Tuesday, December 25, 2007


This is my Christmas card from Gavin this year....

Merry Christmas my Sweet Baby!. While we wish that we were able to have you home for the holidays, we are comforted knowing that we are leaving for Vietnam soon. We hope that you've had a wonderful day, with lots of hugs & kisses from your nanny. Today we think about the future with you & we can't wait to see Christmas through your eyes.
We Love You Owen. We are coming soon.
Love Mom & Dad

Some of Owens Loot


Monday, December 17, 2007

Vietnam Here We Come!

We received confirmation that we leave for Vietnam on January 12th at 8:15 pm We are beyond excited! We fly from Toronto into Vancouver, then to Hong Kong where we have a HUGE layover, then on to Hanoi. We don't actually arrive into Hanoi until Monday January 14th at 3:55 pm. That's almost 2 days of travel. It looks like flights were hard to get, as the other families we will be travelling with are on different flights. But oh well, we don't care we just want to leave!

We are coming for you baby Owen!
WOW! what a great Christmas present.

Travel Date (sort of)

We received word from our agency on friday, that they have a tentative travel date set. We are told to plan on leaving January 12th!. We are cautiously optimistic, & hope that the date doesn't get changed. But for now we are thrilled, and for now we have a travel date!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Small Update

Sorry I have been away from the blog world for so long. It's just been very hard to post the "we're still waiting" post. Currently we are awaiting our "letter of invitation" from Vietnam. It was expected two weeks ago, then last week, & now this week. Once that letter comes in, we are to be in Vietnam within 30 days.
Our agency has informed us that flights to Vietnam are booked up over Christmas, and the first week of January looks somewhat the same. It is expected that travel will be mid January.

We plan on decorating our house for Christmas. We have the lights up outside, but are waiting to decorate the tree. Seymour (our cat) LOVES to climb the tree & sit in it. I'm not ready to deal with that, so the tree will be going up last minute. It took some time to decide if we wanted to decorate for Christmas this year, it's hard to be in the Christmas spirit. After some thought we decided that Owen would have loved the lights, so the tree must go up!
Oh and of course Santa will still be visiting our house this year to drop off baby Owens presents. They will be waiting for him when he gets home.

And now why I can't put the tree up early...

Last Years tree Before....

And After.....

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Baby Pictures

Today we got to see new pictures of Owen! We are so excited, but a little sad to see how much he has changed. His pictures are so cute though! You can't be upset for long. He looks very happy & healthy. To say we are thrilled to have new pictures would be an understatement. I am dying to post the pictures for everyone to see. But I don't want to post them to the blog until things are final with the adoption. If you are dying to see his new pictures leave your e-mail address in the comment section. If I know who you are I'll send them to you!.

Still no word on travel. There is hope it will be before Christmas. We need to get this little baby home by then!

What a great day!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

1 Year

What does one year look like since DTV?

70 + e-mails from adoption agency

280 + e-mails to and from adoption friends.

and not one e-mail about travel to Vietnam.


Friday, October 12, 2007

With Love to Adoptive Parents Poem

This poem was sent from our agency today. The author is unknown, but I LOVE this poem.

With Love to Adoptive Parents

You cannot change the truth
these are your children but they come from somewhere else
and they are the children of those places
and of those persons as well.

Help them to know all about their past
and all about their present.
Help them to know that they are from extended families,
that they only have one set of parents
but that they have more mothers and fathers…
They have grandmothers, godmothers, birthmothers, mother countries and mother earth.
They have grandfathers, godfathers, birthfathers and fatherlands.
They have family by birth and by adoption
they have family by choice and by chance.

Childhood is short
They are our children to raise.
They are our children to love
and then they are citizens of the world.
What we do to them creates the world that we live in.
Give them life.
Give them their truth.
Give them love.
Give them all that they came with.
Give them all that they grow with.

Your children do not belong to you
But they belong with you.
You cannot keep from them what is theirs
But you can keep loving them.
You do not own your children,
But they are your own.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


We attempted to make our own Vietnamese dinner on Saturday night. We used one of the recipes from Adopt Vietnam. I must say the meal was excellent & we will be attempting to cook more Vietnamese foods.

Here is the recipe:


1 cup of water
4 tablespoons of rice vinegar
4 tablespoons of sugar
5 tablespoons of fish sauce
1 tablespoon of garlic (finely chopped)
2 fresh small chili peppers

1-1 1/2 lbs beef flank (can use chicken or pork) we used chicken- cut into thin slices & pounded

Marinate with:
1/2 thumb size piece of ginger julienned
3 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons of water
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 lb roasted peanuts smashed
1lb- bean sprouts blanched
1/2 head of lettuce chopped
herbs- basil, cilantro, mint- 1/2 cut each

2 tablespoons oil in frying pan add chopped garlic. add beef or chicken & fry

serve beef or chicken on top of rice noodles and add- herbs, lettuce, bean sprouts, meat, peanuts,fried onion, add Nuoc Mam Cham sauce


Sunday, September 09, 2007

A Little Behind

Since starting the adoption process I have had in my head that I wanted a photo of the referral delivery. Thursday morning I just about missed my chance!. I had come downstairs & saw the "notice of delivery" on the front door, I raced to grab my shoes & call to the Purolator guy "I'm here!". Thankfully he saw me running out the door & brought me the package. I would have been so upset If I had to wait to pick up the referral papers at the Purolator drop off center.

