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Friday, June 29, 2012

"A proud moment"





The prom parade and walking the red carpet..............Congratulations again to all the graduates of 2012!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Next stage

Our second graduate. Our eighteen year old son's commencement ceremonies was emotional. I didn't think I would be emotional at all being that I come across as this tuff crusted cookie. What it was for me was a sense of relief. After all those years of different challenges, struggles and that constant push for our son to graduate is finished. One more child finishing a milestone. I don't expect all our children to graduate but I do try my hardest for them too. I am on them daily about the importance of education. About the importance of finishing school because even if they don't continue with their education, it shows their future employer that they have the dedication and responsibilities to finish something. I looked around at hundreds of proud parents, many were crying. Which made me really bite my tongue. Weird on how pain will stop my tears from flowing. You would think that it would be the other way around, biting my tongue should make me cry more. As a parent with adult children I've learned to let go. It's their life, not mine. My husband and I did the best we could as parents throughout their years and now it's our young adult child's turn making their own choices, spreading their wings and moving on. So not only was commencements a proud moment, a finished milestone, a sense of relief, it was that moment I knew another one of our children is moving on. Not only that, I knew many of the graduates. They grew up with our son like most of their friends do. I remembered what each and every child looked like years ago. I remembered how our sons friend was so darn cute coming over to play......and there they all were graduating together, separating ways and this fase of life that was once a child is now over. I wondered what friend would stay in touch. I hoped that all their futures were filled conquering their endless dreams. Mastering whatever life might throw at them. I wished health and happiness. It was a moment as a Mother I will never forget. We've had a very busy week with multiple appointments one after another, it seemed like endless fieldtrips and school activities, we celebrated a birthday, worked hard to make camping happen, organized and planned a birth family visit, going over homeschooling for September - you name it, we're accomplishing it. We've been rearranging bedrooms, cleaning and happily throwing away the old and in with the new. I was feeling like a yo-yo doing cartwheels then getting tangled with a few sicknesses that surfaced but to end; sobbing over one of the first biggest moments for our son was not only that relief but a release for me. I went with my oldest son and his beautiful girlfriend, my stepfather and mother, my oldest already graduated daughter now in University, one of my friends that I've known since our now graduated sons met in kindergarten. Her daughter and husband. Both our sons were graduating together. She cried. For her, this was her last baby graduating and moving on. He's going traveling. She's now a Mother questioning, "What is she going to do now?" I don't exactly have that problem because we have many more children but I felt for her. It's a huge change, an empty nest. For us, our two oldest sons are moving this summer, we might not be empty but whenever anyone leaves, it's a change. I remember when our oldest daughter first left. When we were moving back from up North, she wasn't returning with us. I remember packing her up and I watched her drive away. I didn't cry until she was gone. Reality really doesn't set in until everything is all said and done. Believe me, (even with having many children) when one leaves; there is a different type of silence. Life is bitter sweet. We learn to bite the bitter and welcome the sweeter side of changes. I look at the rest of our children growing, we celebrated another birthday Wednesday evening (where I can fit it in) and while watching, I know my time with most of them is short. My promise has always been, "I will do the best I can as I know how as a parent" From there; when they move on, it's up to them to guide their life. I learned that my opinion is only valid when it's asked for. "Mmmm" I sigh......it's true. I was talking with a woman Wednesday night, a woman that councils adult woman and she was amazed on how grounded I was. Her son is friends with our son - so it wasn't a counceling session but merely an observation on her part. Immediately I agreed. In fact I am very grounded. Very content. Very peaceful inside. She asked me, "How are you SO grounded?" I said, "I've learned not to jump on anyone elses boat" "I find an hour a day for myself" "I always tell myself, it's not about me" "I read and I write" "I don't judge" "I've been learning to accept what is and I believe that everything happens for a reason" SO she left feeling pretty good, I left feeling assured I knew what I was talking about. lol I know I ventured off with my writing again from adult children moving on, to feeling very solid as a person but that's exactly it......that was my week. Each and every day was busy with different scenarios, it had its ups and downs and here I am. Emotionally I'm proud and somewhat relieved, somewhat feeling that bitter sweet but I'm excellent at the end of it all. I know so many graduates this year and I do wish all of them the best within their futures. It's just the beginning of a new chapter and it will be nice to just sit back and witness their growth in their next stage of life. Congratulations Graduates of 2012 and Congratulations to our second oldest son on accomplishments well done!

