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:


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.