Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Adventures

Last weekend, we enjoyed the Quebecois tradition of visiting a sugar shack at the start of spring. We filled our plates with yummy breakfast food and copious outpourings of maple syrup. After eating, we explored outside a bit.


This week has gotten progressively better weather-wise. Today, the kids wanted to change into shorts after school, and, frankly, it seemed like a great idea! I am all for taking pleasure in sunshine!
I found this activity online. Simply fill a larger container (tote, dish basin, etc....we used the top of the sandbox) with some water. Float a small container in the water. Have children try to toss pennies into the floating container. We called it "Don't make a splash!," and everyone wanted a turn.


Of course, simple fun with food is always an option, too!



Bedtime--now there's a real adventure!!! Hopefully, all that fresh air makes for good nights of sleep!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Remembering Referrals

It was one year ago today that we received a phone call from our adoption agency, leading us to open an email which contained three pictures: our first looks at the precious boys we now know as Andrew and Jadon. In one of my textbooks (on intimate relationships), I read this week: "Imagine that you are given a photograph of a stranger's face and, using only that information, you're asked to guess at the personality and prospects the person possesses." I laughed out loud, recalling how we studied each photo for clues into these little people who would be coming to join our family.

As a way to make this date especially meaningful, we have decided to celebrate Jadon's birthday on the referral-versary! Indeed, today was a great day for celebrating -- three-year-old-style!

When you think about the short life this little boy has lived, complete with incredible amounts of loss, change, and pain, it can be quite overwhelming.
In light of this, I marvel all the more at the joy the emanates from him! The shy and serious two-year-old boy we were referred one year ago hardly resembles this silly, snuggly, terrific three-year-old who squeezes my neck and giggles with glee! You might think that he got lucky, landing in our family. I can only say that it is our family that has been tremendously blessed. Frankly, as hard as I try to wrap my mind around it, I can't quite decipher exactly that balance of God's sovereignty and (hopefully) faithful human response that has been worked out through an international adoption process. Psalm 139 says it this way: "Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed."

As it was, today was a day of celebration!!! I tried to capture a few special moments.

Jadon licking the avocado (a definite favorite) off his fingers.

The serious "Do you know how grown-up I am?" look!

This is more typical--pure enthusiasm!
And he loves to make sure someone is paying attention!
Birthday supper consisted of chicken nuggets, chips, and sliced peppers.

Happy Birthday!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Projects

At this stage of my life, I choose to give a lot of my time to my young family. Serving them and pursuing their best interests demands a lot from me and often leaves little time for other independent interests. I did, however, break out the sewing machine and let my creative side stretch a bit over the last few weeks. Making two Easter banners for my church was a very personally fulfilling (and worshipful) project for me.



Interested in some other projects I dream of completing some time?
  • running in an official race (not necessarily a full marathon...but I've never actually signed up for and run in any event of any distance)
  • directing a 100+ voice choir
  • writing an article for a scholarly journal
  • sharing a particular jazz band piece in 5/4 time in a worship service
  • becoming more proficient in French
  • traveling (especially to warm places...for business, pleasure, ministry, etc.)
  • ...
While I was working away, finishing up the banners today, Abby and Jadon concentrated on some work with charts. They really got into this activity. Perhaps the sparkly jewels helped!


Some Favorites

video video

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Numbers, Colors, and Drawing Two

Don't pay any attention to the box. You certainly do NOT have to be 7+ to enjoy this classic game! (Jadon was today's winner!!!!)


Friday, March 19, 2010

Parfaits and Picnics

The boys had an optional activity at school today. We opted to keep them home. We have done lots of worksheets, splashed around in the town's indoor pool, worked a bit in the backyard, and enjoyed some fancy treats! These breakfast parfaits are simply EnviroKids Koala Krisp and strawberry or raspberry yogurt. The lunchtime picnic was Ethan's idea. Fun!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Roller Coaster Week

Adoptive parents often talk about the roller coaster effect. Many couples felt it monthly if their adoption journey was preceeded by the experience of infertility. The adoption process itself often has unexpected bumps and turns. And, certainly, learning to live together as a family with a new arrival produces its own high, lows, and wild twists. Sometimes, I wonder if the roller coaster effect isn't just the nature of life.