I told him he was carrying the papers for our new baby. He was more than happy to pose for a photo with the paperwork. He said he does that all the time!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Crazy Week Recap

Let's Recap. We waited a total of 309 days from dossier to Vietnam for our referral call. Before that we waited over 9 months for the Vietnam program to open up for our agency. Waiting for over 19 months in the adoption process,that is a long time people.

Honestly, I've surprised myself quite a bit with my ability to keep it together. I'm sure I've surprised my husband & family as well. I know for certain that if it wasn't for all of the family & friend support, particularly the support from other adoptive parents, I don't think I could have made it through this process. It's hard, harder than anyone would have expected. But we've made it this far, & baby is just around the corner. So thank you to everyone that helped with their kind words etc. over the past year & a half.

When I think about how long we waited to see his face, & to find out his birthday & exactly where he lived, & to now have those answers I get choked up. It's amazing. More awesome than I could have pictured it. I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me & I can finally breathe.

He's beautiful. My God he's perfect. His name is Owen Danh (Danh apparently means fame & prosperity in Vietnamese). He weighs 11 pounds. He was born in Northern Vietnam. He has the cutest little lips, chubby cheeks, round face, short spiky black hair. He looks healthy & happy, he looks like our son. More importantly he feels like our son. I'm dying to kiss him & hold him, we are told that the agency is expecting travel in September. Probably late September/October. We were originally told that his birthday was the end of July, but that is being confirmed.

We are going to hold off posting pictures until everything falls into place.I really want to share the photos with everyone, so we will see. Currently we are awaiting his translated paperwork, then we will make an appointment with the Dr. & social worker. Everything will be translated once again & returned to Vietnam. Our agency will be helping us with travel arrangements, we are to travel with 2 other families. It's a very exciting time around here.

Thanks again to all of you for sharing in the excitement of Baby Owens referral. We are truly blessed.

We are coming baby Owen, we love you.

Oh yeah, I'm a MOM!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


We are proud to announce that today at 1:55pm we received the referral of our baby boy. We are so excited & couldn't be happier, he is definitely worth the wait.


More details to follow, things have been so crazy here today. Tonight I'm going to be dreamimg of kissing his chubby little cheeks!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Imagine for a Moment...

A Different Perspective
Immense Loss; Walk a Mile in Baby’s Booties

Imagine for a moment…

You have met the person you've dreamed about all your life. He has every quality that you desire in a spouse. You plan for the wedding, enjoying every free moment with your fiancée. You love his touch, his smell, the way he looks into your eyes. For the first time in your life, you understand what is meant by "soul mate," for this person understands you in a way that no one else does. Your heart beats in rhythm with his. Your emotions are intimately tied to his every joy, his every sorrow.

The wedding comes. It is a happy celebration, but the best part is that you are finally the wife of this wonderful man. You fall asleep that night, exhausted from the day's events, but relaxed and joyful in the knowledge that you are next to the person who loves you more than anyone in the world…the person who will be with you for the rest of your life.

The next morning you wake up, nestled in your partner's arms. You open your eyes and immediately look for his face.

But IT'S NOT HIM! You are in the arms of another man. You recoil in horror. Who is this man? Where is your beloved?

You ask questions of the new man, but it quickly becomes apparent that he doesn't understand you. You search every room in the house, calling and calling for your husband. The new guy follows you around, trying to hug you, pat you on the back,...even trying to stroke your arm, acting like everything is okay.

But you know that nothing is okay. Your beloved is gone. Where is he? Will he return? When? What has happened to him?

Weeks pass. You cry and cry over the loss of your beloved. Sometimes you ache silently, in shock over what has happened. The new guy tries to comfort you. You appreciate his attempts, but he doesn't speak your language-either verbally or emotionally. He doesn't seem to realize the terrible thing that has happened...that your sweetheart is gone.

You find it difficult to sleep. The new guy tries to comfort you at bedtime with soft words and gentle touches, but you avoid him, preferring to sleep alone, away from him and any intimate words or contact.

Months later, you still ache for your beloved, but gradually you are learning to trust this new guy. He's finally learned that you like your coffee black, not doctored up with cream and sugar. Although you still don't understand his bedtime songs, you like the lilt of his voice and take some comfort in it.

More time passes. One morning, you wake up to find a full suitcase sitting next to the front door. You try to ask him about it, but he just takes you by the hand and leads you to the car. You drive and drive and drive. Nothing is familiar. Where are you? Where is he taking you?

