Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Are you born yet? Just wondering...

A close friend of mine had her baby boy this week! She had him by cesarean, and all went very well. Congratulations!! I'm so happy for her and her boyfriend. She and the baby are at home now and are doing well. The new dad had to go back to work already, and is finding it hard to be away from his family. At least he'll have time off and get to spend some time with them during Easter. I've only seen pictures so far, but their baby boy is adorable! They're an eight hour drive from me, so I haven't gotten to meet him yet! I can't wait to go and see them. Once I've finished my classes and we've moved into our new house, I'll have more time! She'll be home with the baby for a few months, and I probably won't be teaching this summer...so, we should have time to see each other and spend some time together! Hey, our kids will probably be around the same age...there's a good chance! That's pretty neat! They can play together someday.

This has made me realize that our child in the Philippines might actually already be born, and be waiting for us! I try not to think about this too much, since I would love to be with our child from as early on in his or her life as possible. Actually, to be completely honest, I would have loved to carry the child in my belly...to experience the baby growing and kicking..to experience the birth and hearing it's first cries. I know this just isn't possible, and I don't want to waste too much time on negative, sad feelings...I prefer to focus on the positive! On the other hand, I have to acknowledge this sadness and this feeling of loss. My husband and I both had to grief and mourn the fact that we'll never have a biological child together that shares our genetics. I know that our adopted child too will be feeling a loss...the loss of his biological mother who carried him for nine months, the loss of the caretakers who took care of him and the culture and the food that he has known till we arrived on the scene to bring him home into our family. It will be hard to talk about these things, but I feel it's important to do so...to deny this is to deny who our child is!! I read somewhere that adoption is based on loss...I disagreed and found that a rather negative statement, and a pretty pessimistic way of looking at adoption when I first read this. As I read on, and as I've had time to think things over, I believe I understand what the author (an adoptee herself) was trying to say. If I want an honest, strong, solid relationship with my child based on trust, I have to acknowledge this loss that we're both feeling, and build on that. I don't want to focus on it and put too much attention on this (I don't want to attribute certain emotions or feelings or end up labelling our child before ever even meeting him!) but I don't want to push it to the side and pretend that everything is perfect and happy and wonderful either. Otherwise, if this truth isn't accepted and talked about openly, if I don't allow myself or our child to feel this pain and sorrow, we'll be living a kind of fantasy. I don't think you can build roots, trully connect or form solid relationships on a fantasy. We'll end up being ships passing in the night...
It's pretty delicate and complicated. I guess we'll figure it out as we go, like all parents do. I just have to trust that we have what it takes and that we'll make good parents.

I made one of my first purchases as well! I bought a children's book, it's really cute! I love reading, and I love books, so I guess it makes sense that one of the first things I bought for our future child is a book! It's called Filipino Friends, and explains some of the differences between North American culture, and Filipino culture. It explores the differences in food and behavior, clothing, etc...all written at a level for children to understand. There are even some basic tagalog words!

Raph started his new position and is house hunting in the evenings. We've found a couple of house that we like online, and he's going to go and visit them. I can't wait for Easter to go and join him! Hopefully, our house over here will sell quickly and easily and we'll find a new place without too much difficulty.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Can't wait for spring to really begin!

Living in northern Quebec, the winters can be very long! We get lots of snow, and it gets very cold. The temperature actually went down to -52 degrees celcius one night!! That's crazy!! At that temperature, it hurts to breathe when you're outside, even for the short walk to the car. We got our first snow fall in October this year. Basically, during the month of November, it snowed almost every day. I got stuck in our driveway with the car, there was so much snow. We haven't seen grass since October. Actually, during spring break, we went to Montreal for a few days and we did see some grass and leaves then....our little doggie was very happy and excited to see some grass! The snow was beginning to melt over there. It's beginning to melt over here too, but not as fast as in the city. Here are some winter pics of me and my little doggie:

You should see her run! She runs like a rabbit, it's really funny to see...

Lots of snow means lots of shovelling...for my husband, that is! lol
Well, usually the last real snow storms are the end of March, and after that, the snow starts to melt and the real spring begins. Usually spring begins more around Easter than on March 21st.

Well, it's only a couple of more months, and then we are moving back to the city!!
I really enjoyed the peace and quiet, going for walks in the woods, the clean air and water...I even enjoyed the ATV (to my big surprise!) but I am glad to be going back to the city! I miss the good restaurants, the theatre, movies and shows, the variety of cultural activities and festivals, public transportation, and of course....shopping!