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. - Steve Jobs.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nutsamawt




WOW! That's all I can say. Today we went on The Singing Coho First Nations Canoe. It was AWESOME! I felt so honored to be a part of this short Tribal Journey. The singing coho does group and family journeys to different islands, for day trips or even weeks on end trips! Canoeing such as this was challenging. It reminded me of hiking except on water. Everyone in the canoe represents a family and we learned how to stroke together, work together against all odds. Today was a short version of what could be an awesome ten day journey, paddling through tide, wind and different weather conditions reaching each individual destination to camp. When the wind was blowing towards us, we paddled harder, encouraging each other to keep paddling. It was my type of fun! I like challenges. I like the idea that there is something on the otherside, or on the top of a mountain or across the water - it's just rewarding getting there. Some of our boys enjoyed themselves too.....they paddled with all their strength, the harder we paddled, the faster we became. When I asked them would they do it again, it was "YES" Today they wind picked up and for saftey conditions, we had to paddle back to land or we would have ended up farther then anticipated. On land we counted, 1,2 and 3 and we all picked up and moved the canoe twenty steps, then again and again until it was at a place for loading. We all worked together without complaints. We learned that the canoe is a place where you not only learn to work together, you learn about yourself and others along the journey. "Nutsamawt" was said, which means everyone working together as one. Two eagles were in a tree above, it was like they were cheering us on. The whole day was absolutely wonderful. A family is not blood related, it is not just the people that live in your home, it really IS the people that work together, that support and that is there for each other. Another day to clarify that for me and people think our family is large......you bet yah! It's larger then anyone thinks! Nutsamawt!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

"Everything happens for a reason"

We had an excellent weekend. Two of our daughters went to camp, one of our friends had a birthday (Happy Birthday!) I visited another friend that has been helping me with ideas for our children's homeschooling program come September. My step dad is back from fishing, it's his birthday today! (Happy Birthday) He broke his arm and is in a full arm cast but he's home safe and sound! We were invited to another adoptive parents house who I've been eager to meet. I've known of her for over a decade, our paths crossed very closely at times but it wasn't until now, our families emerged. It was a nice evening. I was able to hold a beautiful little baby. (It's not very often I get to hold babies) So it was really nice. All our children had fun. Our oldest son who's turning 19 joined us too! I appreciated that immensely. This weekend was full of events.... a weekend that I would say, "Everything happens for a reason" Everything we did moved smoothly into place. Even my dads broken arm is a sign to retire from commercial fishing and he is. As I was traveling at one point throughout this weekend I stopped in at this art store. I've never been there but was compelled to stop. I'm in the midst of re-decorating somewhat and I fell in love with some canvas art. I was offered an excellent deal and instantly I purchased art that I was not thinking of buying within that particular moment. Sometimes my days just happen like that. Like meeting people that become significant in our lives. That's where I really believe in the saying, "Everything happens for a reason" Usually those reasons unfold later even if we like it or not.....at the end of every path there is an answer. We learn and experience, we live, we love, we feel and we find answers. God or no God whatever any ones belief system is, there is a presence of hope, faith and behind every path of "everything happens for a reason" is a higher power showing us our way. I do believe regardless on how hard or easy our path can be; on the other end is all the answers onto why. I've been collecting elephants lately for no reason. I'm not someone that fixates on objects or believe they have any significant value to them or to change our life. We do collect and present our home in a multi-cultural way so that I hope everyone feels welcome entering. So now that I have elephants in our home, I wanted to find out their meaning and not just that they're a big beautiful animal that interacts with humans in the most profound way but symbolically they represent strength, honor, stability and patience. We took some of our children to an imax that rescued baby elephants and it was amazing on how this large animal is kind, loyal and on how it communicates with us. They're wonderful. (No wonder I'm drawn to them) Anyways - oddly, I'm not exactly sure where I'm going with this post except that it seems everything we do in our life, entering stores, meeting people, reading a book, re-decorating, going fishing (breaking an arm) - I find it's all defining our futures. Every little pinch is happening for a reason.......I wonder if you ever thought about life that way? Today when you awoke, did you think about whatever you do today will change your life tomorrow?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

"Our own boats"