You pull up to a large building. He leads you to an elevator and up to a room filled with people. Many are crying. Some are ecstatic with joy. You are confused. And worried.

The man leads you over to the corner. Another man opens his arms and sweeps you up in an embrace. He rubs your back and kisses your cheeks, obviously thrilled to see you.

You are anything but thrilled to see him. Who in the world is he? Where is your beloved? You reach for the man who brought you, but he just smiles (although he seems to be tearing up, which concerns you), pats you on the back, and puts your hand in the hands of the new guy. The new guy picks up your suitcase and leads you to the door. The familiar face starts openly crying, waving and waving as the elevator doors close on you and the new guy.

The new guy drives you to an airport and you follow him, not knowing what else to do. Sometimes you cry, but then the new guy tries to make you smile, so you grin back, wanting to "get along." You board a plane. The flight is long. You sleep a lot, wanting to mentally escape from the situation.

Hours later, the plane touches down. The new guy is very excited and leads you into the airport where dozens of people are there to greet you. Light bulbs flash as your photo is taken again and again. The new guy takes you to another guy who hugs you. Who is this one? You smile at him. Then you are taken to another man who pats your back and kisses your cheek. Then yet another fellow gives you a big hug and messes your hair.

Finally, someone (which guy is this?) pulls you into his arms with the biggest hug you've ever had. He kisses you all over your cheeks and croons to you in some language you've never heard before.

He leads you to a car and drives you to another location. Everything here looks different. The climate is not what you're used to. The smells are strange. Nothing tastes familiar, except for the black coffee. You wonder if someone told him that you like your coffee black.

You find it nearly impossible to sleep. Sometimes you lie in bed for hours, staring into the blackness, furious with your husband for leaving you, yet aching from the loss. The new guy checks on you. He seems concerned and tries to comfort you with soft words and a mug of warm milk. You turn away, pretending to go to asleep.

People come to the house. You can feel the anxiety start to bubble over as you look into the faces of all the new people. You tightly grasp the new guy's hand. He pulls you closer. People smile and nudge one other, marveling at how quickly you've fallen in love. Strangers reach for you, wanting to be a part of the happiness.

Each time a man hugs you, you wonder if he will be the one to take you away. Just in case, you keep your suitcase packed and ready. Although the man at this house is nice and you're hanging on for dear life, you've learned from experience that men come and go, so you just wait in expectation for the next one to come along.

Each morning, the new guy hands you a cup of coffee and looks at you expectantly. A couple of times the pain and anger for your husband is so great that you lash out, sending hot coffee across the room, causing the new guy to yelp in pain. He just looks at you, bewildered. But most of the time you calmly take the cup. You give him a smile. And wait. And wait. And wait.

A 4 ever family.org

Monday, July 30, 2007

Too Funny

Too funny. Check out other funny baby items at cafepress.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Monday, July 23, 2007

9 Months since DTV

I think this baby is long overdue...still hoping to know who he or she is by the end of the 9th month.

Monday, July 16, 2007

2nd Wedding Anniversary

Today Gavin & I celebrate our 2nd Wedding anniversary. Two years ago today I married the most wonderful man in the world. These are a couple of pictures from our day.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Beautiful Vietnam, Where Our Baby Lives...

I love these pictures as taken by Terra Galleria

Latest adoption update: agency doesn't know for certain when referrals will be coming in. They know they "should" start coming, everything is in place for that to happen. Just wait & see...

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Orphanage Life

The following links are examples of orphanages in Vietnam.

orphanage #1

orphanage #2

Sunday, June 24, 2007

8 Months Since DTV

I missed our 8 month anniversary of being DTV. I had a good excuse though, I was at a girls weekend at a friends cottage. Nothing like some great mixed drinks to take your mind off of waiting!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Make a Wish & Help Hoang Son Pham

This is our blog Wishing well. Drop a wish for yourself, or someone else in the comments section. The wish can be for anything at all, it does not have to be adoption related. It can be annonymous if you like. Once we have accumulated our wishes for one months time, I will donate on behalf of all of us to the Children's Bridge Foundation.Up to a maximum $100.

Pass this along, the more wishes the better.

The only thing I ask is that if your wish comes true at anytime, to post another comment so that we can all celebrate together.

This Wishing Well will hold our dreams & wishes when it seems impossible to do ourselves.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Mr. Stork

Dear Mr Stork,

Where the hell are you? I've "heard" you may not be long in arriving. Is this true? Do you need a map? Please make a visit to my home as well as me friends homes please. I'm begging you.....

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The new Ergo

This baby better get here soon....

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Power Struggle

When I was young I use to make my parents teach me in the evening what I was to learn in school the next day. I had a serious fear of "not knowing", & having to be in control. So serious was this fear that I went to a therapist in grade two for help, & the conclusion was made that I was a perfectionist. Money well spent I'm sure, (pure genius that guy was).

Anyway, I still have that fear. It's not paralyizing, but it's there. The kind where you delegate things, then double check to make sure everything was done properly & well. The kind that makes more work & stress in your life. But it's liveable.

