Saturday, September 30, 2006

OK...Now I KNOW I Have A Problem!

Had the wonderful privilege of attending the, 'Just Give Me Jesus' conference in Toronto last night and again today. I'll post more about that later but have an imminent date with my pillow before I fall asleep on the keyboard so just wanted to post this quick note before heading off to La la land! (Ahhh. Feels restful just typing that!)

The picture below is of the line up I waited in for my morning cup of Timmy's Java! Can you believe it??? What was I thinking? Oh yah, I wasn't thinking because I hadn't had my morning cup of coffee yet!!!

We arrived at the Air Canada Centre (ACC) about 45 mins. before the conference started. I decided to take advantage of the time to stand up before sitting for the day so offered to do a coffee run for my gang. Hey, I've done Timmy's runs for years and years. How bad could this be??? In one word...BAD! :o)

The ACC had a captive audience as we were not allowed to bring any food or drinks in from the outside. Take 15,000 (my guessitmation) ladies in a building at 8:00am on a Saturday and only 2 Tim Horton's and it's a recipe for $cha ching$ if you're the owner of this little goldmine!

After finding our what my friends took in their coffee I boldly went where no man (oh yah, it was a women's conference...duh!) would dare to go and I headed to Tim's. We'd passed one of the Tim's stands on our way in so I knew it was just back about 2 sections. I was surprised to say that least when I left our section to realize that I ran smack dab into the end of the line! 2 sections! Now that's a line up! Even the bathroom lineups were shorter which is saying something at a women's conference! This picture is taken from where I started in line looking towards the Tim's kiosk. See all those heads? They're all in line too!!! The arrow is pointing to my final destination!

Being the dumb determined gal I am, I bravely joined the end of the line. Having seen the amazing girls at my local Tim's in action I figured it would probably be a 20 min wait. No problem! Ummmmm...nope! 20 mins waiting...30 mins waiting (having moved up only one section) and I knew this was not a task for the faint of heart!

By this time the program had started which led to a really neat experience. As I waited with many other caffeine deprived women, the chit chat began to subside and in it's place songs or praise and worship rang out! How cool is that?!! We could hear the music coming from inside the arena and with the aid of the tv monitors in the concourse, we could see and hear what they were singing. What a neat experience! I wonder what would happen come Monday morning if I try that at the Tim's near work? ;o)

Needless to say, after a mere 75 mins. in line I was successful. 4 Tim's were secured snuggly in my tray and I was off to find my friends.

Oh yah... By the time I finally reached the front of the line I was feeling like a hot chocolate rather than a coffee (I'd had a little time to think about it!) so got that instead.

Bad move....guess who was back in this line at the first break 'cuz she needed her Timmy's morning caffeine fix bad? Yup...moi!

Better talk to my friend Anne who has Tim's connections, before we leave for China. Wonder if there are any Tim's in Beijing? If not, wonder if they can open one between now and then?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Adoption Celebration with Friends!

Last Sunday was an exciting day! Our church family had the priviledge of sharing in the dedication service of 5 beautiful children. One of the really neat things was that 3 of those great kids are adopted children! Each of them a blessing formed by God, and brought together by Him to create a family!
'R' joined his family when he was just a couple of days old and this summer became an official member of their family! He's just too cute! Whether families are being formed by international adoption or domestic adoption, I'm learning they all take time. God's time.

Welcome 'R!' You're a wonderful blessing to your family!

PS - A few seconds after this picture was taken, after encouragement from those around him, 'R' was only too happy to swipe his cute little finger through the icing. He didn't eat it but for the record, icing sure can get all over the place in a couple of seconds when being propelled by a 2yo!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

6 Month Celebration - Part II: Building a Bear for Hannah!

After leaving Julie's (see Part I), Norma, Shirley and I headed to Vaughan Mills Shopping Mall. Following the theme of the day, I enjoyed a lunch of Chinese food purchased at 'New Wok, New Wok.' :o) Started with chopsticks and lasted ummm...about 3 mins. If I hadn't switched to a fork we'd still have been there 2 hours later! Note to self: Work on chopstick skills prior to China!

The main event of the afternoon was building a bear for Hannah! I purchased an Asian dress for a bear last spring and was waiting for the perfect time to Build a Bear. What better day then 6 month celebration day?!!!

Norma, Shirley and I took our job very seriously! There were so many styles of bears to choose from and after trying the dress on no less than 5 colours/styles we knew that this bear was perfect for Hannah! It already looks well loved...just like Hannah is!






After selecting the bear I got in line with the rest of the adults kids and prepared to fill bear with stuffing and love! My favourite part of this step was choosing a heart for bear, giving it a big 'ol kiss for Hannah, and then placing it in the bear. Yup...it's official! My baby girl has stolen my heart already!






After she was stuffed with love, it was time for fluffing and Bear's very first 'bath!' Wanting to share the fun with Norma and Shirley they helped out with her first bath. Norma will be helping out for real when we go to China so figured there's no time like the present to start preparing ourselves. Hmmm...wonder how she is with dirty diapers? I'm sure I'll need help with those!

The final step before officially being boxed up ready to go home was at the Birth Certificate stop. Bear was officially named, 'China Doll' by Mommy. Yah...not very original! So glad I've had much longer then 2 mins. to name Hannah or you never know what I might have come up with!

When it was time to check out it was neat because the girl cashing me out was born in China! She shared about how her mother helped her name her son and daughter when they were born, ensuring both their Chinese and Canadian names had meanings they liked. It will be exciting to learn Hannah's Chinese names someday and learn what their meanings are in English. Such an important part of her beginnings!

