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Monday, February 28, 2011

Productiveness is great for the soul!

Today is Monday. It's very productive and it's only the crack of noon! Laundry is completed, jellos, rice crispie squares, brownies and white cream skor cookies are baking nicely. I have potatoes baked for stuffed potatoes later, a homemade Caesar dressing marinading for a hot chicken breast topping over Caesar salad, all served with asparagus coated in garlic butter! Monday's our children usually love around here with new freshly baked goods in their lunches for their week. Unfortunately we don't stay away from sugar when it comes to homemade baking. I feel so good when I'm productive. Productive to me means everything I wanted accomplished throughout a day happens, there is great food for our children, all the work is finished and there is time to spare for quality time when our children come home from school. I keep telling our teenagers that if you can start something, keep actively engaged in it, you'll eventually see the ending results. I might be able to bake, cook, clean......basically domesticated to the max but even I being motivated as I am can struggle with the dreaded thought of laundry - again! "I thought I just did that!?" attitude won't help the mountain of laundry. Speaking of laundry, I still don't understand where the matches of socks are going? There is a mysterious sock monster that lurks our home, I bet he's the monster that spits up sock balls too! Needless to say, even I don't want to do somethings sometimes too but once engaged and involved, it feels good with the ending product.
When I write it reminds me, keeps me focused because after all I have "sometimers" Sometimes I remember, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't want too. Today, Monday I remembered my routine, I have an ending product and big smiles on some gorgeous faces! What more can I ask for? Most importantly I remembered what it feels like to finish another day of baking, another pile of laundry - it feels good! As Paul J. Meyer quotes, "Productivity is never an accident. It is always a result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort" "Success is the progressive realization of worthwhile, predetermined, personal goals" Now back to my success!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Life is beautiful

This is me, sitting on Botanical Beach! Seaweed tree!

"We're spoiled, beautiful"

I laughed on Friday hearing we were in a "deep freeze" While I laughed I was getting ready for a hike along the West Coast trail. I hiked a part of the Juan de Fuca trail in Port Renfrew. I ended up hiking ten km down on the Botanical beach. I took over sixty photographs and believe it or not, these pictures above are from Saturday. February 26th! With the mixture of sunshine, snow and rain it was a beautiful adventure. I spent time just appreciating everything around me. I always explain to our children that everything and anything is worth stopping, taking a moment to enjoy what Mother Nature has provided us. Our lives are busy, we're constantly hustling on a daily basis, commuting back and forth to somewhere but it takes no time noticing our surroundings. Everything is absolutely amazing. The rock formations created by the ocean tides, the contrast of colors from the sea to the sky is brilliant and every weed has it's purpose. In many of my past posts I often wrote about nature and on how it makes me so happy to hear our children connect with it. I remember finding cement blocks and different sized boulders in some of our children's dressers. Of course my curiosity lead to the question, "Why cement?" One of our sons explained that it looked like crystals, it shined and sparkled. I smiled because he seen something I didn't and that's what I call the creative mind. Being aware and having the imagination to make anything beautiful. One important piece for me is teaching our children to appreciate everything that's around us. I can't explain enough on taking a moment each day to see the beauty in something, anything. I find it relaxing. I think it's safe to say that most of our time revolves around our own families, making our own world. When I was sitting on the beach looking out, watching a tug boat pull by, I thought about who was on that boat. Where they were going? How long have they been on the water? What does life look like to them? It's fascinating on how different we all are. Whenever I go anywhere, it's nice to hear a strangers story. Sometimes opening ourselves up for conversation gives us enlightenment's on how others have experienced or see the world. Like me writing, reflecting what I think might spark interest in trying something differently, seeing something differently that perhaps might enhance your day. I hiked back with several different pieces of driftwood, rocks, tree knots and seaweed trees! I had a few ideas, one is that these items make great show and tells, two is I'm constantly collecting and bringing home everything and anything for craft ideas. I brought three seaweed trees home. I was told soaking them in bleach water will kill the bugs, then you hang to dry. Afterwords, spray with lacquer. They make beautiful ornaments to accent your home. A part of the West Coast trail, a little beach at home and a story. I'm very eager to see if my trees of beauty will become apart of our home and hopefully a conversation piece for our children; another little weed someone might find beautiful.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My new found friend!

