Thursday, April 30, 2009

Our 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!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

ICAB temporarily suspending new applications for adoption of chidren aged 0-36 months

Okay, there has been a rumor going around that ICAB was going to stop accepting adoption applications for children ages 0-36 months as of May 1st, 2009. I read on the website that there's a grace period though. Our resource person Anik never contacted me and I hadn't heard it from any official source, so I figured it probably just wasn't true! At least, I really hoped that it was just a rumour.

I just saw on Tangie's blog (thank you for the info and for giving such a quick update!) that the rumor has been confirmed. I went to go check out the website of our adoption agency, and indeed there is an official message explaining the situation. The Philippines will no longer accepting new applicants for adoption of babies ages 0-36 months. Apparently, they had a lot of applicants this past year, and now they're really back-logged. In order to accelerate the matching process, and to encourage the adoption of older children over the age of five, they're closing application for the adoption of younger infants temporarily. I guess most families want a baby, but they need people to adopt the older children too. There is no official date for when they will open again, but they have stated that they will remain closed until 50% of the families whom already have files open with ICAB have received a referral. It is not clear what will happen to folders already in progress...

I have to admit I had a bad feeling about this...I have been seeing families on various blogs waiting longer and longer, and I figured something might be up. It doesn't affect us in that our file is in the Philippines and we've already been accepted, but our wait will likely be longer than we thought :0( Then again, maybe this news will help speed things up...I guess that is the point, after all. We'll just have to wait and see...

Of course, I should not complain. There are so many families out there in the process of preparing their files right now, and they will have to wait till the Philippines re-opens. No one knows how long that might take, but it could be anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. Or perhaps they can choose to adopt an older child? What about those who just sent off their files and are waiting for ICAB approval? They are left in the dark for the moment as to what will happen. My heart goes out to all of these families! I can't imagine how frustrating and painful this must be. I feel very lucky to have received ICAB approval...
At the same time, thinking of the other famiies, I feel kind of guilty too!

I'm a bit discouraged at the long delay that lies ahead of us. Time has been flying by so far, and I was very optimistic that our wait would go by fast and that we'd get a referral really quickly...this is a wake up call! I realize now that there are a lot of other couples in the same position as us. As I wrote in my last post....I know it's a simple numbers game! There are only so many babies available for adoption in the Philippines, and there are soooo many families wanting to adopt...
I am actually surprised to see how many families are turning to international adoption.

We originally wanted to adopt from China, but we were told to expect to wait five years so we decided to look into the Philippines. I guess we weren't the only ones to have this idea...

I wish everybody the best!

A weekend together at home, on waiting, and a Tornado...oh my!

We just had a wonderful long weekend! My husband was home, which was really nice. Raphael was really grateful to be home too...especially to sleep in his own bed, I think! It's going by really fast now...there are only two weeks of classes left, and then it's final exams. I will have some correcting to do, but at least I can be in the same city as my husband then :0)

I find it hard being apart for so long, we miss each other a lot! Of course we call each other a few times a day, and we see each other most weekends...but still, it's not the same. It's hard to have serious conversations and to make plans when we're far apart. Some things you just can't really discuss over the phone. It was really nice to catch up over the weekend :0) We had fondu (our absolute favorite!) for dinner on Saturday night. This is always fun, because you sit around and take your time to eat with fondu. We watched a couple of movies. The weather was nice and we took out our bbq and patio set as well, and had our first bbq of the season last night! It was sunny and warm when I went to get the groceries and decided on bbq, but by the time Raph came home from work for dinner, the clouds had come in and it was raining. So we ended up eating inside. The food was really yummy anyway, and we had a nice evening.

On Sunday, we found out that a tornado hit our new neighbourhood during the night! Now how freaky is that! One of our new neighbours (a future mama to a filipino bambino!) was kind enough to offer to go by our house to check it out. I thought that was really sweet, and appreciate it a lot. Particularly since they were very busy and in the middle of cleaning up after the mess the tornado made. I was very reassured when she wrote me back that everything looked fine. Since we haven't moved in and taken possession of the house yet, we are not responsible for any damage...but I was still a little edgy and worried. Unfortunately, our new neighbours were not so lucky...their house was hit, and there was several thousand dollars of damage. Je vous souhaite bon courage!! Hey, c'est une belle excuse pour refaire le plancher de votre cuisine...hehehe
The important thing is that no one was hurt.
My mom had a good and interesting way of looking at this and seeing it in a positive light...I will do the same. Anyway, it's mother nature...what can you do?! We have no control over that.

