Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I have a feeling 2009 will be one amazing year for us...and for a lot of you that are adopting! Thanks for sticking with us in 2008...I hope 2009 will prove to be the best year yet! :-) I have no doubt that it will at least be as interesting! :-) When is the adoption journey NOT interesting?! :-) We love you guys and thank God for you.

Wishing you a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year...from Terence, Trennon, Ryden and Carala

Monday, December 15, 2008

....another day

Wow, I was just updating our "adoption timeline" and man, have we ever done a lot of steps! It's kind of rediculous! :-) Normally they are not so long. And to think...we are so not done yet! HA!

Anyway, it's a cold cold morning! -30!!!! Brrrrrr! But, you know...you kind of just get used to it! You have to...or you just couldn't live here!

Hopefully it warms up enought to use the snow we have....skiing is just out of the question at the moment! Anyway, gotta run get Ryden from Preschool. They are preparing for the big Christmas concert on Wednesday! I can't wait!

Love,
Carala

Friday, December 12, 2008

Documents are sent!

Well, I sent our docs today to Choices. What a great feeling. And, we won't have anything else to do for quite some time. Kind of nice with Christmas just around the corner now. :-) Now it's time to bake some goodies and wrap some gifts! :-) I wonder if our daughter will get a Christmas present this year? Probably not. :-( The greatest gift she will have this Christmas is that God is there with her. And, that we are praying for her.

....Carala

Thursday, December 11, 2008

lawyers today!

So, we have an appointment with our lawyer today to get our passports and marriage certificate notarized. I couldn't believe we could get in so quick. I hope to get our stuff out by Fedex tomorrow morning. Then, we can relax until the New Year sometime! Who knows, maybe the translator will start doing her thing right away. :-)

Well, just a short update today! Hope everyone is enjoying this wonderful Christmas season!

Love,
Carala

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

documents are here!

Another wonderful day! Boy, it's like Christmas around here!

We got our documents to sign for Russia. So, we need to sign them and send them back to Choices along with a bunch of other stuff. If we get them to her before the 24th she'll get the translator to start translating them! Wahooo. She said our stuff should take no longer than 3 months. Hey, nice to know our stuff will go! Oh boy, this is so fun! Now, hopefully our lawyer is ready this week or next to sign some of these papers! The sooner the better! With Christmas coming...couriering will get slower I'm sure. This is why we need to get on this ASAP!

So exciting!!!!!!

Carala

Thursday, December 4, 2008

another day....

I woke up this morning with a smile on my face. Isn't God good?! I could just feel God at my side this morning...almost as if He really had his arms wrapped around me. It feels so good when you know you are walking on the path God wants you to be on. No doubts, no worries...just peace.

As soon as I got Trennon off to school I came home to email our home study off to Choices along with our passport photo pages. It felt so good to hit "SEND"!

Well, I need to finish up my cookies for the cookie exchange I'm doing. It's nice to stop and celebrate this news...but life still goes on! With Christmas just 3 weeks away...I have things I still need to do. Plus, we have Terence's work Christmas party tonight! We're so excited to get dressed up and go out and celebrate!! What perfect timing!

....Carala

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

APPROVAL IS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh my goodness!!!!! I'm boucing off the walls! We got our home study back from the AB government. I was volunteering today at Ryden's class and then at the ski hill with Trennon's school...and so when I got home at 4pm...what was on my step? Our Approval for Russia!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I know we've been expecting it...but it's hard to believe it's really here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so stoked!!!!!!!!!

I've gotta run...but I'm sure I'll write more later when I figure what what we're suppose to be doing with our dossier etc!!!!

Thanks for praying guys!!!!

Love,
Carala
** WAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

bad news for Taiwan

It's a sad day for those who are still with the Taiwan program. Our agency just wrote today and announced that after May 2009 the Taiwan program for Choices will cease to exist. The people in Taiwan said that nationals are adopting healthy infants so there aren't many, if any for inter country adoption. Since our file never made it to Taiwan...it still was on the wait list in Victoria, BC...it will be returned to us. And that's it. Those who have their home studies in Taiwan will be given until May 09 to accept a referral. If a referral isn't accepted by May 09...then their files will also be returned to them. It's so crazy how this program started and ended so quickly. It only started for Choices 1 1 /2 years ago. With only 2 families getting referrals and only one of them is home with their daughter. So disappointing. I feel for those that are dealing with this news today. My heart goes out to them.

