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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Chasing Mavericks

I recently watched a movie based on a true story called Chasing Mavericks. Mavericks is the biggest waves on earth. A young boy survived his childhood with his alcoholic Mother that kept loosing jobs one after another, slept from hangovers and there was no stability, no meals prepared and in order for their bills to be paid, the boy worked through his schooling years. This courageous boy was mature beyond his years and had one passion, surfing. He had no father figure until he met his neighbor, a man that surfed mavericks. From there, their relationship became strong, supporting each other with many life challenges. The man with surfing experience taught the boy to become the first youngest to surf one of the World's biggest waves. I like movies and books that are real. This movie had many inspirational teachings within the film. Surviving loss, dealing with grief, emotionally fronting your fears, accepting, forgiving, following your passions and loving another as a father, as a son and moving forward. Unfortunately the end wasn't what I suspected but all throughout this movie I was reading between the lines. It was heart felt. Before even going I heard it wasn't that good.......but I enjoy going to the movies and I was going to make my own opinion about this film. I thought it was inspirational. Of course I can relate anything with adoption. For this boy, he grew up in conditions that weren't idealistic. He wasn't adopted although the relationship he had with the man turned into the father figure he needed. For the two of them, they connected as a family. During the movie I kept thinking, "Wow, this kid is amazing. Focused. Passion driven. A genuine good kid helping his alcoholic mother while steering away from any teenage influences that existed all around him" "He always kept positive" He was even bullied to an extent because he was powerfully driven inside to do what's right. He made good choices. I don't want to ruin the movie so I can't really go in depth any farther although I do forewarn you, it's a tear jerker. Even afterwords I was thinking that if our young teenagers and adults could read between the lines during a movie, it might inspire many different changes. Including parents that aren't parenting. I think this movie covered both sides. Then of course, what the movie was more likely really intended for was his success, triumph and my word again......dedication. Teaching that if you want something bad enough, you will work for it and believe in yourself to achieve it. The title Chasing Mavericks doesn't just mean chasing waves, it means chasing what you believe in, accomplishing and mastering all your odds along the way. I suggest pass along my blog link (as I always hope to inspire) or read/watch the movie at least. What I do think for sure is everyone has the thought of achieving, bettering themselves or believing that they the little engine that could, "I think I can, I think I can" but the difference is this boy had will, dedication which means work and he succeeded the mavericks. With anything in life......"anything".....we just can't think it. We not only have to believe it, we have to work towards it - prove it. Thoughts and outwardly speaking is just a beginning of what can be, action is a powerful sequence of steps that must be taken while adding ongoing dedication to succeed. Not easy. Life style changes aren't easy. Goals aren't easy. If it's a maverick, a mission or a change - the first question is, "How important is it to you?" Then decide what you need to do from there............and remember the "cliche" - "Actions speak louder than words!" Then turn those baby steps into successful miles. Start with a night out to the movies watching, "Chasing Mavericks"

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Happy Halloween & Happy Birthday Celebrations!

It was a pumpkin carving, seed roasting and dress-up birthday party weekend for our family. We ignored the rain pounding on our un-landscaped yard making mud puddles absolutely everywhere, instead inside our home was lit candles, the smells of garlic roasted pumpkin seeds and our living room was filled with Halloween costumes our children were trying on over and over. We played Halloween music and had a fun-filled Saturday having our own party! (Including a disco ball!) We did however venture out to one of our local haunted house events!  We spent hours carving eleven pumpkins. My husband and I were the supervisors while eleven of our children were gutting and carving their masterpieces. I won't was a mess with hours of clean up but for one day a year, our children get carving knifes and interestingly their creations came to life with a soft glow. (Seen Below) Including mine! (Seen above) Go figure it's a "adopt" mini pumpkin and I didn't have to fight over my pumpkin, I loved it's size! Years and years ago I enjoyed Halloween. We would decorate our home and I would dress up ALL day on Halloween but now I don't like the candy, I don't like the candy wrappers, I don't particularly like the "trick or treating" We do however continue for our children's memories. I have started a new tradition on Halloween. For dinner they receive something spooky. One year I made edible tortilla bowls that consisted of anything inside. Eggs, gummy worms, black licorice - whatever - it was in there for dinner. Then today (Sunday) our festivities continued with one of our sons having his birthday party at the bowling alley, all his friends were dressed up and it was the cutest few hours watching a group of eight year olds throwing bowling balls in their costumes! Then some of us that didn't attend the birthday party went swimming. For our sons Halloween birthday I've always tried to be creative with their food. Instead of hot dogs, it was mummy-dogs. This Sunday it was green spiders with big black legs for cupcakes! It was truly a fun weekend. Our house smelled delicious with the roasted pumpkin seeds and the finished pumpkins all lit up! All our children had their costumes on while holding their finished pumpkins posing for a picture. Another successful spooky year of eye goosing, pumpkin vomit and creepy crawlers.

