Monday, 31 December 2012

taking over the blog

ah Ha! I have finally done it!  I worked hard all week to keep Mom up all hours of the day and night so that she would finally zonk out and I could sneak onto the computer and take over the blog... who knew I would get to write the last blog post for 2012!

2012 has been a big year for me!  I started the year off being entertained by my Aunties in Taiwan.  They are some of the most special ladies.  They snuggled me, and tickled me, and took soooo many pictures.  They also insisted that they dress me up in all of these cute outfits and put my hair ( which was barely there) in pretty bows.  I was joined in the nursery by some new friends at the beginning of the year, all of us kids kept the nannies on their toes.  We chatted, cried, wrestled, ate, and made the nursery smelly!
Yes I would love to take another picture with you Mom!

We hosted a couple of bon voyage parties for my friends who joined their forever families. They all had really nice Mommies and Daddies who took them to their new home.  I miss seeing them everyday but I know they are having the best time with their families.  Auntie Holly and Auntie Trena kept telling me that my forever family was coming soon, but until they came to get me, I enjoyed the special attention I got from everyone in Taiwan.

I met Mommy and Daddy in the train station in July.  Auntie Holly and Auntie Trena got me all dolled up before we went, and even put on my special shirt that said my name on it, just incase they didn't recognize me. They had lots of smiles and hugs and kisses for me, but most importantly they brought me a toy that I can squeak all day and chew on, her name is Sophie!
last picture of 2012

I spent a wonderful month with Mom and Dad is Taiwan.  But as hard it was, at the end of the month Dad, Mom and I said goodbye and started off on a new adventure.

Since then, I have travelled the world, met many wonderful people, and settled in to my new home.  I have learned to eat new food, walk, run, climb and run away from Daddy's kisses.  Most nights I give mom a break and sleep pretty good, but some nights I just love to party.  I love to dance and sing, and play the piano.  I love bath time and swimming when Mom gets around to taking me.  The weather at home is not the greatest, it is cold and there is snow everywhere, but Papa got a new dog sled that he is going to take me on someday soon.

2012 was an unforgettable year for Me, but I know this upcoming year is going to be another great adventure.  I cant wait to make new friends, learn new things, and keep my mommy on her toes.

Happy New Year!
Mom and I Christmas Day





Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!!

5 years ago we stood before our family and friends and promised to love, honour and respect each other.  It was a day filled with love, joy and all the possibilities of tomorrow.

December 24, 2007
Photo courtesy Brian Heska
The last 5 years has been filled with many unexpected turns.  Our journey has included many hurdles to jump, a lot of learning and compromise,  joy and if you know us even a little tons of laughter.  In our 5 years of marriage we have both been through major health issues and spent more time pacing hospital hallways then we ever wanted to, we have enjoyed settling into a new church, we have learned new skills (kayaking, cross country skiing, gardening, and rock picking ), we enjoyed the years we had in our little skid shack aka the love shack, and after 2 years of hard work and a lot of help from our family we moved in to our beautiful new home.  

But the most amazing journey we have gone through is adopting our little girl!  I will always be reminded how challenging the adoption process was on us as a couple and how much we grew together as husband and wife.  Today I am celebrating my anniversary with my best friend, a man who challenges me and loves me, who makes me laugh, and sometimes cry, who is a wonderful dad, and provider for our family.  This morning we woke up much too early and brought our little girl in between us in bed and turned on her favourite movie so we could enjoy some snuggles.   What a blessing it is, to be a family of three.  What a blessing we have been given in our little girl who loves to sing and dance, who is a climber, and the messiest eater I have ever seen.  She is full of laughter and giggles and of course some very firm opinions on how we should do things and when. 

eating popcorn twists! Yum!
Photo courtesy Crystal Kowal
Merry Christmas to each and everyone of you!  Praying that your hearts are full of love and joy and your home filled with laughter.  Wishing you all the best for the coming new year!


Tuesday, 18 December 2012

family night

Last Friday we had a little family night.  We ordered in Chinese Food, opened up the box of milk tea we brought from Taiwan, shared laughs and made new memories.

video

The Chinese food was supposed to be a treat, no cooking for Momma, yummy chow mien for Daddy, and rice for Grace.  However we quickly realized that Grace is very aware that our canadian chinese food is nothing like the amazing food in Taiwan and this video is proof that she will eat it, but she doesn't have to enjoy it!
Yummy Milk Tea!  If only we could find a tea stand somewhere around here!
What a fun Friday night at home as a family of 3!


Thursday, 6 December 2012

Adoption is not for the weak..

This is a wonderful time of year!  The Christmas tree is up, the christmas CD's are ready to go, the candles are lit, and I have a strange craving for hot chocolate.  I am one blessed momma who is busy keeping her curious little girl from eating the wrapping paper off of the gifts, and keeping the ornaments on the christmas tree.

Photo courtesy Crystal Kowal
However, I cant stop thinking of a friend of mine, who is still waiting to hear news that she will be united with her child before Christmas.  My heart breaks for her,  I do not know the pain she is experiencing right now, but I know that adoption is not for the weak.  I pray that their christmas wish comes true and early, and they are united with their precious daughter soon!

I look back at our adoption journey and smile thinking of how each struggle made us stronger, how wonderful the end result is, how thankful I am for the journey and for the testimony we have of God's faithfulness.  I also remember the tears, the struggle, the weariness.  Adoption is not for everyone.  Adoption is not easy.

