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Friday, June 28, 2013

A division

I've been contemplating addressing this subject. If I want to further my writing into a novel (which I would love to do....adding an editor) I want it complete with the good and the ugly. This subject is neither, it's just a division. "In my mind" when we were first adopting I thought nothing but positive reactions. I thought if I could open up my heart, everyone one would and accept our new children. I asked myself, "How could they not?" Mostly our family has, but some haven't. It's really "ok" because it's our life not theirs except it does effect everyone in different ways. There was a time I was actively involved in being an Auntie to my nieces and nephews. Now I'm actively involved with my own children hoping that everyone else would have joined me. I've learned that we all have our own life paths and not necessarily is another going to follow. So that leaves a division. Almost a branch that separates but it's still connected from the same tree. Not directly involved. I believe this is common with adoption. We have the adoptive parents, we have the children accepting their chosen life, and we have the family and friends that either accept it or not. Either way, it's a change that not everyone accepts easily. It's interesting because there is a process to adopt. That process doesn't define the impact and what the future holds. In my "novice" years of adopting I really thought it was a positive life choice. One that eventually everyone would welcome. It's not the case......there is going to be a division somewhere with someone within your family, with your friends - and that's the truth. It's something to think about, and be aware that adoption changes everything, and your future completely. Don't get me wrong, I'm pro-adoption but I'm pro-adoption once you know absolutely everything because you don't want to risk potential adoption breakdowns. Besides challenging behavioural forever changing issues as your children grow with different special needs and attachment disorders, if you didn't have a division from the beginning, you could potentially have one with family and friends within your future. The fact is the average individual not living our lives with children with special needs, with attachment issues, with that grieving and loss within their past do not understand their behaviours. They start to blame "adoption" in general or the child, or the parents like me. It creates a division. It will exist sooner or later......I believe that. If it's not with your family or friends, it does exist within the community. That's why I've changed from this shy quiet lady to this huge explosive advocate for my family. I feel like I'm preaching our own gospel hoping to reach understanding and compassion onto why our children are who they are. Onto why I'm the mother I am with this belief that permanency will eventually heal most scars but I can't control any divisions a long our path. Only the individuals dividing themselves can. So be prepared, if you're making huge life decisions like adoption - it can be very isolating in many ways. It's hard asking yourself, (your heart) about the future scenarios without knowing them especially with all that excitement of adopting but from experience, you need to be strong, patient and most importantly forgiving and understanding of that division when it occurs. Because it can happen.....a thought to ponder.

