Sunday, March 29, 2009

Teaching Studio Reno

I was going through pics and realized I hadn't posted the end product of the home renos I had done just before Christmas. Until mid December I used my family room to teach piano. It's worked well but with Hannah coming home soon and my home being tiny and an open concept main level, it was time to have a portion of the basement finished and the piano studio moved down. It's a great place to teach and I really like the my main floor is back to being family space. Here are the reno in pics.

Old teaching area on main floor

Basement pics 'before'

Along the way

Piano movers moving the piano...we were not about to attempt that!

The finished product! SO happy with this new teaching studio!! first 'student'. :o)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Little This and That

A hodgepodge of things in this post.

Yesterday's 3 year Hannah~ versary and this months anticipated referrals had me in the mood to dream all things Hannah and make preparations. I spent a wonderful evening surfing the net and playing with her wish lists. I was super excited to see that Toys R Us in Canada is now carrying the car seat I would like to purchase for her. It will take some saving but knowing how much time she'll spend in it, safety and ease of use are of utmost importance. Many friends have chosen Britax car seats and knowing that they're so safe had me longing for once since I began her adoption but until recently they were difficult to find in Canada. Since it's illeagal for us to purchase a car seat in the US to use in Canada, I'd spent many hours researching car seats to find another brand to buy. Last night I was super excited to know that Hannah will be in the safest seat I can find. That makes this mommy very happy!!

Tim's winnings this year are going really well. 3 donuts and 4 coffees. Wheee! My friend Larry won a $100.00 Tim's gift card! Shhh...don't tell him but when I helped him fill out the paperwork last week I might have put my address on the form. OK, I didn't...but it was fun to tease him and the thought crossed my mind!

On a totally different note, please pray for my friend Sharon's dad whom I have fondly called 'Grandpa' since I was a young teen. Grandpa had surgery 3 weeks ago today and even though the doctors felt he would recover well, he has had multiple complications. The biggest problem is that they gave him morphine which he is highly allergic to this has caused the man his family loves to pieces to come and go emotionally. 3 weeks later and he is still hospitalized but at this time we are very thankful for that. Grandpa might be almost his normal self in the morning but by late afternoon and into the evening his mind plays tricks on him and what is real to him is not what the rest of the world sees. It's so difficult on all of us to watch him struggle like this and we pray daily that God would heal his mind and body. Please pray with us. Thank you! Love you so much Grandpa!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Celebrating 3 Years Closer to Hannah!

WOW! 3 years! 36 months! 156 weeks! 1096 days!! That's how long my file/dossier has been in China! Happy Hannah~ versary!!

Want to know the really cool thing though? My dossier is so close to the front of the line that I can hardly stand it! Soon someone will be picking it up, blowing off the dust and opening it up to match Hannah and I together!!! I'm still thinking this will happen in June or July but there is a small chance I could see Hannah's face as early as the latter part of May. Oh that would be the very best birthday gift evah!!

For now, I wait and celebrate with those who are in line ahead of me. This week or next, 3 friends should be receiving their referrals and I couldn't be more excited for them!

Waiting with excitement to see my sweet baby girl's face for the very first time and trusting God for His perfect timing! And, while I wait I continue to prepare for Hannah. This weeks big purchase? Diapers! Heh....who would have known buying diapers could be so exciting? :o)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Welcome Home Andrea, Wes and Sarah!!

What fun it was tonight to welcome home a friend and her precious daughter! Andrea and Wes arrived home with Sarah to a gathering of family and friends at the airport.

Sarah is absolutely precious and was so good! She took it all in from the safety of mommy and daddy's arms and we all gazed at her in wonderment. I've participated in 2 airport homecomings and both times taken a mylar 'It's a GIRL!' balloon which is a big hit with the little ones. I'll have to remember that little trick with Hannah. What baby doesn't enjoy something shiny that floats around?

Welcome home friends! Looking forward to spending more time with you and getting to know Sarah once you've settled in and recovered a bit from your trip of a lifetime!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Friends are Friends Forever...

At our Bible school graduation we sang the Michael W. Smith song, 'Friends' where the lyrics are 'Friends are friends forever, if the Lord's the Lord of them' and that's exactly the type of friendship Deborah and I share. We may have graduated xxxxx years ago ;o) but when we get together it's like we've never been apart.Last night I headed into the city to spend an evening with Deborah and her great kids Caleb and Hannah as they were in town enjoying some March break activities. Missed you Bob!

