normal process since 9-11) and we were off! Becca was so excited and bounced most of the way from the bus to the park! Minnie was right inside the gate (Minnie) so she was our first stop. Rebecca had coloured pictures of the characters for her autograph album and Minnie was suitably impressed!
On our last trip R's favourite souvenir was a cute little Pooh stuffy who she named 'Squeaky Pooh.' Unfortunately Pooh was lost sometime over the past year and a half so replacing him was top on our priority list. Thankfully Pooh's Thotful Shop had lots so we were off to a good start. The park was somewhat full that day being that it was a Saturday but still the waits were short compared to what they could have been. Our first ride was our traditional, 'It's a Small World!' Last time we were here they closed it the day after we rode while they totally refurbished it; a project that took 9 months. (At the time Rebecca asked where all the boys and girls from the ride would go while Mickey fixed their home. Too cute!) This time we called Grandpa on the cell phone while we were riding the boat. If we were going to have that song in our heads all day we might as well have company! :o)
We then rode the Winnie the Pooh ride, Cinderella's Carousel, Dumbo and met Ariel.
By this time it was early evening and we decided to make it an early night since tomorrow would be a full day and evening with of lots of excitement! We were both asleep by 8:30 and slept until 7:30 Sunday morning. Will share more about Sunday later....
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
I laughed when the train conductor began bowing to us. I laughed and said, 'Look Rebecca, he's bowing to the princess!' He in turn laughed and said to me, 'Oh no, I'm bowing to the Queen!' Ahh yes! This is why I love Disney! :o)
Monday, December 19, 2005
I have a ton of stories and photos to share with you but promise not to post all 900+ photos here! :o) Hmmmm....can you say 'scrapbooker?'
Over the next week or so I'll share highlights of each day and pictures too. How I'll fit it all in I'll never know but I want to share as much with you as I can. Tomorrow....Saturday's travel and Magic Kingdom day 1.
Saturday, December 10, 2005
In packing for the 2 of us this past week I've come to the conclusion that I'm in HUGE trouble when it comes to packing for China next year! (The suitcase pictured to the left is only my carry-on! I also have 2 huge suitcases packed.) For China I'll need: clothes, diapers, formula, medecine, bottles, toys....Uh oh!!! I'll be looking for packing tips for sure! Hmmmm...How important are diapers, really? :o)
Talk with you soon! I'll be back with stories, pictures, memories and more when we return!
Friday, December 09, 2005
As I've spent the past week packing for the trip I've noted some of the unique things we'll be taking with us that we haven't in the past: Reindeer antlers, Christmas sweaters, matching red, green and white scarves as well as brightly coloured lights to decorate the window of our room! (Learned that last tip on a Disney message board. Should be fun to see what everyone comes up with!)
Mickey Mouse....here we come!!!
Yeah! With Christmas quickly approaching it was wonderful to wake up to a fresh covering of snow! What a beautiful sight when everything is still laden and not yet disturbed by everyday events. It meant slower driving this morning but oh what a beautiful sight it made! I love snow before Christmas and then bring on spring! :o)
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Sunday, December 04, 2005
While waiting for David to arrive Becca took this picture of Mom, Dad and I together. Great picture Boo! She's only 6! Hmmm...maybe a scrapbooker in the making? I was really happy with this picture and plan on sending it to China as one of my dossier pictures.
Lunch was a great time of visiting together and celebrating Mom! Dad likes to tease her that now she's an official Senior Citizen just like him! The funny thing is I remember distinctly when my Grandpa Ryan turned 65 because it meant he could get into the Ontario Science Centre at a lesser rate. Wasn't that just yesterday???
Saturday, December 03, 2005
After the WalMart guys loaded it into the van I headed back to S&L's for supper. We hid the van in the garage and tried to figure out the best way to get it out of the van. Sharon decided she'd surprise Larry in the morning and we set to praying that it would snow. If you look very, very closely you can see that our prayers were answered but I'm thinking she could have bought a broom and it would have done just fine with the amount of snow we got Friday night! Oh well, winter is coming and that always means snow. I'm sure it won't be too long until Larry's new toy gets its first workout!
Saturday afternoon Mom, Dad, Rebecca and I headed north for an early family Christmas party. My cousin and his wife rented a chalet and it was wonderful! There were almost 30 of us there and still lots of room. The kids had their own room to trash....err...play in and the adults visited in the large living room. Children and adults alike also enjoyed the indoor/outdoor pool! Rebecca (Don't you love that toothless grin?!) had taught herself how to swim one day this summer (yes...literally in one day at an adoption picnic we were at. She wasn't going to be the only little girl with a floatie on so she decided that day was the day to start swimming. She never looked back!) I tried taking her into the outdoor part of the pool but she wasn't impressed! My cousin Sean and I loved it. Imagine...you're surrounded by trees laden with snow, more snow falling gently on our heads and yet...we're in a pool! How cool is that?
It was a great time with family and one I hope will become an annual tradition! Many of us will be together in Windsor at Christmas time but my dad's aunt and uncle visit with their family at Christmas so don't normally go to Windsor. We all enjoy spending time with Uncle Bob and Aunt Edla so I'm glad Sean and Trish organized this celebration!
On the way to the party Rebecca and I watched, 'March of the Penguins.' If you haven't had an opportunity to see it, I highly recommend it. Fascinating and the scenery is breathtaking! (I'm guessing on the scenery part as it lost a lot being displayed on a 7" screen in the car but it appeared to be amazing!) It's a documentary style but one that can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. If you want to treat yourself to a family movie night, then this is a movie to rent.