Our last two weeks of June are packed. Then we are completely booked until October. Amazing how that happens. Now that summer is here, I won't be blogging as much........we are an active traveling family experiencing as much as possible. There is no time to contemplate about what we're going to do, we just go and do it. Although it doesn't matter what we do, where we are or who we're with, there is always a child or two complaining about their boredom. We've had comments from our children's friends that state, "They want to live here" Some of our children are bored and are bored absolutely everywhere. What it is is that children and teenagers have no idea what they have, they have no appreciation and it HAS to be greener on the other side. I've always said to some of our friends that we should switch up children - we did do that months ago for a few days. I'm talking about for a week or more. If the child doesn't have attachment issues, I suspect they would want to go back home because the boredom exists everywhere. Everywhere inside their own mind. Another thought of mine was bringing some of our children hiking. I love the outdoors, I love hiking. I know I will receive massive amounts of complaints stating, "This is boring" "This is gay" "Are we there yet?" "Can we go home?" "I'm hungry" "I'm thirsty" We might have a few tears, a sprained ankle, an accident because pooping in your own homemade hole isn't too appealing. We might have a few arguments, fights with setting up a tent - oh boy - this doesn't sound like a great idea for me, especially when I love hiking. I find it very relaxing and peaceful BUT I would give up all that serene atmosphere to teach our children appreciation. A good week outdoors back packing with no electronics, more work and the solitude of "just us" would scare most but I'm into trying anything to develop some brain improvements. I also have developed my own 747 jet, I can hear it go by and my mind remains clear of every negative, argumentative and complaining word. It's like a form of a light switch, turning on and off when needed. I'm sure most parents can become besides themselves with the constant mind boggling spew that flys out of some children's mouths. It creates tension, headaches and stress within the parents brain. Well......remember that 747 works and I heard one time......"don't jump on their boat" with a child on a arguing rampage. State your piece or peace, leave it at that and let your jet plane fly by. I just took nine of our children to the dentist, one in which vomited all over, down the shirt, the pants, the running shoes, down the hallway - right into the garbage can that was located next to the toilet. (Go-figure) In the hair, hands, on the arms - it was truly amazing actually. We were there for three hours. After that, we had time to quickly come home, have lunch, (one had a bath) and move on to our next appointment that involved ten of our children. The dreaded shots. As you can tell - our last few weeks are genuinely jammed full of everything so we can somewhat relax in the summer. So long story longer, while we were in the health unit getting shots one after another, one of our children decided that it was the best time to "try" and argue about receiving the shot. The nurse afterwords asked me, "How do you remain so calm?" For a moment I did have to question that myself as she didn't realize what happened prior - mopping up vomit throughout a whole office and who knows what else because I forgot by then......lol......but my answer was and always is, "I don't jump in their boat" It's one of the simplest but meaningful statements I've ever heard that makes a huge difference in my life as a Mother. It takes time inside our minds to build different strengths. It's like meditating. We choose on how to deal with situations, either it can become completely chaotic in our mind which develops more chaos OR we as the adult, state our piece or peace, then let the 747 jet take over. Practice makes perfect and for me, I've practiced this for years and years. (Not that I'm perfect) But usually I'm calm and I'm on my own boat. Now this is where I get back to my idea of back packing (hiking) with some of our children. I have this idea of not only transplanting that appreciation part into their brains because they don't have a toilet or garbage can to do their business but to teach them to try and control their own boredom. Developing appreciation, connecting with themselves, listening to their inner side that is completely ignored, handling stress, tension and learning that life isn't boring. What can I do if I'm bored? What can I do on my own boat? If my idea fails while out in the bush at least when they arrive home, they will have some appreciation and less moments of boredom for awhile. They will have some memories, and if anything, something more to complain about. Either way, it's not only an idea to do with children or teenagers, it's a great way as a parent to establish your own brain control. (I find the outdoors with solitude is the best medicine and where most of my thoughts become a reality) How are we going to deal with the constant argumentative child? OR whatever scenario that will sneak up..........you know, I can complain about a lot of things.........and wholey cadoodle hoppers is there some bizarre things but it is all in our upstairs thoughts, feelings and making that decision for ourselves and our children on who's allowed on what boat. If that makes any sense. "We are in control what rocks inside ourselves" - me. 

 "Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle" - Helen Keller

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Playgrounds need to adapt more to special needs

We bring our children to different parks and playgrounds quite often. Tonight I was strolling through our local playground observing the equipment children play on. It's great if they have the use of their legs and the physical mobility to play appropriately. I honestly have to say that for our daughter who is wheelchair bound and struggles with balancing her mobility in all ways is limited in our area for recreation. The swings we use is designed for a baby. There is no back support. So while the rest of our children played, I started thinking about the improvements that should be made for children that are limited. Playgrounds need swings with full back support and a five point harness system. There is these little snails and squirrels that the children can get on and ride but there is no snail that a child can sit in that supports balance. Even at our local Elementary School I've heard that the new playground was designed for wheelchair bound children. Having a child in a wheelchair, I don't think so. I mean it's accessible but there is nothing for our daughter to do! There is these newly designed merry go-rounds that they can sit in and climb up on. Our daughter likes sitting in there but it's unsafe because of her balance. So as it goes around, she can fall down. Falling is an issue as she also can't protect herself like the rest of our children can. She's more likely to have an injury before any other child. So as I was studying this new designed merry go round at our local Elementary school I thought that there should be welded permanent seating with back support and even simple lap belts to hold children in place. I know there was a huge amount of money spent on this new little wheelchair accessible playground at our school but it's useless to our daughter. Like our community playground.....it's complete sand. You can not pull a wheelchair through there. Nor would I because there is nothing for her there to do. They do have one access for wheelchairs but there's nothing really for her stimulation. She can play x and o's with these rolling blocks approximately her height. We are in the midst of looking at our yard which is completely un-landscaped, rock driveway extra. It will become a problem as our daughter ages pushing her wheelchair through rocks. Then what is she going to do? We are fortunate that it is not landscaped because we do plan on making it wheelchair friendly in many ways. We want her to experience and to be stimulated. At our local playground I think there should be more paved pathways leading to some fun recreation type equipment. I was doing some research and there is amazing equipment out there that I've never seen before. (Not around here anyways) Our daughter needs to be challenged just like the rest of the children hanging from monkey bars. I know when we can, we will have our own playground equipment installed and we won't have to worry about what playground offers what. I know playground equipment is expensive and especially when it's uniquely designed but it's very sad when the rest of our children are playing and we're searching for something our daughter can do. Here is some examples I would like to see on a playground.

