• ADOPTION

    He Was Meant To Be Here

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    I’m having a hard time knowing we’ve been home for two weeks already and Ephraim has been a part of our lives for almost two months.

    In some ways it seems like the time is going by so quickly and yet life with him feels so normal.

    He fits into our family.
    He was meant to be here.

    Sure there are adjustments.
    Raeca gets jealous and has difficulty finding time to be alone when her little brother is always following her around.
    We need to get used to (again) the messy way toddlers eat and their ability to poop way beyond what their diaper can hold.

    But he is home here.
    And we are his family.

    I feel like I should give an update as to how he is adjusting now that we are back home but it seems like there isn’t much to report. He’s adjusting so well I forget that he hasn’t always been here.

    We aren’t cocooning like I thought we would be, the five weeks in South Africa were huge in helping the bonding process. Since we got back we’ve been going about life like normal and he fits in so well.

    Things are going so smoothly I’m actually pinning (and hoping to start) a number of DIY projects. I’ve got my eye on a few things I can make for around the home and I’m hoping I can dive into them in the next few days.

    It’s crazy to think of how well things are going since we’ve gotten back home with him and I know it is only a result of all the prayers that have been prayed on our behalf for the past three years.

    Thank you to each one of you who have been praying. <3

     

  • ADOPTION,  LIFE

    2014 in Photos & Video

    2014 started out as such a hard year. Perseverance was huge.

    But then the floodgates opened.
    Boy, did they open.

    Here’s a look at the highlights of the year in photos (and a little video):

  • ADOPTION

    Home

    Well, we made it home!

    We are finally spending Christmas with this little guy. The one we’ve been praying for long before he was even born.

    I mentioned on Instagram that he didn’t know it but he is home, but truthfully, I think he does know it. He is so happy to be here, yesterday morning was his first morning here and shortly after he woke up he was running around the house yelling “yay, yay!” It’s how I’m feeling too. 🙂

    We arrived home Monday night only to find out that none of our baggage made it (they managed to lose all 3 of our bags as well as our stroller). Last night two of our suitcases were dropped off at 9:30 but we are still missing one suitcase with some very important stuff in it and they have no idea where it is, we’d appreciate your prayers in helping them locate it.

    I am behind in replying to emails and messages but I’m trying to not let that bother me and just trying to relax and enjoy this season with my family.

    I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

  • ADOPTION,  TRAVEL

    The Way Back Home

    Today we start our journey back home!

    I still have lots to share from our time here and I hope to do that in the coming weeks after Christmas. (It’s so hard to believe it’s almost Christmas! We’ve been focused on other stuff for so long we’ve pretty much missed the entire Christmas season.)

    Anyway, in a few hours we’ll be off to the airport. We have the same route as our way here: Durban -> Johannesburg -> Frankfurt -> Calgary -> Saskatoon. We are praying for uneventful flights and kids that sleep 🙂

    For anyone interested in meeting us at the airport, we are currently set to arrive in Saskatoon at 6:45pm Monday evening.

    If we have access to the internet I’ll be sure to post a few photos on Instagram along the way.

  • ADOPTION,  TRAVEL

    Recently Enjoyed Things

    A few more random photos of our time here in South Africa . . .

    South African Adoption

    watching the monkeys as they climb down from the roof and jump into the trees

    South African Adoption

    hello

    South African Adoption

    I know a lot of people expect South Africa to be more like dirt roads and chaos on the roads but in the city here it is very modern

    South African Adoption

    decorating the Christmas tree

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    snacks at the marketSouth African Adoption

    yay!

    South African Adoption

    windy day at the beach

    South African Adoption

    my guys

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    monkey!

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    technically this is not a great photo but I love it

    South African Adoption

    so, Jared gets a lot of reading done here
    (actually, he has, just not this day)

    South African Adoption

    smiles 🙂

    South African Adoption

    where’s Ephraim?

    South African Adoption

    the place we are staying for the next couple of days

    South African Adoption

    us with Robyn, our sweet social worker in South Africa
    she was dropping Ephraim’s passport off this day,
    which means we have all our paperwork, yay!

  • ADOPTION,  TRAVEL

    A Quiet Day at Palmiet

    South Africa Adoption

    While we are here in South Africa we are trying to make an effort to find balance. We want to get out and see a lot of what the area has to offer but at the same time we want to make sure we don’t overwhelm Ephraim and try to stay around our B&B a lot of days.