The beginning

                                                                       The carving

                                                                     The spiders

The mummy's

The goblins

And then......

During the bowling party I teared. I was so lucky that I was the only parent there. There was six friends of my sons, plus five of my children attending. Our littlest daughter was one of them. She has Cerebral Palsy and currently doesn't walk. I wasn't sure if she could bowl or not but our host working there helped us out. Witnessing her participate, seeing her so happy with such enthusiasm was delightful. It made her day. It made my day. I had four of our sons handing her bowling balls one after another and she played straight for one hour. She screamed with excitement getting five strikes! I teared because not all places cater to children with mobility challenges and it was so inviting for our daughter to be there attending instead of just watching. I was very touched today and most importantly so was our daughter. The picture below was our daughter with her hands up screaming with bowling ball excitement! The world is hers!

The score!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

"What IF we didn't adopt?"

I've been thinking lately about our family. How it could have been so simple with having only three children. In fact, would have it been? I wonder if my three "birth" children would have been different regarding their personalities or how they feel about their life. I question where would we be now? Answering my questions truthfully, I doubt our three "birth" children's personalities would be different. Two of our sons are shy, and are clearly introvert. Our one daughter is completely career driven with her own opinions and explanations on how life should be. Two of our older children don't want children. They suggest it's because they have many siblings but I don't believe that.....I believe that they wouldn't regardless of having siblings or not. That's who they are. Our one son has always been unsociable but with saying that, he maintains a job (that involves people) he just finished lacrosse as a goalie, graduated and now is getting ready for his ski season. A young man that perhaps has struggled throughout his teen years with bouts of depression has clearly succeeded into a young adult making milestones. Our daughter is completely an extrovert, out-spoken and clearly on her own path which involves success. (money) Then we have our third birth child that I home-school, that is shy, quiet and reminds me a lot like his father. An easy child. Wow....two young adults moving on which would have left one birth child with no behaviors at all. For my two older birth children, their paths were laid out regardless because I left my first marriage. I did myself and them a favor. Do they have a better life? You betcha they do. Through our step-fathering struggles at first, they became my husbands children. Regardless of any situation, there is a transition period. Divorce, moving cities, schools to adoption placements - it's a life changing atmosphere we've lived and live. There is always negatives. Although the positives out weigh any negative that even myself can feel. I wouldn't change any of our choices throughout our years of different transition periods. What I have noticed is, our birth children (even if they don't want to admit it) have changed in several positive ways. Adoption has brought them many siblings, a life changing family. I've seen my birth children interact and accept their adoptive siblings into our family. Even as difficult as it was sometimes, I've seen that acceptance and interaction between brothers and sisters. Then there's been times where there's clearly sibling disputes, and sometimes the not understanding onto why our adoptive child would treat us horribly, makes adoption look like a mistake for birth members. There will always be the concerns, questions, and the unknowns which could develop into "what if we didn't adopt" but the reality is, we are all surviving together with some challenges from time to time questioning life. We would have questioned life and more likely complained about it without adopting children. That's what we do as human beings. So as I sit here contemplating what my life would have looked like - easy - I would have complained about it. Our birth children would have complained about it. The only difference is I would be working outside the home doing first aid, my husband wouldn't have started a home-based business, (he would also be working outside our home) we wouldn't be in dept with a big house and we would have less children to look after but I doubt it would have been any easier. Less challenges yes - easier - I believe life isn't meant to be easy regardless our paths. Living, developing our skills and experiences is what we're meant to do. For our children, that's what they're doing, learning, experiencing, and regardless if it's difficult at times or not, it's developing strengths and improvements within ourselves a long the way. So as we move forward as a larger family with many different transitions, we all will grow together, learn to know one another over and over with age and despite all our separate opinions about what we should look like, how we should be - we just will be the best we can be. I've stated this before, I don't separate our children into birth/adoptive labels unless I'm addressing certain topics. All our children are our children. I just wanted to touch base on the "what if we didn't adopt" and on how I feel what that would of looked like for our birth children, for myself and my husband. Concluding, if I can turn back time and do things differently, would I? No. I don't see how it would have been any better and/or any easier. What I "think"  for sure......personalities started from genetics, how we build and enhance them is on ourselves with time. Our family dynamics and surroundings is just a piece to our life puzzle. Our birth children wouldn't have had it any better, our adoptive children wouldn't be together as siblings - so if we didn't adopt - it WOULD have looked differently but not as positive as it does now.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

"Open your taste-buds!"