A brighter end

Here I am sitting outside of a public pool where one of my sons is celebrating his thirteenth birthday party. I'd say, "easy party" It released some time for me to blog. Now that summer is officially under way my posts will become less for the next couple of months. We have tons of camping planned with no internet access! We disappear or try too with twenty people, (some that scream) and three dogs! Wrapping up all our loose ends this week feels good. I'm in this state of disbelief it's summer. I'm not sure if the weather has anything to do with it or the fact that I've been so busy wrapping up appointments and life in general has made me so I can't absorb that it's summer to begin with. It's been an emotional week for me. (Probably many others) The end of school seems bitter sweet. In May I want school finished by the beginning of June, then while in the process of wrapping everything up and waiting for this day of change, it's hard switching my brain towards what's next, it seems foreign to me this year..... This is where my post is shifting, hopefully making some sense onto why this end of June seems somewhat foreign. Having a large family creates many different professionals in our lives. Many that I appreciate or have learned to appreciate. As a 40 year old mother of 16 with 1 grand baby I'm still learning. I feel everything that my husband and I deal with that is challenging, we are educated by it. Experience is truly the number one lessons learned and education well deserved. No book can give you the life skills and lessons that we need to survive happily and successfully in this life. I feel confident of my role but because I advocate for our children, for our family and for adoption so much, I feel I wear my heart on my sleeve. I don't always agree with some professionals or some individuals opinions. Years ago I would hibernate my feelings, let what diagnoses or opinions be but now with my own experiences, I can rightfully and honestly correct what normally I would allow. What bothers me most is some individuals seem to think that I'm not the mother of our adoptive children, that I don't know what I'm talking about, it's a regular occurrence and it's infuriating. The end of this school year I was emotional for several different reasons. One reason is because there was at least a handful of professional people in our children's lives that I felt connected with - finally. I felt an overwhelming of appreciation for these individuals because not only did they treat me as my children's mother, they communicated with me like I wasn't an idiot. "Heh, wait a minute, this mother of 16 children knows something, she's not just crazy!" I even had a parent say, "You must hear you're crazy a lot but I'm not going to call you crazy, I think you have a heart full of love" Someone like me usually comes across all together, tough on the outside, almost unstoppable. This week I stopped and I cried a lot. I cried for many reasons but the one I'm writing about now is just appreciating people that appreciate me. Surprising to you or not, it's not something that I feel - appreciated. I feel on guard and explaining our life's choices all the time, then re-explaining with sometimes just blank looks of not understanding or opinions that come from left field. I'm always advocating for our family, and for our children. Most of the time I enjoy educating people but sometimes it just feels like a endless battle, and especially with some professionals. So being the first day of absolutely no school, I'm reminiscing my feelings. Re- surrounding myself with the understanding, and for the compassion for even the people that don't or won't understand us or appreciate the fact that our choices within this life are good, or at least are meant to be. The end of June is foreign this year because finally I can say, "Finishing this year of school seemed more emotional then the past years because I truly felt appreciated as the mother of my children from professionals onto whom I value their opinions" It's one thing being a mother of 16 children constantly advocating who we are, why we are who we are within our community and how we can be who we are while sometimes feeling weighted down by continual judgement, it's another thing treated like I'm not my children's mother. So I completely appreciate, and I felt almost in a foreign land feeling appreciated by people that mean something to my children and I. Concluding, I believe it takes a community to raise a child, and I felt that to end this year. For a mother of many children that continues to advocate her role within our community, it's coming along and looking a little brighter.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Once again we had a packed weekend. We attended the adoption run on Saturday, our family raised $585.00 for AFABC and I heard through the grape vine that the "Island Team Adopt" raised over $1700.00 in total! Then later that evening we celebrated a birthday for one of our friends. "Happy Birthday!" - A mother who deserves more then recognition for her birthday, she needs recognition everyday for being one of the best parents and friend around! Again, adoption didn't just bless me with many children, it enhanced my life with other adoptive family friends! On Sunday morning, my sister and five of our children hiked Mt. Benson. Two hours of a 6 km incline and we made it to the top! Our youngest climber is seven years old seen above! During any hike, and especially during a Mountain hike, it's very rewarding reaching your destination. Not only was it a breath taking panoramic view, the wind and rain was powerful whistling through us. It was A.W.E.S.O.M.E! On the top of Mt. Benson you can see the Strait of Georgia, and the Coast Mountains of the Mainland. You can also see our surrounding Islands such as Denman, Hornby, Texada, Lasqueti, Sangster, Ballenas, Winchelsea, Thormandy, Merry, Gabriola, Protection, Newcastle, Entrance, Mudge, de Courcy, and Valdes. The elevation is 1,023m (3,356 ft) What is there not to like?! Now that it's the last week of school, I'm baking (go figure) wrapping up all appointments, attending year end events and packing to disappear for camping! Remember, enjoy your life - even in the rain! It's A.W.E.S.O.M.E!

Friday, June 21, 2013

"Sleep is overrated" my three words for this week!