    We’ve noticed that Ephraim’s personality definitely changes when we are in new places (the mall, the restaurant, outside, etc), he gets very quiet and serious. Though the longer he’s been with us the less time it takes him to warm up at each new place we go. Obviously we still go places but we try to have some days where we just stay put at our B&B. I know we’ve done a lot less than the other families that are also out here adopting right now, but we know this is what is best for Ephraim and our whole family.

    So a couple of days ago we had a full day at Palmiet, the place we are staying) so in the morning I grabbed my camera and documented some of our moments.

    South Africa Adoption

    I think this girl needs to get into drama in the future, she’s so good at it already

    South Africa Adoption

    outside on a new step = serious face

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    where’s Ephraim?

    South Africa Adoption

    peekaboo!

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    South Africa Adoption

    watching some weird kind of caterpillar – oh, and more of that drama I was talking about

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    she likes to walk around the B&B, always my tour guide

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    echo!

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    fun with Dad

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  • ADOPTION,  LIFE,  TRAVEL

    Looking Back on the Year

    ​2014. This has been quite the year for us (and there are still a few weeks left).

    I’ve loved 2014. My phone that I’m typing this on just auto corrected that to I’ve “lived” 2014, and I feel that is spot on.

    Looking back on this year makes me think of Ephesians 3:20:

    all glory to God, who is able,
    through his mighty power at work within us,
    to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.

    My “one little word” for 2014 was do. Wow, did that ever happen!

    We visited California. And met some friends.
    We moved. Twice.
    We camped, a few times.
    We enjoyed nature, even eating out in it.
    We made new friends. And lived life with old ones.
    I caught my first fish (and second)!
    We spent time with family.
    We explored our province.
    I read a lot of books.
    I tried a lot of new recipes. Some worked, others didn’t.
    We began to live simpler.
    We began to get some answers to prayers we have been praying for years.
    We saw a photo of the boy chosen to be our son. Met him. And then he became ours.

    I couldn’t have imagined 2014 to turn it better if I had tried.

    2015, you have a lot to live up to, but I think you can handle it.

  • ADOPTION,  TRAVEL

    Our Little Canadian Citizen

    It’s now been about 3.5 weeks since we left home to come to South Africa and we now have just under 2 weeks left in our stay. In some ways it seems like the time is going slow and in others it seems so quick.

    Last week Wednesday (December 3rd) we got an email stating that this little guy (who can sleep anywhere!) is a Canadian citizen! Yay!

    The reason our stay is so long here in South Africa is for the paperwork.

    The three major things needed done are: adoption order – Canadian citizenship – Canadian passport.

    We’ve got the first two done and Wednesday afternoon our social worker sent our passport application in which we should get back by the end of this week!

    If that all works out we are much farther ahead of schedule than expected. It’s not a bad thing, that means we don’t have to stress about the paperwork not coming and us needing to change our flights home.

    Once Ephraim’s passport gets here we can breathe easy knowing we have all the documents we need to travel home and introduce him to lots of family and friends that are eager to meet him.

    Thanks for all your prayers so far, it’s been wonderful having things work out so smoothly so far!

  • ADOPTION

    Supporting Adoptive Families – After the Adoption Announcement

     

    Over the next while I’m going to be sharing a bit of an adoption series on how you can support adoptive families. I’ve had this series idea in my head for a long time but wanted to wait until we were done each step before sharing. If you have adopted before I’d love for you to add your thoughts in the comment section!

    You can also check out the other posts in this series:

    So, a couple around you has just announced they are adopting. Maybe they are family, close friends or just an acquaintance, but you are wondering what you should do. In most areas adoption is the exception, not the norm so it can leave you feeling a little clueless on how to act.

    This post is born from being on the other side of the fence – being the ones that announce that they are adopting.

    Up until our announcement we never knew anyone that had adopted, not really anyway, we knew of a few people but that was it, we didn’t actually know them so we were walking into very unknown territory.

     

    Here are some ways you can support the family after they announce their intention to adopt:

    ASK QUESTIONS
    The couple has probably spent the last few weeks/months/years researching adoption and agencies and they will probably be more than excited to share some of their knowledge with you.

    Questions you ask could include:

    – which country are you adopting from?
    – what agency are you working with?
    – have you specified a gender or certain age?
    – what is the process like through your province/state/agency/country? (because they vary so much!)
    – have you started your homestudy? what is all involved in that?
    – what is your next step?

