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Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Reflection and welcoming 2012!"

As the night begins and ends with music, games, different activities served along with cheesecake we are rejoicing. Celebrating the end of 2011 and completely welcoming 2012! As our family reminisces the past twelve months there was three Camp Homewoods in January, March and November. Sixteen birthdays not including extended family. Last January we struggled with our kitchen fridge! I was summoned to appear in court as a witness to end the lives of an owners dogs. I will never forget Christmas 2011 when we were trapped in a 600 sq ft condo during a blizzard for four days, loosing all our keys and developing a rash from a contaminated hot-tub from feces! Throughout the year I enjoyed several short hikes in different spots along the West Coast trail. We had two (plural) pneumothoraces within six months time for our second oldest son resulting in lung surgery, then my husband battled an infection for four weeks on a IV. I attended the Permanency Planning for Youth and several different FASD workshops. We had our annual Easter adoption potluck and our Christmas Adoption Party! We also had a fundraiser event for MS (Multiple Sclerosis) a 10 km run with our team "Why not?" Some of us attended the Carrie Underwood concert in Vancouver......and we spent Canada Day at the BC Forest Discovery Centre followed by dinner at our friends house. Throughout our summer we camped, we swam, we boated, go-carted and quaded. We drove around going on multiple day trips like gypsies. In 2011 we met birth family members. We finished our home and started on our property! I've been to the States and stayed on Malcolm Island with some of our children. We visited family and friends all across the Island...........My husband and I went on a "date" Remember us sitting like dogs at the kitchen table!? We also adopted a four year old girl shitzu in August after loosing our dog Kong at the beginning of May. AND in May 2011 we had two of our new children placed with us! It's been a incredible memorable year and this was just a glimpse! The last day of 2011 consisted in enjoying the sun and making a great meal followed by cheese cake. The evening was black except for a colored disco ball twirling in our living room while everyone danced to techno music. What was really cool, our littlest daughter was dancing up a storm with Daddy! She might not be-able to walk right now but she has rhythm and she loves a great party! I don't know what 2012 entails, I do know we have everything and anything we need. I don't have a resolution. I do feel that 2012 is a year of fitness and health with smaller steps. My husband and I have decided to take more time for ourselves, together and independently while making more memories for our family. My wish for other parents is to remember we're all individuals, we all give our 99% to our family and sometimes at least once a month - give that other percent to yourself. I've realized while mothering so many children that if I don't take the time for me, that other 99% feels like 150%. It can be work. SO my last thought of 2011 is start taking time for yourself. Which concludes my year and starts 2012 yes a bit selfishly. I'm taking my percent and I'm going to use it wisely! For everyone that shared 2011 with our family, perhaps personally with me - thank you. I appreciate everyone in our life, who understands, supports and doesn't judge us for being slightly society different. I am grateful; honored in so many ways, and most importantly I recognize everyone that has been directly or indirectly involved in our life. May your 2012 be full of positive solutions, brighter days and forever memories. With love...........Carrie and "Happy New Year!"

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Locks of love

It's two of our girls hair! They've been bugging us for haircuts for the longest of time. I struggle every morning brushing their hair. Finally today I said, "Let's do it" BUT for a cause, "Locks of love" Locks of love is a non-profit organization that provides hair pieces for children who are suffering from long term hair loss from a medical diagnoses. Our daughters' hair was long enough to donate. Ten inches from tip to tip is the minimum length to donate needed for a hair piece. We had exactly ten inches from both our girls! There is some guidelines, so if anyone is interested please research before chopping it all off! It needs to be braided or either in a pony tail before being cut. The hair needs to be clean and dry before sending it in. They don't accept processed hair. I'm a mother that loves long hair on our girls, I especially believe that girls with special needs deserve the beautiful length regardless on how hard it is to maintain. So when I found out that they both had ten inches to donate, I thought YES lets do it! They were so happy, they feel so good and refreshed. They love their new hair-cuts and believe it or not, so do I! It's SO cute and both their hair cuts suit them. AND it's not even short! Locks of love make wigs for children that have cancer and alopecia areata (children who never grow hair) Usually these children aren't charged for the wigs especially made for them. You know.......we go throughout our days not even thinking about our world, and there is so many different life changing elements we could provide for another. I am so proud of our girls. Before their hair cut, I explained the only reason you're getting a hair cut is to put a smile on another little girls face. Not only are they happy, they are explaining their hair is making a wig for a little girl.............and are happy for that! They've been looking in the mirror, moving their head around and this is a time to celebrate because they've made a difference in the life of a sick child. Building confidence when someone is ill; I believe is really important, it gives hope and that emotional power to fight. I have a friend that suffers from alopecia, where she lost all her hair due to extreme stress. The need is higher then we all believe. When I was doing some research, I found out that it takes 12 donations of ten inches each and it costs about $1200.00 to craft a hand sewn wig! SO to end 2011 and to start a New Year we've sent in Locks of love! AND again......I'm very proud of our girls!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"That place"

We've been in the process of cleaning. Once again after finishing all my laundry I found my two fluffy dogs! Many of our children struggle with the concept of cleaning. I feel that I'm constantly on them about one toy or activity at a time. That way it's easier to clean and put away. Their type of cleaning is pushing under the bed or piling on their dresser while their cupboards remain with free space. Organization is hard to teach! In fact, I'm starting to wonder if that organization is a born skill and not learned! I remember when I was a child, all my animals and dolls were placed face up in a row - around here most of the dolls are face down kicking each other in a doll pile! So that's a dilemma in some of their rooms - piling, stuffing and hiding is "cleaning" With all the mounds of toys, they don't even know what they have and if they do......they don't know where it is! SO project 200 for me is starting one BIG pile. This is when their Mother will weave through and tackle organizing their things while they help. I've done this before with not much success because if some of our children can't get dressed appropriately in the morning, how on earth would they manage to keep an organization routine in their room!? I'm truly a believer in picking and choosing battles but if they can't keep a room clean and organized, I fear their home will be disastrous in the future. (Or our home) SO I've been thinking again about ideas on how to solve the potential hoarding future I see developing with some of our children. If not signs, picture cues in every space provided for their items. That way dolls will be placed together! We do have a house rule that if they've brought out a toy to play with, they have to bring it back to their room or it's taken away. This has been successful. Now it's about their rooms. Organizing. I have another idea.....which is rotating their toys. Meaning taking some away for a period of time, rotate occasionally. That way they have less to clean up and their toys are always new. OR trade toys with another family like we do clothing. Another task for me is going through every dresser - if I didn't, some of our children will put on sizes too small regardless how it feels or what it looks like! Like fitness, it feels good to clean and organize! I just need our children to feel the same way! I can multitask and I'm extremely organized but I read if you're struggling getting things accomplished, try a timer. That way you're beating the clock to get things done! I thought this was an excellent idea to try with our children. I find that I'm constantly asking them to put this and that away, or "clean" their rooms - adding a timer sounds like an idea to try. Although I think the timer would need the digital visual, so they know time is actually moving - so they move! I'm always on a mission for the ultimate idea that works. Today was one of those deep in thought days. For me, I like my surroundings clean and organized. Including places no one sees, like closets, cupboards and even our fridge. Everything has a place to be. I think the first step is teaching our children "that place" for that item by picture cues and repetition. The trick, don't have too many items! I might sound anal although this isn't necessarily for me, this is for our children to develop these skills (hopefully) for their future. I can see life being very overwhelming if they're consumed by a mess!

It's been busy!


