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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Adoption Milestones

Do you remember when you birthed your child and counted every toe, you learned something new every day that your baby did? Every first milestone was exciting! (I remember with our birth children) With our children that we've adopted, it might not of been their first baby milestones but there has been many milestones over the years to be excited and proud about. We've had many older adoptions. One proud moment was when our oldest son after three years decided to call me "Mom" then just recently decided to call his Dad, "Dad" For us, we understand that our children need to trust us, trust can take years after an adoption placement because of their unstable histories. The healing process can be difficult and challenging not only for our children, for us as their parents wanting only the best for their future. Some of you are aware that our older son left a year ago for eight months. It was extremely difficult because there was nothing we can do but wait. Learn to forgive and re-open our hearts, our home (his home) when he was ready. He's been home for a year after his eight month leave and has realized that we're his family. This is a milestone. When you have a child that is extremely behavioural, getting suspended, swearing, punching and kicking walls and demanding to be moved then changing into your loving, smiling son, this is a milestone. Being told that your daughter will possibly never "fit in" to her active family, doesn't like loud noises, is wind and light sensitive that can now ride a bike, go for boat rides and jump on a trampoline is a milestone. As their adoptive Mother, I didn't get the opportunity to watch their first step, to hear their first word but I've been able to be a part of their bigger milestones, their healing. Witnessing how they're blossoming from a label given in care to becoming our child. Becoming a secure individual within themselves. With our new adoption placements, our new son and daughter I've been in "Awe" It hasn't taken long to fall in love. I've been counting toes, rubbing their little hands and rocking their little bodies to sleep. Honestly I was worried if the rest of our children would be jealous. Of course there is some jealousy and our love becomes circulating even more so. I was also worried about our new daughter's special needs and what our children might think or might be concerned about. I've been shocked once again......they all love their new siblings. They don't care about their new sister's needs, it just made them love her more. It brings tears to my eyes seeing everyone interact with so much love. Our oldest daughter surprised me the most. She loves them and she even asked me if she could bring her new sister with her today! Of course I said, "Not yet" but "Wow!" I also noticed on our oldest daughter's face book she posted, "Amazed again at how fast you can love somebody so much, and yet you've only just met; I love .......&........!" To me, this is a milestone. Reason is, is because adoption transitioning can be a very difficult time on everyone and for the most of us, it's been so far a positive one. You know, I am a proud Mom. I believe we can get through anything. I believe in our children. For us, there's always a milestone to smile about. Today it was just witnessing all our children loving and accepting each other and with time; who knows what milestones will be next but we'll get there!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A lucky bunch!

Again and again I can't write enough about the wonderful people we have in our life! Basically becoming actively involved within our adoption community has brought us wonderful supportive friends. Never in my life have I met such beautiful, loving and compassionate individuals, families and children until we started adopting. I feel very appreciative and extremely blessed. Thank you for being a part of our life.........Thank you for supporting our family.

One other important individual that has been working very close with our family, helping us build our family through adoption is our Adoption Social Worker. She's been absolutely wonderful. This is a person that goes above and beyond her work load to make adoption possible. There's not even a big enough gift of appreciation we could give her except for the endless "Thank yous" And if anyone could be recognized for their outstanding compassion with their profession, it would be her.

I believe for a successful adoption it also goes beyond the adoptive family. A great Adoption Worker for starters, Foster parents that are willing to help with a smooth transition, depending on the age and special needs of the children, "the children" and having supportive friends and family.

I was thinking today about families that have adopted and I've noticed in our years of adopting that it's treated differently compared to birthing your own. Families that adopt, especially older children don't have "baby showers" or acknowledgement from many. Usually it's the reaction, the opinion accompanied by vocal comments that's received instead of "Congratulations" I've come so accustomed to comments that when I hear congratulations, I'm not sure what to do or say! Thank you so much for every one's positive blessings!