The wait for the adoption and the move is going well...much better than I thought! I am feeling a little discouraged at how long I'm seeing some families wait for their referrals though. I realize that it's a numbers game, and it's a question of how many children are available for adoption in the Philippines versus the number of couples who applied. It's still very frustrating to see families waiting for so long...
It makes me wonder, when will our turn come?! How long will we have to wait?
As my husband always says, our turn will come...let's enjoy our time together as a couple (just the two of us!) and make the best of it before our child arrives...once there's a third person in the picture, everything will change! We should travel and do things that will be more difficult once we have a little one.
And we'll never get this time back....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

What's in a name?

Well, the sold sign is in front of our new house! It's official! Hooray! Now to sell our house over here...I hope it sells quickly and easily!

My husband and I have been thinking a lot about our future child's name lately. We've thought of a name for if it's a girl, we both really like the name Abigail, but we haven't really come up with a name for a boy yet!! We talked about the name Ronald, or Renald...or maybe Henri...but we haven't decided yet. A lot of people choose not to annouce the name till the child is there...I like that idea! Once we receive our referral, we'll think about a name more seriously. Of course, our child will probably be about a year old when we get a referral, and will already have a name. There's always the possibility that we keep the name he was given at birth.

I have a confession to make...I have always seen myself with a little girl, to be honest...and friends and family have always said they see us with a girl. Whenever I picture our future child in my mind, for some reason it's always a girl! Isn't that strange? I guess this is because both Raph and I are quiet, reserved, calm, intellectual personalities. Or maybe it's just the fact that there are lots of girls in my family! I have four sisters, and three nieces...
Of course, there's a much higher chance that we'll get a boy from the Philippines...girls are quite rare for international adoption over there. The girls usually get adopted domestically first! The opposite of China! We realize this, and are more than okay with that! I believe that raising a girl is very different from raising a boy, but I think it's a myth that raising girls is easier than raising boys! In fact, in most of the books I've read so far, adopted girls seem to have a harder time with adoption issues and identity crisis later on in life than boys do. Each presents it's own challenges and rewards, but I guess we'll find out for ourselves first hand soon enough! Girl or boy, it doesn't really matter to us...what's important is that our baby be in good health and be as young as possible. We would like to experience as much of our child's early days as we can and be a part of his or her life as early as possible :0)

When we went to the information session for the Philippines, they told us we would most likely be referred a boy, and that we couldn't ask specifically for a girl or a boy. We actually liked this idea...that is, not being able to ask for the sex of the child, and letting them match us. I mean, even if we had gotten pregnant, we would not have been able to choose the sex of the why should we get to choose when we adopt?! Like all parents, we just want our child to be happy and healthy! Isn't that what's important? It feels wrong and I have a big moral issue with choosing specific details about our child. It makes me feel like I'm somehow buying our child!! If we were to do that, it's like we're going to a store and picking out what we, blue eyes, green eyes or brown? Red, brown, blond or black hair? I mean, it's human lives that we're talking about, and we're definitely not buying our child!! Children are not a commodity to be sold, bought, bargained or traded!!!! That goes against our morals and our beliefs...and ethically, of course we have a huge problem with this. This is where the The Hague convention and the charter of human rights comes in, I guess! So, although I sometimes feel frustrated at how long the adoption process takes, I know that it is necessary in order for everything to be legal and above board! And only under those circumstance would I ever consider adopting....
Just look at the scandal with the young girl from Slumdog Millionaire!! It`s awful and hard to believe, but these things are happening around the world, every day!!

About a year ago, I came across this website for private adoption in the US, where you basically pay a birth mother to carry and have a baby. They match pregnant women with potential couples wanting to adopt. They say the waiting period is about a year from start to finish (but there`s a steep price to pay for this as well!) The adoptive parents can browse through the files and choose the birth mother of their choice. You can choose the level of education and background information on the birth mother, as well as physical features. The adoptive parents pay for the mother's room and board, food, clothing, etc...during her pregnancy, and when the baby is born the adoptive parents go to the hospital and bring home the baby. They then pay the rest of the fees to the agency, and the birth mother gets a share as well. Basically, the adoptive parents are paying the birth mother for her baby! And who`s to say she won`t change her mind at the hospital, after giving birth?! Thanks for paying my rent and for my food and clothing...but, I've decided to keep my baby! And she's the birth mother, so it's absolutely her right to keep her baby....and any court will support her 100%!
Although I admit I would have loved to experience adopting a newborn, this didn`t feel right to us at all!! It felt very wrong, and we chose to go for international adoption in the Philippines instead! It may take a whole lot longer, but at least now we know that everything is completely legal and kosher with our adoption! And that makes the long wait so worthwile....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring is here!