I have heard many times from different people that our adoption journey was very easy, that everything went by very quickly.   I usually smile and make up a polite response, but those words often flood my memory with the sleepless nights, the lonely first mothers day, the empty Christmas, it reminds me of the inner struggle that each day brought.  Everyday was too long to be away from our daughter. 

I remember the decision to adopt being easy, but as easy as the decision was, as excited as I was, it took us a long time to deal with and mourn the idea that we would never have a biological child.   It was one of the hardest things I have had to go through physically or emotionally.  

The home study brought incredible vulnerability, having to be so completely honest with someone who would help decide the fate of our family.  Talking about the past in very specific detail, and planning for the future in ways I couldn't imagine. 

the waiting was so hard, sleepless nights, fighting the feeling of hopelessness, waiting for news.  We had zero control over anything.

It seemed like each day brought a new struggle, but it only made us stronger. 

And then we were united with Grace!  The struggles ended! Our life was complete!

Ok... so that isn't true... our struggles have taken on a new form.  No more paperwork, no more phone calls with social services, no more running to the bank to send a cheque with another set of documents, no more sleepless nights longing to hold my daughter. Now I spend sleepless nights holding my sweet daughter, and coaxing her to sleep for even a few minutes.  ( our sleepless nights are getting so much better, but up until a month ago midnight to 4 am was party time in the Wock house).

 We are now dealing with the very real issue of bonding and attachment.  We did our best to prepare ourselves for what bonding would be like and educating our families and friends, but this is not easy.  It is hard to explain why people can not hold Grace, even if she would be willing to go to a stranger, why we can not go out and leave Grace with a babysitter, it is hard to explain the concern we have if she cares if we leave the room.  Bonding is not an overnight thing, and we will experience the struggle in many different stages for a very long time.  

Adoption is not for the weak... 

I am not sharing this post with you because I want you to think of us as heroes.  We are nothing of the sort,  but it hurts me to think that people believe that adoption is easy.  I have had the privilege of getting to know a few adoptive families in the last few years, and they have been through more than you can imagine.  Each story is unique, each story contains incredible struggle, and heartache, and every family would tell you that their child is a blessing, that adopting them was worth everything.  

As I celebrate Christmas this year with my little angel, I remember the families still waiting to be united with their child, I remember the orphan that doesn't have a family to celebrate with.  I am thankful for my blessings.  
Photo Courtesy Don Wayne

playing with her cheerios 
Photo courtesy of Crystal Kowal




Sunday, 25 November 2012

our adoption story


November is wrapping up with the Christmas season upon us.  The snow has fallen a few times in Saskatchewan, and the christmas trees lights are popping up!  But before we say goodbye to November and adoption awareness month, I thought I should get one more blog post in.

This year we had the opportunity to share our adoption story with our church family on Orphan Sunday.   So here is what we shared that morning.

As many of you know my husband Ryan and I adopted our little girl through His Hands in Taiwan.   Grace is 1 year old and the light of our life!

Our adoption journey started long before we ever filled out an application form or met with a social worker.  God had a plan for us long before we ever knew.

When I was a young girl God planted a seed in my heart of love for orphans and kids around the world in need.  Fast forward a few years and God brought into my life my best friend and life partner.  When Ryan and I started talking about marriage and the future we discussed adoption and the importance of doing whatever we could to help orphan children.

Shortly after we were married we entered an unexpected season of our lives.  We were crying out to God for direction for the future when He made it very clear that we were called to grow our family through adoption.

I was ready right away to fill out the forms and commit to a country and get the adoption process started.  However, even though we knew this was God’s plan, He was asking us to wait for His perfect timing.  I remember being frustrated and saying to God “ You have showed us this is your plan for our family, it says in the bible that we are supposed to take care of the orphan and the widow, giving a child a home is a good thing…. Why do I have to wait?”  I look back now and see how God used that time in my life to teach me and mould me, to deepen my relationship with Him, to knit our relationship closer together as Husband and Wife.  At the time I had no idea how vital this would be as we entered the adoption process.

A while later Ryan and I felt like it was time to start filling out applications forms and figuring out where to adopt.  We looked into many different programs and countries and were praying for direction.  One Sunday morning I was feeling discouraged as I grabbed a seat near the back of the church.  I said a quick prayer for peace as the service started.  That morning there was a special skype call with Holly and Regan Muir discussing an organization called His Hands.  We had heard of His Hands in passing through the church but this was the 1st time we had an opportunity to hear more in depth about the ministry.  After the skype call I said a quick prayer for His Hands and then God rocked my world.

I felt it in the core of my soul that God was promising that someday we would adopt a little girl from Taiwan.

We were so excited about working with His Hands and immediately felt a peace about this direction.  However when we discussed with people why we chose His Hands I usually left out the little part about God promising us a girl.  Ryan and I would have been over the moon if our baby had been either a boy or a girl, and I often reasoned that a baby either way was good enough, that was a pretty specific promise, and I pushed the little girl part to the back of my mind.  When I opened the email for Grace almost 2 years later God strongly reminded me in that moment that He is faithful to do what He says He will do, even in the  little details.

I would love to say that it was smooth sailing from that Sunday morning on, but there were so many bumps in the road, you would have thought we were on a Saskatchewan Highway.

But God was FAITHFUL!

We emailed His Hands to start the application process but they were not taking applications at that time.  We continued to pray and believe that this was God’s plan and when it was His Time we received an application in our email inbox… Totally 100% all God’s doing!

