Major Adoption-Related Events

  • 09-04-29 Part One Sponsorship Application Completed and Sent
  • 08-11-04 Dossier in Ethiopia -- the wait begins
  • 08-10-24 Dossier on its way to Ethiopia
  • 08-10-23 Dossier back to Imagine
  • 08-10-17 Dossier to Ottawa
  • 08-10-07 Dossier (finally complete) at Imagine
  • 08-09-10 Dossier (most) Sent to Imagine
  • 08-09-04 Provincial Approval Received
  • 08-07-08 Completed Dossier Sent to Province for Approval
  • 08-06-26 HAR Signed and sent back to ABC
  • 08-05-16 HAR Started
  • 08-04-22 Int'l Adoption Self-Study Course Completed
  • 08-04-07 Application sent to ABC
  • 08-02-19 Initial Application faxed to Imagine
  • 08-02-16 References Requested from Friends

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year All!

We came back a couple of days ago from our post-Christmas trip to the Rockies. What a great time we had in Jasper, skiing at Marmot! I thought that Jonah would finally be old enough for ski lessons this year -- when we were skiing Smithers, we were told they had to be three -- but unfortunately, Jonah had to be FOUR at Marmot. Oh well. We had a great time anyway. We spent some time skiing on the kiddy hill, mooching advice off of the ski instructors about how best to teach Jonah how to ski on his own. We were told that the best way for kidlets to learn to turn is to use airplane arms. Basically, if you want to turn one direction, tilt your arms (one up, one down) so that you are showing your armpit to the direction that you want to go. Seems counter-intuitive to me-- I'd've thought it was the other way around -- but it totally works! So Jonah practiced going one way and then the other on the hill (still on the harness), and then we played red light green light on a slower run, so he "french fried" (kept his skis parallel) to go, and "pizza-ed" (snow plowed) to stop. It was the best ski trip we'd had, hands down!

Well, in all fairness, the dynamics between the members of the family were not at an all time high. Take five over-played, under-rested people and stick them in the same place for three days straight, and there are bound to be some clashes. Add to that the fact that my two sisters are a couple of pre-pubescent hormonal gals, and well, you can guess. But even so, it was a sweet trip. The second day of skiing, Jonah was right tuckered out by mid morning, so after lunch, I put him in the daycare at the hill for the rest of the afternoon, and had the chance to ditch my rental skis and go snowboarding on my new Roman deck. LOVE IT!! It was so much fun! And while I ski so that Jonah will soon be skilled enough to be off leash and we can zip around the hill together, I really am not a big fan of skiing. I never really got great at it, despite starting when I was four. So I started snowboarding at 16 and have never looked back -- until I had a small child who could not ski between my legs when I was snowboarding. So I've skied the last couple of years, but I think by this time next year, I will have respite from the skis, because Jonah will be able to hold him own.
When we arrived home on Monday, however, our happy holiday was abruptly ended by the smell of poo as we came into the house. My dogs were downstairs (Felix in the kennel, because he chews) and he had pooped in his kennel. Apparently they (both of my dogs, but not my mam's) had had diarrhea since we left. Every evening when John, our dog-sitter came to let the pups out before bed, there was feces. And every evening, John would clean and bleach our floors. Good Man! But I guess Felix had defecated on his rug in his kennel, so John replaced it with a pillow, so when I came home, not only was the brown stuff everywhere, but it was mushed into the pillow fluff that covered the floor! Excellent! I'm sure nobody wants anymore details than that (I'm sure some have already stopped reading -- sorry) but yeah. Gross. So not a great welcome home, and the pups are still sick, even a couple of days later. I finally called the vet today, thinking if it was something they had eaten, it should be out of their system by now, but the vet said, no, it could still be something they ate, so I've been instructed to have them fast today, and then start them on a different diet for a week or so, to reset their systems.
So yeah, generally good times around the holidays. My sister bought me for Christmas some sweet paper from Close To My Heart (she's a demonstrator), and an 8 x 8 album to scrap my trip to Ethiopia. So sweet! I love this Boom-Di-Ada paper:

And I'm also looking forward to soon starting a cloth album to send to my sweet girl, once the referral has been made. We will print out pictures from the computer onto cloth and then use other fabrics to scrap instead of paper, so that she can see pictures of the family and if she chews on us, no big deal. The Ethiopia trip pages I would really like to have the templates for them finished before I go to Ethiopia, so that when I return, it'll just be a matter of picking photos to crop and glue in.

