Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lucky or Loss

Lately I have found myself thinking a fair bit about the "Lucky or Loss" debate as it relates to International Adoption. Let me start with my conclusion....well technically it isn't my conclusion because it is what I have believed all along....although in the end it all comes back to it as far as I am concerned.

Anyhow, I don't think that it is a matter of "Lucky or Loss". I think that it is a matter of "Lucky and Loss". 

While obviously I think that the situation is unique and holds its own complexities for each child, I also believe that there are elements of both of the Ls in every story. Some are more obvious than others, and the list of factors is endless.

The childs age at the time of adoption for example. I was talking to someone recently about a lucky little boy who has just become a member of an awesome family. A boy who I have absolutely no doubt will receive an incredible amount of love and care. Yes I think that he is a very lucky little boy. At the same time he is a little boy who has to be going through an incredible amount of loss right now. He is no longer in the country where he spent the first years of his life. He is no longer with the parents and family that he spent the first years of his life with. To say that his world has done a 180 is a massive understatement. How could there not be loss? However, while completely acknowledging this in the conversation...in fact I raised it.....I firmly maintained my opinion that he is a very lucky little boy. From everything that I know I believe that this little boy will grow up with enough of the love, care, and support to help him through his loss, and give him every opportunity.

The conversation then continued "but Clarissa was only 9 months old when you met her (ok, it was actually "got her"...but I am not going there...see two posts ago), at this point she probably doesn't remember anything but being with you, she can't have any sense of loss.". Well it is true that she has been with us for 27 months which is 3 times more than she spent in China, and she was still very young when she came to Canada. Does she have conscious memories of being in China? I don't know. Can she still have a sense of loss? Yes she certainly can, and while it may very well be on a sub-conscious level, I believe she does. To most I am sure that it doesn't seem like it. She is actually for the most part a very well adjusted, happy, smart, beautiful (ok "beautiful" is irrelevant to what I am talking about, but I thought that I would throw it in anyhow) little girl. However, Carolyn and I see subtle signs on a regular basis that are not evident to others.......things that only we would notice or be aware of. It can be a fine line between is that a "she's 3" thing or is that an "attachment" thing? We can only be conscious of attachment issue signs, watch for them as best we can, and take any steps that we feel necessary to look after our little girl.....and that is exactly what we will do.

I can speak from experience to say that a loss even at a young age can have long lasting impacts even if they are on a sub-conscious level. My Father died when I was 2 years old. I have no recollection of him whatsoever. Even looking at pictures...nothing. Growing up I remember being asked many times if I missed having a Father. My answer was always that I didn't because I had no idea what it was like to have one. How can you miss something that you can't even imagine having? Right? I mean I had seen all of my friends Dads....all kinds of Dads....loving, caring, mean, abusive, drunks, absent, rich, poor, supportive, friendly....and all kinds of combinations of these qualities....I saw them interact with my friends, their siblings, their spouse, neighbours, their friends.....you get the picture....but it still never gave me any kind of sense of what it was like to have my own Father. To be honest I never really even wondered what it was like. My life was what it was. It was normal. For me. My Mother saw to that. Even being left on her own at 46 years old with a 2 year old and a 14 year old, she always saw to it that I had everything I needed...and wanted. I always felt like I was the most important person in her world. She took very good care of me. She was awesome. I loved her very much. Anyhow, it was not until later in my life that I realized that I did experience loss. That as hard as she tried, there were some things that my Mother couldn't replace. I didn't know it, but there was loss.....but make no mistake about it....I was very, very lucky.

Well that was more than I had planned to say....but there you go. I don't think that I will even read it all because I will probably start editing and erasing.....there must be some reason that I typed it all right?

Let me get to the important stuff......

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ho ho ho

No time to add anything else right now, but figured that I would share this.....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Halloween, raking the leaves, and "Gotcha Day"....

Ok, let's start with a picture....