WASABI! I used to write about different foods and recipes. Believe it or not, I have other interests then just children. Food. Every different culture I love to cook or learn if I haven't! Some of our children love hot spices and one of my main ingredients in anything is garlic. I suspect that's why we're mostly a healthy family. A few years ago I started making Sushi. Our children love Sushi especially with my homemade candied salmon and avocado! A main ingredient for Sushi is Wasabi. It's like a horseradish paste you either put into your sushi rolls or mix it into your soy sauce.'s a paste that has been surfacing into my cooking a lot more! Wasabi makes a great sauce to cook chicken, pork and beef in. Wasabi can also be poured over popcorn! Wasabi mayonnaise is completely easy, 2 tbsp mayonnaise, 1 tsp wasabi paste or to taste! This can just be a dip for chips, dip your sushi, dip practically anything! Wasabi mayonnaise would be great baked on Salmon. The history around wasabi is it can be grown in the ground but commonly it's cultivated in water. When wasabi plants grow with green leaves on the head, the rhizomes grow above the roots and the plant is ready for harvesting. Although it's more convenient and cheaper to use wasabi substitutes such as the wasabi powder (western horseradish) powder, mustard powder and food colorings. I've learned that wasabi has been around hundreds of years, discovered by a farmer that wanted to start growing it. It's very hard to grow. One story about wasabi is they used to pickle the stems and roots. It was the most popular condiment in Japan. Another product that we buy and add to our children's lunches is wasabi peas. They love them! Wasabi peas are dried peas with wasabi. There is a company in Japan that is exploring that wasabi kills bacteria in food, therefore if it kills bacteria in food, it must in the mouth! If that's the case, it could be possible it will fight cavities. I wonder if our children would like the wasabi toothpaste? Wasabi has also health benefits that interfere with the steps of cancer growth and it interferes with the certain bacteria that grows on our foods. Although with saying this, it has to be the real wasabi and not made with our Western horseradish. I love learning about food, I love cooking different foods and our palate was designed for the sense of taste! To make wasabi sauce that you can cook almost anything in, you mix 1/4 wasabi powder, 1/4 rice vinegar, 1 tbs Dijon mustard, 1/4 vegetable oil and salt. Use a beater until it forms a thickened sauce. Cook over chicken, pork, beef or fish. Now for wasabi potato salad, all you have to do is make the wasabi mayonnaise and add. I'm wondering now if anyone is interested in coming for dinner? Last night I prepared ribs cooked in a wasabi sauce, it was delicious! What I always say, "Don't knock it until you try it!" I bet you're wondering on how to make wasabi popcorn? Well......I sometimes make garlic butter and pour over the popcorn, our children love it! It's as simple as that! Melt the butter, add the wasabi to taste, mix and pour over your popcorn. Experiment, your taste buds will love you!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Party is on!

It's birthday season again......actually starting right after the New year, we have birthdays! January there is one, February there is one, March there is two, April there is three, May there is one, June there is none, July there is four, August there is one, September there is two, October there is none, November there is one and December there is Christmas! That's our immediate family. I was standing in line waiting to pay for some party favors the other day and I heard the lady behind me say to her daughter, "I'm so glad you only have one birthday a year!" I chuckled inside thinking, one birthday a year?! It's always a party around here! It's a slam dunk and onto the next party planning. For our children we always give them their own choice of birthday. For example, our son above wanted to invite school friends to a party place while another asks to go to the movies with one friend. What's really nice is when our children ask, "Can I go out for dinner with you Mom?" So every birthday is completely different and our children choose. It's their day. I remember for our son's sixteenth, we took him to a place where he tried to eat the biggest burger ever! If he ate this burger it was free. Well it was payed for but the novelty trying was memorable enough. My second oldest daughter always likes going out with her, "Mama" as she calls me. We go out for dinner, a movie and shopping. A typical girls outing. We've done everything I think. Rock climbing, swimming, gymnastics, McDonald's, Cyber City, sleep-overs, home parties, jumping castles, magicians and clowns. It's amazing really the parties that go on here! Then they start to get older and want piercings, tattoos and money! Of course I'm talking about older, like our oldest daughter turning twenty one this year. She would love to go to Vegas like any other typical twenty one year old. When I was twenty one I had my second child. The biggest deal is when our sons turned sixteen and the only thing they wanted to do was go take their learners test. Then when they turn seventeen they want to go take their drivers test receiving their "N" For myself, my birthday is the thing of the past! (Ha ha) I enjoy celebrating all our children's birthdays, our extended families birthdays and our friends birthdays. Celebrating the day they were born should be special to that person. Now we have two weeks until the next, I wonder what she'll choose to do? Party is on! .......................