For us, we went through our grieving process this past summer when we realized Taiwan wasn't moving forward as fast as we'd like. It was a very difficult time. And I know exactly what people in the Taiwan program in Canada are going through today. It's devastating! We went through so many emotions...it wasn't fun.

But today, we do see the light at the end of a very dark tunnel. It may be only a little flicker of hope...but it still is hope nonetheless! For me, today is another confirmation that we are following God's plan for our family. It was hard to let go of Taiwan...but now we see why we did it this past summer. I can't imagine having to start the process again, now. God saved us 6 months! 6 months we could have been still waiting for Taiwan...but now we are almost ready for start our Russia dossier(as soon as AB govt gets their butt into gear!). God is good. Though there are days(like yesterday) that I can get so frustrated and mad....he gives us little gifts that keep reminding us that He is in control and wants the best for us. If we just listen for his sometimes quiet voice of reassurance and keep trusting in Him...He will reveal his plan to us in his timing. Today is a tough day...but at the same time...I know he has great plans for our family...including a little girl that is waiting oh so patiently for her family just like we are!

I will be praying for those families that have a lot of thinking to do about the closure of Taiwan. It's not an easy time and so I want you to know you're in my prayers. I want you to remember that there is hope! Your child is out there...waiting for you! Don't give up! I know there are days where it seems so hopeless. Keep hoping! Your day will come when you get to wrap your arms around your child...and never let go.

Well, it's with a heavy heart I leave this post. I feel for so many people right now. It's almost hard to believe. There is so many changes happening in international adoption right now. I just pray there aren't any more changing coming for other countries.

....until next time (hopefully we'll have good news about our home study!)

Carala

Monday, December 1, 2008

...patience

Well, almost another week has gone by. Almost 5 weeks since our home study was sent away. I'm still hopeful that we'll get to start our Russia dossier before Christmas...but we'll have to see.

Thankfully the AB government will be FedExing our homestudy to us...because our postal system is terrible. I don't mind paying for something...to ensure it does get here before Christmas. I hope I get an email this week from them saying our stuff is on the truck. It would be nice to start doing stuff next week. We're finishing up our photos so they will be ready to go for the file. I'm just a little anxious to get our stuff going! I know our little one is only ready when she's ready....but who knows...what happens if we are to meet her at the end of 2009...that would be the most amazing Christmas present ever! I know Russia is not the nicest place in the winter...but at this point I really don't care. I've been there at New Years and it's no different than here! I just think....could God grant us an early referral and could we really be going next year at this time? We can only pray for a miracle to happen. I know God knows our hearts.....and he knows where our daughter is at. I just pray that we will have the patience to wait...if needed. :-) I just can't imagine another Christmas without her. It's such a family time of year....and our family isn't complete without her. I know we'll most likely face another Christmas after this one...without her. And that...makes me sad. :-( And here I thought pregnancy was long! HA! I guess this is why God doesn't want us to know the future...cause I'm sure I would have hesitated a bit if I knew what we'd go through. I'm thankful for not knowing...cause I so badly want to wrap my arms around our daughter. I wouldn't miss it for anything! So, if we have to wait....then so be it. God will and has given us patience.

Now, back to pictures and some more patient waiting!

...Carala

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

4 weeks!

It's been 4 weeks since our home study has been at the AB government. Hopefully any day we'll be getting it back in the mail. Unfortunately our have problems with our mail...some stuff just doesn't get to us. There's another very similar address and they get our stuff quite often. When we got approval for Russia....the envelope was at their house 3 weeks before we got it. So, I'm feeling a little uneasy at the moment.

So, what's next? We'll once we get the home study...we fax it off to Choices along with some pics of our house/family...and then send them stuff like marriage cert/ etc etc. Lots of paper work shuffling! Sounds like fun eh...especiallly right in the middle of Christmas! That's why all my Christmas shopping is done except 2 little gifts! I still have Christmas baking to do...but there will be enough time for that once our stuff is off to Choices. Priorities you know! :-)

I can't believe we're almost onto the Russia stuff! I'm excited! I just pray there will be no slowdowns and our stuff will get off to Russia sometime in the New Year. If we're lucky...maybe before March!

....Carala

Sunday, November 23, 2008

timeline....

So, here's the timeline...though when does it ever happen like this!