I also truly believe without our adoption network, AFABC (Adoptive Families Association of BC)and our adoption community that has and continues to grow the length of our Island wasn't available, families like us could feel isolated with being different. We have received more support meeting other families and attending different events then I would have ever imagined! Not only do us as parents benefit, our children have made friends with other adoptive children they can relate too, share pasts with and to continue to gain support into their own futures. These families we wouldn't have met if it wasn't for different events and programs affiliated through AFABC.

Adoption has enlarged our family, brought us love, joy and tears emotionally with different challenges. The one important piece I never thought of when we began was our "supports" through AFABC, through our friends, family and extended family members such as birth family and foster parents. I think we're a lucky bunch and I know I feel appreciative everyday........

Thank you!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

We will get-er done!

With our new Adoption placements it's been interestingly busy. We have many children but before our new son and daughter came, the toddler and baby stages were over. Now we're back into the past that we've forgotten. For instance, babies cry to express their needs. (Sometimes scream or yell) Our new daughter is very happy and engaging although when she needs something, we know about it! Too make sure she has good nutrition daily, we feed her with the occasional missing of her mouth right into her hair! I can't even remember the last time we had poop up one of our children's back until today! Oh my goodness, it was straight into the bath and this was happening while the rest of our gang was waiting to go for a walk! Are we happy? "Yes" I awoke this morning hearing a little voice standing over me saying, "Hi Mommy" It was so cute coming from our new son that it didn't matter it was 5am on a Saturday morning! My husband stated tonight that he thought it was going to be a harder transition especially with our new son but he's moved right in like he's always been here. I keep saying, writing, that children are amazing. They really are! I do have to keep reminding myself about the past I forget, the days where I had to run around quickly to finish laundry while our baby was sleeping, where I would take a quick nap while they did. Understanding that younger children (toddlers) need naps during the afternoon or there could be uncontrollable crankiness. Then if the nap is missed, they have to stay up until their bedtime because late naps leads into late nights! This also means rescheduling life. Being that we're a family of all ages, I know our older teenagers have always found it difficult to respect why we need quiet. Unfortunately for them it leads to a boring home life because "quiet time" has always started around 7pm! Now we might have some "quiet afternoons" Before we had control of the noise, now we do not. Thank goodness we live in the sticks! Speaking of sticks, our new son really, really enjoys playing in the dirt, playing with sticks and throwing rocks. He's a typical "Hohnstein boy!" Now I believe my husband and I biggest hurdle will be embracing and accepting not getting everything done around here. I will admit that we both have goals daily that we attempt to achieve, a way with routine that will be altered and to understand that it's "Ok" if it wasn't done that day. That's hard. I'm already thinking how I can slip in baking for the week......BUT lucky for us, there is only one month left of school and routine is out the door anyways! What's that saying? "Don't worry, if we don't get it done today, we will get it done tomorrow!" Although we have loads, I mean loads of dirt fill dropped off clouding our driveway, we have unfinished construction, a trailer for camping that needs TLC before camping........a truck with no gas tank that pulls the trailer; there is a never ending list on top off the "normal" but our children come first and eventually (probably not even tomorrow) we'll "get-er done!" In the meantime, our bonding time has been really good, even with the occasional gagging and the uncontrollable laughter I've been having at my husband!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Greatest invention; wet wipes