Monday, February 21, 2011

Learning by their own experiences...."Sigh"

We're coming into a time where we have adult children seeking their Independence. Struggling for answers on what to do with their future. Our eldest daughter is well on her own path with Dental Hygiene. We have two seventeen year old sons questioning what will they do? As a Mother I'm constantly tossing out ideas but if it isn't in their hearts to become a Highway Flagger then what? My husband and I constantly discuss the future. The future is here for some of our children and we don't have any answers. Recently I suggested just take any job because employment is hard to find. I don't believe it's wise for them to plunk themselves into University unless they know that's what they want to do or they can do it. Take time to decide. There is so much pressure on young adults I've noticed that it's placing them up for failure. A simple job initializing their responsibilities and learning to save in a bank account should be first. Our sons have done this but they don't want to continue working, saving and remaining here. They don't want to grow up either. They are stuck. In all my years of being a Mother I think having children graduate and struggle with their lives changing is the most hardest. They boomerang in and out of our house. Slowly learning that the grown-up world isn't as easy as they thought. My idea for some of our teenagers was continue to work, save then travel. Travel and find yourself. When you run out of money, work, save then travel some more. With saying this not all our children can do this but the ones that can, travel. Settling for less, staying at the same job, possibly developing a family makes me think disaster. It will be different for everyone I know, some settle happily with what they know and feel comfortable with but when I'm listening to our teenagers so confused about their life, my heart says, "Experience first" With experience comes the answers. Being their Mother I don't have their answers. I have thoughts, my own opinions but mostly I sound like a nagging Mother. Heck, what do I know? My seventeen year old today wrecked his car. He didn't listen to us. He had all the warning signals and his belief was, "It won't happen to me" I remember having the same belief system when I was fourteen! So what wasn't going to happen to him, did. With experience I hope that his beliefs will change and just maybe, sometimes we are right as parents. Sometimes my thoughts, my opinions are only for their best outcome but I'm realizing that they have to figure it out on their own. Being a parent isn't easy. Even when we think our parenting years are over, they are never over. We're here to pick up the pieces and yes say, "I told you so" Starting from having a responsibility such as a vehicle to trying to figure out their place in this world is going to be tough. I don't envy the young adults, I feel for them and hope that their life experiences guides them into the direction they want to be. Unfortunately some roads are rockier then others. After my husband towed our sons car home today, I HAD to make the Mothers speech. My conclusion and maybe not his; only experience is going to teach our son, not me. Another lesson I've learned with parenting is it's not just about the parenting, sometimes it's about the child learning the hard way. I often hear individuals blame the parents on why their child/teen/adult act the way they do. The correct and more logical thinking is we give our children the fundamental skills and "advice" to hopefully succeed in life but their path is lead by their own choices and experiences. The future; I can only suggest and hope for the best..........

Friday, February 18, 2011

Adoption awareness by............our son who's "attached"

Our son needed to do a grade seven speech. Interestingly enough he's discussing adoption. I and my second oldest daughter helped him out a little and now we hear he's going to get an "A" He's very proud of his speech, a speech that I'm very proud of him to make. With his permission, here is his speech as he's written it. Spelling mistakes and "cute"

Adoption Awareness by .....................


Hello fellow students, parent and teachers. My name is .............and for my grade 7 speech I will be talking about adoption and what adoption is about.


I was adopted four years ago. I have a large adoptive family. My parents adopt because there is over a thousand waiting children in be adopted and needing forever homes. The waiting children are in foster care until they are adopted. Adoption is a permanent home. With a Mother and Father that cares and loves for their children for ever. They get a new birth certificate last name as if they were birthed from there adopted parents you can adopt overseas, in different countries as well as adopting in your own province. Families now a days mean togetherness and anyone can make up a family. Any race heritage and culture. My experience with adoption has been forever changing; I have new Brothers and sisters. I moved to a different area started a new school. I was able to change my middle name to a name of my choice family attends many different cultural and adoption events such as camp homewood, potluck dinners, native arts and many of my friends are from other adoptive families.


Being an adoptive child with a forever home means I'll never move again. I hope with this speech that all of you will have the adoption awareness to possibly open up your heart and home to adopt a child. "kid can't wait to have a family" Foster care is only a temporally solution and adoption means a forever mom and dad and a place to call home.