We hit brick wall after brick wall with social services but God used that to build character in our lives and to remind us every day that He is in control.

He faithfully provided a Christian woman to do our home study and education process.  We had called 8 social workers she was the only one to return our call, that was 100% God’s doing!

He provided all of the finances for the adoption expenses even when unexpected bills popped up.

He provided workplaces for both Ryan and I that were incredibly understanding and generous with the time off we needed to complete the adoption process.

He provided me with a prayer warrior that checked in often and who would email me to encourage me

He provided a wonderful woman of God who mentored me and loved me, who prayed with me each week, who encouraged me beyond words

He provided the wonderful team at His Hands who loved Grace, lavished her with Hugs and Kisses, who prayed for her, and took care of every one of her needs until we could be there.

He provided us friends and family who encouraged us, celebrated with us, and gave us a hug when all we could do was weep. 

And when our hearts were breaking and we were so tired from the struggle and waiting for things to move along in the process, He provided us a church family to pray for us and encourage us.  Your prayers blessed us. 

God was faithful to provide for every single one of our needs through our adoption process.  On July 10, 2012 we held our beautiful baby girl for the 1st time in a train station in Kaohsiung Taiwan.

I was reminded of these words that day
“ I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5 Hebrews 13:5)
“ For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, “ Jeremiah 29:11

Blessings!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Orphan Sunday

4 years ago my cousin called me to ask if I was watching the telecast online for Orphan Sunday.  I had no idea that there was such a thing, so I quickly got on the computer to watch.  

That was my first Orphan Sunday. Every year since I look forward to the first Sunday in November where people around the world take time to remember the plight of the Orphans, to get people talking about Orphans and orphan care and to commit to making a change. 

For more information about Orphan Sunday check out the Christian Alliance for Orphans website at:


My 1st orphan sunday was sitting on the couch with the computer on my lap, texting my cousin and discussing our dreams of adoption. After reading and finding out all this information about Orphan Sunday I dreamed about someday being able to be at a live Orphan Sunday event.  4 years later and I had the privilege and honor of being part of the 1st Orphan Sunday at our church.  All the plans that I had dreamed of for the last few years didn't even come close to how special the celebration was today. 

I have enjoyed reading friends adoption stories and sharing in the excitement that Orphan Sunday has brought to those who care about Orphans.  

Please stop and pray for a child waiting for a forever family or an organization that is doing their best to take care of orphan child, or an adoptive family waiting for the paperwork to go through.

Blessings,

Friday, 26 October 2012

The day our life changed

One year ago this picture showed up in the inbox of my email.


When I stop to think of the moment our life changed I can see everything so clearly like it was just moments ago.  I remember the feeling of excitement, awe, wonder, and overwhelming sense of love....

For those of you who have never heard our referral story... here is a tiny bit of one of the most amazing days...
Ryan was home sick for the day and received a phone call from Social Services in Saskatchewan.  They asked him a few cryptic questions and then finally announced that we had received a referral for a little girl.  They gave him a few details and said that they would be sending the email with the referral right then along with a few forms that we needed to fill out etc... Ryan then proceeds to call me at work, it was a crazy busy morning, and I actually missed the first phone call, but when the phone rang right away again I jumped to grab it... and the compassionate wife that I am when I heard his voice I asked if I could call him back when I had a few minutes, but he said no, he then told me the great news and told me to go to the computer to read the referral.  I dropped everything ran to the back office and closed the door,  put the phone on speaker and started sobbing as I waited for the email to load on the slowest computer system in the world.  Needless to say, my coworker saw the commotion and came to check on me, and then was incredibly worried as she saw me on the floor sobbing, and laughing!!!! I quickly explained the situation and she sent me home for the day ( I do have incredible coworkers and workplace that were extremely flexible with all the appointments required for the adoption).  I raced home to celebrate with Ryan, I asked a million questions about the phone call, we re read the referral a million times and we stopped and prayed.  We thanked God for His amazing plan, for this beautiful life He created, for peace and love to wrap around this situation for the birth family, and then we asked for wisdom and for God's will.   We spent the rest of the day contacting family and friends, filling out forms, picking out names, and crying and laughing. 

I remember the feeling, of seeing this little life, and knowing that she was my daughter.  There were so many emotions that day!

Many people ask how much of a surprise the referral was, if we knew we were going to receive the referral soon,  if we knew the gender of the child etc. ???? We were completely surprised by everything.  We had waited a long time for a referral, but I have learned when you are waiting every day seems like forever, we were trusting in God's timing and we were very aware that the wait could be a lot longer.  We did have the option of  stating on our application forms wether we wanted a boy or a girl but we both felt very strongly when we first started this process that God would place the child he intended to be in our family in our home in his timing, so we were completely surprised by the beautiful picture of the little girl who was born a few days earlier.

It seems like a lifetime ago that our world was changed, but the memory is still so clear.   We are so blessed to be celebrating our referral day at home WITH Grace this year.  I am excited to celebrate for years to come with Grace and take the time to remember this amazing day!

What a year it has been!

Blessings!

