Saturday, November 21, 2009

My new find of the week!

I just added this song to my song list...it's from a new tv show called "Glee" which I discovered last week. Love it! This song got me hooked! Very cute show, and I really enjoy the songs. The message is great. Just wanted to share my new find :0)

On the adoption front, there's not much going on over here in Quebec just yet...but there have been some proposals in the U.S. and in France as well, I believe. So that's very good news, and very encouraging!! A bloggy friend from the States whose blog I've been following for the past few months is in the Philippines right now with her husband, bringing home their two year old son...and another local bloggy friend is leaving for the Philippines in just a few short days. So exciting!! It's great to see that things are moving again over there. I also came across a fellow blogger from Belgium, adopting their second child from the Philippines. It's very cool meeting people from all over the world going through the same thing as us!! I'm particularly excited that she speaks Dutch :0)

There's not much else new. My husband and I got our H1N1 flu shots. He was kind of against it at first, but I convinced him that it was important to get it done if we were planning on travelling. Some countries even require it right now for travelling. That convinced him, since he doesn't want to miss out on our trip to Cuba! Besides, I went to the clinic and got him a coupon, and he didn't really have much choice in the matter! Hahaha!! In exchange, he insists I let him put up the Christmas tree early this year. Oh well, I guess you win some, you lose some...the art of negotiation!

I got laser eye surgery a few days ago. It's pretty impressive what they can do with technology nowadays! The operation takes all of five minutes: they put a suction thing to keep the eye open...they start the laser and it smells like burnt hair for a couple of seconds...then they explain to you it's going to go black for thirty seconds...then you find the red light of the laser again, and the operation is done. And the do the other eye, same thing. It's very fast! When you come out of the operation, your eyes want to stay closed, and your vision is pretty blurry for a couple of days. It's kind of like opening your eyes underwater. There is a burning and itching sensation for a few days as well. It's about a week later now, and my vision is improving everyday. By the time we leave for Cuba I should be 100% recovered, and I'll be allowed to swim. Yay!! For now, my eyes still tire easily and I get blurry vision when I watch tv or read for too long. Staring at the computer screen for too long is not recommended either, obviously!! That will take a few weeks, but it's so worth it for the freedom from glasses!!

On that note, I should go and rest my eyes...hope you enjoy the song!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Nine months since ICAB approval!!

Yep, it's official...we've been waiting for nine months now!! Although the wait has actually gone pretty well so far and the time has flown by for the most part, I've been having a bit of a hard time the last few weeks. I could see the nine month mark looming, the equivalent of a full pregnancy, with nothing to show for it!! Since we received our ICAB approval, there hasn't really been any news to report on the adoption front. The realization that we will likely be waiting another nine months before we hear anything hit me kind of hard, and I find this thought pretty depressing. But, as Raph always reminds me when I talk like that, what does it help or change to worry and stress about the adoption?! It's not going to make the wait go faster, it's a waste of time and energy. It's much better to put that time and energy into something positive and useful. His attitude is to simply go with the flow, and trust that our turn will come. In the meantime, we should enjoy our time together as a couple, because everything will change soon enough. I know that he's right and that this is a healthy attitude to have towards the wait. I'm probably more emotional and open about showing my emotions and fears than Raph is, but I'm trying to take a page from his book. Now that we've reached the nine month mark, I'm feeling calmer and more at ease about waiting for another nine months. Last weekend, we were invited to breakfast with some local families in the process of adopting from the Philippines. It's always so nice to meet other people going through the same thing as us!! I feel very lucky to have that opportunity. We got a chance to catch up a little and exchange some information with Tangie and Michel as well, a couple whom we've already had the occasion to get togethet with a few times since this summer. It was super interesting and fun to hear about her adventures in Morocco :0) Also, we finally got to meet a family whom we've been in contact with through e-mail for the past few months. They're adopting their second child from the Philippines, and have a lot of experience and knowledge to share with us. It's so wonderful to get to know these different families, especially since they all live so close to us. It will be great for our children in the future :0) Who knows, our children might come from the same orphanage in the Philippines!! I really appreciate having been invited to this event.

Raph and I celebrated our nine month anniversary by getting our vaccination for hepatitis. It's a vaccination that's given in three parts 9or three shots!) to be protected for life, basically. So it looks like we'll be celebrating our ten month anniversary with a second shot :0) It's actually quite expensive to get the vaccine! I was quite surprised. We'll have to see if our health insurance will cover it, but I doubt it. Raph and I are flying to Cuba during the Christmas holidays, and we were told that we need to get vaccinated for hepatitis anyway when flying to the Philippines, so we decided to go ahead and get the first two shots before travelling. The vaccine is not mandatory, but it is highly recommended. We got a tetanus shot as well, which they also recommend for both Cuba and the Philippines. This shot is good for ten years, so I think we should be okay :0) Thank you Tangie, for telling us about the vaccine and giving us information on the travel clinic where you went!! The nurse was very kind and helpful, she was patient and understanding and took the time to explain all of the vaccines to us. We had good, rapid and efficient service!! We'll be going back in December for our second hepatitis shot, and then in May for the rest of the vaccines she recommends for the Philippines. It feels good to be doing something concrete towards the adoption process. I've been feeling like we have no control and that all we can do is sit by and wait patiently...so it's really nice to actually be doing something. Who knew I would feel happy about getting shots?!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

On reaching the eight month mark...

I took a break from blogging for a while...I've been feeling quite discouraged and frustrated lately. There's not much new to report these days, and I haven't really felt like writing. We hit our eight month mark, and I barely noticed. Or rather, I barely acknowledged it. All I could think was "wonderful, we've been waiting for eight months! Hurray!! Uhmmm....so, now what? I guess we just sit around and wait another ten months or so by the phone to get the call...great! If I'd gotten pregnant, I could technically have had two kids by then!!" This is my inner dialogue, as I go from celebrating being one step closer to having our child home with us, to feeling completely discouraged and frustrated with how long the process is taking!! Actually, a few of our friends and family have gotten pregnant and have given birth (or will soon), while we still wait for our referral!! Now I know that it's not a race, and I am very happy for my friends, Raph's cousins, and my older sister...but it's still pretty frustrating. Frankly, it's really hard when these happy pregnancy announcements are made, followed by the inevitable question: "so what about you guys? How's the adoption going?!" To which we can only answer time after time again that we still haven't heard anything, and don't expect to hear anything for another ten months or so!! Of course, if people don't ask, then it might be taken as a sign of lack of interest, so I guess I will continue to smile and politely answer that inevitable question for the next ten months or so :0) Such is required by social etiquette...

Things have been moving very slowly over here in Quebec on the adoption front...there haven't been any new referrals in the past couple of months. Of course, it's very understandable...the Philippines has been hit hard by three different Typhoons and flooding in the past couple of months. I know that it's very selfish of me to even be thinking about our adoption when people have lost their lives...and yet, I am thinking about it a lot. I feel very helpless in the face of this destruction by mother nature...we sent a donation, but it doesn't feel like it's enough. I wish I could go to the Philippines and help out, be there in person to provide some sort of assistance or humanitarian aid. I know that our turn will come to travel to the Philippines, and that it's only a question of time at this point...but in the meantime, I feel so powerless and helpless!! Patience has never been my strong point...nor Raphael's!! I sometimes wonder if we aren't being put through this adoption process by some higher power just to teach us a lesson in patience :0)

Everyone says that the best thing you can do to get through the long process of the wait, which I completely understand is a necessary part of the adoption process, is keeping busy. By keeping busy with positive projects, you don't have time to fret and worry about the adoption. While we were moving and I was teaching at the College, this was the case. I didn't see the time go by. Since we've settled into our new house, the fall has started and I'm working part-time with young children...well, I have too much time on my hands to think about the adoption. I am looking to change jobs...something more full-time...and I am looking for a new project. There are a few writing projects that I've been wanting to try for a couple of years now...but never had the courage. I have the time now, so I'm thinking of trying it. I just need to be very self-disciplined about it. A recent e-mail from a bloggy friend reminded me how much I enjoy writing, and how therapeutic it can be as well! Another bloggy friend e-mailed me to invite us to a breakfast for local families adopting from the Philippines. I want to thank my bloggy friends for being there for me and for cheering me up!! thank you :0)

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Prayer for the People of Manila

On Saturday, Manila was hit with nine hours straight of torrential rains, the result of a tropical storm. This caused major landslides and floods, the worst in forty years, and most of the city was under brown water on Sunday. The government has declared "a State of Calamity." The images are quite heart wrenching. The poorer areas of the city were hit the hardest. Here are links to two different articles and some images:
http://archive.gulfnews.com/world/Philippines/10352613.html
http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2009/09/27/01003-20090927DIMWWW00088-inondations-meurtrieres-aux-philippines.php?yahoo=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_FzvBF6RpU

I cannot help but wonder about the orphanages in Manila and the little ones and their caretakers. I hope that they are safe and sound, that they are not cold, hungry or frightened. But, we all know how important children are to the Filipinos, and this reassures me that they are in very good hands and that they will be the first to receive help. I have no doubt that they are being well taken care of.