Do I have time to blog? I guess because I don't watch much television, I can write. It doesn't matter that I didn't get to the 5-6 loads of piled laundry because it will continue to pile tomorrow! It's amazing actually on how a family's dynamics change adopting children. Before our youngest child was five, now we have a two year old son and a three year old daughter! We have toys laying around and get this, wet wipes! We haven't used wet wipes for three years I bet! NOW they are a necessity. Today I "really" needed to go grocery shopping plus buy children's clothing. While making my list I figured I needed a baby bag. (Diaper bag) So I grabbed my over night bag, put two diapers in it with a box of wet wipes. I have to say, it looked not quite right but off I went. My second oldest daughter really wanted to bath her new sister, her sister has CP (Cerebral Palsy) so we have special equipment for the bath-tub. After learning to bath her sister, she wanted to dress her. (It's really cute actually) I then put our new daughter to bed. In the morning when I was changing her, I noticed her diaper was on backwards! I giggled at that one! Our noise level has escalated by 75%! My husband is very funny, while I was grocery shopping he texts me stating our new son is playing in the sandbox with his five year old brother. I didn't think there was anything wrong with this except for the fact two year olds like to bury themselves in it! So there went that outfit for today! My 5-6 loads of laundry have doubled! I've been thinking about my baking Monday's. That's the past I'm afraid. I will have to bake in my sleep, jumping muffins over the moon! Although tonight I cooked dinner like always while bathing four boys and two girls while wiping poopie bombs! Don't worry, I'm always washing my hands! (Ha ha) The flip side our new little son is doing really well, he's happy and has been even peeing in the potty! He loves to cuddle, he even said, "I love you Mommy" It's been a week of transitioning and I'm just amazed every day that passes on how resilient children are. It just gives us that instant love they need. They are amazing. My husband was telling me on how cute it was for his new daughter to hold his thumb, squeezing it lightly while falling asleep. Our oldest daughter took it upon herself to interact, change and spend time with her new siblings. She just adores them. The rest of our children are just so wonderful with their new sibling arrivals that it warms my heart. We might need more wet wipes, we might have more laundry, I might not bake like I used too and we might trip over toys but it's all worth the change for loving accepting children. They trust us and for this, it's important to give them what they need. Sweet love and care. Our new chapter has begun.....................and we're loving them!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


We're was a long emotional week. I'm not exactly sure where to begin. Being an adoptive parent can be very difficult during the pre-placement visits because sometimes we're in the position of removing children from loving foster homes. My husband and I felt horrible which made it difficult to be excited during what normally is a very exciting time. We were travelling to and from two different foster homes that were at least one hour a part. Our children lived separately from one another until today. As much as we felt like home destroyers, we would watch both siblings interact together, laugh and play which made their adoption make sense. These two siblings needed to be together. There is many details I'm not going to write about. Ultimately now home, I know we did what's in the best interest of the children. We're a very lucky family to be blessed with such lovely children. During our transition time away, our other children had fun camping, boating and staying with friends. I thank everyone for helping us and making our children feel comfortable with memories that will last a lifetime. Arriving home near dinner was interesting, slightly juggling with all the unpacking and the excitement of a new brother and sister. We ordered pizza! As much as I'm happy, I've been emotionally drained with some circumstances through-out our week then to hear a dear friends beautiful son passed away suddenly. My heart aches and goes out for my friend and her family. With our happiness and excitement there is many sorrows.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lucky 14

Lately we're just tidying up loose ends. Making lists and checking them twice, signing paperwork, preparing new beds and linen, purchasing diapers and wetones, essentially items we will need when we return home with our new children. It's almost unbelievable that within a week we'll have our children! Saturday the 14th our children met their new brother and absolutely adored him, we will have 14 children and we were married on the 14th day! 14 is in fact my favorite number. Weird? Probably but significantly it's working for us! Being a larger family we sure had to juggle our life for my husband and I to go away. Our children are all excited and have been counting their sleeps to where they're going. I deeply appreciate all the support and help we're receiving. Even the families just supporting us with their positive energy has been much appreciated. So "Thank you!" This is my last post until after we return........ A few quotes I like.............especially the one in red!

I think people who have a brother or sister don't realize how lucky they are. Sure, they fight a lot, but to know that there's always somebody there, somebody that's family. -Trey Parker.

If the family were a fruit, it would be an orange, a circle of sections, held together but separable - each segment distinct. - Letty Cottin Pogrebin.

Children make you want to start life over. - Muhammad Ali.

A child enters your home and for the next twenty years makes so much noise you can hardly stand it. The child departs, leaving the house so silent you think you are going mad. - John Andrew Holmes.

When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses. - Joyce Brothers.

It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons. - Johann Schiller.

The thing about family disasters is that you never have to wait long before the next one puts the previous one into perspective. - Robert Brault.

Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one. - Jane Howard.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

747 effect

A parent's love is whole no matter how many times divided. - Robert Brault.

