Thursday, April 26, 2012

Been a LONG time!

Yes, I am alive! :-)

I've been debating for quite some time if I should start a new blog.  One that is about our family.  Haven't totally decided...have to start thinking of a name.  But, until then I thought I'd post!  It has been quite some time I know. 
We are all doing great!  Lots of exciting things...we've been working away at the beginnings of an Adoption and Foster Care Ministry at our church.  So, lots happening there.  And, we're going to our 3rd Christian Alliance for Orphans conference in LA at Saddleback Church!  We are excited as we leave in just a few days. When we get back we are going to be a part of the May 12/13 weekend at Rockpointe.  We will have a video about our ministry and Geoffe Moore will be speaking about the adoption of his 2 girls from China and Compassion Canada!  We are so excited to be a part of this service and to  see what God has planned!  

Well....here are a few pics to enjoy! :-)

Until next time....Carala
**I think I've missed blogging....might have to take it up again...soon!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Long time no see....





Wow! It's been way too long. Life is just clippin' along. It's a busy life having 3 kids. We are lovin' life. Caate is doing great! It's been just shy of 18 months since we brought our little Caate home. Hard to believe all the changes that she's gone through. She is one adorable little girl that has this fire for life. She is bright and pays close attention. You can't miss much with her around! LOL! We love every bit of her and can't imagine life without her.

Caate is in preschool. She loves it! I don't even want to think about Kindergarten next year....that is coming way too fast for my liking! Wish I could keep her home another year. She's learning so much and has no problem picking up new ideas or concepts. She just takes a hold of anything that presents itself and keeps on truckin'! I love it!

Caate is just finishing dance next week...and she's already on to gymnastics. She definitely is more excited about gymnastics than dance...not surprised. She's an athletic girl that wants to look more than pretty! Though, she loves to dance around the house to the tunes cranked. :-) She definitely fits our family perfectly. Right now we have all 3 kids in soccer...plus mama. Ryden is in Beavers once a week as well.

Next month we are taking the kids on a cruise with their grandparents! We are all very excited to escape this cold. We are wondering how Caate will do. I think she is going to LOVE it. I just hope she doesn't get stomach sick. So far she hasn't been sick to the stomach since she came home...so I'm not interested in starting on our holiday. I guess time will tell! :-)

Well, just wanted to share a bit. I will do another post sooner than later. I'm tired and have to pack for our ski trip tomorrow. Hope you are all well, out there in blogger land. :-)

...Carala

Thursday, September 1, 2011

1 year as our daughter....


Here are a few pics of our girl...after 1 year with her. I will do a write up soon on how the last year has gone. Life is just crazy these days with school and events! I WILL sit down soon and write...I promise! :-) Life is busy with 3 kids! LOL! :-)











Saturday, July 16, 2011

11 Months since Gotcha Day!

Ok, so I'm a little late. It was really on the 4th, but we were away on holidays.

Caate is doing great. She normally has a quiet time every day for an hour. It gives her time to just settle her brain and allows her time to just play, and not talk! Don't we all need that kind of time?! LOL! But, on our holidays we were on the go for pretty much 2 weeks straight. Having so much fun we didn't take the time for quiet times. Sure, we paid for it some days...but over all she did great! So, now that we are back home we are back into them...and it sure does wonders for her! She is listening better, trying more to use her manner more. She hugs so deeply, and loves us as if she was always with us. Sure, there are times I see the independent Caate that can do it all on her own...when clearly she can't and it's actually kind of dangerous. But, these are all things that will come in time.