Here is Hannah's beautiful bear posing in the yard at John and Norma's. Too cute! It will be the very first bear that is placed in Hannah's crib waiting for her to come home!

So there you have it. A day at Build a Bear. We had fun, laughed and yes, I teared up a little too. It's just a bear but, it's Hannah's bear and that makes all the difference!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

6 month Celebration - Part 1

What a great day! Early Saturday morning my friend Norma, her sister Shirley and I headed into the big city. We were off to visit a friend Julie whom I'd met online. Julie had offered to share some of her 'baby stash' with me. As her daughter outgrows some things she has offered me some wonderful items!

Julie, it was great to meet you and your family! I so enjoyed to visit we had together and learning from your experiences in China and also during your time at home!

A couple of months ago their was discussion on one of the adoption boards about baby carriers and strollers. You know, those very important items that are going to get a lot of use so you're best to check with experts? Those experts are mom's with babes -> they really know their stuff!

One of the strollers that came highly recommended is the Maclaren stroller. It's a well made, light-weight umbrella style stroller. It has longer handles on it which are also a great bonus as you're not stooped over when pushing it. Considering the amount of time we'll probably spend in the mall, I'm guessing this will be a good thing! Silly me originally had a pink one on my 'wish list' but then thought better of the idea and tried change it to navy. Guess what, no navy ones are being made right now. Oh well, I chose another colour and all was good. Then, Julie emails me and says she has a Maclaren stroller for me if I want! Wow!!! And guess what? It's navy! It's a great stroller for shorter mall trips, etc. and even has a rain hood. I'll keep my eye out for a full-size stroller later as you know that most babies end up with more than one these days. One for quick trips and another for touring the town and longer day trips.

Julie also had many other wonderful items too. I was completely overwhelmed by her generosity! She offered baby monitors, a great backpack diaper bag, crib entertainment sets, toys, baby shoes, some travel essentials for China, Robees slippers, a hip carrier and even a Baby Bjorn!! WOW!!!

THANK YOU Julie for your wonderful generosity!

Wow! What an Emotional Weekend!

I wrote the 6 month LID-iversary post late Friday night. Since then, I've been surprised by the heightened emotions I've felt throughtout the remainder of the weekend! This waiting thing can be tough at times and this was one of those weekends! It's not that I've been questioning God's timing it's just that hey, I'm human, I'm a woman and oh man do I have emotions! Tears have been near the surface often as I long to hold my baby girl in my arms or in the very least, see her beautiful face for the first time. So, until either of those things happen, I'll have to be content to hold her in my heart.

It will happen! In God's perfect timing Hannah's referral will arrive and when it does, you're going to hear some whooping, cheering and Praising God coming from this little corner of the world!!!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Celebrating 6 Months Since LID!!!

I'm really excited to celebrate my 6 month 'LIDiversary!!' Woohoo!!!

Although an exciting milestone to celebrate, it's a date that comes with a mixture of feelings and emotions too. Some of which have surprised me by their intensity.

I'm thrilled to have 6 months wait under my belt and really, those 6 months have gone by quickly! The other side of the coin is that in the 'Old World' (i.e. September 2005 and earlier), 6 months was the 'normal' wait from LID to Referral. Can you imagine??? If this were a year ago I'd be waiting to see precious Hannah's beautiful face in the next few days!

But, this is the 'New World' which is filled with much uncertainty about wait times between LID and Referral.

The weird thing is that when my file went to China in March we were already well into the New World. Wait times were continuing to increase so I told myself (Oh yah...I talk to myself constantly! Like that surprises any of you!) from before my file left Canada and winged its way to China, that I should be prepared for a 12-18 month wait. I guess that's why I'm so surprised that this 6 month mark has seemed like such a huge milestone in the waiting game. My head is/was/will be saying 'be ready for 12-18 months' but my heart longs for it to be shorter...much shorter!

But ya know what? There are thousands and thousands of other mommy and daddy wanna be's who are in line ahead of me so I'm waiting impatiently for my turn. The next batch of referrals is due any day now and those are for people whose files were logged with CCAA July 23, 2005 through ?? (We never know from month to month what the end date will be. It can be as short as 5 days or as long as 30! Oh baby....let it be 30!!!) So you see...these people with LID's of July 23, 2005 through March 22, 2006 are all in line in front of me. You have to know that it's a loooong line of excited mommies and daddies! We've all waited a long time and are more than ready to meet our babies! All in God's time I understand. All in God's perfect time!

So that's where things stand on the waiting front. 6 months down! xx months to go! The current wait time is at about 14 months which if it stays the same (Who am I kidding? It's changed monthly for the past year! :o) Would mean I could receive my referral in May or June of next year and travel in July or August!

So, until then, I finally begin to prepare. (I think it's called 'nesting.' :o) Fall is upon us, life is settling into a more normal routine so it's time to begin preparations for Hannah's arrival. I have all winter + spring so not trying to rush through things but I'll poke away at tasks as time permits.
- Rearrange the closets to allow Hannah her own space
- Move the scrapbooking and storage items from upstairs to the basement
- Babyproof the house (A must before I leave as she'll be a moving, grooving, going concern when I get her! :o)
- And finally, as the days begin to warm and the buds burst forth on the trees next spring I'll allow myself to set up her crib, dresser and rocking chair and begin to dream of the day my baby is safe in my arms. These last items I'm putting off for a while because first off, there's just no reason to rush. And secondly, I don't think my heart could handle seeing her crib daily without Hannah in it. Just-too-hard!

