Thursday, June 28, 2007

Love Thursday - Newlyweds

My 44 year old brother married for the first time last year. He and his bride are in love. It is evident to all who are in their presence. He is a great guy and she is a beautiful sweet lady. Their love bridges an age span and a culture divide. With God uniting them, they seem to have conquered any and all differences. We are so happy for both of them.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Homeschooling an only

So hard to believe that after 10 years of homeschooling, I'll only have one at home this fall. Josh has graduated from our homeschool and is headed to university. Sigh!!! Emily will be in grade 11 at the local public school. Sigh!!! Kaylin and I will be home doing grade 8. Yahoo!!!

I'm looking forward to the time Kaylin and I will have together. I won't have any excuses about not getting subjects done. It will just be the two of us. We should be able to focus on anything we choose. We can be silly or serious, lazy or studious. I'm sure we'll be a bit of all. It really is up to us.

We pretty much know what our year will look like. I just have to decide how to do American History. It shouldn't be difficult for an American to teach her child that, but I've lived in Canada for almost 20 years now and this is the first time a child of mine has requested American History. We won't be able to utilize the library the way I would like, so I'm looking for a decent spine that will keep us on track. Still looking, but I enjoy the process.

But I also enjoy time with Kaylin. Even though we'll miss Josh and be a bit lonely, and the house will be soooo quiet, I know we'll have a good year.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Another adoption milestone

When our dossier was finally authenticated from Foreign Affairs and the Haitian Embassy, we drove the whole dossier up to Halifax and dropped it off with Janet Nearing. Then we waited to hear from our orphanage. Finally, on June 19 we received an email from GLA that our dossier had arrived safe and sound and they were taking it to 1st Legal the next day.

Well, that was exciting, but what did it mean? I had to look at my papers to see and I finally found a chart that explained it in terms that even I understood. 1st Legal just means that the Haitian Embassy signatures on our dossier are checked. That's it. It won't take long but it is a first step.

We now wait for a referral. Originally we had expected this to happen soon after our dossier arrived in Haiti. But for the past several months, there has been a huge delay in the adoption process. Dossiers are not being released from the last step before passports are issued. This means that orphanages are full and new children can not be taken in. So chances are, there are no children available for adoption that will match our family. Again, just a chance for us to rely on God and practice patience.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Love Thursday - sisters

One of the joys of motherhood is watching my kids at play. Yes, even teenagers love to play. We were recently going through our photos and it didn't take long to realize that my girls are posers. They may not sit down together with their dolls or beanie babies anymore, but they love to take a camera and POSE. I love to look at their pictures. I love the sisterly love they share and the fact that they still "play" together.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

I am a runner

There. I said it. I am a runner. I am not fast. I don't run long. But I am a runner. An every other day, between 5 and 12 K, don't push myself, for the cardio, only as long as it feels good ... runner.

In 2005 Robin ran in the ING New York City Marathon. He tried to convince me to train with him, but remember my limits of 5 - 12 K. Not quite long enough for a marathon. But I wasn't going to miss the race. Our cheering section rode the subways all over NYC to see the race. It was amazing. Our first stop was 3 miles into the marathon. We got there early enough to see some of the disabled athletes race by. I wish I had taken pictures but at the time I could just stop and stare. They were incredible!

The next group to pass was the elite woman. Again, I was just in awe. Can you tell the difference between my stride and theirs? They are traveling a lot faster than I ever do. They flew by! And it all looked effortless.

Next, the elite men raced past. 3 miles is about 5K. I do that in about 27 minutes. They probably reached us in 15 minutes and they made it look easy. I just enjoyed watching them run. I know this sounds trite, but it really was beautiful.

By the time Robin reached us, the streets were full of runners. He looked so happy to have caught us and we were so proud of him. And isn't is just cool that runners of all shapes and sizes and backgrounds can participate in the same event? They can all call themselves runners. However only a few can truly be called athletes and only a select few can be called elite.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Love Languages

As a mother and wife, I'm always interested in showing my love in tangible ways. I want to express just how much I love my family and I want them to know that, always. Reading Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages helped me understand some of the different ways we all receive and give love. In a nutshell, I need "tangible acts of service". That's why my heart melts when my husband or kids clean up the kitchen without being asked. I hear loud and clear that they love me. Oh joy, oh bliss.

I think we need all 5 expressions of love, however, my kids each have strong preferences for the way they "hear" love. My son graduated from our homeschool high school this year and I was reminded once again of those 5 love languages. Two of my children lean towards "quality time" and the other child enjoys "thoughtful gifts". She's the one who coined the term "open now present". She loves to give and receive presents.

Graduation is obviously a time for presents and family time spent together. Our graduate received his share of awesome presents. My mother remarked on our time of celebration that she was thrilled to see her grandson so obviously enjoying himself. He certainly did light up the room as he was the center of attention. He was feeling the love as it was poured out to him with presents and time spent together.

Our son has already left home for the summer and he'll head directly to university. His time at home has come to an end. My prayer is that the love we have for him, empowers him as he goes through life. I pray that he in turn shares love with others. Not a selfish, what's in it for me, love, but a pure Godly love that looks out for others. Always wondering, what's the best way for me to show my love? I'm sure we'll continue to find ways to show our love. Care packages, money, gifts for no reason, phone calls, e-mails, ..... and on and on.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Love Thursday

Blogs have all kinds of themes for different days of the week. I've seen several Blogs that have a day to showcase loving relationships, usually of family members. I've chosen Thursday as the day to highlight all the lovin' going on around here. I'm starting with the love of my life. 2 summers ago Robin and I had the opportunity to spend a week by ourselves. All of our kids were at camp and we grabbed the alone time. We went camping and just had a blast. Don't we look relaxed?