Caate is a little fish in water. She jumps into chest deep water, lands with a belly flop and proceeds to swim a foot under the water for about 5 feet all the way to me. What a crazy little girl. She also likes to jump into water over her head, without any notice. She thinks she can swim...but she can't and realizes it when she starts to take in water. This girl has NO fear. Thankfully she is taking 2 week of swimming lessons starting Monday. I will wish her instructor GOOD LUCK and hope Caate doesn't drown or that her instructor won't kick her out of lessions for not listening!! LOL!! She tends to like to do her own thing in the water...but she has to learn water safetly or I won't let her near it! The thing is, she has the ability to swim....but she will have to decide to listen to the instructor to learn to swim. If this happens...Caate will be swimming in no time! I have a feeling I need to put this girl in Swim Club! We'll see what the fall holds...so far she's registered in a dance class with a friend of hers and I thought she would love gymnastics. hmmmm....so many options for such an energetic girl!

Caate experienced the Calgary Stampede for the first time yesterday! She rode a bus and the C-train too! She's been dying to ride a bus ever since she got home...so this was so fun for her. She liked the Stampede....but I think she will like it a lot more when she a bit older. We did have a lot of fun and ate a lot of corndogs, elephant ears, and lemonade slushes that were to die for!!!!!! So much fun!

I'll post a few pics to finish this post. Kind of short on words today...I just played a soccer game in the heat and I'm kind of pooped! :-)





Thursday, June 9, 2011

Our Sponsor Child

Today Caate and I sat down to write our first letter to our newest sponsor child. Our newest little one is Caate's age. His birthday just so happens to be 10 days after Caate's! This boy is very special to us in so many ways. Geofrey does not have parents. His grandma is the main caregiver and I assume bread winner for the family. He also has quite a few siblings whom I'm sure also help out by having jobs. I think what hits home the most...is that he doesn't have parents. In a lot of ways Caate and Geofrey come from similar pasts. Both losing their birth parents. Maybe for different reasons. But, both being orphaned at a very young age. Thankfully he has a grandma to take care of him....but who knows for how long.

When we were given the opportunity to take on another sponsor child, I didn't have to think about this one. It was like, how could we not? This little boy will have the ability to go to school, have some clothes, some food, and a place to learn more about Jesus. There are so many ways to help God's children. We have sponsored kids with World Vision and Compassion Canada for many years..well before we had kids. It may seem like such a big thing to adopt a child....and maybe you are not the right person to. So, how about sponsor one then! Anyone can sponsor a child. For so little cost, you can help a little boy or girl get an education. Every child deserves to go to school and have a childhood.

It was fun to be able to write this letter to Geofrey with Caate. She drew a picture for him too. She may not understand now that she lived a life not that long ago that was similar to Geofrey's. But one day we hope that she will realize the miracle God did in her life, and hopefully she will want to help others to make a difference in their lives. Caate has something very special and unique about her. I know God has something amazing planned for her life. She has this passion and fire in her soul. We desire for our whole family to continue to live our lives to help others. We are not stopping at Caate. Bringing Caate into our family changed us in so many ways. Caate has given us a growing heart to serve and love the fatherless like a never thought possible. We are excited to see where God plans to take our family and how he plans to grow us in Him.

For now, we are working towards having some kind of adoption/foster care/orphan care ministry in our city. We'll see how that goes over the next few months. We are working with about 20 others with the same heart and passion. And I currently have had the opportunity to walk beside and encourage a family that is seriously considering adoption. It has always been my prayer that through our journey others would grab onto the same desire to give a child a forever family. It truly has been amazing to give light to a dark pathway for this family. Adopting internationally in Canada is very difficult and scary. And, the fact that God has given me the opportunity to shed light on their path is just so incredible. It will be neat to see how things go for this family and I look forward to the day where we can celebrate bringing their child to their forever home!!!

