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Sunday, November 28, 2010

33 days left of 2010! Feeling "blessed"


We've been busy this weekend attending different adoption events. It was nice reconnecting with families we are friends with while meeting other families we don't know. There is some really great people out there. Our children just love the adoptive community atmosphere. Unfortunately because there is so much action taking place it's hard to connect with other parents. I noticed from a far there is many families we don't know, many other parents that would be nice to meet but sometimes from one end of a room to the next seems so far! Our children seem to have no problems accomplishing movement back and forth from one end to another! It was a good productive weekend. Usually the weekend before December 1st would be the weekend to put up our Christmas tree and decorations. It feels so weird not doing anything! We won't be here so there's no point, so we've been venturing off. Dec 2nd Ladysmith's Festival of lights is happening that evening. We've never been. I've heard thousands of people attend the lighting of the town, the Santa parade and fireworks. I heard there is entertainment, food vendors and the little shops are open for business. I'm hoping it's going to be a mild dry evening so our family can enjoy every aspect the festival offers. The Bethlehem Walk this year starts on Dec 11th - Dec 14th from 6 - 8:30pm. There is over 250 people in costume, live animals and a working village walking through the streets of Bethlehem. Every year we attend one evening ending with listening to Christmas Carols, having hot chocolate and cookies. If you haven't been, it's worth the time going. I believe a donation is asked for our local food bank. Beware that there is long line-ups and lots of people! Getting there early is a must! BUT Dec 11th we're having the Christmas Adoption party, so no Bethlehem that evening! Plus the first night is extremely busy! Now speaking of the holidays, there is exactly only three weeks left of school, 15 days of school! Four weeks until Christmas! 27 days! Five weeks, 33 days left of 2010! I don't know about you but I'm shocked on where the time goes?? I do have to add we're really excited for 2011! If all goes as planned we will have two more teenagers graduated, one in which has applied to the Canadian Forces, our oldest finishing her second year in University, a new nephew, a new adoption placement and a bigger vehicle! (Hopefully) That's all I'm going to write about that. I do smile because come January there is only 6 months left of school which means summer! Yes I'm thinking that far ahead! I love our children home. In the meantime our last month of 2010 consists of family and friends. There is several families that I can think of that I would love to keep in our lives forever, a few that would be honoring to know more and another that we should just sign now making it official that we're not going anywhere. Family comes in all forms and sizes, I can never express enough what our family means to us.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Party!


This is my extremely loving friend Wilbur. He's just dropping in to remind and invite all pre-adoptive and adoptive families to our annual Christmas platter potluck party! It will be on Dec 11th from 4pm-8pm!
Please RSVP me if you're coming, for directions and for more enlightening details! It sounds like it's going to be a great party! With a surprise visitor! Entertainment, crafts and more!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

"Who's your super-star?"


Origami fortune teller crafts have been popular in our house lately. Every which way I turn I'm picking a color, a number and my children are unmasking my fortune. Tonight I'm very happy with my life and I have a great smile according to their pieces of paper. I'm not sure about my smile but I know I'm very happy with my life. My husband is 20 years old and a super-star! I'm not sure if I like that idea. If twenty year old super-stars look like my husband we're in trouble! Origami fortune teller crafts are so simply created and full of imagination that lasts over decades with children. I remember when I was running around telling people they were lucky too! What's nice is our children placed "cute" positive comments in theirs. Positive reinforcement surfaces in many ways! The beauty in these hand held fortune tellers is our children are happy playing the game while their siblings and friends are constantly receiving uplifting quotes. I know that when you tell someone they look nice today, more then likely it's a genuine gesture that makes that person feel they look nice. So when someone is told they're sweet, I wonder if for that period of time as they're thinking they're sweet, would they act sweet is the question? Positive reinforcement is suppose to curb the behaviors. It reminds me of reverse psychology. I understand the two are two different concepts. For example I try to pick and choose my battles with our children. So if an argument erupts over putting on their winter jackets and boots because it's minus 5 with wind chills of minus 17 I would say, "Ok, I'm putting on MY jacket and boots because Brrrrrrr I'm not willing to get sick for Christmas" Then I would ask, "Do you remember being sick? Not even getting out of bed, holding that bucket?" I'm not even out the door and my son says, "It's too cold outside, I'm going to put on my jacket and boots" I'm smiling inside, argument vanishes, no battle occurred, we left the house warm. I don't believe neither positive reinforcement nor reverse psychology is 100% effective but 99% of the time there is a light bulb triggered. Like the Origami fortune tellers don't even realize that they're playing something positive with each other, which is uplifting each others spirits simply picking a color and a number. My thought process is still envisioning my husband as a 20 year old super-star! Ba ha ha ha ha ha ha (sorry honey) The thought instantly changed my mood from solemn to uncontrolled laughter! Nevertheless it's all great innocent mind or mood altering fun........