Last night (1:30 in the morning) I was lying awake thinking about this. I came to the conclusion that the being in control thing, is what makes this "waiting" so hard.
We give all of the control over to someone else. The only control you have is choosing a reputable agency, beyond that it's a leap of faith. I believe I have found that agency, & they are working hard for their families and the children in other countries.

But it's hard. The adoption process is so far out of my control that it is amazing that we have chosen this route to start a family. I can't do anything, & I don't have any answers, just hope.

I'm sure that's why I'm obsessed with every bit of info out there. Calling the agency, e-mailing every person I know for any bit of "news". They say knowledge is power, I believe it. Having "power" appears like you have "control", & the adoption process is a lack of control for the most part.

So all I have is hope & faith that when I am a grandma with all of my wonderful (smart, talented, beautiful) children, and grandchildren around me, that the world is just as it should be. Timed perfectly, out of my control & simply great.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

7 months since DTV

I can't believe we have made it 7 months just waiting! Things on the to do list to make it through the next month are:

1) Get up early on weekends to go to yard sales. We are not yard sales people, but
if I want to start a home daycare to be able to stay home with our little one,
I'd better get some stuff!

2) Enjoy my 3 week vacation! That's right no nursing home work for me, for 3 full

3) Hopefully get together & visit with friends before the big rush to travel etc.

4) Paint. We still need to paint the living room, & hallway for sure, possibly the
bathroom. (If we finally get our referral, the bathroom won't be painted anytime

5) Hopefully get our referral so we can finish getting ready for the baby! and then
we can start packing to travel.

In my perfect world we would receive a referral like right now, then I would have three weeks vacation, get ready for baby, pack for travel, go back to work for a week, & then head to VIETNAM!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


This is how I am feeling today, except add in Bronchitis, a cold & overall feeling crappy.
I'm off to sleep on the couch for a nap. Here's hoping I'm feeling better, and less grouchy when I wake up.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

New Friends & A New Carrier

On Saturday we met with a group of other families that are in process of adopting from Vietnam. We had lunch at Saigon Sister a Vietnamese restaurant in Toronto.
Lunch was great, and it was a wonderful way to spend Mother's Day weekend. I am looking forward to getting to know these new friends better, and it was nice to be able to put a face to the names of those that have blogs, and to those that I e-mail constantly.
I keep thinking that I would love to travel with any of them, & hopefully that happens soon for some. The latest gossip seems positive, and people feel that good news is coming soon. I sure hope they are right! I would love to be able to surprise Gavin with a referral around Father's Day.
Also, Gavin has been looking into buying the perfect baby carrier. He decided it would be best to purchase one that promotes attachment, and so we decided on the ergo.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I can't believe that I am actually going to say this, are you ready?. Gavin and I really are appreciative of the 15 month wait in this adoption to really communicate and explore how we want to raise our children.
If we had been parents 15 months ago, I can't say for certain that we would have known the value of co- sleeping, carrying the baby, not leaving the baby overnight or for extended periods of time. I don't think I would have considered staying home and doing home daycare after parental leave,or for allowing our child to regress in order to go through all of the emotional stages he/she will need to go through. I don't know if we would have ever considered letting the baby use a bottle long after other babies have been weaned, or consider holding the baby as opposed to "time- out" which may have a negative effect on the baby that has been adopted.
To quote Oprah " when you know better you do better". I believe that in the eyes of family and friends we would have seemed like good parents, but learning more and communicating more about parenting, I feel we are much more prepared to parent. Parenting is the focus on this particular baby, if we were pregnant I feel we would have been preoccupied with the pregnancy and birth over parenting.(This last statement is in regard to our situation, and is in no means to down play the excitement and importance of pregnancy & birth)
These are some of the tools that Gavin and I are going to use to help with attachment and the security of our baby:

Emotional Age
Many attachment professionals agree that the emotional age of a child at placement is set back to zero months. It is important to always consider the emotional age of your child and not the chronological age. Emotionally, your baby needs regression in order to go through the attachment process with his forever mommy and daddy. Baby that baby!

Stay Home
Stick close to home and avoid the revolving door of visitors until the baby has had time to adjust and learn who his parents are. Remember, you are strangers to this baby. He has not been waiting a long time for you. When the time comes to introduce the baby to family and friends, it is best to limit holding to Mother and Father.

Meet Baby's Needs Quickly and Consistently
Allow baby to see you and be held by you as much as she needs to feel safe and comfortable. Respond to all cries immediately while being both calm and loving--no matter what time it is or what you are in the middle of doing.

Use Skin on Skin Contact
Bathe with baby
Carry in arms or in carrier without lots of clothing between Mommy and baby
Routine massages (morning and night) using lotion

Use the same lotion as baby. One baby brand we like carries a lavender (calming) and vanilla scent.