I know several different families adopting and I've experienced the same feelings they're having with delivering their exciting news of adopting or adopting again to either family members or friends that don't necessarily understand and jump up for joy. It can make the adoption news you don't want to share. We've withheld information in the past because we knew our responses would be negative and with repetitive questioning with no understanding results. It can be draining emotionally which drops down your exciting high to levels of questioning yourself. Emotions Adoptive parents don't need. Before when my husband and I weren't use to the negative remarks, we kept everything secretive. We started to realize that not everyone believes Adoption is a positive choice which made us be more selective to who knew. I believe that you need to keep your heart safe and strong, believe in yourself and do what makes you happy. It's true, adoption isn't for everyone and neither is kite flying or a Cat food Quality Controller! A Cat food Quality Controller tests cat food by burying his face in a huge tub of it, sniffs it and makes sure it's fresh, plunges his arms deep picking out tiny bones and smears it flat, searching for gristle every day! Usually if comments are said without sensitive thought, it's because it's not their path, it's not their understanding and never will be. Now, I take comments like a grain of salt, it may sting but stings quickly for me because I understand where it's coming from. Also sometimes it's not worth explaining, explaining leads into more questions so I've learned to sense out who's asking about our life. Really I'm protecting my own feelings because I know who I I've developed the 747 effect. It's a jet (otherwise known as a negative comment or conversation) that passes above my head while I'm present being respectful, then I either change the subject or leave the conversation completely. The 747 effect indeed works for those times where negative opinions seem to swarm your landing strip! Then start putting yourself into a positive environment, for us, it's with other adoptive families. Befriend people who understand you, support you and is excited about your third, tenth, fifteenth, twentieth adoption placement! Not only are you going to have positive excited friends in your life, so will your children! Lately I seem to know many families that are either wanting to adopt again or are starting an adoption placement really soon that have received comments that are unfavorable. My advice, 747 and be selective, don't put yourself into a negative situation. Good for you for adopting another child/children or army in your life, a child needing a family no matter what special need or age. There is nothing negative about children and as Robert Brault quoted, "A parent's love is whole no matter how many times divided" Keep following your heart, if you want to adopt and can.......fill your landing strip with joy and love with a child!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Life decisions

We had a rough Monday. Decisions were made to put one of our dogs to sleep. He was sick and unpredictable but being only three years old, it was a hard decision to make. Right now, our other dog Wilbur seems lost without his friend. He's run off numerous of times (probably looking for him) and he seems to wait patiently for his return. I can't imagine how Wilbur feels wondering what happened to his friend he's known all his life. Then some of our children definitely understand and have been impacted by their dog's missing appearance. Sometimes we're questioned, "Where's Kong?" "Did Kong die?" It's sure a reality when a pet is lost. A family member. Even in these two short days the dynamics around here has changed. There is no dog barking, his slobber isn't being cleaned constantly and the smell of sickness is gone. As much as a loss of a pet hurts, (speaking for myself) I feel a sense of relief. Our dog can now rest in peace instead of struggling to live. He had the will but his body was shutting down. On top of his medical issues, he was unpredictable behaviourally which stressed us daily. The decision was the right one, both my husband and I know this. It was just a hard one. Of course this happened in the middle of our pre-placement planning. Both our dogs were going to go to a kennel together, now it will only be one. (Hopefully it's not traumatizing) I was hoping Wilbur could go to a loving home while we were away but it's become interestingly enough juggling our large family around the Island! Thank goodness we have wonderful family and friends! In one weeks time, my husband and I will be visiting our new children then bringing them home! We're also looking forward to having sometime alone. (Not much) but sometime. This is very rare for us as a couple and I know for a fact we'll talk about children! I know when we go out for dinner, we look at each other wondering what we could talk about other then children, our house or car parts?! This afternoon my husband was talking about a 400 pound beam that needed to be brought into the house, that was pretty exciting! Not to mention lifting it! Now that one of our hard decisions is over, we can focus on moving forward with our new additions. Something my husband seems very excited about......and you know me......I've been excited since day one back in July 2010! Just now it's a reality! Even our children are very excited knowing they're getting a new brother and sister, how wonderful is that?! I was having coffee today with a few friends that pointed out that our children won't have resentment towards us leaving for these pre-placement visits because they're going for a holiday too! It's true, the count down is on for all of us! AND I sure do appreciate all our support!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