When I have tough days....I think about what could have been for Caate. I think about others her age that won't be given the opportunity to have a family or a home. And, then those tough days don't seem as tough. But, at the same time...these tough days are very real. For me, it's when people (and I mean friends and family in our lives) don't understand parenting an adoptive child. How can I expect them to understand. And I don't. But, this has been hard on me. At times I feel I stand on my own. I guess that's why I love to be a support to families in our community that are starting to pursue adoption. I want to give them something I just don't have. Sure, I had a lot of people that cared for us and showed love...but they didn't know what it was like to walk the path to adoption and beyond. I know what it's like now...so I can be a huge support to others that will now walk that path because they know they have someone to be a support and encouragement. In our community of people...I feel like the guinea pig really. Why am I always the guinea pig? I guess someone always has to be. I just hope that we can make the adoption journey easier on someone else. That is my desire and goal. I don't want them to go through the lonely days that I have. Support and understanding is probably one of the biggest things an adoptive family needs in their community. Yes, we've had it through blog friends and yahoo support groups for fellow Canadians. And, I have a few friends in town who have adopted. But, for a lot they adopted a long time ago. Or, they claim to have no issues or hard times. hmmm...wish I was you!

I have such drive to help others in their journey! I believe that's what God has called me to. The fact that our roller coaster of a journey hasn't scared people away gets me excited! They know, it's not the journey that really matters in the end...it's the gift at the end. And, we have this amazing gift that just keeps on giving!! The journey may be big and tough and scary...but it's just such a small part of the real picture. And that picture is Caate, with her family around her, loving her to pieces! If you have a heart that has room for a special little boy or girl that desparately wants to be loved....would you please consider adoption?! Please email me (cjellema@shaw.ca) or put a post on my blog. I'd love to chat with you!

I want to leave you with a couple pictures from today. Caate LOVES cinnamon buns. Well, I was convinced she didn't like them until grandma showed up to take care of our kids a few weeks ago. Now, she keeps talking about cinnamon buns. So, she made me some today....

Saturday, June 4, 2011

10 Months since Gotcha Day....



Caate just got back from a birthday party at a dance studio. I decided to get her pics now before her pony was out and her clothes were ruined! LOL! She really loved the party. She even did the routine and joined in like she had done it a million times. I was so proud of her! She has come so far in 10 short months. Like so many have said. So much changes in a year. Well, I believe it!

We are starting our 1 year post placement report in a few weeks. Boy, did that come fast! We are looking forward to the summer and our 1 year celebration. On August 4th (Gotcha Day!!) we are flying to Toronto. We will meet our agency CHOC for the first time...to thank them for all they did for us. And, we will get to see so many people that were a big part of us making it through our journey to Caate. We are so excited about this trip. I truly believe those that journey together, are family. And so...family needs to stick together! We will be in Toronto 2 weeks. We have lots of fun touristy things planned for the kids. Especially a TORONTO FC game. Ok, who am I kidding...the game is for me! LOL! I am sooo excited! If you know me...I am a soccer fanatic. I play twice a week! Anyway, it will be an all around HUGE celebration of our 1 year with Caate. Taking a airplane ride has been Caate's dream ever since getting home from Russia. It's all she talks about. Soooo, it's fitting that we are flying on her 1 year Gotcha day. It's going to be so much fun!! I sure hope she gets to meet the pilot!!!

Anyway, here are a few more pics...enjoy!




Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Some words and ramblings...since it's been awhile!

It seems lately I've been just too tired to write. I miss it really. With soccer, and baseball for the boys, soccer for me, meetings for Terence....it't been hectic. Caate also wants a mommy to play with...not a "mommy that spends her time writing." I hope next year when Caate is in preschool 3 mornings a week I'll get more chances to write. Mornings are my best time...and that's when her preschool is.

Yes, Caate will attend preschool in the fall. She is very excited and ready! Caate's language is doing so great! She talks like pretty much any 3 year old and thinks like a 3 year old. Not bad for someone who is from a "hard place". I admire my girl for who she is, and how well she survived the 3 1/2 years she was without a constant mom and dad in her life. Despite the challenges she faces in her new life, new language, new culture, and new family...she has chosen to face them fearlessly. One of Caate famous sentences is, "Caate can do it!" She is a "CAN DO" person. We're sure she always had to fight for everything in her little life before us. And, with no one else to do it for her...SHE had to do it. Over time, Caate has realized my role in her life. She has allowed me to be mommy and likes me to help her despite her independence. If she could be in control at all times...she would (believe me!). I know that it stems from a lot of experiences in her life. So, I am sensitive to that, too.

