Saturday, April 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Sofie!


Today is Sofie's 3rd birthday! Oh how I wish I could be giving her a birthday kiss! I wish she was home and had woken up in her own bed so I could take her birthday morning picture and show you all :) Originally, we had been hoping that would be a reality, but as usual for international adoptions, there were unexpected delays.

Today is bittersweet. I'm so glad we are so close to getting to Sofie, that she is in our family even though we haven't met her yet, and I'm so happy she has made it to her 3rd birthday! Many of her peers in special needs institutions have not. At the same time, I'm sad that she is not home having a birthday party with her family. Does she even know it is her birthday? Will she get a little cupcake, a present, even a birthday hug from a Baba? (Baba is similar to a Gramma. She is a nurturer or caregiver.) I don't know, but I'm praying that her angel has his wings wrapped around her extra tight today.

We decided we wanted to have a little family party for Sofie even though she isn't here yet. We ordered a cake and invited Maggy and my Mom downstairs to blow out candles :) We chose a lady bug cake because of the book My Sister, Alicia May. I've written about it before. It is about two sisters, one of which has DS. I read it quite often to Livi. In it, there is a page about Alicia May counting the "lady dots" and her big sister says "I think God is glad someone notices these things." Livi always counts the lady bugs that cover the insides of the covers, so I think it is just a little cute thing that I'm going to keep as a theme for my two girls.

 Blowing out the candles and sending our love and wishes to Bulgaria.


 Maggy was pretty excited for the cake :)

Part of me wasn't sure I was going to post pictures about this. We are so close to getting Sofie I can almost taste it, but we haven't past court yet. Court scares me. The judge could just say no and that would be it. She wouldn't be ours. I don't generally dwell on that possibility and I trust that God has his hand in this, but every once in a while that doubt or fear creeps in. I'm praying court is REALLY soon and we get through it unaffected so this fear can be put to rest. I want my baby home.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thoughts on

I went to church twice on Easter. Once in the morning to my mom's Community Mennonite Evangelical church and later in the evening to our Emergent Post-Evangelical church. They were two VERY different experiences.

In the morning service they started with the typical call to worship song, welcome, regular worship, and message, which of course ends with an application to your life. I don't think it is to much of a secret that I have some issues with the manipulation that is often found in a typical worship service but I'll leave that one alone. The message is what I was focused on. I must admit that I was greatly lost during the the bulk of the message, mainly because the pastor's preaching style is not my cup of tea, but the application part was what really threw me for a loop. It was basically a call to ask what you might have to give up in order to follow Christ. He had a whole list of things you might have to choose between like Christ or certain friends; Christ or certain family members; Christ or a job promotion; etc...  Personally, I found this so damaging for the hundreds of people there, a lot of whom were probably guests. Why on earth are churches teaching that if you are a "good Christian" (whatever that is) means you have to lose friends and family? Doesn't it make sense that if you are doing it right you won't be alienating anyone?... except for maybe those people who think they are "good Christians" and believe they are "called" to make people feel alienated because of their "sin". Didn't Jesus alienate himself from only the pharisees?

The other thing that struck me in the morning service was the child dedication. Personally, I'm not a fan of these. We do blessings for us as parents, our child and our family as a unit. It never quite made sense to me how we can dedicate a child to God who is so obviously a gift from Him anyway. Each to their own though. What got to me was the congregations involvement. Their were five different families dedicating their children before the church. At the end the congregation, who consisted of a lot of guests like me, were asked to stand and affirm that we would support these families in raising their children to be followers of Christ. Aside from not going to church very often, aside from not knowing all but one of the family, the family I did know I don't think should be allowed to procreate! (I never said I was a "good Christian"). I'm not going to essentially vow to support them in raising their child! I was super uncomfortable being asked to affirm them. Isn't that something that is reserved for the families personal community of family and friends? Maybe that community includes everyone in the church for some people. It definitely does not include all the guests their on an Easter Sunday and the family and friends of four other families.