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Johnny Reid - Today I'm Gonna Try To Change The World

Becoming "Good people"

Good people. I have been in "Awe" over some really genuine good people. Everyone we meet in life has the right to be accepted (or not) on his/her own merits. It's better to be yourself. I read somewhere that it's better to be hated for who you are than liked for who you aren't. Being honest with yourself allows you to be honest with others. A dishonest person has no chance in maintaining true friends because eventually they're figured out. Loyalty is huge with people, I constantly tell my children that foremost keep loyal, keep the confidence and don't speak of anyone else. Don't judge. Respect within a friendship is keeping information shared between each other confident. There is nothing worse then breaking the loyalty within friendship, it's just common courtesy and everyone deserves and should expect that friendship respect. For our children because there is some bullying tendencies that surface I'm always encouraging them to be a "good friend" Respecting their friends privacy is loyalty but on the flip side of friendship the question irises on when to "watch out for your friend" If there is talk about running away or committing suicide then of course consulting their parent or a professional is important. As much as we teach our children the importance of honoring friendship it's only with age and experience with loosing friends on how to keep them. Unfortunately with some of our children they really struggle and peers are important. At a time of crisis usually just listening is all a friend needs and perhaps a sincere hug. Our children as I've written before; I've seen this sincere compassion for others, it's one of my top ten list of wants for them as they mature. I've always said that it's "Okay" to give advice, add your perspective but don't ever judge and remember to be sensitive to their friends circumstance. Basically don't get offended when they don't want to listen as it's only your opinion, let your friend make their own decisions. Good friendships are based on trust. I keep telling our children that the number one most important factor in any relationship is trust. Once broken it's very hard to salvage. It reminds me of the "little boy who cried wolf" Eventually when the truth is told, there is no belief within his/her words. One consequence we've given was reading this story over and over again. In fact the truth will always set you free - "Just tell the truth" otherwise it will eventually come seek you out. "Piles of white lies can be the end of you" meaning the truth always surfaces in one form or another. These are all skills I hope our children generate through-out childhood so they can be respective good people in their adult years. I keep telling one of our sons that being selfish won't work for long, sharing and having the generosity (returning the favour) will keep a friendship lasting. There's a golden rule with friendships. "Always treat a friend as you would want to be treated" I keep telling our children that if you've made a mistake, apologise. As much as I continue to teach our children on how to treat others, I'm always reminding myself the same. Who am I to judge another? This is where acceptance that I write all the time I believe to be as important as compassion. Accepting differences, lifestyles and heritage. After all this world isn't based on one way nor should it be. That's what makes us individuals, unique and we all can give something to someone else intellectually; as long as our children learn the basics of respecting one another and their friendships - they will flourish in relationships! For myself, I do my best to practice what I preach and I am in "Awe" for having people in my life that is all of this and more. Thank you for being who you are! I always smile thinking of you..........

