• 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

    South Africa Adoption South Africa Adoption South Africa Adoption South Africa Adoption South Africa Adoption

    where’s Ephraim?

    South Africa Adoption

    peekaboo!

    South Africa Adoption South Africa Adoption

    South Africa Adoption

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

    South Africa Adoption South Africa Adoption

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

    South Africa Adoption South Africa Adoption

    echo!

    South Africa Adoption South Africa Adoption South Africa Adoption South Africa Adoption South Africa Adoption

    fun with Dad

    South Africa Adoption South Africa Adoption South Africa Adoption

  • 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,  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.

  • ADOPTION,  TRAVEL

    Ephraim Klassen

    November 17th was court day.

    We got to the home early and got to meet Tracy (the Newcastle social worker). Then the workers all said their goodbyes. One of them really teared up when she said goodbye to Ephraim, he’s been there since he came out of the hospital at 2 months old and you can tell he was special to her (and he liked her too), she gave us their email address and asked us to send lots of pictures (which you know there will be a lot of).

    Then we were off! We went into the court building not knowing what to expect. We went through a metal detector and placed our bags on top of the scanner because of course it didn’t work, that’s so Africa. They took all our cameras except Robyn’s, she says they just seem to know when people are not from around there.

    We sat in the waiting room for awhile waiting for the judge to show, when he did he took Robyn and Tracy to his office. They were there for about 20 minutes while we sat and waited. Finally at 9:25 they called the other couple we were with in. About 10 minutes later they returned with their son!

    Then it was our turn, we went in and the judge asked us to read over a paper (with our personal information) and showed us where to sign on three copies, which we did. Then the judge signed, dated and wrote the time:

    9:40 am
    that’s when Ephraim became our son

    The judge continued to sign a couple more papers and made sure everything was spelled correctly then he thanked Robyn and us for helping to give families to their children. And it was done.

    We stopped to get some gas in the car and then back down to Durban we went.

    The drive back was stunningly gorgeous, it was something I missed in the nervousness of Saturday morning, the Newcastle landscape is just breathtaking. As we got closer to Durban it was more grasslands and hills, it kind of reminded me of English country or even southern Alberta.

    The kids were both great on the way back, Rae had a good nap and Ephraim had 2! It felt great driving back with both of our kids in the backseat.

    Court Day

    this photo got a comment on my Facebook page about the carseat not being safe because it’s not a 5 point harness, for the record, we are in South Africa and this is the carseat we were given with our car rental, with as many kids as we’ve seen sitting in the front seat with no seat belts on I’m just impressed it’s as good as this! glad I got that out of my system 🙂

    Court Day

    two kids!

  • ADOPTION,  TRAVEL

    Day Two with Ephraim

    Meeting Ephraim - South Africa Adoption

    I won’t be sharing a post on every day that we are out here but I wanted to document the first couple of days while they were still fresh in my mind.

    Sunday, November 16th was our second day visiting Ephraim at the home.

    We had a little bit of one on one time with Ephraim before we went outside with 7 of the “older” kids (as in kids aged 18 months to just under 2 years).

    If you sat down anywhere, outside or on the couch for more than three seconds you are bound to be bombarded by about 3 or 4 kids trying to sit on your lap, it was really sweet and heart breaking at the same time. I’ve got so many thoughts and feelings about this but I’ll save those for another time.

    After playing outside for awhile we were able to give Ephraim a quick little bath, they have to be quick when there are 15 children to wash!

    Around 11:00 am we were able to take Ephraim out of the home, and I’m so glad we were. We took him back to the place we were staying for the weekend and he was nervous to be in a new place and was holding on to me tightly. But after just a few minutes Jared and Raeca had him smiling and playing with balls and cars and after about half an hour Raeca had him smiling and we heard him giggle for the first time. He loves to hear Rae laugh. After awhile he was completely tuckered out and ended up sleeping on my lap in the living room. We had both lunch and supper with Ephraim at our B&B and then we took him back to the home around 5:30. He was a different kid when we walked through those doors, he became quiet and for the longest time just sat on either my lap or Jared’s, when they let the rest of the older kids come out he seemed to tense up around them and just wanted to stick with us.

    Saying goodbye to Ephraim in the evening was so hard, Raeca kept crying, saying she didn’t want to leave him, it broke my heart.

    We just told her this was the last sleep that had to leave Ephraim, tomorrow morning was court.

    Meeting Ephraim - South Africa Adoption Meeting Ephraim - South Africa Adoption Meeting Ephraim - South Africa Adoption Meeting Ephraim - South Africa Adoption Meeting Ephraim - South Africa Adoption Meeting Ephraim - South Africa Adoption

  • ADOPTION,  TRAVEL

    Meeting Ephraim

    Palmiet River Lodge - Durban, South Africa

    It’s crazy to think that it’s been over a week since we first met Ephraim, he has come out of his shell so much in the last week, he doesn’t seem like the same kid we first met.

