Owls for Orphans

I’ve started a new ministry for Orphans! I’m sure you all know how dear orphans are to my heart, and I had been looking for a way to raise awareness and funds for orphans around the world. Well I found one! I met this great lady named Amy from Definingcrazy and she started this project called Owls for Orphans. She had been using crocheted owl stuffies to send to orphans and raise money for their adoption.Talk about a great fit for me and my love of crochet! So I randomly emailed her and now we’re  working together to tell the world about Orphans and what people can do and help bring home as many kiddos as we can!

I will be sending little owls to our orphanages in Mexico and making big ones to raise money for Mark from Reece’s Rainbow!

So here’s how you can help. You can talk to me directly about buying an owl or donating one to an orphan. You can make a donation direct to Mark here. Or if nothing else you can like our Facebook page and show your support!

Adoption Q&A #8

This is a continuation of this converstaion:

Adoption Q&A #1
Adoption Q&A #2
Adoption Q&A #3
Adoption Q&A #4
Adoption Q&A #5
Adoption Q&A #6
Adoption Q&A #7 

And on to more questions!

How do you feel about adopting transracially?

The idea definitely excites us. We were at a very interesting seminar about adopting transracially and it piqued a lot of interest and questions that we’ve been discussing over the last couple months. We can’t say we don’t care about skin colour or that love is colour blind either because that isn’t a God glorifying statement. He created each person different and he created different colours and shades of skin too. I am 1/32 Shuswap First Nations. My triple-great Grandma was Shuswap. Not enough to be anything but a Scottish Caucasian girl. BC doesn’t place First Nations children with Caucasian families unless there are special circumstances, so we probably won’t have a child of First Nations decent. We would definitely love being a colourful family.

If you adopted transracially would you keep the child’s culture?

Culture, yes. Religion, No. We are Bible believing Christians and we can include cultural things in our family, but not other religious things. We would make an effort to help a child feel connected with their culture in whatever way we could. This is another area where we would definitely be doing our homework and making sure we knew good ways to include culture or language into our everyday life.

You should read this article on why Love is not Colour blind. 

Adoption Q&A #7

This is a continuation of this converstaion:

Adoption Q&A #1
Adoption Q&A #2
Adoption Q&A #3
Adoption Q&A #4
Adoption Q&A #5
Adoption Q&A #6 

And on to more questions!

What about your girls? How will adoption affect them?

This is a big concern for us, for sure. We already have two beautiful little girls and we have a huge responsibility to them. They will have to share more, they will have less one-on-one time with Mk and I, they will have to sacrifice their time and love unconditionally. I really don’t see those as negative things because those are the kind of things that form a character of compassion. Emily is already so excited about adoption and has been for a long time. She’s been telling people about her little brother that will be here soon for years. She even told me he would be “special” and she doesn’t even know that could mean special needs. Look at this picture she drew:

It’s a picture of her and Avery and their little brother! How cute is she!!

We are taking into consideration dangerous issues too like violent tenancies or teenagers who could be sexually inappropriate with our girls. Those are things we really don’t want to bring into our family. We won’t be chasing “what if’s” but we will be very cautious for our girls.

Can you love your adopted children as much as your bio babes?

Love, YES! Be bonded to…not necessarily right away. We don’t expect that the attachment process will go so smoothly like it did with the girls, but we are learning so much about attachment and how to approach it that I am confident we will be on the right track. If you havent read or watched anything by Gordon Neufeld, you need to. I learned so much about parenting transplanted kids and it has hugely impacted how I parent the kiddos that are already here. We will be watching and attending many more seminars from him. His work in the field of attachment is phenomenal.

Adoption Q&A #6

This is a continuation of this converstaion:

Adoption Q&A #1
Adoption Q&A #2
Adoption Q&A #3
Adoption Q&A #4
Adoption Q&A #5 

And on to more questions!

Will you home school your adopted child(ren)?