This is our son, a son that was hugely behavioral, emotionless with an attachment disorder. He would always wait wondering if we would call the police on him. I remember him asking us, "Are you going to call the police now!?" I would always tell him, "Nope, we don't call the police on our children, you're stuck with us now buddy" With time, he's made remarkable progress, understands now that he's never going anywhere and I truly believe that years later after his adoption, his trust for us has grown. A boy everyone wondered if he would ever get adopted and if so, attach! I can honestly say we have our moments with all our children, there will always be challenges but our son is attached to us and now he's advocating for adoption! How wonderful! I'm a proud Mama and these are the moments we need to treasure and remember......................"Never say never to attachment disorders!"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Planning Permanence for Youth

I recently attended a presentation on Permanence for Youth. Meaning Teenage up to twenty five years old adoption placements. Since the presentation I've been thinking. It's completely 100% true that everyone deserves a family, a place that they can call home. A place that they can rely on, visit during the holidays, share their life trials and experience with someone who is their Mother or Father. Everyone should be entitled to a family. When we first thought about adoption, we thought about adopting overseas. Even eight years ago we didn't know adoption existed in our own Country, our own Province. Plus we thought that adopting a child from a different Country, who was in an Orphanage needed a home more. I can say now,"perhaps they do but we have children that move from foster home to foster home without a sense of permanency" Without a family, we have more homeless addicted individuals because they don't have those supports, those attachments, that love that most of us have experienced. We often wonder why people commit different crimes. For them, sometimes it's survival. Being an adoptive family we've heard many past stories from our children that brings tears to my eyes. I often wonder, if they weren't adopted, where would they be now? Ten years from now without a family? One of our sons was nine years old when we adopted him from a all boys home. "The house" it was called. A place where workers came in and out on shifts. Can you imagine such a place exists in British Columbia? The house! When we visited this house it was completely foreign to me. There was an office, a kitchen, a living room and multiple bedrooms. Bedrooms that consisted of nothing but damage. A remember seeing a little boy crying out his bedroom window because he was being punished. I wanted to take him too. A boy who was alone with no family. Our son we adopted from "this house" was previously in ten different foster homes. The shift workers either wasn't allowed to deal with his behaviors or chose not too for multiple reasons. So the police were called, drugs were administered and he'd be hospitalized instead. I often wonder where was his emotions during all of this? He was a lost boy. Emotionless. It's amazing what a family, what adoption, what permanency has done for him. As much as I smile because he's now safe, he's only a small percentage of children that are waiting for a place to call home. When I attended the Permanence for Youth presentation I learned something new. I knew that adoption is for all ages up to what I thought was eighteen. There is young adults, nineteen and over that have aged out of foster care that still would love to have a family. A place to go to on Christmas. Perhaps a family that can help them further their education, prepare their wedding and be a Grandparent one day. I remember having my birth babies and I needed my Mother beside me. With writing all this and having teenagers that are mostly attached, it's a scary thought to adopt a teenager. OR possibly a young adult. It's not for the faint at heart. When I think about our older adoptions, was it love at first sight? "No" The idea of love was there but it was more dedication and patience. With time love follows. I wrote on an older possibly deleted post that our seventeen year old now didn't call me Mom until three years later. I never expected him too ever, it was his decision. Just like adopting a teenager or heh, an's their choice. It's their choice to want adoption and ultimately their choice to choose you as their parent. That's where the understanding and patience needs to be acute because it does take years. Years for these young adults to trust and to understand that they're not going anywhere no matter what they do or say. It's not an easy road to adopt older children but they still need a belonging in this world. Even with our teenagers, even after adoption, they go through their fazes of not wanting a family. What teenager wants a Mother or Father telling them what to do anyways? Eventually rebellious or not, they realize they need their family and for our teens, we are here. Which makes me sad for some teenagers, for some adults after realizing they can't do everything on their own, they have no where to turn except what they know best, survival. Drugs, Alcohol, Prostitution, theft, homeless and worse. This is in our own Country. I know having a family isn't going to stop poor decisions but it could minimize them. My conclusion is adoption isn't just overseas, isn't just for babies, it's for anyone at any age that needs or wants a family. I posted a picture of our seventeen year old son above, he's one of our birth children. The reason I did is because every child is born, every little child is adorable and they all grow into teenagers. There was a question at this presentation if their pictures should be shown with their adoptive profile for interested families. I don't believe any child should be chosen through a picture. IF so, perhaps a adorable younger profile picture should be shown instead because after all they don't look like this forever. Which makes me advocate, if you have what it takes, you're willing to wait for years for possible attachment, you have the understanding and patience for anything; jump into teenage or adult adoption. It's worth changing someones future knowing their wanted. :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

"Walk towards us, our horns don't poke"