My heart goes out to the people of the Philippines; my thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the floods. Through the adoption process, my husband and I are forever connected to this country and its people. We would love to find a way to help. Making a donation to the Red Cross is a great way to do this. Or sponsoring a child. There are unfortunately a number of scams out there, people who try to take advantage of situations like this to pull on people's heart strings and make some money off of them. So please be careful, be aware and stick to the well known, reputed organisations like the Red Cross.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A rant post

Okay, this is a rant post!
I truly believe that working in the field of adoption requires a certain tact, a certain sensibility. Those who don't have it naturally should either receive a training or simply work elsewhere!! I received a phone call about a week ago from our local Youth Centre to inform me that they were missing a few documents in our adoption file. I gave her the name of the lady who helped us back in Amos, where we lived before. The lady back in Amos is a very nice, helpful lady and she had promised to forward our documents to our local centre over here in Gatineau. Amos is a very small town, and everything was very personalized over there. The people were all very helpful and understanding and always had all the time in the world to answer any of our questions. Our registration went very smoothly, and I was sad when I had to call them to transfer our documents to Gatineau. Apparently, they did not receive all of the paper work in Gatineau, and there were still some documents missing. So I gave the lady the contact information, and she was going to contact the Youth Centre in Amos concerning the missing documents. She left me a message on my answering machine, telling me that everything was in order. Yesterday, the lady from our local Youth Centre called me back, telling me that the documents were still missing. Huh?! Then she told me that they need the originals of these documents in order for us to go into adoption. What did she say?! In order for us to adopt? Uhm....we received our acceptance from the Philippines almost eight months ago...we sent off our file a long time ago!! And they're asking for these documents NOW? The originals left for the Philippines eight months ago!! What is this?! Maybe I'm overreacting, but I felt very frustrated...she was very insensitive and unsympathetic...and not helpful in the least. I got together copies of the originals of the documents that she asked for, and gave them to my husband to fax to her from his office. When I told him the story, he was very upset too. My practical, logical husband reacted quite emotionally, to my surprise...which made me realize that maybe I hadn't overreacted, and that the wait for adoption is going very well for my husband, but only as long as there are no bumps in the road!! Usually he's the strong one and he sees bumps in the road as a challenge and a learning process, not as a deterrent. But when it comes to adoption, he seems to find this more difficult to do!! Anyway, he wanted to talk to her himself to find out exactly why they need the original version of these documents all of a sudden. We can understand why they might need a copy of our birth certificates and our marriage certificate, but why didn't they have it in Amos already!? Most importantly, why wasn't she more helpful and understanding? She should be working with us to figure it out, not against us! Like I said before, working at a fertility clinic or in the field of adoption requires a certain tact, a certain level of sympathy and understanding. If you don't have it, then you should probably work elsewhere!! Arghhh.....

Friday, September 18, 2009

The best day of all...

This is from an e-mail that my mom forwarded to me, on motherhood:

The young mother set her foot on the path of life. “Is this the long way?” she asked. And the guide said: “Yes, and the way is hard. And you will be old before you reach the end of it. But the end will be better than the beginning.” But the young mother was happy, and she would not believe that anything could be better than playing with her children, and gathering flowers for them along the way, and bathing them in the clear streams. Then the night came, and the storm, and the path was dark, and the children shook with fear and cold, and the mother drew them close and covered them with her mantle, and the children said, “Mother, we are not afraid, for you are near, and no harm can come.”
And the morning came, and there was a hill ahead, and the children climbed and grew weary, and the mother was weary. But at all times she said to the children,” A little patience and we are there.” So the children climbed, and when they reached the top they said, “Mother, we would not have done it without you.” And the mother, when she lay down at night looked up at the stars and said, “This is a better day than the last, for my children have learned fortitude in the face of hardness. Yesterday I gave them courage. Today, I have given them strength.”
And the next day came strange clouds which darkened the earth, clouds of war and hate and evil, and the children groped and stumbled, and the mother said, “Look up. Lift your eyes to the light.” And the children looked and saw above the clouds an everlasting glory, and it guided them beyond the darkness. And that night the Mother said, “This is the best day of all, for I have shown my children God.”
And the days went on, and the weeks and the months and the years, and the mother grew old and she was little and bent. But her children were tall and strong, and walked with courage. And when the way was rough, they lifted her for she was as light as a feather; and at last they came to a hill, and beyond they could see a shining road and golden gates flung wide. And mother said: “I have reached the end of my journey. And now I know the end is better than the beginning, for my children can walk alone, and their children after them.”
And the children said, “You will always walk with us, Mother, even when you have gone through the gates.” And they stood and watched her as she went on alone, and the gates closed after her. And they said: “We cannot see her, but she is with us still. A Mother like ours is more than a memory. Her love is eternal.” (Author unknown)

I think it's quite beautiful, and very fitting! I only hope I can be this kind of mother for our child someday.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Seven months since ICAB approval!!

Today is my dad's birthday!! Happy birthday...have a great day!
My parents were in town for the long weekend. My husband and I went to Montreal for labor day. We went out for lunch at a really nice restaurant by the river. We sat outside and ate in the garden of the hotel restaurant. The weather was beautiful and the food was delicious! I got to see my sister and meet her new boyfriend as well, which was great. He seems like a very nice guy! We had a BBQ at my brother's house in the evening, and then we drove back home. On Tuesday, Raphael went back to work. We had a good time together, especially the last week of his vacation. The first few days, he did a lot of projects around the house and ran errands. It took him a few days to relax and unwind...
We went to the hot air balloon festival in our town. It was actually fun! It's kind of like a big fair. We checked out the stands and the shows. In the evening, we went to go watch the hot air balloons set up and take off. Unfortunately, there was too much wind and they weren't allowed to take off. It was too dangerous. Oh well, maybe next year...
At night, Kenny Rogers gave a show. Our bracelets gave us access to this as well, so we decided to go and check it out. There were a lot of people! We're not huge fans of his, but Raphael likes his song "The Gambler."
My parents came to visit us in Ottawa on Tuesday. They had lunch with some friends, and then came over to see our new house and have dinner with us. It was a short but sweet visit!

Job wise, I've started working for the Y. I'm enjoying working with the kids! I've been offered the Supervisor position for the kindergarten group. The pay and the hours aren't great though...compared to my job where we lived before!! I'm also doing some substitute teaching here and there. Still, I continue to send out my CV and go to interviews to find something more interesting, something more in my field...even if it's part-time. So, we'll see what happens...

I just realized that it is also our seven month anniversary. I usually think about it a few days ahead...I didn't see it coming at all this month. I haven't been online as much lately, I've been spending time with Raph...and job hunting! Yay!! We're another step closer. I think about the Philippines and the adoption a lot. My mom asked me what exactly Raph and I expect from her and his mom when we go to get our child. I couldn't really answer that question. I'm not quite sure what to expect myself! She wanted to know if we want them waiting for us at the airport, or later...how did we see this. It's a very reasonable question...it made the whole adoption suddenly seem very real!! I will definitely want to introduce our child to his grand-parents and his aunts and uncles as soon as possible!! I haven't figured out how to do this yet without overwhelming the child. Also, I want to be protective and ensure that bonding and attachment happens in those first months. I think my mom had the best plan when she suggested that we simply introduce and integrate our child into our life gradually, with one couple at a time. All of our family and friends will be eager and curious to meet our child. We'll have to slowly build our way up to big group get togethers!! Raph and I can't wait...and I realize that my family and friends(especially my mom and Raph's mom!) are very eager and excited for us too. It's nice to feel such support!! We're going to have to think of a nice way to announce our referral as well...well, we still have some time to come up with an idea. The problem is, I keep thinking "oh, it's still far away...there's still lots of time..." But, it's going to happen when we least expect it...

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fall and new beginnings...

The month of September starts tomorrow...the nights are getting colder, and it's starting to get dark earlier and earlier already. Yep, summer is coming to an end very soon...and the fall is starting! The fall always brings a mixture of emotions for me...I love the back to school period and the idea of new beginnings, with all the possibilities for the new school year still lying ahead. A new year begins, and that's a good time to make a fresh, clean start! I always love the crisp, clean air and the beautiful colors of the leaves on the trees. At the the same time, I'm always sad to see the warm, relaxed days of summer come to an end. It means going back to school...back to work...and back to the daily routine, the grind of everyday life!! Of course, this year the change of seasons also means we're one step closer to our referral...one step closer to going to the Philippines and bringing home our baby!! Although Raph is much more practical and rational about the adoption than I am, I know that he's very eager to have a little one running around the house...at this point, we're both very eager to have something more concrete, like a picture and a name!! It's difficult when people ask us: so, how's the adoption going? Any news? You see, we always give the same answer, and I feel like I am repeating myself over and over again!! I sound like a broken record. We most likely won't hear anything before we're sixteen months in...so, before June of next year, we won't have any news!! I know people mean well and want to show interest...I just wish I had another answer to give them!! It's all so abstract and surreal for now. If I were pregnant, I would be able to feel the baby move, and people could see the progression as my belly grows. With adoption, it's years of waiting and hoping and preparing before you finally have something to show for it!!