Lately I've been making tons of apple crisps and apple sauces. There is apples everywhere around here. I'm offering apples for snacks to keep the doctor away (well to get rid of the apples) The tips of my fingers feel tight with several abrasions from the apple peeler. I'm surprised I'm not dreaming about apples. The deer around here are extremely happy receiving the apple peels and cores on a daily basis. I'm going to share my apple crisp recipe that our children love.

Apple Crisp

Slice, dice (watch your fingers) and layer the bottom of your casserole dish with apples.
Add about 2 cups of brown sugar to your apples.

In a separate bowl, mix 2 cups flour, 2 cups white sugar (yes tons of sugar that makes children move) a great breakfast! lol Add a few shakes of salt, approx half a cup of cinnamon, mix 2 eggs into the dry mixture. Then add on top of the apples. Melt a half cup butter and pour on top. Bake at 400 for approx one hour. I also substitute apples using this same recipe consisting of any fruit. It's a great breakfast!

This is my time of year to smoke salmon. So my next task is smoking salmon. My husband and I work together as a team. He fillets and cleans the salmon while I prepared each half in a brine. The brine consists of coarse sea salt, brown sugar, pepper (chilli's) and garlic. I can't really explain the amount as it's by sight, feel and in moderation. A light layer of salt, a fine sprinkle of peppers, garlic throughout topped off with a coating of brown sugar. I layer the salmon and refrigerate for at least two-three days before smoking for another two-three days. I like my smoked salmon cooked like candy with tons of blasting flavor. Sometimes I switch up my brine and my smoked salmon every year comes out just a bit different. When I cook and especially with time consuming foods, I strive for perfection. It can be very upsetting when a weeks worth of work ends in disaster. I choose my salmon wisely as I find for any smoke salmon, the fish has to be a certain type. Sockeye is and will always be my first choice. Thankfully my Uncle is a fisherman and I usually have the supply to smoke every year.

My smoked salmon then becomes the main ingredient to my sushi I make at least once a month. It's a smoked salmon, avocado, sometimes green onion and red pepper roll with roasted garlic and chipotle dressing.  Sometimes I prepare it spicy depending on who's dining. Chipotle is one of my favorite flavors. I always add sesame seeds to the sushi rice. The seaweed paper (sushinori) is located in the inside of the roll. I'm very surprised having as many children as we have and everyone likes sushi. I love cooking, I love experimenting and mostly I love the fact that our whole family will experiment with their taste buds before saying they don't like something.

Now I better get cracking as I'm making a homemade sweet and sour sauce for dinner tonight. My homemade sweet and sour sauce consists of 2 cups ketchup, 2 cups brown sugar, 1 cup vinegar, 7-8 dashes of worcestershire sauce, salt/pepper, garlic of course, red peppers, onions, cilantro and tomatoes! That's just the base. You can add or delete. Experimenting with food is fun! Whatever your fancy is, bitter, sour, salty or sweet - there is something for everyone around here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

"Help Caleb make a difference"

A little boy (age 12) I know makes candles, sells them and donates the money to charities of his choice. He's been doing this for several years. Please click on the link below , make a purchase and help Caleb with his cause. I believe this year, 100% of his proceeds are being donated to the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child fund. "Help Caleb make a difference"

