Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Connected Child



I just finished reading The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis and it is the best adoption book that I have read so far. It is a book that we plan to take along with us to China to deal with situations as they arise, because it is full of suggestions, stories, examples and is completely practical.

As I read it, I adjusted my thinking as to how best to deal with some of Lilah's issues as well. I found that a lot of it is common sense, but that the way to deal with a high risk child can be very simple and straightforward as well. She shows you how to be gentle and firm at the same time, that your children benefit the most by having boundaries and consequences for their actions.

This book is geared towards high risk children that have been adopted or that are in foster care. Children that have suffered from post traumatic stress (which Lilah did and Zoe likely will too) among many other more severe issues.

There is also a study guide that is based on this book as well called Created to Connect - A Christian's Guide to The Connected Child - and I am working my way through that right now. You can download this study guide at: www.empoweredtoconnect.org

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fort Edmonton Park

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Today was free admission to all City of Edmonton attractions. Because we had family here this weekend, including our niece and nephew, we decided it would be fun to go to Fort Edmonton Park.

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It was a bit insane, but a great opportunity to step back in time for awhile and imagine what it would have been like to live in the 1800's or early 1900's.

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Fort Edmonton is down by the North Saskatchewan River and at this time of year it is so amazingly beautiful!

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Eli is at camp and so he missed out, Micah doesn't pose well for photos right now... but Josiah and Abby were willing to put up with me a my pathalogical picture taking once more!

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Sad Little Dumplings...



Today I attempted to make pork dumplings. They didn't turn out too bad... but were a lot of work and are a bit bigger than they should be. But they do taste really good! I felt like I was making perogies and it seemed like my Ukrainian side was coming out.

Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
up to 1 1/4 cups cold water
1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling:
1 cup ground pork or beef
1 TBSP soy sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 TBSP Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper, or to taste
3 TBSP sesame oil
1/2 green onion, finely minced
1 1/2 cups finely shredded Napa cabbage
4 tablespoons diced water chestnuts
4 tablespoons diced carrots
2 slices fresh ginger, finely minced
1 clove garlic, peeled and finely minced

Preparation:
Stir the salt into the flour. Slowly stir in the cold water, adding as much as is necessary to form a smooth dough. Don't add more water than is necessary. Knead the dough into a smooth ball. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling ingredients. Add the soy sauce, salt, rice wine and white pepper to the meat, stirring in only one direction. Add the remaining ingredients, stirring in the same direction, and mix well.

To make the dumpling dough: knead the dough until it forms a smooth ball. Divide the dough into 60 pieces. Roll each piece out into a circle about 3-inches in diameter.

Place a small portion (about 1 level tablespoon) of the filling into the middle of each wrapper. Wet the edges of the dumpling with water. Fold the dough over the filling into a half moon shape and pinch the edges to seal. Continue with the remainder of the dumplings.

To cook, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add half the dumplings, giving them a gentle stir so they don't stick together. Bring the water to a boil, and add 1/2 cup of cold water. Cover and repeat. When the dumplings come to a boil for a third time, they are ready. Drain and remove. If desired, they can be pan-fried at this point.

Dipping Sauce:

2 TBSP of Soy Sauce
1 TBSP of Rice Wine Vinegar
1/4 tsp of minced garlic
1/4 tsp of minced ginger root
1/2 tsp of sugar
4-8 drops of Hot Chili Oil


Not sure if I would make these again, when there is a dumpling restaurant just down the street. But it was fun to try them!



Yesterday, we made Fingerkalotshi. It was my version of a moon cake! So once again, I felt like I was mixing the Chinese and the Mennonite cultures. They do taste much better than moon cakes, probably because of it is all sugar and butter.

1 lb. butter
3/4 cup sugar -- Mix these together, on and off, for about an hour.
Add vanilla and 2 1/4 cups of flour.

Roll into little balls.
Place on baking sheet. Make little dents and put raspberry jam in each dent before baking. Bake at 325 degrees for 12 minutes.




We have also received our Travel Approval! It took only three weeks to come and we are now completely ready to go. This, for me, is the most exciting piece of paperwork, because it means the long wait is almost over! 42 days before we go!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Moon Festival

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I have been trying to figure out what we were going to do for the Moon Festival this year. Our schedule is so busy... every day of the week has something for the other kids and keeps us pretty busy from the time they get home from school until they go to bed.