Keep bottles as an attachment tool for as long as possible. Bottles should always be given in mother's arms while encouraging eye contact. Some babies have a hard time with eye contact. In this case, place your rocker in front of a large mirror so she can still see Mommy taking care of her.

It is best to sleep while the baby sleeps so that you are alert and available for his waking hours. Co-sleeping is recommended, but expect that it may take some getting used to.

A valuable attachment tool, co-sleeping has helped families continue the bonding process throughout the night.

Use a Baby Carrier
Carry your baby close to you as long and as often as possible.

As your baby adjusts to the many changes, find a schedule in which you can begin to incorporate routines. Consistent routines help a baby predict what will happen next and help him feel safer.

Use every opportunity to make eye contact and enjoy your baby. Interact and play during bottle time, mealtime, floor time, bath time, etc. Make interacting a large part of your day. Some babies have trouble with eye contact or face-to-face interaction. In these cases, sit with her in front of a large mirror so she can still see the delight and joy in your eyes while playing in a less threatening way.

Playing games that focus the baby's attention on Mommy and Daddy like peek-a-boo and "Where's Mommy?" help establish over and over who the important caretakers in her life are now.

Family and Friends
Because of separation from birth mother and at least one foster mother, often the baby may be waiting for the next caregiver to come along. Once the baby has had time to adjust to all of the different changes and learn who Mom and Dad are, it is often helpful to not only use family members and friends to run errands, cook meals, help keep house, etc. but to help them to always redirect the baby back to Mommy and Daddy. This will help establish that these two people are the primary caregivers and the most important people in his life.

This letter to family and friends says it better than I ever could have:

Dear Family and Friends,

As we prepare for the arrival of our son, we have learned that while decorating the nursery and stocking up on baby essentials is important, even more important is the emotional health of our baby. In his short life, our son will have gone through more changes and life altering experiences than most adults could handle. Imagine how much harder the changes will be for him. While he may not consciously remember the events, he will still experience immense loss, including feelings of grief and trauma. He's already experienced the loss of a birthmother and will soon experience the loss of familiar and comforting caretakers as well as the sights, smells, and language of his birth country. His world will turn upside down. He will struggle with feeling safe and secure and he may lack the ability to trust that we will meet his needs.

We have prepared to meet his emotional needs so that he does learn that we will always take care of him and we will always keep him safe. We need your support. In order to form a strong and healthy attachment we will allow him to regress so that he has the opportunity to go through all of the emotional stages with us despite his chronological age. Although it may appear that we are spoiling him, we have been advised that it is best that we meet every need quickly and consistently. Until he has learned that we are his parents, we will need to be his primary caretakers at all times. It is essential that we always hold him, feed him, and do all of the nurturing. You may wonder how long this will take, but the timeline is different for every child. We will follow his lead and trust our instincts as his parents rather than worry about what society expects.

We have all been waiting anxiously for our son to arrive but he has not been waiting for us. He may show his grief and confusion in many ways and we are prepared to help him through it and prove that we are a forever family and this truly is his last stop. We trust that as our family and friends you will help us to do what is best for our son, and we thank you in advance for your support and understanding.


Monday, April 23, 2007

6 Months Since DTV!

I read the following on an Ethiopia adoption blog, I think we can all identify to some degree.

10 Not so graceful ways to survive the adoption wait:

1.) Put your social worker's phone number on speed dial. Call her every week without fail during the entire process, even when she warns you the wait will still be months. Email her for reassurance on all 'difficult' waiting days, such as those containing the letter S. After all, if she hears from you often, she won't 'forget' about you.

2.) Sign up on every email list that is remotely applicable to your situation. Check for new email at least once per hour all day long. Post on each group at least 3 times a day. For the most pressing questions, use all caps.

3.) Ask often if anyone has news about the next step in your process, whether it be referrals or court dates or travel dates. Complain bitterly if anyone for any reason seems to get 'ahead' of you in the process.

4.) Collect waiting information on every family you have contact with. Use this data to spend hours each day making elaborate time lines, guesstimating:
a. best case scenario
b. most likely scenario, and
c. longest likely wait for each step of the process.

5.) Get very bent out of shape if any stage of your process exceeds the 'best case scenario' timeline. After all, your adoption is special.

6.) Google all Ethiopian holidays, mark them on your calendar and worry about how these holidays might slow your process down. Save your angriest thoughts for judges who take days to get back to court after the Ethiopian New Year. After all, we are Americans. We should not have to wait on Ethiopian holidays.

7.) When you finally get your referral, print out dozens of pictures of your child and give them to anyone and everyone, including that nice checker at the grocery store. Then when you see anyone, talk about nothing but every nuance of your adoption.

8.) Ask every traveling family to get pictures of your child, specifying preferred poses and outfits to be worn. Mark their 'return-home' dates on your calendar so that you can email them demanding news within 5 minutes of their scheduled homecoming.

9.) Leap out of the bushes at your mail carrier every day, desperately hoping he/she is bearing news from your agency. Consider installing an alarm that rings indoors when your mailbox is opened in the unlikely chance that the mail carrier arrives while you are in the restroom.