Over ten hours of wrapping through-out the week, Christmas Eve came together around our Christmas tree at 1:30am! During Christmas Eve we played pass the present and it was successful! (no one cried) The game consists of taking a present from someone else if they want it, three times around you are left with what you're holding. I had Dora's bubble bath that I'm using for our littlest daughter. Christmas morning started at 8am. All our children found their "spot" to sit while opening their stockings, then I continued handing out their presents one by one. It's nice to enjoy the morning and to see every ones reactions. It took approximately two hours to finish unwrapping! (12 hours to wrap - 2 to unwrap) Christmas day for my husband was building toys and collecting garbage. For myself it was cooking and cleaning. I will admit it was work all day long.......we had a total of 26 people here. Mostly family and some boyfriends and girlfriends of older children. The next day we had some birth family over while serving different platters with turkey buns. They enjoyed playing puzzles at our kitchen table with some of our children. Then we had a huge platter night with some of our friends. I made a comment that we needed to invite more people with the amount of food we had! Today is the 28th, we're taking down our Christmas decorations. I love Christmas but I'm having a change in heart, a change in what my favorite season is. I've been already contemplating about changing next years Christmas to something completely different, to where my husband and I aren't swamped by materials, by food. (I will let you know next year!) My favorite season?  It's summer. One fact about our family and friends, we don't need an "occasion" to get together. We just do all throughout the year. Today I awoke and accomplished 1170 stairs outside next to the ocean. 117 steps x 10 this morning! A beginning back into my healthier lifestyle I once lost. I feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle my neglected laundry! New Years for us will be quiet at home celebrating being together, entering another New Year of successes, my last year of my thirties! My oldest daughter and her boyfriend gave my husband and I a gift certificate to the Keg, an evening out on my 39th birthday (coming) which includes them babysitting! Time to celebrate and develop more plans for making memories in 2012! Now - dancing with laundry!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

My sweet child

Tonight we're watching "Little house on the Prairie" Christmas in Plum Creek. Little house on the Prairie is a favorite of mine. Actually I know this year under the Christmas tree for me from my husband is the complete collection. (I know because I purchased it!) It's one of those television series that touches the heart. (My heart) Meaningful with lessons to learn. Tonight while some of our children were watching, they were glued. I love Little house on the Prairie! While snowed in completely with minimal needs it's a very Merry Christmas in Plum Creek! The whole collection is selling for $100.00 that's including taxes but it's worth every penny. The whole horse n buggy, the thoughtfulness, the lessons, the whole series is inspiring to me. My step-father (father) loves Little house in the Prairie too and I've decided that it's the best gift for him. So he will also have the collection on Christmas Day. It's a gift that keeps on giving. If you're stuck for gifts, think about - The series of "Little house on the Prairie"

We've had a indifferent week, not one I want to write on......mainly medical, mostly emotional. Christmas for us is about life.....I am many things with many beliefs accordingly to our world. (spiritual) For most, Christmas is the belief that marks the birth of Jesus, the son of God. Buddhists celebrate, meaning giving kindness, love and peace to all man kind. Christmas has reasons to celebrate. None of us is different from the other...........the only difference is our walks in life and circumstances.

My sweet child I tear for, I laugh with.....and I love
my only wish is for health and happiness
I won't be here forever....
therefore;
I give my whole heart and life in hopes....
that your future is bright and not so fearful
with courage and confidence.....success and triumphs...
I wish and pray that in every New Year is successful.

Love your Mommy - and that's for all fourteen of you!

Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays.............

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A little of this & that while staying "Positive!"

The big day is getting close and we're ready! In fact beyond ready. Our children are extremely excited. Beyond excited! I will admit we have some escalated behaviors. There is no warnings around here, it's straight to time-outs. For the past couple of days our littlest daughter has been sick with a fever. I thought it was hard before maintaining food intake, this week it's been a challenge. With her special needs it's been also a struggle consoling her. (Very, very cranky) Last night was a long, long, long night of no sleep. I contemplated at three am staying up baking.........today is looking brighter. We have different platter nights booked with several family friends that we're looking forward too. I'm hoping we'll be able to play some board games without any incidents. Every time our children get together with other children it always goes very well. I'm looking forward to the company with yummy platters set out all over the place! We're going to start a couple different traditions this Christmas Eve and I'm getting excited to see how our children will react! Come Christmas afternoon for the first time in a very long time my Father and Mother (his wife) will be joining us. My sister's family is coming and with a new baby on the way! 2012 I'm a Great Aunt! I can't wait to purchase a few items for the upcoming baby shower! We have some birth family coming......it's going to be BUSY until the 27th! New Years Eve is being discussed. New Years Day we're taking the plunge into the ocean! Then I'm turning 39! This is my motivation year before the big 40! I want to get back into my exercising with the help of my dedicated boot camp sister! I have one year to become a fit 40 year old.......this isn't a resolution nor a dream, it's a factual goal of mine that I can accomplish because before I came too busy (excuse) I was running and going to the gym. Time for something for myself. My health and happiness. Then I'm off to Edmonton to see my lovely sister in law! 2012 I believe will be a great year. One reason is because I have my mind set in positive mode. More camping, more experiencing and more of making memories are on their way! If I haven't written it already, "Happy Holidays" everyone and may you be filled full of positive spirit for your New Year!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Adoption Christmas Party!

Wow! The Adoptive Christmas party was a huge success. It was the biggest one yet! There was over twenty families! "I believe" everyone had a great time. Unfortunately I have a hard time sitting down visiting, I feel that I need to make sure everything is running accordingly so sitting for me isn't an option. So if I missed visiting with anyone, I do apologise for that! I would like to take this opportunity to thank a few people. First off, AFABC (Adoption Federation Association of BC) for supplying the funding for the hall. I extremely appreciate this. I also have some families that really help make occasions like this successful. This would be Dianne Dunbar, Cathy Gilbert, Bonnie and George Hoeft and Debbie and Shawn Carlow for helping and making each and every event awesome! My husband worked really hard before and after the party. I'm thankful for him too! Another source of support that helps with prizes and food is the Co-op company and its distributors that has suggested in supporting future adoption events. The Christmas party was fun for all which included face painting, manicures, a craft table, dancing to wii dance projected on the hall wall, a surprise visitor (Santa) and tons of great food! The manicure table seemed to be a great hit, "Thank you" to the beautiful girl who dedicated her time painting nails! One of our daughters loves her nails! We would like to continue with the Christmas and Easter parties annually located at the same place. So keep connected and stay tuned for the next spring party! For our family we really enjoy building our adoptive community. We see within our children how important it is to have and attend events to keep their friendships alive. Not only is it friendships, it's a connection of support for everyone. Most of our children know they've been adopted. Events shows they're not the only ones - that they aren't any different and there is many children like themselves either through adoption or special needs. This makes a sense of normalcy. For me adoption not only brought me a big wonderful family, it brought me friends from other adoptive families that I really love. I feel so blessed to have met and befriended the families we have. Besides hosting events for relationships and support for our children, I can say I also selfishly do it for myself too. I just love our community built through adoption. I wasn't able to show much appreciation during the Christmas party but I'm definitely filled with it for everyone that help make it successful and the families that come and take part. Families that travelled from across the Island in either direction to attend is amazing. It shows how important it is to continue with adoption related events. My Father and Mother attended from an hour and a half away. I don't say this enough.......it's so important for our children to have family. (It's important for me) But when our children see their Grandparents attending (supporting) their little faces light up with big smiles. Last night was special. Our oldest daughter and her boyfriend attended. Our oldest son attended. It was a great start to our holiday season! So "Thank you" very much to everyone! You're all amazing and Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 16, 2011

"Sure is quiet"