For three days I attended a camping year end field trip with twenty five students from our elementary school on Hornby Island. It rained the whole time. It was cold at night. I didn't get any sleep. Although it was a good trip. While supervising and helping, I played a few games with the students. Predator verses prey, capture the flag and man tracker. My favorite was predator verses prey. I was one of the predators. I was so engaged into the game, I fell three times capturing my victims. Not only did all twenty five children have fun with the endless games and activities, I did too. We kayaked, rock climbed, there was challenges such as heights (walking zip lines), there was treasure hunts and endless education with mapping and animals. The three days was all about team building and confidence. Most importantly I spent three days of quality time with one of my sons. Rescuing him from the jails of capturing the flag, to potentially eating him during predator verses prey then later my son chose to sit with me during dinner instead of his friends. It was really nice. He's our eleven year old and these are the moments us parents need to cherish because they don't last forever. Right now while writing and reflecting the last three days, I can't think or see straight to write but I really am a happy Momma being able to spend this time with my son. He was a happy boy too. As much as it rained, it was cold and I didn't sleep - I wouldn't change this time with my son. Sleep is overrated. All I can say is, spend as much time as you can, while your child allows - it's definitely worth it, even in the pouring rain.

Me - "Momma Bear" climbing the rock wall!
My son and I on our 5km hike in the rain!

"Parents rarely let go of their children, so children let go of them. They move on. They move away. The moments that used to define them are covered by moments of their own accomplishments"
"It is not until much later, that children understand; their stories and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones, beneath the water of their lives"
Paulo Coelho

Monday, June 17, 2013

A Sacred Father's Day

We had a great father's day weekend. Saturday my husband and a few of our boys went to the races, then Sunday we headed out bright and early to Sombrio Beach near Port Renfrew. 17 of us hiked and located the Sacred Waterfall. Definitely wanting to share a photo reflection.......and reminding everyone, if we can with all ages and challenges - you can! Experience and enjoy life! Our world is amazing!
Some of us
Somewhere to relax
Ants on the beach
Happy Father's Day Daddy!
Kids in the cave!
We made it to the Sacred Waterfall!
My husband and I
My biggest kid - my husband!
Some of us on Sombrio Beach
Father's Day was awesome!
And we finished at our favorite family restaurant, Red Robbins!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The father's day box

Father's day is fast approaching and our children and I have been secretly making a father's day box with everything "Dad" likes inside. (Minus the clothing) His plan is to attend the races with some of our children while my plan is to take our family to the sacred waterfall. Hopefully the weather allows us to venture out! Lately I've been thinking about my husband and I's relationship. We are the bricks that centres our family. The two of us need each other, our family needs the two of us. I often refer us as the "Empire Builders" Lately while thinking about just us, (my husband and I) I can't recall the last time we were out together as a couple. Normally this doesn't matter, but I have thought about what it would look like. I remember when we went out (not sure when) in our past and we ended up at Walmart purchasing items we needed at home. Which brings my attention to our relationship. I think it's lost within our family empire. The King and Queen are known as the "Mom" & "Dad" only..... While helping our children make their Dad's father's day box, I had this realization that he's my husband too! As weird as that may sound, parents do get lost within their relationships raising children. This isn't horrible but it's a missing piece once you've noticed it's gone. I share our life honestly as a writer because I believe anything worth reading should be emotionally helpful, inspiring in some way or for the reader, it opens up their eyes to their own realizations too. For this post, it's just that - recognizing and sharing what is lost while raising a family. While prepping the father's day box I starting thinking about how to rekindle our status as a married couple. We're great empire builders.....we make a great team raising our children but after sixteen years (this year) of being together I want more. I don't want Walmart, I don't want to discuss our children and I don't want to 100% involve our children within our relationship either. This afternoon I asked my husband for a hug. Just to put my head on his shoulder for longer then a minute. My husband keeps saying, "It's you and I until the end" It's true. When our children are all grown up and most have moved on, my husband and I are the ones that are left behind together. Just for the record, (we are not having marital problems) we're just concentrating raising our family and forgetting that we also have a relationship with each other. Have you read the book or watched the movie called, "The Notebook?" The ending of this story is the inspiration for me. After life is almost over for the two in love, they had each other in the end. That's us parents. If we have significant others, these are the people who we'll reminisce with. For me, I was reminded (inside myself) while making the father's day box that it's not all about our's about us too. And you know, we don't have to go out to build our relationship. Relationships build like our empire does. Work and TLC. Longer hugs, taking the time to talk (somewhere private) and practicing not talking about our children! I remember an evening where my husband set up a small table with a lit candle in the middle, and a dinner for two. A lobster dinner that he cooked himself for me....and he had a burger. lol This was all secretly set up in our bedroom. This was a long time ago but the thought and memory still remains in my heart. It's nothing material, it's not going out to some fancy restaurant, a relationship like ours just needs that quality 20% out of the 100% we give to our children. So this father's day isn't just about "Fathers" It's about my husband too, and all the significant others. From this day onward, hug your partner more. If you're single, definitely hug yourself more and start recognizing who is important other then your children. Building the "father's day box" was not only important to our children, it was important for me. It helped me remember who's important. He's not only known as "Daddy" he's my husband, my significant empire builder that I will one day reminisce with.

"Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship,'s your responsibility to love it, or change it" - Chuck Palahniuk.

"Happy Father's Day" to all the father's out there - and for everyone that has a significant other, perhaps here's a nudge to hold them closer, lite a candle, have a conversation or heh, have fun and make them their own special box for no occasion at all - just because.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Dude, where's my car?!

I bought this hat for our littlest daughter. It was perfect. Although I should have been wearing the hat today. June is busy. No doubt about that and I didn't want to write about how busy it is either. So for a few days I was scrambling inside my mind on what I should write other then being "busy" Until today. This week we're full of several different appointments. Mainly medical related. Yesterday (Monday) I brought our daughter into the hospital for what I thought was her EEG results to find out we were seeing a Orthopedic surgeon. From there we continued on with her hip x-rays. The EEG results are still a mystery. Also this week for four nights we've been doing a video study throughout the night. Video taping our daughter's sleep behaviours to hopefully figure out the cause of her night awakenings. Then adding year end IEP appointments, birthdays, traveling to Vancouver to Victoria to attending First Nation dinners while getting ready for the public school year end camping trip (that I'm attending) while preparing our own trailer. There's more but who cares right? We're all busy and especially within the month of June! So moving was the first of our three day Neuro-assessment testing for one of our children. This is the third child within a couple of months. I really like our private Neurologist. She's absolutely great. Today in fact she was beyond great, she was excellent. I had a half an hour to spare before heading back to our Neurologists office to pick up our son for lunch. So as brilliant as I am I thought I would take this opportunity to run. So I parked my car on a side road, and starting running. I turned around and ran back to my car. NO CAR! So I thought...maybe it's up a street or two. So I ran further. Then I continued to run further.... By now it's raining buckets, a down pour. In my brilliant mind I thought I must of missed it. So I turned around and ran back the other way. NO CAR! I stood on the side walk texting some friends and checking the time. I was now late to pick up my son from the Neurologist! $@#%!#!! I don't like being late for anything. My anxiety heightened, I started to think that maybe I parked it in an area where it was towed away. My husband called all the towing companies and no, they towed no car. So I continued to "run around" while thinking and asking myself, "Where's my car!?" I called our Neurologist and broke the news to her. It went something like this....."Heh, it's Carrie. I lost my car" LMAO "What?" she answered. "Yes, I lost my car and I'm on the side of the road looking for it" She was awesome.....she responded, "We're on our way" Our Neurologist picked me up, she brought my son and for an hour we drove around looking for my car. Finally coming to the conclusion it must of been stolen! I was starting to panic. Not only was I panicking, our Neurologist was too! My purse with absolutely everything was in my car! I didn't care about the car, I cared about my purse! My sister arrived, I jumped into her car and our Neurologist and my son left to continue on with her assessment. We continued to search while back at home my husband was calling the police. Then all of a sudden we hear honking from behind us and there was our Neurologist and my son honking and yelling out her car window, "We found your car!" So thanking my sister, returning to our Neurologists car we drove off locating my car! Wow, how embarrassing. It was sitting where I left it. On a side street. Just not where I thought. Note to self, take a good look at your surroundings. I ran off too quickly. I blame suburbia, lol but fortunately I was in good hands with our Neurologist! What are the odds!? I told her that I should be assessed too and in fact, she should just come over for dinner! At least my car should be nestled safely in our driveway! During today, I should have been wearing that hat above, "I scream" because at points I wanted too! It reminded me of the time I lost our big gold member (our van) on BC Ferries! Who does that?! I didn't check the location, the level - nothing and just strolled off. Again I learned something today, take notes, (if not notes) pictures so you can locate where you've parked your car! Many had a good laugh on me today but that's why I'm here, to entertain and to continuously dye my grey hair! Later it was a BIG joke, "Dude, where's mom's car!?" and not to mention I should be checked for alzheimer's or dementia. Simple conclusion, I didn't look to exactly where I parked it before running off, and I'm not used to suburbia country.