10.) Go into a depression at the end of every week, because the arrival of Friday means another weekend to survive till Monday when you can once again hover near the phone/computer/mailbox waiting for news.

Doing all these things without fail will ensure that your adoption will feel like the slowest adoption in history.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Bonding and Attachment


Attachment is the trusting bond that first develops between a mother and child, beginning in infancy. Healthy attachment is formed through repetition of the cycle of needs being expressed and then met. A baby is hungry so she cries. The mother hears the cries, and she immediately responds. The baby is fed while the mother actively works to soothe the baby's agitated state. As the cycle is repeated and reinforced thousands of times, the baby learns to trust that her needs will be met and that the world is a safe and good place. If this cycle is not regularly completed, it can have devastating implications for the emotional health of the baby.

Having a primary emotional bond with an attuned caregiver who predictably meets a baby's emotional needs is foundational for healthy psychic development and the ability to form healthy relationships with others. The ability to process and regulate one's own emotional state effectively, to delay gratification, to problem solve, to have empathy for others, are all critical for a healthy and secure sense of self. These are skills that are developed through the formation of healthy attachment.

In early developmental stages, an agitated or hyperaroused baby must be soothed by her primary caregiver in order to feel calm, safe and secure. The baby actually experiences her own emotional state as an extension of her caregiver. If her emotional needs are consistently met, over time the baby is able to take on some of this emotional regulation herself. Throughout early childhood, skills of self awareness and self regulation are reinforced. From there the child is able to begin to process the emotions of others, to develop a sense of empathy and to form healthy relationships beyond the primary one. These are lessons with clear and lifelong repercussions.

On the other hand, lack of healthy attachment can have devastating emotional repercussions. During the heightened state of arousal that occurs when a baby's cries are not answered, she grows increasingly frustrated, distressed, angry, or hopeless. When her needs are not met, or met unpredictably, the baby does not develop trust. She might shut down emotionally and remain stuck at this stage of emotional development. Stunted emotional development can also negatively affect cognitive development.

If the child moves forward developmentally with unresolved attachment issues, she may develop pervasive feelings of isolation, anger, lack of self worth, or shame. She may have a deeply internalized sense that the world is not a safe place and that she can't fully trust anyone. She may be noticeably emotionally immature, have difficulties with social relationships, suffer from low self-esteem, or develop an inordinate need for control.

We have spent hours researching bonding and attachment, we invite friends and family to learn more on the topic. There is a link to A 4 ever family on the right of the blog. It is a valuable resource, and offers a great overview of the importance of healthy attachment.
Please assist us, by educating yourselves on attachment parenting. Gavin & I feel that the key to raising healthy, well adjusted children takes more than just love. We believe that education, and understanding of the issues that our children may/will have can only benefit us as a family. Hopefully after reading more on the topic, friends and family will feel more comfortable in assisting us in the way that we plan to raise our children.

Mom Shares-A Must Read!
Monday, 02 April 2007

Short Circuits;
An Adoptive Mom's Exploration
Of the Neurological Impact
Of Trauma, Neglect, and Sensory Deprivation

One cold early Spring morning a beautiful, healthy baby girl, 3 days old, wakes up to find herself alone on a deserted street, hungry and cold. Her mother does not answer her cries, and in fact no one responds for hours. The baby, increasingly agitated and distressed, screams with primal urgency. Eventually a stranger happens by, picks up the crying baby and delivers her to the police station. Through several more intermediaries, the baby is eventually delivered to the local social welfare institute.

Examined by a doctor and then wrapped in blankets and fed a bottle, she is deposited into a crib and left alone for much of the rest of the day. That night, no one comes to answer her frantic cries. More days go by, more cries unanswered. Feeding and diapering are administered on a rigid schedule, since the caregivers have so many babies to attend to, and there is minimal opportunity to be held, carried, or spoken to. Stimulation is limited to what the baby can see, hear and feel from her crib. Feedings are piping hot bottles of formula, propped for maximum efficiency, delivered through extra large holes in the nipple. Occasionally the baby's mouth loses its place on the nipple and the entire contents of the bottle pours onto her body. When that happens she misses her feeding, and her wet clothes aren't changed for another hour or more.

Eventually the baby stops crying altogether because she has learned that crying rarely draws anyone to her. She is often lonely and scared, especially at night. The sounds of other babies crying and in distress cause her great anxiety, which she learns to tolerate by shutting down and withdrawing deeper inside herself in an attempt to protect herself from the constant stressors in her environment.

One day many months later, the baby is bundled up and brought by bus to a city several hours away. She is handed to a stranger with just the clothes on her back and one bottle of prepared formula. Otherwise, everything of her old life has vanished in an instant. The stranger brings her to a hotel across town, where she is changed into new, peculiar smelling clothes. The stranger shakes a brightly colored rattle in her face. The baby's environment has gone from one of minimal stimulation to one of hyper stimulation; new sounds, new smells, new sights, new sensations, delivered in rapid fire sequence. The stranger tries to feed her a Cheerio, but the baby reflexively gags because she's never had solid food in her mouth. The stranger tries to bathe her in the sink but the sensation is unfamiliar and terrifying. The stressed baby, overwhelmed, sinks deeper and deeper into a state of shock and withdrawal.