Raph started his new position on Monday. I can't wait to go and join him! We found ourselves a real estate agent, so we're actively looking for a new house....and the paper work is under way to begin the sale of our house over here. During Easter, we hope to go and visit some houses. It's exciting, but also stressful. I'm really looking forward to starting our new life together over there, and hopefully we will soon be joined by our forever child! Today I found a couple of local bloggers over the internet, based at our new destination, also adopting from the Philippines. I'm really excited to get in touch with them!! I think it's important to build a strong support network and not go through this alone. Especially since we're in the process of adoption, and moving to a new city! Hey, it's always great to meet new people going through the same process!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Never ending paperwork!

The past week has been pretty busy and just flew by! Since we found out that we're moving, we've started shopping for a new house!! This is probably the funnest part of moving. We've just been looking on line for now, and we've seen a few houses that look interesting. I am eager to go and see them. My husband starts his new position on Monday already. It's going so fast! He will go ahead and stay in a furnished apartment for a little while, till we find a house and move our furniture over. I will stay behind and finish the school term, and sell the house over here. So for a few months we'll only see each other during the weekend. Well, everything is well organized with his company so it shouldn't be too stressful! All I really need to do is clean and prepare the house for visits!! Hopefully it will sell fast...although, with the economy and the market right now, I'm not counting on it. It's a good time for us to buy, but not to sell!! We have to find a good Real Estate Agent in the area to give us a hand. The faster we sell and find a new house to move into, the sooner my husband and I can settle down and be together in the same city!!

I called our agency to ask about how us moving will affect the adoption procedure. They told me that as long as we stay in the same province, it won't be a problem. We just call them with our new address and phone number as soon as we have it, and they will forward that information to the Philippines. If we want we can stay with Anik, our resource person over here, or they can assign us someone new closer by. I think that since Anik already knows our whole story and our file, and we've already established a bond with her, we'll stay with her. It doesn't matter all that much that it's a long distance call if we want to get in touch!! With e-mail and the internet, it's not such a big deal these days.

We received some information from immigration Canada as well. I was all excited to get such a quick response. We'd sent off a completed form and some documents about two weeks ago. Basically, they responded and sent us more paper work to fill out!! We need to send pictures, marriage and birth certificates, completed forms, etc...wow, so much paper work!! It feels like it just never ends. Arghhhhhhh.....

I have to re-new my passport, my residency card, my driver's licence and my medical insurance card as well!! More paperwork....that's definitely going to keep me busy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

One month since ICAB approval!!

Well, we're officially one month since ICAB approval! YAY!!!
I know, I know...we're still so very far off from receiving a referral, but it feels like we just got a little bit closer today. Hey, we have to celebrate every little milestone along the way!! It helps to make the wait more agreeable, and to make the time fly by faster.

My husband got some big news at work yesterday...he has been offered a promotion, but it involves moving. We're both really excited, this is a great opportunity for us! We will sill live in Canada, and we're not changing provinces either, but we will be moving to another city!! Things are moving super fast, he starts his new position in two weeks already. I'll stay behind and finish the school term and sell our house over here, after that I will go and join him. So, we have to start shopping for a new house! That part of moving is always fun and exciting. Of course we're both very happy about this news, and I'm proud of my husband. The next couple of months are going to be very busy, and it's going to be stressful selling our house, finding a new one, moving, finding a new teaching position for myself...but it will all be worth it in the long run. Besides, the move is very well organized with his company. They will hire an agent to sell our house, pay for the movers, pack everything up, etc. The timing is good as well for me to look for a teaching position for September. I'm happy to be busy, it will help make the time pass by faster!! The only thing that worries me is the adoption. I don't know how this move will affect our adoption procedure. If anyone knows something about the procedure or steps involved in moving while adopting, and how this affects the adoption procedure, please let me know!! I'll have to contact our agency and see what they say. Our file will have to be transfered to our new location. We'll probably get assigned to a new resource person. That's too bad, because I liked Anik and we were just getting to know her! I'm sure our new resource person will be capable and helpful as well. We'll have to update our file with our new address...maybe we'll have to send pictures of our new house? I don't really know. I just hope this move doesn't cause a long delay in our adoption procedure!! I know they really like to see stability in the Philippines, so I'm wondering what they'll think about us moving. We believe that my husband's promotion and our move will allow us to provide an even better quality of life for our child. This move will bring us back closer to our family and friends as well, so that's definitely a positive thing! I know everyone is happy that we'll be closer and easier to visit soon. It's much better for when we adopt as well, we're kind of isolated over here, and our move will bring us closer to our social support network. This will be important as we deal with the challenges of bringing home our forever child. I hope that they see it this way in the Philippines too!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Should I stay or Should I go?