Sharon and I went to the Oshawa Centre and tried not to buy gifts for people who we had already finished shopping for. Did we succeed? Well, not really but we're happy with our purchases. She also bought an awesome gift for her husband which I'll tell you more about later. Don't want to spoil the surprise!
I got home just after 10 and any sane person would think...ahhh...an early night. Me? No. Checked my email, read the blogs that I check on a daily basis (See my blogroll to the right) and then decided it was time for just one game of Bounce Out! I got hooked on this game early in the summer and continue to play it a couple of times a week. Am I getting better? Not really but I still enjoy the challenge of trying to beat my high score. Haven't even come close so not sure what happend the day I got that score. If you enjoy a fun game please give it a try. Let me know how you make out.
Oh yah...and if you find yourself playing it when you should be doing other things, welcome to the club!
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
There is a possibility that their approval could be granted prior to Christmas. Oh what a wonderful gift that would be!!
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
The beginning steps of the adoption process are often referred to as the 'paperchase' and as you can see by this picture it's easy to understand why. This represents about 75% of the documents that have been accumulated so far and are currently on their way to Open Arms.
Today's responsibility was to read and sign a legal contract with Open Arms (OA) officially requesting/allowing them to act on my behalf of the adoption. With this signed document they can now begin to officially act on my behalf and get this adoption moving!
Once OA receives my homestudy they will review it for completeness. When it is in order and all accompanying documents are confirmed, it will be sent to the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services for their approval. All going well, it should be on it's way to the Ministry by next week. I'll keep you posted.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Saturday my friend Lisa and I spent a wonderful day scrapbooking together. It was a perfect time from beginning to end! Our monthly scrapbooking get-togethers began in September of this year and oh have we enjoyed them! Her husband loves to cook so prepares the meals for us and you have to know it’s not just milk and cereal! He treats us like royalty and we enjoy every morsel he prepares! Saturday’s breakfast consisted of Swedish pancakes with the choice of: warm apples, warm cherries, homemade vanilla sauce, chocolate sauce and crunchy pecan syrup. Yummmm! Add pemeal bacon (a.k.a. Canadian bacon for my US friends), orange juice and coffee and oh yah...that’s a breakfast fit for a queen!
After breakfast Lisa and I began scrapping. Trying to finish up the last of my Christmas cards. Lisa's 5 year old daughter has also caught the scrappin’ bug so we were happy to have C join us. Here she's displaying a beautiful Christmas card she made for me! What a fun time. Talking, laughing, scrapping, watching the snow gently fall outside...like I said...perfect!
Sunday was a day of making, ‘Ranch Stars.’ A friend gave me the recipe a few years ago and they quickly became something I was asked to bring to Christmas gatherings. Since I was awake early, I baked all the wonton shells (15 dozen) before going to church. Also, prepared the filling (ground pork, ground turkey, green and red pepper, black olives, TexMex cheese and Ranch dressing.) After returning from church and lunch with my family, the afternoon was spent filling and baking these delicious little morsels and freezing them in a number of containers for use over the next month or so. They take a little time but are worth it!
One thing I've noticed. Between the SW's visits to my home and my upcoming Disney trip with Rebecca I'm getting organized for Christmas a little earlier this year. Somehow I'm thinking it won't be this way next year if I have the baby by then. I'm guessing frozen appetizers and store bought cards will be in order...if I can find the time to buy them!
Thursday, November 24, 2005
I received a call from a friend yesterday telling me that the foot that's been bothering her for a couple of months, had just been identified as broken! Yup...she'd been walking on a broken foot for a while and only yesterday was the problem finally determined. Ouch! Now, most friends would empathize with her - which I did. Offer to help out with errands, Christmas shopping, etc. - which I did. Then leave her with the offer...'If there's anything I can do, just call!' Ok, that was done too.
But, not wanting to leave things quite like that, I decided to 'help!' I decided that given the Christmas season we're preparing for, her boring old grey cast would never do! I understand that the traditional Christmas colours are green and red, but, you don't know my friend! She's a lady all the way and only pink pearls and cream decorations would do for her! I showed up at her workplace last night armed with Christmas shopping in one hand and my bag of tricks in the other! She just laughed as I pulled out lights, pearls and Christmas balls from the bag. Figuring she'd need to leave her desk, the lights were vetoed but I went to work with the other stuff. I must say, even though it was a quick and sloppy job, it was the fanciest cast I'd ever seen...for the 3 minutes the decorations were on! Oh well, we had a good laugh about it! She's just so very thankful, as are we all, to have an answer as to why her foot wasn't getting any better. Let the healing begin!
Do I enjoy having fun? Oh yah! I can't wait to teach the baby some of my little tricks. Such fun things to pass on to her!
Monday, November 21, 2005
- my parenting plan
- how do I anticipate answering the questions my daughter will raise re: adoption, looking different from me and eventually abandonment
- unique challenges I will face as a single parent
- fertility issues (that was an easy one...no husband (yet) = no children!)
- initial thoughts concerning child care
- who will provide the much needed male role models for my daughter?
- what type of person do I want my daughter to grow up to be? How do I anticipate parenting in order to raise such a child?
- challenges I will face due to adopting a child internationally and from an orphanage
- attachment and bonding
- contingency plan re: finances
It was a good morning. I have done a lot of reading, researching and investigation regarding the above topics but so much will depend upon my daughter and her personality. I will take my cues from her.