So there you have it friends. My thoughts and heart as I celebrate...yes CELEBRATE...6 months since LID!!! Check back later to see the fun things I have planned for today! Have a couple of neat things up my sleeve!

Dear Lord,

Thank you! Thank you for calling me to be a mom through this wonderful avenue of international adoption. You are leading each and every step of the way and for that I am forever grateful and thankful! I know that this is the plan you have for my life. Changes in timeframes are changes to me but not to You. You already know the day when Hannah and I will meet. Thank you for guiding this journey and thank you for preparing each of us to meet one another and to become a Forever Family. A family had crafted by the Creator Himself, before the beginning of time. I love you Lord.

Amen

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

What to Expect When You're Expecting (from China)..A MUST Read for Adopting Parents

Below is a letter from Amy Eldridge, from Love Without Boundaries, addressing the recent adoption disruptions and parental preparedness. If you are reading this, think about posting it on your site - a waiting parent who reads your blog may benefit from it.

*****

I have been so saddened by this situation. I most definitely wish there was a way to educate ALL adoptive parents about the truths of institutional care, however I have come to realize in my daily work that there are just as many parents who are not online reading everything they can find on adoption as are.

There are hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of parents out there who have no idea what life is like for a child in an orphanage, and who head overseas to pick up their "China doll" only to be handed a baby who is unresponsive, thin, unable to eat..and on and on and on. While adopting my son last month, I walked several times over to the White Swan to talk to parents, and over and over I spoke with moms and dads who had no clue whatsoever about the issues their kids were having. I heard so many times things like, "she won't eat solid foods" (oral aversion), "she has no muscle tone" (muscle atrophy from lying in a crib all day), "she won't smile" (pure grieving from being taken from her foster mom). I guess since I live China 24/7, I assume everyone adopting does, too, which is not the case.

I talked to at least a dozen parents who didn't even know their child's orphanage name, and while I gently said "you might want to memorize that for your child's sake", at the same time I was trying to process how many parents get all the way to China without ever reading about post-institutional issues. It was sobering to me.

Babies in the NSN (non special needs) as well as the SN (special needs) path can have issues with attachment, motor skills, emotional issues and more. I think all of us on the WCC (Waiting Children China) list acknowledge that, while also acknowledging that all children (whether bio or not) can have these same issues. Living in an orphanage of course increases the odds.

I think the easy out is to say that agencies have to do more, as well as social workers, but I do think that most of them do try to give information to the parents but often parents don't want to hear it or else think it won't happen to them. Again, I am often surprised to talk to parents leaving soon and to realize they are not prepared. One family was adopting from our foster care program, and when I told them that the child was DEEPLY attached to the mom, the father said, "guess she might cry for an hour or so then?" An hour or so? She had been in foster care for over a year! I tried to explain that this little girl was about ready to lose everything she had ever known, and that they should not expect her to be sunny, happy, and full of personality after an hour. I told them to please remember the 72 hour rule.......that after 72 hours they would probably see her spark, but that she would probably grieve for a long time after that as well.

I think for many adoptive parents, they just don't want to read the "bad stuff", and so I do think that ultimately it is the parents who are at fault for not doing more to educate themselves. There certainly are books galore out there about post-institutional issues. I equate this to when I was pregnant with my kids and I would read "What to Expect When Expecting", and I would get to the C-section part and always skip it. Each and every time I would jump to the next chapter as "that wasn't going to happen to me". Well, on my fifth baby, when they were rushing me in for an emergency C section, I sure was wishing I had read that section earlier! But at that point in the OR, while they were strapping my hands down to the table, it was too late, and so I felt complete panic when I could have been prepared. I think adoption from China is very similar to giving birth...it is much more rosy to only read the happy stories on APC, but I now encourage every family I meet to read the harder ones as well, because if you are the family who is handed a child that is limp and listless and who looks autistic, what you have learned in the past will help you make the right decision for your family during those very emotional first few days.

I have been called many times in the last few years by parents in China worried about their children. I agree that having a support network to help you through the initial time is essential. Everyone should go to China with at least one phone number of someone they can call if they are panicked upon meeting their new child. I remember feeling so alone when I was handed my daughter and she was so tiny and limp. Because our foundation often helps with the kids who have been disrupted, I am aware that sometimes there are children who have much more serious issues than originally reported..and that is such a hard thing for a parent to get to China and then discover their child is truly autistic or has serious mental delays. I think everyone on both the China and international side would agree that it is absolutely wrong of an orphanage to not be honest in their reports, and no one would excuse that, but I also know without a doubt that the majority of kids who are disrupted are just suffering from institutional issues and would catch up quickly in a loving home. It is always a very sad day for the orphanage and everyone involved when a child that they know is absolutely fine, but perhaps thin and grieving, is returned by their new parents for being "delayed".

I think far too many people believe their child's life is going to begin the moment they meet them. The truth is, and everyone must realize it..a child's life is going on RIGHT NOW in China, and all of their experiences are shaping who they are. The vast majority of aunties that I have met in China are such kind and caring people, but it absolutely is not the same as having a mom and dad at your beck and call. I have had new parents call and say "we didn't think living in an orphanage would affect her at all", and those statements truly puzzle me. How could they not contemplate life in an orphanage?

Walk through Babies R Us and you will see every gadget known to man to make our children's lives here as ideal as possible. Now Americans have two way video monitors, so that when baby awakens not only can mommy see when to immediately rush in and comfort him, but she can talk to baby so that he doesn't even have one single second where he feels alone. How many new parents would have a newborn and then put that baby in a crib 22 hours a day on their own? How many would only feed their baby, even if they were really crying hard, every 8 hours? Or prop the bottle in her crib and then not watch to see if she ever really ate?