My husband is pretty wonderful. He decided to take all our children swimming. (Well only eight of them) So I can have a day for myself. It was definitely a nice gesture although when I'm alone and if I'm not out hiking somewhere, it's lonesome. I ended up doing errands, going to Costco and I accidentally fell off my determined wagon not to buy anything for our new children. I couldn't help but buy little Carter's spring clothing. (oops) Once I was back on track, I ended up in a favorite area of mine. A little place called, Coombs. I would have liked to spend more time there but the "Mother" in me was saying, "Go home!" At home I decided to make a nice dinner for when they returned. I had individual little surprises for them! Mother's day is a day for appreciation and most children can struggle with what appreciation means. One of our sons this morning was basically on another rant about how hard done by he really is, how there isn't anything to do at our house and IF we would just let him do what he wants, it would be a much better place. Perhaps but that will never happen. See, I understand where some children have a hard time appreciating because it's always greener somewhere else and if "Joe" can do it, why can't he? Funny, I wasn't a favorite nor appreciated Mother by some today but it's "Ok" I turned it around and appreciated my children. Especially Mr. un-appreciation! As much as I have a loving heart, it's thickened during my years of raising our children. I'm not jumping on their ship, I'm going to prove to our children that it doesn't matter what they do, how they think, (such as today) I will appreciate and respect them regardless knowing that one day it will be returned. Some of our children did make me homemade cards, dream catchers and my oldest daughter bought me flowers and lipstick. I've been very emotional this week and when I read my card from her I cried. She asked me, "Why are you crying?" Usually I say, "There's something in my eye" but this weekend, I had two infected pink eyes which didn't help matters! ( lol ) I did just thank her. This significant day isn't about receiving anything, it's just being acknowledged that I'm doing "Ok" being their Mom and that's good enough for me. Some really cute and nice messages were wrote that I'd like to share with all the Mothers on this day because it was your day too!

"Dear Mom, here is a present for you for Mother's Day. I love you very much. I love when you kiss me good night. Thank you for keeping me healthy. Thank you for my lunches. I hope you have a great day!"

"To Mom. I love you. I like making cookies with you and then eating them. You are awesome. Thank you for the times you take me to McDonald's and other places. I love giving you hugs."

"Dear Mom, helpful, generous, kind as can be, you're always taking great care of me. Thoughtful caring smiling each day, you're a delightful Mom I say. Gentle loving holding me tight, when you're around everything seems just right! I love you Mom."

AND what made me cry, "One day is much too short to celebrate how much you are loved and appreciated. You are the most beautiful , selfless, strong and whole hearted person I know, and I am privileged to be able to call you Mom. I love you very much!"

What some of our children may not realize that I am appreciative that they are in my life, everyday and have accepted me as their Mother either through birth or adoption. They make me who I am today................and that in itself is my Mother's Day!

Friday, May 6, 2011

"It's a lottery around here!"

