Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Have Arrived

Daddy and James arrived in Kelowna after a very long flight from Africa on May 4, 2007. A couple of weeks later I shared my thoughts on paper:

Sunday, May 19, 2007

James, you are home, laying asleep beside me in our bed. It is an honor, a joy and a blessing to have you. You arrived with apprehension, week and malnourished. Today, two weeks later, you are vibrant, happy and loving to eat. You are calling us mommy and daddy and we are in love and bonded to you. Your kindness, humor and soft and gentle ways are what keeps us feeling over the moon. My life is complete.

Thank you, thank you God for blessing us with our precious two sons. Continue, God to guide us to be the parents we need to be for our sons.

love and joy,
Looking back at my journal brings back a flood of memories. I've tried to type them out but the keyboard and I are not flowing tonight. I've deleted. Re-typed. Cut and pasted. Still I was not satisfied how the words read. Maybe it's just not meant to be written about, this time around. I'll respect that and in the meantime, to the two people who have shared with me, just recently, that they are adopting internationally I will keep sending positive vibes your way. All the best in your adoption journeys.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Story of My Adoption

I was born in Africa on February 8, 2005. When people tell me they know of Liberia, the country where I was born, I get quite excited. There are fifty-three countries in Africa, I only know of one!

For the first nine months of my life I lived in an old zinc house in an area highly populated with drug and crime activities. The police are afraid to go into this area, since it is run by criminals.

The sanitary conditions were very poor. My house was infested with flies and mosquitoes. Perhaps this is way I have a melt down if either a fly or a mosquito comes flying by me. Don't let me get started on my phobia about dogs....

The neighborhood was deplorable, dirty and crowded. The beach was, and probably still is, being used for latrine purposes. There is no educational, social nor adequate facility for little tykes like me.

I arrived at the West African Children Support Network (WACSN) at nine months old. At the orphanage I ate the same thing everyday: oatmeal for breakfast, rice for lunch and bread with tea for dinner. It was a lot more than I was used to but still my body craved for more. This is why I ate non-stop for a whole year when I arrived, gaining a whopping 20lbs in less than a year! You will notice that this is why I eat with such precision, quite unlike my little brother. He spills everything!

I slept on a single bed size mattress on the floor, sometimes sharing it with other boys if the orphanage got crowded. I spent my day singing, and memorizing my ABC's. There were no toys. It took me no time at all to learn about super heroes, trucks, and cars. Disney, and the other toy makers have the power of marketing down pat, no matter how hard my parents have tried to shield me from these consumerism gurus.

The nannies where loving and caring. Though I do have to stay that since living in Canada I am sure smitten by blonds. I love to touch their hair. You can just ask a couple of girl blond buddies!

When I met my dad for the first time, I just clung to him. I didn't want to see or hear anything else but him. I was afraid, sick and hungry. Having him hold me made me feel safe and happy. Slowly I looked at my mom and my little brother. It took me awhile to start talking. I was often found humming and singing songs. Especially the song, "Hosanna".

After two weeks I started talking a lot and my parents say I haven't stopped since. I love entertaining. I can sing you 3 of Kid Rocks' songs, word for word and I have also incorporated some of my own dance moves. The words in his song Amen, "can you imagine what's it's like to starve to death...." reminds me of the stats in Liberia: nearly half the children die before they are five years old.

If you ask me, "James, where is the sun going?" as the sun sets I will tell you it's going to Liberia.

If you ask me what I did in Africa I tell you, "I was a little baby and hungry and I cried." And then I'll pretend to cry like a baby. As funny as I think I am, my parents often tell me, "James, calm down. Use your soft voice."

I know that my daddy and mommy waited and wondered, but they tell me, never did they imagine I would be so cute and they would love me so much, even when I can't sit still to take a picture!

Note: Any words that are highlighted are links to past posts.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Act of courage

There is no guarantee that a speaker is actually good at it. And it's so annoying to listen to one who isn't. I, being raised catholic, have listened to priests who could make me fall asleep at the first sight of them walking to the podium to say their sermon. I had teachers who had the same power of me. I swear I slept through every grade 12 chemistry class.

And then there are those wanna-be-good speakers that try too hard. They are the Tony Robbins of the world. They use their hands, walk around, their voices go up and down trying to keep the listeners awake and entertained. This is when I need to use the restroom. I take the longest route and take another 15 minutes strolling around before I get back to my seat.

Last week Daddy and I attended a lecture given by Dr. James Orbinski. I had never heard of the guy. But reading an article in the paper about him I decided that we should attend. To ensure I didn't get disappointed I gave myself an internal talking to: "Even if he is a bad speaker focus on the words and the meaning of what he is saying. Don't focus on the delivery." I repeated this to myself like it was a mantra. All for nothing. Dr. Orbinski, was not flashy. He delivered his message with heart and possessed a soft compassion about him. I didn't even have try to focus; it came naturally to want to listen to him.