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Questions

One of the things we have encountered since we have been home is lots of questions.  We are happy to answer your questions and hope that you always feel comfortable asking. However in my sleep deprived state I am not always the most eloquent, and this my attempt to give you some real answers other than "yes" "no" or " Grace is great, thanks"

1.  Does Grace speak Chinese?  or Does Grace understand english?
    My witty Husband will tell you that Grace says Dadda in english but says Momma in Taiwaneese ( she is actually saying Dadda and to Ryan especial when she is mad at me, but has yet to give me a name).   In all honesty I have no idea if Grace is speaking Chinese, Taiwaneese or English.  She has been exposed to many languages.  I do know she recognizes when someone is speaking Chineese to her, but I do not know if she understands.  She does understand english as she is very aware of what "NO" means, "take that out of your mouth" and "Grace"

2.  Has Grace adjusted? Is she bonded?
    Grace has begun the bonding process.  She knows who her Mommy and Daddy are and when she is home.  She has got over jet lag, and I believe she is starting to adjust to this new life we have thrust her into.  Ryan and I are still very careful to let Grace process the new situations she is in.  We have asked that people respectfully not pick her up, especially in environments with lots of people as this is quite uncomfortable for Grace.  In the last couple of weeks Grace has started to act a little bit shy and curl into my arms, when she meets someone new.  This is a great sign that she is understanding that I am her mommy and she does not have to go to just anyone.  We know that the bonding process will be ongoing.  We are still not ready or comfortable leaving Grace with anyone just yet, she understands that if I leave a room I will come back, but I am not ready to trial if I leave her with someone else that she will understand that I am coming back. 

3.  Grace doesn't look "Asian" why is her skin so dark?
     Grace's heritage is Native Taiwaneese.   Her skin color and features reflect her heritage.   I am thankful that Grace is happy and healthy and of course I think she is incredibly beautiful.  

4.  So how did you pick Grace?
    We did not "pick"Grace.  The wonderful team at His Hands picked us for Grace.  They prayed for wisdom on who God wanted to raise this little girl, and we were chosen off of the waiting list for Grace.

5.  Have you started your next adoption?
    No we have not.  
Well why not it took you 2 years for this adoption whats the wait? 
  There a few reasons why we have not started the process for the next adoption. We still have some paperwork that we need to finish up for Grace.  (We have had to apply for her Saskatchewan Health Card, and now are in the process of changing Grace's name, once that is complete we need to tackle citizenship. )  Adoption takes a lot of mental, emotional and physical time, even in the very early stages. We want to focus on  enjoying this moment with Grace and celebrating each day with her.  If we choose to do international adoption again there is a significant cost, this is something we will have to consider before we start the process as we need to have the finances in place for each stage.  We do hope to expand our family again, and we are aware that adoption can be a very lengthly process, however we are trusting and relying on God for his guidance and wisdom.  When we feel His leading we will gladly start the adoption process for whatever country He has in store. 

6. What do you know about Grace's biological parents?
   We are blessed to know a little bit about Grace's story.  This is something we have chosen to tell Grace when is ready and wants to know.  If she choses to share her story with others at that time we will support her.  However I am very aware that this is not my story to tell, this is Grace's and she needs to be the one to share the information.  I hope I have not offended anyone who has asked me this question.  I am working very hard to give NO information, it is not that I do not trust you, or  that I am ashamed, I truly believe that it is important for Grace to be able to share this information if and when she chooses... again this is not my story to tell.  One thing I am working on is doing a scrapbook, with that information for her, so that I do not forget any of it, and when she is ready we can go through the pages and talk about it ( this is not an easy thing, as I am NOT a scrapbooker) 

7.  Do you like being a Mommy?
   Yes I do like being a Mom.  I am the first one to tell you that my days are not perfect.  I do not wake up looking like a million bucks and smelling like roses.  Usually I am stumbling out of bed because my daughter is unhappy and crying.  My days are chaotic and my house is a disaster.  However I love the feeling of making Grace laugh, I like learning what she finds silly.  I love watching her smile and get excited when someone special walks through the door.  I am in awe of the responsibility before me as I rock her to sleep at 3am after she has had a little snack.  I am proud when I see that she has mastered how to climb onto something  even though she shouldn't be there.  I laugh when she pinches me, because I am not feeding her fast enough.  I smirk at the look I get when I catch her in the act of doing something naughty ( cleaning the toilet with mommies tooth brush, licking all the rocks that she has taken out of the bamboo plant)   I have been surprised by this questions... maybe I didnt seem like stay at home mom material?  Maybe people are worried about me and checking in to make sure I am not checking on the return policy for this child?  Being a mom is a gift, one that I will not take for granted.... I am so blessed to have a sleeping angel on my lap right now.  

There has been many other questions and I hope there are more to come, but for now I hope this give you some answers to the most common questions we have been answering.  
sleeping beauty

sticky messy popsicle
Blessings!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Home

Its been 5 weeks since we arrived home, and wow the time has flown by!  I often think of our neglected blog, but the pitter patter of little feet remind me there is no time to sit down and write, there is a little girl climbing on something, or putting something in her mouth that doesn't belong there.

That sweet little girl is occupied beside me with her breakfast, so I am going to attempt to write a quick update on our life as a family of 3!

The last month at home has been a whirlwind.  We have been blessed to have seen so many of our family the last month.  Grace has been able to meet many of her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.  We were blessed with 3 baby showers that filled Grace's closet with enough clothes till she goes to Kindergarten! We have taken a couple of quick trips out of town for a multitude of reasons, all of which include great memories!  This past weekend we finally had the opportunity to celebrate a new milestone in Mom's life.  We were blessed to be surrounded by family and friends for the weekend, and what sweet memories we have from our time with everyone!  