In any case, the past week with Andrew has certainly lived up to my roller coaster standards. To be quite honest, I don't want to share the lows or unexpected twists with the whole world--some of these hard things are part of his personal story. I'm only going to show you a fun, high point. However, I don't want to feed the misconceptions that all adoptees need is a little love, that there's a simple formula, or that you reach some point of having overcome all the issues. One of the articles I read this week appropriately accentuated both the challenges and rewards inherent in adoptive parenting:

...it is well established that children impacted by adoption or foster care have suffered some sort of loss and as a result are more likely to struggle with a variety of quiestions and issues relating to that loss. With so much seemingly working against these children and those who love them, it may be tempting to feel defeated and believe there is little hope. Do not despair -- there is hope! . . . research and experience makes clear that children can make tremendous strides in overcoming these challenges -- and you [adoptive parents] are God's plan to make this happen. . . . [Therefore], become a healer for your children, and in so doing rediscover the joy in parenting and caring for them while at the same time allowing them to fulfill all that God has called them to be and to do. (Read the full article here.)

A High Point: Mastering the two-wheeler!!!



Thank you, Andrew, for sharing your joy in this with me! I love you!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I Call This...


My Favorite Oreo Dunk!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Curious?

Given the current (rightful) attention to the devastation in Haiti and Chile, there seems to be additional curiosity about various related topics such as orphan adoption and humanitarian efforts. On a number of occasions in the last few weeks, I have been asked where Andrew and/or Jadon were born; upon hearing that Ethiopia was their birthplace, the questioner has commented that they thought maybe they came from Haiti. For any interested readers, I wanted to share some general information about these topics.

Most adoptions, from start to finish, take at least 1 year to complete. (Our Ukrainian adoption in 2006 took about a year and a half. Our Ethiopian adoption process took almost 2 years.) Usually, the process of adopting from Haiti can take even longer, often up to three years. Many of the families you've probably heard about getting expedited visas for their children had already been well into this waiting time. No family that recently brought in children from Haiti just started the process. As the Haitian government focuses on meeting basic needs and recovering from the devastation of the earthquake, the acceptance of new adoption applications are currently on hold indefinitely.

As for the state of orphans around the world, here are some statistics for your consideration:

--The estimated number of orphans worldwide ranges from 140 million to 210 million. (To get a handle on this, consider that the current population of the United States is a little over 300 million.)

--There are 380,000 orphans in Haiti and that number may double due to the earthquake.

--There are approximately 500,000 orphans in the U.S., 20 million orphans in China, 5 million in Ethiopia, 4.5 million in the Congo, 2.5 million in Kenya, 2.5 million in Uganda, 1.3 million in Zimbabwe, 2.1 million in Afghanistan, 25 million in India, 1.5 million in Eastern Europe, and the list goes on and on...

--Every day, 5760 more children become orphans.

--Last year, in the United States, 12, 753 intercountry adoptions were completed. A comparable number of domestic infant adoptions may occur yearly. In addition, approximately 50,000 adoptions from the U.S. foster system occur each year. In Canada, less than 2000 international adoptions occur yearly. Domestic adoptions are managed provincially, but it is estimated that 1500-2000 occur across Canada each year.

--Admittedly, the statistics on the worldwide orphan crisis are quite mind-boggling. The complexity of the issues that lead to so many family-less children is enormous as well. I don’t mean to suggest that adoption answers all these concerns. However, I do feel strongly about the Christian call to care for orphans—the individual children who face life without the provisions only a family can offer. I only hope and pray that all the recent curiosity will translate into positive action for orphans around the world. (That would be you and me taking action!)

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. Isaiah 1:17

The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and widows, but he frustrates the plans of the wicked. Psalm 146:9

No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you. John 14:18

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Today Felt Like Spring

...and we tried to make the most of it!