We are ready for Christmas except for the wrapping! Just a minor detail that will take hours! I'm really excited that school is finally over for the holidays. I can't express that enough. I was grocery shopping today and a quietness occurred while waiting in several long lineups. You know how people will just look at you, throw a smile while waiting to pay for their items. It was very busy but while I stood there it was interestingly quiet. I even made a comment to the lady ahead of me, "Sure is quiet" She looked at me like I was an alien from another planet. I started questioning myself, "It must be me?" In fact it is me. Of course a grocery store such as Costco and Superstore isn't quiet, especially one week before Christmas on a Friday! I stood in lineups today in my own little world. My world is very quiet. I have the ability to tune out noise, action and different scenarios going on. My husband constantly questions me on how I do it!? I explain to him that it's the same idea as not jumping onto someones boat when they're arguing. It's not ignoring but almost a blank slate like a 747 jet, it's a peace of mind. Something I can have at any time if I choose too. Although today for the first time I didn't recognize I was doing it and that's why I commented to the lady, "Sure is quiet" when the store was completely packed full of noisy people. My lineup experiences today (to me) was so peaceful. I didn't even notice how long I was standing there. I know what it is with me.....I have "inner peace" It doesn't matter what the world is doing around me, or perhaps how chaotic it gets.....I have the understanding to keep myself strong during stress and I'm spiritually at peace within myself. To explain this to anyone, or on my blog, or to my husband I must sound like that alien but I caught myself having it today without thought. Most people would call this "spaced out" lol  Not exactly. I was completely not wanting to shop at all, I was definitely making miles quickly with my squished crinkled list times two, I knew exactly what I was doing, where I was going but in my own mind it was quiet. What is interesting was I questioned reality (the noise) to my own state of harmony. (Of course I sound like an alien) If anyone is confused on what I'm writing about, for example; with our littlest daughter - if we say, "No" She closes her eyes. This in her mind is saying, "I can't see you therefore that "no" you just said doesn't exist either!" You can actually train yourself to have inner peace, silence when it's noisy or not jumping on that boat. I'm not 100% there because sometimes I need to jump onto the boat.....then I'm on a ride that perhaps I didn't want.......realizing next time don't jump. It's all about learning on how to deal with anything and our choices and our reactions always define the outcomes. Like today, I didn't want to shop but within myself I made it peaceful and quiet. It's too bad the lady in front of me didn't feel it too. Believe me, if you put your mind to it....."Sure is quiet" is a reality like anything you put your mind towards...........it's all up to you!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's about all of us

Can you see our friendly fur-friends in my pile of laundry? This is a test! Actually today was very productive. That pile of laundry went away to it's necessary places while my youngest daughter and son danced to music! Laundry can be a party! Then I had the crock pot going with a home-made sweet and sour sauce over chicken. I also made a yummy left over lunch consisting of cubed potatoes, hamburger, sausages with gravy poured over top. (I didn't eat it) But my husband loved it! My Christmas list is almost finished and I'm ready to start some baking! In the meantime, remember this Saturday is our Adoption Christmas Party, if you haven't emailed already - now is the time for details! If you haven't met me, I will be the one wearing some weird Christmas clothing but I won't spoil my attire writing about it. Just tell your children not to touch me! (ha ha) SO you have to come or you'll miss out! Last night I went to see "New Years Eve" at the movies. I really enjoyed this movie. The cast is full of different celebrities. It's a movie I recommend for anyone. I left feeling full of love with reminders about what life is really about. It's about all of us. I could complain about the piles of laundry I receive daily but it's about how we deal with it. Laundry around here is about dancing and adding your children, your animals to the piles, it's no longer a chore. I also feel really good when I'm accomplishing a lot. (Our time shouldn't be wasted) Most importantly our time together should be cherished, it should be designed for a positive outcome after our day is over. My husband keeps asking me, "How can you remain so peaceful all the time?" Honestly, if things are getting "hairy" I become quiet, I usually internalize and think about the situation. IF it's really bothersome, yes I cry........but every day I get up starting a new day with only positive thoughts and realizing that it's not just about me, it's about all of us. My mission is to make memories, to stay positive, to hopefully make a difference and with that, develop a better future for our children. This is why it works for me having so many children; I have many to focus on. This is my path. Not only is our time important for our family, it is important for everyone we care about. I always believe if you're too busy, multitask and make a phone call to someone you're thinking about because it's important to not only yourself, to that person. I always think that I'm no exception that this could be my last day, as we never know our fate. I would really be upset leaving this world knowing that I didn't call, I didn't say, "I love you" That I just complained about my laundry instead of dancing. So this little short mixed up post is about yes, again - all of us. It's raining, thank you God......we need the water in our well and what's given to us such as precipitation is a miracle in itself! Now with thoughts of others, I'm picking up my phone to call a friend I dearly love. I hope your days are filled with constant reminders on why we're here, why life is what it is, why we are learning through trial and errors and most importantly staying positive and in love with it.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Bethlehem experience


We attended the Bethlehem Walk and we patiently waited in line for one hour! I took seven of our boys to this event that takes place in our community. Every year it grows by the thousands! My sons were very good waiting. I thought to myself that this was going to be "Ok" There was hundreds of people. It can definitely be very overwhelming for some. After one hour we were almost inside and my littlest son tripped on the cement curb. Blood everywhere. He landed right on his little nose, his lips and chin. Thank goodness his teeth were completely untouched. Poor little guy waited so patiently and suddenly with the quickest of slips, off he went! After cleaning him, we carried on through the Bethlehem village. It was amazing. If you haven't been and you can wait in long lineups it's worth attending. It has the feel of being in the streets of Bethlehem with street vendors, people calling out, real animals and as the picture above, real hanging meat! I can't explain enough on how real the city is.......one of my sons asked, "What happened to that chicken?" If you look closely on the table above, there is a real dead chicken. The meat vendor explained that's where the chicken meat comes from - the chicken. Which raised my eyebrows thinking, "mmmmm.... so my son isn't making the connection from the chicken on his plate to the feathered bird on the table" (This isn't one of my younger sons either) We carried on walking through the village, petting a donkey, watching some cows sleep, bumping into numerous people. I'm gathering Bethlehem was crowded in the streets. Very claustrophobic. Here I was with seven of my sons experiencing some history, I had two of our younger sons clenched to my side and another two following closely. I feared loosing someone......that's how crowded it was. While leaving Bethlehem we walked into the church hall where it was beautifully decorated. We were seated to have some hot chocolate and cookies while a choir was singing. The eight of us sat together quietly surprisingly for awhile. This was two and a half hours later, one hour past four of my sons bedtimes. The silence except for the choir singing and the beautiful atmosphere came to a sudden halt! A high pitched screaming continuous cry started from one of my sons over spilled hot chocolate. That was it.......we were done. We made our "grand" entrance in and now we were making one out. :) Believe it or not......I kept my patience, I enjoyed and really took in our experience. We came home and I put some healing cream on our sons face, tucked everyone into bed and I'm now ready to conquer another day that counts down to Christmas.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Proud of my snakes, tongues & black eyes glued by my husband!

We don't know what we really look like until we get into a family picture. We are so used to our numbers that we're not fazed by our size. Going about our day is very "normal" for us. We took ten of our children to the park. My husband pointed out that if all our children were together (including adult children) we'd take over the swing set! So here we are, above is our family portrait to end 2011! (Ha ha) Except I'm taking the picture! For us to explain on how we function as a large family, we just do - we are used to our life. While down at the park, I was watching my husband interact with seven of our boys. They played for hours on this one board made for a low bench. Something we would have at home. It was a game where they would take turns trying to get someone off, the last boy standing wins. I believe they called it a "Chicken fight" It was really funny to watch. While watching not only did I have some great laughs, I thought to myself, "What a great Dad" My husband interacts with our children daily, plays with them, reads them stories and mostly he's having fun doing it. I have the full package. A hard working man of all trades and a family man who'll stop at nothing for his children. Our relationship together can be comical but mostly we also have the understanding that we're both individuals with different interests. We support each other. So when I'm away for a weekend doing first aid, hiking or a traveling experience somewhere, he's happy knowing that I'm still me. While I support him working on his race car for the next season. His garage is his solitude. Our oldest daughter is now living with her boyfriend and I always state; keep your independence. Let your boyfriend keep his. This is what keeps a relationship together. (Control will ruin any relationship) Jealousy will be your worst enemy. My husband and I don't have jealousy in our relationship. I really love my relationship with my husband. In 1997 when we first moved in together, our first "vow" was to keep our independence. Fourteen years later this still remains true. An important piece I believe to establish in any ones relationship. We might be married but we have two different personal focuses or goals for ourselves. Then our family unit bonds us together forever. As you know I'm a deep thinker; so while at the park witnessing my husband with our children, reflecting on our life as a whole, I was feeling very honored to be the wife and mother of my family. I love moments like these.......and when I'm the one taking the picture looking in, no matter what it resembles,(Snakes, tongues, black eyes, arms flailing as the picture above) I'm proud on what I see. We're not perfect, I wouldn't want it any other way and my husband is definitely our glue!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"There is some people that instantly make me smile"