We had a great Easter weekend! My husband Raph and I got to enjoy a little bit of spring weather. We visited the pink house that we both liked so much, and went through almost every inch of it with an inspector. He told us that it is a very good, solid structural problems, or signs of previous water damage or, that's great news! The inspector went through it in detail, trying all of the faucets, checking the electrical wiring, the gas fireplace, the foundation, the attic, etc...
He was coming up with minor details, like a little screw missing on the handle of the window sill...which is a good indication that he was searching and there just really wasn't anything! We received bank approval for the mortgage, and the Sold sign should be up very, very soon! Yay! We officially have a new house! There's not much work that needs to be done, except for some paint and some work on the kitchen. Also, it's all stones right now in the front yard...I would really like to put grass there eventually. It's not a priority, but it will look a lot nicer! Now the only thing left is to sell our house over here!! But then, we're putting that in the hands of the company, so it's not too stressful! ! We're both really happy and excited and can't wait to move into our new house!!

We went to Montreal for a couple of days as well, and stayed at my brother's. It was great to see my little nieces! My brother and his wife are fully equipped to make Sushi, and we decided to make Sushi for dinner! I kept putting too much rice and stuff in the Sushi, so mine wouldn't close anymore!! I wasn't very adept, but we had fun...and the kids loved the small Sushi's with rice and strawberries, cucumber and avocado. They ate the ones with shrimp too. I admit that my preference was similar to theirs!! Not a very traditional Easter dinner, and I'm not a huge fan of Sushi...but fresh, home made Sushi is yummy!! The next day, we went to the Sugar Shack with my brother, his wife, the girls and some neighbours. We ate way too much, of course!! Very greasy, and lots of sugar...not to be done too often!! It was fun...the girls were especially excited about making a kind of toffee with maple syrup in the snow...major sugar rush! We'll definitely have to bring our child to the Sugar Shack in the spring to experience that together one day!! My niece showed me her newly acquired reading skills as!! It's so amazing to see and watch a child learn to read and write!! Now that's another experience that I can't wait to share with my child!

I took the bus back home on Tuesday, and classes started again on Wednesday. A nice short week! It takes about six hours to drive by car, but by bus it's closer to ten hours!! With all of the stops that they make, it's a very long ride! I listened to music and read a bit, the weather was nice and it wasn't too bad! I finished reading "Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew", by Sherrie Eldridge...there are some interesting points to keep in mind, but I feel she focuses too much on the difficulties and the negative aspects of adoption. I understand the feelings of loss and grief that Eldridge deals with, but I hope our adoption experience will be very positive for everyone involved! As Eldridge writes on page 59: "I have learned to see adoption not as a mark or a scar, but as a gift. It is a gift because I am a gift." Note to our future child: this is the positive message that we want to share with you and for you to take away. You are a precious gift!! And no, please don't think that you owe us something, that you need to pay us back or that you have to be perfect...we promise to love you just the way you are, and to accept you with all your gifts, talents and your faults! Nobody is perfect, so how can we expect you to be?! What we do expect from you is to aim to be an honest, loving, caring, generous, genuine person and for you to live up to your full potential by not letting your natural talents and gifts go to waste...
As I look at the pictures of your beautiful, tropical homeland, I can't help but feel a twinge of guilt for taking you away from that to bring you to the cold, grey, long months that are winter in Quebec! I guess I am romanticizing a bit here....

I had a nice Easter break, but it's always great to be back home, in my own things. There are only four weeks of class's going very fast now!! Raphael stayed behind to work...he already started his new position, and is staying in a rented, furnished apartment for the next couple of months. We will probably only see each other weekends till we move into our new house the end of June. I have to admit that the wait for the move and to receive our referral seems a lot easier now that the snow is finally melting! Yay!! It looks like spring has arrived :0)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Two months since ICAB approval!