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Normally I know what I'm buying all the time. Recently I purchased what I thought was a great deal on beets from a local farm. They were already priced and bagged. I didn't look twice. It was a great deal. When I returned home I placed them into our fridge. While I was gone, our oldest daughter asked my husband to cook her a beet. She was at work at the time. So my husband asked my daughter how to cook the beet. She didn't know either. So my husband placed the whole beet into water and boiled it. As you can imagine, it took a long time to cook a whole beet boiling in water. Especially not even being peeled. The whole time my husband was slightly confused on the whole beet cooking situation and I was unreachable to explain. Finally after huge amounts of time, the beet seemed soft enough to eat. My daughter was home from work and was craving a beet with butter. She cubed it, melted butter onto it........and took a bite. It was a red potato. I guess I didn't get a great deal after all. Life has its moments. For us, our moments happen on a regular basis. For example, what would you do if there was no toilet paper available next to the toilet? Normally I would check, make sure the roll even exists because you never know around here. Perhaps you sit down quickly and there wasn't any left on the roll! Most of us either ask for assistance or bend towards the cupboard direction looking for some, right!? Well we have some quick thinking characters around toilet paper, no problem. That's what a shower curtain is for! Writing about toilets...they are an interesting porcelain artifact. What child isn't interested in a toilet? All our waste goes in and disappears. It's a seat of attraction. If kids aren't plugging it, they are up to their elbows digging inside of it! My poor husband is our porcelain savior. I usually step back and say, "Heh, I don't know what a beet is let alone unplugging a over flowing toilet with who knows what's inside of it!" I know all this toilet talk is getting everyone hungry for cookies right!? Do I have a story for you. There is these peanut butter cookies that look like oreo cookies made for dogs. Our dogs love them. I placed them where I usually keep the dog treats. I have set times for treats for our dogs and it was confusing to me onto why their treats were being eaten so fast. It was months before one of our children said, "I sure love those peanut butter cookies" I was confused thinking.....and questioning..... "Did I bake peanut butter cookies lately!?" When the question became the conclusion and I re-questioned what peanut butter cookies my child was eating, it was very clear where my dog treats went! We have many many stories around here that afterwords you can chuckle too. Believe it or not....mostly my husband is the funniest. I've written in past posts about this before. Have you ever watched "My big fat Greek wedding?" Where the father in law was obsessed over windex? It was the ultimate cleaner and could be used for anything. (If you haven't seen that movie, watch it) It's funny. husband believes that vacuum cleaners can solve anything. Years ago I walked into an episode out of a movie where my husband made an attachment for the vacuum with a straw. My son was laying on his back while my husband was performing a belly button cleaning. Ba ha ha ha....I asked, "What are you doing?" On a serious note, my husband responded, "His belly button is infected and I need to get the dirt trapped in it out!" "Ok" while removing myself from that episode. Normally a bath would do.....but it doesn't end there. Vacuums and attachment straws did solve many scenarios. If your children shove anything up their nose, use the straw attached to a vacuum. It works. Now moving on......we had a child switch up the song to "I like big butts" too"I like big watches" Which went, "I like big watches and I can not lie, you other brothers can not deny, when a girl walks in, with an ity bity waist, and a round watch in your face, you get sprung...." I thought HOW talented in a weird way! You just never know what's going on around here. Like centre pieces on our kitchen table - guess what that is!? Yes you guessed it correctly, wet wipes! Normally you would purchase wet wipes because you have a bottom to clean. For us, yes we have bottoms to clean but we've figured out wet wipes clean absolutely everything. Almost better then windex! Did you know wet wipes clears permanent markers? It also cleans hardwood floors, walls and cleans up after regrouting tiles! We couldn't have a better arrangement then wet wipes! Speaking of cleaning, Vim (a bathroom cleaner) on a shami is like a vinyl dressing for detailing cars! Beets, red potatoes, toilets to wet wipes......peanut butter cookies and vacuum cleaners, even though there is a designated use for everything like a bathroom curtain or music, we are finding out it can also be used for other purposes. Regardless what purpose it's defined in our home as a multi-purpose!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"Oh boy!"

Winding down on a stormy night with board games and platters sounded like a great plan to me. It felt like Friday night and we're treating it like one with no school the next day. Our weekend ritual usually consists of a movie night with popcorn and a games night with meat, cheese, pickles, crackers and oysters. A few of our favorite games are Monopoly, Hedbanz, Sequence, Operation and Guess who. We have many different games and our usual favorites always come out. As I write, I'm playing Monopoly, "Here and Now, The world edition" We have several different types of Monopoly games including the original, a Star Wars edition and the world edition. It's interesting because we play with no monopoly money, it's credit card controlled. Amazingly different compared to playing with money. With this version we travel the world. My first city I bought Rome for 1.8 million. Pretty cheap I'd say.

