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Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Gained more family today!"

We met the loveliest family today. It's two of our children's birth family. It was so refreshing to connect with birth family that understands adoption. Understands some of the boundaries and ultimately understands that their children are well looked after. It's hard for me as an adoptive Mother to know where I stand while in the presence of birth family. I want to show respect. Today for the first time with all our adoptions, this birth family referred to us as Mom and Dad. They looked to us for guidance during the visit where sometimes there's the open question, "So who is going to do what and when for the child?" Which makes visits awkward. I can happily say that I feel openness with our children's birth family is going to be positive! They're special people that will be now a part of our family. I told them, "Adoption for you isn't a loss, you've adopted a whole BIG family!" What was really nice, our children's "Oma" - Great Grandmother stated, "She feels she has a new daughter with many Grandchildren" It brought tears to my eyes. Sometimes openness is positive. In this case it's easy. We all love each other already!

Now it's the West Coast waves, Horne Lake Cave Tours, Hornby Island and who knows what.......then our family should be arriving soon for more exploration days!

Friday, July 29, 2011

"Dec 17th, confirm it in with pen!"

I know it's still summer......BUT I needed to reserve the hall for our annual Christmas Adoption Party! Dec 17th please write on your calendars, it's an evening not to miss! Details will follow months from now! :)

Now we're off...................enjoy the sun!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Banana Boats




I learned this a few years ago and wanted to share. When we were out camping I made banana boats. Basically splitting the banana while it's in its peel. Then adding chocolate and marshmallows. Then BBQ until melted, an excellent camping dessert!




Today we went to our local river spot for a picnic and swim. It was crowded with teenagers. Although we had a nice area of our own. During our picnic this man in his late twenties was completely intoxicated. Falling all over, falling off the cliffs, jumping into the water unsafely. I couldn't watch anymore, I called the police. Basically explaining this young man will kill himself if they don't arrive promptly. It turns out that the police were already called. I was ready to save this young man. (Just waiting for an accident) Not too long after he was escorted away.


I've decided that this local river destination isn't for all of us.


Other then that......we had a nice BBQ to end our day.














Sunday, July 24, 2011

Intuitions



I was reading the August 2011 Oprah Magazine about believing your intuition. I can honestly say I've fallen prey to not following my intuitions several times in my life. Oprah quotes, "For all the major moves in my life, I've trusted my instincts" There's been times where I didn't listen to my "gut feelings" which lead to life changes that was hard to undo. That little inner voice inside us, is usually always right. It brought my attention to adoption. Actually everything can relate to adoption for me. It reminded me of comments stating, "You're crazy" but my inner voice "too adopt" was always right. It's the same as the saying "Follow your heart" There's not much question but to follow what's best for you, for your family or relationship. "Learn to hear what your inner voice is telling you, and your whole world changes" - Oprah. While I write this I think about the impacts of what adoption does to a child that never really wanted to be adopted. It's a difficult process on how much do we as parents and professionals allow an older child their decision to not approve of an adoption. A twelve year old for example; how does anyone really know if it's the right choice to adopt or not if the child's inner voice says, "No" I know and have always stated that adoption (a family) is what's best, it is. When we first starting adopting we always said, "We don't want to adopt a child that doesn't want to be adopted" We want to adopt children that want and need a family. With writing this, I know every child needs a stable family, a place to call home forever but sometimes when an older child says, "No" we should listen to his/her first response. Maybe later they will revisit the idea, maybe never but I believe older children have a voice to be heard and not listening results in future regrets. Adoption isn't Disneyland, nor should the child be persuaded into a life long placement when their responses are "No" (Everything I write is my own opinion from experience, not as a professional) Basically for us, if it doesn't feel right, if a child says, "no" to their adoption placement, we won't proceed. I also understand that some of my readers haven't adopted or are in the process to adopt. I really stress to listen to your and the child/children being considered for adoption inner voice. Now that I added adoption to our inner voices, intuition is for everything. One of my faults is questioning my own inner voice. For example; it's either you like someone or not by first meeting, would you become their friend? Would you take the chance even though something inside you says, "Don't?"Intuition is knowing without knowing. I read in the Oprah Magazine to get a little notebook, a little book to fit in your pocket or purse. When you have a feeling about something, write it down. ( I have no problem with this) lol Then later when that feeling turns out to be correct, you'll know your inner instincts are working. Like anything practice listening to yourself and it will strengthen your inner abilities. I also don't think anyone should just leap and buy a plane ticket out of here either, every decision should be rationalized over with your inner thoughts. If it doesn't feel right, don't do it or at least wait until it does. Maybe it's just not the right time, the right time will present itself. Patience is a virtue with most life's dealings. Everything happens for a reason. Good or indifferent we learn from our mistakes. Believe me I have many, I'm still learning and still learning to listen to my inner voice. I remember many times when I didn't listen to how I was feeling about something, about somebody, to find out later I was right. By then, the damage was done. Now I'm learning to listen to myself, feeling more confident that "yes" I'm usually right with what my inner voice tells me. I also think we develop these abilities with age, experience, really understanding and tuning into ourselves. A lot of what I've learned came from my own "alone time" hiking, being out alone with nature. I know that sounds weird but being happy with yourself, being able to be alone happily, peacefully helps develop your inner strengths. It really does. I'm definitely guilty for being a thinker, this is another reason why I write, I need to release my thoughts. With thinking; learning to control worry, stress and listening to my inner voice is practice. So with saying that, I'm going to post this knowing my inner thoughts says so in hopes it helps when you question yourself what to do or not to do regardless of any situation. And for now, I'm not jumping onto an airplane just yet!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Chasing the sun!