We had supper at the Pickle Barrel, shopped a little where Hannah bought these cool Converse shoes...that I 'had' to try on, and then headed back to their room to watch Dancing with the Stars and visit.

Deborah, I'm so thankful for the friendship we share; it's a precious gift from God! Hope you had a great day today and safe travels home tomorrow. Hannah and I will do our best to head up your way for a visit when I'm on mat leave....promise!! Love ya friend! xo

Sunday, March 15, 2009

New Wheels...Mommy Wheels!!!

After 11 years of faithfully driving me here and there....and here... and there, it was time to trade in my wonderful Cavalier and get something newer and more practical in preparation for Hannah coming home later this year.
T-h-i-s year folks! Wahooo!!!!

Here is my new ride and I'm lovin' it! It's a 2007 Mazda 5 GT and is a treat to drive. My last car was a plain Jane model and this one has a few bells and whistles which I know will be greatly appreciated as I'm already appreciating them and I only picked it up yesterday!

The main feature that captured my attention back in October when I saw this car for the first time when my cousin showed me his, were the sliding back doors. The car is a little bigger than a station wagon but smaller than a mini-van. It's kinda like a mini mini-van! :o) It can seat 6 if 2 of them are children or, tiny adults. It also has power locks which is a new treat for me. Yup, it was manual locks and manual windows in my little Cavalier.

It also has cruise which was on my wish list. One of the treats that I really like but wasn't on my list at all is a sunroof. I had one in my first car and really liked it but it's a bonus, not a necessity.

So happy to have some fun, safe new wheels and a vehicle that will make life much easier to get Hannah in and out of her car seat while in parking lots or the garage. As much as I liked my Cavalier and it was hard to part with, I'm thrilled with my new ride. Wheeee! I have a mommy car!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Healthcare Update

First, I want to say thank you to all those who have written letters and made phone calls to government officials who can help reverse this recently implemented policy. If you feel led to write letters on behalf of adoptive parents across the province, please see the link above for more information. Even those outside the province and country offered help and please know that your offers were greatly appreciated! It appears that this situation is being brought to the forefront and I'm confident that changes will be made.

The Ottawa Citizen featured an article today sharing one family's story and also some of the actions that are being made to have this problem rectified. I have also received responses to 2 of the emails that I sent to government officials yesterday and both of those responses indicated that they are looking into the matter and hope for a quick resolution.

I truly do not believe this was done to discriminate against our children but until it is changed unfortunately that is what is happening. Praying things change for the better soon and truly believing that this will happen.

Thanks again for your support and I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad!!!

Today my amazing, wonderful dad celebrated his 70th Birthday!! Happy Birthday Dad! Love you so much!! 70 is going to be an exciting year as we travel to China together and meet your new granddaughter! Wheeee!!!

Another Uphill Battle....Please Help

Once again I am coming to you asking for you to consider going to battle with me and other adoptive families to fight for the rights of our children.

It has come to our attention in the past couple of days that the Province of Ontario has recently begun to enforce a policy which will now withhold OHIP coverage (provincial medical coverage) for Hannah and other internationally adopted children for a period of 3 months.

Until a few weeks ago an internationally adopted child was granted OHIP coverage (medical coverage for which we pay for with our taxes) upon arrival in Canada. These children often arrive in Canada having had less medical care than they would have here and one of the very first things we would do would be to take them for a medical to see how we can best help our children.

Can you imagine a mother giving birth to a child in a hospital and the government saying, 'OK, see you in 3 months when we will begin to cover your child's medical needs?' No! Why do they feel it is ok to do this for internationally adopted children? I live in this province and pay my taxes just as any birthparent does. Why should my child be denied medical care? What happens if she is ill during these first few months? The adoption itself stretches many adoptive parents financially, myself included, so if suddenly I need to pay for all medical care out of pocket, if I can even get medical care for her, is totally unfair! I don't even know how it would work as the very first thing I have to do at any doctor's office is to swipe my OHIP card. What will happen if I don't even have a card for Hannah? Truly it's frightening, especially when it can easily be avoided.

Recently it seems that international adoptions have been fighting many battles and this is another one to add to the list. 2 months ago it was the Citizenship challenge and now OHIP coverage. Fighting for my child though has the 'mamma bear' is coming out again!