Who would of figured, Monopoly credit cards. As we played I continued to ask questions about the new version of Monopoly and honestly, I was not sure if I was getting the right rules at any point during the game. (Mysteriously the rules went missing) Our three boys I was playing with enjoyed playing their own versions. I just played along. Something I've learned to do lately is "play along" and pretend to be twelve again. Even when they joked about me growing into a sumo - I just played along. Honestly though - it's hard pretending to be twelve. And a twelve year old boy! I'm not sure what's even funny half the time and during the other half I'm lost refereeing on whose turn is whose and who cheated who. Our games and platter night ended successfully and Monopoly ended within an hour instead of five! Perhaps that's a good thing! For some of us we asked, "What am I?" Guessing over and over again one of our sons found out his new look is popcorn. I couldn't figure out what I was............and by the end of the night I still questioned, "What am I?" Realizing I was stuck in a identity crisis game wearing a picture of a diaper on my forehead. With that being said, at least I wasn't referred to as a sumo anymore! Boys..........will be boys and currently we have ten of them! "Oh boy!" (lol)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Send Rainbows

A project for everyone. A little girl with a condition called Microcephaly, (a neuro-disorder that makes an individuals head growth smaller) enjoys receiving rainbows. Her life is reduced and her brain function is limited. Our family has made this one of our projects because not only is she a beautiful little girl, her whole story touches home for us. She's an adopted little girl with special needs. Every day she's been receiving rainbows in the mail from all over the world. This is what makes her happy. I'm passing along her info as it was passed to me in hopes every day she continues to receive what makes her smile. Rainbows.

Maranda's Rainbow Connection, c/o Shoppers Drug mart, 2028 Park St. Regina SK Canada S4N-2G6

Monday, October 15, 2012

Exciting times ahead!

Exciting times. I've been semi-stressed over homeschooling but that's just me. I really like having organization and seeing our children's education climbing. We finally have this wonderful education assistant working for us four days a week. She's been absolutely wonderful and has taken over the whole academic area of our children's learning. In the evenings I prepare their work, do any necessary photocopying for the next day and order our children's schooling needs. It's been a huge learning curve and undertaking for me. Even having a educational assistant in every day has been a change. A good change. I'm very thankful for her. I also have a friend that has all her children in the same homeschooling program and without her, I would be completely frazzled! I'm constantly asking her about everything - I'm somewhat annoying I'm sure. (lol) What I am finding out.....homeschooling once settled into it is great. It's amazing what our children receive for their supports for learning compared to the public system. I have been stressed yes but my stress has been shifting into contentment. With our exciting times..........we have more exciting times ahead of us. (I can sense it) I'm just relaxing practicing patience and waiting for it. Every day around here unfolds with new twists, new changes and I'm learning (still) to embrace whatever it is. Sounds exciting doesn't it?! Speaking of exciting - we are holding our annual Christmas party on December 15th. Please email me for details. Parents waiting to adopt are more then welcome to come and join in on the fun! It will be from 4-8pm. A potluck dinner, so bring something for everyone to share. For every child, please bring a present labelled with your child's name on it for Santa's bag. Yes, he will be there! If I can't find a volunteer Santa, my husband has been elected by me to "Ho Ho Ho" louder then ever before! Christmas is a very exciting and magical time in our home. This event started at our home, became too big and therefore now resides at our local hall. So please, attend and meet other adoptive families. Your children will have a blast and if they don't, they can come see me! Below is a picture from last year of Santa, myself and our friend appearing from behind. Our friend every year has set up our music and dance area which we're so grateful for! What's really exciting is it's just around the corner and we're already preparing! Come out, come out and too all a Merry night!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cloud nine

You know when everything is going perfect for days and you feel like you're on cloud nine then all of the sudden "poof" that cloud blows up by a sudden jet flying through it? Yes, that's today. Suddenly we're back on earth and not perched relaxing on a soft warm cloud. I can't really believe that every day would be cloud nine around here anyways. Jets happen unfortunately. So without disclosing much information (sorry) I'm writing solemnly in blue with a big "sigh" thinking about how to repair my cloud nine. Normally I will exercise. The hardest step is putting on the running shoes and the rain can be liberating. I still might do that but today I just want to cry, curl up and watch a big tear jerking movie. You're probably wondering why I'm sharing this moment of weakness and in fact I question that myself. Although realizing - you know isn't cloud nine and it isn't a bed of roses.. Weakness is not being able to express your feelings and your thoughts. So today my first attempt is writing, expressing and yes sharing on my thoughts on how to resolve the gloom. Journals of course is number one. Exercising creates endorphins, pumps up adrenaline and just ultimately makes you feel better regardless of any situation. Taking a "adult" time-out. (I've already been contemplating doing everything I write of course) Purchasing a Pumpkin Spice Latte or a warm drink of choice and if need be, sitting curled up with my kiddos watching a really good family movie with popcorn. Then while thinking.....our situations are minimal to some. Questioning, "Why should I even justify feeling blue?" Recently a beautiful young teenager committed suicide from bullying, children and teenagers suffer everyday from all types of abusive situations. Families are in mourning from several different losses. Recently a family lost their home to a home invasion, their house plus their bulldogs were set on fire. Many people are deathly sick fighting for their life. Now.....I apologise for such a gloomy post. Continuing to question if I should delete but with that being said, "I won't" My heart has already shifted, my thoughts are on the individuals that need some prayer. My little world is completely a cloud nine. I will submit this post as is......concluding that to make a difference in this world is to start at home. Teach our children the importance of acceptance, difference and bullying kills. To remember to live as today were our last, to respect one another and treat each other as we want to be treated. We are all on this planet surviving together, why is it so difficult to remember this........?........I hope that all parents can take a moment with their children, hold them tight and explain the importance of loving and having compassion for all. Explaining how special everyone truly is.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