Tonight we attended a First Nations Christmas Celebration dinner that was hosted through our District. We nestled at the back sliding two 8 chaired tables together. A really nice surprise was one of our previous foster family's was there, a family that is now titled Grandma and Grandpa. They still foster a little boy that our now daughter used to live with, he's also still up for adoption. When we can (normally only illnesses keep us away) we attend different First Nation events and ceremonies. The dinner tonight was more special then just any other event because everyone who supports our children were there. It's a community coming together. When we first starting adopting, we sought out our local liaison workers. Two workers especially have touched our family's heart. One worker that is currently involved with our children made us a drum with all our names on it last year. A drum that has significant meaning and has become a very sentimental gift. This First Nation's Liaison worker isn't just attending a career position, she truly loves and shows compassion for our family. In a previous post I was writing about our adoption worker, as her - there is some individuals that really put their heart into peoples lives and for me raising so many children, I notice who stands out. Normally I come across very quiet, calm and silently drawn to just my family but I'm paying attention to our surroundings, to whom I feel is important - those people usually puts an instant smile on my face. This is what our liaison worker does for me, makes me smile. Just a wonderful person, beautiful inside and out. Most importantly our children love her. She shared with me that our thirteen year old son stopped her in the hallway and asked, "Can you teach me your language?" She asked him, "Yes, why?" He responded saying, "So I can talk to my mom and she wouldn't know what I was saying!" I laughed telling her, "Teach him words of love!" If I had more time, I would have explained to her that for our son to show interest is pretty significant and that in itself shows what a wonderful job she does showing our children she cares. Because I remember a time years ago where our son wouldn't even respond being spoken too, now he is openly seeking people he trusts, who shows him he's important. It's nice to witness. After dinner my husband left early with half of our children. (Some need more sleep then others) I followed later. It was a great night with drumming songs, dance performances, door prizes, raffles, gifts and a salmon, caesar salad, lasagna and hot dog meal. Something for everybody. Now that it's Friday.......we are looking forward to the weekend!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Exactly, just what I was writing about below; bullied.

Mom of bullied gay teen ’uplifted’ by support

J.Edgar Hoover

Finally a day without "anything" That means I'm doing laundry (bedding), cleaning, baking and writing this post at home! (going over my lists) Once a month I will go see a movie, last night I saw J. Edgar. He was the first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (FBI) From what I understood he was the creator of this efficient crime investigation team. He started the fingerprint files and forensic laboratories. A very established well known director in the public eye. I was very tired, slightly dozing through-out the movie but I left understanding a part of our history. I know this is a fragile subject but I apparently Edgar was gay and in a secret relationship with his associate director Clyde Tolson. If you haven't seen the movie, it's worth watching. The sad part is Edgar lived in secrecy sadly knowing if his love for Clyde were to seep out, his creditability and life would be at stake. "Mainly" we live in a world that is now accepting different lifestyles but even still, I know personally individuals that hide who they are because of the disapproval they'll receive. I personally believe this is wrong of anyone to judge another on they way they live, or who they are. This is where we see more suicidal attempts. Suicide. So when I learn of individuals histories living like Edgar did, it's very sad. I'm huge for acceptance and individuality. If any of our children love the same sex I would be completely fine. Some of my best friends were/are homosexual and because they can be who they are, they are nicer people. Interesting how some movies can put you in deep thought. Like books, it's just forms of enlightenment. Another enlightenment is our new age existence really isn't new age at all (a spirituality without borders or confining dogmas) it was just hidden because being exposed meant abusive death. Definitely a belief that wasn't openly communicated. Well if you know me, happiness is key to success and without it, no amount of money in the world can help you. Like Edgar, his successes were astronomical but according to some factual information, he wasn't happy with who he was personally. That's where I really do wish people can just be who they are........now I better get cracking eggs, my free day is wasting!

Monday, December 5, 2011

"Clean list"

I don't have to question if it will get any busier. It will around here! It's just not about our family, it's about including previous foster families and some birth families. Our holiday season consists of everyone. I'm probably not the only one making a list and checking it twice. In fact I'm writing numerous lists over and over again because the original list becomes tissue with rips and coffee spilled on it! In the picture above is our fireplace, we just started to decorate today believe it or not! After all that "hype" I was blubbering about being ready and decorated by December 1st past five days ago! If you're anything like me (or my husband) we are left in over-drive. This weekend I was away accomplishing (slipping in) a first aid weekend with a few hours of skiing! Interestingly enough, I'm safer in the first aid room. I caught an edge and I continued to flip - basically snow plowed myself to a halting stop. I'm completely fine except for my underlying bruises and stiffness. Then I stepped on a little nail. "I felt it" Somewhat bothered by it but I didn't realize there was anything lodged into the bottom of my foot! Finally tonight with an infection starting, I managed to remove this little foreign object! I am my worst enemy. I will admit it. It's completely about living. (Ha ha) All kidding aside, our family is active and this includes Mountains in the winter. One of our sons is an excellent skier, doing tricks at the terrain park and enjoying the backside of our local Mountain. For me, volunteering some of my free time (not much) gives our children passes to ski. One of our eleven year old sons is showing a keen interest and I can really see the potential in "some" of our children to actively succeed in some extreme sports. Only worry - My experience working in the first aid room on a ski hill is the most experience anyone will receive for injuries. I've had the opportunity to ride car (ambulance) and it was more like a delivery service. I don't like to see someone hurt, especially children. It takes a certain individual to perform first aid at this level because it's something that you have to remove yourself from personally. There has been many traumatic injuries including death that I've either attended, witnessed or heard about. Like anything, everything is to remain confidential although with certain scenarios there is a process of debriefing. A paramedic once told me that he goes home and showers. It's a cleansing of his day. Starts fresh tomorrow. Sometimes that's easier said then done. Like anything during a day of trials, we do have to move on. So when I think about people hurt physically or mentally, I always remember what my friend told me. Try showering it off and if not for yourself, for everyone around you. To remember no matter how hard something can be, someone really does have it harder and the power of taking one day at a time is or can be a saving grace. I wasn't going to write because I knew I would be all over the place, Christmas, activities, first aid, life's trials, nails - forever changing futures. We all have our own unique qualities to release tension, mine is through journals even if it's completely scattered. On that note; I'm back to decorating our home.......and starting a fresh new week with a clean new list because first hand I know our family has it really good. I'm very, very thankful for this considering we are actively plowing down ski hills!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Sentimental Dusting