Prepare dossier (up to 3 months to prepare)

Wait for referral of child (could be a year or more for the referral of a girl aged 18 months to 36 months)

When we get referral...you go for your first visit(4-6 weeks after you get your referral. First visit is 7-14 days.

Come home and wait for second visit(about 1 month to 2 1/2 months after first visit until you travel again)

Duration of the second trip, 1 month..including a 10 day waiting period after all documents have been finalized. I hear it's a painful 10 days since you just want to go home...but it's not like we're not used to PAIN. This whole process is painful!

Yes, it's a long one.

On a side note...we heard that the MOSCOW region just got put on "hold" in the last few days. No one knows why.....only this region though. We are in a very different area of Russia. We can only pray that this is not the start to something much bigger. International adoption is so unpredictable. All we can do is wait. Please pray I don't lose it...cause when I heard that news tonight I got this huge knot in my stomache. Why now.... Only God knows. We just need to keep "praising Him in this Storm"...a song that keeps reminding me that God is ultimately in control, not me.

Thanks for listening...and praying.

Love,
Carala

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Vladivostok it is....

So, we chose Vladivostok instead of NN. Our agency hasn't been in NN very long...and so we just don't want to be guinea pigs again. I know someone has to do it...but with all the hurt we've had...we just can't do it again. Our agency has worked within Vladivostok for a long time. I just want to feel secure...as secure as you can feel in this adoption process, that is! HA! We both feel good about our decision...and so we pray that the path we have chosen will not be full of twists and turns...but maybe a little more straight from now on. I know we still have a lot of stuff ahead of us. Some days I just want to hold my breath. I just don't want anything else to go wrong...but I know there's great potential there. I just keep trusting in God...that's all I can do.

Our home study has been at the AB Gov't for 22 days now. It could be there as long as 42 days.....so we're over half way now! In a lot of ways these last 3 weeks have flown by. I just hope the next 3 do too!

Our daughter is out there....wow...I have this huge lump in the throat. The time can't go any slower in this moment. What I would do to be a fly on the wall in her orphanage right now. All I can do is pray that God will cover her with his amazing unfailing love and keep her in his so strong and caring hands. Protect her from the cold Russian winters and provide her with someone that will show her love.

It's scary to get this close again. We were this close with Taiwan...even alittle closer. We had our dossier ready. Only to be told things just aren't moving. This is a hard place for me. Being this close. I know we'll get through it.

Thanks for listening...for caring. We have been so supported during this process. God knew we needed all of you. So thanks once again.

Love,
Carala

**At supper the other night...Trennon and Ryden both asked to pray. I figured they were going to pray for their food...but turns out...they wanted to pray for their sister to come home. I could have cried. Talk about patience...these boys have an abundance of it...and I know it's only because they have Jesus in their hearts. They keep me going...cause I see how much they trust God with this. They are my inspiration. :-) I never thought I'd learn so much about God through my kids. It shows that God will use even the smallest of children to bring you closer to Him.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Our family

 


I've been trying to find a family picture of us to put on the blog...and finally found one. It was taken in September at Panorama, BC.

Not much happening on the adoption front. Our stuff has been at the AB Government for 16 days now (but who's counting!). :-) Could be there another 4 weeks though, so I'm trying to show some patience.

We're still not sure which area we're going with. Either Vladivostok or NN. Any recommendations? :-)

...Carala
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Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Adoption Awareness Month - November!

So, it is ADOPTION AWARENESS MONTH!!! A great time of year to talk up adoption cause you never know when someone shows enough interest to go on their own journey to a little boy or girl that needs the love of a mama and dada. :-)

So, I encourage you to share your story maybe a few more times than usual this month! Yes, if you're anything like me...talking about your adoption is easy...but does get a little tiresome. Especially when the process is not going as fast as you'd like! But, this month we need to share, share, SHARE about how wonderful adoption is! As God's children...He adopted us into HIS family no questions asked. Isn't that amazing?! God loves us so much...that He doesn't care who you are, where you're from, and what may be "wrong" with you...inside or out. He just loves you anyway! I love that God put ADOPTION on our hearts, almost 2 years ago now! I never thought we'd ever adopt...but now I see how incredible it is. And I can't imagine our lives without our little girl in it. For the past 2 years we've been praying for our daughter...and though we've imagined her as a little girl from many different countries...in the end all we want is to hold her in our arms. And, I hope that others will see, through our journey to our girl, that they too are called to adopt a child! Though international adoption isn't the way to solve a country's social issues....God calls us to take care of the widow and orphaned. So, we step out in faith that God will guide us and provide us with what we need to get our little girl home! It's not an easy task, but with complete trust and faith in God, I know we'll hold our daughter one day without a doubt. :-)

So, let's spread the word folks!