Wheelchair Merry Go-Round
 Water table
More exciting challenges

Wheelchair swing
FUN equipment that is wheelchair accessible

Swings that offer more support!

Now I know everything has to do with finances but I priced out the wheelchair accessible swing seen above and it can be purchased under a thousand dollars for a community playground. This seems reasonable to me. I know for us, we would be there all the time. Our daughter doesn't look forward to going to our local playgrounds because there isn't much for her to do. When they say it's wheelchair "accessible" ok - sure it is but who cares, there is nothing to do once you're there. Also once you're an adult and still have mobility issues, why isn't there adult swings that accommodate that? I have never seen wheelchair bound adults at the park and now I know why. In every park there should be at least one because adults like to swing and play too! So we're not moving and I am going to address these issues with our city. I ran our beach boardwalk tonight too....located near our playground. A beautiful area and well built for wheelchairs although the access to the water just stops, immediately drops off with a blunt stop with the pavement. I thought to myself, why can't it be smoothed out, perhaps a platform of pavement built so the individual in the wheelchair can access that water safely? I thought all that work for what? To sit and look at the ocean? Well we could do that on the boardwalk too. So my wheels are turning as usual. My brain never stops and it was an enlightenment for even me to witness not much for our disabled children. What gets me is our cities look beautiful......very well landscaped and maintained. I bet that costs millions so why not better our local playgrounds so every child can be a child? Not only has adoption been my mission for many many years, it's now creating a happy, friendly and truly a real accessible fun playground for special needs children that actually challenges and stimulates where they will want to return. Forget pushing their wheelchair up to play x's and o's over and over again - boring. Stay tuned, I will let you know how far I go with this.

"Challenges exist everywhere, adoption should move forward"