Later on that day we went to Nexus, our home church, and had a very different experience. The bulk of the message was about whether there is Hell or not. Not your typical Easter Sunday service. A part of the service that really touched me was when Chris Janzen, (Yes, the Chris Janzen is now part of Nexus... my mom was pretty surprised) did a cover of a Ron Sexsmith song, God Loves Everyone. It was beautiful, challenging and so true. I think it speaks for itself. Here are the lyrics...

God Loves Everyone

God loves everyone
Like a mother loves her son
No strings at all
Never one to judge
Would never hold a grudge
'Bout what's been done
God loves everyone

There are no gates in heaven
Everyone gets in
Queer or straight
Souls of every faith
Hell is in our minds
Hell is in this life
But when it's gone
God takes everyone

Its love is like a womb
It's like the air from room to room
It surrounds us all
The living and the dead
May we never lose the thread
That bound us all

The killer in his cell
The atheist as well
The pure of heart
And the wild at heart
Are all worthy of its grace
It's written in the face
Of everyone
God loves everyone

There's no need to be saved
No need to be afraid
Cause when it's done
God takes everyone

God loves everyone

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter 2011

Good Friday marked the end of my lent. My family celebrated Easter then because it was the only day our schedules worked together. I was not about to pass up my Easter celebration just because it came two days early.

Lent held successes and failures for me. I doubt that is the right word to explain it but I can't think of anything else right now. I concentrated a lot on the self-denial part. I had given up all meat, except for seafood, and sugary foods. It was surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. I would get cravings every once in a while, more in the later weeks, but it was very manageable. The thing that actually got me through it was thinking of Sofie. She doesn't have proper nutrition, why should I get to eat meat and sweets?

A gross fact that kind of makes me want to stay off meat and sweets is that my body actually had to detox. I had the worst gas and bm's of my life. Since having my first taste of paska (Easter bread) with my family's incredible cream cheese spread earlier today, which are both very sugary, and maybe an once of ham with our dinner, the same symptoms have begun! So wrong! What am I/we putting in to my body? I'm definitely not ready to swear of meat or sugar but it definitely will be making me think more and cut back a lot!

The alms giving part of Lent also had a lot of progress for me. I finished some much needed paperwork for Chosen Children and have officially begun working with the designer to start the website. It will be a long process writing all the content but we are slowly progressing now!

I did not finish my Henri Nowen book. I really wanted to and still intend to in the future, but I did not get past the first chapter. Much to my husband and mother's horror, I am not a reader and do not generally enjoy it very much. I also didn't get very far with the penitence part. I didn't have big hopes for this portion of Lent. I'm not ready to reconcile with the people in my life that come to mind here. Honestly, I'm not sure if reconciliation is an option on either side so I don't know where to go with this part of Lent.

Good Friday was my baking day. I made a double batches of dinner crepe batter, dessert crepe batter and paska, plus a triple batch of cream cheese paska spread... a favorite for everyone :) My side of the family decorated eggs and had a delicious dinner of crepes. Ham, broccoli and cheese crepes for dinner, fruit crepes and whip cream for dessert. Livi had a horrible fever all day, up to 101! She was my little angel though and was healthy by the next morning. Even with a fever she had a fun little Easter basket hunt and her Marmie and Oma gave her some really cute books to read and trace in. Her writing is really taking off!
 Concentrating on getting the color just right. 

 Fun times had by all!

 Putting the stickers on. She was really in to it. 

 The finished products! Marmee's was the most creative. 
She thought out of the box to make her flue face and didn't follow the pattern!

Books from Marmee and Oma :)

 Found her basket! 

By the way, how do you tell a 2 year old about Easter? I haven't really introduced the idea of death to her yet. I like letting my daughter believe in the Easter bunny, tooth fairy and Santa Clause. I think it adds to the wonder and magic of childhood. I don't know how to meld the Easter bunny with Jesus' resurrection though. Basically, I ended up telling her the Easter Bunny brings chocolate because Jesus is alive. I know it doesn't quite cut it. We'll need to figure this out before next year :) When do you tell a kid about death too?