Along with all of our fun, we have the day to day adjustments.  This has not been as smooth of a process.  We survived jet lag, got over our colds from the airplane, the change in climate ( our poor little girl.... even our summers are nothing compared Taiwan).  We are learning to survive with a lot less sleep, teething ( OUCH) eating, getting dressed everyday (boy oh boy that can be hard somedays)... I am sure you get the picture.

I had a few expectations buried in the back of my mind about how life would be like when we got home.  I was going to be super mom, have a meal on the table, laundry folded and put away and floors scrubbed each day.  Not to mention my daughter would sleep through the night, I would be up before her have exercised and done my devotions before she even started to stir for the day.... 

I had no idea I had so many expectations until I was home and realized I was not meeting a single one of them.  It occurred to me after a couple of sleepless nights that my life was not going to be picture perfect.  I was going to be the mom with huge bags under her eyes, who was lucky to get a shower in that week ( am I wearing deodorant????? ) Supper???? are you kidding!?!?! 

Thankfully I have been able to slowly work through the expectations I have placed on myself and have been enjoying each crazy moment with our little energizer bunny!  Our house may not be clean, but Grace has been fed, played with, sung to, read to, redirected from the toilet paper, gone for a walk or wagon ride and begged to just close her eyes for a couple of minutes of sleep.  I am currently trying for the world record of quickest shower, and I do believe that I will get there someday soon!  

I feel like we are finally settling into life at home,  I can not remember what the house sounded like without Grace in it.  Our little girl is 10 months old!  She takes a couple more steps everyday, but still prefers to have something to hang onto when she walks.  She has 5 teeth and 2 more that keep playing peekaboo (ARGGGGG)  she needs the least amount of sleep of anyone I have ever met.  She is very happy, and very chatty.  She likes to smile and her laugh is music to the soul.  She loves to make noise, and you can often find her at the piano on her tip toes to stretch and play the keys.  She is tough and rough, Grace's first big word just might be "gentle".

Thank you to everyone who has been praying for us, and encouraging us!  We have been blessed with so much support and help from our family!  We are so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people!



playing with Willy early in the morning


just back from a wagon ride

swimming in Grandma and Grandpa's pool
Blessings!

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

so long for now....

This is not goodbye... just so long.....
turn that frown upside down... how can you not smile looking at this face?

We have had an incredible time in Taiwan!  We have many wonderful memories of our adventures here, the sounds, smells, sights.... There are so many stories to be told!
clouds rolling over the hills on our walk the other morning
While we are so excited to be going home, and introducing Grace to her family and friends it is hard to say goodbye to the wonderful people who have shown their love in such amazing ways!  
view of the mall
There are some very special people who love Grace so much!  It is hard to say goodbye today.  

Thankfully this is not goodbye, just so long for now! 

now on to our next big adventure.... life at home in Canada as a family of 3!

We love you all!

Friday, 20 July 2012

My Blessing

Today Grace you are 9 months old and I must say today is extra special to me, because this morning I woke up very early with you, and watched you smile as I walked into your room to get you out of your crib.  My heart soars every time I make you laugh or make your whole face scrunch up in a smile, and I feel a sense of pride when you get mad at me when you feel like I am stopping you from accomplishing your goal ( like climbing the couch by yourself).
  Grace you are our blessing.  We do not deserve the opportunity to be your parents, but by God's amazing love and His grace, he blessed us with the opportunity to love you and care for you!  If someone asked me 5 years ago what my life would look like at this moment I could have never imagined that I would be waking up in Taiwan listening to your sweet voice welcoming the new day.  God is writing the story for our family and it is so beautiful.... never easy....but beautiful.
Love you always,
Mommy and Daddy

Mommy and Grace ready to go out for the day

trip to Sandeeman 
sleeping after a long morning of playing
not quiet ready to go to bed

walking along the furniture


Friday, 13 July 2012

it still feels like a dream

Everyone is still sleeping so I thought I would write a quick update.
Taiwan is indescribable.  Everything here is different and amazing.  It still feels surreal to be here.  Every day has been an adventure to us.  We have enjoyed spending every moment with Grace.  She is slowly starting to warm up to us and we enjoy playing with her ( she is very busy) and then also her snuggle time.
Grace and Daddy
We have been blessed by everyone here who has shown us such amazing hospitality.  Another adoptive family that is here right now has taken us under their wing and shown us around Kaohsiung.  We have been blessed to experience the city with their help and to get to know the family more!
enjoying feeding herself some rice cereal

We ventured out for supper with the Muir's and Gagner families the other night and it was just a treat to experience something so different.  The food was amazing.  Very flavourful. I wish I could describe the whole experience to you, but I think i am still trying to soak it all in.

playing with her toys- her favourite thing to do is stand!
There really are no words to describe being with our little girl.  We have been praising God for this unbelievable gift... again I am in speechless and humbled at the opportunity to be Grace's mommy and daddy.  God is faithful!  
enjoying the sun
Swimming
We love you all!  Have a fantastic day!
Blessings!


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Happy "Gotcha Day" Grace

Happy " Gotcha Day" Grace- July 10, 2012
Sometimes a picture says it all!  We will update you soon, but I have a little girl that I need to snuggle!
Blessings,
Ryan Kala and Grace

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Dream Come True

Well the last week has been a whirl wind.  One week ago our prayers were answered and we finally got the phone call saying that we could go meet Grace and bring her home...
   WE ARE GOING TO TAIWAN!!!!  we are finally going to hold our little girl in our arms...... we are finally going to snuggle her, and kiss her and tell her how much we love her.
   Thats right... the tickets are booked the bags are packed (and repacked and packed again) and we are crazy excited about being with Grace.  
    We want to thank everyone for their love and support.  We are asking that you continue to pray for us as we travel and then spend time bonding with Grace.  
Blessings!
XOXO

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Love


We just love this little girl so much!  