My husband and I tonight were cleaning and moving around our living room. We are officially 100% finished our home! Well until the next quest.........the nice part of tonight was we moved my one and only display cabinet back into our living room. This is a cabinet I've had since eighteen years old. Inside are sentimental items that I've been keeping for over twenty years! While I was dusting, I found our eleven year olds baby foot, I found our eight year old son's thumb. At the top of this cabinet I and my husband's cake topper sits from 1999! It was a red and white wedding, the cake topper now looks like a light purple. The reason I kept this (made of royal icing) is because our wedding vehicle model sits nicely on top that we built together. Inside is us, little people with distorted eyes. I tried to dust it but the little tiny pretend flower buds all over the car were falling off. It was a fond day to remember. I sat dusting and it triggered conversation with our eleven and thirteen year olds. I explained that life moves quickly and these are just little reminders for me of my past. Most of the items were over 20 years old. There was always a story behind them. Sometimes another Country. So while I dusted and was putting away, I reminded them that this is an area not to be tampered with. "Please don't" I expressed. I continued to show them a little crystal angel that was holding my birth stone. This little angel was given to me over ten years ago from my boss. A boss that I loved dearly who isn't with us today. He wasn't just my boss, he was a part of my life. So items aren't just items sometimes......they have meaning behind them. My three sons seemed like they were listening closely. So I picked out three ornaments that were over twenty years old, they have some value, a sentimental attachment for me and I said, "This is now yours" I explained it's history, the value and what it meant for me. I'm hoping these little objects will hold some value for them too. This is the first time for them I made the attempt to give them something important to look after. What I hope is;  it means as much to them, as my angel does to me. It is teaching them that it's not the object itself but the meaning behind it, for them - I hope it's me. I hope they realize that I cherished this item for over twenty years, the dust is well established and I gave it from my heart. I always write about how material items aren't important so here I am being slightly hypocritical about some of my ornaments but it's like pictures, you pick it up, look at it and it brings back so many memories of something or someone. That's what makes it special, really not the item itself but the background of its existance. So our boys left happily holding in their hands their Mother's sentimental treasures. I felt good giving them these in hopes they'll hold them tight remembering it's not about the item, it's its history. So we will see........it's a beginning and I really hope it was a night of dusting that they'll never forget.

"The temptation is high at the (shopping mall) school"

(I took down the "Google Image" as my perception was misunderstood. I apologize. It wasn't our son)

Recently one of our sons has been stealing. Stealing from school and from his friends. Just last Friday he stole from his one and only best friend. A friend that lives down the street who he has play dates with. Unfortunately they've been cancelled. Lately at our school the PAC (Parent Advisory Council) is on a mission to raise funds. I completely understand that raising money for our children is a great idea although sometimes it becomes "too much" A few years ago I was the Secretary for our schools PAC, now I don't even acknowledge there is one. On behalf of myself this sounds quite ignorant but it's too much "drama" for me. (Sorry) So lately there has been numerous bake sales held during school hours. Now here's where we have issues with this - our children are limited sugar. I also make enormous healthy lunches with my own baked goods accordingly for each of our children. So I told our children, "No money for the bake sale, you have great lunches with your own baked goods inside" The temptation is too high for our children. So our one son decides he's entitled to buy baked items with this money he found. Explaining theft to him was like explaining what makes an airplane fly. It was very confusing for him. He explained the money was sitting right there and he wanted to buy some goodies. After all everyone else was buying goodies, why not him? This is another reason I don't agree selling items at school should be during the school hours, all the children and including their parents feel they have too to make sure it's fair for their child. This puts us parents in a battle that shouldn't exist. When my husband was speaking to our sons teacher, she also stated that she couldn't even teach that afternoon because of all the wired children stemming from this bake sale. I keep explaining that it's not about the money, it's about listening to our reasoning's (as parents) on why you're not allowed purchasing items at school. So with all this fundraising happening, we've seen an escalation (an opening) to steal because if everyone else can, why can't I? Another one of our sons "borrowed" money to buy a book after I told him "No books" These book sales seem to be every month! I keep explaining that we're not buying every time a pamphlet is handed out to buy! Usually we'll buy everyone a book through school at the end of their school year. I try to develop traditions, routines that they will understand and follow but again the temptation is too high. Their entitlement remains because the school is allowing it. Anything I try to prevent at home gets caught floating in the wind somewhere. It can be very frustrating. Ultimately we (I) can't control on how our Society works because I would change the push to spend on our children, leave it until after hours. I'm also not naive, the temptation is everywhere but we could leave it out of our schools. (My opinion of course) We don't take any theft lightly. So our son started with his lines after school. Then followed by an apology letter attached with double the amount of money taken that he's working off. I don't believe his consequences are harsh by no means. Meaning our children really need to grasp the concept that taking anything that isn't theirs is wrong. Even if it's found, it's not theirs. There is a owner for everything until proven otherwise. With some of our children with FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) Their thoughts are simply, "I found it" without recognizing they're stealing it. So taking 50 cents can increase to taking an idling car (because it's simply running) to heading into someones home because the door was left open. As their Mother I'm completely protecting our children's future with the necessary consequences provided and it's repetitious! The sad conclusion is a friend was upset and now possibly not a friend anymore. As I explained to our son "taking something" creates more then being reprimanded, it's the trust that's being lost and the feelings of having once a good friend to no friend at all. That's the most upsetting consequence especially when friends are limited and hard to come by!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

"Power to everyone"


I've been occasionally catching the reality television show called, "Sister Wives" It's a reality situation that involves a Polygamous marriage. Meaning more then one wife. In this case, there is four wives sharing one husband with multiple children per wife. If I watch any television, TLC is the first channel I surf. I personally wouldn't choose to live this way. Although I'm the type of person that loves to be educated with all the different lifestyles out there, the different cultures, different religions and belief systems, so being enlightened through certain reality shows is quite fascinating. I definitely don't judge nor pass any criticism, I do however inside myself say, "Bravo for sharing, so individuals like myself can learn and perhaps understand" After all I completely understand why they need to advocate on "why" and on "how" it works because I advocate daily with our large family built through adoption. Honestly I don't know what defines normal because if we have an open mind and accept that everyone is different - that is their/our normal. Instead of trying to change someones belief, on how they live, it's easier to just accept that our world is a diverse place. I believe it's created that way so we can experience, learn and have the right to choose who we are. It's extraordinary. I believe in respecting ones chosen life. If it makes you happy, a confident individual and there's no harm to anyone else or children then there's nothing wrong with the way you live. Today while putting laundry away, doing my usual daily tasks I was contemplating my life. It was a rainy windy weekend and our children were sometimes climbing the walls, my husband was obsessing over his sixth coat of finishing stain on the living room beams, one of our dogs rolled again in horse poo, one of our daughters vomited all over the living room floor - it was almost a typical day. Interestingly enough, I didn't contemplate any of that above. I questioned myself and my beliefs. I know it's a real personal and sensitive conversation when it revolves around religions, spiritual beliefs and practically on how each and every one of us lives. I'm learning something new everyday because my belief is to educate myself about absolutely everything, to logically accept and respect regardless if I believe something or not. I will incorporate what makes sense to me in our life and I will not disrespect anything else. To define who I am; I am someone who takes bits and pieces from every culture and the outcome consists of genuine acceptance of everything and everyone. Compassion for all no matter what path is leading them. Personally if that's slightly mixed up then I'm happy and confident to live this way. Watching "Sister Wives" I noticed some confusion for their children but reality is our lives are confusing no matter how we're living it. I also noticed lots of love and at the end of our day, that love and acceptance is sometimes all we need for tomorrow. We all make mistakes and we're not perfect. (If we don't make mistakes, we don't learn) For our children I want them to experience, to learn through their mistakes, to find who they are and become who they'll be most happiest. I would be completely satisfied if my children were happy being Buddhist, Christian, Spiritual with their Native beliefs, if they want to incorporate bits and pieces like their Mother, or absolutely none of it; they can be whomever they want to be as long as they're happy. For myself to be honest, I'm done contemplating. I don't ever speak unless asked about what I believe and truthfully, I can honestly understand the power in everything. I think that having education around all the belief systems helps understand that really, everyone is on the same page, just slightly living it differently. These are just my thoughts, no power to them........no double edged sword. I'm just a huge thinker, analyzing everything and hoping for the best lives possible for everybody no matter how they live it or how different they are!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Christmas Shoes

"I admit, I am crazy"