This is where you come in. Would you consider writing letters on our behalf to help get this situation rectified? I truly believe that it is not meant for our children to be discriminated against but sadly this is what this policy is doing. I truly believe that this policy can be overturned if enough people bring it to the attention of our government. Hannah will now arrive home as a Canadian citizen so the next challenge is to get the Province to accept this too and begin to once again offer medical coverage immediately upon arrival in Ontario.

So, what can you do? If you're a resident of Ontario I ask that you please consider contacting your local MPP and others letting them know of this unfair policy and how it negatively affects so many innocent children.

For a list of the local MPPs in your area: CLICK HERE

Also, here are the addresses of others who you can contact to help overturn this policy:

1) David Caplan - the Minister of Health:

2) Abid Malik - the Director of Policy for the Minister:

3) Heather Mack - the Chief of Staff for the Minister:

4) Ron Sapsford - the Deputy Minister:

5) Ken Deene - Assistant Deputy Minister, Health System Accountability and
Performance Division:

6) Dawn Ogram - Assistant Deputy Minister, Corporate and Direct Services:

and... here is a form letter for anyone interested in writing (change as needed to fit your situation):

Dear _______________,

It has come to my attention that recently several families have been denied OHIP coverage for their newly internationally adopted children, having been told by both ServiceOntario staff and Ministry of Health staff that these children are required to have lived in Ontario for three months prior to obtaining coverage.

This is extremely upsetting to me both as a resident of Ontario and as an adoptive parent. This new policy, implemented January 2009, is clearly discriminatory as it does not provide equal treatment to our adopted children as is provided to their born-in-Ontario counterparts. It is even more confusing that the Ontario government would choose to deny medical coverage to infants and children who have just come from institutional care in developing nations and therefore require immediate medical attention to ensure their well-being, now and in the future.

This matter is urgent as every day, more and more children are being denied health care upon their arrival in Ontario. Ministry staff have quoted Regulation 552 of the Health Insurance Act as the reason for the denial of OHIP coverage, however to my knowledge this regulation has not changed and previous to January 27, 2009 internationally adopted children were able to receive health care immediately upon arriving home to Ontario with their adoptive parents.

Our adopted children deserve to receive fair and equal treatment as compared to children who are born in Ontario. I respectfully request that action be taken immediately to remedy this situation and I look forward to hearing your response on this urgent matter.

Insert your name and contact details


Family and friends, Thank you so much for considering writing these letters to help Hannah and all of the other children who are being welcomed into Ontario. I truly believe that if enough people write their concerns to those who can make the changes then it can happen. All children in the province deserve the right to good medical coverage and I believe it can happen again.

Thanks again.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Please Vote for a Friend!!

Someone has nominated my dear friend M3 (Do They Have Salsa In China?) for a Mommy Blogger Award sponsored by Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine.
I tell you, having spent much time with this amazing mommy and seen her in action with her precious Ro and Ree, reaffirms that this award couldn't go to a more deserving bloggy mom!! I cherish the glimpses into their lives that she shares with us and her willingness to be oh so human sharing fun and not-so-fun times of life with precious, energized 3yo twins.

I'm also impressed and have learned much from her about blog reading/updating. When the girls are awake, the blogging is away. It's playtime with her kiddles and blogging can happen when they're in bed.

So, please take a moment to hop on over and vote for a gal who has taught us much...and given us a ton of laughs in the process!! Do They Have Salsa In China? Yes!!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Cool Beans! Let's Do That Again!!

Late last fall I received a call from a friend who works at a local library. She asked if I would be interested if giving an International Adoption (IA) seminar in the spring. As much as I can talk about IA to anyone, it took me a number of weeks to accept her invitation. Why? Because last fall and early winter were a very bleak time for me as I looked at the world of IA. It seemed like referrals were slow at best and I wasn't sure I could encourage anyone to begin this process. How could I in good faith do this?

Eventually I decided to accept their invitation and focus more on the paperwork and process and yet at the same time be as honest as I could about the wait.

Fast forward to now when I was preparing for tonight's seminar. Referrals for friends are rolling in from China, Ethiopia and Vietnam and it's a time of many celebrations! 2 friends are in China right now and another leaves on Friday! So cool! Hope abounds!!

Although there were only 2 ladies at the seminar we had a GREAT time and I was totally pumped when it was over!! I shared my adoption journey with them; countries available for citizens of Ontario; what the paperchase involves; citizenship process; a bit about attachment, and all about you, my wonderful bloggy friends and local waiting mommies! Having the support network that we share is one of the most precious gifts and I am so thankful for you!