Love,
Carala

PS...our home study has been at the Alberta Government for 1 week now! Wahooo...1 week done, 5 to go! Baby steps...are still steps towards our girl!! :-)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

homestudy gone to AB gov't

Our homestudy went to the Alberta Gov't today! It's a good day!

...Carala

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

another day...

Well, it was a bit of a frustrating day....our original criminal checks were lost for part of today. I was dreading having to go back to the cop shop and ask for new ones. I was not impressed. Then our agency called and said...we found them! Boy was I happy to hear that! It was our fault for giving our originals to them in the first place...we were supposed to give them copies, not originals! You'd think we would have known this before getting ourselves into this mess! Anyway, nothing ever goes as planned. And, it was another typical day for the Jellemas! But, everything is fine! We both went to our agency today to sign off on our homestudy. Tomorrow morning our homestudy should go off to the Alberta Government for approval. If you think of it...could you pray that they have a little sympathy and push our file through a little quicker than 6 weeks. This is the 3rd time we're asking for approval for a country...it would be nice to get priority...since we've been on this road too many times. Though, at the same time...everyone else has to wait. So, we'll just have to wait and see what they say. I don't know that they really care who we are and how many times we've been down this road. We know our daughter just may not be ready yet...so I'm ok to wait if that's what we need to do.

To our daughter,

We are fighting hard to get to you as soon as we can. It's been a long road to you...but we think we're headed in the right direction now! Things are going well...so far anyway! We think that's a good sign! :-) Since we are asking for you to be 18 months to 36 months...you most likely are born and sitting in a little orphanage in Russia! Wow! For so long I've prayed for you. I may not exactly know where you are....but God does. So, I still wait as pacient as I can! It's hard some days...but God must have someone so very very special waiting, that he had to take us around the world and back so you would have time to be born into this world. I can't wait to meet you. I know you will fit into our family so well. Your brothers are so excited to meet you! You will not lack attention I know! They are already loving you with all their hearts.

I know one day when you read this blog...you will see how much we wanted you in our lives. Everyday for the past 1 1/2 year we have fought for you. We went through hard days and good days. We've experienced great joy and and a lot of sadness and frustration as this journey to you has been so hard and long...but we never wanted to give up the fight. Your mama has great endurance! It's a great gift God gave me a long time ago....and though I've used it in a lot of situtations in my life...he really needed me to have it so I could get to you! I know you need a mama right now. I know you need a family. And we're coming. In a few short months our file will go to Russia...to your home land. It is then that the real journey starts! The people in Russia will take our file and go on the hunt to find you. The perfect girl for us! Then all our lives will be complete...just how God planned it all along. I love you girl. And we all can't wait to have you in our lives forever.

Love,
Your mama
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Today was another step towards our daughter! And, a very exciting day that we celebrate! Tomorrow we start thinking about our Russian dossier that will go to Russia with all our documents. We need to prepare picture of our lives etc. These will have changed since we did our Taiwan ones. The boys have grown so much since last year. It will be fun choosing new pictures!

Thank you for all your love and support. These last few months have been so tough. But, we feel so much closer to our girl than we've ever felt before. Pray for her when you think of us. We know God is keeping her safe. It's been an emotionally draining time in our lives...we know as we exit this time in our journey, God has great plans for us and our daughter! I know there are good times to come and we look forward to all the fun God has planned for our family!

Love,
Carala(for all my boys)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

exciting day!

It's so exciting to see the wheels in motion. Today I heard that our homestudy has gone through the editor and is now being reviewed by our agency. They said it should go to the Alberta Gov't by Monday. That was such great news today! I needed that! So, it normally takes between 4 and 6 weeks with the gov't...so early December we should have our homestudy back. Then, we will send it to Choices in Victoria and from there they will start putting our Russia dossier together. That normally takes anywhere from 6 weeks to 12 weeks to do. Plus, add Christmas in there... Anyway, I'm very excited that this part is going well. God is good! This has been the most positive news in so long. And, to most of you it may not seem so big. But, with so many things that have gone wrong over the last serveral months...something just went right. And, I kind of feel shocked by it. Something actually can happen earlier than expected? That's amazing! :-) Anyway, thanks for keeping up with our journey and being happy for us...even in the little successes! :-)

And, I'm off to Edmonton tomorrow to go see Celine Dion with Terence! Then a weekend of seeing friends and going watersliding with my cousin! It's definitely going to be a fun weekend and this just started it out with a bang! Wow! It feels so good right now. I just want this feeling to last....