How can you look at this picture and not just love her to pieces?!?!?

Soon we will be holding her in our arms and get to tell her everyday how blessed we are to be her Mommy and Daddy!

XOXO

Saturday, 26 May 2012

7 months ago today.. a letter to my daughter

Grace,
    7 months ago today your Daddy and I saw your sweet little face for the first time.  You are so incredibly beautiful.  Your eyes sparkle, they hold a sense of mischievousness and joy.  Your smile lights up the room, and your giggle is contagious.   Your daddy and I fall in love with you more each day, every time we think our heart is completely full, it grows with love for you!
   7 months is a long time not to be able to hold you, to smell you hair, feel your fingers in my hand, listen to you sleep, to comfort you when you cry, to make you laugh or so many other things! 7 months since we got our phone call saying we had a referral for you, 7 months has changed our lives.
   We can not be with you today, but like so many other days I am writing you a letter so that someday you know how much we love you, not a moment of our lives did we not think of you, pray for you, and long to be united with you!
   Can I tell you a secret?  you have an incredible Daddy.... he loves you so much.  When he talks about you his face lights up, when he looks at your pictures that Aunt Ashleigh sends he studies each one so that he does not miss one moment.  His love for you Grace is indescribable.  Watching him love you more each day has been a blessing to me, he lives out what unconditional love is.  He is your daddy every moment of the day, even if he can not be with you.  Never forget how important you are to him Grace.
   I may have missed so many of your firsts... the first time you rolled over, the first time you sat up on your own, the first time you had a fever, the first time you smiled, the first time you crawled.  Your scrapbook will not be the same as your some of your friends, but these first 7 months your scrapbook will be filled with memories from so many sweet people that have taken care of you.  They dress you up, snuggle you close, take lots of pictures, play with you, take you for sleepovers... they love you.  Your story is so unique and special.
   Today sweet girl I remember the moment my heart changed.  I pray that God will bring you home soon.  I miss you terribly.  It is not easy being so far away from you, praying each morning that this will be the day that we get the phone call that we get to bring you home.
  7 months ago we said yes to being your parents, and praised God for the gift of your life.  Today we are still praising God for his wonderful plan.  You are such a special gift!
   Love you always

  Mommy XOXO
 

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Grace's Room

We thought we would give you a sneak peak of Grace's room!

View from the hallway

crib all set up with the beautiful play mat that Grammy made for Grace



2 closets to fill... in between the doors is the Chinese character for love


Now all we need is one sweet little girl to fill this room with smiles, giggles, love, laughter and lots of mess!
DSC_9894.jpg

(picture taken at easter time)


We still do not know when we can bring Grace home, but we are praying it will be soon!




Wednesday, 25 April 2012

living a life of love for others

I had an interesting comment come at me the other day " You would not be so concerned about what is happening with His Hands if you were not adopting with them." 

The words went straight to my heart... and I prayed they were not true. 

Over the last couple of months we have been asking you to support us in our adoption journey, and also to support His Hands Taiwan an organization that is in great need of support as they maneuver through the new laws passed in December.

Our prayer has been that as you follow our adoption process that we would inspire you to think of different ways that you can be apart of the process of taking care of orphans ( James 1:27).  That may mean you get involved in the foster care system , you give to an organization that takes care of orphans ( His Hands, Show Hope etc) or you support an adoptive family ( like us!) 

His Hands is incredibly important to us.  We have seen first hand the amazing work they do, their passion for taking care of young women in crisis pregnancies, the loving care they give to each and everyone of the babies in their care.  We are in awe of the work they do each day, and think their ministry is incredibly important. 

I encourage you to read an incredible blog post from a friend of ours.  ( He is a great writer, and has been a great support throughout our adoption journey).  He is encouraging us to support His Hands Taiwan and has arranged a specific way for everyone to be able to do just that. ( check out the post for specific information)

Please join with us in praying for His Hands Taiwan.  Not because we are adopting through their organization, but because what they do is incredibly important!

Blessings!

Monday, 9 April 2012

Sacrifice

Easter is always a time of reflexion for me.  A time to remember the sacrifice that God made for me, because of his unending love.

This Easter I have been reminded of someone else's sacrifice that has greatly changed my life. There is a young women that over a year ago decided to choose life for her baby, who made one of the most selfless decisions of her life... she chose to give her child up for adoption, to give her a life that for whatever reason she could not give her child.  That decision gave us the opportunity to love a little girl who is so special to us, to be able to provide a home for her, to love her unconditionally, to teach her about Jesus. 

I have been surprised by the negative views many people have about biological parents in an adoption situation.  It breaks my heart that it is so easy for us to sit back and judge a situation that we have no idea about.  

My challenge to you today is to stop and think about how you view parents who choose to put their child up for adoption. Do you look down on them?  Do you automatically think the worst possible things about them?  Do you assume they abandoned their child because they are reckless and heartless?  Do you assume they are a young irresponsible teenage girl who has no idea who got her pregnant? 
 