I have a certain amount of hours to Christmas shop sporadically on different days where there isn't any other appointments happening. Today I managed to squeeze in three and a half hours! Before I go each time, I have a list of maybe four children that I'm concentrating on. I know exactly what I'm looking for and usually where. I do price checking before hand. While shopping I'm always keeping my eyes open for great deals. I won't lie......I get really excited when something seems just right for someone and it's on sale! Tomorrow is Black Friday in the States. Black Friday is traditionally the first Christmas shopping day with extremely low prices after the United States Thanksgiving Holiday. If I was prepared, I would of went just for the experience. Although getting back into Canada following the Black Friday would prove interesting with my van loaded of Christmas presents. So I've never been tempted to try it! I can hear the headlines all over the News, Mother of Fourteen smuggles enormous amounts of goods the day after Black Friday! For the States, it's their busiest shopping day all year. I can just imagine the crowds of people fighting over "Rocking Elmo" It reminds me of the movie "Jingle all the way" where that last popular toy was sold out and two fathers did everything humanly possible to get it. I remember one year when the movie "Toy Story" was big and one of our sons loved that show. He loved Woody. This was the toy. When I went to buy it, it was all sold out. Everywhere! We have friends that live in Corona California and I asked, "Can you please send Woody?" Then just before Christmas more Woody's came in stock, so I purchased one quickly. I wasn't sure if the Woody coming from California was going to make it. By December 25th, we had two Woody's! Last year I left the advent calendars until last minute! I looked everywhere for those silly chocolate calendars and our children went without. (not that big of a deal) Although it bothered me more then anything else! SO as soon as I seen them, I picked up a stack full! As you can tell, I have this sentimental "issue" with Christmas. I remember fondly my childhood Christmas's. When I awoke Christmas morning, my sister and I would be so thrilled with our home made cabbage patch dolls our Mother made. Back then, the cabbage patch dolls were the "big" in thing but they were roughly $60.00 each! Expensive. My mother made her own designed as family members. I also remember she made me this big green frog. A frog that I sat on while watching Gilligans Island and Little house on the Prairie. Times sure have changed.........but I have these memories that will last forever, memories I want our children to have. So really, it's not about the shopping, the material items, it's about some surprises, making a magical morning in hopes they will continue for their own children. Just like our month of December......it's about platters of food, family games and enjoying each other - building up to that day I fondly remember as a child. My husband STILL brings out his stocking that he made when he was five! It's made of felt. Santa's beard is ripped off. He could be missing an eye. BUT every year he brings out his stocking, hangs it by the fireplace. Every year he tells the story about his stocking. (Very cute actually) The funny thing about it is, I can't fit anything into it. It's so old and fragile that every time I push something into it, another felt part falls off! Throughout December we always watch "Christmas Vacation" with Chevy Chase and all the other classics. Two of my favorites are "Christmas in Plum Creek" - Little house in the Prairie and "The Christmas Shoes" You know, as much as I shop for some material items our children want - in the end, it's the thought what counts. It's all about the memories. It's a cycle that I as a Mother want our children to continue. Above is one of my favorite songs and show - "The Christmas Shoes" Only one more month to Christmas everyone! Exactly! And I admit, I am crazy - over Christmas!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Emotionally, who are we all?"

Today was a day I questioned my parenting on how to handle a situation with one of our children. I'm not going to get into detail for privacy reasons. Although after the situation I starting thinking about the time when my husband and I was so excited to meet our new child. It was an older adoption but we were excited because our waiting was finally over. We had a years wait after the match. It took months of pre-placement visits before placement. It took several months for an exception from the band. For us, adopting older children was just as exciting as having a baby. Looking at their pictures, the color of their eyes, how BIG their feet were, we were just so thrilled to have new children. At the beginning of our adoption journey we had this hope that if we provided a good stable loving home, we could have these wonderful changed children. Attachment Disorders? "They would attach" is what I thought. From the moment we met our new children, it was rough. Their behaviors were different but they were beautiful anyway. Something about adoption is, when you know they're your children, you look beyond their faults. There is this glimmer of hope for bigger and better future possibilities. All we want is what's best. Birth or adopted children, they're all the same. It's not always an adoptive child that disappoints. The difference is an adopted child wants at some point to know their birth family. Good, bad or indifferent it will happen eventually if openness isn't already established. With some of our children I always thought they would never know their birth family because of the reported history of neglect and addictions. It was my job as their Mother to protect them from their past and possible future influences. Strangely enough I smile writing this because there comes a time in life where we can't protect our children from anything. Ultimately my role as their protective Mother switches to letting them learn, experience for themselves. I've been learning something too.......we've had two teenagers seek out their birth family on different occasions. While they've done this, they aren't so nice anymore. As some are aware our oldest son is now home after two years of "soul searching" who he is. It wasn't pleasant. What I've learned is some of the birth family that I thought I'd never communicate with, I have and regardless of the past or what could still remain in the future - we all have the same thing in common. Our children. They counted their toes too. Our circumstances are different. I've learned that adoptive parents aren't valued as "real parents" with most birth families because of their losses. I've found that there's still confusion that their children are still in foster care. I'm finding with proper healthy communication with some birth family that these grey areas are finally being understood. I, the adoptive Mother didn't steal your child. I'm not a horrible person manipulating your child's feelings towards you. I'm simply a Mother loving those little toes you once counted. A mother that when laid eyes on your child, that waited more then nine months, made enormous sacrifices and unconditionally welcomed your child from age nine, age eleven and on..... only had one thought - was to love but not perfectly. Some of the clashes we've experienced with birth family is understandable, meaning I completely understand the feelings around their loss due to the circumstances. I've been thinking - (because I do that) I wouldn't change anything. In fact, I'm grateful for connecting with some of our children's birth family, (birth family I thought we wouldn't) because there is some we have different forms of openness with. I'm also at peace (in my heart) with our two teens that have been actively searching and connecting with their family. I truly believe that my decision to parent acknowledging our children's needs to face their unknowns with their birth family is the right choice. It's taken me seven years of being afraid to feeling comfortable knowing that whatever the outcome may be, it had to be done. Eventually however our children choose to venture, if it's done respectfully or completely with a 360 of behaviors and lies, emotionally we all need to find ourselves in this world and where we came from. Our children with attachment disorders are at risk but I will never allow myself to loose hope that we're the ones they've finally attached too. The same hope we had during our placements; to make a difference and to simply love a child.

Monday, November 21, 2011

"Just a post"

A busy Sunday it was. It started with fourteen of us heading to see Santa Claus at the mall! Believe it or not, Santa was welcoming his lap to all of us! It was our family piling on Santa! Not only was that successful, we had spectators! We were asked if we were from an organization? We were asked if we were a group from somewhere? I just said, "We are just a family" Santa was so impressed that he was willing to come to our house! I wonder if he'll show on Christmas Eve?! From the mall we heading over to an adoption celebration where we watched some children perform their talents and was served goodies and cake. If anyone is unaware, November is Adoption Awareness month. So there has been different celebrations all over Vancouver Island and across British Columbia. We left early to take ten of our children swimming. (Usually a Sunday tradition of ours) That way we're all showered and ready to attend school the following day. Another area we seem to take over; is the showers within the pool. We have a family system that works like a charm on most swimming outings. This Sunday we swam with another adoptive family. Our friends children are so wonderful with our little ones. Then came Monday. A day of baking and doing all the laundry! What's really exciting about Monday was we've planned a group movie trip to see "Breaking Dawn" this week! All of us older teens/young adults (including me) are off to the movies to see the famous love story between a Vampire and a human. (The Twilight series) I've heard it's the best one yet.......so a kiss from a Vampire must not be that bad! I promise I won't write about it. It's been a busy two days, so time for me to curl up and fall asleep into a good book.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

What's your wish?

