Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Adoption Update

Just so you know, there are two other posts below this one. I just have a hard time putting a bunch of random stuff together which is probably why I have 4 different blogs:) Talking about blogs, check out the latest wedding we did, it was so fun!

Someone fell asleep on the couch yesterday...they are both fighting colds AGAIN. I read back to when Kai was Koen's age and Kai had his first cold at 15 months! Koen has probably had 8 colds already.
Auntie Jackie is a public health care nurse so we get special home visits:) Sami is gaining weight nicely which is great considering Jan has had a few complications post C-section.

Okay, so this is about the adoption seminar we went to. It was a good day and it was overwhelming. You know, when I was pregnant, it really made me appreciate all those that had actually been pregnant before. When I was in labour, I was really proud of all the women that had gone through labour. When I had a C-section, I really admired all those that recovered from one. Does that make sense? You just don't realize the magnitude of something until you've been through part of it. Adoption is a huge process in many ways and I think some people don't understand it. Well, let's be honest, I didn't even know what was all involved in it until we looked into it!
(Opa with granddaughter number 3)
So, the paperwork portion...let me tell you what we'll be doing for the next 6 months:
1. Application
2. Medical checks for Gary and I (I really, really, really hope that Graves' Disease does not factor into this. I have been able to parent my kids just fine and I will continue to be able to).
3. Criminal Record Checks
4. Prior Contact Checks with the ministry
5. List of references

Then, in June, we have a 3 day seminar that we will be attending

6. Do the home study section which requires 6 visits with a social worker. Social worker will visit our home, have individual interviews with both Gary and I, talk to our kids, check out the safety of our home etc. This will take 2-3 months.
7. Fill out questionnaires and risk factors form. `Would you want to adopt a child that....'.
8. Prepare `Dear Birth Parent' letters and photobook/picture page of some sort of our family (this is covered in our 3 day seminar).
(Okay, isn't she so beautiful??)
At this point, it will be approx. September 2010 and if all goes according to plan, we will be considered `active'. At that point, it is an average of one year until you are matched with a child but it could be a month, it could be 2 years. You need to be chosen. Almost all of the matches are newborns...I believe that the oldest child that was adopted through this agency in the past year was 9 months old. We are currently open to any age child below the age of one.
(Koen pulls up a chair everywhere...I saw him heading to the stove top the other day. I have to keep my eye on this guy!)
I was emotional throughout the one day seminar. I was sad for the birth parents and I was sad for our future child and the struggles he or she may have due to his/her adoption. However, no matter what happens in life, whether your child is biological or adopted, there will be sadness and hard times. Fortunately, the happy, content, and joyous times should far outweigh that. I really, really hope to have a positive relationship with the birth parents and for them to be an active part of our baby's life.
(Koen will kick his legs against Kai to bug him. To be nice, he will go upstairs and get Bubi for Kai and give it to him, isn't that sweet? He calls Kai, `Dai'. He can also say `Bubi'. SOOOOOOO CUTE!!!)
Now, some interesting things that I have noted so far in this journey. The first two questions that people always ask are:

1. Are you adopting a girl? We seriously could never choose so we will take what God chooses for us! I would love either. I love my boys and I love little girls. I wouldn't want to adopt just so I could `ensure' that I would have a daughter, does that make sense?

2. It's really expensive isn't it? Well, it's about $12, 500 here and about $30,000 for international. Truly, I don't feel that it is that expensive when you see the amount of money you put into other things. Does that make sense? And, I can see where all the money is going. It goes to the agency for all the care that they provide to the birth moms, the seminars, the record checks etc.

Comments that might bug me a little are:
1. `You're skipping the hard part by adopting!' Are you joking? If I was someone who was unable to have kids I would be soooo upset by that comment. And, even as someone who has biological kids, the paperwork process and the emotional journey are not easy:) It's like saying a C-section is the easy way out of a vaginal delivery.