This is one I can’t actually answer. I would like to say yes, but we home school on a child by child basis. If we don’t think AV is going to do well as a home learner, we would consider public school. The same would go for any and all of our adopted kids. For us, the ideal is to home school. Even with special needs. This is a very tough question. The homeschool academy we work with has a great special needs program and extra funding so you can set up anything you need. We would really have to look at the specific child and decide then.  In case it is in your head to ask, even with home school, we would make sure a child with special needs gets the support they need. Anything from therapies to tutors.

Will you change the child’s name?

Again, it depends. It depends on the age of the child mostly. I think it would be hard to change a child’s name if they have been called that for years, so we will see. It also depends if we like the name and it’s meaning. If the child is a baby, but we love the name or it fits, we would keep it. We have a boy’s name and a girls name and several middle names we like, but we will see if we get to use them! Most likely we would change the child’s last name. Makes me wonder if we will have a child with one of the super popular names like Jayden, Aiden, Kaden, Anna, Olivia, Sarah…etc or if We will end up with a sweetie named Keeshonda!(I love this name because that’s how my phone auto corrects my friend Leesh’s name!) We know that God know what our child’s name is!

 

 

 

Adoption Q&A #5

This is a continuation of this converstaion:

Adoption Q&A #1
Adoption Q&A #2
Adoption Q&A #3
Adoption Q&A #4 

And on to more questions!

What is the cost for your adoption?

Financially, physically, mentally, spiritually…Ok I know you mean financially, but that’s the easiest of those “ally’s” to answer. When you adopt internationally it costs between 25 and 50 thousand dollars! Astronomical! When you do direct placement it costs around 10 thousand! When you adopt through the ministry it costs you to have you physical exam done, which was in our case $55 total. What? Yep I said that right. It will also cost us more if we have to travel to do meetings with our child(ren) and they live farther away in the province. So financially speaking this isn’t super costly. That’s part of why I spend so much time advocating and fundraising for families who cross the ocean. It really shouldn’t be so expensive for them to ransom a life from the heinous conditions of mental institutions and orphanages, but it is. So I will continue to pour out where I can and be thankful for the ministries decision to fund so much of this process.  As for physically, mentally and spiritually, those are kind of hard to calculate, but I’m imagining costly!

What about the costs post-adoption?

Depending on the child(ren)’s special needs or if they are a sibling group, the ministry will help us out financially. As well as the costs for therapies ( speech, oral motor, physical, occupational…etc),  eye glasses or hearing aids, leg braces…etc. We will have greater costs for some things too. Food and clothing and things like that. We already bought a bunk bed, but we are looking into getting another one so we have lots of space. We have a van, so we have room for more passengers. We can only prepare soo much to start with.

Are you hoping for a baby?

The answer to that is Yes and No! A baby would be a great! The amount of time for early intervention for special needs would be maximized and there would be great opportunity in that sense, but otherwise, no we are not looking as a baby. We are willing for any age really. It is very child specific. We are willing to go beyond the age range of our girls and disrupt birth order if the specific child fits our family. We aren’t seeking to do that, but we are willing. The largest group of children who are available for adoption are age 4 and up and the largest group of parents willing to adopt want ages 4 and under.

You are seriously willing for a teenager?

Yep! MK and I have spent the last 10 years plus working with teens and we still love them. Someday our girls are going to be teens too. Trust me when I say that would be a very serious decision to make and a huge transition, but in many ways I think it would be easier to transition with a 13 year old than a baby. Also remember that children with special needs can be chronologically 14 years old  and globally, emotionally, academically, socially 5.

Adoption Q&A #4

This is a continuation of this converstaion:

Adoption Q&A #1
Adoption Q&A #2
Adoption Q&A #3

And on to more questions!

Are you considering Open or Closed Adoption?