It's as easy as one, two, three, four.....four of our children soundly asleep by 6:45pm. My husband is at our sons basketball game with three of our older sons, another son at cadets and I'm sitting up with three more of our children watching "Brother Bear" Having a larger family is not so hard for us. What's difficult at times is the community around us. I've always stated that I understand that other families don't really understand us. I've come to the conclusion that it will always be this way. Years ago I wanted to start this blog and explain why we adopt, why we continue to adopt and how we manage as a large family. Now I'm personally in a comfortable space knowing that our large family is doing fairly well considering what other families might think. Consider're a family with two birth children with no special needs. You have your challenges from time to time but for the most part, life runs smoothly. You have no idea about special needs or adoption. You can't imagine why anyone would want to adopt special needs children and many special needs children. Why on earth would you adopt? There must be a reason, if there isn't a logical reason, you must be completely crazy! With your two physically and mentally healthy children you don't want them exposed to children that might be potentially harmful. Not to mention, you don't want them hanging out at someones crazy house! I completely get this. I can explain until I'm choking up blue spit why, how and who we are as a large adoptive family but some will never understand because they don't live nor want to live it. I know some individuals openly admit that they can't handle their two, so if THEY can't handle their two, how on earth can WE handle twelve or fourteen? I've explained how but what it boils down to is not everyone has that gift to raise several children, several special needs children. Just like I don't have that gift to massage feet or the need to fly an airplane. Ultimately we all have a passion, that's what makes us all unique. Our world wouldn't turn without all our different gifts that we were given. So for example, I wouldn't judge, make an opinion or lift my nose in the air and walk away because you're an astronaut with no children. I have the strength that if I was interested, I would ask and even confirm my possible interest in ones choice in life. Most of us hear rumors, in fact all of us have heard and perhaps believed a rumor to be true at one point or another. What's unfortunate about this is rumors are nonfactual. I on my blog will admit that I've believed past rumors (gossip) to be true because I thought the source was trustworthy. A credible person, so how could I not believe what I was being told? A life lesson; if you don't hear the story from the exact person involved, it's merely gossip. You're probably wondering where I'm going with this? Today I was sitting having coffee with some lovely friends I know, we were discussing our lives and about on how people we've known or don't know walk away when we enter a room. I believe this is because they don't understand our lives (a large adoptive family) a family with behavioral children that are known in the community. Perhaps they have heard about us through the rumor mill, these strange beings from another planet. I often wonder why they wouldn't want to seek the truth? After all, my horns only come out after midnight and only my husband sees me this way! My children's horns that appear during the day are just in the learning stages of their development. We aren't only approachable, we are really interestingly fun to be around. It's a catch 22, either you like us or you don't but we're staying here on earth. Horns and all. I personally think that if it's a rumor or just pure lack of understanding why some individuals walk away, they are missing out on knowing a big bunch of really cool families. Families that not only accept everyone for who they are, they accept everyone in their life, their home and if anything understand being different. I don't know about you but I like to have individuals in our life that can accept a little horn growth.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

"Who is Miley Cyrus's God Mother?"

Work and no play was our Sunday. Science projects are due and we finished six projects today! Some were actually Science involved, others were more informative. One of our sons projects was "Dogs verses Humans" Is a dogs mouth cleaner then a humans? We found out that a dogs mouth is not cleaner then a humans mouth. Although human mouths are full of different bacterial components, a single drop of saliva contains millions of bacteria and half of them are unknown to Science. What do you think about kissing now? Our other son completed his Science project on what kind of things do magnets attract? My husband found lots of different items and including a magnet that is hanging by a string and can attach to the items on his board. Action packed! Our daughters didn't complete Science projects but informative boards of their own interest. One of our daughters boards consisted of "GO FISH" Explaining how to play her favorite card game lately with a surprise visitor, Nemo. Our other daughter's board is about Miley Cyrus. I found it interesting. Did you know that Dolly Parton is Miley's God Mother? Miley also grew up on a 500 acre farm in Franklin, Tennessee! Miley is an inspiration to all the ten year old girls, hopefully our girls never find out what Miley has been up too lately according to the News. Miley's real name is Destiny Hope Cyrus. A beautiful young talented lady. Another one of our sons Science project was on melting ice. Does ice melt faster in air or in water? His conclusion was in water. Water has more particles and is more dense then air. Our other sons project was explaining the progress of a molding cheese stick. A cheese stick that we set aside to mold. He learned that Fungi (Mold) is used to make antibiotics, soy sauce, Miso, Sake, Tofu and many other foods. It also has mycotoxins that can be deadly to humans. During his experiment, it took 10 days to form the Fungi. His steps was to collect dust from around our house, yup - dust and put it on his cheese stick. Then add a few drops of water, placed it into a plastic bag and wait. We waited and waited. He dropped more water, re-heated, re-wrapped and it's forming the Fungi which is nicely hot glued onto his project board for all to see! YUMMY! It was a interesting Sunday. While all us school yard children were inside working on Science projects, my husband and our almost five year old was learning to change brakes on a vehicle. Father and son, my husband's little mini-me follows him around and seems very keen on learning everything that his Daddy does. It's really cute to watch. We'll have another Mechanic in the family for sure! We will have 9 sons and 5 daughters in our family. It's interesting our dynamics and who will follow who, around here Daddy seems to be number 1! I'm merely a cheese stick molder!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Patience, one step at a time, one red light, 16 raw potatos