And they lived happily ever after.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I'm Tired

I'm Tired, so very tired. I accepted a permanent NIGHT position at work, 10:30pm to 6:30am. Foolishly I believed that the nights position would make my time go faster, like how I am at work late on monday, all of a sudden it's tuesday get it?.Yeah I was WRONG, in fact the very opposite is happening. For example, I go to work on monday night, most hours are after midnight so really it's tuesday, work tuesday, home tuesday, sleep, get up(yep still tuesday) go back to work late tuesday...& on & on it goes(like this sentence).
In positive night shift news, I should be home when/if I ever receive the referral call from the agency. This was important to me, I wanted to be the one to tell Gavin the good news. Also, by the time we travel to Vietnam I should be on Vietnam time! & so I should be wide awake when everyone else is very sleepy.
In other adoption news, I've got NOTHING. Agency rep is in Vietnam now, hopefully we will hear of some progress in the coming weeks. Gavin & I were talking the other day about the wait, I think he is shocked at how well I've been handling the wait. For some reason I've been at a sense of peace lately. Hopefully that continues & good news is heard soon. I hope that May brings good news to everyone waiting for something, whether it's homestudy completetion,a referral, travel news,...
If I don't post for awhile, don't worry I'm just sleeping.

Sunday, April 01, 2007


Last weekend Gavin & his sister Megan painted the mural for the nursery. It turned out great, I love it. I am so impressed with the finished product & can't wait to bring the baby home. Thanks for helping us Megan, the baby is so lucky to have such a great aunt!

Friday, March 23, 2007

5 Months since DTV!

Still sitting, still waiting, still blogging....

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Turning Thirty

Remember this episode? I sure do, when thirty seemed so far away. Today is my birthday, Gavin & I went away for the weekend to celebrate it, we are trying to do as many things as we can before the baby comes. We have decided that we are going to count down the months to baby by doing things once a month that we can't really do with the new baby. For example last month we went to the spa, this month weekend away, you get the picture. I figure that by doing these things it will give us something to look forward to besides "the call".
What else have we been up to? We've been painting ALOT. We've painted the family room, kitchen, master bedroom & babies room. Next we will probably paint the ensuite bathroom & then the livingroom& hallway.It will be good to get this finshed before we get the baby.
Also we've been trying to read as much as we can about adoption. I've been reading the book Real Parents,Real children by van Gulden/Bartels- Rabb,and Gavin has been reading World Food Vietnam,while I focus on attachment & bonding he focuses on what we are going to eat! (I'm just kidding, sort of).

Monday, March 19, 2007

Starting the Nursery

A few weeks ago we painted the nursery & set up the crib for the baby. We chose to do a Safari theme because we felt it was gender neutral. We love the bedding & the colour is a sandy yellow & it fits the theme perfectly! Now we just need the baby.We have been talking to Megan about helping Gavin paint a mural on the wall, but we need to finish the room first with the rest of the furniture. I will post more pictures when everything is complete.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Black and White Doll

Very interesting video clip, sad but true. I'm interested as to what fellow adoptive families think, please comment.

What is stress?

Stress is learning you have a 50/50 chance of a referral just around the corner, and a 50/50 chance of having to wait until after April. URGH!!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Valentines Day & Tet

This year we celebrated Valentine's day & Tet on the weekend (I had to work evenings on Valentines day). We spent the afternoon at a spa on Saturday, made an Asian dish for dinner, and watched a movie. On Sunday we started the nursery, we painted and put the crib together, we had so much fun! We made a home video of building the crib, and took pictures of painting the nursery, I'll post the pictures soon.
This was on my Valentine's Day/Tet card:

"You can't make someone love you, all you can do is be someone who can be loved, the rest is up to the person to realize your worth." ~ancient vietnamese proverb

Wishing everyone a happy "year of the boar", a " year of the baby" for many of us.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Adoption Year in Review

One year ago today we took the first step in persuing adoption. We had been researching adoption as a choice to start a family for a few months, but February 10th 2006 changed us forever.