And get this.....another friend tipped me about an app that's actually called, "Dude, where's my car?" The application allows you to set your exact parking spot. You can use google navigation to find your exact location later. A very cool idea for individuals that loose their cars! On a better note, at least I don't loose my kids! My husband told me, "You should have explained, you were having car trouble - instead of explaining the embarrassing truth!"  BUT I might be still looking!
(A laugh on me)

Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Hohnstein Style

The Hohnstein Style consists of......
Monster trucks & racing!
Kite flying!
Beach combing
Embarrassing moments from me
Hope and believing anything is possible
Butchard Gardens - appreciating nature
Endless surprises! Happy 74th Birthday Dad!
Loving everybody!
"Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens" - Khalil Gibran

"The Hohnstein Style" is all about having compassion for others, to live, to experience and to believe in our dreams"

"Enjoy your life" - Me

Featured Author at The Ten to Zen

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Needing a good nights rest?

Are you sleep deprived? Or do you have a child that is? I have some interesting information for you. We recently started a sleep study on our littlest daughter. She awakes anywhere from one to three times on a good night and sometimes every hour on a bad night. Not only is it fascinating to be educated with these different speciality studies, I enjoy sharing what I've learned in hopes it helps others with their own challenges. Regardless what the challenge is, I'm 80% percent sure we've experienced it. Right now it's all about sleep. When we lack sleep, we become irritable, our whole day can shift without enough sleep. So here's what I've learned so far. When our children are not getting enough sleep, they may be grumpy... but children are more resilient then us adults, so ADHD like behaviors start regardless if the child is ADHD or not. Sleep deprivation can change people's personalities. I have heard some parents question why does some behaviors exist in their children, or why their behaviors change suddenly? - consider their night prior. If your child isn't getting enough sleep, their behaviors escalate. I know must of us know this already, it's the same as a young toddler needing a nap. Sleep is important. So how are we going to get enough sleep? The clinical sleep professor explained to me that in most cases sleeping disorders are personally developed, we have trained ourselves this way. At first I thought, "No no no" I explained to him that I journal to release my forever thinking mind so I can sleep. He proceeded to explain to me that watching my posture, the way I sat and on how I arched my feet suggested to him I was a high energy and a always thinking achiever. So how do you change a person who developed their own sleeping disorder such as "thinking" or in my case, "solving life's problems" all night long!? You do it during the day. Whatever works for you, either it's meditation, relaxation such as a massage, reading or journals - you attempt to consciously reverse your sleep deprivation through mind control. Learning to relax while awake could make a good nights rest. It makes sense to me. So how can you help your child? Same way, relaxation techniques, deep massage and a very boring story. (Kidding) Ok, so what if it's more complicated? Finding the cause, trying different medications at low dosages might be the savior. A vitamin that we all should be taking is iron. Believe it or not, we usually take iron because of an iron-deficiency which makes us fatigue. You would think suffering from fatigue would help us sleep, it doesn't. So keeping up our red blood cells is important for a good nights rest. Our bodies are amazingly complex, for our littlest daughter it's beyond complex. Determining why she awakes could be endless. The professor noticed and suggested that she has restless leg syndrome. Very common in many children. This is where your leg or limbs will twitch during a relaxed state. It can range from mild to severe. Do you ever awake from a body twitch? Our littlest daughter having spastic cerebral palsy (high muscle tone) very rarely is in a relaxed state accept for in her sleep. Ironically she fell asleep during our study. Not only did her feet twitch, she would jump which startled her. This has developed a theory onto why she might be getting up at night. Although for our daughter being so complex with possible multiple scenarios happening, the "restless leg syndrome" is just one observation. Next week we will have the results of her EEG, and eventually we will receive results from her genetic testing that could help or point us in the right direction. For now......what's really interesting is we're setting up a video study. Where all night long for two nights she will be video taped. The purpose is to count the night "twitches" and to determine when and why she awakes and the possible severity of the restless syndrome. This could conclude and answer our questions and direct us in the appropriate therapy interventions. (The therapy interventions could be as simple as stretching and/or deep massage) Very tonight I'm not going to bed trying to solve every one's life problems, nor am I going to sleep (ha ha) but at least I have a starting point within the grey area of solving sleep deprivation within our home. I hope sharing our experiences and education has given some insight for yourself and/or your children because getting a good nights rest is challenging for the most of us. And that ADHD like behavior could be solved with a simple nap.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Adoption changed my life