My sister in law is adopting again, they're also a large family with several different special needs. She called me about a child they're interested in that is located on the adoption bulletin board. A child of many that more likely will be in foster care for the rest of his/her life. She explained to me that her adoption worker mentioned because of the child's diagnoses the likely hood of adoption is harder to find. This is a child that will also thrive within a large family with many siblings. The stimulation just from having multiple siblings is a miracle within itself. Of course I'm saying, "Adopt" During our conversation it was quite funny because it was also explained that this particular child has twenty minute tantrums frequently. My sister in law asked her worker, "IS that it!?" The same reaction I would have asked because we have the experience to either deal with the possible scenarios or eliminate them. I don't look on the adoption bulletin board anymore but most of our children were found on there. (http://www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/adoption/bulletin_external/) Their identification is private and there is no pictures available. It's only a quick simple summary describing some of the needs the child/children have and if you become interested, you then contact your adoption worker. From what I understand most areas don't agree (Ministry adoption offices) or have some issues regarding large families adopting, (well fortunately for my sister in law), she is in an area that the workers believe large families are indeed the families to place children with. My sister in law's worker we know fairly well and is one of those amazing adoption workers that understand and believe it's not about how large a family is, it's about placements that work. This is where I wanted to write and touch base on larger families. Yes - again. As everyone knows because our numbers are higher, we do have more challenges and we will have different occasions throughout raising children that are basically far out in left field. This doesn't mean we can't handle it or that the family unit is neglected or influenced in someway because of one out of control child. In fact from experience it makes the family unit stronger and tighter. It builds the family base with experience and therefore we can handle much more then say another family with less challenges. For the challenging child, everyone including that child is being dealt with accordingly. I know some families that can't adopt because they have a child out of control. I understand that a new placement might not be the best idea but being the devils advocate, children need placements and not allowing an adoption because of a challenging child in or out of the adoptive parents home is saying what exactly? There is challenging episodes everywhere and including in foster homes. The waiting child will experience challenging moments regardless and if it's discussed where our focus should be.....for example; it should be directed to the already challenging child instead of a pre-placed new adoptive child, I disagree. We have had our moments, we deal with our children in and out of our home accordingly. I find that the "out of control" children seem to power and control the family and personally, the family shouldn't be controlled, the parents shouldn't be controlled by any behaviours but should move forward positively and yes, that could be with another adoption placement. Families big or small will have situations, why would that justify waiting children loosing out on a forever family? If the family unit is coping well.....continue to move forward. I decided to write about his because I personally know other excellent good families wanting to adopt again and can't for either having a challenging situation (and situations are going to happen) or because they're too large and it's sad to me personally to know that potentially waiting children are missing out on a family. The future should always look and believed to be bright. Believe that with every challenge there's an experience and with that experience there is strength to deal with the next one. Our family I find strong, very well connected and we wouldn't be that way without our challenges. Embrace what is.......and I think children should be placed for adoption regardless the size of a family, regardless of some situations that exist because it's better of their unknown futures. Moving from foster home to foster home, aging out of the system without a family is worse then being in a family with challenges I think. The biggest challenge for a child is not knowing their place in this world, not knowing where they will go for Christmas and who to call when there's a real situation not the little ones growing up and along the way. I encourage and will always advocate for children to be placed with larger families and within families that have already challenges with their children because it's better then the alternative like I explained above. We adopt because we want to make a difference, because we want to take on the challenges and hopefully see the brighter side when their adults. When our oldest son didn't want us as his family anymore, I always explained to him, "Yes you will" After his two years of challenging behaviors, he's home and he will personally state to anyone that he loves us and we are his family. I am his Mother. We dealt with his particular situation accordingly and our family is a stronger unit because of it. One thing children are, they're resilient. I wouldn't change anything......because with any challenging experience, not only does it make us stronger as parents, it shows the rest of our children how we dealt with it. They need to witness life. Children will experience and why not experience in a forever home with a family instead of waiting for a family in multiple foster homes with other challenging situations. Again, I can rant, ramble and repeat myself (I do that a lot verbally anyways) and merely this is my opinion that has absolutely no warrant when it comes to adoption decisions. I'm just so happy to hear that another child will be adopted into a large family with special needs, with challenges because it's better then the alternative. And I'm going to be an Auntie again! To conclude we're not looking to adopt again although if there wasn't so much controversy over large or complicated families, we wouldn't say "Never" either and especially knowing that we can offer forever to a child with special needs. What I see is some of these severely compromised children will experience more challenges without adoption NOT..... being adopted into a per-say challenging family. But I'm not a professional, so what do I know? I just know the growing number of children needing families continue to grow and adoptive families could become far and few between so they (even us) shouldn't be eliminated for technicalities and procedure following because there is no perfect family or situation. Definitely leaving a child/children in foster care waiting for that perfect situation isn't the answer either. What it boils down to is there is no right or wrong decision, sometimes for the future of a child, adoptive families that have been successfully through the adoption process should adopt regardless the size or challenges that exist.

(The adoption bulletin board link is there, run your mouse on the black area and it will highlight itself)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

"Another parent day!"

Father's Day. A day to celebrate our Fathers. I'm not sure if this story is factual or not although throughout my life I've explained if I were to be a boy, I would have been named after my father. "Gary" Well....it just so happens I was born a girl and named "Carrie" so in fact I was named after my father regardless of my gender. I remember my Dad coming home after work every day in his hard hat. He worked decades for a logging company near our home. My sister and I would always go fishing, hunting and camping with our father. He was a hard working provider. He was my only father for half my life and then my step father joined our family. Also a hard working fisherman who dedicated himself adding two of us girls into his life. I recognize both these fathers as my Dads today. Fathers can consist of birth fathers, step fathers, adoptive fathers either legally and/or fathers that are there emotionally and physically for a child. I believe Father's Day should generally recognise who's been there for a child. I know it must be difficult for some fathers during this day because they know in their heart they have a child somewhere.......but a father is someone who has dedicated themselves to a child. I feel for my ex-husband as he's a father to two of our children. He lost all those years and continues to loose future years because he hasn't and doesn't make an effort. I find this sad although he knows he had chances and Father's Day for him is merely only a reminder of what he lost and continues to loose. Any day that celebrates can be difficult for some for many reasons and sometimes reasons that aren't necessarily their fault. So I do wish everyone a "Happy Father's Day" but most importantly I wish the fathers "their day" that have dedicated their life to a child. In my life, that is my father Gary, my other father Stanley and of course my husband who definitely dedicates his life daily for all his children. A father that works continuous to make every day better for our children. He has built our home, (rooms for every child) he has made our yard a play land, he spends 95% of his time devoting himself to make sure our children are happy, healthy and safe. He loves and sheds tears. I witness all this on a daily basis and to me, that is a father. As my children's mother, I feel very confidant that they have a father like my husband when I'm away. He's genuine. My list would be long naming wonderful fathers, they know who they are. (Shawn, George, Dave, Darryl, Doug and millions more!) I wish you all a wonderful day and if there isn't a father to celebrate with, recognise the parent that's in your life because days like these are for people who parent and love in general. "Happy Father's Day Parents!"