I have used this past year and will continue in the upcoming year, to be as prepared as I can be for my daughter. I know that just like a parent who gives birth to a child, I'll never be totally prepared for the changes that will take place in my life. My responsibility is to learn as much as I am able to to help ease her transition and be prepared for questions and challenges we will face together in the future. I am particularly interested in learning as much about attachment and bonding as I can so that we can begin the attachment process (that will take a lifetime to accomplish) as soon as possible. I am preparing for my daughter for more than a year before I receive her but for her she will wake one morning just as any other and her precious little life will be turned on end as this new person walks into her life and takes her away from most everything that is 'normal' to her.
Because of this, I am praying and praying for this precious little life. God in His infinite ways can begin preparing my daughter for me. I don't know how this happens but I believe that He can. I pray daily for her and that somehow she will know that I'm her mom. That I will care for her, love her unconditionally and even though everything is changing for her, that she can trust me. This is only something God can do and I am asking Him to pave the way for my daughter.
I am also praying for her birth mother who probably in the near future will have to make the hardest decision of her life. I pray God will comfort this wonderful woman as she unselfishly gives her child into the care of another. I see this as an act of love. Knowing how much I want this precious baby girl I can't begin to imagine the pain this woman will go through when she gives up her daughter. Will you please pray for her with me? Thank you.
I want to take this time to thank you for caring enough to ask about the adoption, to read this blog that follows my journey and most of all for your prayers. I can feel the prayers that are offered up on my behalf and I am very, very thankful for those prayers. Thank YOU!
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
This year I can add fulfilling a long-time dream of seeing Disney World all decked out for the Christmas season! Can't wait!!! Until our trip arrives, it's time to get ready for Christmas. I don't think I've ever been this organized and to be honest, I'm quite enjoying it! The house is tidy (thanks to the SW's visit), most gifts are purchased and as of today, the tree is up and decorated.
(I could pass on the fun of stringing the lights but guess that's just part of the whole picture.) Next on my list is finishing shopping, sending out Christmas cards and beginning to wrap gifts. Will this finally be the year when I'm not wrapping gifts Christmas morning? You'd think with 365 days to prepare that the wrapping thing wouldn't sneak up on me but somehow it does...every single year! Can you relate?
The leaves on my neighbours side have fallen and most have been raked and bagged by my neighbour with the green thumb. The funny thing to me is that a portion of leaves on my side are hanging on for dear life and refusing to let go! There were even more yesterday but I didn't have an opportunity to snap a picture until today. Why are these leaves hanging on while the rest of the tree (and the neighbour's matching trees) have all lost theirs? Both sides of our property are cared for at the same time, in the same way (water, fertilizer, cutting, etc.) so the only explanation I can come up with must be the way the wind hits this cute little tree. I don't remember this happening in the past but you have to know I'll be on the lookout next year to see if this pattern is repeated. Oh yah...I gotta get a life! Who else writes about trees as much as I do? (See Fall Trees and Christmas Trees.) Hmmmm...guess my friends with pets write about those so in lieu of a dog or cat to write about I'll bore you with tree stories.
Bring on the baby so that I'll have interesting things to write about like...teething, sleepless nights and dirty diapers. I tell you, a few dirty diaper stories and you'll be crying out for more tree tales!
Friday, November 11, 2005
I'm almost finished my shopping as I'm needing to be more organized this year. My niece and I are taking a Christmas trip to Disney World in December so hope to be finished almost everything before we go. I've always wanted to see Disney all decked out for Christmas and can't wait to go! Boo and I will have a great time and I'll be sure to bore you with all the nitty gritty details when we return! ;o)
After returning from shopping I shared a fun girls night with my friend Theresa and her daughter Ali. We had supper then set about scrappin' the evening away. Most of the evening we listened to Christmas music but we took an hour out and I introduced her to the wonderful TV show Three Wishes. If you haven't had an opportunity to see it yet you may want to check it out. During the evening, Theresa taught me how to make a card she'd done and then I went to work making the last of my Christmas cards. 50 are done in total...after that it's store bought although I'm thinking I should have lots. Time will tell.
Tomorrow's plan is putting up the Christmas tree! The Christmas music will be wafting...err...blaring through the house and I will be a happy girl! I love Christmas - celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ!
I was ready around 8:00am for our 8:30 visit, coffee was brewing and cinnamon buns were baking (oh no....burning!) in the oven. (Hey, I'm a master chef at cooking up these morsels. I can pop that can with the best of them but this time they burned! Oh well, nothing a sharp knife to cut off the bottoms and a candle to try to eliminate the smokey smell couldn't hurt. Guess I was nervous...I can normally do these in my sleep...practice makes perfect and I've practiced a lot!) If you want me to come teach a Pillsbury cooking class to you just let me know. Cinnamon buns, sliced cookies, and my own personal favourite...open a package of frozen cookies, place on tray and bake. You name it, I can usually bake it. Yup...that's me...Ontario's own Martha Stewart!
OK - now to get back to what you're really interested in:
The SW arrived right on time and we quickly got to work. He plugged in his laptop and we began to chat. I handed over my police check, RCMP check, fingerprints, Notice of Assessment and we listed my assets vs. liabilities and signed off the paper with him stating that I agree to work with him as a SW acting on my behalf with the Ontario Government. Basically, lots of legal stuff to begin with.
After that it was a wonderful trip down memory lane. We discussed myself, my parents, brothers, education, medical history, educational history, my jobs, what did I like to do for fun. Just a ton of things, many that I hadn't thought about in a long time but that made me smile.
