Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Homestudy Received

I received an email this morning advising me that my Homestudy and signed Service Agreement were both received by Open Arms yesterday! They are in the process of reviewing them and then will forward them to the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services.

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

Homestudy - Check! :o)

I'm excited to tell you that my homestudy was completed on Friday! Signed, sealed and is currently with Canada Post on it's way to my agency in Tornoto. Many steps have taken place for this event to come about (4 visits with Social Worker, physical, blood tests, criminal record check by local police, fingerprinting, RCMP check, many articles and books read with corresponding assignments written, plus reference letters written by my parents, friends and employer.)

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

A Weekend of Scrapbooking and Christmas Appetizers

This weekend was a fun time of Christmas preparations. Friday night was grocery shopping and yes, it’s something I enjoy. I have a friend who rates this low on her scale of fun household jobs so sometimes I’ll go along with her as company. Hmmm...I’m not a fan of cleaning bathrooms. Maybe I should ask her to come help me out later this week when this 'fun' chore rolls (pardon the pun) around for me?

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 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

It's Beginning to Look a Bit Like Christmas! - Part II

OK...Anyone who knows me knows I love to have fun! Scrapbooking has been my favourite hobby for years now which you would think would help to calm my creative juices. Yes? No!

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

2nd Visit with Social Worker

Last Friday morning the SW and I met for the 2nd homestudy visit. The first visit had been in many ways a trip down memory lane but this week's visit proved to be more emotionally draining and challenging although I see it as a good challenge. During this 3 1/2 hour visit we discussed at great length:

- 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 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

It's Beginning To Look a Bit Like Christmas!

I'm a Christmas girl through and through! Love the Season, celebrating the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, spending time with family and friends, eating way too much, watching the excitment in my niece's eyes and so much more! My 2 nephews will also be old enough to enjoy Christmas this year so it will be fun to watch the excitement in their eyes too! Forget the gifts...their greatest pleasure will probably be in the wrapping and boxes that the toys come in.

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?

Funny little tree!

This is a picture of the small maple tree that is shared by my neighbour and I. This fall it's been fun to watch it slowly loose it's leaves in a rather interesting way.
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

Christmas Shopping with Sharon

What a great day! Sharon and I headed out early this morning and hit the Pickering Town Centre to do some Christmas shopping. We've done this a few different times and it's always a great day with lots of talking, laughter and fun! As usual we left with the van full of gifts, our wallets lighter, my credit card company happy and a joy in my heart having spent a great day with a wonderful friend! Thanks Sharon! Love ya!

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!

Great Visit with Social Worker

I'm happy to say that the visit with the Social Worker (SW) was great! (Phew!!!) I was ready to go but oh so nervous. Even I, who likes to talk, wondered what we were going to talk about that would take 3 hours this week and the same amount of time next week. Did I have that much to say? Yes! (I'm sure none of you are surprised!)

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 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

OK. So yes I should be putting the final touches on my house. And yes, I've been avoiding doing some of my homestudy homework (almost finished!) Have I been doing either of those things? Well...yes and no. The house is almost ready and the homework is almost finished so I decided to dabble in some poetry. Guess the Christmas bug has got me already as this is my version of, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas.'

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

Is It Monday Already?

Wow! What a fun weekend packed full of great stuff...just the way I like a weekend! Hope you had an enjoyable one too!

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. 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

Your Comments are Welcome!

A blog? What's a Blog?

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!
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