100 of 1001 completed!

Our school room is ready complete with learning posters, a white board, shelves per child and their own desks. I wanted our home schooled children their own school space and finally it's been created! Task 100 of 1001 completed!


Once or twice a year I speak on the AEP's (Adoption Education Panels) Today it was about openness agreements. If you're not familiar with adoption, openness agreements are a moral faith agreement designed to keep some forms of openness between the adoptive family, birth families and sometimes the previous foster parents. I enjoy speaking on these panels about our experiences and knowledge that we've found throughout our years of adopting maintaining several forms of openness. We have a "few" adoptions and with every adoption placement, the openness varies accordingly. I explained that with some of our children, openness was closed because of drug and alcohol addictions. It was unhealthy to maintain a relationship with their birth family. With others, we have kept contact with a Grandfather through telephone and regular mail because he doesn't use the computer. We hope that one day he can make it to the Island or vise/versa us up North. Another sibling group we have established more openness with their birth Mom, Grandma and Great Grandma consisting of twice year visits either there or here. Once in the summer, once around Christmas. We also have telephone and email contact. To add more openness, we have four foster families that are either known as "Grandparents" or "Aunts" - extended to our family. We also have visits throughout the year, have telephone and email contact. In total we have twelve titled Grandparents. I explained it's really cool because when I was growing up I had no Grandparents and our children have twelve! I jokingly always say, "We adopted all these extended family members into our family" but truth is we did. With any forms of openness and especially when it's close to home (in our home) we have to develop boundaries and titles to who everyone is. When we first started adopting I did worry about how a birth member would influence our child. In fact, influence is a legit worry. You definitely have to be careful who you allow into your child's life. That being said, we do have very successful openness with some of our children's birth family. Some of the fears I had during an adoption placement was our new child not moving forward. I questioned onto how while visiting their birth Mom. How can I establish my role as their Mother? Eventually with time I've noticed every ones roles move into place. Boundaries become established and the fears not only I once had, the birth parents fears settle because as much as adoption is exciting, it's full of losses and unknowns and with time, we all know our roles. (Or should) Ultimately it's about the child and in the end, we all love and want what's best for that child/children. In order for us to sign any openness agreement, it has to be safe for the child/children and our family. Openness can change from year to year depending on the relationships between everyone. Once a closed agreement, it can easily be opened when a child becomes a teenager and accesses facebook. So regardless what we signed, what we wished - in the end it can be completely different. What I've learned is that nothing is written in stone. An openness agreement is on good faith and a document that either us as adoptive parents or the birth family can access to establish and maintain a relationship. One way or another, the adoptive parents are the legal guardians, legal "parents" that will make the appropriate choices with any situation. With our experience, all I can say is "All the worries and fears are legitimate" But having the understanding with the healthy relationships between the birth parents and foster parents, (while working through the feelings of loss, developing appropriate boundaries) openness is what's best for the child. Without openness it will raise many more concerns when the children are older. A childhood is a time to build positive fundamental skills so their adulthood isn't so confusing. (At least we hope) Mainly with time (eventually) everyone should understand their roles and for the adoptive parents; follow your heart, your intuition and do what's healthy and safe for your child. I hope my mumbo-jumbo made sense and my writing skills didn't further confuse anyone. Every adoption placement is different. There is different scenarios onto why every type of openness can and will be different including having no openness at all. Regardless with what it looks like from the beginning, ten years from now closed or open, it could be completely different. Something to be aware of. For us, what we have established is working, at least for now.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

22 Highlights of thankfulness

(Happy Thanksgiving) This post is some of my highlights of thankfulness.