Towards the end of the morning he looked through the house (Yeah! All that cleaning was worth it!) and then discussed what we'll talk about next week:
- International adoption
- Potential problems of adopting a child who has been in an orphanage
- My parenting plan
- Support system of family and friends
- Initial thoughts/plans re: daycare
- Support systems available in my area for potential physical/emotional needs the child may have (Sick Kids Hospital is in Toronto and there's a clinic in Mississauga that specializes in internationally adopted children)
It seems we're more than half way through the homestudy and just have next week's visit + a few references to receive and we'll have my homestudy finished. We're hoping it will be done by the end of November and so far that looks like a reasonable target.
In my 'ideal plan' I'd really like to see it go to the Ontario Government for their approval as early in December as possible. With more holidays than normal during Christmas & New Year's, I'm guessing approvals will slow down. Lately it seems referrals are running about 9 months from the time a file is logged into China until the referral is received. If the time frames remain similar to what's happening now, I'm thinking it may be early in 2007 when I will travel to China with my parents to get precious baby Hannah! In some ways that seems like forever yet I'm sure the time will fly!
Thank you for your continued interest and prayers in this wonderful journey! I am so happy to be able to share this with you and am encouraged daily by people asking me how things are going. Please feel free to ask and also to ask any questions you may have. I've learned so much and I like nothing more than sharing with you. If you have a question...ask away! You can email me (link is to the right of this post) or ask a question in the comments section.
One more big step towards mommyhood....CHECK!
Wednesday, November 09, 2005
Twas the night before the Social Worker, and all through the house
Not a spot had been missed...Phew...didn’t find a mouse!
The cupboards were tidy and scrubbed with great care.
The closets were clean. Who put all that stuff in there?
The bills were all filed, old papers were shred
Why keep old receipts for batteries long dead?
And I with sweet dreams of a baby on my lap
Had just settled down for what would seem like a nap.
When what to my wandering mind did appear?
But a dream of all that paperwork. Did I have it all here?
Away from my bedroom I flew in a dash,
Tore open the file folder, quick as a flash.
The soft light on the papers cast a dim glow
As I double checked and counted, all were there I would soon know.
When, what to my wandering eyes should appear?
But a calendar on the wall, displaying next year.
Oh my mind it did wander, so speedy and quick
As I thought of this next year and my heart quickly ticked!
More rapid than eagles my heart did beat fast
As I thought of my baby. How would I last?
Bring on cuddles and cooing, giggles and cries.
Diapers and fussing, those cute chubby thighs.
To the other side of the world! To see the ‘Great Wall.’
Now hurry time hurry...but I think it might crawl.
And then in a twinkling, a year will rush by
It won’t be too long ‘til I hear my baby’s first cry.
I’ll hold out my arms to my daughter so dear
I’ll gently embrace her and hold her so near.
Until such a time, it’s my time to prepare.
I’ll think of her, love her and bathe her in prayer
God is preparing a daughter to love
I’ll offer up prayers to our great God above.
So tomorrow’s a big day in this journey so vast.
I’ll share of my present, I’ll share of my past.
I’ll tell of my love for this child in my heart
I’m ready to get going, I’m ready to start!
I love you dear baby, I can’t wait to meet,
To kiss soft baby cheeks, and warm baby feet.
I love you my daughter and will wait patiently for you
For the day when my family changes from one into two!
Monday, November 07, 2005
Friday night my friend Deb and I went to a Steve Green concert in Toronto. Ahhh...a little piece of heaven on earth! Now Steve is a wonderful singer, but that's not what I enjoy most about his concerts. What I enjoy most is his humble spirit and the opportunity he gives us to praise the Lord along with him. It's a real treat! If you ever have an opportunity to see him in concert I'd recommend you do. You won't be disappointed.
After the concert I began a weekend of babysitting for friends. The 2 older girls are 14 and 12 and were a HUGE help! The little boys are 6yo and 17 months so tend keep me on my toes. My initiation to the weekend happened about 1/2 hour after I got to sleep. I woke up to crying and figured it was the baby. Nope! It was the 6yo who greeted me with, 'I barfed' as I entered his room. Yikes...my nose quickly told me he was telling the truth! So, after changing the sheets, taking off the comforter, tucking him back in and starting a load of laundry at 1am, I was back to bed for what would be a peaceful sleep.
Saturday began with a Tim's run with the baby at 7am hoping to allow the girls to sleep a little longer with the baby out of the house. We had fun watching the cars and trucks go through the dirve-thru and enjoyed some one-on-one time. The day was later filled with ordering tickets for, 'Disney on Ice - Monsters, Inc', skating lessons, 'Chicken Little' and was topped off by attending a surprise party for a special friend, Heather Lynn, who turned 40! (She and I are only about 7 months apart in age but you have to know I rubbed in her being in an entirly different decade from me right now! Don't worry Heather...I'm right behind you.) It was a wonderful evening shared with many friends.
The weekend wrapped up Sunday with teaching Sunday School and attending church followed by a quiet afternoon.
When I got home it was time to get busy again preparing for the Social Worker's visit this Thursday morning. My current scrapbooking/storage/filing/sewing/everything! room will become the baby's nursery so there is a lot of cleaning to be done! I'm making headway but it's a slow process.
Gotta run for now....more garbage bags to fill and items to put aside for a garage sale in the spring.