    Saturday morning came early for us since we were still tired from our journey over. But we woke up around 5:30 so we could grab the stuff we would need for the next couple of days and by 6:40 we were off on our 4 hour journey (on the left side of the road) north up to Newcastle where Ephraim was. Minus the GPS giving us a few odd directions we found our way quite easily and arrived at the home at 11:05.

    The day before we had met with Robyn, our South African social worker, and she mentioned that because Ephraim is “older” when we arrive we should try sitting on the floor with a few toys and kind of wait for him to approach us. But when we got to the home we were told he was asleep and the next thing I knew they woke him up and thrust him into my arms. It was great to see him but it wasn’t the initial meeting I was expecting.

    He was very quiet and sat very motionless, he didn’t even try to touch us, he was so still. We tried bringing out a few toys to show him and he would hold on to them but not play with them or interact with us at all. He hadn’t eaten lunch yet so one of the workers from the home gave us his food to feed him. She said the kids ate fast so you had to feed them quick but he seemed too overwhelmed to eat, he slowly ate a few bites but that was it.

    We sat with Ephraim through most of the afternoon, we saw a few smiles here and there, mostly when the workers would tickle him.

    Bedtime was 7:00 so at that point we said goodnight and handed him over to the workers for the night.

    A few photos from our first day with him:

    Meeting Ephraim - South Africa Adoption

    Meeting Ephraim - South Africa Adoption Meeting Ephraim - South Africa Adoption Meeting Ephraim - South Africa Adoption IMG_1369web IMG_1388web IMG_1392web IMG_1398web

  • ADOPTION,  TRAVEL

    The Journey Here

    South Africa Adoption

    Wednesday, November 12th we sent off to leave cold and snowy Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to travel the 40 hours to warm and lush Durban, South Africa. Thankfully our journey was completely uneventful and Raeca had a decent amount of sleep on the planes, she’s always been a great little traveler.

    Like I previously shared we went from Saskatoon to Calgary, about an hour flight with a few hours of a layover.

    South Africa Adoption South Africa Adoption South Africa Adoption

    Then we flew the 9ish hours to Frankfurt where we had a 9 hour layover (which didn’t feel that long, Frankfurt is the worst laid out airport I’ve ever been to, aka we wandered around for awhile trying to figure out where we were supposed to be). Thankfully Rae slept about half of the flight over (and watched a few movies in the other half, the benefit to not letting your kid watch much TV is when the fly they have plenty of movies to watch that they’ve never seen).

    South Africa Adoption

    We had to continue our Frankfurt airport tradition with a meal at McDonalds -a place we never frequent back at home but always seem to go to at least once when traveling.

    South Africa Adoption

    We found a little kids play area where Rae played for about an hour, a good 45 minutes of that were spent playing with two little girls from South Korea, the only words the girls knew in English was numbers 1-20 and bye. But that didn’t stop them from having a blast together.

    South Africa Adoption

    Then it was off to Johannesburg! Raeca once again slept about half of the 11 hour flight.

    South Africa Adoption

    After Johannesburg we had a short layover and then took a quick one hour flight to Durban! I could see the beauty as we flew in, the green grass, the hills, the ocean! Such a gorgeous place!

    South Africa Adoption

    When we arrived at the airport we had a wonderful driver, Tezz, waiting to bring us to our accommodations.

    Well, nap time is pretty much over so I’ll stop there for today. More of South Africa to come soon!

  • ADOPTION,  TRAVEL

    Here We Go!

    Our Flight Path

    It’s airplane day (as Raeca would say)! This afternoon we start our 36 hour journey from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan to Durban, South Africa. (Actually, if you count our travel to the airport and time spent waiting for our first flight it will be a 40 hour journey.)

    We are set to arrive in Durban at 12:05pm (their local time) on Friday.

    We are getting Budget to deliver a car to our B&B Friday afternoon and then Saturday morning Jared will drive us the 4 hours to Newcastle where we will get to meet Ephraim! Saturday and Sunday will be spent getting to know him. I’m not sure how much time we’ll have with him but I hope as much as possible.

    Then, Monday morning we will be in court. I don’t have an exact time for that but I’m praying it’s early so we can get it over with!

    A few things you could pray for in the next week:

    * that we wouldn’t forget anything (this is really haunting me in my dreams)
    * that we would make all our flights
    * for good health while flying (and in country)
    * safety as we drive to Newcastle (driving on the other side of the road while jet lagged has me a little concerned)
    * our meeting and days spent with Ephraim, that he will like us and start to bond with us
    * for court, that the judge will be in favor of the adoption
    * for Ephraim as we take him from the only home he has ever known
    * safety in the drive back down to Durban
    * for all of us in the transition
    * for good sleep, if we don’t sleep well I imagine the transition will be that much harder

    Thank you for all your support and prayers!
    We are so excited to finally be off to get our little guy!

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