The year in review:
February 10th - attended information seminar with agency
February 11th - decided on adoption as our family choice
March 8th - 1st homestudy meeting
March 14th - fingerprinted for interpol clearance
March 15th - 2nd homestudy meeting
March 16th - Dr. appointment for physicals
March 19th - requested police information access report
March 27th - 3rd homestudy meeting
March 29th - received interpol clearance letters ( with errors!)
April 6th - received updated interpol clearance letters
April 19th- transfer pf medical records to new Doctor
April 20th - home visit for homestudy
May 5th - Dr. appointment to receive updated medical letters
May 29th - sent homestudy to agency
May 31st - homestudy sent to Ontario Ministry for approval
June 10th - 11th - attended AdopTalk workshop in London, ON
July 21st - received Ontario Ministry approval
July 24th - received letter of approval
July 26th - Dr. appointment for updated medical letter
July 28th - sent updated medical letter and application for adoption to agency
August 4th - sent updated employment & financial letters to agency
August 11th - received "option C" forms to begin immigration paperwork
August 16th - sent updated interpol clearance letters to agency
October 13th - Agency received verbal confirmation to open the program
October 16th - 5 files sent from agency to Vietnam
October 23rd - We are DTV!!
October 30th - mailed first part of immigration paperwork
November 6th - began immunization for TwinRx
December 7th - 2nd part of immunizations
January 3rd - received confirmation that our file had been translated

and all of that brings us to where we are today.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Just sitting & waiting & blogging

I can't believe it's been 100 days since DTV, here's to another 100, or 200 days.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Number 1 on my list

Why do we live in a world that is so fixated on lists and ranking things? We number everything. There's the first dance, first kiss, number one movie, most popular in school, best school, best neighborhood, and so on.
Is it possible to believe that adoption can be someones first choice?, instead of believing that a couple MUST be infertile, and therefore adoption must be a second choice?.Because clearly ( being sarcastic here), biological children would be first choice, followed by children that "look like your family", third choice would be children from the same country,and finally if you just have to have children the last resort would be to adopt from another country. This is crazy really, why can't people let other people live their lives the way that they choose, no matter what that choice is.
People are funny when it comes to accepting/thinking of adoption as a family choice. They say things like "don't worry, as soon as you adopt you'll get pregnant and then you'll have two babies!"(because clearly two is better than one)or they say "If you think you can have your own, why would you adopt?"(because clearly my adopted child won't be my "own")
I think we need to be proud of wanting to be parents, and choosing to be parents, instead of focusing on the way we become parents. Deciding to adopt a baby is about choosing to start a family, it's not about being infertile and choosing the "second best" option.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Our moving day

Where to start.... let's just say moving day was pure CHAOS. First off we spent two hours at the lawyers office, followed by three hours in the emergency department at the hospital. Gavin cut his finger after we moved the first item onto the moving truck,figures. Then, we had a flat tire on our van (the same tire that has had two previous flats) and had to call CAA. We finally loaded the moving truck & van by 1am.
That was Wednesday.
Thursday my mom came over to help clean our old house for the new owners (thanks mom),and Gavin and I went for our "pre delivery inspection" on our new house. Now usually the PDI would be done a week before you move in, so that they have time to fix the minor screw ups, our PDI was scheduled for move in day morning.
First thing wrong, they put laminate in the kitchen when it was to be tile, the same tile we've been fighting over for months. Then, they put the wrong tiles on the bathroom floors, therby making the floors not match with the tiles around the tub.
Also, they claim that the cabinets are "backordered" and it will be at least a couple of weeks until we have a kitchen, or bathroom vanitys. Not to worry we have the most ugly, temporary kitchen and bathroom sink and counters. So all in all our new home is "live in ready".
They started to fix the floors on Friday, they finished the kitchen by Saturday, and started on the bathrooms upstairs. The tile guys tiled over the old tile ( which apparently is alright from a tiling point) however, the toilets and our fake vanity wouldn't fit back in the room properly. The home builder decides it to be best to have the tile guys come back and tear out all the tile and start again. The tile was finally finished and toilets back in place yesterday.
Next problem,the phone and cable company were late arriving (a day late for the cable guy), it seems that even though you give directions to these people, because you are in a new subdivision they can't find your house. Then the appliance people went to the old address, even though I called twice, with directions to confirm delivery to the new address. Then, our new gas stove didn't work,and we have to eat out, or eat really crappy microwave dinners until someone can come to fix it. The appliance repair guy gave me a two hour window of when he'd be there to fix the stove,between 2 & 4 he said. He came by after 7pm, can you say "IDIOT".
Oh and to top it off, our computer has viruses making it very difficult for me to blog!
Nothing new adoption related, we're just waiting. The only good thing about all of the moving day chaos is that it took my mind off of the baby for a few days. But, my mind is back on baby now!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Math stinks!

Average time to referral as estimated by our agency has increased from 6-9 months, to 9-12 months. However, I decided to clarify with our agency as to if they were calculating the wait from log in date, or from dtv,& to my surprise they are estimating from DTV. I should have asked this before, it's been weighing on my mind for a long time. Realistically I know we have a long wait ahead of us, like close to 9/10 months to referral, but at least it's not a year from today!
Those of you in the adoption world can appreciate the glimmer of hope this brings! I was beginning to feel like we were being tested, like someone was saying " are you sure you want to do this?... how about now?" almost haunting and taunting like, strange I know. But, this little glimmer of knowing we were waiting already is what I needed to keep going.
YEAH! for small victories!

Saturday, January 06, 2007