Some days I think about her birth mom...who am I kidding, I think about her every day! With mixed feelings of course. But, the mom in me...the nice, kind and loving mom (that is!)...wants her birth mom to know she is happy, alive and well. But, the other mom in me....kind of doesn't. It's this constant battle in me. I see all the things Caate is able to do...and I'd love to show her birth mom how amazing she is! Hey, part of our make up is nature. Caate came from someone pretty amazing (I may not know a thing about her birth mom or dad...but I can imagine just by seeing Caate), I have no doubt. We have been blessed with an incredible girl! If it wasn't for certain events that lead Caate to the orphanage...we would never have been given this chance to love her, and for her to fill a special little space in our family. So, some days I feel sad that she's had to endure so much...but then I think...what if we never got that chance to be loved by her? We really would have missed out.

With adoption comes a lot of mixed feelings. But, I know that every day I just need to give these emotions to my Heavenly Father. He was the one that placed Caate in our lives...and I will do my best to be all I can be for her. I know He has a great plan for our lives. He has even greater plans for Caate. And, I really just want to be here, to help her to grow in love, faith and trust in our family and in Jesus too. So many times I just feel there isn't enough hours in the day to try and teach her all the things she missed out on. The time I have at home with her is too short. :-( I am thankful that preschool is only 3 mornings a week. I know how important preschool is for Caate though...it will teach Caate things I can't teach...especially in the socialization area of things. But, there are many other things she will just have to discover for herself. I do feel that keeping her home with me for the last 10 months has been critical in her learning how to love, who to love, and how to trust. This will give her a basis for so many areas of life. As much as it's not always been an easy time for me, at times feeling alone as people just don't understand attachment in adoption. It's been worth it. Adopting a child is not for everyone. You have to be a strong person and it's even more helpful to have a strong spouse that helps balance the load. I know I don't have to do it alone...Terence has been my strength when I just could not. And, I thank God for the strength he's given me when I just didn't know how I'd go on. I truly don't know how people do it (adopting a child) without God in their lives. My relationship with God is the reason I am not a mess, the reason I can be a great mom to Caate and our boys, the reason I am advocating for orphans despite the hardships and tough days. I see how important it is to have kids in families. Doesn't mean it's easy...but I can honestly say that I love sharing my heart for the orphan with so many...because God has given me that passion. When I look into my daughters eyes...and see the change in her, my heart gets all warm and my eyes start to sting with tears. My heart is so happy that we could give Caate the love she deserves. The love every child deserves. In return...we have been blessed ten times over! Caate was meant to be in our family. No doubt. Without her, a hole would have been left empty. That is why when we were trying to decide on having a third child of our own...it just didn't feel right to get pregnant. We really tossed the idea up for serveral months....but nothing felt right...until Terence mentioned adopting a child. I can't tell you in words what I felt in my heart...but I just knew that we were meant to adopt. We spent many weeks and months...and that grew into years, looking for the girl God knew we were going to adopt. Definitely pushed us to our limits some days! But, we didn't give up. God had a lot to teach us, in order for us to be good parents to Caate. We needed that time to grow us in our relationship with Jesus. We needed that time to teach us the patience we would need with Caate. I am a better mom, because of the 3 1 /2 years it took us to complete our adoption. So, when people tell me how long their process has been...I think, yes, it's probably a good thing that it's taking this long. There is much to learn...and we need to be thankful for the time we have to prepare us. I know it's hard to wait, I had my moments. But, looking back...God's timing was really perfect! So, I try to take what I've learned... and apply it to things that I am now experiencing. I know it's for a reason, when things take time. I love to have a plan and an agenda...but I'm learning that God's plan is not always on the same timeline as mine. So, I need to be flexible! :-) I hope that you too can trust God, even when it seems that He doesn't care about you or the time it's taking. He really does love you enough to give you the time needed to make the perfect plan happen! :-)

Well, enough of my ramblings...I need to pack for camping!


Until next time!
Carala