I know, I know, I have nothing BUT time at this point, but even so, it is nice to think that somewhere in the foreseeable future, there is an end to this whole crazy deal. So I will keep my crafty self occupied for the moment, pouring my affection to this as of yet unmet daughter of mine, via scrapbooks. And clothes. Oh mercy! I went to the Children's Place Monster sale yesterday, and had to practice some serious self-restraint. One thing I can be sure of is I will have one stylish girl, once she's home.

Speaking of coming home, Karen is back with Phoebe. I thought of her so many times in the last couple of weeks, waiting with baited breath for any updates, and when I finally made it onto the computer this morning, was overjoyed at the many posts and pictures that she has put out since coming home with her daughter. I'm living vicariously through her right now, comforting myself with the mantra, "Someday my turn." Someday.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas All!

Having had an absolutely blissful day myself, spending time with the family, I hope you all are making the most of the holiday, and I am praying for the many upcoming court dates, especially those of you who are up for round two in the courts, that all goes well and your babes are home soon.
My Jonah said something so sweet on Tuesday, as we were driving to a friend's for dinner, that I just have to share it. Warms my heart, that kid! Here it is:
J: I have a secret to tell you.
M: What's that?
J: When we get home, I am going to give you one of my quiet time toys to keep!
M: Wow, that's so nice!
J: I'm going to give you two!
M: You are so sweet, Jonah.
(after a minute's pause...)
J: I'm a keeping boy.
M: I don't know what that means.
J: I'm going to give away all my toys to keep.
M: That is so nice, Jonah. You must have a really big heart.
J: Cause you kiss me so much!

Makes me think I'm doing it right!
We're heading off to the mountains tomorrow, which I'm totally looking forward to. It's holidays, and so I should have nothing but time to spend with my boy, but the truth is, with all the people and multitudes of distractions (namely new Playmobil toys for Jonah, and a Wii for my sisters that has me distracted), I miss him and feel like I haven't spent enough time with him. These next few days of being together in the great outdoors will be good for the spirit.

Sweet girl of mine, wherever you may be right now, I'm thinking of you and praying you are well and healthy and loved. I'm missing you already.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Wooo-Hoooo! Holidays!

Jonah taking off the ski boots (March 07)

I have been a little out of touch with this blog lately, as my internet is not working at home (apparently the phone company expects payment or something? Who can understand the inner-workings of these crazy companies?). Whatever, I'll square up the bill, but if they can't bother with an automated phone call to inform me I'm about to get cut of, I'll shop around for a different company. Maybe I'll bundle my satellite, phone, and internet with Shaw. Whatever. My fault I know, but, meh. It'll all work out.
On the up side I AM HOOOOOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS! Two weeks out of P-town and hanging out with family and friends in Edmonton. We are already having a great time. Games night last night at my sisters, and for today Christmas shopping with the brother-in-law, lunch with my best friend, dinner with old friends in town from Nanaimo in Tuesday, and on boxing day, off to Jasper for 4 days -- skating, skiing, relaxing! I'm trying to convince my sister to let her oldest daughter to come, but she's a bit protective ("She's so small," she keeps saying). Well, she may be small, but this will be Jonah's 3rd year out on skis, so come on! It's time! Of course knowing that I had Jonah out on the hill before he was two might make some think I am underprotective, but my boy loved it! couldn't get enough! And most of the time, he was not between my legs (thank goodness, because it is hard work!) but he was between the legs of an experienced ski instructor friend, while I was yelling "Left! Right!" into the radio headset to guide my blind boyfriend who I was with at the time.