Showing off a special dress
So, as mentioned in my last post one of my favourite families was about to (and now I can say "just did"..woo hoo!!! Congrats to A & R & all the Bs) have their special day of being united with their son in China. It has had me thinking about what in the International Adoption circles is called by many "Gotcha Day". This term never has, and still doesn't sit well with me. I never use(d) it. It just seems so inappropriate. It makes a life....or better yet world changing day sound like the process is an acquisition. We didn't "get" our daughter. We "got" a new van, we "got" a new deck built in the back yard, we "got" some new Christmas lights for outside....because I can't find ours....but that is another story for another day....we did not "get" Clarissa!!!!! She, as part of God's plan, became a member, a very important and cherished member of our family. We did not go to China to "get" her. We went to China to meet her and welcome her to our family.

I recently saw it described by someone this way "Gotcha is all playful and joyous, but the truth is the day is bittersweet as a parent, and just painful as the young child.".

I think that I will leave it at that.

Soooooooo anyhow, wanna see what Clarissa wore for Halloween?????

Are you sure????????????????

Hmmm...which pumpkin is Mommy's, Daddy's and Clarissa's????

Oh I thought that I would show you our pumpkins first......

Hmmmmm now where was I????????? Ohhhhhhhh ya.....costume.....

Look at me...I'm a Mermaid!!!!
 She was very, very proud of her costume and she loved giving out candy at the door.

Going back a bit.....she picked her own pumpkin....

And helped to clean it out....

Clarissa loved going to watch Daddy play hockey!! He even scored a goal for her!!
Ok....enough for now...I will get to raking the leaves later....

Look at me!!!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Birthday to a very special little girl!!!!!...and a bunch of other stuff from the last month....

First things first....

Today is our beautiful little girl's 3rd birthday!! Man time sure flies!

Can you tell that there is a bit of a theme going here????

She blew out all (3) of her candles on her cake....with a bit of help on the last one from Mommy.....

Sooooo what else has gone on over the last month....I must get on this more often....it is tough to remember everything!!!!

Let's see....oh ya....we spent a weekend at Mont Tremblant to celebrate Nanna and Poppa's 50th Anniversary. We stayed at a great spot, some excellent food, good wine, a little golf....yep a great weekend.

I found an excellent chef who owns a restaurant in Tremblant and was willing to come in with a server to cook and serve a fantastic meal for us right in our condo.....Patrick Bermand!

We played some golf....

Clarissa even got some wonderful early birthday gifts from Uncle Richard and Aunt Frankie

(yep that's the Leafs and the Habs on tv....yep I know...not a real hockey game.....)

We also spent some time in the village

Fall is here.....

Our thoughts and prayers are with our good buddy Brian from my hockey team who had surgery to repair some vertebrae after going head first into the boards.

Our thoughts and prayers are also with our friend Roberta who is heading for a second trip to China...our thoughts and prayers are also with Adrian who is staying here while she is gone.

Ok...downloading all these pictures has taken longer than I figured on....lots more to add, but no time right now.....I will aim for another post tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

October already????

Wow, I have been home for two months already!!!
Annnnnnnnnnd loving spending time with my beautiful little girl.

We have been having all kinds of fun...

Of course one of our favourite things to do is......make cupcakes!!!!!

Making them.....ummmmmm......leads to the very favourite part........EATING THEM!!!!

We had a great time going to find Clarissa and Nanna's names on the TransCanada Trail. Clarissa found Nanna's name....

And she found her name too.....
Well the mould is now out of our basement.....but we still have this to deal with....

A 6 inch wide gap that goes all around the perimeter of the house....very nice. After meeting with a pile of contractors (and hearing solutions of all kinds and $$$..price tags), I found the one who will fix the moisture problem. Then it is on to finding someone to reframe it all, and then someone to install spray insulation. Just loving Claridge right now (sense the sarcasm in that statement????).

Oh well it is what it is. Eventually it will all be done and we will be able to move all of the stuff that is currently filling up our living room and garage back down into the basement.

Enough of that...back to this....

and this....