My little niece K started the first grade today. She's been so excited to go back to school! She's been talking about it for weeks. It was really cute to see how happy she was to go to school!! She proudly showed me her school bag, and is really looking forward to having homework for the first time. I hope she continues to feel this way about school!! I can't wait to experience these firsts with our child...first day of school, watching our child learn to read and write...I know our turn will come, we just have to be patient.


In the meantime, we are pretty much settled into our new house. We like the neighbourhood a lot. The location is really wonderful! The renovations on our house are moving ahead and progressing well. We're taking it one project at a time. The carpet on the stairs will be changed next week. We would have liked to put in hard wood for the stairs, but it's just too expensive. We decided to put in a new, clean carpet that's a more neutral color. After that, we would like to change the counter of our upstairs bathroom (get rid of the blue!) and the tiles in our hallway...and that`s pretty much it! Then we`ll be done. I think it will look great! We`ll have updated our house with some little cosmetic renovations that won`t have cost us a fortune. We likely won`t be here for much more than three years, so we don`t want to invest too much money in the house!!


I`m still waiting job wise to hear back from a few different places. I`ve sent off my CV, and in September things should fall into place. Raph has another week of vacation left, which is nice. He goes back to work after labour day weekend. Once he goes back to work, I know that things will roll and he'll have his hands full with his new job. There are still a lot of new things for him to learn! He'll be travelling to Montreal for meetings frequently as well. I know he loves his job, and his team seems to really appreciate him as a boss. So, he'll be occupied and time will fly by for him. I just have to make sure that I find something to occupy my time as well!! I`m keeping my fingers crossed this happens soon, so that I can start planning my schedule and get into a routine of sorts for the fall. I can always fall back on the part-time job at the Y, but I`m hoping something better, something more in my field of study comes along! As we all know, keeping busy helps to pass the time...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

FUF Picnic!


We just had another busy weekend! It was a very nice weekend though. Our agency organized a picnic for all the families adopting from the Philippines and Vietnam. It was great to get a chance to meet different families from all over Quebec, at various phases and stages of adoption. I'm a shy and reserved person by nature, so meeting large groups of people like that always feels a bit intimidating to me. I always have to be careful not to stay in my corner and hide in my shell. Of course, it was particularly fun to see all the beautiful children, and day dream about coming back to this annual picnic with our little one some day in the near future. We also got the chance to meet a few families whose stories I've been following through their blogs...it was really wonderful to finally meet in person! I hope we get the chance to do this again sometime. After the picnic, we planned to camp out with a few other couples from our agency. In the evening, we had a dinner of corn on the cob and hot dogs. Later on in the evening, we made a nice camp fire and sat around the fire, talking about adoption. It was really nice to be surrounded like that by people all living the same thing, people who understand what we're going through and who are experiencing the same feelings and emotions as us. Even though we just met, to me it felt as though we already knew each other. There just seems to be a bond created by adoption that brings us together. The fact that we've been following each other's blogs probably helps!! In any case, it was a great weekend, and I look forward to meeting these wonderful families again sometime soon :0)

Job wise, I had my interview at the local College. Unfortunately, I did not get the position. It went to someone with more teaching experience, a teacher with seniority. I am quite disappointed, it was EXACTLY the full-time teaching position that I really wanted...but, I'm on their list of substitute teachers now and if one of their English teachers should get ill or take a leave of absence then they will call me. I am still hoping this might happen!! It has happened to me twice before in the past, so it is possible! There are a lot of retirements coming up as well, so I will try again in January and next September. I also sent my CV to the school board in our area, and I'm on their list as well. I am also on the list of teachers at a language school in Ottawa...I've already filled in for a teacher a few times there the past couple of weeks...so, I have a few different possibilities. Now, I sit by the phone and wait for a phone call!! We'll see what happens in September, when the school year really starts...in the meantime, I've been offered a kindergarten group at the YMCA after-school program. This should be fun and will keep me busy. Another bonus is that working for the Y gives me free access to the pool and the gym...so, I could start swimming again!! Yay!! In the next couple of weeks I should have a better idea of what I'll be doing this fall.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

On parenting (this coming from a non-parent!)

To be honest, I haven't felt much like blogging lately. It just feels like not much new is happening on the adoption front. Furthermore, I know full well that I won't have any adoption news to report for another ten months or so...

My husband and I have discussed it, and we've decided not to go out and buy lots of toys and clothing until we have our proposal. Although I am very eager and excited to go out and start preparing the baby room, I know that it's better to hold off until we know more. I am a dreamer and my mind is often run by emotions, while my husband has a much more scientific mind, ruled by logic and practicality. We balance each other out. Emotionally, I would love to go out and start buying some clothes and toys for our child...but rationally and practically, I know that my husband is right and that it's more intelligent to wait. From a practical perspective, it's better to wait till we know if it's a girl or a boy, and the age. Whether our child is nine months old or almost two years old makes a big difference in the kind of clothing and toys we'll buy. When you're pregnant, you have something concrete...you see the baby growing, you can feel it moving, and even hear its heart beat. With adoption, it's different...it's very vague and abstract...you wish, you dream and talk about it for years with the people around you with nothing to show for it...and then, all of a sudden, you have a one and a half year old running around your home!! A part of me wonders if my desire to buy things for our future child doesn't stem more from a desire to make the adoption concrete and real rather than a real need. So, even though my heart is already with our child in the Philippines, I'm going to hold off on buying things. Once we have our referral, we will still have three months before we actually travel. It will just keep us busy and help to pass the time between our referral and our travel date. Besides, I see a lot of people around me who have tons of toys for their children to play with...and the result is that these children are bored very quickly and easily. It is as though they are unable to entertain themselves...they need constant stimulation. Neither my husband nor I were raised like that...we had a limited amount of toys, and were encouraged to use our imagination and entertain ourselves. I am grateful to our parents for this, for it allowed us to develop our creative side. We hope to do the same for our children. Give a child an empty cardboard box, and they will play for hours. We don't always need expensive, complicated electronic toys. This is my plan and my wish, but we'll see what actually happens. I have to admit that we do actually have a few toys for our dog, and I buy her treats and bones on a regular basis. Our dog is a bit spoiled, and I bet our child will be too :0) Since we don't have children, we may have made her too much the center of the household. It is for this same reason that we would eventually like to adopt two children, to avoid having a single child who's very spoiled and selfish, and the center of our universe. Adoption and having children is a very big part of our lives, but it's not the only thing that's going on. I think it's healthier for the parents to be in charge and to run the household rather than that everything revolves around the children and that they run the household. I know this is easier said than done, and we will surely struggle with this issue in much the same way as we've seen many families around us do. We all do the best we can...and just hope that it's good enough!

My husband and I held a BBQ for all of the members of his team at our house. We were about 25 people in total. I was speaking with the wife of one of my husband's colleagues about adoption and raising children, and she told me that there was one thing that she thought I should always remember: there's no manual on how to raise children, there's no one right way to do it. Every child is unique, every situation is different. You have to make it up and learn as you go along...you can read all the parenting books in the world, but there's just no one right answer! I think of how my mom raised the six of us, each of us a little differently as we each had our own unique personalities and very different needs. There definitely seems to be some truth to this piece of advice. It will be interesting for me to read this post again in a couple of years from now, when I actually have a child and am actually a parent. I wonder if my opinion will have changed...if I will see things differently. Time will tell!!

Other than that, Raph is on vacation for two weeks...yay! We're staying home and relaxing...it's been a big year, and he hasn't had much time to relax. In September, it's going to be busy at work, so he'll be running again...which is why we've decided to just stay home this year and relax. I have a teaching contract for the next two weeks, teaching an afternoon class. We can take this opportunity to visit Ottawa, go bike riding...I know Raph wants to play golf...and we wanted to do our deck as well. Two weeks goes by so fast! I have a job interview at one of the local Colleges tomorrow morning...I'm really excited about that. In the meantime, I've started taking contracts from the language school in Ottawa and by mid-September there will very likely be an opening for a full-time teaching position there. I also have an opportunity to work part-time with children at the YMCA after-school program. Teaching the College class is definitely my top priority. We'll see what happens! It looks like I'll be working in September though...I don't know yet exactly what I'll be doing, but I'm hoping I'll be pretty busy :0)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Six months since ICAB approval!