Of course no one would do that..we feed newborns on demand, comfort on demand, love continuously..and whether people want to recognize it or not, that is NOT the life of an orphan in an institution. ...even when the aunties are as good as gold. I remember one night when I took some volunteers in for the night shift in an orphanage, when normally just a few aunties are working. One mom looked at me with tears in her eyes as she slowly realized that it was absolutely impossible with just two hands to feed every child, to comfort every child, to soothe every baby who was crying. She said her heart was aching to realize that her own daughter most likely had many, many times where she cried without someone to comfort her.....and she told me that for the first time she finally understood why her daughter had such a deep seated fear of being out of her mom's sight.

The aunties are trying their absolute best, but that doesn't equal mother/child care. I remember being in an orphanage in the north this past winter and the aunties were so proud of how they had 6-8 layers of clothes and blankets on every baby to keep them warm. They were swaddled so tight that they couldn't move, but it was freezing in the orphanage and so the aunties wanted the babies to stay as warm as possible. What alternative did they have? It really was freezing there..I was cold in my wool coat, so the babies couldn't be up and about with just 1-2 layers on, with the ability to move their arms and legs. To stay warm they had to be immobile, and so of course all of those kids have weak muscle tone. But the aunties were truly trying their best, and when a parent is given one of those beautiful children on adoption day, I am sure they will go back to their room with concern and say "she can't sit up by herself..she can't put weight on her legs". That is absolutely the truth, but she also survived 10 degree weather in a very cold province and she will catch up soon enough with parents to encourage her.

To not acknowledge that living in orphanage circumstances can cause lower body weights, low muscle tone, inability to make good eye contact is very sad to me. Can it be overcome? Most definitely! The one thing I have learned over and over again about the kids in China is that they are fighters and survivors. But for some reason, people seem to want to ignore these issues in public forums.

Recently, one of our medical babies that we had met several times in person was adopted, and we all knew that this child was a "spitfire". When the family arrived and spent a few days with her, they decided she was too much of a handful for them and they wanted to disrupt. She absolutely was not what they expected. When they called their agency, they were told they had two choices: adopt the child, bring her to the US, and change their expectations of what they were hoping for, or adopt the child, bring her to the US and the agency would have a family waiting at the airport to adopt her locally. Option three of leaving the child in China was never once given. I admire that agency so much, as they were thinking of the child and the child alone. The family followed through with the adoption and handed the little girl to a new family upon her arrival in the US. As horrible and tragic and emotional as it was for everyone involved...I still feel this was the right decision for the agency to make. It was done in the absolute best interest of the child, who had waited a long, long time for a family. I wish more agencies would advocate for the rights of the child, instead of always seeming to give in to the parents, especially in those cases when they know with absolute certainty that nothing is permanently wrong with the child. Recently with another disruption, the agency I spoke with told me that it was "easier" to just get the family a new baby.

Sometimes easier does not equal right. The first baby who was rejected has now been labelled "mentally challenged" even though the agency knew the child was really going to be okay.

I think all of us, who do realize that delays occur and that babies can usually overcome them, should be these children's advocates by continually trying to educate new parents on what to expect in China. By helping them be better prepared, we just might help stop a disruption in the future. I love Chinese adoption with my whole heart, and it is my life's work..but I also want every family who goes to get their baby to go with their eyes open and to be as emotionally prepared as possible, for the child's sake.

Amy Eldridge,Love Without Boundaries
Love Without Boundaries

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Blessing from North Carolina


What a treat it was to receive Dana's beautiful contribution to Hannah's Blessings book! The fun black and white picture of their family with the brightly coloured ladybug in it always makes me smile!

Dana is a new friend that I've recently made online. It's fun for us to wait for our daughter's together. Our LID's are less than a week apart from one another so we may receive our referrals at the same time! Oh the Praises and Thanksgiving shouts that will be sent heavenward that month!!!

Thank you Dana! Your layout for Hannah is beautiful and your friendship is a blessing.

Lunch at the 'Black Red Monster'

Where's that you ask? Adult interpretation is that we had lunch at the 'Red Lobster' yesterday.

When Michelle's daughter Victoria was younger, Michelle and I started going to the Red Lobster for lunch once or twice a year. When Victoria was old enough to talk it became lunch at the 'Red Monster.' (I have a funny feeling lots of kids call it that...as least those of us living inland away from fresh, yummy seafood!)

It was too cute yesterday when Michelle and Josh picked me up for lunch. When we were driving to the restaurant Michelle asked him where we were going for lunch and he said with confidence, 'The Black Red Monster!'

The 3 of us had a great lunch together. Michelle and I may not have the opportunity to get together often but it sure is wonderful when we do. She and her husband are currently preparing to move to Edmonton in western Canada. Gonna miss them TONS!!! Sure glad we have email and blogs at our fingertips...literally! :o)

If You're Having a Rough Day...

...hop on over to my friend Dawn's blog and suddenly yours probably won't seem quite so bad.

I saw a pic like this a few weeks ago and thought, oh no! Someone must have made that up. Ummm...nope!

Sorry Dawn but I'm still chuckling! Ya gotta ask yourself, 'What were they thinking???'