With the little bit of hardened snow around here our children are having a blast. Automatically they've decided it's "Christmas!" In 11 short days it will look a lot like Christmas around here! Our children's excitement levels are heightening and my craft room looks like an elf room. We asked what our children wanted for Christmas, reminding them that the gift of giving is nice but Christmas isn't about material items. Our eight year old said, "I want it to snow for a long time" I starting thinking to myself, "No that won't be on your list either!" Our eleven year old daughter said, "A horse".........Um, "No" Again I started thinking to myself that a material item in this case would be much easier! I tried again on our other eleven year old daughter, asking..."What would you wish for Christmas that isn't a material item?" Her answer was, "A Hannah Montana wig!" Well my eyes were starting to cross. I explained to her that's a material item. Her response was, "No it's not, it's hair!" So my mission on asking our children this question continued. Our littlest son who's three wants a fish! Mmmmm.......I could probably provide smoke salmon! What I noticed with our own family survey asking this question stumps their answers. My husband had an excellent answer, "My wish would be if everyone did one good deed to another on a daily basis, this world would be a better place" My husband is a man after my own heart! Our seven year old son answered, "Chocolate milk" Some of our children reminded me of a deer caught in my headlights. So I moved on. Your probably thinking that my wish has to do with large families - lol - in fact I've written enough about that. My Christmas wish is about every one's health. To be healthy and happy on Christmas and throughout the New Years to come. We can be rich with money, material items but without health, none of that matters. Surprisingly our five year old son answered, "For my sister to walk" How profound is that!? Immediate Christmas tears filled my eyes. I suddenly pictured our little daughter running around with her siblings outside. One day this will be true.....and a Christmas wish worth making. When I told our oldest daughter about the one answer I received, (for her sister to walk) she chose that too! I've heard the power of prayer is great, call it a wish or some hope; believing brings positive outcomes. My quest for brilliant answers weren't that discouraging after all, in fact I was pleasantly surprised and once again, filled with Christmas spirit!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Large families in the 21st Century!

Neon's ago I wrote a post about the benefits of having a large family. I know many can't wrap their mind around on why or how we function, basically their question is, "If I couldn't handle a large family, how can someone else?" There must be some forms of neglect. Typically the average family has 2.5 children with 1 dog and that is enough for most parents. There is some parents that can successfully raise over ten children. I feel compelled to continually advocate for larger families. I wrote in a previous post that our home is open to anyone that questions our abilities. Some of the benefits I've witnessed with our family is our children have more knowledge and self confidence. We are our own support network. Our children have compassion for every ones different needs including within our society because they experience it at home. This is a personal favorite trait of mine, compassion for others and our children are developing it because of our large family. I'm definitely not saying any of these attributes can't be developed in a smaller family, but I know our children exhibit theirs through their daily life with many siblings. With many siblings there is no lack of conversation and playful attention. They constantly have intellectual stimulation which strengthens and sharpens their judgement. I know that our children with special needs have come a long way because of their constant interaction with their siblings. Every day several of our children are teaching our littlest daughter new words. We're constantly surrounded by laughter, we are a livelier bunch. I truly believe our adoption placements were very easy because of the number of children we have. The acceptance and experience receiving a new sibling is most welcoming. If there is special needs, our children aren't afraid but willing to provide stimulation for further development for that sister or brother. Children in large families succeed because they're experienced with that trait I love called compassion. They develop understanding. Of course there is that normal sibling rivalry and with more of it, it teaches our children lessons in fairness, sharing, forgiving and forgetting. That provides them with a more resilient surface. The biggest aspect that large families learn is patience. Which will help them in their adult years becoming self reliant. All our children have their own space if needed, if wanted but otherwise they're never alone - each and every one of our children are learning to get along. This helps with group settings, they become more comfortable in busy crowded situations. Some of our children have more courage and can easily jump into a public presentation. I feel confident to single parent across British Columbia because mostly our children are cooperative and responsible. With stating all the attributes our family possesses, and I've seen in other larger families - the facts are it's easier to add then to take away children. I know and understand some families struggle with 1-3 children but there is families that can handle 4,6,10, 15+ without much difficulty. The truth is we all live daily dedicated to our individual situations. I also believe that every family that have siblings, one or more; it's the greatest gift of a lifetime. Centuries ago,  large families were more acceptable, I'm here to fight back, to argue, to continue to state that the twenty first century can handle larger families too. The love we have for our children doesn't divide as more children come along. It multiplies. -Shalom Freedom.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

"It's just home"

I don't like to wish time away although this week I'm glad it's over! We juggled a pediatrician apt, three mostly full days of neurological testing, therapeutic horseriding, a doctors visit, a physical test of sorts and slid in some Christmas shopping! AND I went grocery shopping that took three hours! I'm used to being stared at while doing anything with our family and especially grocery shopping! At Costco today I over loaded my cart to the point where I was standing there holding chicken. I had several comments. For example: "I'm sure glad that's not my cart!" "You need a tow truck!" to questioning, "This must be your other mortgage?" In fact, groceries seem to be two mortgages! "Who are you feeding, an army!?" I just laugh because many of these comments were true! I did need a tow truck....and I did wish if my chickens were alive, they would run along behind me! Three stacked grocery carts and three hours later I arrived home just to unload and start dinner! You're probably wondering if we had no food prior, no that's not the case. I'm a mother that likes to have everything needed (stalked) sometimes doubled (tripled) if on sale. I never usually have to run to the store for anything, our children will never go hungry. What's interesting about me is I really want to make sure everyone is well fed, otherwise satisfied. I don't want our guests to be shy going for seconds or thirds. I remind myself of a little ole Grandmother that pushes food....mostly in a loving healthy way. I even recognize how I am but I just can't control myself when entertaining. Our oldest daughter and her boyfriend came over for dinner. My daughter dished out her boyfriends dinner. I just couldn't leave it alone......I told her that wasn't enough. I insisted he needed more. ( ha ha ) He is just a lovely young man and after dinner he was stuffed, crashed out on our couch. It reminded me of my husband! While our oldest daughter was here, we had the best tantrum and the best spilled milk all over her boyfriends feet! But the nicest part of the evening was when she said, "I love home, as in home with you and Dad" See, we aren't a typical family. Yes we cost a whole lot more, we can be noisier, there will be different scenarios happening, possibly challenges but at the end of the day, we remember the laughter and the significant comments that make everything worth it. Our oldest daughter mentioned she wants to be here on Christmas Eve, sleeping over.......she might of moved out but she's not ready to start her own tradition. (Not yet) And that's "Ok" I will take as much time as I can get with our children, and our adult children. Judging by this Christmas, our home will be enriched with family. (A Christmas we will never forget) Even my Father & Mother will be here........and my Mother & Father.....plus my sister and her family........and as our oldest daughter explained, "It's just home"

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Where's our credibility?

I am a member of the AFABC Magazine. Magazine of the adoptive families association of British Columbia. There was a paragraph that caught my attention in the October/November 2011 issue called "Siblings fare better when placed together" The Children and Youth Services Review Vol. 33, Issue 7 through nacac.org quotes: A national foster care study found that children placed with siblings fared better than those placed alone. Researchers divided 1,701 cases into children placed apart from siblings (split), placed with some siblings (splintered), and placed with all siblings (together). Teachers reported that siblings placed together did better academically than the other two groups, and together and splintered groups exhibited less problematic behavior than the split group. Our family has some experience in this area because we adopted three children from a sibling group of five. Now in this case scenario it was the best solution. Although I do know that the one sibling that remained in foster care struggled. What I interpret from the findings highlighted above is children develop behaviors because of their emotions from separation. Many of us have hidden thoughts we think about, we question and develop confusion on why life is what it is. I can only imagine a child tossing their conclusion around in their mind on why they aren't with their sisters and brothers. Of course I understand most reasoning's behind why children are separated. Children don't and that's when their behaviors begin. What worries me most as an adoptive mother with siblings out there, what about their future? In our case, technically our family is "too large" to keep them together. Really? Personally if that's the conclusion; that ultimately changes their life. They become problematic within our society. This also makes the adoptive family subjected to question, "Why was I separated from my siblings?" We automatically are to blame. We were asked this in the past, and I did have to explain that it was the Ministry's decision. I'm completely convinced we're still disliked "to say it lightly". All of a sudden our role of being family builders shift to family separators in the children's eyes. I've been writing lately about large families adopting siblings because yes, there is some siblings out there for us although there is a gloomy stigma around large families adopting that I don't seem to understand. Perhaps I'm ignorant to why this outcome is floating around? For us we're not actively seeking to adopt anymore but our children's siblings shouldn't be sitting in foster care wondering why me? (And developing those behaviors because of it) When children already had a loss, different forms a neglect and abuse, they migrate to each other. Children turn to each other for supports and develop sibling bonds needed to guide them through many feelings that perhaps a parent and yes, councilors can't provide. I've witnessed it. I also truly believe that children develop better permanency outcomes when placed with their siblings. Basically it's unity. Long term well-being is what we all agree, a permanency plan. Statistically I live the truth and witness everyday the importance of siblings remaining together. I'm finding I'm a voice advocating through our family that large families need more credibility. If the truth needs to be sought, I believe most of our homes are open, (anytime, day or evening) anyone interested in witnessing first hand on how our family works, the invite is there. I can guarantee anyone interested will be pleasantly surprised. And that is my formal promise.