I've decided to add some music to my blog! Hope you like it. If not, there's always the mute button :0)

It's our six month anniversary today! Wow, time is going by so fast. Already half a year since we were accepted by ICAB. We received some great news last week, as a local bloggy friend, who's also with our agency, received her referral for a baby boy after only eleven months! This is very encouraging, and I am so happy for this wonderful family! I hope everything goes smoothly and quickly and that they get to travel to the Philippines very soon :0)

I'm kind of hoping time slows down a little bit, because I'm not ready for the fall and the colder weather to start already. I feel like we haven't had much of a summer yet...it's been cool and rainy (except for my week in Italy :0) But then in Tuscany, it's always sunny and beautiful!) We've been lucky and got the chance to see fireworks over the water twice this summer. We got tickets through Raph's work. One evening was Canada, and the other was Germany. The German show was set to German music, which was neat. It's such a beautiful, spectacular show...and both evenings it was very nice and clear outside, which means great visibility for fireworks! Raph starts his vacation on Saturday...and he doesn't go back to work till the beginning of September. This will be really nice for both of us. We want to go and visit Ottawa, go bike riding, maybe go camping for a few days...paint our deck. I'm looking forward to it! I hope the weather is nice and that we can enjoy it. Then, in September, it's back to work and we'll find ourselves a new routine. We've moved twice in the last fourteen months, so we haven't had much of a routine in a while. In September, it would be nice to fall into a steady, stable routine for a while.

We're settling down in our new house, and we're getting to know our new neighbourhood. The books in the office have been placed, and the last two boxes have been unpacked in the laundry room...Raph put up some shelves for me, so now it's nicely organised. The grey tiles on our kitchen floor are going to be done tomorrow. I'm excited! After that, our kitchen will be done! There will just be the bathroom counter and the carpet on the stairs to do. Painting our deck is a priority, since we need three warm, sunny days in a row to do that! This needs to be done before October. The rest can wait...

Oh, I also read a really good book this weekend...it's called "The Time Traveler's Wife." It's such a beautiful love story! It's very compelling, and I couldn't put it down! I don't want to give too much away, but the couple in the book struggles with issues of infertility. I think they've made the book into a movie as well. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I definitely recommend the book :0)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Wedding Anniversary

Today is our three year wedding anniversary.
Wow, time goes by so fast...I can't believe it's already been three years :0)

Raph and I got married in Italy, at La Pietra in 2006. La Pietra is my parents' house in Tuscany. This is seriously one of the most beautiful places in the world!
Actually, my mom bought a piece of land with ruins, and had everything re-built from the ground up. She insisted they use original material as much as possible. There were literally just four walls, with a tree growing in the middle when she bought the ruins. She bought the land and followed her vision. Now, it's a gorgeous family house with a swimming pool and a chapel :0) It took two full years to build.
My family and Raph's family as well as some of our close friends travelled to Italy for the wedding three years ago. It was absolutely beautiful, a real dream wedding come true. My mom organised the ceremony, the cake, the flowers, the dinner, the music...everything! I took care of the wedding invitations and the the thank you notes. That and the dress fittings were my biggest worries! This was an absolute treat for me; it allowed me to actually enjoy my wedding day. Brides always complain that they were too stressed on their wedding day to actually enjoy it...well, for me everything was so well organised that I was able to relax and fully enjoy the moment. This was the best gift I could have received!





Raph and I have been through a lot together the past few years...with the infertility treatments, mourning the loss of our biological child, and the adoption process. It's made us stronger as a couple. These are the kind of things that either make you stronger as a person and as a couple, and you can grow together, or it can pull you apart and destroy you. I feel very fortunate to have someone like Raphael in my life. I feel very lucky to have such a strong, stable relationship and to be so in love. We have a mutual love and respect for each other, and I can't wait to bring a child into this relationship. Of course we argue sometimes, and I know that we have a lot to learn about being parents. We will make our mistakes too, like everybody does! I am looking forward to becoming a family, and watching my partner grow in his role as a parent. I feel that we are ready now, and both of us are eager to embark on this new adventure! I know our turn will come soon, we just have to be patient. Everything in good time...

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Back from Italy!

I just got back from a last minute, unplanned trip to Italy! My parents have a gorgeous house in Tuscany, and my mom wrote me an e-mail inviting me to come and spend a week with her. Since I'm not working at the moment, I took the opportunity! It was great. We swam in the pool and read by the pool side...it was 36 degrees and sunny. In the evenings, we would go to a nice restaurant. The food in Italy is so good. They have the best ice cream and pasta...the pizza is great too. I think it's all in the cheese! The tomatoes, olive oil and vinegar are wonderful too. Everything is fresh over there. My mom took me to the Spa for the day...it was wonderful. We got a massage, and swam in the sulphur spring water. We had a beautiful view over Tuscany. My mom took pictures, I'll try to post them! It was a great little vacation. I wish Raph could have come too. He just started his new job position a couple of months ago, and doesn't have vacation till mid August. He's had a big year too, with two promotions, two moves...he travelled a lot as well. Basically, he'd like a quiet vacation at home this year. So, we'll probably stay in the area and go biking, maybe go camping for a few days. At the same time, it was nice to spend some time alone with my mom...it's rare that I get that chance. The week went by way too fast :0)

We're slowly getting settled into our new house. The boxes are unpacked now, but there's still some work left to do. The office and the baby room are still unfinished. The painting is done and the curtains are up, but the books need to be organised, and we still need to buy some things for the baby room. We don't have a changing table yet, or any clothing...we don't have any toys either. I'd like to get a play table and chairs as well. All in good time...
The kitchen still needs some work as well. We're renovating the kitchen this weekend. My brother is coming to help us. Raph took out all of the old tiles from the floor, and we bought a new counter top. This weekend, we're going to change the counter-top and put up the chandelier. During the week, two guys are going to come and lay down new tiles on our kitchen floor. It's going to be charcoal grey. I can't wait for our kitchen to be done...in the meantime, we can't use our dishwasher or our stove! In a week from now, our kitchen should be completely finished. Yay!

As far as the adoption process is concerned, I called our agency and changed our address and telephone number. They told me to call immigration as well, to update our information. It took me a couple of hours to make the phone calls, but now it's done, and everything is up to date. I'm sad that the psychologist who did our home study won't be following us anymore...he was great. Quick and efficient. He adopted a child himself, and knows what we're going through. He was always very straight-forward and to-the-point with us. We really appreciated this. He gave us some really great pointers. We'll have to find someone new over here!
On August 22nd, we have a picnic organised by our agency. Raph and I are really looking forward to it. It will be great opportunity to meet other couples going through the same process as us.

I'm actively looking for a job. I've been sending out my CV, and I've had two interviews. I'm on the bank of candidates to teach Civil servants through a government run program. They're willing to offer me training as well. They're looking more for someone for September, depending on enrollment. They want to start me off slowly, giving me some private contracts. So, I'm in their bank of teachers...now I just keep my fingers crossed that they call me soon with a contract! It could be a nice opportunity. We'll see what happens. In the meantime, I'm going to keep on looking...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Great Weekend!

We had a great weekend, filled with discussions about adoption and the Philippines.
It's really nice to get a chance to talk about the adoption process openly, and to share our experiences. It makes it all feel more real somehow. Up to this point, the whole adoption process has felt a little surreal, and abstract...but, meeting other people going through the same process, and talking to people of Filipino heritage and background makes it feel more real.

The weekend started off on Friday evening. My husband came home from work, and we had a nice quiet evening together, just the two of us. We hadn't had that in a long time! We just did a BBQ outside...the weather was nice, and we were able to sit outside on our deck till the early hours of the morning, talking about a variety of subjects. It was wonderful to get the chance to catch up! It felt like we kind of found each other again, after all the stress of moving.

On Saturday night, we had dinner with Tangie and Michel. They're also adopting from the Philippines, and we've been in touch online for a few months now. It was nice to finally meet in person, and to get to know both of them a little better! I look forward to seeing them again soon. It's fun to think that someday in the near future, our kids might play together :0)

On Sunday, my friend M and her step-mother L organized a lunch, so that we could meet L's brother. He is married to a Filipino lady, C, and they have a son named P together. P is a very handsome, intelligent, calm, laid-back six year old. He and his mom were both a little shy, but they are very nice, and very warm people. C and P spoke in Tagalog to each other, which was nice to hear. I had brought my book, Filipino Friends, with me. C even sang a song from the book for us, a lullaby in Tagalog! It was really wonderful to hear what it's supposed to sound like. It was very touching. Watching P and the other children playing, I couldn't help but look into the future and think to myself that someday, that would be our child we're proudly watching play :0) The lunch was really great. We talked a lot about Filipino culture and habits, and learned a lot of things! Interestingly enough, P has had trouble with his teeth too...he's not adopted, but did grow up in the Philippines the first years of his life. Apparently, it might have to do with the high amount of sugar in the milk in the Philippines. Anyway, that's what C believes. We also learned that kidnapping of foreign children is a big problem over there. A woman should not be walking on the streets by herself...especially if she's with a child, and if she's obviously a foreigner. Also, rice is the main food staple...they eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The Filipinos love music. Clothing in the Philippines is very cheap, and good quality. They really recommended that we buy lots of children clothing over there. C is a great bargain hunter, and she says that you can find high quality copies of designer labels at a very good price in the Philippines. They will spend the summer at their house in the Philippines next year. They invited us to come and visit them, if we ever travel that way. It would be great if we get our referral and travel to the Philippines next summer, while they are there!! We will definitely try to go and see them, if the timing works out :0)
Of course, I realize that I have no control over this, but I sure can wish and hope and pray for those dates!