Jonah and Lynne (the ski instructor)

Last year though, Jonah was two, and managed to do well on the harness! I was totally impressed. Toe-clips on his skis and a harness, and we were good to go! He skied a bit between my legs, but it was great to have a break with the harness and be able to stand upright. So I am hoping that she lets Miss Miriam come, because she and Jonah would have a great time!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Random Survey

The items I've done are in bold/underlined! Copy and paste this list to reflect your own experiences.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain (Mt Robson!)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (See #12)
20. Slept on an overnight train (See #91)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill (Don't tell!)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (See #12)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone (does a tooth count?)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chicken pox
89. Saved someone's life

90. Sat on a jury (almost!)
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

Monday, December 15, 2008

$11 House

I just entered the coolest contest, and I am so pumped. It is called the $11 dollar house and you can link to the site HERE. Basically, you send off $11 and an email saying why it would be great if you could win it, and the couple that is hosting the contest picks the person they think should get it. No random draw here! And they have to have a certain amount of entries to make it go, because they don't just want to give it away out of their own pockets (of course) and so enough people have to enter so that the house could be paid off. Hopefully the number of entrants will go up exponentially, as it gets more press. It's the real deal, profiled on CBC even. And if they don't have enough entrants, they will refund the money (if they choose not to do the draw).
I think it is pretty neat. And actually, the house is mere blocks from where I grew up which is cool, and if I win, well, no question, the debate about when to move back to Edmonton would be solved. So, I know that there are plenty of deserving people, and certainly many far more "in need" than myself, but if you want to send off a prayer on my behalf, well, that'd be great.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Where Should I Be?

I'm in a sticky place career wise, and am not really sure what I should be doing about my job. I miss my family. I don't love my job, with the politics and games behind the scenes. And the wait time for referrals, well, keep getting longer. I understand (sort of) why the wait times are what they are, but of course it is disappointing. As disappointing as having to wait even longer for my sweet girl, is the fact that in order to fully collect on my parental leave, I have to stick it out in this current job. Well, I don't have to, but in my head it is the right thing to do. If I get a referral by the end of the school year (which would put my wait time at 8.5 months), then it would be fine to stick it out here, knowing that I'd only really have to wait half the year before I could go and get my daughter. However, if it takes, say a year by the time I get to my referral (which, unfortunately, would not surprise me), then I could have another whole school year under the belt before I start my leave. And if that is the case, I could see about getting a job in Edmonton for a year before my adoption is completed. That would get me home this summer (which would be so nice). However, I don't want to start a new job with a different district, only to be unable to finish out the contract, because I'd worry that it would get me blacklisted. So I don't know what to do. No resolution in this post, but it is a topic that is weighing heavily on my mind. What to do, what to do...

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Have you ever found something you just couldn't stop lusting over? For me (recently) it's babylegs. Huh. That doesn't sound good. That's not what I meant. What I mean is babylegs, the brand name of those itty-bitty little baby legwarmers! Dang they're cute. Check out these sweet pictures of Cindy's boys (a mom of Ethiopian triplet brothers) decked out in stylin' rainbow babylegs.
Well, today I thought to myself, maybe I can find me a deal on ebay. And what do you know? There they were, and even with shipping, they were about half the price. Oh yeah!

All three pairs for less than $30 CAN including shipping.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

God Bless the Librarian

I love our school librarian. I told Doris about my Jonah's bedtime woes and she came to me about an hour later, with a couple of books she'd picked out and signed out to me. She had said to me that maybe part of the reason for Jonah's reaction could be that he is genuinely scared when he goes to bed, and maybe part of it is that he feels like he's not as important to me as he wants to be. I was totally choked to hear that, because of course I love him with all I have, but she could be onto something. Most waking hours in the day are spent getting things done: getting breakfast made, getting ready for the day, getting out the door, getting my stuff together at the end of the school day, doing some photocopying, getting out to the car again, making dinner, eating, showering, and bedtime routines. Where in there do we find time for fun? The answer is weekends. And that's not okay. I mean it's not like we have no time together during the week; we play for a few minutes here and there, and cuddle up together on the couch to read together before bed, and most nights we end up in the same bed together. With the exception of school hours, we are physically attached, but not interacting the way he'd like. So maybe she is onto something. These are the books she gave me:

Both are written by Todd Snow, and basically follow the format, "You are brave when you..." and "You are important because..." They are simple but good and Jonah gets it, even can understand what it means that he is important (a tough concept for a three-year-old).