 A quote from Henry Ford that our son just used with his homework project is - Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.



To me that quote defines "Large families"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Documentation

We have a completely different feeling and appreciation for the police. In fact, several different constables knows us personally. They know our last name, who we are, what we're about and knows the pasts of our children that came from foster care, their birth families - the whole dynamic of certain situations they're completely aware and on board of anything that could arise. Nothing needs to be explained and they're only a phone call away. We had a personal visit not long ago from one of the constables we know, interestingly enough our neighbors automatically question, "What's wrong?" I smile, stating nothing. Just because they arrive in a police vehicle doesn't mean anything. One aspect I love about our community being small is, we receive immediate attention usually. I have many dinners, different nights that involve different family friends, I'm starting to think that inviting our friends, (Police Officers) over for dinner, a night of platters while off duty would be a great idea! Meaning their family too because some of our children are friends with their children. There is one constable I just love. It's not just about work, it's about the people involved. Understanding and again, having compassion for. What's really nice is we're getting to know the system and how it really works. I won't get into much detail although one story I fondly remember is; there isn't much help for the mentally challenged unless someone is threatening their own life, or someone elses. So, there is a mentally illed individual living underground. He claims the aliens are coming. Even his family can't get him the help he needs because it's completely voluntary. He suffers from schizophrenia. You would think under those conditions, an ambulance would take him to the hospital for evaluating. Sadly, "No" As much as there is lots of help provided when needed, in some scenarios not so much. This is definitely not a perfect world. One detail I've learned was to document everything. Documentation has power. So if anyone is having difficulties in any area, document. This provides the truth with time lines, distorted stories reveal and it will build the necessary help needed when or if someone will either end up in court or at the hospital being evaluated. You're probably wondering why on earth am I writing about our neighborhood police and documenting life's mishaps. Well who knows what our future holds, who knows what your future holds - I'm merely just sharing what a constable told me. It could be valuable information one day. Our world isn't what we think it is, or what we believe we'd like it to be, it's a place to be educated. I remember when I was a child, I would walk 4 kilometers to school one way. Now our children can't walk from the bus stop. Being aware is prevention. I thought I'd write about, perhaps remind that we always need to prevent and be prepared for the unknowns. Socializing and getting to know the system is (I think) a step in the right direction. Every preventative measure we take, we take seriously. I hope you do too.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Countryside Christmas



What a wonderful day! My mother gave me my Christmas present early. It consisted of a lunch buffet and a Theatre performance two hours long called "Countryside Christmas" in Chemainus. My mother, sister and niece attended this fantastic day together. The gentlemen above gladly allowed me to take his picture during our buffet lunch. He was excellent on the piano playing all sorts of familiar songs including the soundtrack from Charlie Brown and songs from Elton John. It was very peaceful listening to his beautifully played music. After our two hour lunch we were seated into the Theatre that was magically displayed for Christmas. The performance was set back in the 1980's. (Not long ago) It's about this family and their Christmas together. It was extremely funny. I enjoyed myself immensely. I'm not going to write about the performance but it's a must see. The atmosphere and the talented actors/actresses just really set the stage for a good show. It was a Christmas gift worth giving. Not only did I have an excellent day, I was spending quality time with my mother, my sister and niece that I don't do very often. Times like these I cherish because we're having a great time, there isn't any "drama" While walking the streets of Chemainus, I often thought to myself that life can be anything that we make it. During the performance many times I thought, wouldn't it be wonderful to have musicians, and actors in our family. I'd definitely support. They were having so much fun sharing their talent and with dedication (practice) our children can be just as talented and funny! That's where their "drama" needs to switch to the stage! My mother is very talented with oil paintings (wild life), wood scrolling and music. She can play the piano, the guitar, basically any musical instrument. Some of our children we bought guitars for although their patient level is nill. They seem to believe that picking up the guitar or sitting down at a piano, the music just automatically appears from their fingers. I also have an acoustic guitar that I would love to find more time for! Today was a bit of everything for me. Laughter, it was sentimental, it completely set my Christmas spirits on high and I question myself, "When will I get new strings for my guitar and start playing?!" Maybe a New Year quest! My mother insisted we go into this popular little candy store. (She can be very cute) Inside she bought all of us these Bon Bons, all different colors. (I think they're Bon Bons) A chewy circle candy with a white frosted coating. They are delicious regardless what they are. I thought about sharing them with the rest of my family but because of the expense and they were bought for me - na, it's sacred. After all, just sometimes; something has to be mine. BUT definitely has me thinking about our children's Christmas stockings! To end, if you want to get into the spirit or just have a great time, see Countryside Christmas. Another thought, their 2012 season tickets are also available. What a nice Christmas present would that be!? I'm thinking about making the Theatre a tradition for our family in the future!

"Thankyou Mom, it was a very special day being together!" This is why having a family is so important, for sentimental days like these. I know I still need them!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I prefer "Etch A Sketch" for our children

You know what's interesting about the Internet? You can post absolutely anything. I wrote about Facebook before and I'm the only few people in our home that is allowed Facebook for several different reasons. These Internet sites that you can create your own identity I'm assuming is very self gratifying. Changing your name, developing new parents and siblings. Being married when that's completely impossible. Exchanging information, adding multiple friends that you don't even know because it makes you feel "popular" Realistically, who has 500 friends? These sites can be helpful for many different reasons but also harmful to some that abuse its intent of use. Like my blog for example. Am I a Mother of fourteen children who writes the truth coming from my heart? I could very well be fiction. I think our children really need to be educated before starting online communications. Reality isn't what it's made out to be and for our vulnerable children, they need to know that accepting a friendship request from a stranger online can be just as dangerous meeting them on the street. Children are communicating with potential predators. Mary Jane might be Bob Who-knows-who age fifty five wanting to chat, to see some pictures, to eventually meet. For a teenager needing or feeling they need friendships, Bob has potentially set the bait. We have a family computer sitting in the kitchen that's barely turned on. We usually use it for homework purposes. What we choose to allow in our home is the only protection we can provide. Otherwise what happens outside our home we can't control. I know some individuals think we're depriving our children, perhaps imprisoned with forms of isolation but to be honest, outdoor and physical interaction is and will always be best. When I was a child, we didn't have computers. I picked up the telephone that was connected to the wall. Stood there connected by a cord while my Mother listened to every word. I went out and socialized. There is a etch a sketch floating around on Facebook that writes, "When I was a kid, this was my computer" on the etch a sketch screen. Very true. What children/teenagers don't realize that the internet is a privilege needed to be used wisely. As technology continues to evolve, it's providing many excellent services and resources although when online messaging becomes the main source of communication, I think we're loosing the closeness of human to human interaction. I'm also guilty for texting instead of calling because it's convenient. Also with the teenagers these days, they communicate easier through texting then face to face. My husband can text on his dinosaur phone but that's completely it. He doesn't have Facebook, or any online accounts. He's actually quite funny on the computer while his frustration level heightens, you can hear him speaking to the computer as if it will comply. For me, I enjoy what the computer (technology) has to offer. I'm definitely not against it but as a Mother I like the simple etch a sketch screen where there's no harm behind it. At least until our children can treat it seriously and with caution.