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I was hoping to go for Dim Sum, but this weekend is crazy as well. We have company coming, a night at the waterpark, a volleyball tournament and Eli is going on a school camping trip.

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I have a couple of projects lined up for me and Lilah over the next couple of days. Today, we started by making lanterns, and even though they took a VERY LONG TIME, she did enjoy the project!

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

45 Days

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Thanks for all the ideas for counting down our days to go get Zoe. 45 to go!

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Time is going quickly and yet when I would think of how much longer, I would think in weeks or a month and a half. As I made this chain for Lilah, I realized I liked the sound of 45 days so much better...

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We are getting to know our travel group and are swapping emails regarding what to pack, what to expect, etc. I think they are going to be a great group of people! Most of the kids are under two years old and most have cleft lip/palates. And they are all so gorgeous!

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Lilah continues to talk to Zoe throughout the day. She gets somewhat bossy and demanding... "Zoe! You stand right there!" "Zoe! Don't you move!" And then "Zoe, would you like to play babies?"

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

Ready to go

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I feel so ready to go to China. We have all of our paperwork. The Travel Approval is in the province and being sent out to us. The flights are booked. The itinerary is set. We know who is in our travel group.

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We are getting to know the other families that we will be traveling with through emails. We are getting some great tips on packing and what to bring and how to organize everything.

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Lilah continues to ask everyday when we will leave. I need some suggestions on something to help her understand how many more days are left...

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Meanwhile, the two of us are enjoying our time together until everything changes once again and her time will need to be shared with Zoe.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Wo Ai Ni (I love you) Mommy

I just finished watching this documentary online and it brought me to tears. Some of joy and some of sadness. It is the story of an 8 year old girl adopted from the China Waiting Child program and brought to America. She was adopted in Gaungzhou, where we adopted Lilah and that room and those couches and the views of the city brought back so many amazing memories!

The connection this girl had with her foster family and the fact that her new parents could meet them brought back so many memories. The whole transitional process brought back so many memories. All those feelings you can't even express...

Amazing.

http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMjAzODU1ODA4.html

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Show and Tell

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Today we were asked to come to our adoption agencies International Adoption Course to do show and tell with Lilah. We have done this before and I am always excited to go because I remember being at the stage all these couples are at... THE BEGINNING! And it was so exciting to finally start the process of adding to our family through adoption.

We told them our experiences and gave them some advice and of course explained how much we love China and the waiting child program. I think the biggest thing they are shocked by is the timeline. Compared to so many other countries, the China waiting child program is super fast. They asked a ton of questions and of course thought Lilah was adorable.

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Lilah is so excited to have Zoe come home. She asks constantly when we are going to get her. She walks around the house talking to Zoe on her phone, planning a sleepover and of course, Zoe wants to come! It seems Zoe is kind of her imaginary friend at the moment. I hope it won't throw her off to discover Zoe is a real live person who is going to change all of our lives in a big way!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

{Personality}

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I had to post this picture of Abby that I took yesterday... it is a favorite of mine, because it shows her personality.

Abby has her learner's license and whenever she is with Tim, she drives. I don't let her drive with me because I am way too paranoid! We picked her up from her tryouts the other day and Tim let her drive home.

I am not a very good back seat driver.

I am not a very nice driver on a good day.

Put me in a car and you see a different side of me.

Abby got a little frustrated with my comments from the back seat and finally said: "MOM! I WILL TURN THIS CAR AROUND!"

Now, where did she get that from?!

This week I am joining in on Black and White Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

She Made the Volleyball Team!

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It is has been four days of tryouts and cuts for Volleyball at Abby's High School. When you are in a school with 1500 kids and 500 of those are in grade ten, the competition gets a little tougher. Abby is a good player, but not a great player. She was chosen as captain in junior high because of her attitude and leadership skills, not because she was the best player on the team.

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I have been praying none stop that she would make the team, that the coaches would see potential in her and that they would see her personality shine through. That they would see what I see...

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I knew I would feel so much better if she made this team, knowing that she doesn't know too many kids at her school yet (although the boys seem to like her, she has been asked for her number already! -- oh help us!). Being on a team forms strong and fast friendships.