Happy renovating! I think white is a nice clean look for your basement remodel!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Confession Is Good for the Soul

OK Ladies. I gotta confess. After reading your comments about being organized on my last post I had to come clean...err messy! Want to know why the pictures of the bins and bookshelf were taken close up? This is why:

Scrapping/storage room...with 2 tiny bins hiding in the left corner, and















Office/guest room with book shelf ensemble. Is that luggage you see? Do I have company? Nope!It's just where it currently gets stored.


After seeing these 2 little windows into my world is there any question as to why I didn't participate in the Bloggy Tour of Homes? But, to my defense, these places are in the most need of tidying of the entire house. They just coincidently house my baby stuff. Guess I'd better get used to that!

PS - Notice the bit of carpet you can see in the scrap room? That's new this weekend! Just found it after weeks of bags and stuff (read: junk!)that was taking up residence there. If you've lost anything feel free to check in one of these 2 places. Are you missing papers, clothing, small pets? Who knows what's lurking beneath the surface?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Baby Stuff...and Lovin' It!

Friends have often told me about babies and that they come with a lot of 'stuff.' I'm here to attest that the stuff can begin arriving long before baby does! :o) Between the things I buy, gifts from family and friends and then add to the mix those great Secret Pal gifts and it equals lots of baby stuff! Not complaining in the least, just stating facts here. If someone didn't know me and walked upstairs in my home they would have no idea that there aren't little feet running around yet.

To help myself organize things a bit, since in reality I probably won't be needing it for a year or so, I went to Wal-Mart and purchased some plastic storage containers. I'm now happy to say that some of Hannah's stash is stored away for safe keeping until we need to crack it open and start using it. Can't wait for that day!!!

Until then, oh man, do I have my work cut out for me! Especially downstairs! My home is so NOT baby proofed! Candle holders, a Royal Doulton left by my Grandma, CD's and piano books (great for ripping) are all at baby's eye level right now. Guess I got me some preparing to do this winter!

I also haven't started the daunting task of turning my scrapping/storage room into Hannah's playroom. Any scrapbooker can attest to the amount of paper, scissors, sticker, etc. that seem to multiply in a scrapbooking room. All of this plus my filing cabinet (housing bills and receipts from 1999...what's that about??....oh yah, got that from my Dad!), years worth of photos, books and sewing supplies will all need to be transferred to their new home in the basement. I'm so thankful for a dry basement and thanks to the spring Garage Sales isn't in too bad a shape.

The exciting thing about starting all this prep work is that eventually I'll be able to set up Hannah's crib in my room and turn her one into a play room!. It's been such fun buying books for my baby girl! I love to read and look forward to the time when we can share this special time together! I'll read, she'll eat the books and all will be good in our little corner of the world!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Two More Beautiful Blessings!

Sandra and her mom created this beautiful page for Hannah's book! It's such a fun page with great colours! Thanks Sandy!

This page was created by a friend from church, Karen. She and I scrap together a couple of times a month at the church's scrapping group. What fun we have! She has 2 beautiful daughters, the youngest of which made her first visit to our Monday night scrap when she was only days old! I love the way Karen used to letters in Hannah's name to reflect the names of God! Thank you Karen! It's beautiful and extra special because of our friendship!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Reality TV - Yup...I watch it!

I guess today is a day for confessions, right Connie? (My confession piece of clothing has made it as far as hanging, prepping for picture taking but so far that's as far as I've gotten. Will post later.)

Now, back to reality TV. I'm an admitted Survivor and Amazing Race fan. Not sure I'm thrilled about the way they're starting out the Survivor teams but since it's already done and you know I'm going to be watching, might as well choose a team now! Guess it's a given as to what tribe I'll be cheering for!

AR starts Sunday night and I enjoy it even more than Survivor. I'm not a fan of the music or dancing reality shows but thoroughly enjoy Survivor and AR. Haven't looked at the profiles for this show either but check back next Monday and find out the team I'll be cheering on. Normally I'm way off but last time the hippies just tickled my funnybone so I was excited when they won.

Gotta run - it's time to Out Eat, Out Talk and Out Blog. Ooops! Almost got it right! Ahhh...that's my life of Survivor!

Blessings Abound!

The blessings for Hannah's book continue to flow in! Here are some of the latest beautiful creations that people have made for her. (PS - My online friends are kicking butt! 2 of 27 layouts are from local friends. So far the first family layout to be received is still up for grabs! Why don't you take that place of honour? :o) For more details about what Hannah's Blessings book is all about, please click here. And to see all the beautiful layouts you'll find them here.

This first LO is created by a new on-line friend who lives quite close. The ladybug in the centre of the flower is a cute touch! Thanks Kathy!

Cindy from Manitoba included cute material on her blessing that I'm guessing is the fabric she's using for her wishes. The beautiful Chinese stamps of 'love' and 'wisdom' bring in Hannah's Chinese heritage beautifully. Thank you Cindy!

Kim and her family live in the beautiful province of Newfoundland! I haven't been there yet but would really like to visit someday. One of my special friends at work is from NFLD and tells me all about it. Mom's been there too and said the scenery was breath-taking! Kim used layers of paper to create this blessing and it's extra special because it has a picture of her family on it and a red thread running through it! Thanks Kim!

As an added blessing Kim also included a piece of fabric that whe painted the symbol of 'life' of for Hannah! This will have a special place in Hannah's book too!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Motor City Mamas Bloggy Meet-up!

Connie is organizing a bloggy meet-up in the Motor City from November 3rd to 7th! Should be a blast! So far Julie, Kathy, Krista, Lisa W and Stacy are in! We’re looking for more to come along too so if you’re interested head on over to the Motor City Mamas blog and sign in!