Anyway, Survivor is on soon......can life get any better?!!!!!


Love,
Carala

Thursday, October 16, 2008

gone to editing!

So, our homestudy ended up going to editing today!!! So exciting. And, she said it probably wouldn't take long as it had been edited for our first homestudy. So, with the minor changes it shouldn't take long! So exciting! Maybe we really will have our homestudy back to us by Christmas! What a great gift that would be!

Anyway, had to share my HAPPY news!!! (any little bit of hope is exciting!!)

...Carala

one last document!

So, we're waiting for one last document to come back from the gov't and then our homestudy will be off to editing!

So many baby steps. I can't wait for this to be over. Doing it once was tough enough....I hope we don't have to go this road again. Life is busy though...so we keep occupied with Trennon's soccer, my soccer and Ryden's skating lessons. Plus school, work and church stuff. It will be great to have it off to the Alberta Gov't for approval. Hopefully in Early November that will happen. I'll keep you posted!

...Carala

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

homestudy update...

So! Our homestudy update for Russia is Friday! Yah! I'm excited. It will be good to get our part of the work out of the way. I'm learning to let things go alittle and let God really be the one doing it. At the moment I'm feeling pretty good about where things are at. We heard recently that a Canadian family got a referral for a sibbling pair from Taiwan. That's exciting. It wasn't in our agency...but that's still good. I really pray things start moving with Taiwan. I think it would be incredible to get a child from there...but you know....I'm really learning that it's really about getting a child. Doesn't matter from where. God knows where our daughter is. And, sometimes he uses situations like these to teach you to depend fully on Him. Not saying it's always easy, cause man, some days suck. But, how would you ever grow as a person, and why would you ever want to rely on God if it was always easy. God wants you to draw to him for strength and guideance. If life were easy....it would be boring, really. Challenges in life make us stronger people...and you know, the reward is that much sweeter, cause you worked for it and fought hard to get it. Thankfully, it's not all about what we do. God can take all the glory when we finally reach out and wrap our arms around our girl in the end. After all we've been through...I can honestly say I wouldn't be trying again...our 4th try, at a country if it wasn't for what God has done for us. There were so many days I just wanted to wake up from this horrible night mare. Cause it felt like it was. Nothing was going right...everything was going wrong with every country that we started. But, I see the path that God has brought us on, and the people he has brought around us to support us...it's been incredible. I know our battle isn't over. For all we know, there could be bigger obsticals ahead of us. (hopefully not!) But, I know we won't stop until we find our girl. Trennon was talking today about how he loved to push his friend Benjamin on the swing when he was 18 months old. I said, your sister will love it too! His eyes lit up! "Really?!", he said. "Yes, she too will love the attention and love you will give her because you are her big brother." It's times like this...that I want to make her magically appear. I can't wait for the day Trennon and Ryden wrap their arms around her. She is as much a sister for them, as she is a daughter for us. This is huge for them. And, because of their ages....they will remember it for a life time. I love how God planned this. I love how he takes a long, horrible process and makes it a wonderful, exciting one! Through the good and the bad....we will persevere!

Well, that's all for now. I will definitely keep you updated as time goes on. I know the months will fly by now. Christmas is right around the corner!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you spend your weekend being thankful for what you have been blessed with. We truly have been blessed by God. Our family is amazing! Our boys, how did I get so blessed with two incredible, loving, sensitive, God loving boys?! Wow....anyway...I just love them to pieces!!!!

c-ya!

:-)

Monday, September 29, 2008

A New Country.....

We are Russia bound! It's hard to believe where we've come over the last year. Sometimes I still feel like I'm holding my breath. Sometimes I feel scared that it won't be our last stab at a country. But, we're willing to risk it all for our girl, for our family. So, here it goes. Next week we update our homestudy and then off it goes. I hope by January we can start preparing our dossier for Russia. It's takes about 3 months to do. They say it may take a little longer to get a referral of a girl...but we're ok with that. All in all we hope that we will have our girl in 2010...maybe early 2010 if we're lucky!