The women who gave life to my daughter is not the person you imagine her to be.  I have very little information about her, I may never get the chance to meet her, but I have seen a part of her heart.  You see the sacrifice she made for Grace reminds me every day how special this woman is.  

If you think of the moms who have chosen adoption for their children, would you pray for them?   If you know someone who is trying to make a life changing decision like this, please be there to encourage them and to love them.

I will always be grateful to the woman who chose life for my child, I will always remember the sacrifice she made for Grace.

Blessings!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The "I" Word

Infertility

It is one of the most common topics when you announce you are adopting. 
 
  " You're adopting, so does that mean you can not have kids?"
  " did you try to have your own kids?  Did you try everything?"
  " Don't worry lots of people get pregnant after they adopt"
  "Why can't you have your own kids?"

It is my experience that infertility has nothing to do with adoption.  Families adopt children because they LOVE children, NOT because they can not have children.  Yes adoption is one of the many ways to grow your family but people do not decide to adopt solely because they can not biologically have a child.  

When we made the decision to adopt it was not because we thought it would be easy, or because we thought we had no other option.   We made the decision to adopt because for us it was important.  We wanted to expand our family by giving a home to a child who needed one for whatever circumstance.  We knew in our hearts that this was what God was calling us to do.  We knew that it would be a totally different experience than having biological children but we also knew that this was exactly what we wanted. 

the adoption process is not for everyone.  I have some wonderful friends in my life who are huge supporters of our adoption but do not feel called to adopt.  I also know that just because a women has been told she can not have a biological child does not mean adoption is the right option for their family.

So will you do me a favor?  When you talk to someone about adoption instead of asking why they can not have children, ask them why adoption is so important to them.  or when you see an adoptive mom in the grocery store instead of thinking about how her body is broken and labeling her as infertile, smile knowing that she is a mom no matter what brought her to this point.

I must say mothers day is only a month away and I am incredibly excited to celebrate this year with my Mom, Grandma's and Mother in Law.  I am incredibly privileged to be mom to my sweet little girl Grace.  Her smile lights up my day, her giggle makes me laugh out loud, everything about her is incredible.  She may not have been born of my flesh, I may not have held her in my arms yet, but she is my daughter.  She is the child that God gave to me.  

Blessings!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

What can we do?

For those of you following our adoption journey closely you will know that we are blessed to be working with an organization called His Hands Taiwan.

His Hands Taiwan is a ministry started by two women who had a vision to counsel, care for and house unwed mothers in crisis pregnancies.  That vision grew to include providing refuge for babies and facilitating adoptions to Christian families domestically and internationally.

In December of 2011 the government in Taiwan passed new laws that have changed the way His Hands operates.  They have some big requirements they need to meet before May.
One of the things they need to do is become incorporated in Taiwan.  They have submitted the application but to qualify they need to have $350 000 in a bank account at all times.  They need this money before May.

I am not asking you for money ( some have you may have bailed on this blog post already)  instead I am sharing my heart ( maybe that is what I should have called the blog).  I would love to dig $350 000 dollars out of my back pocket and send it to His Hands for this need.  I would love to snap my fingers and all of the paperwork would be taken care of, the applications approved.  I would love to wipe away all the uncertainty that they are experiencing at the moment, but that is not within my power to do so.  

This post however is not about my shortcomings.  In the last few months I have been learning a very important lesson.  To make a difference you have to start somewhere.  I can not solve all of the problems in the world, but I can do something. 

 I can pray... I can take all of the burdens and lay them at Jesus feet and believe in His ultimate power to calm the storms in life.  

I can give up a new shirt, or pair of shoes, eating out or something else to give to an organization that could really use the money to change someone's life.

I can volunteer my time

I can educate myself on important issues and become an advocate for different organizations and causes.

I can do something everyday.  I can make a choice to do something that may seem insignificant at the moment but for someone it may be life changing.

If you want more information on what is going on with His Hands send me an email or check out their website at: http://www.hishandstaiwan.org and if you feel like you can give to His Hands Taiwan in their time of need there is a pay pal option on the website, or if you are in Estevan, you can contact Estevan Alliance Church office for information on how to give. 

My challenge to you... what can you do to change the world today?
Blessings!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

on to the next step!!

We are excited to update you with some good news.  Our paperwork was approved and returned from TECO (Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Vancouver)  This is a major step!  That very afternoon Social Services was able to send everything to Taiwan.  Once the paperwork is received there it will be presented to the courts in Taiwan.
  We have an idea of what the court process will entail, but we are also very aware that it is different for every family.  Pray for favor with the judge, that the changing laws will not require anything extra from us (or any other families) patience to wait for God's perfect timing and peace that ultimately He is in control!
Grace in the dress we sent for her (February 2012)

Thank you for your love and support.  We appreciate your prayers, emails, messages, and hugs!
Blessings!
 

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Music from the heart

I have a friend who has a song of the day... it always makes me smile to see what she comes up with and gives me an idea of what she is feeling that day.

Two songs are regularly played on the radio station I listen to everyday.  The words in both songs reflect what my heart feels.  No matter how many tears we shed, no matter how many nights we spend without Grace in our arms... we are thankful for this opportunity to be Grace's parents, we are thankful for the lessons we are learning while we are waiting to meet our beautiful little girl.  Our life is so incredible because of the opportunity to adopt.






Thank you for all of your love and support.  We are still waiting to hear good news about our paperwork.  We appreciate your emails and words of support and your prayers!

Blessings!