Even writing this, I’m starting to see why God had us wait so long before starting this journey. I would have told you closed or semi closed when I began thinking about adoption 2 1/2 years ago, but now I can easily say open! Of course with boundaries! When I think about God’s heart for the lost and the broken, I can see how he would use open adoption to do the work he has set out to do which is to bring everyone to a right relationship with Him. Open adoption allows a relationship to form between us as adoptive parents and a birth Mom or birth Dad. Ultimately the child comes first, but would it be the most amazing thing to be a part of a birth Mom or Dad coming to Jesus and wholeness and then going on to parent some of their own children later? That sounds like Gods plan. There would be boundaries and no contact if there are issues on the birth parents that would lead them to be harmful in my kids lives, but I think open adoption is the right idea. The Ministry doesn’t really do closed adoptions the way they used to anyways.

This video is an amazing testimony of how God can use Open Adoption.

Adoption Q&A #3


“When will the baby show up on my doorstep?”

The actual timeline varies greatly, but we’ve been told between 1 year to 18 months. We have the home study process and educational portion to finish before we go anywhere. That’s minimum 6 months. Then we look at profiles and learn about potential matches for our family. This could take a very long time if we set our scope of willingness very small. For example, if we said we would like a healthy Caucasian boy with brown hair and no history of any physical or mental illness in the birth parents, well…we would wait for ever! but that’s not even close to what our scope of willingness looks like. Shall I tell you about it?

“Are you open to special needs?”

YES! I’m super excited to share that! Our heart is for children who are orphans or unparented and especially those with special needs! One of the forms we fill out is a huge questionnaire asking us about our willingness to consider certain special needs. We checked off loads of boxes! Definitely our heart is for children with Down Syndrome! We are very interested in children who have hearing loss or are deaf or children with speech delays like cleft palate. My background is in speech and behavior intervention, so that will be very useful. We are willing to consider a huge amount of other special needs too. Autism Spectrum Disorder, HIV+, Hepatitis B, club foot or other physical disabilities, special diet issues, allergies (not a hard one to check off), and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder too. (someone asked “how many children are affected by FASD?”, and I couldn’t even guess other that to say that many, many, many children who are in a position of needing to be adopted are likely to have some form of fetal alcohol effects)

Do you know what you are getting into?

Before anyone writes me a letter saying we don’t know what we’re getting into when we checked off FASD, realize that we didn’t come to this decision easily. In fact, to begin with FASD was on the no list. Even still, we didn’t check off profound FASD. We also are not saying we are hoping for a child with 10 co-morbid special needs and extreme violent tenancies. We are just saying we are willing for God to show us who is supposed to fit into our family. We aren’t flipping a coin about this either. We have a solid support network around us who we will take any possible matches to and discuss and pray with.

Another thing I’ll add to that is that we don’t know what we are in for! We are doing our best to have our eye’s wide open about special needs and not pretend we know everything or are ready for everything either. Like HIV+ for example. Until Reece’s Rainbow did a great job of pointing me to Project Hopeful and I got informed, I had HUGE misconceptions about HIV+. We also know that you really cant be prepared for everything, not even with bio kiddos. We had no idea what to do with a preemie when Em was born. Or a better example is my awesome friend Leah whose son has Autism. She wasn’t prepared or ready for that, but she and her hubby do an amazing job of parenting him, becoming experts on Autism and advocating for him and his needs. Go read her blog right now!! We can’t be prepared completely, but we are studying and learning and whenever we find out what actual needs our child(ren) have, we will become experts and work our butts off. That’s just part of who we are.

More Q&A’s tomorrow!! Keep those questions coming!

Adoption Q&A #2

You guys have been adding great questions on the Courtenaymomma Facebook page! Here are some more answers to your questions!

Are you guys adopting internationally or locally? Why?

This is a huge question! So huge, that we went back and forth over it for 2 and 1/2 years before we decided. We both have a heart for adoption and this question is nearly impossible to answer. We are adopting locally (provincially) through the Ministry of children and families.I hope that one day we will adopt internationally too, but this is the choice we feel God has lead us to. We realize the need is huge oversees, but there is a huge need in BC too. There are 1,300 kids waiting to be adopted in BC. The stats say somewhere around 169,000,000 orphans worldwide. That number is staggering. We realize we can’t adopt them all, but every one we do adopt makes a different. These are kids we are talking about not statistics. So, we have prayed about it forever and decided that adopting one of BC’s children is what God wants of us. We feel we are responsible for the children in our back yard who are unparented.