This was a short update. I don't feel very "wordy" right now. Thanks for understanding.

Carala

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Risk

So, I went to an amazing benefit concert on Friday with my mom. It was for Place of Rescue, where Terence and I went in May. Paul Brandt was the main attraction and man was it incredible! With the place maxed out at 350 people...it was an intimate concert with just him and a guitar. WOW! Plus his wife sang a few songs with him as well. He joked, told about his life, and really spoke from his heart. Why I'm telling you about this is because towards the end of the concert he spoke about the song RISK that he wrote. It's also the title of his newest CD. He talked about the risk Marie Ens took (f0under of Place of Rescue) in going back to Cambodia after losing her husband and being of retirement age...and risking all that she had left for the plan God had for her and these beautiful kids that now surround her.

Risking it all....for our kids. I would risk so much for Trennon and Ryden. And, I know we need to risk it all for our third child...wherever they are. We can't hold back...we need to take that leap. And give it all, no matter the outcome. We risked it big time for Taiwan....and it failed. But, that's part of Risk...there's always that chance. But, isn't it worth it, for our kids? YES! Definitely it is! And, if we have to fail once more with another country....it will be worth the risk in the end. The reward is so great. I know in the end we will hold our baby and know it was worth all that RISK! So, thank you Paul Brandt for your words of wisdom (not that he'd ever land on my site...but if he does...thank you! ha!) .

The greatest thing about risk when you have Jesus, is that when you succeed...you have Jesus to thank...and when you fail....you know jesus will pick you up, dust you off, heal your wounds and make you new again! And, he brings your friends along side you, to do the same. So, why don't we risk more, especially for Christ? Well, it still hurts when you fail....cause we are human after all. And we don't like to hurt. But, it's worth it!

Thank you to all our friends and family who are praying. I know it's in those down times, when I don't feel like praying or when I ask why, that my friends are making up for my lack of prayer and faith. You know who you are....thank you! I can feel them. I know God has a great plan for us! I can't wait to see it in action. I know in the end, holding of babe will feel so good. It did with Trennon and Ryden...and I wouldn't have wanted anyone else. So, we wait for our babe....wherever they are. And I trust in God, the one who created me, to do what he will with me. And, if he needs me to wait, I will wait.

To my darling babe,

You are worth the RISK! I love you and can't wait to hold you in my arms for the first time! God is keeping you safe, I know it, I feel it! There are so many that love you already. You are one blessed daughter/son of ours!

Love,
your mama




These are the words to Paul Brandt's song "RISK"


RISK


I'd rather stand on the edge of a cliff

hang my toes over a bit

and then jump when they dare me

even if it scares me

and I get hurt

I'd rather build my wings on the way down

do my best not to fall to the ground

and then laugh at my mistakes

cause they're only lessons I'll learn


I'd rather burn with desire

deep in my soul

and love like a fire that's out of control

and laugh

and dance

and fall

and chance

and kiss

I'd rather live my whole life with a sense of abandon

squeeze every drop out

no matter what happens

and not wonder what I missedI'd rather Risk

Oh I just can't resist the chance to

Risk
Well I guess I could just play it safe

and forget about love hope and faith

with my eye on the shoreline

keeping my boat tied and stayin' home

But I'll never discover new land

by keeping my feet on the sand

No I'd rather set sail

And get carried away by the storm


(Chorus)

Words & Music by Paul Brandt ©2006 Giantfoothillbilly MusicSOCAN

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

This is why we call it "Jellema's Journey".....

So, you can just pretend you didn't read yesterday's blog update....Ecuador is on hold...for an undetermined amount of time. The last time I talked with our agency...it wasn't. So, my call to them this morning (after getting our finger prints and criminal check done!) definitely threw me for a loop. Those of you who have been through this kind of thing before...understand what I'm going through at this very minute.

Do we really have to return to the "drawing board" so to speak and decide on yet another country??? Unfortunately I don't think we have any other choice. All I know, is that God is in control. Wherever he is taking us...I don't know...but I know in the end He holds our little child. Keep us in your prayers as we go through another big decision. We'll keep trusting and holding onto Him, cause there's nothing else we can do. I feel this is all out of our control, as it usually is with God! :-) His plan for us is so much better than the plans we have for ourselves most times. This is why I can keep my head up, though I'm sadden at the moment. I know I just have to trust.



Anyway....that's all for now.