As the past president of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) Dr. Orbinski has seen disturbing stuff. I was honored to be in his presence. To meet someone who not only has seen the horrors in Rwanda, Sudan, Afghanistan, and many other locations but has taken an on hands role in tending to the thousands of people affected by these atrocities was humbling.

During the Q&A period someone asked, "What can we do?" Dr. Orbinski answered, "Donating, signing those online petitions are not enough. You have to join a group in your community, participate in something that you have a passion for. You need to do more. Refuse to accept the unacceptable."

I jotted down a few other things he said on my pink wrinkled little notepad that I carry in my purse for the boys to scribble on as entertainment...I knew it would come in handy for me one day.
  • ...political responsibility....imperfect outcomes
  • alternatives are possible if we choose to see it
  • indifference...silence...forgetting
We purchased his book at this event and I was the first in line to have him sign it! He asked, "Who do I make it out to?" I said proudly, "To James, our son that we adopted from Liberia."

I'm taking a small step. I am completing a volunteer application for our local women's shelter. Though my true goal is be an aid worker in a third world country. This lecture sealed the deal in my heart that indeed I'll be doing that one day. When? I can't say for sure. But I will. You can bet on it.

For James - with great hope - James Orbinski

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Baby books are very popular, but to try to find one that is geared to adoption. Not easy. This book was found by my mom. It is specifically created for international adoption. There is no mention of my first tooth or my first time I rolled over. Instead it has: the first greeting, the adoption became official on, I came from the country of, the living conditions were.

I have kept every piece of documentation: from our criminal checks to the court's decree of adoption. James has no information on the first two years of his life but rest assured there is enough photos, video footage and documentation of him to roll his eyes at me! He has often told me, "All done mommy." when I try to take one more photo or a video clip of him! And I being the responsible mother that I am I don't listen and keep snapping pictures or videoing and saying, "No, James, just one more and than all done! Look here James! Yes! Smile at mommy!" Ugh! I can't believe I do that now that I see it typed out! Good grief no wonder he gets annoyed!

Monday, November 10, 2008

My deep, very deep thoughts...

Prior to starting our adoption journey in Africa we began in Brazil. It wasn't pretty: too much time, money and paper work. This entry from my diary shows that I was in depths of despair over the whole thing.

Adoption for me is more than "getting a child" but saving one child from a life of loneliness, fear and cruelty.
Yet I feel that all these obstacles that are put in front of us are a possible sign that this is not to be.
They make you feel that adoption is a bad thing.
Adoption is for:
the desperate,
the rich,
the stubborn ones,
and yet maybe it's God telling us to not go this route.
Maybe we are not meant to do this.

Maybe we need to look at a different angle.
I just wanted to adopt a little boy who needed a place to hang out as he grows to be a man.
I just can't understand why we must 'fight' and 'struggle' to adopt one child - I don't need a specific color, race, sex, or age - I just want one, yet I feel we are asking too much.
Why are we being felt that we are being pushed out from adopting?
I had this fantasy that we were doing such a great thing and now I just want to throw in the towel.
Surrogate was something I thought for a half a sec, in-vitro and more drugs to get me pregnant were also only fleeting thoughts because we had a belief that adoption would mean so much more to us and it would make us complete.
God, I ask again, to guide and tell us where we should be going.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Adoption Awareness Month

This month is Adoption Awareness Month.
We all know of someone who has been adopted, who has adopted or given a child for adoption. All three are linked together so tightly.
The families in all three are touched by it. Some by joy, some by sadness and some by a mixture of emotions that only one who goes through it can describe it.
I think adoption is a great thing...sometimes to a fault.
Just recently I caught myself saying to someone who just told me their sister is expecting for baby #2 and I said, 'Why don't they adopt?"
It was only the following day that I realized what I said.
Maybe the cartoon that I posted (click here) got to me!
A blogger friend: The Funk Family, are now on their third adoption journey.
They have been waiting a very long for this adoption to become a reality.
Their faith and their children keep them persevering.
Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time. (Note:To my prairie readers the Funk Family are from Saskatchewan.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Put Your Hand in My Hand

I love the boys' finger prints that are left displayed on the windows, the mirrors, or on the freshly cleaned appliances.
Really it doesn't bother me.
It would have years ago when I was really anal.
That is why I am grateful that parenthood didn't come to me as quickly as I wanted it to.
Had it come than I know that I would have been nagging at them and frantically cleaning behind them!
But now, I'll purposely not clean the mirror that is covered with hand prints.
I think it's just so darn cute.
I 'inked' the boys' hands and got them framed.
I hope that I"ll be able to see these little fingers grow to become strong hands of men.
Do you think they'll let me hold their hands once they are older? Probably not.
But I'll have their love in my heart and their framed hand prints.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Frightfully Good Times

As the mommy witch I must say that it was a bewitching Halloween! James who is petrified of dogs asked to be a puppy and Parker's buddy lent him his monkey costume. Both boys were able to make the sound effects of their animal and devilishly enjoy eating their candies!

James loves being center of attention so October 31 satisfied him completely! He woke up this morning dressed up in his puppy outfit. I think he thought this was going to be an ongoing event!