Monday, November 22, 2010

"Our experiences & benefits of having a large family"

November is adoption awareness month. Well it's almost over. Last year I was writing an article that didn't make the newspaper in time, this month my article should make it in the local newspaper by the end of the month! Few.... I'm always advocating for large families. A passion of mine. "Our experiences and benefits of having a large family"

I wanted to write this letter to explain and educate on how our family works raising (currently) twelve children. Before we ever thought of being a larger family within today's society it was always in our hearts to adopt. Once the process started we realized that within BC alone there are over 1000 waiting children to be adopted. So not only did we want to adopt, we wanted to continue as long as we could, within our capabilities. Having a large family is not only a passion for us but a life that we enjoy immensely. There is definitely challenges but there are challenges within a smaller family as well. It's all in how you manage the situation. Our numbers for incidences of course are higher. We're definitely not perfect parents but we're dedicated parents to our children. I do stress that not everyone can manage a larger family unless they are willing to dedicate themselves to routine and structure. It definitely requires organization skills, patience and a sense of humor at times. We are learning as we grow that we need to educate others of the benefits and the reasons that we have ventured on this path. We can't stress enough that this is our passion and we love our family as large as it is. Speaking of large, my husband and I always state, "We're not large" and this is simply because we don't feel like a large family. This is our life. Basically we live day to day with our family of twelve children; we're not any different from a family living with three except the numbers are higher. Everyone has different paths and focuses in life; where to put their dedication and commitment and ours is with children. Here is some of the benefits we experience within our family that smaller families might not.
1. All our children have a sibling that they can confide in or have support from when they can't go to a parent. They will never lack peers or companionship.
2. Our children learn to share, have boundaries and patience with one another.
3. We're also practical with spending, we teach our children to get the most out of their dollar. For example I cook and bake seven days a week, homemade lunches instead of pizza days that costs $5.50. With this our children aren't deprived but it makes them more appreciative when we do go out for dinner or have those special snacks.
4. When we're choosing sport activities, we usually group up our children which cuts down driving time but also creates companionship and builds relationships. For example two of our girls is in horse riding together.
5. When it comes to adoption, from our experience it's an easier transition for a child when there is other children in the home coming from the same circumstances.
6. Our children will always have a sibling that they can grow up with and will become more confident within themselves due to a sense of belonging. Our children with special needs will always have family members for support and relationship long after we as parents are gone.
7. We are extremely active and do everything as a family.
8. Our expectations for our children are based on their capabilities and we're extremely satisfied when a simple milestone to some means a huge success for us. So we're very relaxed.
9. Our children learn compassion, cooperation and responsibilities because they are more aware of boundaries, learn respect for one another.
10.No matter what happens, they have each other forever.
I know everything above can be true for smaller families but when you're a special larger family through adoption, there is differences that we all accept within one another. It comes from past experiences, grieving and loss then moving forward positively with unconditional love and acceptance. This is what I see within our family.
11. Our children learn not to judge, not to favour or have racism. Being a larger family we learn most of all, compassion and acceptance of not only our family but for others. This will give our children huge benefits within their future to succeed. Society plays a huge roll in what someone should or shouldn't be or do - we start right here with our twelve children and counting. We live, learn and teach that we're all compatible, acceptable and compassionate individuals and should be towards each other. I as a mother of twelve children and adopting again believes large families work together and should be acknowledged in today's society as any other family - normal - just a bigger happier crowd!

Nothing against you smaller families, you're awesome! (I love you too) Basically being who we are with all our challenges and more rewards I feel the need to advocate our strengths and reasons why. In my mind, if we can do it, "Why not?" I will tell you something honestly - We would adopt a child before wanting anything else in this world.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

"Our extended family!"