We had a great time going to pick (and...errrr....eat...) apples at the apple orchard...we would have had some excellent pictures....except that I forgot to charge the camera's battery before we went....sooooooooo all we got was this one
Looking forward to a special family visit to Mont Tremblant.......more to come.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Montebello, puddles, clouds, and special times.....oh and MOULD!!!!!

Sooooooo yesterday it was exactly two years since we first met our beautiful little girl!!!
That would be a spectacular V8 moustache she has going on there!

It is amazing to think that it has been two whole years that we have been a family! We feel extremely blessed and so.....yep I will say it.....as unpopular as it is to say with some......LUCKY!!!!!! There I said it! Us....her....we are all soooooo freakin lucky!!!! We have such a fantastic life.....well I guess that I could do without the needles being poked in and out of my back twice a week to cause injury to promote healing to "help with my pain"....and well I guess that I could use to have more than 6 inches of my bed once in a while (hmmmm I wonder if those two are related....anyhow...)....and well I guess that I could do without having to pull the heavy during the battle of wills with a certain almost 3 year old:

(Adrian...I am borrowing this style of presentation of information from you because...well you are theeeee man!!!

Me: Clarissa it isn't nice to throw Mommy's tv remote across the room because you don't like the show that is on. Pick it up please.
Her: No!
Me: No???????? Yes please. Mommy and Daddy would appreciate if you would pick it up please. It is not ok to throw things in the house.
Her: No!!
Me: No?????? Ok we will sit here in front of the remote until you pick it up.
Me to myself: Nope, not going bend.
Me: We will sit here until you pick it up.
Me to myself: Ooooooohhhhhhhh big flowing tears and boogers....very good one......this is absolutely breaking my heart!!!
Me: All you have to do is pick up the remote and we will go back to playing.
Her: Wahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! Don't want to!!!! Go away Daddy!!!!!! MOMMMMMMMMMMY!!!!
Mommy: Clarissa it is not nice to throw things. All you have to do is pick up the remote.

Anyhow this went on for what felt like forever......until....
Me: Ok, I will help you pick it up. We will do it together.
Her: No!!!!!! Don't want to!!!!!
Me: If we pick it up together then we can play with your Dora puzzle and have some raspberries.
Her: Ok. We picked it up and then had raspberries.....and all was well with the world again......
Well until we discovered this:
I won't go into the details here, but I will say that it is a huge pain in the butt!!!!!! Oh well for every problem there is a solution.

Anyhow, a couple of weeks ago we went to Chateau Montebello which was spectacular. Nanna and Poppa come up for the day and then stayed for dinner before heading home and the three of us stayed overnight. During the day Poppa and I......well these will tell you.....
We walked around the grounds at Chateau Montebello

We also got together with some of the families that we travelled to China with to celebrate the 2 year anniversary. (thanks sooooo much to Manon, Richard, Marie-Eve, and Emilie for hosting a fantastic day) It is so great to see the girls growing up.

Clarissa took some great pictures of the sky the other night....

Oh almost forgot that we had a great time playing in the puddles when it rain the other day

Monday, August 8, 2011

One week in....and all is grand!!!!

Oh and let me start by saying that for some reason I am unable to post comments on my own site....so I am not ignoring you A, R, and D's...I just can't comment...maybe I blocked myself....maybe Carolyn blocked me...."HONEY I need to talk to you!!!!!!"

Yep, my first week of being a stay at home Dad is complete and a fantastic week it was!!! We both survived it with no major injuries. On good days I even got a nap in the afternoon!!!!!

Sooooo what did we do????? Hmmmm let's see...

We played with Sunny the bird....

Oh and we made cupcakes....from scratch...a first for both of us....Clarissa iced and decorated them all by herself.

I did learn something though...dancing and jumping in front of the oven to celebrate how good they look through the window, as fun as it is, is not a great idea that results in some kind of flat cupcakes. As flat and rather bizarrely iced and decorated they were though....they still tasted great. Next comes the white cupcakes!!!! (we did chocolate to make Mommy happy)

Clarissa had snacks each day...

We hung out with lots of friends...

Bring on week number 2!!!!