2. I don't know how to say this one...but when people make a comment like I'm doing some charity work or something. Like, `That's so great of you that you are willing to do that'. Does that make sense? I don't want to offend anyone here. It is great that people want to adopt but I don't think they are doing it because they want to be `good people'. We are adopting because we know there are kids that need a home and we have a fabulous one and we love kids! We would love another kid and instead of having a higher risk pregnancy, we would like to adopt.
** Please do not feel bad if you've ever made a comment like this!! Remember, I said they bug me a little!**
Okay, Kai is begging me to bake with him so I better! I do love baking with him. Kai has also started holding my hand when we go for our daily walks. He is not a very lovey dovey type kid so this is so nice for me, I just rub his hand in mine and smile. I love it.

(Koen must have his plastic golf club with him no matter where we go outside. He uses it like a hockey stick)

Have a great week and thank you for following our journey!
Love, Louise

Eva

I just want to recognize that Eva Markvoort, of 65 red roses, passed away this week. So incredibly sad but she was such a wonderful advocate for CF awareness and organ donation. She received an award just before she passed away and you can watch the video of it here. My best friend Lynette's brother, George, is also in the hospital awaiting a double lung transplant because he also has CF. George has been on the transplant list for about 16 months now. When someone is on the list, it doesn't mean they are just going on with life like everyone else while they are waiting. They are in desperate need. Long stays in the hospital fighting infection to stay healthy enough to live and to be able to get a transplant when the time comes. George is first in my prayers every night because he really, really needs his new lungs. Please make sure that you are an organ donor and that your family knows your wishes.

Painting

Can anyone give me advice on interior paint colours? We originally had the green on the walls but decided to do grey on the one wall. Now we can see that the green and grey to not look that good together. Should we paint all of the green a grey colour? Paint the green the light colour that the rest of the walls are? Leave it? My one concern is that we will lose the tile around the fireplace if we paint that part grey. I also don't want to do too much in the dark grey because our house is not the biggest:)
(I know the grey looks blue in the above picture, but it is really grey...I hope!)
Green Wall #1 above

Green Wall #2 (do you see how I would `lose' the tiles around the fireplace if it was grey?)
Also, I was told yesterday that 3 colours in a small space is not a good idea:) So....any thoughts?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Latest

I'm very busy. This week, we had three photo shoots in 2 days (one was a wedding), then I drove out to Abbotsford hospital 4 times in 3 days, and then we had our all day adoption seminar. I'm tired and trying to get caught up. This will be super brief (because I NEED to get a little further on these wedding photos!!) and I will have a separate post in a couple of days about the adoption seminar and where we are at!
Me: Hey Kai, can you keep your eye on Koen for a couple of minutes while I clean the bathroom?
Kai: Sure!
Two minutes later
Kai: Hee hee, good job Koen!
Me (yelling from the other room): Kai, what's going on in there?
Kai: Mommy come see Koen!
Where did I find him? See below. The kids bathtub.
Koen LOVES the bath. Okay, he loves a few things. If you say `bath', he goes upstairs. If you say `walk' he goes and gets his boots. If you say `food' he runs to his highchair. I love the level of understanding! He eats so much, it is truly shocking. He loves dogs and birdies. He tries to say words when he wants to. Today he walked around looking for Kai saying his name. He is a little grumpy (mostly from 4-6pm..great, dinner time!) because his two eye teeth are coming in. They are just starting to poke through.

When I look at Koen, I see myself as a baby. It's very strange. Oh his whining. He will open his mouth and close his eyes and fake cry. Then he will open his eyes to see if I'm looking at him and then continue. Kinda funny. He is whiniest around me because he knows I'm a sucker and will pick him up:) And now a little break for my littlest niece....
Jani and Sami. Now happy at home.
I should offer to trim Sami's nails...Jantina trimmed Kai's nails when he was born and he ended up with bloody fingers. I'm the only one that has cut them since then.
I had Ani and Izzy over this week so I thought I would take some pictures of them in the basement. It lasted about 4 minutes and was way too hectic.
Okay, so let's see whats new with Kai Bear.
Kai, who has never left his room EVER, has been coming into our room every morning at 6:30am to chat. He just wants to snuggle up next to me and talk about camping (and how he wants to roast mini marshmallow's) or moving (how he will carry the small items when gramma and grandpa move). If we do one thing this summer, it will be an overnight camping trip with the boys. I seriously cannot wait. I'm just as excited as Kai. I'm so excited to see his excitement over the whole thing.
(niece Izzy...wild hair and great eyes)
I put Pull Ups on Kai at night because to be honest, I have no desire to wash sheets every day. He's been in underwear for a year but not at night! Anyway, I forgot to put one on him the other day but he woke up dry. I told him how proud of him I was and he said, `I know mommy, I'm just an expert at keeping pee in my bladder!'. Hmm...my little expert.