It's really great getting to know other families in the process of adoption! A few weeks ago, my husband and I were invited by Anik (our resource person from the adoption agency!) to join in on a spaghetti lunch organized for adopted children and their families in the area. There were magicians, games, food and other activities for the kids. It sounded like great fun and my husband and I were looking forward to going. At the same time, I was a little nervous about the whole event. The main reason being that we don't have kids yet! It was a great opportunity to meet other adoptive families, but I felt awkward going there with my husband and watching the other families and their kids play. My husband expressed the same sentiment, telling me he was not sure he could handle and endure hearing the well meant but empty "your turn will come soon!" comments from other families, as they chase their kids around. In the meantime, the two of us spend our time standing around with empty hands, staring at each other, wondering what the heck we are doing there. I was surprised to hear him say that, but know exactly what he means. I feel the same way. It's like kids' birthday parties...when you're an adult couple without kids at an event meant for kids to socialize, it just feels kind of awkward and I end up feeling out of place. We waited and kept putting off making a decision as to whether or not to go, and finally ended up missing the sign up date. So, we didn't go to the spaghetti lunch. Of course, I regret the decision now, and feel it would have been a nice opportunity to meet new people, and talk to other families who have adopted and have been through the same thing. There will be other opportunities for this, the group will hold other events and next time we will make an effort to go!! It's important to make these connections and build a support network even before our child arrives.

I've been reading a lot of books about adoption, and it's making me a little nervous! Particularly the attachment issues with internationally adopted children. One thing on which all of the authors I've been reading about seem to agree is that babies abandoned by their biological mothers right after, or shortly after, birth are often negatively affected and this can have life long consequences. It has even been proven that it affects brain development, when you cut that first, essential contact with the birth mother. So when you adopt such a child, you kind of have to re-train their brain, the argument goes. This seems like a daunting task! I know my husband and I are up to the challenge, but reading these books makes me realize how long and difficult the road ahead of us with our child is going to be. On the other hand, maybe reading all of these books and this information on the internet is NOT such a good thing....I'm foreseeing and also possibly creating problems that aren't even there! It's good to be prepared and to know what you're going into, but I have to be careful not to read too much into things! Otherwise, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and I'll label the child with special issues and problems before ever even meeting him or her!! I guess I'm making things too complicated for nothing. I want to be the best parent that I can possibly be, and that's why I'm informing myself as much as I can ahead of time. By the same token, I kind of have to just go with the flow and play it by hear, see how things go...and just let the kid be a kid.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My niece's birthday

It's officially Spring Break, so I get the week off! That is, I have to correct some exams, do some lesson planning and prepare activities for my students for the next few weeks, but no classes for a whole week. That will be a nice break! It doesn't feel like spring just yet, though...it's still pretty cold, and there's a lot of snow on the ground.

Today it was my niece's birthday. She hardly slept the night before, she was so eager for the big day to arrive!! She was also completely congested, so that didn't help! Poor kid...
We took her to the mall to get her ears pierced, and she got to choose what she wanted for dinner. Of course, the big golden arches was what she chose as her special treat. Seeing my niece's excitement and watching my brother and his wife prepare the cupcakes for school, plan the birthday party, wrap birthday gifts, buy a cake, etc...it was great. It made me realize two things: a) how much I'm looking forward to having a kid and being able to do fun things like that with him or her! and b) how much work it is to be a parent! My brother and his wife put so much time and energy into their daughter's birthday, and I'm sure she'll remember it for years to come.
Anyway, it's been great fun to watch and to be a part of my little niece's fourth birthday. It's nice to see her and her sister growing up!! I enjoy watching them learn, discover and grow.
My mom got each of the girls a scrapbook, so they can start an album. I think they will love this! I guess I'm sort of scrapbooking too in a way through this blog, but online!

I've been hearing and reading a lot about this Yahoo adoption chat group. I should really check it out! It sounds great. Thanks! Very useful and helpful info!!