I’m extra excited that my wonderful friend Julie is flying in for the event! It will be so nice to finally meet her face to face as we’ve been email and bloggy friends for a long time now!! She and I have a special friendship as God used her in a special way to begin my adoption journey. Julie ~ Can’t wait to meet you in person! To make this meet-up extra special, it would be amazing if Julie arrived with her referral in hand! If CCAA matches slightly larger groups of files in September and October then that exact thing could happen! How exciting to thing that Tess and Mommy could be celebrating their first Christmas together as a family this year!

So, anyone who lives within driving (or flying) distance of Detroit, let’s hear from you. The more the merrier!

Thank you Kim!!

To help pass the time as we wait for our babies, the March DTC group has offered numerous exchanges for us to participate in. I've passed on some of them but just couldn't pass up on a hair accessory exchange!

This month's theme was (as if you couldn't guess from the pictures!) PINK! When I arrived home yesterday there was this fun package of everything pink waiting for me! Thank you Kim!

She was so creative with her gift! All these wonderful accessories were in a cute little backpack. There's just about everything Miss Hannah could want to wear in her hair. Elastics, barrettes, ribbons, baby clips. Kim even included a baby's brush and comb plus a pink belt/tie for mommy because as she says, 'Some days moms and daughters just have to match!'

Can't wait to put these adorable things in Hannah's hair and snap a quick picture before she pulls them out! :o) Thank you Kim!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Adoption Bloggy Friendships - Unanticipated Blessings!

I have to say that one of the most wonderful, unanticipated blessings of this adoption journey is the amazing friends I have found online! I don't know, there's just something different about the bond that we have through this wonderful journey.

Whether it's a person working on their paperchase, waiting for ministry approval, a LID or the eternal wait for referral - encouragement, support and friendship abounds! Once a family has their referral then entire bloggy community wipes away tears of joy and excitement as they gaze at that beautiful face (faces!) for the very first time and gets excited as the new parents prepare to travel. Forever family day in China is celebrated by friends around the world. Not only living, breathing friends who have walked each and every step of the journey with them but cyber friends who probably have never shared an audible word between them.

When a family returns home the support doesn't stop. Questions about jetlag, feeding, napping and pooping are answered from those who've gone before us and are willing to share of their experiences. That sharing doesn't stop and those who have children who are old enough to be in school and even middle school are still there cheering, helping and encouraging that new family just beginning their paperchase. And the circle continues one more time.

This week I've been in awe over and over about the wonderful friendships I share with many of you here. We've probably never spoken but we've shared from our hearts, our hurts and our excitement and because of this - we're friends! (I talk about you as if I know you that's for sure. Often I'll find myself saying, 'My friend Dawn in BC....' - even though Dawn and I have never actually spoken to one another!) I'm guessing you may do this too!

Last weekend's meeting with Doris was wonderful and I've now come to find out just the beginning of an unbelievable week. After meeting she and Dan on Sunday, I arrived home on Monday night to a message from a friend in the states whom I'd corresponded with via emails and blog comments on numerous occasions. I couldn't call her back quickly enough and we were on the phone for over an hour and a half! Are we just people who read one another's blogs? No! We're true friends that were formed in a really neat way! Thanks again for the great conversation Monday night! Can't wait until we do it again!

Another opportunity to deepen online friendships came today when I found out that I'll be in Vancouver in January. I emailed Dawn to let her know. She lives in BC and she's trying to find a way to fly in and visit! Can you believe it? Too cool! I emailed Bernice from our Canadian's adopting yahoo group and she's in too! Anyone else in the Vancouver area wanna join us? Not sure of any details yet but I can say with confidence...the more the merrier!

Julie and I are planning a vacation to PEI together (2010 maybe?) when we have our girls home.

Mary-Mia and others of the infamous 'Bloggy Summit I' - can't wait to meet you someday!

Kathy and I found out that we lived in buildings right next to each other a couple of years ago and now live only 20 mins. apart so we're going to do coffee. (BIG CONGRATS on getting your LID today Kathy!!! Woohoo!!!!!)

While Cindy and I don't live close, we're not too far apart when I'm visiting family. Here's hoping that one of those family visits will allow for us to get together!

Julie and I are getting together in a couple of weeks and I'm really excited about meeting she and her family!

I've mentioned only a few here and there are many, many others. My intention was not to leave anyone out but to celebrate a snippet of the amazing people who make up this wonderful family of International Adoption!

I have friends who are adopting and have chosen not to get involved with online groups or blogs. I can't imagine that! You guys rock and I'm so thankful for each of you!!!

So here's to you my wonderful online friends! You're the best! I love following your adoption journeys online. Crying with you, waiting with you and most importantly, Celebrating with you!!!Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

OK - Everybody gather round...it's time for a Bloggy Group Hug!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

August's Amazing Secret Pal Gift!

What a wonderful treat to come home to! After a long day at the office it was exciting to see August's 'March DTC Secret Pal' gift peaking up behind the screen door last Friday! August was animal month. Do you wonder what delightful little creatures were waiting for Hannah and I in that package? Look....amazing!

Secret Pal, thank you SO MUCH for August's gifts! Every month I open your packages and oooo and ahhh over the thoughtful gifts you send!

This month she outdid herself once again! There was a beautiful card with roses
on it. On it was written a note of encouragement about the wait. With the long
wait ahead it was really appreciated!

Next was a fun wooden puppy puzzle. Hannah's first puzzle and oh so cute! A terry cloth pink piggy was an extra special touch that my secret pal knew nothing about. I've often heard how the babies are given terry clothes in the orphanages so I've been looking for a little terry cloth animal for months and months! Thank you secret pal!