(Kai and Ani look nothing alike but check out their matching smiles. Ani refuses to touch Kai and needs her space. Kai is learning about giving space)

Kai has recently started playing more with our neighbour boys. One is a year older than him and a lot more into sports. Kai needs a little more practice:) So far they have played soccer and hockey together. Today, while playing soccer, Kai was in the net and saved a ball (phew, it went right to his foot, he just had to stand there!) and then he heard a plane and ran around pretending to be a plane:) His focus is amusing.

Okay, I'll be back in a few days with an adoption update. In the meantime...I need to slow down.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Baby Samantha Jantina

She's here! So, Jantina was induced on Sunday. And Tuesday. After spending all Tuesday in the hospital getting rehydrated, Jantina spent the night at home. This morning, she came in the hospital at 4cm and it was the big day!
(Just getting fetal monitored before going home on a pass Tues night)
Jan had a super tough day, as do all labouring momma's. I spent a few hours with her...is it okay that she made me laugh? She was all over the gas. After her first time trying it, she started crying (not sure why?) and told the doctor, `I've never done drugs before!' and he said, `I can tell!'. She was making the nurses laugh with her random comments throughout. At noon, she asked me to go home. Totally understand...Jan likes her space:)
(She had to lay in the bed for a few minutes to get monitored but spent almost the entire day in the shower)
Unfortunately, she was at 5cm for 7 hours and although she made it to the 6cm, baby's head was still not coming down and the contractions were still coming frequently and quite strong. She had a C-section and baby Samantha Jantina was born! Sami was 8lbs 2oz and has the longest fingers and tongue I've ever seen on a baby. Piano fingers! I notice the tongue for two reasons;
1. Koen was tongue tied so I notice everyone's tongues now
2. Our family has some genetically long tongues in there (like mine...I can touch my tongue to my nose) and so far, none of the kids have inherited it...until now!
She came out hungry and Jan got to feed her right away! They let the baby remain with mommy and daddy in the recovery room! I never had that...I was all by myself for an hour:(
(Opi and Nana Jo with the babe)
Baby appears to be very alert and healthy. She reminds me of Doug...100% daddy's girl!
(I'll have to get a better picture of her hand...the room was very dark)
I went to the hospital 3X in the last 24 hours...and it's not at my local hospital either!
Check out the length of the feet!
I have to say that although I was super pumped to have a niece, I was more concerned for my Jani Bear. I'm so glad that she can now rest and start to recover. So hard to see a loved one in pain and wish that you could take some of it for them.
Dr. Doug:)
Can't wait to get to know you Sami!!
(Oh my goodness, 100% Doug here!)
You've got a lot of cousins, aunties, uncles and grandparents that love you!! Well a couple of your cousins might just want to wrestle you, but they'll learn:)

You've got my tongue (it is much longer, just couldn't capture it in action)! Yay to Jan, Doug and Sami!!! I can't wait to babysit!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Almost An Aunt Again

My sister Jantina is 10 days overdue with her first...we're thinking it could be anytime now. I just wanted to do a post before the baby gets here because I'm sure I'll have to take a picture or two of the little one:)

I just have a few pictures from our trip to the zoo last week, we brought Ani along. We also went on a `hike' at Campbell Valley Park.

I boosted the colours a bit in this picture. You like? Too much blue but no time to fix it right now...lotsa pictures to work on!

I just have to say that our adoption process officially starts this week when Gary and I will be attending the first seminar. I am 85% excited and 15% nervous right now. What am I nervous about? I hope that I can handle the process emotionally and that Kai and Koen will completely embrace our new little one. I'm not nervous about Gary, he's a rock:) I have been envisioning holding my baby every single day and it makes me teary eyed. Can I call the baby `my baby'? I guess it's even possible that a momma is pregnant with our baby right now. I feel very impatient and have been thinking daily, `I just want my baby now!'. I think because Koen is such a toddler now, and so easy to have around, that I just feel ready. So, I guess I'm also worried that I won't be patient enough if it takes 2 years. A friend of mine was able to witness her adopted son being born, that would be so amazing although I doubt it's very common. I'm sure I'll have a lot more thoughts on it all after the seminar but just keeping you posted where we're at right now!