We were heading towards the sun. Destination unknown. The first lake was extremely cloudy with a chance of raining meatballs. The second lake had a slight over cast with complete clearing by the afternoon! There was sixteen of us and lately with our family we have to take two vehicles. Today we ended up at Sproat Lake where the water bombers are. The weather was calm and warm. Our children enjoyed swimming and playing freezbie. It was a great day! Another great day because most of us were together, my husband joined us and we were able to relax and enjoy our family. Speaking of family, I am very, very excited! So far this summer we've had to cancel different plans including travelling up North due to weather and road conditions. SO our family is coming to stay with us! Believe it or not, if we're all together between our two families, there will be 33 of us. 17 of them and 16 of us in our home and travelling on daily adventures! For most, 33 people represents an occasion or party of some sort. For us, it makes us complete! The weeks we spend together is not only going to be adventurous day trips all over the Island, it will be meeting new nephews and a niece. My husband's brother adopted another little boy who is now our nephew and they will meet their new nephew and niece too! I can't express enough how exciting this is! For approximately two weeks once a year we see each other. We're thrilled that our summer tradition continues! AND believe me the weather up North has made many families chase the sun south! You know what I've noticed about large families? Numbers don't matter. We continue to grow, we add friends and like today, we had some of our children's friends stay with us. Adding another child or 2,3,4 doesn't matter because we know how to survive with a large crowd. We often get asked, "How do we handle this many children?" This question will always exist to many unless your like us, "Crowd control doesn't matter" We live daily as a larger family, meals are prepared daily with often left overs. Nothing is chaotic because I continue to believe the larger your family is, the less chaos it really is due to organization skills, structure, routine and consistency. My answer to any question is those four above words. We always ask ourselves, "What's another two children?" My husband and I are confident that we create a better life for our children. This is our dedication. Again, we are not perfect. We do the best we can. Like us, I know of other larger families that can confidently raise more children no matter what their special needs are, no matter how big their family is. Of course being larger our challenges can rise, especially with teenagers that seek their own independence. Eventually that independent voyage has a docking point and that's why family is most important. (Ultimately it's better to be adopted, to have a family, then remain in foster care) As you know I ramble off topic when writing, it's like ADHD with a pen. All I can stress is; bigger families work! So if you see 33 people (mainly children) this August, yes that's us and they're all ours. One big proud family even with some challenges. AND sometimes the biggest challenge is on the other side of the fence, "Society" Questioning, "How are we possible?" In conclusion, our children's friends have been with us, witnessing our family's interaction and sharing our adventures the past couple of days have said, "This is the most fun we've had all summer!" That says a lot!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A pocket of sunshine