So, that was our weekend! We got to talk a lot about the Philippines, and about the adoption process. One thing I'm going to have to get used to is people asking me the money question..."so, how much did it cost you?" It makes me feel like a rotten person, like I'm buying my child. It makes it sound like the child is merchandise. I read about this question in a book on adoption, and I didn't think people would actually ask us that...but, sure enough....one of the first questions people are asking me when I tell them we're adopting is: "so, how much was it?" Maybe I am being naive, but I like to think that my husband and I are providing a good life, as well as many opportunities and advantages they may otherwise not have had. Everything is very above board with our agency. That's why the whole adoption process takes so long, to make sure the child is indeed available for international adoption. Yes, we're adopting for partly selfish reasons as well; we would very much like to become parents, and have been wanting a baby for many years...at the same time, I like to think that we're helping a child have a better chance in life. This is why many Filipino women put their children up for adoption in the first place...to give them a better chance to flourish and succeed. We have the means to take care of a child; financially, emotionally, psychologically and physically we are well placed to provide for a child! Our child need never feel guilty, or like he owes us something...on the other hand, I don't want to feel like a bad person either for having paid money to adopt a child. Children are not a merchandise, and should not be sold like objects. It's a very touchy subject. I am still looking for a good way to answer that famous money question...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Five months since ICAB approval!

Today is our five month anniversary since ICAB approval. So much has happened in the past five months! Our lives have changed so much in the last few months. I remember calculating when we would get to six months, and how far away the summer seemed at the time. Yet, here we are...almost at the six month mark. I never would have thought that we would be moving again so soon back in February! I'm very glad we did though. It's a great opportunity for us. I'm feeling a little stressed and nervous about finding a job for myself, but I've sent off my CV to different schools and I have to trust that things will work out the way they're supposed to. The whole adoption process has taught me patience, but also to have faith! Faith in God, and especially faith in life in general.

I love our new house, and our new neighbourhood. We still have some work to do on the house, like painting the walls in the basement, changing the kitchen counter and floor, finding a new dining room table and chairs...
Anyway, there's no rush and it doesn't all have to be done at once. We're taking it one step at a time. My goal is to have it all done by October, when the cold weather begins, and the school session is well under way. I will post pictures as soon as I get the chance.
Our new house is well-situated. There are grocery stores, banks, clinics, pharmacies, schools, parks...all less than ten minutes from our new house. There's a nice park just a two minute walk from our house. I'm looking forward to taking our child there to play!

I'm already taking our dog there for walks :0) It's her birthday tomorrow! She's going to be three years old. Yep, she's an adult dog now...puppyhood is over.
I still remember the day we brought her home. She was so scared! She didn't move at all for about an hour, the wood floors were too slippery for her, and she couldn't walk on them at first. Finally, we threw an empty toilet paper roll on the floor...and she couldn't resist running after it. She slid every which way at first, but quickly learned how to grip and walk on our wood floors. It was a real skating rink for her, the first couple of days. She still has trouble when the floors are freshly mopped!

This weekend, my husband and I are meeting some friends for lunch. I've mentioned my friend M in the past, and her step-mother's brother, who lives in the Philippines with his family. He married a Filipino lady, and they had a son together. They're in town, visiting their family in Canada. M and her step-mother organised a lunch so that we could meet them, and ask questions about the Philippines. My husband and I are very excited at this opportunity to make contact with the Filipino culture. I want to learn as much as possible about the people, the language and the culture as I can before our child arrives. I know that it's important for us to take and to be open to the opportunities that present themselves to be involved in Filipino culture. This is a part of our child's identity; it's where our child is from and will always be a part of who our child is. We cannot deny or overlook this, if we want our child to be well-balanced and to have a strong sense of identity. It is inevitable that our child will question one day where he or she came from, how come he or she looks or acts a certain way...it's only normal. Especially with cross-cultural adoption, where the differences are obvious even to a seven year old child! Since I can't pass on this part of our child's heritage and culture myself, I feel it is my responsibility to make contact with people who can! The various contacts we build now, with other Filipino families and with future adoptive families, will all serve to help our child find a place in this world, and to feel accepted. I am so grateful to be meeting other families in the process of adoption from the Philippines...not only for myself, but also for our child! Even if the kids don't become close friends, at least our child will have the chance to meet other children like him, and see that he's not alone...that he's not that different from everyone else! I think this is very important. So, thank you to my new bloggy friends! I look forward to seeing you guys at the FUF picnic :0)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

We've moved into our new house!

Well, we've finally moved! I haven't been online in a while and I haven't written any posts because a)I haven't had internet access for almost two weeks and b)I simply haven't had time to write! The good news is that I haven't had much time to think about the adoption or the wait for the referral either.

We drove from Montreal to sign the papers for the house mid-week. Of course, we went to go take a look at our new house right away, as soon as we got the keys! The pervious owners left the house quite clean, and in good condition...so we were very happy. The next day, we opened the door for the painters. We went over the instructions for the wall colors with them one more time, answered last minute questions that they had...and then drove up north, to pack up our house. We took down the curtains, did some laundry and packed a couple of boxes with things that we wanted to bring down ourselves. We made sure the fridge was emptied and cleaned out, and that all the garbage cans were emptied. The rest of our stuff was packed by the movers the next day. It went very quickly and smoothly. They even started loading the moving truck that same day! We slept at a hotel that night, and learned of Michael Jackson's death when we watched the news.

They finished packing up our things the next day. We drove back to our new house, and met up with my mom, my sister, my brother, his wife and their two kids. They drove all the way from Montreal to come and see the house, and to have dinner with us! This was greatly appreciated :0)
As usual, my mom has a great eye for color and for detail, she's an artist and she's wonderful with interior decorating...she gave us some great ideas for our new house.

On Sunday, we spent the day cleaning the house; mopping the floors and cleaning out the kitchen and bathroom cupboards. Of course, it rained on monday morning, and the movers going in and out with their muddy boots dirtied the floors in no time...but, that's normal! It's all a part of the joy of moving. At least it didn't rain while they moved our furniture and boxes into the house. That is, our mattresses and furniture didn't get all wet. I got a call for a job interview as well, so in the middle of all of this...I had to leave for the interview! Unfortunately, the job wasn't quite what I had hoped, I'm overqualified for the position...so, I didn't take it. I'm happy that I'm already getting interviews though! The job hunt continues...

We had a lovely surprise on moving day! Tangie - someone whom I met online a few months ago, and who is also in the process of adopting from the Philippines with her husband Michel - just happens to live in our new neighbourhood! And did I mention that they plan to name their child Rafael(e)? I don't know, I don't usually believe in these things, but it kind of seems like our lives were destined to cross paths... Anyway, Tangie was very sweet and thoughtful (and probably curious to meet us, just like we were to meet her!) and she dropped by with a gift basket filled with fruit, some cookies and a card to welcome us to the neighbourhood. She said she decided to do her "Desperate Housewife" act, which really made me laugh!! Raph and I were very touched by this gesture...we don't have any friends or family in the area, so it was really nice to be welcomed like that! Not to mention that we were really looking forward to meeting her, so it was a very nice surprise :0) She seems like a very kind, generous, warm and genuine sort of person. I am looking forward to getting together with her again and meeting her husband soon!

Raph's parents came with his sister and her boyfriend to give us a hand with the move. They helped unpack boxes, put up curtains and paintings, run errands...
Raph's dad helped him make shelves and clean out the garage. It was great to have some extra helping hands! Things go much faster and get done quicker when there are more people helping out. I have to admit that although we were very happy and grateful for all of the help his family gave us, we were also happy to finally have the house to ourselves. It's nice to be alone just the two of us, in our own things. It's been a few months now that we've been apart, running around to get things done for the move. Of course, moving is pretty stressful...Raph and I are both pretty exhausted. We still have a lot of work to do on the house...like the kitchen, and painting the walls in the basement. Still, most of the work is done...all of the boxes are unpacked, and we're pretty much settled into our new house. I'll post some pictures of our new house soon. We accomplished a lot in two weeks!! Raph still has two weeks of vacation left this summer...I think it's important that he takes a break this time and has a real vacation this summer, rather than spending the two weeks working on the house.

So, it's been a busy two weeks! Keeping busy is good, it keeps me from spending too much time in that dark place, wondering and worrying about the adoption. Soon the move will be behind us, all of the hard work on the house will be done and the fall will begin...that's when the wait will get more difficult! So, I have to find myself a job by the beginning of September. I know now that what everyone has been saying to me all along is very true...keeping busy is really the best thing you can do during the wait!!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day


Happy Father's day!

To be honest, my husband and I have a bit of an issue with some of these holidays, such as Valentine's day, Easter, Christmas, etc... They've become so commercial! We all know they're designed to make consumers feel guilty and go out and buy gifts!! It's all a ploy to get us to go out to the stores and spend money. That's the main purpose. Of course, this is what makes the economy go round...so it's not necessarily such a bad thing!
We want people to go shopping and to stimulate the economy and help get us out of this recession. This is what keeps the economy healthy...at least, this is how our capitalistic society works.