Sunday, 5 February 2012

Many different emotions

    Have you ever seen a picture with the hundred different smily faces that each showed a different emotion?
faces.jpg

Through our adoption process we have felt many different emotions:

  • Determination when we committed to stepping out in faith and beginning the adoption process.
  • Fear that we may never be accepted by an agency or that we would be rejected by the government. 
  • Excitement when we got the email from His Hands Taiwan saying our application to work with their organization had been accepted.  
  • Worry that my home would not be clean enough or that the Social Worker would think I would not be a good mother.  
  • Peace knowing that God is in control and that His plan for our lives was perfect. 
  • thankfulness for all of the help we received 
  • Unimaginable  joy the moment I found out about Grace, the tears  that streamed down my face uncontrollably and the laughter that rang out.  
  • Love that poured out of my heart the moment I laid eyes on Grace, the amount of love I feel each moment of each day for her. 
  • Feeling apart of a family with the people at His Hands in Taiwan.  My family not only grew with one itty bitty girl, but with all the people who love her in person for me each day, who love these amazing women who make one of the hardest decisions of their life.   
  • drive and determination to be an advocate for adoption and orphans, to teach people about the process, to get them thinking.  
only to name a few...

Recently I have been struggling with a different set of emotions, emotions that I felt ashamed to share.  You see I felt weak admitting that life was not all rainbows and lollipops, or that waiting is not always easy. I felt like I would reflect badly on the adoption process if I admitted when I was having a hard time.  I did not want people to think I am doubting God's plan for our life.   I realized though that if I didn't share all of my emotions- the good and the bad- that I was not being completely honest.   Sometimes I get caught in the trap of feeling like people want to see perfection in me.  That all of you reading our blog and finding out about our process only want to hear the good news, the positive aspects. I should be shielding you from the reality of missing a little girl I have yet to meet.  You see it is not easy getting up each morning knowing the little girl you love is on the other side of the world.  It isn't easy to see a picture of her and see her grow and think that I missed all of those moments.   It is heartbreaking to know that when she cries I am not there to hold her, to whisper in her ear.  I don't know what her hair smells like, I don't know what it is like to have no sleep because she was up all night screaming,  I have never seen her smile at me, or hold her Daddy's finger in her little hands.  I have no idea when she will be coming home.  I can not read to her or watch her explore the world.
  I trust that if you read this you will not see my weakness, but instead you will see my heart.  Adoption is not easy but it is worth it.  It isn't something you do alone, it is something you do with the support of your family and friends.   Every hug, every note, every prayer... means the world to us.  Your love and support is so encouraging.
   If you think of us please pray for a peace as we walk through this season of our adoption.  We are waiting for news on some issues with our paperwork and we are trusting God to see us through this process.  It is through my weakness that God's power is made perfect. (2 Corinthians 12:9  "My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness".)

Blessings
   
 

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

not sure what to say... part 2

Since our last post we have been blessed with emails from many of you.
First... YAY you are reading our blog!!!!
Second... we are so thankful for all the conversations the last blog post has started.  The last post was honestly written out of love to let you know what we are learning from the adoption process.  We do not want anyone to feel as if we are upset or offended by your comments.  We are still learning about adoption and hope we never stop.  We have made comments that we are now realizing could be interpreted wrong.  No one is perfect.

Keep the emails coming, we are so excited for the conversations that are going on.  We are constantly learning, wanting to be the best parents possible!  Thank you for your love and support!

Blessings!

Monday, 2 January 2012

not sure what to say...

I was on a mission the other day to hunt down some recourses to help learn how to discuss adoption.   Since we announced that we are adopting we have been presented with the opportunity to share our knowledge about adoption and I usually fail terribly. Through well meaning conversations with anyone who has heard our news, comments are made that need to be gently corrected.  Some well meaning comments make me smile, some bring out the momma bear in me, and others hurt deeply. 
comments like: " waiting to get her is just like being pregnant"
                           " She is so lucky to have you"
                           " when do you get one?"
                           " I guess you will have to eat a lot of rice now"
                           " who could just give up a baby?"
                           " wow you must make a lot of money to be able to adopt"
                           " she is Asian so she is going to be so smart"

 So far I usually process the information quietly and do not say anything.  I usually run the other way, knowing that their heart is in the right place and feeling so under qualified to help them see things from a different perspective.
My search brought me to some great resources and gave me the confidence I need to have some great conversations.
  Most of the resources also made me realize how many people fail to ask questions or discuss the adoption as they do not want to upset us or sound foolish.  We want you to know that we welcome all discussions and love to hear from you.  Some information especially about Grace is very private.  As her parents it is our job to protect her and that means that we need to decide what information to share and what needs to be kept for Her until she is old enough to decide what parts of Her story she wants to be told.
  My mission this year is to be a better advocate for adoption.  If I give  you a different perspective on something you say, it is not meant to be rude or condescending, it is to show you part of my heart.
   I just finished a book called " In On It: What Adoptive Parents Would Like You to Know About Adoption" by Elisabeth O'Toole.  It is written for family and friends who has someone who has adopted ( or is going to adopt).  I thought it was an excellent book and a pretty easy read  (only 9 chapters )  If you would like to borrow it please let us know and we can get it to you!
  There are some great resources out there for family and friends of someone who is adopting.  If you would like some suggestions please let us know and we can recommend some of our favorites!
  We are so thankful that you are apart of our lives.  Thank you for all of your love and support!
Blessings!