Frustrated…Yet Grateful

A couple of days ago I was driving distracted. No, I was not using a cell phone while I was driving (for those of you who do not live in BC, we can get fined for driving while using a cell phone). I was distracted by my frustration. I was thinking how I was frustrated with the adoption process.

I got home and started writing a list of reasons why the adoption process was frustrating me. The list quickly morphed into a list of gratefulness. Interestingly, the ‘grateful list’ quickly out-sized the ‘frustration list’. While there may be a similar number of points to each list, I was sucked into the vortex of gratefulness and able to articulate them a little better. A moment later I realized that I was much more grateful than frustrated. For me, the frustration was bred from selfishness whereas the gratefulness is so much more than about me.

The following is what my lists currently look like (although I continue to ponder this and add to each list — mostly the grateful list:

Frustrated:
-with the process of adoption (but understand nonetheless)
-with the significant possibility of costs increasing related to the adoption
-with the timeline of many pieces of the adoption both home and abroad
-with the unknown – who our kids are, and when we will be travelling

Grateful:
-for the process – it does protect kids from child trafficking (and yes, this was also in the ‘frustrated list’)
-for the people involved in the adoption process. We have met superb individuals both this working on our adoption story and those who are willing to walk alongside us in this journey. And we eagerly await to meet the people who have been working hard on our adoption journey that we have yet to meet.
-for the people willing to donated time, effort and funds to our adoption process. They are all part of the community that we believe it takes to bring children home as well as raise them. They are willing to give for something that we believe in — for children that they cannot yet see, hear, or touch.
-for the unknown. Yes, that sounds strange, but I think that once we know who our kids are, there is still much to do to get them home. Once we see our kids faces, know their names and as much information as is available, I will want them in our home. I will want to hug and cuddle them (even though they may not want to — depending on many factors which I will not get into at this time). This unknown may turn to frustration at any point but for now, this is where is stays.
-for the future opportunity to travel. I look forward to meeting not only new family members, but the people at the orphanage. And don’t forget about the local food I am looking forward to.
-for who we are and what we have as a family — good health, warm & dry place to live, beds to sleep in, food to eat, loving family and amazing friends.

Crazy what happened when I started putting my frustration to paper (yes, I did write before typing — this speaks volumes about me). Hopefully I have learned to put my future frustrations down on paper and see where it takes me because despite the frustration in this process of writing I learned much.

What is happening…

As it is the middle of August already I can’t believe we are nearing the end of summer. As much as I love the warm weather, lazy mornings, playing in the sand, and visiting with friends there is a part of me that looks forward to our scheduled routine in the school year.

In our adoption world we have now officially hit the time called “WAITING”.  I don’t like to wait.. never have.. never will.  So now that I am being called to wait and wait and then wait some more God is molding me, preparing me and teaching me.  We are waiting for THAT phone call.  The phone call that will change our lives.  The phone call that says “We have a match for you..”

Until then our paperwork is in Haiti and is in the hands of some amazing people who are working on our behalf to bring our children home to our family. One thing that has amazed me through this process is how many people and man hours it takes to adopt a child.  People often ask us “Why does it cost so much to adopt?”  Until being in the process I didn’t quite understand myself.  Now I understand.  It takes a village to bring a child home to their adoptive family and that village needs to be paid for their work.  There is a person behind each step of the process.  At each step there is a person working on your behalf and that person also has a family to feed.  Brad & I extend a heart full of thankfulness to each of those who have had to phone, fax, mail, visit, file on our behalf.  We truly have no words to express our gratitude.  Thank you.

In the meantime, we continue to make jam to sell and collect cans/bottles to cash in at the recycling depot.  Raspberry, peach, and blackberry jam have filled our pantry and cans are coming in by the bag full.  Every little bit adds up and we truly appreciate all the support.

So, my future children, hold on a bit longer.. we are getting close to holding you.

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where we are at

The past few months have gone by so fast and I am so sorry there has not been a more recent update! A few things have happened in our journey that we want to share with you.

1. We are finished the paperwork and interviews for British Columbia.

2. We are almost done our international paperwork that gets translated and sent to Haiti.

3. Part 1 of Canada Citizenship & Immigration paperwork is complete and now we wait for approval and the go ahead to stage 2.