As I was planning the seminar I was concerned that I wouldn't have enough to talk about and in the end we went for almost an hour and a half. We were pretty much done after an hour and I mentioned they were welcome to leave if they wanted/needed to but they both stayed almost another half hour and we just chatted and I answered as many of their questions as I could. What a treat it was to spend this time with them and hopefully they left with answers to some of the questions they had. I don't know what their stories will be but it was fun to get to know them and share something that I'm passionate about with them.

We ended with this video that I had seen before but last week learned it's true origins. There is a family in the US who have started a camp for orphans in China. Their organization is called, 'Bring Me Hope'. Each summer they go to China and for 4 weeks welcome groups of orphans to a week of summer camp! Neat!! I'm sure many of you have seen it but it was neat to watch it again knowing exactly who had made it and the story behind their family.

It was such fun sharing with these ladies and I hope to have more opportunities in the future to share this seminar with others.

Monday, March 02, 2009

4 Days of Referrals!

This month CCAA matched 4 days of files ~ those logged in from March 3 through March 6, 2006. This means 4 little beads crossed over from the 'LID's to be Matched' jar into the 'Referrals Received' jar. It's not many but it was expected as March 7th is a LID that has a lot of people logged in so it could take an entire month just to process those families who were logged in on that date. The excitement of the batch following this one is that there are two good friends, Lisa and Sea Star, who will receive their referral when March 7th is matched and hopefully Pug Mama with a LID of March 8th, will be in too!

There are now only 17 little beads in the jar and guess what? I can see the bottom of the jar as there are no longer enough beads to cover it! Wheee!!!

Closer and closer every month when CC*AA sends out their files! Currenly believe I will receive Hannah's referral in June or July with travel in August or September. Next month's referrals will tell us a lot when we see what they do with the large LID, March 7th. Another question that lingers in my head is 'when' will the next batch be sent out? Technically these files left China in February so the big question is, will there be another March batch? Oh how I hope so!!!

Can I hibernate until the next referral batch arrives?? Pleeease?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Not in My Own Strength

I often receive comments/emails that talk about my outlook during the wait. I need to tell you that in my own strength I could not handle this wait. Not for one-single-moment. In my own strength I would be a puddle of tears, questioning each and every moment of the wait. The only reason I can go through the wait with a positive outlook is because God.

Psalm 4:13 says, 'I can do everything through him who gives me strength.' He is my constant strength and guide. He is the reason I can be positive through the wait. (Even with His strength I have rough days for sure and my positive outlook is tested.)

Psalm 4:13 helps me greatly and especially when I see so many receiving their referrals and meeting their children. I'll be completely honest and say it can be difficult emotionally when people who began their adoptions after me have received their referrals first. I haven't fought the battle of infertility that many of you have but I'm guessing many of you know only too well what it feels like to want something so much and see many around you realizing that dream while you continue to wait. (My mom and I have talked about this often as this was the struggle she and dad faced for years prior to my arrival. Many years ago they waited to have a baby grow to full term, and today I wait for Hannah's referral.)

There are days that I fight with mixed emotions of being happy for friends and at the same time sad for myself that Hannah is still months and months away. Please know that I am NEVER unhappy for those receiving their referrals and meeting their children, it's just that I long to be closer or, being completely honest, that it was finally Hannah's referral that was being shouted from the rooftops!!!

The other thing that keeps me going is that I believe that God has the exact moment that Hannah and I will meet already planned. Psalm 139:16 says, 'your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.' Those days include the day when Hannah will be placed into my arms! Choosing to trust Him daily.

So, as much as I long to hold her in my arms now, it's not His time so I must wait and I choose to wait with a smile on my lips and in my heart as, 'I can do everything through him who gives me strength.'

Do you want to know the really neat thing? This love of God; peace beyond all measure and heart of trust are something that is available to each of us. God is there for you and wants only for you to cry out to Him and ask Him to help you. He is always there and is only a prayer away. He cares about what's important to it big or small or, your hurting heart during the wait for you child.

He also loves us so much that He gives us glimpses of what is on the horizon for us. Today we saw a friend's dream come true as God brought a mom and her daughter together! PIPO waited 3 very long years after her file went to China and today her precious daughter was placed in her arms!!

Congratulations friend!! You're a MOMMY!!!!!!!

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