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(Dare I say that Koen has slept a solid 12 hours straight for the past 5 nights?! This is his Warf like face, you know, Star Trek dude)

(Gary teaching Kai how to write his name by connecting the dots)


Okay, I better get going here...have a wonderful day! I can't believe my sister is going to have a baby so soon!!!
Woohoo!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Entertainer

Koen just makes me laugh all day long...he lives on this table. Please do not notice that there is a box of sugary cereal on the counter.
Today when auntie Jackie left, he waved and said `Bah!' (you know, bye!) over and over. So sweet.

And now I just need to tell you about the record number of shoots we had this weekend. Yesterday: wedding shoot. Today: maternity and engagement shoot. Phew. I will be pretty busy working on those the next week or two!

This is a shot I took at Fort Langley where the maternity shoot was. I think it's so lovely and peaceful.

My sister Jantina is now 1 week overdue...I can't wait for `the call' that she's in the hospital!!!

I finished reading `Water For Elephants' this weekend and it was so good. I would recommend it for sure. You know when it's so good that you can't stop reading and you just wished that it went on forever?

My pictures are done uploading...time to work! Have a lovely evening!
Love, Louise

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Meeting Gary

In 2001, when I was 22 years old, I started my first teaching job. We were having orientation the first day and there was one guy we were still waiting for; Gary Chapman. Five new teachers were sitting around the table, waiting for this Gary guy. The vice principal called him and Gary said he forgot about it and he was painting his mom's house. He said he would come in for the second day of orientation.
Who was this guy? So irresponsible it seemed! It turns out he has subbed and coached there and already knew a lot about the running of the school, but how was I to know that? Def. not a guy I would be interested in!

(Yes, this is Gary's first year teaching picture. This is what he looked like when I met him)
I met him the next day. Now, not sure if you are like me at all, but at that age I would look at a guy and think, `Could he be my husband?'. I didn't rule him out but after an awkward conversation, in the video aisle of the library, where I asked him if he went to UBC (because I had and I overheard that he did PDP there) and he said `no' when really he had, I thought he was confusing and a little strange.

That afternoon, we set up our classrooms and I went down to his room to see how he was doing. We talked a bit and he made fun of me for not knowing much about Star Wars. He seemed friendly as he was going through years worth of the old science 8 teachers stuff in his classroom. He threw a few random items at me; shirts, posters etc. He was setting up posters around his desk, from when he was in grade 8. I then thought he was friendly enough and maybe not too strange. However, being that I was just fresh out of a long relationship, I wasn't looking for anything. AND, it probably wouldn't be good to date someone I was working with again.

That's all I remember from the first day.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Boys on Video

Here's just a couple of videos of the boys. First, Koen jumping on me...
video

and then the boys being silly at dinner time...

video

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy

I don't know if it's the weather, the kids, the holiday I had, the fact that Gary is home on Spring Break, but man, I feel happy! I can't remember the last time I felt this good emotionally. Just super stable and happy and content. Ahhhhhhh. Nice.
(Just want to show you what we use our old cd rack for. It is SO perfect for the kids shoes!)
My sister Jantina is now 2 days overdue...can't wait for the big phone call!!
We've done some painting in our great room, got rid of our curtains and are installing blinds. I think it will look much nicer. We will see! Below are two HDR shots that Gary took when we went to Vancouver for the Olympics. HDR is when you superimpose three different exposures of the same picture. I think they look great but just two things to point out:
1. Gary mentioned that he should've used a tripod because you can see the inukshuk has some blurry borders.
2. The water line in the first picture drives me bonkers because it's on such a diagonal but Gary says he likes it. I would've rotated it:)


Hopefully my next post will have a picture of me holding my new niece or nephew!! Have a great evening.
Love, Louise
PS Koen slept 6:30pm-6:30am last night! Woohoo! He is usually up at least once as he is the lightest sleeper in the world...let's hope he has another good night!