Saturday, Jon and I went to a cousins wedding. Livi went for a sleepover to her Gramma's. She doesn't see her very often and Livi was SO EXCITED to go for a sleepover. We even bought her a little Tinkerbell suitcase of her own. She was outgrowing the diaper bag we had been using. Sunday we picked Livi up and had breakfast at Denny's with Jon's mom. Livi and I then joined my mom at her church. My views on that will be on another post. We got a long nap in the afternoon and even made it out to our own church!

On her way to Gramma's house! 
Is it me or does she look way to grown up here?

Monday my immune system gave in to the flu that Livi fought off. Darn kids and their germs! I had planned to clean and make a yummy supper but I ended up sleeping and lazing about. Some out of town friends stopped in for a few minutes on their way home from a family Easter weekend. It was a nice relief from my self pity.

Anyway, Happy Easter!

Friday, April 15, 2011


I've been putting off writing this post because I think it is going to come across ungrateful and bitchy. But oh well, I wrote it. An apology in advance...

We didn't really expect too many bad reactions when we first announced our intentions to adopt Sofie. Honestly, it didn't really cross my mind at first. Adopting a child with special needs/abilities was always in the plans... we kind of assumed everyone else knew that too and was supportive of it. Most people know what kind of community I come from.

When we first told our close family members and friends this adoption was going to happen now, we got a lot of apprehensive support. There were no out right negative responses. Some where just quiet and tentative. Most asked questions. I liked the questions more because at least I knew a bit of what they were thinking. Their questions seemed to be wanting assurance that we knew what we were getting ourselves in to. We were just coming out of our "year of hell", so I think people were worried we weren't ready to jump in to anything so big yet. If they were apprehensive at first they all came around quickly and are so excited with us!

I get frustrated with the reactions from strangers and acquaintances more. We haven't received any outright negative comments, just ignorant ones. Depending on the day and my mood I can brush it off, laugh, or try to have a conversation about it, but sometimes it really gets to me.

The worst comment we've received to date was from a semi-distant relative. Thankfully she isn't technically a close family member but we still were hoping for a better response. When we mentioned we were going to be getting a second child her entire face and posture lit up. She was so excited when she thought we were pregnant. We continued and told her we were adopting a little girl with DS. Her whole expression dropped and she just said "Oh, I could never do that." There was disdain in her voice. She never said congratulations either. I was SO mad. We left shortly after and since she lives far away, we haven't had to see her either :)

Some of the easier comments to take have made me laugh and usually come from the person not filtering and just saying the first thing that comes to their head. I can appreciate this approach at a personal level :) A friends mom's response was a confused look over to Livi asking "But, isn't Livi yours?" I responded with a laugh saying "Yes, and Sofie will be ours too." She immediately realized how silly that sounded. Another complete stranger outright asked my mom, who was telling her about Sofie, if we were infertile. It was her first thought, but kind of weird to ask a stranger that. An uncle said "Isn't sex cheaper?" This was my favorite :) Yes, sex is a lot cheaper!

Usually people don't know what to say and are silent when I tell them about Sofie. I can handle that too. It annoys me but I can just ignore it. I get that it is out of the norm. I just wish it wasn't. What really irks me though is when people say "good for you!" I understand it is well meaning but what am I supposed to say to that? .... "Yes, it is really good of me. I'm an incredible person."

I don't think adoption is something to say "good for you" too. What does that even mean? Are they saying good for adopting? Or is it the fact that I'm adopting a child with special needs? Why can't people just celebrate it? Why can't the be excited and congratulatory like they would if I were pregnant? We are not doing this for recognition, or because we think we are better parents or people than anyone else. This is just a not-so-different way of expanding our family. Why do people treat it so differently? Doesn't everyone know people that are adopted? Is this really such a taboo thing? If it is, it damn well shouldn't be! I wish people could get more educated!

Why do people assume that adoption is for families who are infertile too? I just don't get it. Maybe that is my ignorance. My grandparents were not infertile when they adopted either so it is kind of out of my frame of reference. I heard a stat once that if every Christian family were to adopt one orphan there would be no orphans left in the world. Hmmmm... kind of makes you think doesn't it? Isn't there something repeated over and over and over in the Bible about helping the widows and orphans? Just saying...