This next book, though, this is the treasure, and if you know any little guys who don't like to be away from their parents, it is awesome. Basically, it's about a little raccoon, who is afraid to start school and be away from the things he knows (including his mom). So his mom kisses the palm of his hand and tells him whenever he needs his mom's love, he can put it to his cheek and think, "Mommy loves you. Mommy loves you." We read the book and then I kissed Jonah's hand and he put it up to his cheek and I said, "Can you hear it?"

And he said, "It says, 'I love you.'"

"And who is saying that?"

"You," he says.

We had a really good bedtime. A couple of times I thought he was going to start fussing, but then I told him how great he was doing, and he'd stop and we did a quiet, lovely bedtime. Tucked him in, and not a peep. No tears, no excuses. If you have a young 'un who resists being put to bed, this is the book for you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Amendment and Bedtime Insanity

Some good news on the amendment front: I called ABC this afternoon to find out what was happening, because I had not heard anything on it for about a week. Ramone told me that she had sent it off to Perdita (the HAR writer) to sign, and then she would get it back, sign it herself and then send it directly to the province. I guess for the amendment I don't even have to sign it! So that takes one step and stop out of the equation, which is good, and hopefully since it is a mere 2 page document, it will be quickly forward to my favorite agency.
My favorite boy, on the other hand, is driving me crazy. Every night when I put him to bed, he is just fine until I tell him it's bedtime, then we have an hour-long meltdown, which he approaches from several directions. There is the foot-stomping, couch-punching anger, which I try to redirect with songs and a prayer, but usually I end up only doing one song and a prayer because he won't stop. And then he's frustrated by the fact that he only gets one song. And then I tuck him in and he's good as gold when I'm laying with him, but when I get up, the crying starts, and then the guilt trip -- "I'm scared" over and over. And I know that's not true, because when he is at my mam's or sister's he is fine, even in the dark. And then the anger again --"Dammit! Dammit!" (because he knows he's not allowed to use that word -- he didn't learn it from me). And eventually the constant crying drives me to the edge and I close his door, even though I know he hates that. But at that point, I have warned him over and over. So then it is 45, 60, 90 minutes past his bedtime, and I am ready to lose it. And I tell them that if he's quiet for a few minutes, I'll open the door again, but if we manage to get the door open again, he starts crying again right away, and it gets closed again. And that brings me to this point, with a red-faced, door-kicking pissed-off three year old yelling under the door crack,"Mummy you're a maniac!" because that's the best insult he's got.
So here's the question to you -- parents, parents-to-be, aunts, uncles, and readers of child behavior management books -- what the? What can I be doing differently? Because I am calm (usually), I tell him what I'm going to do if his behavior continues, and then I do that. I'm doing what I know and it's not working. So do you have any advice?

I Have Her Name

Well, I know that nothing is really happening on the adoption front, because of course, I am just waiting now, but I have had an exciting revelation – I have thought and (I think) decided on a name for my girl. I wasn’t going to change her name, out of a respect for her family, and I know somewhere in the name I will pick will be her name too (probably third), but I have the names that she will get from me. You’ll have to wait until she is my girl to hear them, but I will give a hint. Her first name will start with an A and her second with a B. But she will be called by a short form of the second. Those are your only clues.
I hate it when people are cryptic, but oh well.
On the spreadsheet front, I have made an Excel sheet to keep track of recent referrals and the many many people ahead of me, but the newest modification (yes I spend way to much time absorbed by this process) calculates the number of days people wait for a referral and then averages those numbers, and projects (based on the current date and average wait) my possible referral date. I know it won’t be right there and I know it’ll change as info is updated, but right now, end of June. I know wait times are increasing, but I don’t care. I just need to point my attention elsewhere!
It’s a good day! Eight and a half school days until Christmas holidays!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

God bless the creator of the 4-day weekend!