November 20th our first snow day was not only snow ball throwing, snowman building, it was go-cart ripping! We lost hydro for approximately eleven hours. Within those eleven hours we mostly slept. It's been a very exciting weekend and not because of all the white stuff. We picked up one of our Grandmas from the airport! This Grandma came to our family through adoption. She's two of our children's past foster parent. While adopting we've not only grown within our immediate family, we've grown within our extended family. We have Twelve Grand parents! Some known as birth and others known as adopted. For us we not only adopt our children, we adopt their past. With writing that it does have to be a healthy relationship. In adoption it's called establishing an openness with either birth family members or previous foster parents. Picking up our children's Grandma was extremely exciting for all our children because she's "shared" amongst our whole family. I even love her from the moment we worked together with transitioning our children from her home to ours. One adoption step that I believe to be very important is having a supportive, smooth and loving transition from foster home to adoptive home. We were very lucky to experience this with our first adoption. Our first adoptive children were in their Grandmas foster home for seven years before being placed with us. Can you imagine after seven years being moved? I completely understand the difficulty and sensitive nature that exists with all parties involved but with this transition it was a successful and positive move. This is because of the foster parent that is now forever a part of our family. She didn't loose her children she cared for, she gained a whole family with them. Each adoption transition is completely different and sometimes it's not beneficial to maintain contact with previous foster parents. Sometimes it's too difficult for the foster parent, the adoptive parents or the child/children involved. We've been on both sides of the positive and negative transitions. It's unfortunate because what it boils down to is the children and what's best for them. The best is having a forever family and parents they can call "Mom" or "Dad" A home that is permanent where they will never leave again. Having the ultimate best is being able to keep loving people from their past in their lives. Our second adoption we have maintained a relationship with one birth Grandfather and two foster Grandparents. People who are positive in our lives, that continue to love our children and understand the importance of adoption even when it was hard for them to let go. As I know one wanted to adopt one of our boys but was unable to adopt all his siblings. That's where transitioning can become emotionally difficult. Adoption is exciting but full of continued losses even from foster care. (One reason why we would never foster) Our third adoption was worrisome at first in regards to how we felt with boundaries and privacy coming from the foster parents. I was really worried wondering if we could continue with having an openness relationship but we were patient and understanding in hopes that our privacy would be maintained. They are wonderful people who now are our next set of extended Grandparents. We have them over for every occasion. I'm hoping with our next adoption we'll add more extended family members but only time will tell and on how it all play out. Right now it's just so amazing on how many people from all parts of British Columbia can come together and be a family through adoption. I would have never thought adopting children would not only bring us beautiful children but adding many loving, beautiful other family members as well! Now having another visit from one of our special Grandmothers was completely wonderful, honoring and really makes our family feel special that she's still a part of it forever!

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Little Christmas House"

One of our sons made this little Christmas house last year. He brought it out a week ago and placed it secretly on my craft table. Every time I'm sitting next to it I get emotional. I'm not sure exactly what it is, is it because he gave it to me? Perhaps it's the detail? Maybe it's the fact he hid it for a year nestled safely in his room until now? What it reminds me of is "The Little House on the Prairie" series. A favorite television show of mine! Most importantly it's a time consumed art project that he kept safe to himself until now. With some of our children they're definitely material lead. Especially when they didn't have anything before being adopted. Then with others it's not the material that's important, it's their family. Basically I'm a deep thinker and a little homemade house like this gets me thinking. A month back I attended a workshop and the speaker reminded us that we needed to keep in tune with our frontal lobe, meaning always being aware and ahead when dealing with our children. I think my frontal lobe works over time to tell you the truth! So what is important? It's quality not quantity. Honestly, as the Christmas season approaches I love to give. Being only one month away I just started. What I did do is booked a Chalet at our local Ski Mountain for Christmas. This year it's about our time together. My husband isn't going to spend the day dealing with endless toy unboxing and garbage! I'm not going to spend the day in the kitchen cooking. We're going to spend our time together in the snow, swimming in the court yard pool and hot-tub and eating plattered prepared foods. This year won't be traditional. We're going to make snow-cones, play board games and awake Christmas morning to a few sentimental gifts then go sledding! Just like "The Little House on the Prairie" Like the little house our son made. The gifts aren't the memories remembered, it's the time spent together. For example we have many fond memories, some intentional, some by mistake! One fond memory completely by mistake was when I took nine of our children over to Hornby Island. I completely forgot that the last ferry off left at 6pm! I decided to stop for chocolate cake of ALL things to eat in the van, then I had to stop to clean off our children from eating the chocolate cake. With that twenty minute interference we missed the last ferry. In the middle of summer, no where to stay with only towels as blankets we slept in the van. (I know my frontal lobe wasn't working) I parked near the beach, threw out the back seats and there we were huddled together making a memory. Needless to say it was a long, long, long night. I have never watched the tide go out, then in, then out and the stars come out then disappear as the sunrise came up. This was almost three years ago and our children still talk about it. My point is (because we all know I can ramble off topic) that sometimes we can over look things that are right in front of us. Our sons little Christmas house was purposely placed and given to me to remind myself that it's the little things and precious moments that create the bigger picture.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

"Recently purchased amazing books!"