Mommy is never forgotten in the gifts either. This month included a fun magnet which reads, 'A Mother's Love Never Stops Growing.' Also, sticky notes in the shape of the letter 'C'.

Now, I've saved my favourite 2 gifts for last! My SP is so creative!!! Using our March DTC logo and flags from Canada and China in the shape of music notes (I told you she was wonderfully creative!), she made a beautiful CD with 21 beautiful songs on it! I took it to work with me today and every time a new
piece started I thought, 'I love this song.' Hmmm...not sure how much work was lost to my dreaming of Hannah. Oh well...that's nothing new! ;o)

Lastly there is an wonderful, cuddly, soft white bear sporting a red bow with white polka dots! Around his neck there is a blessing which reads:


May your life be filled with blessings,
Like the sun that lights the sky.
And may you always have the courage,
To spread your wings and fly!


*sniff! ~ anyone have a tissue?*

And as all of this isn't enough, dear Teddy is sporting a red ribbon bracelet with a ladybug charm just like the bracelet I wear every single day!!!

Secret Pal...THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't wait to find out who you are
so that I can truly express how much your gifts mean each month. You put so
much love and care into each and every one of them!!!

PS - You don't know how hard it was not to remove Teddy's blessing and bracelet
last night and cuddle with him all night long! I used restraint and didn't take him to bed but each day he will sit on my bed, waiting for his rightful owner to wing her way over from China! Until then, I'll dream of my precious baby girl as I hold her Teddy close!

Mmm...John's Chili!

When Norma and I arrived home from the Ex on Saturday we were chilled from being in the rain all day. What a treat to walk into her house to the smell of her husband John's chili wafting through the air. Yumm! It was absolutely delicious and a perfect choice on a cool, dreary, fall-like day. Hot, spicy and it even had steak in it! It warmed us from the inside out which is what we needed after we'd soaked up more than our fair share of rain during the air show.

Here are a few facts that we discovered on Saturday:
Did you know that if you put a garbage bag under you on a wet hill a few things happen?
1. When you attempt to sit on the bag you will quickly scoot down the hill (as your friend laughs hystarically!) until either an uncomfortable dip or rock stops you?
2. It's perfectly acceptable to laugh at your friend in return when she attempts the same feat?
3. Once you're on the bag and are pretty proud of yourself, small rivers of water that gather in the bag behind you and, at unanticipated intervals, pool then run downwards stopping only when soaked up by your pants and underwear?
4. You'll laugh yourselves silly and talk about the great memories you're building?!!
5. The perfect ending to a day of soaking up the rain and fun at The Ex is a piping hot bowl of John's chili!

Thanks for the great supper John - and also for the doggy bag! Still have enough left for tonight's supper and it sounds like it will be the perfect ending to another rainy day!

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Seemed Like A Good Idea at the Time

Ugh....after taking 2 1/2 weeks off it was back to Curves this morning. Wow...what a difference a short break can make. I'm sure they doubled the size of the circuit while I was away! ;o)

Oh well, it did feel great to get back into it even though I took it at a turtles pace today. I'm missing my friends too which makes it tougher. One moved a little bit away (miss you Joy-Lynn!) so is going to another club and another friend goes later in the day. It's just not the same without them but I'm going to persevere regardless. Gotta get ready for Hannah which includes shedding some more of this pre-baby weight.

Time to get ready for work! It's the Tuesday after Labour Day and life begins full swing today. I'm excited to see what the fall holds! Have a great day everyone!

Monday, September 04, 2006

Maia in Mommy's Arms!

I'm excited to share with you that Maia is with her forever family! As of about 1:30 this morning (Toronto time) Maia joined her family! I was awake at the time they were receiving her, praying for them and for their precious daughter who was meeting her forever family for the very first time!

Congratulations Tracie and Rick! You are now a beautifu family of 5!

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!!

Smile - The Movie

If you want to watch a movie that will leave you a changed person than this is it! 'Smile' is a wonderful movie based upon the true story of 80,000 people!

The wonderful organization, Operation Smile is run by volunteers who repair facial deformities of children and teens in many countries. So far this organization has treated more than 98,000 children and teens world wide!

This movie is the story of 2 17yo girls. One born in Malibu, CA, the other, born with a facial deformity, in Jianxi, China.

If you want to watch a touching movie that will change your life than this is it! You may have to hunt a bit to find a video store that carries it (I found it at Rogers video) but it will be well worth finding.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Mini-Blogger Summit. What Fun!!!

Had the VERY BEST afternoon! Doris and Dan were driving through my area so we arranged to meet at Boston Pizza for lunch.

They were at the restaurant when I arrived and as I walked up to itI wondered, 'I think I'll recognize them but will I?' The answer was YES!!! As I walked into the restaurant we spotted each other and Doris and I quickly engulfed each other in a huge hug as if we were long lost friends! Blogger adoption friends are wonderful! We had so much to talk about that if you were anyone near us you'd never believe that we'd just me in person for the very first time today! We arrived around 2:00 and still hadn't stopped talking long enough to even look at the menus before 2:30!

Dan is as excited about welcoming Daphne into their family as Doris is so it was great to get to know him too! The 3 of us shared so much in the couple of hours that we were together. We chatted about our online friends and what an unexpected extra treat this bloggy world is during the wait for our babies. We've both met such wonderful friends online and it's great to share the referrals and arrival of babies with others! We shared our challenges in facing the longer referral waits. There's nothing we can do about the wait but that doesn't make it any easier some days. Most days we're just fine but occassionally it's a rough day. On those rough days it's neat to have this circle of friends who understand and are there to support and care.