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"When the time is right, the time is right"

The below post was written back in June 2012. I'm re-posting it because Sept 23 some of us are leaving for a week. It's been a surprise we've hidden for months and now my thoughts and written words have become a reality. Our first group of children don't even have a clue until we aboard BC Ferries. Our destination will be revealed when we return! I wish a great start to the fall season everyone and may all your dreams come true too!

I don't like endless promises. One hard and expensive aspect about having a large family is traveling. We can travel anywhere by vehicle and usually our destinations are either free of cost or a minimal price. Although lately I've been thinking about traveling, and having our children experience more. Experience traveling parts of our world. I love traveling. If I could I would home school absolutely everyone and just travel the world with our whole family. Which leads me writing about my thoughts lately on how to afford travel, develop more memories and bring these traveling thoughts into reality. Our family ages range from age 4-22. There is also a wide variety of different special needs. I don't believe special needs should restrict experiences but it definitely highlights on what a child will or will not do cognitively and/or physically. Also with such a wide range of ages, everyone is into something either different or our younger ones aren't old enough to actually appreciate and remember whatever the event is. For example, Disneyland has long lineups and some of our children don't have the patience nor are tall enough to enjoy the ride or attraction. We would have to split up regardless according to age and special need. I want our children to enjoy, experience and appreciate which means to carefully think about where, how and when a trip should be considered accordingly for each of our children. This is where a light bulb went off in my forever turning brain with the help of a friend of mine. (She actually turned on the switch) Of course I also have to convince my brain that it's an amazing and practical solution. My husband and I will take turns with 3-4 of our children throughout our years traveling with just a few at a time. This way, it's affordable and it's age appropriate. The beauty of this is there will be more one on one attention, our children can experience to their fullest without complications, we will be able to afford and make traveling experiences worth while sporadically throughout our children's years. We do absolutely everything as a large family and I think breaking us up in chunks once in awhile will be not only a healthy break but the highlighted solution on the "how" of experiencing our world respectfully and financially. Being a large family works but you need creativity sometimes to make some experiences happen and successful. I did worry about the jealousy and perhaps that left out feeling that some of our children might have. With careful explanation, and starting a tradition now, our children will understand that their turn is coming. I'm also not writing that we won't ever travel as a large family, I'm merely touching on an idea that will be successful according to age. When the time is right, the time is right. I also find this new enlightenment exciting because we will make childhood dreams come true. Just recently we applied for some of our children's passports, eventually we will have them all and what was virtually impossible will become a reality. Every family is uniquely different. What might be the normal isn't the normal within another family. We're definitely not any ones normal but we always strive to develop those childhood memories that need to be in place so when our children are parents, that cycle continues on. Memories is something you can't take away. I thank my parents for giving me those fundamental skills and childhood memories because now as a parent, it's our turn to create what will always be forever. Memories.

"There is a garden in every childhood, an enchanted place where colors are brighter, the air softer, and the morning more fragrant than ever again" - Elizabeth Lawrence