"We won the lottery!" As my friend that recently adopted had said! The other side of adoption is bringing our children home after the waiting, the paperwork and the political process that hinges on if and when an adoption occurs. My husband and I were delighted meeting our new son and daughter. I'm not going to get into great detail about our children because of privacy concerns although we feel we've won the lottery! For us, we don't understand why on earth others wouldn't want to adopt children!? They make our life. We're so blessed with all our children. All our children are excited with their new brother and sister coming in two short weeks! It's going to change our lives and we'll definitely have a transition period but our life is full of joy. Our new son is extremely intelligent and completely engaging. Our new daughter is happy and beautiful inside and out! I couldn't birth myself amazing children that we've adopted. We are so grateful to our Adoption Social Worker and all the professionals involved and most importantly we're grateful that our children except us as their forever parents. That's why we devote ourselves as best as we can to provide a loving, stable and a home of healing and happiness. To be the Mother and Father they deserve. This Mother's Day I don't need anything, I don't need material trinkets or food, I already have my Mother's Day gift, our children. This May transition wouldn't be happening if it wasn't for our supportive friends that have adopted themselves. Again, I can't stress enough what adoption has brought us. I would have never known in the beginning we would have 14 wonderful children. I never realized we would have a community of other adoptive families become a part of ours and add extended family through our children's pasts such as birth family members and foster parents. I can understand why people question and look at us as different. It's "Ok" because I truly believe we are more blessed then the average family and that's something we walk proud knowing. I had a over 600 pictures I needed to develop off my camera since September 2010. I was able to bring it down to 420! When I went back to pick up our pictures the lady asked, "Are you a foster family?" Of course I'm quick to correct, "No, these are all my children" Which brought my attention back again to how even today's society doesn't question adoption first. It's either we're a foster home or caregivers of some sort. Adoption means permanency, (a Mother and Father) it means that every child we adopt are our children. They aren't "In care" of the Ministry anymore. They take our last name, we can add or change names, they receive a Birth Certificate stating that my husband and I are their parents. Adoption is the same as if I birthed them myself. We are now their legal guardians forever. (Their past history's of course is another story) I'm never upset by being questioned but I like to educate and advocate for our family. About adoption, what it means and how it's so important that children have a family. Foster care is a temporary solution, so even children here in British Columbia need adopting! For us, it comes easier then some, adoption isn't for everyone. Basically the question to ask yourself, "Are you up for the challenge?" From the starting of the adoption process too raising your new child/children forever is a commitment with many different surprises along your way! Most importantly accepting and having unconditional love is qualities that are important for a successful family built through adoption. We always love our children before the adoption placement occurs, like I've been pregnant, waiting for their arrival! Now soon, we'll have a delivery and we'll continue to educate that adoption is an important piece in children's lives and that's what we do, not "caregive"

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May 2011 is "THE" month of this year!

I haven't been writing as much as I used too. For a few reasons. One main reason is because my mind is constantly thinking about what May entails and I'm sure no one wants to read that over and over again! We have a busy month. Excitingly busy of course! Right now my husband has been working on our living room, trying to finish the last part of our house. We have moved one of our sons into a room with his brother making more room for our new son coming! We basically waited until we had placement dates before rearranging and preparing rooms for our new children. I've been looking for name stickers to put above their beds. I have been exceptionally excellent not buying anything, no clothing, nothing. Every time we've adopted I've gone out and bought clothing before our children arrived, kind of like being pregnant. Not this time. So with our own transitioning in our home, moving furniture and preparing for our time away, it's been busy. Not to mention as we move furniture and our children around, we are going through everything. Drawers, closets and toys. It's Spring cleaning all over again! (Everything seems to be working out regardless on how much I can worry) This Thursday we're meeting our new children! We're excited but somewhat in disbelief this is finally happening! A lot of emotions happen during adoption transitioning and not only for our family. For the children's previous foster families and people that have been in their lives up until now. I'm hoping that not only are we gaining a son and daughter, we can keep significant people that have loved them in their lives. People that can still be a part of our family just like our Grandma Marcy. (A previous foster parent) Now an extended family member to all of us, to all of our children. Who knows what the future will hold, most importantly right now, it's about the children. During our excitement our bigger dog has fallen ill. (His picture above) He's been sick for quite sometime. He has up and down days. This week it's been down. So in the process of this exciting month we've been also deciding about the life of our four year old dog. Unfortunately next week we've decided to put him to sleep. (I think) His issues are too extensive. Another huge change because our animals are a part of our family. Basically when life changes, it changes in leaps and bounds. My husband is having a hard time dealing with another loss of a pet. He's the one that takes them to our Veterinarian because I can't witness their passing. For us May 2011 is huge, it will be the most significant month this year. Lots of emotions, lots of changes and we will move onward as a big happy family. One May day at a is a day of errands to prepare for a perfect Thursday!