So my parents are crazy, you can ask and wonder how they do it but you'll never fully understand until you experience and come over for dinner sometime and sit down and get to know them! BTW they are a good crazy obviously ha ha! Anyways before I get too ahead of myself I should probably introduce myself. I'm Jesse Scott Hohnstein. I'm the oldest boy out of the bunch, I'm 19 years old and I can honestly say I have the best family I could ever ask for :) my parents adopted me when I was 12, and I have never looked or wish for it back. I've had my struggles with both my mom and dad but in the end everything works itself out. Kinda funny how I always looked at them as the bad guys but really I was just young and immature. To this day I can say to everyone reading this blog that my parents are my superheros. My dad is superman, he can do anything he wants, come look at my house and you'll just totally understand. He's the most down to earth man I know and is very soft spoken. He may be a bit anal at times but hey who wouldn't be with 16 kids! He's the type of guy where you can sit down and have a nice coke and talk about cars for hours! Man my dad is a car lol he's always going, never has time to stop at red lights and when he does have free time he's working on cars! I love him to pieces. Anyways I could go on about him for along time but I still have to tell you about my loving mother! So my momma bear is very talented and has a huge heart , she makes time in her day to hike notch hill twice a day, you know that's a pretty brutal hill to climb up. I can barley make it up and I'm 19. My momma is only 40 and she would make me look bad! ha ha maybe that's why I don't wanna go with her when she asks me too! My moms the type of person too if she sees a homeless person on the street she would go buy them dinner and not just give them money because obviously they would use that money for something else, she's told me a story about that actually a couple years back in Vancouver. My mom is very popular, also everyone looks up to her, and has alot of friends! Anyone who is friends with her are very lucky to have her in their lives. My momma bear has a way with everyone. She treats everyone how they should be treated. Not more not less. She shares her love to this whole family and without her I don't know how my dad would do it. Anyways I gotta get biking to town, I gotta work tomorrow! I told my mom I wanted to write a blog for her and well I'm all done :) I could go write for hours, I like it, I see why she does it, I must get it from her! ha ha anyways to sum everything up without my parents I'd be lost. They are my best friends and I love them to pieces. I know they see how much I appreciate them and everything they have done for me, my brothers and sisters are all blessed as am I. That's all I have to say for this time it was a pleasure cya :) Their son Jesse.

The above post was voluntarily written (without any changes made) from our oldest son. He was one of our first adopted. We had a few challenging years but I am very proud to say he's come a long way. "Thank you" for your kind words and your truthful feelings. Dad and I love you very much!

Son & "Momma Bear"