Anyone who has been following, we are a large adoptive family. Twelve children and we're in the process of adopting our next two children! That's all I'm going to write regarding our family. I'm going to write more on how we manage, how large families work and focus my blog to enlighten, inspire and give tips as well as receive ideas, share recipes and perhaps just a chuckle as my interesting sense of humor and English grammar can be amusing at times! Just recently I purchased a few books off of Amazon.ca. If I'm not writing at night, I'm reading. I bought the Chicken Soup for the Adopted Soul. (Single stories celebrating forever families) The best I can be living with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Effects - this book was written by Liz Kulp, a fetal alcohol exposed teenager and Jodee Kulp, her adoptive Mom. Anyone who has children with FASD should read this book. Liz writes her feelings through-out the book that is so honoring to read and I see many of our children feeling the same way! Quote, "You can not see my disability on the outside. I like to make myself look pretty and I like to wear cool clothes like the other kids. People seem to notice me and I stand out in a crowd. I laugh loudly, walk loudly and talk loudly. I like a good time" "Individuals with prenatal alcohol exposure often look like everyone else. The facial differences attributed to FAS occur during only two days of gestation, so most persons affected have hidden physical and neurological differences. Their actions and reactions to life experiences are often misunderstood" Sadly FAS is 100% preventable. I recommend this book, a quick read that helps understand your child's feelings. Another book I recently purchased is "Help! I've been adopted" by Brenda McCreight. It's written for older adopted children. I'm really eager to read, I know I will be satisfied and I will pass down this book to our older children to read as well. Back to the first book I mentioned, "Chicken soup for the Adoptive Soul" That I also highly recommend to purchase! It's so touching, passages in this book brings tears to my eyes and I truly believe that if other families that don't adopt read this, they will either start adopting or will understand why families like us adopt! For example, "A Child like Me?"

With saddened eyes and head bent low,
It's damaged goods most see.
With my unclear past and broken heart,
Who would want a child like me?

I watch her walk into the room.
From a distance I can see.
But dare I take a closer step?
Who would want a child like me?

And then I see her look my way.
She smiles so tenderly.
But do I even dare to dream,
She would want a child like me?

And then, as if I spoke out loud,
She approaches cautiously.
I try so hard to once believe,
She will want a child like me.

But dare I once let down my guard,
And trust that she will see,
Hiding beneath this old stained shirt,
Is a beautiful child like me?

My smile, they say, lights up a room.
I'll be good as good can be.
Oh, please, dear God, let her want
A special child like me.

I feel her hand reach out for mine,
And within her eyes I see,
A single, tiny, shining tear.
Could she want a child like me?

And when she takes me in her arms,
With a warmth so pure and new,
She says the words I've prayed to hear,
"The child I want is you"

By Lisa J. Schlitt (Beautifully written)

When I read this the first time, I cried. It reminded me meeting one of our sons for the first time. This is an excellent heartfelt book. For myself - I feel so good inside that we continue on the path we lead.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Re-freshed

New and re-freshed. As time went by I missed writing. I was known currently as twelve children and counting. Now I've labelled my new and improved Blog - Namaste. Namaste's meaning is "Hello, Goodbye and Welcome" in Nepalese. A place that I have been fond of for many years is Nepal. Kathmandu - their city located on the hills of the Himalayas! In the two hundred plus blogs I wrote, I advocated how we survive as a large family. Mainly positive approaches, many recipes and different strategies that seem to work for us. It was bitter sweet deleting everything, two years of writing but it's time to awake and awake every day likes it's a new beginning. So here's to a fresh enlightened start!