1. Our weather has been beautiful. Every morning I awake with the sun and blue skies.

2. My husband, he's another highlight. I will admit he's my oldest and biggest child! But what a great Dad. Everyday I witness my husband constantly interacting, playing and looking after our children. He strives for their successes and happiness. For our older children he's provided vehicles, the vehicles maintenance and just drops what he's doing to accommodate them when needed. Yes I am a lucky woman. Our children are lucky to have a Dad like my husband. From play wrestling, to dancing, to building anything and giving our children any experience - he is that highlight. What makes our relationship perfect is we work together. Not only do we work together, we play together and can also independently be not together. We are two empire builders and together I am thankful.

3.  This morning I received over twenty hugs. Ten came from one and the others followed. Every day I'm hugged over and over again. Another highlight of thankfulness I have is the love around here. Yes there is challenges all throughout our day, each and every day but we move forward with each other starting off with endless hugs. Our children have taught me to provide more affection and that I am thankful for.

4.All of us complain about something.... If I can put enough energy into complaining, I can use that energy to change my complaints into something positive . Like laundry for example.....for some reason I have tons of laundry all the time. But laundry has become a dance party. Life is how we make it and only ourselves can change it into something to be thankful for.

5. I'm thankful for my ability for having patience. For the strengths of organization and dedication for myself and my family.

6. I find our life is indeed different from the normal sized families which can be isolating. This is where I'm thankful for the family and friends we do have that accepts and supports us as different as we are.

7. Health is worth more then any amount of money or assets. Mostly, our family is healthy. I also take the time everyday to create a healthy atmosphere, a healthy diet for everyone and to promote our outdoors. I'm thankful that I've grown into the parent that recognizes the importance of good physical and mental health for myself and my children. Health to me means not only physical, it's establishing a better childhood and memories that will hopefully create a happier and successful adulthood through developing those precious fundamental skills that are needed to survive.

8. I'm thankful for all our resources available, our police department, MCFD (Ministry of Children and family development and our BC Medical. Every system has flaws but without MCFD our family wouldn't have grown through adoption. They also offer a wide variety of services that everyone at one time in their life needs to access. Our police departments are exceptional and a needed service to keep our streets and homes safe. These areas of careers regardless of many complaints should be honored.

9. I'm definitely not thankful for the Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes......I tried one, then I craved another and another one would be great right now too! "Agh" so thank you not for making such a great tasting caffeinated coffee drink! And I'm sure it can come decaffeinated too and a slim with less calories!

10. A highlight that is every ones pure enjoyment is entertainment. I am thankful for all the individuals that worked so hard becoming an actor/actress and that performs in any way. I love listening to acoustic guitar playing. Music is very much a big part within our society. Entertainment not only is enjoyable but has the power to shift our moods. My taxi service can be relaxing while listening to music, my laundry is a dance party and I can't express enough my gratitude for all aspects of entertainment. If anyone, or any young child/teen is talented in this way - practice and become that dream. I still regret that my guitar is sitting bundled up safe in the closet!

11. I like to write. I have been interested in writing since I was a child. Writing for me releases some of my thoughts, it's like meditating for some. Everyone usually finds their zen. Mine is writing. I am thankful that I have a focus, a hobby - an interest for myself. I know interests are hard to find or perhaps keep because it's a trial period. But writing has been in my heart for decades. I just need to continue to master and write that novel I long to start..........

12. I'm thankful for our seasons. I have my favorites which are summer and winter although every season changes our atmosphere. Fall, winter, spring and summer are wonderful seasons that break our year. I look forward to every one. Christmas is and will always be our magical time while summer is endless travels and camping. Our seasons help define our memories and I'm big on developing memories for our children.

13. For Thanksgiving my father and mother came over for dinner, then we were surprised with my other mother and father stopping by for a visit. I am thankful for my parents.

14. Our pets Wilbur and Ying Yang (Ying Yang came named through a pet adoption) are wonderful, loyal and loving animals. I've always had dogs in our life and I always will. I'm so grateful for all the animals I've had that's given unconditional love.

15. The beauty of our world is worth experiencing. Meeting new people a long the way, learning about different cultures and just being able to travel once in awhile is something I'm definitely thankful for. One place on my bucket list is Nepal. It's been an area in my heart for over a decade. I would love to fly into India then bus into Kathmandu to trek the hills of the Himalayas!