Happy Easter to everybody!! Have a great Easter holiday!!

Yes, that's's our two month adoption anniversary! It's already two months since we were approved by ICAB!

We still have a long ways to go, I know, but it's nice to celebrate the little milestones along the way. It means that we're that much closer to getting our referral and going to the Philippines to get our child!!

I have to admit that the wait is a lot easier than I thought it would be! Time is flying by...probably because we've been so busy with moving and work. I remember reading other people write this on their blogs, that time was going by so fast, and I thought that they were probably just a lot more patient than me!! I imagine that once you reach the one year mark it must get pretty tough though! I hope the rest of the time continues to go by this quickly! :0)
Blogging has helped a lot too, in that rather than wasting a lot of time worrying about and over-thinking the adoption, I am now simply writing down my thoughts and then moving on to other things. I am realizing that being in touch with others who are going through the same thing really helps and lessens the burden of the wait! Knowing that other couples are experiencing the same emotions; the excitement, the eagerness and the anticipation mixed with nervousness and fear, makes the wait a lot easier to bear.

My husband and I visited the pink house that we're interested in yesterday, and we're going back today with an inspector. I'm happy to say that I like the house as much as my husband did! Note to Tangie: I really love the neighbourhood! There's a nice park, mature trees, we're close to a big Loblaws and other stores, there seem to be a lot of young families...the yard is a little small, but it's all fenced in, which is great with the dog! We should organize a bbq this summer to meet our new neighbours! :0)
So, if everything is fine with the inspection, then we have a new house!! Otherwise, we'll have to see. Either we negotiate and try to deal down the price, or we continue looking and find another house.

It looks like I am finally getting my spring! Yay!! I had to travel nearly six hours south by car to get my spring, but I finally got it!!

Hahaha...yes, I definitely think I'm going to like it here :0)

Monday, April 6, 2009

We've found a new house!!

Well, it looks like we might have found ourselves a new house! Yay! We're really excited. It's perfect, and it has everything that we're looking for! It's a little bit more expensive than what we had initially wanted to pay, but there are no renovations that need to be's ready to move in. We found it on the internet (actually, my mother-in-law saw it on the internet and thought we might like it since it fit our description!), and my husband went to go see it while he was in town. The location is great, in a nice neighbourhood with lots of trees and near schools, parks, stores, etc...
My husband really loved it, and he thinks it could be perfect for, we've put in an offer. The offer is conditional to a second visit with me, of course...and an inspection. We're going to go visit it together on Thursday evening, and if we still like it then and it passes the inspection without any problems then we're buying it and moving in on the 23rd of June.

I guess this means we'll never have our child in this house over here....we had prepared a baby room and everything. It stood empty for a year...well, okay...that's not exactly true! My friend's baby boy slept there for two nights when she came to visit us with her family. He slept very well, as a matter of fact! But then, he's just a really good baby, so that doesn't say much about the bed! Anyway, I guess we didn't put up the crib for nothing after all :0)

I think we will try to re-create this room in our new house...I liked it a lot! I don't know how long our child will actually sleep in a crib, but there you go...

Our cute little doggie, lazily surveying her domain!! I am sure she will be very protective of our child...she's a super sweet dog, but she can be be kind of territorial!!
I hope that she won't be too jealous! We'll just have to make sure that she gets enough exercise, food, attention and, of course...affection!! Hey, that's the order which Cesar the Dog Whisperer recommends, and Cesar knows best!!

We actually haven't bought anything for our future child yet, other than some children's books.
Not knowing the sexe, the age, or the size of our child makes me hesitant to buy any clothing just yet. The crib was lent to us by my brother and his wife, as well as numerous toys, car seats, a high chair and a stroller. We bought the curtains and the chair for the baby room, and that's about it so far. Once we get our referral, I will have lots of shopping to do! I can't wait!
On the other hand, we've been pretty busy with house-hunting, moving preparations and work...I have to admit that time is flying by pretty quickly. And that is definitely a very good thing ;0)

Now, if only spring would just get here...I mean, seriously! It's almost Easter, and there's a snow storm outside right now. That's just wrong! Yes, sure, it's beautiful to see, but come on! The buds are supposed to start appearing on the trees, and we're supposed to see grass on the ground and flower bulbs growing. Not a white blizzard!!! Oh well, I guess spring will just have to wait. My patience is being tested once again...