Love,
Carala

Monday, September 8, 2008

paper work, paper work and more paper work...

Hey all!

I know, it's been awhile. Life got so crazy with summer ending and school starting. Trennon is in Grade 1 this year and Ryden is in Preschool! It's nuts. I had 2 hours and 15 minutes to myself this morning! What is one to do? Well....lots! But, the moment I got into my truck to leave preschool....my heart hurt. My boys are all grown up. They don't need mama no longer...boo hoo hoo! I'm happy for time to myself, don't get me wrong. But, it's not as easy as I thought, to let go. I've been home full time for 6 years now. Crazy how time has flown. I'm so thankful our next daughter or son is out there...and needs me! I'll be so happy to have a little one at home again. This is why I'm going to enjoy the time I have for myself in the next few years!

So, tomorrow we are off to get finger printed and get our criminal checks done. I am getting blood work done this week as well. We hope to meet with our social worker on the 30th so we have to get all this stuff back by then. We just need one visit from our social worker to revise our homestudy to get it ready for Ecuador. That is very exciting. We really have hopes that we can send this off to our gov't by end of October and have it back in our agencies hands by Christmas. That would be so wonderful. We'll see though. Nothing ever goes as planned in the adoption world! :-)

Anyway, that is the brief update on us. Thank you all for your support and your prayers. It's been a roller coaster of a ride. We are just excited to get the ball rolling. It was nice to take the summer to prepare ourselves for this next step. Now we are ready to go! I hope the next few years don't take too long.

....Carala (for all my boys!)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

the long awaited update.....

Hello everyone. Boy, it's been awhile. It's been 2 months since we've been back from Cambodia and Taiwan. So much has happened and changed. Boy, I never would have imagined where we're at. So, here it goes.

We've decided to start the paper work for Ecuador! Can you believe the change in direction? Wow! It's nothing less than a miracle that we're both on board with this. Adopting from Ecuador is quite different than adopting from Taiwan. Obviously it's clear across the other side of the world, in South America! Wow, if someone would have told me last year, that in 1 years time we will be opening a second country in South American...I would have told them that's just crazy talk! So, we're starting the paper work, medicals, criminal checks etc. Our paper work for Taiwan is expiring soon...so we're having to do this stuff all over again. What fun! (not!) But, you know....I've become a very patient person through this whole process. We're finally out of the "fog" and really seeing God's hand on us and his guideance in our lives. We went through a difficult time, no doubt. But, we always trusted that God would lead us and that we would be ok with whatever he wanted for our family. I never knew that he would take us to Ecuador. We will be requesting a girl aged 2-3. Now, you can only request a girl...but no guarantees. So, we may end up with another boy! Wouldn't that just be crazy fun! :-) I kind of laugh at the full circle we've come. I laugh about the possibility of having yet another boy! We're really ok with that, to our surprise! I know it's only because of God that we're at peace about all of us. Thank you all for your support and prayers! We can feel them! Don't stop either...cause we still have a long bumpy road a head of us. And, at the end of it.....we do get to travel to Ecuador and spend 2 months there! Isn't that so exciting! We will take our boys with us too. Others have done it and reccommend it! It's a safe country and it's a great time for them to bond with their new sibbling. You get your child within a few days of arriving in Ecuador and then they are with you until the final paperwork has gone through at the end of about 8 weeks. So, we'll get a chance to get to know our new child before we bring them back to Canada. How neat! I'm looking forward to that!

I want to keep this semi short. Thank you all for caring so much. Our hearts are healing and we feel we are getting more and more excited about where our lives are headed! We will still keep our file active with Taiwan. There's no point in cancelling it. So, if a miracle happens and things really start happening with Taiwan, great. If not, we have Ecuador and we're so happy about that! God is good! He really knows what's best for us, and I'm glad we realize that and are so happy about where we're at. It's really God's peace and assurance that keeps us going. I guess our child isn't ready to come yet...so we wait patiently for the day they are ready for us!

We appreciate all of you soooo much! It's what keeps us going day in and day out. Gotta love this crazy adoption process!!! I'm glad I can laugh about it, most days. There's just nothing to explain how crazy it is. So, you just go with it and be excited that one day you will get your child home that God has picked out for you. :-)

.....Carala

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My little boy is 4 today!