Patience. I speak of this word often. I'm usually telling my children to have patience. In my years of having many children I believe I've developed more patience. This week I've been border line loosing my patience with different scenarios. Just border line......basically telling myself instead of my children to have more patience. Everywhere tests your patience. I'm driving in a 60 km zone, a long street that can take forever. It really takes forever when the driver in front of you is remaining at a speed of 35 km. Feeling a bit late already I'm chomping at my gum, hanging tightly on the steering wheel breathing calmly while listening to my son ask, "Why are you going so slow Mom?!" I have my moments. Moments when dinner is always at a certain time then I forget to turn on the oven! Usually it's the opposite, I forget to turn the oven off! What's a little electricity? Then my humor kicks in when our children ask, "Why is my baked potato hard MOM?" "It's a cold Norwegian dish, just smear some butter on it", I did say. Sheesh. My husband is building a staircase, it's been taking awhile because he's cutting many different wooden angles, gluing each piece and each piece has to be exact. Well his patience has been tested.....from the measurements of each angle to the product of glue. The first attempt of gluing lead to weights pressing down for days, the second product of glue dried quickly then started to lift. Now he's told me that he will sleep on the stairs if he has too! I smiled and said,"If you're lying around waiting for glue to dry, you're a patient man" Every day there is incidences that can test our patience. Like endless sock balls. A year ago I wrote about laundry. Yes, a whole post on the endless sock balls. There is still no end. Like the Karate Kid, I'm thinking 'pull out the sock, push in the sock, pull out the sock' like the 'hang up the coat, drop the coat, hang up the coat' teaches not only patience but hanging up the coat with the elimination of sock balls. There is some nights when everyone is sleeping, not only sleeping but snoring and chattering unknown words. I am probably the lightest sleeper in our home, listening to every sneeze, sniffle or burp. Some nights can be extremely long, watching the clock, tossing and turning. I think patience is when you turn off the alarm clock before it rings, get up with a smile on your face in hopes the next night isn't as long as the last. To a red light, long line ups in grocery stores and even children being told over and over to wash their hands is what I say, "Patience building" So here's a thought. I know that our daily trials, our past experiences teach us and are there for our own inner growth. I have a personality that seems to always be keen and is learning to develop these strengths through awareness, through even the smallest of circumstances such as a raw potato. I truly believe with having constant awareness or recognition of what's happening at our present moment, will teach us to develop more patience for it. For example, my four year old son constantly screams about how he hates his food. It doesn't matter what it is. I've now realized that this could happen at every meal, I've accepted it could happen (awareness) and developed patience for it. Like my husband, I can hear him muttering over the stairs, finally he sits down (accepts what is) and says,"One step at a time" Just like many tantrums, two teenage squabbles, the outbreak of fifth disease during Christmas in a snow blizzard with fourteen people and one dog in a six hundred square foot condo for four days! While hot tubing developing more patience for the storm to blow over finding out on the last day the hot tub was contaminated by fecal matter. All this I believe is teaching me at least to have patience and accepting what is. One day at a time, a time worth writing about but not attempting to do over is what I call a memorable patience building experience. Nothing can be worse to test your stress, your level of patience then loosing your condo and vehicle keys in the middle of a sledding hill during a blizzard with your large family complaining of being cold. With all my experiences that life has provided me, I can say thank you for teaching me to have a high level of patience. If anything, a calm patient approach usually settles the fire and the green light will emerge. With time whatever is meant to be, will be with patience.