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In junior high, Abby was the tallest girl and was called "gigantor" by her friends. She is pretty tough and she is fine with her height of 5 ft. 10 in. but she is no longer the only "gigantor". I see these tall, athletic, strong girls all working together and it makes me so proud, that they are confident, that they are happy just being themselves and being physically strong and healthy.

Abby says it helps too, that now in High School, the boys are tall too!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Travel Dates


"...let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of faith..." -- Hebrews 12:1

Today we received our first set of travel notes from our agency. We have been waiting anxiously for this information, as we knew that it would likely coincide with Tim's mission trip to Kunming. And it does. Tim will not be able to go on his medical mission this November and this is really hard for him... he was looking forward to seeing his patients again and meeting new ones. His collegues completely understand that for whatever reason, this is God's will. And Tim knows that he will have opportunities to go once or twice a year for years to come, but that we will only adopt Zoe once and he needs to be part of that first and foremost.

"Now faith is being sure of what is hoped for and certain of what we do not see." -- Hebrews 11:1

November 5 - leave for Beijing
November 7 (8th in China) - Beijing to Chengdu, Sichuan GET ZOE!!!
November 8 - Adoption Day
November 12 - Chengdu to Beijing (the Canadian Embassy is in Beijing)
November 13 - 14 - Excursions
November 15 - Submit paperwork to Canadian Embassy
November 15 - 17 - more excursions
November 18 - Receive child's documents from embassy and come home

It all feels so far away and yet I know it will go by quickly... wow... it really happening! We are coming to get you Zoe!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Dill Pickles

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Today, Lilah and I spent time making dill pickles. This recipe has been passed down through the generations and usually it is my mom who makes the pickles, but because my kids will eat them like it will be their last chance, I decided to make us some.

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This recipe is so simple and they are the best pickles ever!

Oma's Dill Pickles:

Fill clean mason jars with fresh dill, two cloves of garlic, one red chili pepper and small cukes. Boil together 4 cups vinegar, 12 cups of water and one cup of coarse salt. Pour this into the jars until the cukes are completely covered. Put on lids and place in a 200 degree oven for 20 minutes.

After three days... ENJOY!


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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to School

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I think I was more stressed out about today than my kids were.

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The boys were going back to the same school and so they were fine and very excited. I think Micah was a little nervous and because I had to drive Abby to her new school, I couldn't meet him at his and get him settled. Eli said he would take care of him and help him find his classroom and teacher. I did run by his school to see that he had found his way to his classroom and he had and was sitting there as they went through the massive amount of supplies they had to all bring! I have been praying throughout the summer for great teachers for my kids... especially for the boys, as I feel many teachers don't know how to handle boys. Micah has a new-to-the-school-this-year teacher, so we will see.

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Yesterday, I registered Abby for High School. Just being back in that environment brought back nightmares! She kept saying to me this morning, "Mom, I will be fine... I will be fine." And she will, she didn't seem too nervous! Volleyball tryouts are right after school, so hopefully, she will make the team and she can connect with some new friends that way.

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It was a bit strange for me yesterday, that I registered one kid for High School and bought a car seat for another. I also realized that when Abby starts her first year of University, Lilah and Zoe will be entering grade one. Kind of makes me feel young... or maybe old???

A Mom's Prayer On the First Day of School

Here we are again, Lord. Their backpacks are loaded and their faces are scrubbed and their lunch accounts are full.

And I know you'll walk with them, Lord. You always do. But a mom still has to ask.

Will You walk with them? Will You whisper to them what they need to hear, when I'm not there to whisper it?

Will You please, oh please, cover their school with the protection only You can give, and will You keep harm far away?

Will You make their minds strong and ready to learn? Will You help them understand that hard work honors the One who created them?

Will You guide their teachers, giving them patience and wisdom and creativity and more patience? Will You bless them for their efforts?

Will You love all those children there, the ones whose lunch accounts aren't full, the ones who feel alone? Will You teach my children to be kind and unselfish and to love those who are different from them?

Will You point them back toward home just as soon as you can?

Lord, I give them to You today and everyday, trusting them to Your care.

Amen.