Here is a few pictures I took during our camping trip. We survived the unpredictable weather! Actually I felt like we were in our own pocket of sunshine. Every time we go camping or travel we meet people that are extraordinary. This camping trip we camped with some friends. (There was 20 of us within 2 families) Most of all our friends are other adoptive families so it's nice to reminisce with a familiar topic. Adoption. We do talk about other things - my husband was able to stay and enjoyed discussing his redneck stories. I had to remind him that it was adult conversation sometimes! After all, we don't need our children pulling their teeth out with a set of pliers! Both our families swam, played in the near by park, played games and even occasionally hiked to a little waterfall. It was really sweet watching our five year old son connecting closely with their six year old son, it was like two peas in a pod! "Hitched" We even celebrated our littlest daughters first birthday with us, she turned four! It was really nice for my Father and Mother (his wife) to join us during this very special occasion! They brought cake and presents for their new Grandchildren. Not only do I appreciate, I am grateful they want to be a part of our forever growing family. What has been lodged into my mind after this trip was meeting a lady who felt compelled to share her family's life story with me. She was very eager to approach to first compliment on all our children. On how excellent they were. They enjoyed watching all our children interact kindly. Of course we received questions on how we do it?.....meaning on how we raise such wonderful behaved children! It's nice to hear these positive comments but I did quickly state to continue watching, our children have moments like any other child! My biggest response to any question concerning our family is having routine, structure, repetition and consistency. It's a "must" while raising many children that need black and white instructions. Even a family with only two children need some of these attributes for success. After the compliments she continued to share her family's story. 24 years ago her daughter at age 21 was in a horrible car accident. A head on collision from another that was drag racing. Her daughter in the accident has a identical twin and was engaged to be married. That day, that accident changed their lives forever. Her beautiful daughter remained in a coma for 7 months, she under went numerous surgeries to find out she was severely disabled and brain injured. The Mother who was explaining their story expressed her life changed forever. She quit her career to care for her 21 year old daughter who is now 45 years old. She only has a short term memory, blind in one eye, feeding tubes, she wears depends and can barely walk. Once to be married now has a restricted and fully dependant life. Instead of being institutionalized, this Mother cares for her 24/7. I was introduced to her daughter while out camping. This extraordinary lady touched my heart, she remains in my mind. A lady that mentioned I should have the Mother of the world award while she was out camping with her severely brain injured daughter and has been caring for her for 24 years. I explained that you're the Mother who deserves an award. As much as her story is extremely sad, has changed her life, her family's life, she's been giving her daughter more then anyone else would. Life. Experiences regardless of her health situation. This woman is amazing and so caring, regardless if it's her daughter or not, she dedicated her life to care for her. We hugged each other. I was really touched and honored to hear her story and what her daily life entails. This is a woman that will be fondly remembered in my heart forever. She might not know this but while she shares her life, she is creating changes within others. It's a reminder that within a split second life can change forever. To remind us to live every day as if it were our last. To continue living, experiencing regardless of any handicap, continuing fighting if we're ill. To remember that if we're having a difficult day, others have it more difficult with a smile. To take one day at a time, enjoy life even through the trials. Not only did we camp in a pocket of sunshine, we were able to leave valuing life. It was a great camping trip with our friends, our children had a great time with their children and we left even more empowered by being reminded we can and should experience daily life as if it were our last with nothing stopping us! Which makes me question, "What does tomorrow bring?"

Friday, July 15, 2011

I'm begging.......



Rain.............well like many others I've been obsessing over the weather station. Contemplating and it seems that I've been struggling with decisions this week. To camp or not to camp? I know we're not made of sugar, we won't melt away in the rain although when you have many children stuffed into one trailer, there can be a problem. There is not enough space to stretch let alone bumb scoot! It's me and eleven of our children! My husband will occasionally visit. I'm hoping to last 10 days! Our children are extremely excited! So as the excitement level around here escalates, I have one day to pack er up! Onward towards more memories.......please sun...... shine! Please...........


Photo above - last year.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Today's surprise - Creativity!





















Do you ever pack at picnic, get into your vehicle and drive? AND you have no idea where you are going? Leisurely you stop for gas, purchase some slushes and head into a direction of surprise?! This is what I do with our children quite often. Destination unknown here we come. Today it was Cameron Lake. What's interesting about Cameron Lake is there is speculations that a sea serpent lives in the deep depths of these waters. Is it true? I don't believe it's been proven but who knows what creatures we haven't yet discovered. Every time we either swim or drive by, the topic of conversation is the Loch -ness Monster. Cameron Lake seems to have many stories behind its eery presence such as crashing planes found years later with the bodies still en tack because of its cold and deep atmosphere. I personally don't know any truth behind this lake. It's just a beautiful spot to spend the day. The lake is clear and clean. It's a spot where you can relax without crowds. In fact, today we were the only ones there until 2pm! It was peaceful and our children had plenty of fun together catching and releasing bullhead fish, floating around and swimming. Our twelve and eleven year old spent hours building a hut made out of sticks, bark, pine cones and leaves. Beside his house was a little fire and a bridge. I love witnessing our children having and developing their imaginations through art. In our home we have pictures taken and blown up of what I call, designed art. You can find shell village pictures in our bathroom that I did during a hike. I suggested to our children to continue to build their villages and I will take pictures so we can blow them up to display in our home. (Some that are shared above) I've often written about how important it is to our children to see their pictures hanging on our walls, it is equally important and if not more so displaying their art work. We have their art masking our kitchen cabinet and now their creations framed and displayed forever for all to see. Our journey today really wasn't anything about Cameron Lake nor swimming, it was about creativity. As their Mother, I was impressed. I explained that this represents art, your thoughts designed this and people like me display it in our homes. (Not just because you're my children) When I look at this little house built of sticks, it automatically brings me thinking, "Little house in the Prairie" There can or could be always a story behind imagination. So today I didn't surprise our children, they surprised me with their creativity!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Simple