The best reactions we've got are from people who have adopted already. I've gotten beaming smiles, congratulatory emails, hugs, and even tears :) They are the ones who truly understand and I am so appreciative of those people in my life who have adopted before us and can be an extra special support to us through this incredible journey. It really isn't as scary as society believes it to be. Yes, it is a roller coaster, but, oh my God the reward is going to be SO worth it!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Writing and Responsibility

I had a super proud Mommy moment on Friday :) Thursday my "baby" sporadically started writing letter "i's" all over her pages by herself. Then on Friday I sat with her and practiced the rest of the letters in her name. This was the result...

At 2.5 years old my little girl can write her name! That is crazy to me! Where did my baby go?!

The other day I got Livi the Melissa & Doug Responsibility Chart. I know, I know. She is only 2.5! But, she LOVES it! She is SO excited to put her magnet on each goal at the end of the day. Before we do a task, like eating nicely at the table, we review what the rules/goals are. When she completes the task for the day with minimal prompting from us, she get to put her magnet on the board. You should see her face. It is so proud, it looks like she might burst! I love seeing her confidence building. In two days she is  a completely different child at the table which is so nice for Mommy and Daddy!

Monday, April 4, 2011


Could it be true? Am I announcing this too soon? Is our home actually soother free?! Do you remember The Great Soother War of 2010? That was a rough week in our house hold with minimal sleep for everyone.

Wednesday night I got it in my head that maybe it was a good day to get Livi off her soother. Although I had thought that the next time we try to wean her we might try a different approach, I had not planned on trying it on Wednesday. This was a very impulsive decision. Jon and I hadn't even discussed it since he wasn't even home!

I was reading her a book before bed when I saw my opportunity. I palmed her soother and excused myself for a minute. With the scissors in hand I hesitated for a moment... What if it didn't work? I didn't know where any extra's were since we sent most of them up to the "Soother Fairy" in November. What about when we leave for Bulgaria? Would she need her soother because we wouldn't be there? Seeing as Bulgaria will probably be another 3-4 months I went for it and snipped the very tip of the soother. I snuck it back in to her room and read her one last story before bed.

When she reached for her soother it took her a full minute to notice anything had changed. I thought it might have been pointless. Then she stopped sucking, got a funny look on her face and took her soother out. She held it out to inspect then said in one of the saddest, most pathetic voices I've ever heard from her "I can't get it to squeak." I played dumb and so she modeled the squeak for me by pursing her lips... I was able to hold back my giggle.

I explained to her that she must have grown in to a big girl (she has been very excited about growing big lately), so the soother broke because she was too big for it. Is it bad that I lied to my child? She was sad that her soother had "broke" but there were no tears. I didn't take the broken soother away from her but she did NOT want it anymore. We left it on her bookshelf. I cuddled with her for a little extra time, drew on her face and neck, and sang her my lullaby a few extra times. She took about 2 hours to fall asleep but eventually she did it! Each successive night has taken her less time to fall asleep, although it seems to be averaging out now and she needs a lot of encouragement and cuddles from us.

Nap times are a similar story. The first nap, she didn't nap. The second, it took her about an hour to fall asleep. Daddy seems to have the patience and magic touch. I'm on my own tomorrow though, so we'll see what happens.

I felt pretty defeated about the whole thing today and was entertaining going out to buy another soother or even ending her naps! Oh, the horror! She has definitely being on the road to eliminating her naps, (only slept about 1-1.5hrs even with her soother), but I'm not ready to say goodbye yet! I would like to get Livi to the point where she can immediately just relax in bed, fall asleep quietly and quickly and sleep soundly. Surprisingly, since taking the soother away, she has slept each night through. No nightmares or waking up looking for her soother or Fuzzy.

Overall, this time around is going much better. She is not crying. She is not grumpy. She is sleeping soundly through the night. It is just a matter of her figuring out how to put herself to sleep without the soother. I was hoping she would enjoy her Fuzzy more now but it seems that it was a package deal with the soother. We aren't going back on our decision this time. The soother is gone. I just hope it doesn't mean we have to give up her naps or she needs us to sooth her to sleep. Bye Bye beloved soother :)