    LOOK UP THE COUNTRY ON A MAP
    Nothing will be more embarrassing than later finding out they are travelling to pick up their child and not even knowing where the country is in the world. Take the time early on to look it up on a map.

    RESPECT THEIR PRIVACY
    We were really quite open about the process (partly because we were hoping other people around us would be feel called to adopt) but I know some people don’t want to talk about adoption stuff. You’ll find out after trying to ask a few questions if your friends are those kind of people, and if they are, just respect that.

    KNOW THAT THE WAITING IS HARD
    Honestly, I’ve never done anything harder than wait. I loved it when friends would acknowledge that the waiting sucks and would try to alleviate the pain of waiting by helping me keep busy and checking in frequently to see how it’s going (and actually wanting to know). I’m pretty sure the emotions that go on during the waiting period are equivalent to those I felt during pregnancy, except that when you are pregnant you know that it will end in 9 months, not so with adoption waiting.

    SUPPORT FUNDRAISERS
    Some families are able to fully fund their own adoptions while others are not. If your friends are in need of financial help, think of it as your way to help with the orphan crisis in the world, don’t judge them, just support them. You can also create your own fundraiser for them, but be sure to check with them first!

    DON’T TELL ADOPTION HORROR STORIES
    Chances are, they’ve researched adoption and have heard or read about many adoption horror stories already as it is, they don’t need to know the horror story of your friend’s boyfriend’s sister.

    JUST BE SUPPORTIVE
    Ask if there is anything you can do but know that during this stage there usually isn’t. Just being a supportive friend who cares speaks volumes to us.

    PRAY
    Pray often, and let them know you are doing so. Prayers are powerful and your friends need them.

    If you have adopted, what else would you add to ways people could
    show support in this after announcement stage?

  • ADOPTION,  TRAVEL

    Recently Enjoyed Things – South Africa

    I thought I’d take some time today to show you some random snippets of photos from our time here.

    Durban, South Africathis photo is pretty cool because this is the original but since my photos auto back up to Google+ and sometimes it takes photos that have multiple shots and finds the best smiles from each and combines them into one photo, it’s like lazy man’s Photoshop!

    Durban, South AfricaRae always thinks it’s bright out
    this photo is funny but I love it

    Durban, South Africatime in the pool

    Palmiet River Lodge, South Africajust the gorgeous place we are at

    Palmiet River Lodge, South Africamore pool time

    South Africa Adoption
    daddy’s girl

    South Africa Adoptionpassport photo!

    Palmiet River Lodge, South Africaso this is our awesome shower, there is a grate over top but no glass
    I’ve literally showered in the rain multiple times

    Palmiet River Lodge, South Africaseeing monkeys on a nearly daily basis doesn’t get old
    they like to run across the roof of our B&B

    South Africa Adoptionjust my little cutie

    uShaka, Durban, South Africawe spent a day at the uShaka aquarium with all the other Canadian adoptive families that are out right now (there are 3 others)
    it was a great outing for our whole family,
    Rae loved that there were a bunch of kids for her to play with

    uShaka, Durban, South Africasea turtle!

    uShaka, Durban, South Africajellies 🙂
    always makes me think of Nemo

    Beach, Durban, South Africabeach front

    uShaka - Durban, South AfricaI love these two so much!

    Palmiet River Lodge, South Africaa walk around

    Westville, South Africajail or post office?
    hint: it’s the latter.

    Westville, South Africajust our nearly-daily grocery shopping trip
    check out Jared’s perspective here

    South Africa

    I went shopping with the other adoptive moms and Emma convinced me to buy this dress
    I’m still feeling a little uncertain about the orange

    South Africa Adoptionoh, just hanging out at KFC because they have a little play area

    Westville, South Africa

    this Usborne princess sticker book as been an amazing activity for Raeca
    we’ll definitely be getting some more of these!

    Monkey - Westville, South Africamonkey crossing

    Westville, South Africaher and this gate . . . she thinks she is the one who opens and closes it
    “aber cadaber”

    South Africa Adoptionnaptime 🙂

    ** I totally got this idea from one of my favorite bloggers, Drea from Oh Dear Drea, it’s a fun little way to show a bunch of photos that would otherwise not get shared here. I definitely think I’ll be doing this again.

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