Monday, February 7, 2011

127 Hours

I went and watched 127 hours. A true story about one mans survival during his canyoneering in Moab Utah. He fell into the canyon and was trapped by a large rock. It's an interesting movie to watch but not for the weak at heart. It's a story that leaves you thinking what would you be capable of doing for survival, could you be capable? During the course of the evening I thought about this. I believe I could be determined enough to try almost anything to live. I would hope that my mental state would be strong enough not to panic and to remain strong with the willingness to survive the ordeal. Our physical body is another form that can go into shock, shock is a serious life threatening condition that our bodies inadequately delivers oxygen and nutrients around our tissues. Then we can't function properly. There are different types of shock our bodies could endure according to the circumstances. Hypovolaemic (circulating of blood) Cardiogenic (weak or absent pulse) Obstructive or Septic and Neurogenic shock. Anaphylactic caused by narrowing of airways. All that this one man could have experienced. During his 127 hours of survival he was in and out of consciousness, remembering his loved ones and having premonitions of his future. The premonitions of his future seemed to give him the inner strength he needed to survive. (I don't want to write about the movie in case some have the interest to see it) What I personally continued to think after watching was could I physically and mentally survive a similar traumatic experience such as his? I wouldn't know until I was experiencing it. Although most would challenge themselves to live or die depending on how they feel or see their life. Which raises my thoughts about our quality, our questions on how important are we to ourselves and others? Of course I'm a mother of many and would fight for my life but would my children fight for theirs? Did you know that there was an earth quake on the Island this morning? Approximately 2, 5 second shakes at 8am. I didn't feel a thing but it brings my awareness to the fact we're closer to a crisis then we think. Not only should we be preparing mentally on what to do, how to handle a crisis, we should be discussing the importance of our survival with our children so they WANT to survive during a possible life threatening event. I think developing that drive, that need to live is crucial. I definitely don't spend my time worrying about what could happen but being prepared, just like prevention can help the course of the inevitable. In 127 hours there was points where it didn't look like the man was going to survive, I don't know if I could in his situation but what I do know is my drive to live outweighs possible death. A thought to ponder, discussions to have with our children just in case when we at least expect it we face the decisions within us to fight. Perhaps we won't ever know until and if a situation arises. One thing I know is I won't go down without a fight and I will hope that our children values themselves enough to follow.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

It's forever

After attending a FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) workshop I raced home to take our children out walking through the trails of our local river. It was refreshing listening to the river roar, walking the misted trails during this warmer February day. I became deep in thought thinking about how to be a better parent to our children affected by this often hidden disability. Nine of our children are either diagnosed or suspected FASD. Living with FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) on a daily basis is definitely a different lifestyle then the ordinary "typical" family. I always state with structure, daily routines and repetition life moves without chaos. Not flawless. Being a Mother of many brain damaged children is not an easy task to learn. I'm constantly searching for different approaches that might provide a better outcome behaviourally but ultimately when we awake; we awake starting over every day. This is a commitment. I've spoken on several adoption panels to individuals that want to adopt and my concern is do they understand the impact of FASD? Other special needs? My husband and I already had birth children before adopting, adopting for us wasn't because we needed children. We wanted to parent unconditionally, to provide a forever home and within our capabilities be parents to as many special needs children as we could handle. This is where OUR hearts are, here with our children. As time moves on, we are learning so much more. Just as adopting a child is a process, so is parenting after adoption. I worry about some potential adoptive parents, especially when they're adopting a child/children at a young age and they have high expectations for this perfect child; then the child ages, signs of undiagnosed special needs surface and adoption breakdowns occur. Anytime when someone questions me about adopting, I always, always need to be straight forward about the commitments. We all love cute, happy, cuddly little children but little children grow and develop needs that perhaps wasn't written, wasn't diagnosed nor something that adoptive parent "wanted" to parent like FASD. During our adoptions we jumped right into FASD, RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome) meaning prenatally exposed to other substances, Chromosomal Disorders , ADHD (Attention deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) Sensory issues, you name it, we have it. Not to mention mostly older adoptions. We knew, we know the dedication that needs to remain so our children can grow up hopefully with a sense of healthy attachment, a family and to feel unconditionally loved no matter what the hidden disability they might have or acquire with age. For me what's frustrating is the public school system and the different professionals that don't understand or acknowledge our children affected with FAS. I don't blame anyone for the lack of education they receive but what's maddening is I don't feel listened too while explaining how to deal with our children. Our children learn differently. So our expectations are limited accordingly to each of our children. A key point I learned years ago that helped us is to give up on trying to get our children to do what they can't do, they might not ever understand. We're all individual learners. For us living with FASD we witness on a daily basis the challenges our children face and as much as we see their brain damage to be behavioral, it's not. A few years back we decided to change our approach by trying to be preventative. For example some of our children truly believe that "borrowing" because we're family is not stealing. It didn't matter how much we explained that if you don't ask, it's stealing. So we eliminated this situation at home by simply locking our bedroom door, locking the pantry and medicine cabinet. We're always thinking about situations that we can prevent. Another example is having their own "spots" at the dinner table, in our vehicles and yes, sometimes in the living room while having a movie night. Avoiding the argument and the confusion is helping all of us eliminate possible issues that have or could arise. I always write or explain to people we work as a large family because of the structure, the routines, the supervision and complete consistency we've developed through-out our years of being adoptive parents. I can not stress enough this is true not only for having a larger family but for having children with special needs. There is no leniency. Bedtime is at the same time every night. If we slip, it opens us up to an argument for the next evening. Even myself loves routine. I have a certain way to buy groceries, usually I head to the same area to park my vehicle, dinner is always at a certain time, usually Mondays are baking days. I structure my time around my routine and our children learn this too because it's repetitive, like their bedtimes. Our brains work best with consistency. Honestly I'm not reading this and believing it's true from a word, we live this way and it's completely factual. In conclusion, if you want to adopt or are thinking about a larger family, these skills are detrimental to have. Adoption is just not that cute child, that cuddly baby, it's a lifetime of commitment with unexpected developing needs you'll have to accept forever. Having realistic expectations and learning to have a sense of humor while possibly dealing with a crisis will help yourself as their parent. It's definitely not as easy as I write because I need to be aware every day, all day long on how I'm going to react as their Mother without internalizing the circumstance within myself. People wonder if my husband and I are on a drug because we present ourselves very calm. Don't get me wrong, we have our moments. Usually our moments are with releasing our frustrations onto supportive friends and within our adoptive community that understand but mostly we've incorporated all the key elements I've written above. In the end having children with FASD and other different special needs life works by developing the structure, routine, consistency, supervision, having patience and most importantly a sense of humor on a daily basis. That's how we do it and you can too if you're willing to commit. A question you can only answer for yourself before leaping into adoption because once committed, you can't quit on your child or children. It's forever.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Carrie Underwood - Change (lyrics on screen)