We talked about how fun it will be someday when we can get together with our little girls! With our LID's being only 5 days apart and us both being with Canadian agencies, we may even meet up while in China. Wouldn't that be great?!!

No bloggy summit is complete without a little gift exchange. They brought me an wonderful gift for Hannah! A cute elephant book (I love books!) and an adorable polka dot sleeper with a mommy ladybug and baby ladybug on the front of it. Too cute! In turn I took her a wish for her quilt (realized today I hadn't sent one yet. Oops!) and a pink tag toy for Daphne.

All too quickly our afternoon drew to a close as they needed to get back on the road.

Doris and Dan, it was AMAZING meeting you! I look forward to the time when we can do it again. I'll keep your offer to visit in mind and please know my door is always open to you too!

Here's to bloggy friends!

A Soggy but Fun Day at The Ex!

Norma and I decided that we wouldn't let a little rain from Ernesto stop us from having fun at The Ex! It started raining within 5 minutes of us arriving and never stopped. But ya know what? We never stopped laughing either!

We took the GO Train in and went to my traditional first stop, 'Tiny Tom Donuts.' Yummmm! As we waited for our hot little morsels to drop into the bag I said, 'I think it may be starting to rain.' Yup! Too funny! Not there 5 mins and the rain began. Oh well, we went prepared! As we enjoyed our donuts, we took a walk through the stables. (Always another funny tradition when you think about it. Enjoying hot baby donuts while the scent of horses wafts through the air. Oh well, it's tradition!) The funny thing about walking through the stables is that there were no horses. None, nada, zero, zip...except for a couple that were in stalls behind a locked gate! So much for the horse show. In years past the horse show was always one of our favourite parts but for the past couple of years they've started holding it the 2 weeks before the Ex. Not a change we're happy with but what can you do?

After the donuts were nicely tucked away in our tummies it was time to chase it down with a cup of coffee and stroll through the Home building. Early morning is the time to do this as it's practically empty! I bought some things for the upcoming, 'Hair Accessory' exchange but that was about all. I had hoped to buy one of those slicer/dicer things for veggies but the $49.99 price tag told me nope...a knife works just fine. (Either that or wait until Carol calls when she's made too many. Another preferable option in my books!)

We tried on Crocs as everyone says they're really comfortable but didn't purchase any. If they'd had the colour and size in stock that I wanted I might have been more tempted but they didn't so I figure it just wasn't meant to be. After the home portion we wandered next door to the countries area. Norma purchased some cute Chinese lanterns for us at a China pavilion and I scoped out a couple of Chinese parasols that I'd go back and pick up later. We wandered across the grounds to the sports area and watched some kids using mini tramps and basketballs for a 'Slam Jam' show. Fun and entertaining! By this point it was close to lunch so we headed to the food building. So many, many choices! Norma ended up with a hot dog and I chose perogies and a cabbage roll.

Hoping the rain might taper off long enough for the 'Human Cannonball' we wandered over to where that was but no, it had been cancelled due to the weather as was the trampoline/ski jump show. We visited the farm building and I managed to win something at the kitchen demo. This year it was dish soap...and I had to carry it. (As opposed to the purple potatoes I won last year and snuck into Deb's backpack while she was away! See here for that post!)

When we left the farm building we were surprised to see that the air show was in full swing in spite of the weather! We threw the rest of the day's schedule away and made our way to the lakeshore to watch the show.

Between the two of us, we were fairly prepared for the weather. We had rain coats, plastic rain ponchos, sweatshirts, garbage bags to sit on and an umbrella! What we didn't plan on was the fact that we'd be sitting on a hill! Oh man did this complicate things! In the pouring rain (and I mean pouring as you can see on the umbrella in this shot) we attempted to make ourselves comfy on the grass. I tried to use the 'self portrait' feature on my camera but didn't do too well! When it came down to that umbrella it was either getting in the way or, I was soaking Norma everytime I turned to see a plane coming from behind us and dripped a river of water down her back! Oops...sorry! :o)

After a while I was pretty comfy! Soaked... but comfy. We watched almost 2 hours of the air show this way. Slipping, sliding, dripping, laughing, chatting, giggling, soaking, talking! Or...building memories as we like to refer to it as!

The final show of the after noon were the Canadian Snow Birds and they were worth waiting for! The poor weather conditions meant they were only able to make about 5 passes before heading back to the airport but I tell you, the wait was worth it! A dance in the sky!

So that's it. Another year at The Ex with a whole bunch of wonderful new memories!

Will Miss Hannah be here to enjoy it next year? Somehow I'm thinking not quite yet but I could be surprised! Regardless if our first trip to the Ex together is next year or the one after that, I look forward to the time when she and I can begin building memories at The Ex together!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Meeting Up with New Friends

I'm excited to be meeting Doris and Dan tomorrow who are fellow March DTC friends! They're going to be going through my city on their vacation so we've decided to meet up for lunch. Should be fun!

It will be wonderful to finally talk face to face with someone I've chatted with often online!

See you tomorrow Doris! Anyone want to join us? :o)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Grab a tissue...

...and click here! This is the video of Mary-Mia and Rod receiving their referral call for Rose and Marie. Vidoe #1 - calm, cool and basically in shock!

Video #2 is them telling their parents! I cried each time they told their parents! Also, check out the neat way they share the surprise of twins!

I dare you not to cry, or at least tear up!
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