Thursday, November 03, 2005
I've heard this a lot since starting this site in July. Basically a blog is a web-site for Dummies! Yeah! It's free, fairly easy to use and best of all...interactive! I enjoy the opportunity this site allows me to share my adoption journey with you and in turn it allows you to comment on what you've read.
Below each entry there is a spot that says 'Comments' Please feel free to click the word comments and do just that...add something to what you've read or seen in a post.
Sometimes a post will make you think of similar experience you've had. Or, cause you to laugh, cry, whatever. Please feel free to write in the comments area. (It is not necessary for you to sign up as a member)
Your input helps to make this wonderful experience one we can all share together!
Sunday, October 30, 2005
What a wonderful weekend it was! On Friday afternoon Tina, Liane, Deb and I hit the highways and headed to Tina's parent's cottage located north of Belleville, Ontario on a beautiful lake. We arrived after dark so had no idea what delights awaited us when the sun rose! It was positively breathtaking! A weekend of scrapping with friends is always a treat but to have the added bonus of looking out at God's beauty in full colour was amazing! This was the view we had from the front window of the cottage! We sat at tables in front of the picture window facing the scene above. Can you even imagine? How did we ever take our eyes off this scene to scrapbook?
What was quickly displayed to us this weekend was how quickly things can change in 24 hours! Both Saturday and Sunday were beautiful sunny days with a light breeze Saturday and a little more Sunday. What was evident was that this was the last weekend when the trees would be holding their leaves this fall. It's time to let go which means winter is on it's way. The pictures below were taken of the same tree only 24 hours apart!
Belive it or not, we accomplished a lot of work on our scrapbooks. I think we may have chatted just a bit too and oh yah, maybe ate enough for, hmmmm...a dozen people! All these things just seem to go hand in hand on a girls weekend!
You may notice that my picture is missing from here. Why? Well, truth be told it was 2:00 in the afternoon and I was still in my PJ's! Didn't get dressed until later in the afternoon when we went for a beautiful, fresh fall walk. We're all looking forward to when we can do this again and are hoping to make it an annual event!
Sunday, October 23, 2005
Some families are anticipating receiving their referrals within the next couple of weeks which means they will quite likely travel before Christmas! What a Christmas this will be for them! It was fun to watch people being introduced to others in their travel groups. Today the beginnings of friendships formed that could last for many years to come. With Open Arms (OA), each family in a travel group receives a baby from the same orphanage. This means that people keep in touch with one another as their girls grow up, allowing the girls to share something special with other children who can relate to their beginnings. (This past summer my niece Rebecca and I went to a picnic in Courtice that is an annual event for 2 travel groups that went to China 5 and 7 years ago!)
Today there weren’t any other people in the ‘home study’ phase of their journey but there were some who had just had their files sent to China last week. It’s anticipated that I’m about 2-3 months behind them. Wow! It’s more and more real and I’m more and more excited!!!
My social worker feels he can have my home study ready to go to OA by the end of November. (Friends completing references for me, I’ll be faxing the list references off to him tomorrow morning so you’ll probably receive something shortly.) Once my home study is with OA, Deborah (the OA Executive Director) will send it to the province for their approval within a couple of days. Yeah! Moving forward step by step.
Deborah thinks she may host another one of these days in January so by that time I may have a travel group too! Until then...back to the paperwork!
Thursday, October 20, 2005
After many months of praying and seeking God's will, I believe with all my heart that this is what He is leading me to do! I'm beyond excited and at the same time have a peace in my heart that only God could provide!
Over the past couple of weeks many things have happened to help confirm this decision. So many of you have been praying and to each of you I am thankful! I am thankful for your willingness to share your encouragement, ideas, concerns and thoughts with me. I know that being a single parent will not be an easy task but God does not always promise that life will be easy. What He does tell us in Psalm 37:4 is to:
"Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart."
I believe my desire to become a Mom to a beautiful little girl from China is from God and I look forward to the day when she and I will finally meet! I'm trusting God and asking Him to lead each and every step of the way.
God has also provided peace when it comes to the financial challenges that this journey will entail. I'm trusting Him! It was wonderful last night as I was shared with my small group Bible Study how God has answered prayers in such a wonderful way! After listening to my journey and hearing of the answers to prayers they had been offering up on my behalf, they soon asked, 'When do we have the garage sale/car wash to help bring baby home?' That sounds like a fun adventure that I may tackle next spring.
The final peace to move forward came in a conversation that I had with a precious lady at my church. Until Sunday night I was not aware that she too had adopted a child as a single lady. Sunday night it was mentioned to me that I might want to talk with the dear lady as she could provide a lot of insight as to what was involved in being a single Mom and some of the many changes her life took on.
Fast forward to Monday night, a 'God Thing' happened I believe. After teaching piano I headed to the church for our scrapbooking group. The key holder had not yet arrived so I went back to my car to wait for him to arrive. Within 1 minute another car pulled up beside mine (for a totally different meeting) and this lady was right beside me! (I attend a church with 600+ people in attendance on a Sunday so you can see how this was so neat!)
After the church was unlocked I found her and asked if I could talk with her for a few minutes. I shared with her about my desire to adopt a baby girl from China but more than that, to seek God's will and follow His leading. She shared some of her story and how her life had changed in a wonderful way when she adopted her daughter. She said there were some difficult times but I'm sure any parent can attest to this in their lives. She encouraged me to gather a strong support group around me and I shared with her that this group was well established already and praying for me as I sought God's leading in this. What a wonderful encouragement she was and when we parted ways I knew God was opening the door fully to move ahead with the adoption! (I didn't share this with my scrapbooking friends as I wanted to share it with my parents first...that was tough as you know I like to talk and the excitment of answered paryers was just bubbling up inside me!)