4. Recently something truly amazing has happened in our family through our friends, Jackie and Todd. In February a 47 foot Bayliner caught on fire at one of the marinas in Campbell River. The boat was beyond repair and the owners were paid a settlement for it. The boat sat in dry dock covered in plastic. Todd took an interest after seeing it and knew that this boat had some salvageable parts that could be sold. He and Jackie approached us and another family, who are also adopting, about the idea of salvaging this boat in order to make money for our adoptions! We wrote a letter to the insurance company and told them that we wanted to salvage the boat for adoption fundraising.  The insurance company agreed and sold it to us for a $1.  One Dollar! We couldn’t believe that we just bought a boat for a loonie (for you Americans – the one dollar coin in Canada has a loon on it, hence the nickname). The next thing we knew the boat was being hauled to Todd and Jackie’s where there is space enough to work on it. This boat has brought our 3 families together in a way I never imagined. We have shared food, laughter, and dirty sooty hands while we clean up bits of this and that to be sold.
We knew when we walked into this adoption process this was a walk by faith. By no means did we have the financial bank statements to make this happen but with God’s gentle hand guiding us to make this step we have been blown away by His awesome provision. Through this burned boat we are closer to bringing our children home!

 

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A many thanks and happy new year

As we begin 2014, my heart is filled with anticipation of what this year holds.

We are thrilled to be in the last stages of our home study. Once this is completed, our social worker, will write up our huge file that includes everything there is to know about us and it can be sent to Haiti to be translated.

As Brad and I celebrated Christmas this year our hearts were heavy with a longing to be with our Haitian children. We wondered what they were doing and did they receive a present or a special Christmas meal? I want to bypass all the legal steps in this adoption and just be with my children. As my patience grows thin and I long to be with them God is reminds me that His hand is on this process. He is with my children when I cannot be. He is working out the details as we continue this process step by step.

We want to say a huge thank you to those that have been praying for us, encouraging us, giving your time to help us fundraise, and donating money to help bring these children home. We are so thankful to be surrounded by people who are investing their time and resources into our lives. Bless you!

 

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Changing who I am

The beginning of the adoption journey has been interesting for our family. We have been prepared (as much as can be, by friends, family and adoption agency) for the roller coaster ride of it, but have so far only lived with the ups. Anticipating what is ahead.

We know there will be frustrating times. Times of dreading what is ahead. In reality these times can never be fully prepared for.

One thing that I was not prepared for (neither anticipating nor dreading) and am constantly reminded of is that of humility.

I have been humbled on numerous occasions in the last couple of months by many different people when they hear that our family is adopting.

To be humble or humbled is to be: meek, deferential, respectful, submissive, self-effacing, unassertive, unpresuming, or concerned with other people. To those of you that know me will attest to the fact that this is not me. I can be a pompous, in-your-face, disrespectful, assertive, presumptive, concerned-with-self individual. Not that I am this all the time but it comes out way too often. Most often when not needed.

Here are a few times that I have recently been humbled:

~Many people that hear we are adopting are quick tell ‘their’ adoption story – about a family member who adopted, or when they were adopted, or about the child they adopted. I am humbled that people would share their experiences, some of which are very challenging.

~Due to the cost of adoption, we have done a couple of different fundraisers (and continue to do so). There have been many times that someone buys something from one of our fundraisers and tells us to “Keep the change. What you guys are doing this for is really amazing.” As an aside, we don’t feel it is amazing. We just feel that it is something that we as a family are supposed and want to do. (It is not for everyone) This “change” that people talk of is often an extra 5, 10, or 20 dollar bill. I am humbled by this generosity. When we come home in the future with addition(s) to our current family I am going to be excited to tell them that people around our city and beyond are part of their story of coming to Canada to our family.

~Friends and family are excited for our future family addition(s) and so it comes up in their conversations with others. The result has been overwhelming to us. To the people that give $100 to a family member and say “give this to Brad and Leah for their adoption.” To those who donate vast amounts of quality things to the last garage sale. To those who help organize fundraisers. Many of these people are close friends and then there are those who live many hours away who we have never met. All of these people’s actions humble me.

