Thursday, January 27, 2011

Happy PG Day

One year ago today, an AirTransat plane landed in Ottawa with all of the kids from GLA headed to Canadian families. It was an intense month and we weren't the ones who lived through an earthquake with all of the aftershocks.

Whenever we talk about going back to Haiti, the only people Peter and Gaelle want to see are Molly and Joyce. It's as tho their life before GLA never happened. They do miss their friends but they are very aware that none of their friends live at Kay B anymore. I look back at these pictures and am just struck by how scared the kids look. I can't even imagine what must have been going through their minds. What an intense time.

We celebrated our day with a snow day from school (more like a freezing slush day) and a fried chicken and potato wedges meal.

Peter requested the chicken and Gaelle requested "shicos". One of the few Creole words that has remained. We call them cheesies or those yellow puffed corn chips. Gaelle also wanted pop, after all, it was a party.

We couldn't agree on a special dessert, so we chose a variety of cakes from the store. Yum...

We finished our day in the typical way. Wii bowling. Bedtime stories. And loving and huggings.

And what does PG Day stand for? Well, we couldn't agree on a name for our 1 year anniversary, and we had some crazy suggestions. So it just became PeterGaelle Day, or PG Day.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Operation Stork: One Year Later

Citizenship and Immigration contacted some of the families that adopted children from Haiti for a 1 year update. They sent out a photographer and took some pictures. All 3 of the families at the end of this clip adopted from GLA, including us.

Snow fun

We've had a couple of snow storms this week and a friend of ours drives a plow in our neighborhood. Sunday night he stopped off and invited Peter to go out for a ride. We basically pushed him out the door.

Feel the power.

I think his smile says it all. It's so funny to see our Haitian son thriving in the Canadian winters. He loves it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Adoption completed

This morning all 7 of us trooped into Family Court and with a few simple words, our adoption was official and complete. It was a little anti-climatic because we didn't even say anything. Our lawyer made a point of thanking the NS Department of Justice and NS Community Services for their efforts in completing our adoption. Most people assumed that after the earthquake and the kids left Haiti, everything was done.

Not the case!!!

And yet it's true that the NS authorities have done everything they could to expedite this adoption. But there is a process in place and nothing about our process matched the established process. Every step took time as the authorities decided how to proceed.

But today we have finality. And we're so grateful for the start of 2011 and the "adoption order granted".

So, what's next?

1) apply for NS Birth Certificates (Especially important as the kids don't have their original birth certificates. Maybe some day we can obtain those for them.)

2) Continue the process of obtaining Canadian Citizenship (Especially important because the kids don't have passports from Haiti and can't enter any other country without special permission/VISAs/etc)

3) Apply for Canadian passports (See #2)

4) Apply for American Citizenship (Not looking forward to that process, but we'll give it a shot even with the lack of our original documents.)

5) Submit an application to Citizenship & Immigration to amend Gaelle's Document of Landing to refelct the correct spelling of her name. (Through no fault of ours, her name is incorrect on this document that she needs to hold onto for the rest of her life.)

Whew! But we'll keep plugging away and hopefully we'll be able to cross out all of those items from our list except for #4. Stay tuned.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Soup Joumou and the Canada Games Oval

Halifax is hosting the Canada Games in February and one of the new attractions is an outdoor skating oval. On New Years Day we decided to give it a try.

With all of the rollar blading Peter has been doing, he's an old pro at skating. This was only his 2nd time on the ice and he is doing great.

Gaelle asked for skates for Christmas which was a bit of a surprise. I wanted skates to be Peter's main present from us, but wasn't sure how Gaelle would like that. But then she went and asked for them. Perfect!!! I tried to prep Gaelle for the difficulties of ice skating. Sure enough, her first time on the ice she said, "This is hard!!!" But with her determination, I know she will catch on very fast.

Wow, look at my 5 handsome kids!!!! I love this picture.

January 1 is also Independence Day for Haiti. It's tradition to celebrate with pumpkin soup. There are so many recipes on the internet so I just chose one and reminded Peter that it probably wouldn't taste like anything he remembered.

Basically the soup is like a beef stew with some rice or noodles and pumpkin thrown in. Several of the sites mention using butternut squash in place of pumpkin so that's what I did. We had some friends over to help us celebrate and fortunately the soup was a hit. Carol brought a meat pie and that was also a hit. The day was a great start to the new year.

Games, food, and friends

When I was growing up our family had a tradition of making our own subs and making our own ice cream sundaes. We've continued the tradition altho sometimes it has had to wait until New Years Day. Our entertaining has been so low key this past year, but we decided to keep up the tradition and invite a few families to join us.

The games were a bit fierce at times, but that just added to the evening.

Peter just loves to play games and so he was in heaven. He needed a little adult help with Apples to Apples, but he and his partner managed to snag a few cards.

And Gaelle LOVES LOVES LOVES to be a part of the teen girls. She did really well and was able to stay in control of herself. We're already looking forward to next year.

New Years Eve

On New Years Eve Day Emily took Peter and Gaelle to the Science Discovery Center while mom was working and Robin was cleaning the house. Seems fair. The kids had a blast.

Gaelle especially loves this picture where she is bigger than Peter. This will probably be the only time in her life that she is taller than Peter.

Both kids also had fun putting themselves in a big bubble.

Boys and car tracks... a perfect combination.

Family visits

Robin took the kids to Yarmouth to visit some of his family. His sister has a bit of a hobby farm that all my kids love to visit. Peter and Gaelle just go on and on about all the animals Aunt Carrie has. And she just loves it all. And every time we go back for a visit she has more animals.

We all miss Robin's mom so much and so it was nice for Peter and Gaelle to see her again. They wanted to take Snickers with them because they knew how much Grammy must miss Snickers, but we talked them out of that.

Christmas Day

Christmas morning all the stockings were loaded and ready to go.

We always have bubble bread (mini cinnamon rolls) sitting out while we open presents. Gaelle was all over that because she was allowed to eat food in the living room. Notice her tight grip on her stocking. She was not going to let go.

The younger kids did not get candy in their stockings and I think that was a bit of a disappointment to them. But the older kids got their traditional sugar fix. Maybe next year they will remember to keep the chocolate out of reach of the dog. She's small but she's determined when it comes to candy!

Gaelle was the first one to open a present from her stocking. We all watched her pull it out and open it and the look on her face was just hysterical. She looked genuinely disgusted. I have no idea what she was expecting but it clearly wasn't a fairy doll. Emily and Kaylin oohed and ahhed and finally Gaelle gave an obligatory "Thank you". She opened her Tangled Doll with much more enthusiasm and seemed very excited by all that hair. "It sparkles!!!!"

Peter was thrilled with his Siamese Fighting Fish. He has fond memories of the tank they had at GLA. At first he called his fish, "Joyce" but when he was informed that it was male he changed the name to "Arry". His 2 favorite people in Haiti.

Emily and Kaylin sporting their new earmuffs. So cute!!! And warm. A perfect combination.

Just a shot to show the chaos of the morning. It actually went really well but things were a bit more hectic than they've been the past few years. There's nothing like little kids to liven things up.

Robin is always so proud of his ability to guess any present. Needless to say he didn't guess this but he loves his electric knife.

I wish we had taken the time to run up and get the camera stand. Oh well, Josh was here... take my word for it.