That night, for the first time in many, many nights, I went to sleep with a peace in my heart that only God can provide, knowing that I am to trust Him and move ahead with this. That peace is still with me and I praise and thank Him for answering my prayers!
God's timing is perfect! As I've mentioned before, I was planning on removing my name from my agency's list on November 1st if I didn't have peace in moving forward. As I didn't know how God was going to work or what He was going to do, I had begun to prepare my heart for this difficult task and asking God to help me through the grieving that was already beginning to take place. You can imagine my imense joy when He had another plan and I just needed to be faithful to Him and wait for His perfect timing. His timing isalways perfect! (Just as you reminded me last week Joy!)
The next day, Tuesday, I went to visit my parents. They were so excited when I said to them, 'Pack your bags Grandma and Grandpa! We're going to China!!!' They are absolutely thrilled and both shared that this was their desire for me yet they knew that the decision had to come from the Lord and not from them. They said they can't wait to welcome this precious new life into our family! It will be so wonderful to share this trip with them!
On Tuesday I was also able to share with my dear friend Norma and her husband John that I am moving forward. They were both really excited and we shed a few tears of happiness together. Norma is a precious friend and has supported me 100% of this journey regardless of how many times my thoughts changed from...yes...no...yes...no.... she was just there...listening, loving, crying and supporting. Since we see eachother numerous times a day I'm sure she felt like she was on a pendulum ride that constantly swung one way then the other. Thank you Norma for your support! Love ya!
(Deb, as you're reading this...sorry I didn't have an opportunity to say anything before you left on your trip! I wanted to so badly but knew Mom and Dad had to hear first. Thanks for understanding! Love ya!)
As I have had opportunities to share my answer with friends this week I've been overwhelmed by their love, support and encouragement. What a humbling experience to have so many caring people tell me of their prayers, love, and encouragement. I'm so very thankful for each of you and appreciate your love and support immensely!
The questions that many people are asking are:
1) When will you get her?
2) How old is she?
2) What's next?
1) My estimation based upon current timeframes is that I will probably travel to China late in 2006. I am working on a timeline that will explain the steps necessary when adopting from China.
2) How old is she? Well...my best 'guesstimation' is that she will be born anytime between now and maybe March of 2006. For many years the children adopted from China were being referred around the ages of 14-16 months. Lately the age has dropped *yeah!* and many babies are meeting their forever families before their first Birthday, some as young as 8 or 9 months old!
3) What's next? I spoke with my social worker today and set up our next 2 meetings for the mornings of Thursday, November 10th and Friday, November 18th. He feels that because the majority of my paperwork (police check, fingerprints, medical, etc.) is done he could complete my homestudy by the end of November. I have assignments to complete re: international adoption and I also need to send him in my list of references so that he can get in touch with them.
Another big step for me will happen this Sunday. I will be attending my first official information session with Open Arms (OA), assisting me in preparing for adopting, traveling to China, etc. One of the exciting things about this meeting is that I will meet other families with OA who are at the same stage of the process I am and are people that I may eventually travel to China with! (All families in a travel group receive babies from the same orphanage. This allows us to keep in touch after we return home so that the girls can grow up knowing others who were born in the same province they were.) OA normally sends travel groups of 5-7 families together from what I understand. I have so much to learn and some of that learning will begin this Sunday! Again, God's timing is perfect! I've known about this meeting since the beginning of September but did not allow myself to respond to the invitation until today when I knew it was full steam ahead!
If you've read this far with me....thank you! There is so much that I want to share with you!
I know this 'stroller coaster' of international adoption has just begun but I'm buckled in and can't wait to see what God has over the next hill and around the next corner! Please grab a seat with me and come along for the ride of a lifetime!
Love to all of you, Catherine
Friday, October 07, 2005
When I initially called the assistance program yesterday I explained that I was hoping to adopt a baby girl from China and was wondering if there was any sort of financial assistance offered to help with the $25,000 cost of completing an international adoption. The lady that called today seemed more prepared to help me begin looking into the adoption process. Oops! I explained that I already have an agency, social worker, etc. but was looking for something else. She seemed somewhat hopeful that financial assistance might be available but if there is, she is not aware of it. After a 2nd call she said she was not really aware of any assistance available but she would do some research. She is going to look into it and email me on Wednesday. Hmmm. Doesn't sound too positive but time will tell.
Again, all this is part of the plan God has.
Thank you so much for all that are praying! I received numerous emails telling me that they are praying and I'm so very thankful for that.
In His time God will reveal the plans that He has. Trusting Him! My heart soooo wants to do this so it's hard to keep my plans in check while waiting on God to reveal His plans. His plans are greater than mine.
Thank you for your continued prayer.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
Friends, my adoption journey is at a very important decision making time. As much as I am the one to physically make the decision, I want to do only what God wants and how He leads me. I am seeking His guidance and leading as to whether to proceed with the adoption or call my agency and withdraw my application. As much as that would hurt unbelievably to do, I am willing to do so if it's what I should.
I am asking that you pray for me and with me, asking God to lead and make it abundantly clear what I should do. After much prayer, I have decided that if nothing has changed by the end of October, I will call my agency and ask them to withdraw my application.