~And then there are the children. They have brought me down more than a few notches. The one who gives some of his birthday money (Leah already wrote about) for our adoption. Another who created her own fundraiser in another city (Leah also already wrote about), knowing a little about our journey. The others who ask when our adopted child(ren) are coming home – just so they can laugh and play together. These kids loving attitudes, willingness and generosity humble me.

I have (and will continue) to be humbled. This journey is changing who I am.

A big heart

My mother in law has this incredible talent with scrapbook paper. I suppose this is why she was so successful in her business of a scrapbook store! She can take any photo, match it with patterned paper and then create a page or card that is beautiful.

From the time we announced that we were adopting she has been helping us develop fundraiser ideas. The most recent idea is putting her scrapbooking skills to work! She has opened her home (or more specifically, her scrapbook room) to host and teach card classes. The profits of these card classes go towards her bringing her Haitian grandchildren home.

Here is a peek at a few of them:

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If you are looking for a girls night out, a date with your daughter or simply an evening to use your craft skills, this card class would be a great idea!

There are a few simple steps to the card class:
1.) Bring your own adhesives from home.
2.) Choose which card design you would like to make.
3.) Using the pre cut paper, supplied tools, follow the instructions on given sheet and make your card!

If this might interest you please email me for more info on available nights and prices!

a gift

Brad and I received a gift last week. A gift that made the world stop around me. A gift that made my heart melt and tears welled up in my eyes. This gift was from a young boy that had a birthday party. Instead of gifts people brought two toonies for him. One toonie is for him to keep and one toonie is for him to give away.

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This young man shared his cup full of toonies to help bring our children home from Haiti. It was a gift that we will always remember. Thank you Mr. J. We love you!

the notebook

I wanted to share with you where we are at in the next step in this huge process!

We are in the midst of being matched with a social worker (hopefully in our own town).  Due to shortage of social workers and demand of their work we may have to travel to Victoria.  Once this match is made we can begin our relationship with him/her.  As we begin our journey with a social worker I have to admit there are butterflies in the stomach.  Someone whom I don’t know will be asking  questions about who we are, what we believe, what our background looks like, what our strengths and weaknesses are and hopefully in the end will tell us we are capable, sane people!!!  After that with fingers crossed we will  be approved and able to proceed to the next step!

Until then we proceed with “The Notebook”.

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This is a notebook that contains our education portion that we have to complete.  Pages and pages of what we might have to deal with when our adoptive children become part of our family.  Trauma, abuse, alcohol/drug exposure, sickness etc.  It can be overwhelming reading all of the issues that surround this but we have to face it/deal with it/ and learn how to handle it.  There are fleeting seconds that this notebook is overwhelming but then I close my eyes and dream of those little hands that I will one day hold and then I know its so worth it.

A Child’s Faith

There are moments in day to day life that I am touched by someone’s kindness. A hug when I am feeling sad, a meal when I have no energy to cook, a card of encouragement or a phone call to see how I am doing. Recently, I have been deeply touched by a family member’s kindness.

This little person is so excited about our adoption and is working very hard to raise money to help with the cost. Her name is Katie and she is my 7 year old niece. Katie has been working very hard at making bookmarks to sell to raise money to bring her cousins home.

Her child like faith has touched my heart deeply.

She heard of a need to raise money and her heart had compassion.

She created something to make and sell.

Her little heart has touched many around her and I am so grateful to call her my niece. Thank you Katie. I love you.

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adoption

The beginning of the adoption journey can seem so daunting. The “what-ifs” play in and out of your mind like a broken record. What if we mess this up? What if God is asking us to parent a child with special needs? What if we are looked at as strange by family and friends? What if our biological child resents us for what we feel called to do? What if we really can’t afford this?

As these thoughts and questions cloud my judgement I am reminded to be still before Him.

To seek His face and remember that He has placed this desire on our hearts.

To seek His will not my own.

To seek what He wants not what I want.

To seek those that are lost and orphaned.

With open hands we send our application away. Filled with a peace only from Him knowing that He has fought the fight for us.

The journey has officially started …
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