"Bring their world to light".......Me

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Inner bottle

I'm finding out I get silently frustrated. I'm also a person that is very easy going, even with any silent frustration I might carry, I keep it zipped tight into my inner bottle. It's one of those long "sighs" then I cap it. One thing I'm good at is sharing my thoughts and feelings in writing for all to judge. lol So here we go.....a few "pet peeves" of mine that happen lots. (1) There is moments, blurps in time from adult strangers that will come, talk and hug some of our children. A complete conversation will happen while I'm standing right there. I wait and wait patiently for an introduction. Nope. Afterwords I will ask, "Who was that?" I usually get a "I don't know" but why wouldn't these adults introduce themselves? If I was talking to someones child, I would introduce myself and also explain why and how I know them. Seems quite logical to me. For instance tonight at a function we attended it happened not once but twice. The second time I had this look from the adult but with no introduction. Before I could even introduce myself she walked away. That's where my long "sigh" was capped into my inner bottle. (2) Every where we go, there is somebody asking, "Are they all yours?" Of course I say, "Yes, they are all mine" but the conversation doesn't stop there. "So... are you a foster home?" There goes my "sigh" again. In my mind I'm thinking.....I just did say they are all mine. So again I answer, "No, they are all mine" Then all of a sudden there is an awkward moment of silence. "Oh, so you're a foster parent" Oops there went my "sigh" again. My inner bottle is half full. "We adopted our children" (Which I might add; I don't like to state this in front of our children and people always ask in front of our children) But what gets me is, after I explain......I have been asked for a third time, "So you don't foster them?" In front of our children. I love to educate, that's one reason I have a blog. Honestly, there is dos and don'ts for questions and especially in front of children. Our children know they've been adopted but should it be asked in front of them, what if they didn't know? (3) Repeatedly I get questioned, "How do you do it?" I usually like that question because then I explain how dedication works. Then I add how important it is for organization, routine and structure. The "how do you do it" question doesn't stop there. Almost always followed after is, "No I mean, how do you do it financially?" Now my inner bottle is three quarters full. Big "sigh" with the answer, "I cook and bake seven days a week. We hire no one.......we budget, we bathe in our local rivers with one bar of soap" Ok, just kidding but the conversation is generally like that. What gets me is, I don't ask anyone ever their financial situation. "How do you do it with your two children? How can you afford that?" It might just be me being sensitively slightly frustrated but I personally think it's ignorant to ask individuals their financial situation. (4) "You MUST get help" someone will ask. "No, it's just my husband and I raising our family" This is where the silence is very awkward because I'm being looked at like I'm a liar. We were on the ferry one time and this lady said, "You must have hired help, Angelina Jolie does" Then she proceeded to ask, "Are you having a competition with Angelina Jolie?" In the midst of laughter I replied, "No, we don't have hired help and no we aren't in competition with Angelina and if we were, we're double in size" I left that conversation basically stating that I love Angelina Jolie and hopefully she'll catch up! (5) I completely understand people's interest, and their disbelief's. The fact is, it is hard to raise children and especially these days. There is two statements that top my inner bottle. Of course, I just "sigh" inside, perhaps smile, I might feel like educating that day or I will agree while moving along. The two that tops my bottle is, "It must be chaotic and/or you have your hands full" Sometimes I'm not sure what to say to this. We probably do have moments of chaos but mainly we don't recognise them because we live with it on a daily basis. So what defines chaotic anyways!? I can have chaotic mornings with my hair when I awake, in fact our children will laugh hysterically at me while my eyes are half shut and my hair looks like I've been electrocuted! Does chaos mean massive children running around and jumping on furniture while throwing stuffys at each other? Or is it a house that looks like it's been through World War 4?! Well.....nothing like that happens here except for my hair. That's why my answer always is, "Come see for yourself" The time bomb never explodes in our house. Now having my hands full...........well I have two hands consisting of 8 fingers and 2 thumbs so seriously!? Of course they are full but I can juggle! Not only can I juggle, I have an unlimited amount of patience because after all, I can deal with all these continuing questions on a daily basis too. I always tell my children (if they're present during questioning) that people mean well, they are just interested and wanting to be educated and that's why we're stopped frequently. What matters is, "You're my son/daughter" and that's what people need to know. Like the above picture, we're always above water floating.... occasionally hitting a wave or three.....but always coming out on top! AND I won't cork my inner bottle because it does need to release all those built up "sighs" once in awhile.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

"That will not happen to me"

"That will not happen to me" is an attitude we all have had in our life. We never expect an unwanted change. What's worse is that unwanted change happening to one of your children. We've experienced this with our second oldest son with his chronic pneumothoraxes resulting in lung surgery. His future now has decisions around his physical capacity in what he can do. He's noticed at age eighteen a shortage of breath which limits his ability to run. He will never scuba-dive and he will always be aware of how his chest feels during flights, during regular chest colds as he's susceptible to pneumonia. I remember one hour after reserving his plane ticket his lung collapsed for the first time. I knew exactly what happened after our son explained his symptoms. What's worse, we were hopeful that it was a sporadic one time deal but unfortunately he's chronically lung impaired. Eventually you accept what is but there's those moments where you believe, "that won't happen to me" happens. You can go from one day of bright sunshine to a day of utter despair, confusion and questioning why me? As a mother I have wished the pain onto myself, to take those emotional feelings and physical pain from my child and I have begged, "Please let me carry it all" No parent wants their child feeling any discomfort nor deal with anything beyond the normal. I find their pain is the worst for me. I hide my own feelings, I keep positive and strong but inside I'm afraid and wishing that God (whatever the higher force is) to grant me their suffering. Life is an obstacle course of highs and lows. Today seemed to be one of those lows. I'm not going to write about it. It's not about our second oldest son. I wanted to write mainly because life is forever changing. "That will not happen to me" attitude might resemble a positive outlook but I think we all should be living knowing that within one day, life can change unexpectedly. I personally think we should be aware that we're not invisible. If we were, I would definitely like to disappear and be an invisible spy some days. The more I experience, the more I want to experience. The more I want our children to know life isn't a game of roulette and life shouldn't be taken for granted. Health is a gift, life is a gift and this is why I write lots about how we should take care of ourselves emotionally and physically. How we should live life to the fullest, to experience, to travel and yes, to have compassion for one another. Because one day, regardless how many magic powers we might think we have; life will change as we know it. It will change for someone we know or love........and the worst part is, if that happens and we didn't respect and love that person, we will carry that in our heart. I can not imagine feeling the loss that some people have. This is why it's so important to love and experience now. I've been reading this book, "The happiness project" It's a book about one woman's life that was excellent, she was happy but one day she realized she wasn't thinking about the things that really mattered. She was already happy but it was her twelve month mission to be even happier. Every month she developed different goals. For example: quit nagging, take time to be silly, go to sleep earlier - many different simple resolutions. Eventually she learned to appreciate more and amplify the happiness that already existed in her life. I'm enjoying this book, I find it inspirational and regardless if you're already happy and appreciating life, this book can help you enhance what you already have. If you're not interested in reading books and perhaps I've lost you already (Ha ha) basically just start writing down your own tips that you believe will enhance yourself, your family and anyone that circulates you. My blog features many of my self enhancements and ideas. Say "Hello" to a stranger daily, make an effort to hug tightly, declutter your physical and emotional life, make small realistic goals, make long term dream goals and change what isn't working to something that works. Don't say, "That will not happen to me" but believe that you can survive through it, if and when it does. Learn to let yourself cry. I will admit I don't cry often but I also need to realize that I don't have super powers either. To conclude as I can repeat and go on forever, live your best life possible for yourself and for everyone in it. Enhance and dedicate making it happier. It can change tomorrow without warning.