Some may wonder why I have set a specific date for things to happen. My reason for this is that my agency called on May 30th informing me that I could begin my home study. This step of the process normally takes approx. 4 months. To date, I have completed the majority of the paperwork but have not met with my social worker since the beginning of June and the biggest portion of this step of the adoption in both time and paperwork is the home study. While I am praying, seeking, waiting and not meeting with my social worker, I am delaying another single lady/gentleman from pursuing their dream of adopting a baby girl/boy from China. With singles spots restricted to 8% of the adoptions from China, they are at a premium and currently I am holding one of those precious spots. I feel that I can no longer allow my indecision to hinder another person.
All that being said, there are still 27 days between now and the end of October. In that time, God can work a miracle as He is a God of miracles! If He wants this adoption to happen then I can't wait to see Him work! If not, then I will have my answer and my application will be withdrawn.
So many of you are praying with me and for me and I am so very, very thankful for each of you!!!
As a next step, I have an important meeting scheduled for 2:00 tomorrow afternoon, Friday, October 7th to discuss the adoption. Today at work I was made aware of a fairly new program called the, 'Employee Assistance Program.' I had read about it when it first came out and thought it was mainly a program designed to assist people with counseling needs that they might have. (What a wonderful service to offer to employees.) A coworker mentioned to me today that they can also help in special financial circumstances of which the adoption may apply. I called the 1-800# this morning and was told that yes, there is something in place to assist those adopting a child internationally. What that help is I have no idea. It may be financial help in the way of a loan or grant or it may be something totally different. I don't know. Will qualify for assistance? I don't know. What I do know, is that they were able to offer me a 1 hour phone interview tomorrow at 2:00. As I'm guessing you can tell, I'm cautiously optimistic about what I may learn tomorrow.
Dear friends, it will take nothing short of a miracle to allow me to adopt a child. But, if adopting is what God has planned for me then He will perform that miracle and we will all be able to praise Him for it. If the answer is 'no' I will still praise Him for answered prayer!
Thank you again for all your prayers. I will let you know how things go tomorrow.
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
I received a letter in the mail today from Deborah at Open Arms to International Adoption officially welcoming me into the adoption process with her agency acting on my behalf! Yeah! Another step ~ check! :o)
Each agency handles the adoption process differently. With Open Arms I was not required to officially register with them and pay the registration fee until I'd received 'The Call' advising me that as a single, it was my time to begin my adoption process.
Sidenote: Couples can normally begin as soon as an agency accepts them whereas singles have a bit of a wait. Thankfully for me this wait was very, very short! Other singles in Canada and the US are sometimes being given an estimated date of 2009 when they will be able to begin their adoption process!! This may change in time but for now it is the current situation due to China's restriction on adoptions by singles. Approx. 3.5 years ago China restricted it's adopions by singles to 8% of it's babies so therefore I needed to wait my turn in a line of singles considering adopting. I praise God that He allowed me to receive my call in such a short period of time!
So, even though I'd orignally been told by Deborah on May 30th that I could begin my home study and paperchase I had not registered with them until I mailed my form in last week. As mentioned previously, (see A New Adventure...My Adoption Blog) I'd put the adoption on hold in mid-June, seeking God's confirmation to proceed or not. It was, and continues to be, all in His hands. Daily I commit my adoption journey to Him, seeking God's Will in this process. It is only with Him that I can do this.
'In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice;in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. ' Psalm 5:3
Praying and trusting Him as I move forward 1 step at a time.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Currently, the turnaround time for fingerprints seems to be somewhere in the area of 90 days so I knew I wanted to get them done sooner rather than later. (I'm hoping that in 90 days my file will almost be ready to go to China!)
I called Pat and asked if I could set up an appt. with him to take the prints. He was happy to help me out and we set a date and time. Because he was able to do them at home he mentioned that he would be using a portable kit...the one he normally used in the morgue! (What a story that would have been!) Alas, tonight when he went to pick up the 'morgue kit' another officer had it out so he used a small ink pad to do mine. I teased him when I first got there that unlike many of his other clients, my fingers would still be warm! :o)
I have the envelope addressed to the RCMP and a stamp on it. All I need now is to get a money order and I can mail off one more piece of paperwork. It is such a wonderful feeling to know that I'm actually doing things that are helping the adoption to progress! Currently when people ask me when I anticipate getting the baby I say probably September or October of 2006. With September just hours away I'll soon be able to say, 'Next September!' Wow! In a little more than a year I'm going to be a Mom!
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
I've spoken with the friend who is going to do my fingerprints this week. Just need to call him back and set up a time. Sending fingerprints to the RCMP for their check seems to take a little longer so it's my goal to have them taken and in the mail before Friday. I'll keep you posted.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
When I went to pick up R at her house she was excited to show me her latest accomplishment...1 more tooth gone with the 'Tooth Fairy!' She just laughed at silly Auntie Cathy when I asked her Mom to send along some of her baby brother's food since I wasn't sure she'd be able to eat anything with such a large gap happening at the front of her mouth! She was quite proud of the missing teeth and only too willing to give me a wide non-toothy grin when picures were in order. (Which for me is always!)
Even though the girls hadn't seen each other in a year, when we arrived at the fun fair, R and B were quick to pick up on the friendship they share and were immediately inseperable! As their bright green and peach tops ran from game to game they were easy to spot. Where 1 was, the other was always close behind. The girls had a fun afternoon enjoying games, laugher and fun! Who needs an amusement park when you have friendship to provide the entertainment?