Don't get me wrong! We both like Mother's Day and Father's Day and we think it's a great concept. I like the idea of thanking your parents for what they've done for you, telling them how much you love them and how much they mean to you. It's a great opportunity to show gratitude to our parents. It's important to do this, and these holidays or special dedicated days provide us with a nice platform to do that. But do you need to go out to the store and buy gifts to do this? Maybe making breakfast in bed can be enough...and can actually be a nicer gesture than a store bought gift! Or for kids, maybe they can make a card or an arts and crafts project for their mom or dad. Personally, that's what I would like the most! Something that my child worked on and made just for me!! This is how we always celebrated father's day and mother's day, both in my family and in my husband's family. Just a little gesture like breakfast in bed, and a home made card or drawing...maybe some flowers. And lots of hugs and kisses and I love yous!! To me, that's what those holidays should be all about. Otherwise, it kind of ends up feeling a bit phony to me. It just feels kind of forced, and it should be natural. I think it's better to keep it real and from the heart. I am really looking forward to starting these new traditions with our child, and celebrating these different holidays together as a family. Most of all, I can't wait to watch and see my husband becoming a father. I am sure he's going to make a wonderful father someday. Words can't express how much I'm looking forward to experiencing this with Raph. It's an intense longing, which runs as deep as my desire to become a mother.

It's hard for me to even think about this, much less write about it, without becoming very emotional and tearing up. I have written before about how I have been contemplating and trying for so many years now to become a mom... but it's more than that. As a couple, my husband and I have been trying to become parents. I see my husband interact with other children, like my nieces, and I can't help wondering and thinking about what kind of a father he will make. I am so excited, thrilled and anxious...not only to become a mother, but also to see my husband become a father and to watch him interact with our child. It's an exciting, new adventure for both of us. We have a lot to learn, I know...
We'll just have to take it one step at a time! Let the adventure begin :0)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Kudos to stay-at-home parents!!

It's been a while since my last posting...I hoped to write more often, but with the move, we don't really have easy access to the internet right now! There is no internet at the rented apartment where we are staying right now. I hope to write more regularly once we've settled into our new house. Another week has passed, and things are still going by very quickly! Yay! Things have been pretty busy with the move, and with looking for a new job. I have started sending off my CV, and have received a few letters of confirmation of receipt, but that's about it for now. Once we’re settled into our new house, I will start looking more actively, both on line and in person.

I know myself, and firmly believe that keeping busy is the best and the healthiest thing to do! If I’m not keeping busy with work (or other productive projects!) and just spending my time at home, waiting for my husband to get home...I will drive both of us insane! It’s funny, but while I’m working and on a regular schedule, I actually get much more accomplished and more done when it comes to household chores like cleaning, laundry, cooking, grocery shopping. At first, I was really excited to be a stay at home mom. I wanted to enjoy a couple of years of being at home, taking care of our child. I thought that this was the best option. I had a kind of naive notion of how much fun and enjoyable this would be. Last time when we moved up North from the city, I spent three months at home without a job while we were in the period of transition. I was sooo happy and excited and proud of myself when I found a job teaching English at the local college!! The three months while I wasn’t working felt like the longest months ever! I didn’t feel good about myself, I felt unhappy and restless. When I would meet someone and they would inevitably ask me or my husband what I did for a living, I felt ashamed to say that I was between jobs. I mean, I quit my job to follow my husband up north when he got a promotion. It was a perfectly respectable reason to be without a job...and still I felt bad about myself! So much of our identity is tied to our job, to what we do for a living. This experience made me realize that I probably won’t enjoy being a stay at home mom as much as I had imagined at first! Realistically, I’ll probably get bored and feel eager to get out of the house for some intellectual stimulation! I think it’s important for one of us to stay at home with our child for at least the first six months...to build a strong bond and for the attachment process...but after that, it’s time for me to go back to work and for our child to go to day care! I have to build and have a life of my own.

I always wondered at people who had kids and sent them off to day care when they’re only a few months old. What’s the point of having kids, if you’re just going to send them off to day care or give them to a nanny to take care of?! I now see this a little differently! I realize how important it is for me to be busy and happy and to have a life of my own in order to be the best mom and the best wife I can be! Like I said, I was a much happier and more balanced person when I started teaching again. As a result, I was a much better wife to my husband too! And by extension, I imagine that if I’m occupied and happy with my life I will be a better mother. If that means working and sending our child to day care, then that’s what it will be. Besides, day care is great for socialization, and might actually be very comforting for our child. Our child will be very used to routines and to the institutional life with many children and rules, and he or she will probably be very happy at day care! So, yes, I’ve been re-thinking the stay-at home thing in favour of day care and working. Even if I just work part-time, and even if it’s just in a bookstore selling books...I will have the feeling that I’m being productive and contributing to society, I’ll feel happy and proud of myself. Of course, being a stay at home parent can be very gratifying and rewarding too :0) I admire stay-at-home parents, and truly believe that it's the hardest job in the world...

Of course, I do not speak from personal experience! Once we actually have a child, I might re-think everything again. We'll just have to go with the flow and take things as they come....just take it one step at a time!! That seems to be the motto :0)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Four months since ICAB approval!

Today it is four months since we officially received our ICAB approval.
Wow, honestly the time is just flying by these days! I guess it`s because we`ve been busy with work and with moving. I can`t believe another month has gone by already!
Of course, I`m not complaining. I`m glad that it`s going by so fast. On the other hand, I`m starting to think about all of the things that still need to be done before we travel and before we have our child...honestly, it`s probably a good thing that we still have a few months ahead of us to prepare! Like Raph always says to me, one thing at a time...take it one step at a time! We`ll get there...

Our house in Amos has officially been on the market for a week now...Hydro informed us yesterday that we've already received three offers, so it looks like selling our house is not a problem at all! It's just a question of some paperwork at this point. I really should have known, with the painting and the interior decorating that we did...my mom is an artist and just has an eye and a feeling for this! Not to mention that there just aren't any houses for sale in our area, so there's no competition...there's a shortage of housing, and the house have been selling well, as Raph' mom told us. She's been following the real estate market over there, and was pretty much right on :0) I was a bit worried, because of the economy right now and the housing market up north...but, it looks like I worried for nothing! As usual! I guess I should know by now that moms are always right...both my mom and Raphael`s mom assured me that we would have no problems selling the house, and that we would even make a profit with it...and they were right, of course!! So, that`s great news...we`re very happy with how smoothly and quickly the sale of our house went. Now, let`s hope the move goes as smoothly and quickly...as previous experience shows, I`m probably worrying and stressing about that for nothing too!! What a waste of time and energy :0)

My new resolution is to try and focus on the positive, and to invest my energy in things over which I have control...and the rest, well...I just have to learn to let it go. It`s no use worrying or stressing about things over which I have no control. It doesn`t do any good! What is that passage from the bible?
Give me the Strength to accept the things I can not change, the Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.

Or that Doris Day song: Que sera, sera!! Whatever will be, will be...the future`s not ours to see...Que sera, sera!!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A nice rendez-vous, and a nice weekend overall!

We've been having a great weekend! The weather's been nice, and we've had lots of nice activities. Raph arrived on Friday. He played golf during the day with some colleagues, and I had my last day of correcting English exams at the College. On Saturday, my six year old niece K had her karate test to get her yellow belt. Raph and I had the privilege to go and watch her. It was really neat to see. She was so concentrated and disciplined! And, she passed her yellow belt. She was the youngest and one of the smallest in the group, but she did it. I am so proud of her!

After the karate, Raph and I had a meeting with a couple adopting from the Philippines. I've been following their blog for a couple of months now, and they happen to live close by to my brother's house! So, we thought it could be nice for us to meet in person! We seemed to have a lot in common, and the timing was good. Being shy and introverted, I admit that I was a little bit nervous about the meeting at first...but I really didn't need to be! It was really nice, and it kind of felt like we already knew each other. I felt comfortable and at ease, which I'm really happy about. It was just great to be able to talk openly and freely about adoption and the Philippines with people going through the same experience! It's different from talking with my family and friends about this...since they're going through the same process as us, they truly seem to understand how we feel and what we're going through. It seemed like sometimes I didn't even need to finish a sentence, and they already knew and understood what I meant. It was just nice to be able to share and exchange! And the guys seemed to get along as well, which is always a very nice bonus :0) We had really interesting discussions, and I hope that we will be able to do it again soon :0)
I'm looking forward to meeting other families in the process of adopting from the Philippines in the near future! There are a couple of families in the Gatineau area whom I've been in touch with, and there's also a family living not far off from where my in-law's live...so, I hope that I'll get the chance to meet up with them this summer, once we've settled into our new house :0)
I feel very lucky to have found so many families in the process of adopting from the Philippines in our area, and I'm really looking forward to meeting them in person :0)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cute true story about language issues

I was getting bored with the beige colored background of my blog, so I decided to give my blog a little facelift! Also, the month of May is over...so I figured it was time to move on from the tulips (which I put on to represent my Dutch heritage, and our impending move to Gatineau-Ottawa!)