Oh, sweet weekend of being... not in P-town (where I live, but wish I didn't!). And I never thought I 'd be so thankful for Edmonton! I never loved it much when I lived there, but I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder!
We had such a nice weekend of hanging out with family and friends. My mam had her annual Christmas party, so I had an opportunity to visit with friends that I don't see regularly anymore, and of course, we ate too much good food (I like to get a jump on the Christmas weight gain - just kidding). I told people how things are going on the adoption front -- which basically can be summed up in two sentences "I am waiting. But it's going to be a long time before I can pick up my girl." And yeah. Good times.
And even though I came home to an answering machine message from a parent, who apparently feels like it's okay to call me at home, I feel well rested and ready for the week. Bring it! Ten more school days until Christmas! Yay! And the plan for Christmas? Well, catching up on all my marking, but also... Christmas! And then driving to Jasper on Boxing Day, and skating at Jasper Park Lodge. Then for the 2 days following: skiing at Marmot. AND this year, my favorite boy is old enough to take a ski lesson which means I can have an hour or two of snowboarding instead of wearing little training skis while being attached to my guy by a harness! Sweet!!! And then the next day, out to Maligne Canyon for a little cross-country ski, maybe a canyon hike, before heading back to Edmonton.
Jonah's father picked him up today for a visit, and asked if Jonah could sleep over one night over Christmas holidays. I think that'll be good. For all of us. Because I will have a rare opportunity to actually sleep through the night AND sleep in in the morning, Jonah will have a chance to spend some bonus time with his father, and Jon, well, he'll have a dose of what it is to have a small, cuddly boy wake up crying in the middle of the night, come crawl into your bed, and press his hot body and cold feet up against him for the remainder of the night, until his internal clock sets him off at six a.m. and he expects him to get up and play. And then if his dad doesn't get up, he may find that that pen that was left out has found a way to operate itself (Jonah'll swear he had nothing to do with it). Have a good sleepover boys! I know anyway, that I will enjoy it. But actually, I'll really miss my guy, because even with all of that, I'd rather he spend the night with me. In fact, he said something along those lines this weekend, when I was pushing the cart at Costco and he wanted Oma to do it instead. He said, "Mam, you want to be with me, but I want to be with Oma." Thanks a lot punk!
I bought a couple of diaper shirts for my girl today. Cute! I find myself picking her up a little something almost everytime I go out shopping. I can't help it. She is constantly on my mind. And I've only been waiting a month! Oh my. I'm just going to try to distance myself from the wait in hopes that I can just live my life, not wondering when it'll all happen. Yeah right. Well, wishful thinking anyway.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Random Thoughts

Four weeks waiting. Okay, I know compared to you seven, eight, nine months plus folks, it's minor, but I'm excited. Time is passing. And it certainly doesn't hurt that school is keeping my busy and occupying the vast majority of space in my mind.
I'm looking forward to a 4-day weekend this week. I have to get sub plans together which takes some time, but I'm not too worried about it! My sitter is having a bit of a family crisis and has to go out of town on Thursday, and since I have no back-up sitter, I had to figure something out. So I booked a dentist appointment on Thursday and my sister's getting a doctor's appointment set up Friday, and so I get two medical days this week. It's maybe a little schemish, but I've never taken a medical day -- I've always done that stuff on weekends and evenings -- and I'm entitled to them so I don't feel so bad. And I'm certainly not going to complain about having a four day weekend in Edmonton with the family. We have our family Christmas party on Saturday, and so there are plenty of things to do -- baking and housecleaning and such. It'll be a great time.
No word yet on where my amendment is. I haven't signed it yet, so I'm not too sure. But it should be coming to me shortly I would think, and then to the province.
I am sooooooo looking forward to the holidays! The stretch from September to Christmas can be a long one, but after Christmas, it's broken up quite nicely: Teacher's Convention, Spring break, and then the end-of-year push. And when my girl comes, I am done here. I can't wait to return to the city (not for the city itself, but for the people who live there). I have to finish out the year here, to get my permanent teacher's certificate, but of course, there are no worries that my girl would come before the end of the school year. Hopefully by the end of the 2009 year, but even that I think is unlikely. It is hard not to be discourage by these ever-increasing time lines, but I have to acknowledge that the likelihood of me getting my referral before court closures is unlikely. Which also means I'll be stuck in the bottleneck of court dates and what-not. At this point, I just have to sigh and try to prepare myself for a long wait. However, I do think that if my Jonah is coming up to his 5th birthday when things finally go through with his sister, I will likely take him along, because at that age, and with such a significant event, he is bound to retain some memory of the trip.