16. I am so thankful and grateful for water. I know most take water for granted but we've experienced being without it. We also conserve water being on a well. With all this beautiful sunshine and dryer then normal temperatures, our water is very precious.

17. Education is key. It is great that in our Country we have different resources available for education. Education not only develops careers it clears ignorance. With whatever we choose, public school, homeschooling and moving on into University - it's important to continue to educate ourselves. I love learning. I'm very thankful that we have the opportunity to learn all the time, either through schooling, through each other and/or the internet - education is a highlight in our lives.

18. I know my children are thankful for my friends pumpkin pie! Every time we get together for dinner, she bakes pumpkin pies for dessert. It doesn't have to be thanksgiving either! So this thanksgiving I bought pumpkin pies with her absence. I'm thankful for Costco taking her place and saving my butt because one thing I don't do is bake pies! I'm not exactly sure why but I've never been interested in pastry, pies and dessert baking. My baking consists of breads, cakes, muffins, cookies extra......but I will never say never.

19. Right now I am thankful that everyone is sleeping, it's completely quiet and peaceful so I can write my 22 highlights of thankfulness. Time I'm thankful for. I am a busy mother but I still have time for myself which I'm thankful for. We all need "me" time and whatever we choose to do with it, it's our time to be definitely thankful!

20. Lastly, and left for last - I am thankful for my children who appreciate, who are respectful and show compassion for each other. I'm thankful for my family unit, my extended family which includes some birth family. (they know who they are) some foster parents and my parents. I know I touched base in number 6 but I'm very thankful for the meaningful people in our life.

21. A huge thank you to our adoption community.

22. And a huge thank you for my blog followers. Whatever reason you're following, it's for a reason. Negative or positive - either or - regardless if you like me or not, agree or disagree - I will keep writing.......

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Saving Yoda

All I can say is we had a wonderful week of saving Yoda from the grips of enhangment! A word I made up! Yoda with his buddies was hanging on a hook, waiting for their forever home and he was the lucky chosen one. Makes me think about adoption and for all those waiting children. One of my wishes today is that every child moves into their permanent family like Yoda. His story. Yoda was matched with his forever buddy seen below........

From there Yoda was very scared of all the unknowns and his different surroundings but he glowed with this feeling of being wanted. He caught a bus with his buddy, believing and trusting that his new home would be everything he was waiting for.

After Yoda's long bus ride, he had to go through customs. He was leaving his home he only knew. He was definitely excited but feeling very afraid. The whole experience was not only overwhelming which brought on some anxiety and fear, it was strange sitting in a bin being xrayed and examined for perfection. Yoda felt confused. He tried to sit still and be perfect for his buddy because he wanted to remain a part of his new family.

When Yoda thought it was all over, he was placed into an airplane seen below. It was his first plane ride ever. He didn't know what to expect next accept he was going to fly to his new destination! He kept asking, "How much longer?" In hopes they were almost home. He felt tired and worried. On the plane ride he kept thinking what his new home was going to look like? What was he going to do? He questioned, "What if I don't like it!?" Yoda cried because his ears hurt, but with the reinsurance and instant love from his new buddy, he felt at ease that everything was going to be "Ok"

During Yoda's trip to his new home he was able to play with an Ipod and eat different snacks. He thought that was pretty cool and fun. It was a long day of traveling and waiting. Yoda became antsy, going to the bathroom over and over, he started to fidget and whine. He was clearly tired. His buddy kept reconfirming that he was almost home. His buddy understood it was going to be a hard transition but his buddy will not leave him.

Finally after thirteen hours of traveling, Yoda was on the ferry. He ate dinner but while sitting with his hands connected, he worried. He became silent. Contemplating his new life. Everything looked strange. Very foreign. Even the food and the weather was different. He felt very cold. It was a new land!

Finally, finally......Yoda was almost home. He jumped onto his new buddies back. Yoda's excitement levels escalated. He definitely had mixed feelings about absolutely everything but he was finally at home! A place where he will remain until he's old enough to look after himself! Mostly he will always have his buddy forever!

When at home, Yoda started to become familiar with his new life, everyday became more real. He always tried to be on his best behavior because he constantly worried about moving again. As months moved on, his true colors shined. He tested his new buddy, sometimes it was really green but with patience and understanding, Yoda flourished into a new 800 yr old boy! Now Yoda always yells, "May the force be with you!"

Yoda - "Truly wonderful the mind of a child is"