No fool here!

Do you ever wonder why we're here? All my life I've been under the impression that I've been born to try and make a difference. It's such a strong feeling that I have I can't shake it. Through-out my years it's made me sometimes vulnerable to abuse or be taken for granted. Sometimes as much as a personality trait can be a great one, there's always a flip side to it. I know but changing a personality is almost completely impossible to do. Plus my logical thinking is to make a difference as long as I'm alive on this planet. I had a comment the other day from one of our teens stating that I'm dreaming if I think I can change the world. I had to explain that "No, I can't but every decision, every good gesture or attempt to help somebody in need does make a difference" If we ALL developed a helping quality within our personalities, we can change the world. It reminds me of the movie, "Pay it forward" If you haven't seen this movie, it's a wonderful movie to watch with your children. I often do sporadic attempts to make a strangers day better. I'm not looking for recognition, it's just my inner personality at the time wanting to change the course of someones day, to pay it forward. To change the world. Does it work? I don't know and it doesn't matter because if I don't make the attempt, the possibility of changing anything doesn't happen. We don't need to hand out money to the homeless, a sandwich or a pair of gloves will do. Recognizing their existence instead of walking by. Sometimes when I'm in a drive thru like Tim Hortons I will pay for the car behind me, usually I will study the passengers first then make my decision. I often choose an elderly individual. In fact there was one time in a restaurant I witnessed this cute elderly couple having breakfast together. They were probably in their eighties, a perfect pair. I was blown away emotionally because they were so openly in love after all the years they must of spent together. When I left, I secretly paid for their meal. Giving this couple a nice surprise, something to talk about for the rest of their day. Another thought that doesn't take money from your pocket is again, acknowledging individuals existence. Myself and three of our children were out awhile ago getting groceries. There was this lovely lady in a wheelchair trying to exchange conversation with others while they just kept walking. Why are people afraid or not wanting to acknowledge others with a handicap? So my children and I had a great conversation with her. I wrote about this before and when we said our goodbyes, she was completely happy yelling and making the hand signal for "Rock and Roll" "You're the rock and I'm the roll", she would say. Still to this day, I remember her. I posted a song called, "Change" by Carrie Underwood. I love this song, a song basically asking if you believe you're a fool to change the world? We are not fools, ultimately any little gesture counts. So I say, starting today "Paying it forward" is the way to be consistently changing our world!