Direct Placement, Adopt or foster to adopt?

We have three different options when it comes to adopting in BC. Part of our decision to adopt has to do with children who are already born and needing families, so that rules out waiting for a baby to be born and direct placement. We are interested in Foster to adopt, but our heart isn’t for a trial run or part time. We are all in. We certainly aren’t closed to the idea of fostering, but adopting is where we want to end up, so that’s what we are working towards.

More Q’s tomorrow!


 

 

Adoption Q&A #1

I wanted to answer any questions people have about our paper pregnancy, so I’ve been collecting them on Facebook and emails.The first question I’ve been asked is:

What is a Paper Pregnancy?

You don’t seriously think that’s something that happens if you loiter at staples for too long do you? No, I didn’t think so. Paper pregnancy is just the cute term that applied to a family that is in the process of adopting. I’ve heard people say it doesn’t start until all the paperwork is through, but I think that misses the point of the “paper” in paper pregnancy.

Where are you in your Paper Pregnancy?

The first question anyone who has a tell-tale bump  and is biologically prego gets asked is always: “How far along are you?”. We have  filed papers and met with our Social worker to discuss them and finished our medical exams. The funny part about this question is that you can’t really know with adoption how long it’s going to take because there are just too many variables. So we will count backwards and say we started this journey on May 23rd. We know that the home study usually takes 6 months and from there it really depends.

Is it a boy or a girl?

This one is easy to answer. We don’t know! It might even be both! We put down on our papers that we were willing for either a boy or a girl or both! We are excited for whomever God has chosen to be part of our family. We know that He prepares things for us long before we even have a clue.

What other questions do you have??

James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Paper Pregnant

It is about time! We can actually announce that we are Paper Pregnant. If you have no idea what that is, then don’t worry about it because you will hear all the explanations you need! MK and I have been praying about how to grow our family for a loooong time. Think two and a half years. I know, Avery is only 3. After Avery was born, I spoke to my Doctor about having another wee one the bio way and he said in a strong eastern european accent “Sure, you have baby. You won’t have preemie 3 times, not likely.” Ahh how very nice of you to flip a coin with our future. We’ve had one miscarriage. Two Preemies and we came close to losing Aves when I went into labour at 22 weeks. Do we want to do that again? Nope! Plus I had horrible pregnancies! Oh the stories I could tell…but I don’t want to re live that. No no no.

That brings us to the discovery of Reece’s Rainbow two and a half years ago. An amazing ministry that connects children with Down Syndrome and other special needs with families who want to adopt them. Its been an amazing couple of years to watch what God has done in the lives of so many of those kiddos. God broke my heart and then Morgans for adoption over the last few years and we started to realize that this was his plan for us all along. So then, just over a year ago, we decided to adopt. (But wait, you are blogging that you are paper prego today! Ok, just hold on a second. I’ll get there.) We have gone back and forth so many times about adopting internationally and through BC’s waiting children that I can’t even count how many times. Every time we thought we were ready to file paperwork, God said wait. I’m not super good at waiting, so to start with, I was pretty frustrated. But over the course of the last year, I realize there were HUGE reasons to wait just a bit longer. We bought and settled in a house, decided to homeschool, the main route we were going to take through international adoption closed, among other things. We really needed the last year to get settled. All that brings us to today.

We have decided to pursue adoption through the Ministry for children and families in BC and are praying about whomever God has planned for us to adopt. I’ll answer millions of questions and please feel free to ask them is you have them because Adoption is one of my favorite things to talk about, but for now… just celebrate with us! We are expecting! We are expecting God to move in the same miraculous ways he moved to bring us our girls. We are expecting the unexpected. I’m paper pregnant and so unbelievably happy to not be hugging a toilet.

I can wait. God is good and his timing is perfect.

Your job, my friends and family…Pray!

These are Paper Prego Celebration cookies love from my wonderful neighbour Ashley!