I have only a couple more days left of correcting, and then we leave for Gatineau! I can't wait to get settled into our new house. I'm looking forward to starting our new life over there. It's great to be in Montreal, I'm really enjoying it. Other than the cold, rainy weather we had last week, that is. It's great to spend some time with my brother, his wife and my two nieces! My little niece K is going for her yellow belt in karate on Saturday morning...I'm so excited for her! We're going to go and watch. I also got the chance to see a couple of my close friends (whom I hadn't seen in a long time! One of them had a baby in the meantime, and I finally got to see him!) It was really nice to get a chance to catch up. I'm looking forward to living closer by and being able to see them all more often. Still, although it's been great being in Montreal, I really miss Raph a lot! Being apart for so long is not easy on either of us! It's hard only seeing each other on weekends. Usually, we have so much to do, to organise and to prepare for both the move and for work that even during the weekends, we haven't really had any time to spend together the last few months. We talk on the phone two or three times a day, but it's just not the same. I can't wait for us to be together in our new house! He has three weeks of vacation this summer...I think that will be good for both us :0)

As for the adoption, not much news! I continue to reflect on the language issue... We were invited to a BBQ last Saturday by some old family friends of ours. Interestingly enough, this BBQ was held at our old house where we used to live when I was six or seven, in the neighbourhood where I grew up. Our friends bought the house from my parents many years ago. It was kind of strange being there with my brother. It brought back a lot of memories for both of us. We lived there for about three or four years. It was fun to see our old house...it hasn't changed all that much! Well, okay...my old bedroom is now a black dining room...but other than that, it hasn't changed much at all!



Raphael and I at the BBQ at my old house

Anyway, I digress...I do have a point! I'm getting to it! See, our family friend, D, asked me if I remembered how we first met. I told her no, I thought that she was a friend of my brother or my sister from high school. Apparently, the first person she met from my family was actually me! She was babysitting these two kids one afternoon, and all of a sudden, this little blond five year old girl just wanders in the front door and starts playing with the dolls and the toys! D went over to talk to this little girl, to explain to her that she can't just walk in like that, and to try to find out where she lives. However, the little girl was babbling in another language, so they couldn't understand each other! D was getting worried, so she walked outside with her to try and find her parents. Sure enough, a tall blond teenager was riding her bicycle down the street, looking for Amber! So, that's how she met my family...

It's interesting to me to hear this story...I'm actually a pretty quiet, shy, conservative, introverted person. This bold, fearless, adventurous, out-going little five year old that D describes doesn't resemble the adult me at all!! I kind of wish it did, though! Where did that Amber go? What happened along the way? This story reminds me that I actually didn't know any English or French when we first moved here. I was five years old, and spoke only Dutch. I managed to learn to speak French and English quite fluently, and I think that I will be able to pass this on to our child as well. Children are sponges and learn very quickly. I learned French in Kindergarten, by playing with the other kids. I learned English a couple of years later, and it was even easier for me to learn. Now it has become my dominant language. It's much more difficult to learn a language as a teenager, or as an adult!! Perhaps the younger we start teaching our child languages, the better. On the other hand, another school of thought states that if you teach too many languages at once, at too young an age, that person will likely never really fully master any one language. They'll be able to get by in three languages, without really mastering the intricacies of the grammar and the complex vocabulary of any one particular language. I know this to be true, I am living proof that there is something to be said about this theory! I still think we will try the bilingual approach, where Raph speaks in French with our child, and I in English. We'll see how it goes. And if we see that it doesn't work, we can always make adjustments as we go along! Nothing is set in stone :0)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Filipino cuisine continued...

Thank you all for your wonderful responses! Yay, now I have a few titles to look for at the bookstore :0) I can't wait to try some of those recipes...I'll let you know how it goes!

I too believe that it's very important to expose our child to more than just the symbolic food, costumes and holidays by getting involved in local Filipino culture. I think that it's vital in the forming of the identity of our child. After all, our child is, and will always be, Filipino. That's part of who he or she is! I want him or her to know what that means, what it entails and to be proud of this. Reading Emilie's comment on cultural integration, it really resonates with me. Deep down, this is what I truly hope for! All the books that I've read so far on international adoption express this exact same idea of exposing the child to various cultures (in particular the culture of the child's country of birth) as being what's best for identity formation and bonding. I think when we're talking about inter-racial adoption, this becomes even more important. I'm still not quite sure how to get involved in local Filipino culture, but I think I just have to be on the lookout for cultural activities locally...and be open and receptive to different opportunities that present themselves. Actually, such an opportunity presented itself just this weekend! A close friend of mine, M, mentioned that she might be able to put us in touch with some people she knows. Her step-mother's brother is married to a Filipino lady. They will be in town this summer, and we are trying to arrange something so that we can meet them! My husband and I are really looking forward to this, and we hope it works out. M forwarded my last posting concerning Filipino recipes to them, and they responded that Filipino cooking involves rice, rice, and more rice :0) I thought that was cute (and undoubtedly very true, like most Asian cooking!) They also graciously forwarded the following link, which I thought I would share with you: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuisine_of_the_Philippines
It's a great link describing the staple Filipino foods and also has some traditional recipes from the Philippines.
On a side note: now I'm really glad that we've got a rice steamer! It makes the best rice, and it's sooo simple to use! I don't like machines, but this one's really basic and user friendly, and the rice comes out perfect each time! As for the McDonald's...I was just talking about this with my sister in law C, whose family is from China and who has travelled to Asia a few times. We were talking about some of the different delicatessens and the different dishes that they eat over there. In most of Asia (other than the rice, which we've already covered!) they also generally like to eat ALL parts of the animal. My brother and I joked that there's always a McDonald's, if worse comes to worse! You can find that almost anywhere. She said: you guys laugh, but the best McDonald's I ever had was actually in Japan! It actually tastes different in different countries. Although I've never been to Asia, I have to agree that the McDonald's I've eaten in Europe did taste different! And my husband's take on all of this? Hey, I am not travelling all the way to the Philippines to eat McDonald's!! Raph has always had a strong stomach and isn't a picky eater at all, so I'm sure he'll be fine. Still, something tells me that we won't feel much like trying different restaurants in the Philippines with our little one in tow...honestly, I imagine we'll probably be spending most of our time in the hotel room, ordering in room service (if possible!) and just getting to know each other. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how things go when our turn comes :0)

On a different note, I thought that I would include a picture of some tulips, for the month of May! It's tulip season in Ottawa :0) Each year, the Dutch royal family donates tulips to Ottawa to thank them for having taken in the Queen of Holland during the second world war.



My picture of tulips, which I had posted in the title space previously to represent Ottawa, and of course my dutch heritage. I don't want to forget my dutch culture and language either :0) I will do my best to find a balance, and to keep all of the different languages and cultures alive...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A question of communication: linguistic issues

Well, my classes are done now and I've seen my students for the last time. I also finished correcting the final exams. Raph came up for the weekend. He graciously helped me with totalling up the marks and entering the grades into the system...that way, it's all double checked, and it goes twice as fast ;0)
We also cleaned out the fridge, cleaned up the garage and the back yard (Raph would have mowed the lawn too, but there was snow on the ground in the morning!) I also did the laundry and cleaned out the clothes from our closets. Basically, we did a quick spring cleaning and got the house ready for visits. We should get our price for our old house this week from the company, and the For Sale sign will go up as soon as we accept and sign the papers. So, this is it...my classes are done, we spent our last weekend in Amos...we're really moving! It's starting to feel real now!! I received confirmation for the correcting of the College English Exit Exam. I will be working as a marker for the May session. This takes place in Montreal, so I'm going to stay at my brothers for a couple of weeks. It will be nice to spend some time with him, his wife and their two girls. I'm a little sad to be saying goodbye to our house and my students over here and to think that it's over for real...but I'm also really happy and excited to think about the new life that's about to begin for us. A new house, new city, new friends, new job...and hopefully soon, a baby. Our lives are going to change a lot over the next year or so! I'm really excited, but also a bit nervous :0) Change is good, and we learn and grow from such experiences...so I'm embracing it :0)

On the adoption front, things are moving along quietly, slowly but surely...really, there's nothing new to report! I found out that for the immigration papers, it will be a lot simpler than I thought. The letter we received was the confirmation that we were waiting for all along...I thought we would receive an official document, but Anik (our wonderful resource person!) explained to us that till we get a referral, that letter confirming they received our paperwork to open a file is all the agency needs. And the kit that immigration sent us to fill out once we receive a referral, that's only for couples adopting from China...for the Philippines, you don't need the whole kit with the pictures, etc...
But, I'm getting ahead of myself....first, we need to receive a referral before we start to worry about citizenship! Still, you need to open a file with immigration when adopting, otherwise you can't accept the referral...so, it's important.
Really, there isn't much left for us to do now till we receive our referral! There won't be much for me to report on the adoption front either...now, we just sit back and wait!!
A bloggy friend that I've been following for a few months now received a referral for an adorable twelve month old baby boy :0) I'm so excited for her and her family! It's very fun and encouraging to see referrals :0) It makes it feel more real.