Update - 32 minutes Notch Hill round trip & 4km run!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

"Come out, attend and befriend!"

Today was another great day in meeting new adoptive families and getting together with families we are already friends with. The weather was extremely unpredictable but we were blessed with nice weather in our area! It was a nice potluck picnic on the beach. Every time our family leaves an event, our children are thanking us for the day. Any event we've either attended or hosted it's been pleasantly calm with the amount of children and their different special needs. The parents understand the diversity and if there is anything that is behavioural, we all understand. I can't express enough how wonderful adoption events are. If your children lack friendships within the "normal" society, there is plenty of friendships that include support and understanding within our adoptive community. I find as an adoptive parent having friends with other adoptive parents are not only a support, we can just be without explanations. My son above in green with his besty are two peas in a pod. It's so awesome watching these two play WITH a care in this world. This was developed through our adoption community. We care and support each other. How wonderful is that!? I would like to thank Cathy Gilbert, our Adoption Support Coordinator for our Island because she makes sure that every month there's something for everyone to attend. Either it's a picnic, a dinner, a support group or a workshop - she's always planting the seeds to help our adoptive families connect with each other. I remember the day fondly when Cathy and I first met.....she came over, we discussed our family and I signed some papers. Sound familiar? Signing papers!? lol Now here we are.......years later practically family. This is where I've written previously; not only has our family grown adopting children, it has grown within our adoptive community. I feel we're all family connected through our similar journeys. It's a wealthy feeling knowing we have so many individuals in our life that understand and genuinely love. SO come out, attend and give your family that feeling of acceptance they need.

July 22nd we are going to have a potluck dinner here. (Outside designed) This is in between our camping trips! So I do understand summer is completely crazy busy for most but if you can, set this date aside. Bring something to share, a bathing suit and towel for a wet and wild water balloon competition. (I am partaking in this game) The potluck is from 3 to 7pm.

The salad roll picture above is a platter I made today. I experiment with food. "Beware" Usually I make these with prawns inside although the ones above are featuring mango's. In previous posts I explained that I deleted over 200 posts a few years ago, those posts consisted of tons of different recipes I would make. Lately, actually hardly ever have I written about food or recipes that I make. I'm not exactly sure why that is but I do want to share the "Mango Salad Rolls" I made! Yum......for me I like taste, that explosion on my taste buds! SO these little puppies are not only satisfying to your taste buds, they are a healthy choice!

Mango Salad Rolls created June 1st at 10:30pm

Rice paper
Chopped romaine lettuce
Diced orange & yellow peppers
Minced fresh garlic cloves
Diced cucumbers
Grated cheese
Grated carrot
Diced mango's
Thai sweet red chili sauce

Basically heat water in a frying pan, add rice paper one at a time for a few seconds (until the paper becomes soft) remove and lay flat. Add all ingredients above into the middle of the rice paper, tuck in rice paper sides and roll tight. When you're making the night before, make sure you cover your salad rolls with a clean damp cloth or damp paper towel. You don't want your salad rolls drying out. Then cover with saran wrap.

My "motto" is to experiment and taste your own food. With food I can cook traditional but I love to create. Rice paper is designed for salad rolls I'm sure but it would be great with anything inside. Bon Appetite!

Now what's better then friends and food? Life's too short to answer that slowly! My parrot keyboard continues to write, "Come out, attend and befriend!"