Mixed : My Life in Black and White by Angela Nissel

Reviews of Mixed: My Life in Black and White by Angela Nissel all contain the word "hilarious". I have to agree. I often find myself smiling or chuckling softly when I read, but I cannot remember a single instance that I stopped reading because I was laughing out loud . This book had me laughing several times.

Angela Nissel grew up in Philadelphia always searching for her place and her identity as the daughter of a black woman and white man. Her life moves from white private schools to inner city black public schools. She freely shares her observations of black life versus white life. She doesn't hold back as she relates the tragedy of her young life. The abandonment of her father, the constant barrage of racial insults from white and black kids alike, her bout with depression, and her constant insecurity could easily drag a person down. Because of her honesty and authenticity and incredible wit, Angela infuses her story with charm and wisdom. The tears are mixed with laughter.

Soon our family will be transracial and we will experience some of the staring and bigotry Angela has. Her mother did everything she could to empower her daughter and to fill her with confidence. Sometimes love just isn't enough. Our children still drift about trying to find their place in the world. Mixed sends a powerful message to all of us about the importance of communicating and being real about the injustices of this world, particularly the injustices of color. We need to help our children answer the question, "Where do I fit in?" For biracial children and children in transracial families, there may not be an easy answer.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Faces of Haiti

Last February Robin and Joshua were privileged to visit La Gonave, Haiti with a group from the Wesleyan Atlantic District. The girl in the above picture melted hearts. They met her in a church in Nan-Mangot and loved her spark and enthusiasm.

The boys in this picture just have a little mischief in their eyes, don't they? This group is from a church in Petit Anse.

Robin with Michelin and his 2 children. The kids look nice and healthy and plump. So good to see!

A lot has been made of the fact that Haiti, the poorest country in the hemisphere, is only 600 miles away from the richest country in the world, let alone the hemisphere. How can such disparity exist? How will Haiti move out of economic ruin into prosperity? The questions can go on and on and on. The answers remain elusive. People have tried to turn the country around and people will continue to try. Hope is good and powerful and will keep people alive.

Every waterfall starts with a drop of water. One person can change the world. A pretty common theme, but still compelling and full of truth. Examples are all around us of ordinary people living out their lives in simple ways and changing the world, at least their immediate world.

Meet Dick. Frere Dick to the residents of LaGonave. My husband felt like he was riding around with the Pope when he was with Dick. Everybody happily waved and shouted greetings to him. He certainly doesn't look like a powerful leader. Yet through hard work and sheer determination, he brought clean water to the island and therefore he brought life and hope.

One day he took the group from Canada up to the water source. They saw all the obstacles he had to overcome to bring that precious water line to where the Haitians live. In his own quiet and humble way, he has changed the world.

I will never have adoring crowds call out my name and yet I can still change the world one drop of water at a time. Lord, show me your will and help me to live simply so that others can simply live.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Mud anyone?

"Mom, we're going to the mud, ok?"

I soon found out exactly what the mud was. I mean, you would think a 40 year old woman would know exactly what mud is. I guess I just thought it was the quaint name of some part of the beach. After all, we're at this beautiful sandy, altho COLD, oasis. Just 30 minutes from our new home.

Kids and teens alike seem to think there can be great fun at the mud flats when the tide is low. There's sliding and shrieking and just all around mud. Then the girls wash out in the ocean. Did I mention COLD water? But at least it cleans off the mud.

Dossier is done... I hope

International adoption is not for the faint of heart, as I have found out. So far we have had extreme highs and lows. Mentally I review all the steps in my mind and I place a date that I think each step can be achieved. I try to be realistic and yet I have to change the dates often.

But we have reached a HUGE milestone in our process. Our dossier ( complete package of documents that we collect about our family) is finally finished, authenticated and on its way to Haiti. We drove to our provincial agency today and dropped the dossier off. The agency will Fed Ex it to Haiti.

I can't believe how this makes me feel. Scared. Excited. Nervous. Anxious. Ecstatic. Just the whole gamut of emotions. But mentally this is so important for me because it's the end of the Canadian side. I know that we still have a long wait ahead of us. Possibly up to 2 years, hopefully around 1 year.

Time line
so far

1. application to provincial agency - July 25, 2006

2. start home study - September 28, 2006

3. Dossier complete & sent to be authenticated - April 3, 2007

4. dossier sent to Haiti - June 4, 2007

The next big step is the referral of children. That goes through our provincial agency and upon acceptance by us, the orphanage starts the process in Haiti. We'll continue to ask God for patience and for His perfect timing. We'll continue to thank God for the way He's guided us through this process so far. But today we're sending up a big note of praise for the passage of this milestone.

Are you ready?

How many times have we heard that question over the past few weeks?

Believe it or not I asked for Dance Dance Revolution for Mother's Day. This was not a gift the kids gave me because they wanted it. I really truly wanted to try it. I thought the exercise would be good and fun at the same time.

Guess what? It is fun, and it transcends generational lines. Young and old try it and enjoy it. Not everybody is good at it. Some of us have a longer learning curve than others,but I think all have enjoyed it.

We've had parties around it and I've even had friends drop in to play with my new toy. That hasn't happened since I was a wee one. Woo hoo. Would you like to come over and play?

Can you tell who is best in each picture? Usually there is a clear winner. Yes, it is a contest. Somebody has to win. Unless both dancers fail. That happens when the feet don't fly fast enough. Are you ready?