We've been busy with summer day trips and getting ready for our attempt to camp. So if my posts aren't being written, I apologise.






I do have a couple "cute" child comments I continue to chuckle about! Our littlest son pinches his eye shut with his two fingers to make a wink and says, "One eye, one eye"






Then our five year old comes running out of the bathroom yelling, "Someone pooed cookies Mom!" It was leftover cereal.






When our littlest daughter first met her Grandfather, she kissed him over and over again. He was fishing for months and just returned, they met for the first time July 7th.






Then to top the day, watching about four of our sons laughing hysterically while playing a Pyramid Lego game together.






Witnessing our children's interaction with each other keeps me smiling. We were at a lake where a day camp arrived. The day camp kids threw tons of sticks and garbage into the water. Our children decided to clean up the lake taking out the garbage on their own. It was their own idea working together like a task force team!






This is all we need to witness to make a day brighter. (The simple things) It makes me smile knowing that our children have each other, today, tomorrow and hopefully always.









Have a great summer building memories!





















Sunday, July 3, 2011

Our Young Country!








Canada Day was a group event between two families. There was twenty one of us in total enjoying the BC Forest Discovery Centre! There was live entertainment, crafts, a tattoo station, a bouncy castle, a concession plus the in and outdoor museum and multiple train rides. We were definitely the largest group there! As the day progressed our children ventured off to interests of their own, played tag and rode old farm tractors. It was an excellent and relaxing day. Our littlest daughter enjoyed the live music and danced with her fans! Her fans were our friends daughters, they just love and enjoy her. Our littlest son has a few fans of his own too, he really enjoys one of their daughters and asks repeatedly when she will be playing again! It's SO cute! This museum's collections is over 5000 artifacts that include steam locomotives, chainsaws and heritage buildings. It was very interesting for the most of us. In the above first picture they were making decorative hooks out of old horseshoes by heating the metal over a coal fire and forming it while it's red hot. Then they would heat it again and brushed it with a brass wire brush while melting the brass to create a gold-ish finish. The finishing details was a lacquer finish to prevent rusting and corrosion. The right above picture was one of our sons on a old farm tractor, there was several different makes and models inside this open barn. There was also an old thrashing machine (combine) that separates the wheat from the straw. This thrashing machine was in the best shape we've ever seen. I'm guessing it was built back in the 1920's. It's interesting on how the quality of equipment was built back then (built to last) and today the quality of equipment needs to be replaced every five years! My husband was really interested in the Forest Museum because he grew up on a farm. The two tractors he liked, he used to drive when he was a small boy. (nine years old) He had a job driving the grain wagons back and forth through the fields collecting grain from the combines and bringing it back to the elevator. Amazing how different our pasts already are from our children's! Our Canada Day was not only fun, it was an educational event!
After the Forest Museum we were invited back to our friends house for dinner where we had a BBQ. Hamburgers, Chicken burgers, Hot dogs, salads, chips and ice cream for dessert! Even sauteed mushrooms and onions! The dynamics of our friends are other adoptive families and it's always amazing when we get together witnessing our children interact. There is never issues, squabbles or arguments. I would have never thought that our life would consist of mainly adoptive family friends when we started adopting. Who else would invite us for dinner?! (Ha ha)
It's really a nice stress free atmosphere when we're with other adoptive families. It must be because we all understand each other, our children accept and understand each other and ultimately we don't need to explain ourselves as a family. We just are what we are happily socializing with each other. No judgements, opinions, just a bunch of supportive friends! It sure makes time spent feel good with people like this in our life! We wouldn't celebrate Canada Day any other way! A fact that my husband pointed out; Canada is 144 years old! YES we all know this and COKE is 125 years old! Wow, shows how young Canada really is!