Friday, August 26, 2005
My topic was a little different from the others in that it was most likely something they would never actually do themselves so I invited them to take the adoption journey with me that I am taking over the next 14-18 months...and then for a lifetime. I was so absorbed in what I was sharing that I forgot some of the techniques I'd been shown. Oops! Oh well, maybe next time. As I prepared to wrap up my presentation I noticed tears in the eyes of a couple of my classmates. It was exciting to see them share in my joy and anticipation of the journey God is taking me on.
Today 1 more piece of paperwork was checked off. I mailed my formal application to Deborah at Open Arms so that I will be officially registered with them!
1 small envelope to the agency, 1 more big leap towards the baby!
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
I look forward to sharing this special, amazing, wonderful, sometimes overwhelming journey with you!
Some days you'll hear about the steps that are happening in the journey. Sometimes you'll hear my heart's cry to God for His leading and guidance. Other days I'll just talk about the day to day events happening in my little corner of the world.
Please feel free to check in as often as you like. After each entry their is a 'comments' section. Please use these for your enjoyment and mine! It's fun to read your stories, thoughts and comments.
I've made a few entries before today. A couple of the key ones are:
A New Adventure...My Adoption Blog and
Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful journey with me! Your prayers, support and friendship are needed and appreciated!
Over the years there have been various groups that I've gone to the EX with. In my childhood, it was an annual tradition for Mom, Dad, my brothers and I to head there. The fun would begin when we boarded the 'GO Train' and anticipation built as the sights and smells of the fair bombarded my senses with almost more information than I could handle as a child! Oh the EXcitement! A day with my family at The EX always began with our trip to Tiny Tom Donuts for delicious hot, sweet donuts generously sprinkled with icing sugar! Yumm!
As I grew up, the next EX memory I have is with my friend Joy - I'm guessing around 1981. Again we took the train and enjoyed lots of girl time laughing, chatting, shopping, eating and building memories to last a lifetime.
After coming home and sharing the fun we had we decided we'd go again the following year and Japhia would come too! Who would have thought back in 1982 that we would go to the EX on and off together for a number of years? Japhia, do you remember the year a horse refused one of the jumps throwing it's rider? I think we impaled people with flying Candy Peanuts for 10 aisles back as we jumped in fright!
I think after 1982 my trips to the EX took a bit of a break as I went through that 'I'm too cool to go to the EX phase!' What was I thinking???
Thankfully, sometime in the mid 90's I came to my senses and realized what a fun time could be had at the EX and so the annual trek into the city began again. For a number of years Joy, Japhia, Sharon, Grandma and I went together and oh what fun we had! The day would begin with a few games of BINGO which gave our laughter muscles a good workout first thing in the morning! We would also need a trip to the car after our BINGO escapades to haul away the loot we won! Our day would be full of shopping, talking, shopping, eating, talking, shopping and watching the horse jumping competitions! We often decided on our winner of the horse jumping by the colour of their coat or the horse with the cutest name! Wonder why we weren't too successful is predicting the winners?
As children began to arrive on the scene our annual trips changed from a 'Girls Day Out' to a wonderful time with the kids. I'm guessing Chris is about 5 or 6 here and he and I are practicing our drumming skills! He's been musical for as long as I can remember!
In 2001 and 2002, R, V, Mom and I went together. It was so much fun to experience the EX through the eyes of a child! V was a little more daring than R so would enjoy the little roller coaster while going on the merry-go-round was more R's speed. A day at the EX would never be complete without going the the Eucaneuba Dog Show! Who knew 2 little girls could make so much noise cheering on their team of dogs?
For the past 2 years my friend Cathy and I have taken R and B to the 'fair' (as B calls it) and they've had such fun! Even though this is one of the few times the girls see each other all year they get along famously! Eating cotton candy and visiting the horses seem to be some of the things they enjoy most. Oh yah...and watching Barney! The funny thing is that even now if I go over to visit Cathy in January, B will talk about the fair and R. Yeah! We're building memories of the EX for them too!
Well, this year it will be 2 trips to the EX. One adult trip, one with a child. (R's social calendar is booked the day Cathy, Wes, B and I are going. I don't dare tell her or she'll be so disappointed!)
Yesterday was the trip with my wonderful friend Deb! Can you believe I didn't take any pictures? What was I thinking??? This is probably the 3rd or 4th year we've gone together and it's always tons of fun! We saw a human cannonball which was a sight to see! They said his body goes from 0 to 80km an hour in 1/2 a second! Can you imagine? Sure hope he has a good chiropractor! We also watched a couple of cooking shows which leads to a funny story. As we were waiting for the cooking show to begin, Deb went in search of recipes. I'm saving seats and the guy doing the show comes over and hands me a bag of 5 sweet potatoes. Now I'd like to try these potatoes but you need to know it's only 12:15 and the day has just begun. Carrying potatoes around all day will get kinda heavy. Hmmm...what to do, what to do? I know! Before Deb gets back I'll put them in her backpack and see if she notices! :o) Hee, hee, hee! Much to my disappointment when Deb gets back with the recipes she decides to put them in her backpack and I was caught! We did have a good laugh about it and did each time she took something out of the backpack that had little bits of potato skin stuck to them! During the cooking show they were giving out prizes. I won Mr. Clean sponges ~ much to the relief of Deb! As they say, a good time was had by all and we plan on going again next year!
Just think...next year I'll probably be within weeks of travelling to China! By the time the EX comes around I'll either have my referral or be waiting (im)patiently for it to arrive! Wow! I couldn't help but appreciate every asian little girl that I saw walking around or being pushed in her stroller. 2 years from now it will be time to begin building memories of the EX with my precious daughter! Amazing!!!