I've been thinking about the language issue quite a bit recently...
Our future child will probably have heard Tagalog from the caretakers for the first year of his/her life. Maybe a little English.
My husband and his family are Francophone and they speak French.
My family is from Holland, and we speak mostly Dutch when were all together at family gatherings.
English is the international language, and it's the language which I'm most fluent and most comfortable expressing myself in... (since I moved out of my parents' house and no longer speak or hear Dutch on a daily basis, I'm losing my Dutch, even though it's technically my mother tongue!)
Now, what do we teach our child!? My husband and I are both bilingual, although my husband's French is much stronger than his English, and my English is stronger than my French (especially in writing!) I think that what we will do is: I will teach our child English and speak mostly English at home, and Raph will speak to our child mostly in French. Also, we plan on sending our child to a bilingual school, where students get equal amounts of French and English at school. I hope that my family will help in keeping the Dutch heritage and tradition alive. If our child doesn't speak French, it will be difficult for him or her to communicate with my husband's family...and if I don't teach a little Dutch to my husband and our child, we will always stand on the outside...when you have to translate or explain a joke, it just isn't funny anymore! And it's hard to follow a conversation when you're busy trying to translate or explain something...
So, yes...the language question is an issue!

I don't want to forget our child's Filipino heritage and culture either...
I think it's important to honour that as well.
One day, when our child is old enough...(and shows interest!) I would love to travel to the Philippines and visit the sites of his/her birth country. Learn about Filipino culture. But I leave this up to our child, and respect whatever he or she wishes...if going back is too painful and stirs up too many memories, or if there's no interest and our child is too North American by that time to be curious about the country of birth, I will understand and respect that too. Of course, there are ways to learn about different cultures without travelling, such as cooking traditional food, wearing traditional clothing, etc...
I am looking for a Filipino Cookbook, or just traditional recipes from the Philippines so that I can start learning how to cook at least a couple of traditional Filipino meals. If anyone has any cookbooks or recipes that they can recommend, that would be greatly appreciated :0)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!


A special happy mother's day to my mom!
Thank you for everything that you've done for me...
You've always been my number one fan, supporting me, believing in me and pushing me to be my best. You've always been there for me whenever I needed you.
Know that I am grateful and appreciative, and I love you!
I'm sure that I'll only truly realize, understand and appreciate the full extent of what you've done for me once I have a child of my own, and become a mother myself...
So thank you, and I hope that you have a wonderful day!

For all of you moms and future moms out there...here's a song dedicated to you. This is one of my favorite mom songs! My mom sent it to me by e-mail, from Youtube. I just love it and wanted to share it with all of you.

It's funny, and so very true!! Indeed, a mother's work is never done. So here it is:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AGViouBPNIU


Also, it's our three month anniversary since ICAB approval :0)
Although we haven't met you yet, our hearts are already filled with love for you.
Already three months that we've been waiting officially to become parents to our little Filipino baby...three months closer to holding you in our arms and bringing you to your new home to begin our lives as a family.
And three months closer to the day we can celebrate mother's day together :0)
I promise you that we will find a way to honour the memory of your birth mother on this day as well...

So happy mother's day everybody! Enjoy :0)

Monday, May 4, 2009

On dealing with infertility

I got back on Sunday night from a great weekend with Raphael in Gatineau...it was short, but sweet! I drove down alone with the dog (I'm pretty proud of myself!) Poor Carbon got motion sickness and threw up in the car on the way down. What a yucky mess! It's a good thing we decided to put a stain resistant spray on our back seat! It cleaned very well. I guess it's good practice for when we have kids :0) The drive back went much better. I stopped more often to let her run around, I guess that helped!

Raph and I took our dog for a walk in Gatineau Park On Saturday. It's such a beautiful, big park...I know we're going to love hiking with the dog over there, going for bike rides, bringing a lunch and going for a picnic. I saw that there's a kind of beach too...even camping and canoeing! I can't wait...

We're in the middle of moving. Raph just started a new position, and he's thinking of doing his MBA next year, and I've always dreamed of doing my Ph.D. I'm looking for a new job as well. We've got lots of projects on the table and our lives are pretty full with family and friends. That being said...we're very eager to have a child! We strongly desire to become a family. The best way I can explain it is that we just don't feel complete without our child!
It comes in waves though, it depends on the day. Somedays I'm really busy, content and fulfilled and time just seems to fly by...other days, I just wonder when it will be our turn and I feel a little jealous! I read someone else admit to this on her blog, and it has given me the courage to admit to it too :0) I'm not proud of it, on the contrary I'm rather ashamed...envy and jealousy are ugly...but it's unfortunately true. I'm kind of jealous of my friends who are pregnant or have children, and I'm even envious of those who've gotten their referral. Of course I'm genuinely very, very happy for my friends, but it's often tinged with jealousy and pain when it comes to having babies and children. Especially in the dark witching hours of the night, I struggle with my emotions and lie awake thinking to myself "why not me?" or "why not us?" Raph and I are a wonderful, intelligent, loving couple (if I do say so myself!) We're responsible, well-educated adults with good jobs and a stable lifesyle...so indeed, why not us?! At this point, I usually have my childlike reaction and think to myself...it's just not fair!! My dad used to always tell me that no one said life was fair when I shouted that. It always worked...because it's true! Who said life was fair?! Whoever promised us that?! There is no right or wrong, fair or unfair in our infertility issues...it just is!! It's been very difficult to accept and come to terms with, but it's simply a fact. Our reality. I don't think anyone "deserves" a child more than another. Everybody's got a story, everyone has their own struggles.

We've been waiting for what feels like such a long time and we've gone through so much to have a child! We went through fertility treatments for over two years before going to adoption. Putting together a file takes nearly a year of hard labour and energy with the psychological evaluations, and all of the paperwork. I guess it's no wonder that after all of that, the wait can feel like an eternity sometimes...
Since I turned thirty, it's gotten harder. I always thought that I would have my first child by the time I'm thirty...watching everyone else around me start their families, and not being able to do the same is difficult. It's that biological clock that's ticking, it's just in our nature! We can't help it, we've been programmed that way for thousands of years. It's such a primal desire to want to bear children. I guess we just have to trust that when the time is right, our turn will come...
Raph and I have grieved the idea that we'll never have a biological child together, nor will we ever experience pregnancy (although almost everyone who's gone through it tells me it is highly overrated...but I don't care! I would have loved to experience this...)
Grieving was a very difficult and painful process. We came out of it stronger and closer as a couple, and we'd still love to experience raising children together, finally becoming a family!!
I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Had I gotten pregnant, it could have cost me my health. Through adoption, we are hopefully giving a child a chance for a much better quality of life, which might otherwise not have been the case. I know that my mom is right about one thing...once we have children, we'll be wondering why the heck we were in such a rush. Why didn't we just enjoy our freedom and our time together as a couple when we had the chance!? Being parents is hard work, a full-time job! Is it because of pressure from society? First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes...well, the baby in the baby carriage, no?! Ask any five year old, they'll tell you! It's hard some days, not to get lost in the dream of the future...but we have to stay and live in the present...enjoy the moment to the fullest! Our children will be there before we know it...and we have the whole rest of our lives to be moms.

You know what I read in a book about adoption today? I read that caretakers in orphanages often promise children a world filled with toys and trips to Disneyland when they go live with their new families. I guess they try to make the future enticing to them as well. I had to laugh when I read that! Who knew?! If that's true, then our child is going to be pretty disappointed when he or she gets here! Are we in for a major reality check when the rose tinted sunglasses come off?! Hmmmm....I guess time will tell.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Our house...in the middle of the street...

I thought that since we're moving in a few short weeks, I would post some pictures of our house. That way we'll have something to remember our old house by! So, here it goes:



This is our office, where I sit and write on our blog :0)




This is a picture taken last summer, of the front of our house. Notice how large the streets are over here!






This picture was also taken last summer, of our backyard. It's all fenced in so that our dog can run around. She dug under the fence and escaped four times...yep, that's right... count em, four times!




Our living room with Delft blue plates that my mom sent me from Holland



Our bedroom, which I really love! I hope to re-create this room in our new house. Same for the baby room. It's hard to believe that we'll really have a child in our new home! We're thrilled! Can't wait to decorate and get our new baby room ready.


The area is actually really nice for kids over here...there are lots of young families. There are always kids outside playing on the street. There is a park nearby. It's very safe. I think we're going to like our new neighbourhood a lot too :0) It's great for kids as well...


Of course, when we move and we've settled in, I'll post some pictures of our new house. I can't wait to move! My mom, our personal decorator, is helping us with the colors and interior decorating. She's an artist, and she's just amazing with colors! She has the gift, and is able to visualize how it all comes together. We've found painters, and we're having them come by our new house to evaluate how much it will cost. My husband's parents live in Quebec and have offered to give us a hand as well. They might paint the basement and help us run errands, go shopping for missing items and dog sit while we move. My brother offered to come help my husband with the kitchen, since we want to replace the counter, the backsplash and the floor. I hope my mom will come later on sometime this summer to help us with the final touches!! It will be nice to be settled into our new house!