Well, it's Happy 4th Birthday to my little boy. Or should I say BIG boy! :-) It's hard to believe 4 years ago today Ryden came into our lives. What a great addition to our family. He has made us smile, laugh, and giggle til you can't see, cause the tears are clouding your vision. His smile lights up a room and he has the greatest belly laugh! I love him with all my heart.

The past 4 years have flown by. We've made so many incredible memories with both Ryden and Trennon. We just know though, that our family isn't complete. Our boys talk so much about their little sister. We've been in a difficult place lately with our adoption. But, we're coming out of the valley and beginning to climb up the mountain again. Struggles in life aren't meant to be easy. We know we will get through this and begin to start the process of a new country in the coming weeks. We all have that special place in our hearts that hasn't been filled yet...we know she/he is out there. I pray that our next step will lead us to him/her.

I think of the struggles we had with Ryden the first week of his life...and look at him now. We will make it through these struggles with adoption and in the end we will know we made the right decision. God has been our strength and been patient with us when we didn't always want to listen to him or just didn't know what he was trying to say. We feel his constant hand of guidance in our lives and we're excited to keep walking forward through this process. Please keep us in your prayers as we make some key decisions over the next few weeks. Pray also that our hearts will mend, over the decision to take a step away from Taiwan and onto move towards another country ( To be determined soon). It's been tough on us and but we know we are making the right decision for our family.

....Carala

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Lyrics to my favoriate song....

This is my favoriate song right now. It's sung by CASTING CROWNS! It's really where I'm at and I hope you this can be an encouragement to you, when you go through the "storms" of life. No matter how many tears I cry for our daughter...I know he is holding them in his hands. I will praise him through all our circumstances...in the good times or the bad times. God won't always save us from the bad in life...but if we lean on him, he will help us through. God has been at our sides through this all, He has been my strength when I feel I can stand no longer. Read the words below....


Praise You in This Storm
words by Mark Hall/music by Mark Hall and Bernie Herms


I was sure by now,God, that You would have reached down
and wiped our tears away,
stepped in and saved the day.
But once again, I say amen
and it's still raining as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain,
"I'm with you"
and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away.

Chorus:
And I'll praise you in this storm
and I will lift my hands
for You are who You are
no matter where I am
and every tear I've cried
You hold in your hand
You never left my side
and though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm


I remember when I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to You
and raised me up again
my strength is almost gone how can I carry on
if I can't find You
and as the thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"and as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise
the God who gives and takes away

Chorus

I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth
I lift my eyes onto the hills
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth

Chorus

an update.....

well, it's been a long time since I've written. I've been dreading this post...cause things are not going well in Taiwan. It seems that our hope for getting a baby girl is drifting away. The reality is setting in. I know this is probably a shock for some of you. Chung Yi doesn't seem to be giving referrals of infants to anyone. I'd love to hear it directly from Chung Yi's mouth...I wish now I would have asked the hard questions of Chung Yi while I had them right in front of me. Of course there's been no confirmation since no one seems to get any honest answers out of Chung Yi. So, where does this leave us? We aren't completely sure at this point. Some days I'm still in a bit of shock. After having an amazing time in Taipei and at Chung Yi...it's like a bad ending to a great story...a bad dream. But, I know God is watching over us. I know he knows our hearts. And most importantly I know he knows where our child is....maybe our child is not in Taiwan after all. This is all very hard to take. We've been processing it over the last 2-3 weeks. It's still so fresh. When we know more about what our next step is...I'll be sure to update the blog. At this point I can't say what we're thinking cause we're still both very unsure of where we're headed. It's a lot to get your head around.

As we're coming close to a year, all our documents are expiring...so that means we need to get our medicals redone, intervention check, police check etc. I guess it's good timing...cause then all our stuff will be new. Reality is....we just lost a year. But, I realize that we took a great risk in going with Taiwan. It was so new...and you either jump or not. And we jumped with a lot of hope. I probably would have never stopped in Taipei if it wasn't for our adoption...and I'm so glad we did! It is an amazing place and we'll definitely be stopping there as a family on our "trip around the world" one day.

Adoption is not for the weak, it's for those that know how to fight all the obsticles it possesses. We will not let this thing do us in....we will fight till we bring our little one home. If you have endured adoption, I commend you! For most it's the biggest challenge they will face in life. It tests pretty much all of who you are. The emotion, the mental, the psychological....and physically some days you wonder how you will get up in the morning to face another day. The community that the adoption world has is incredible. We've met so many that have encouraged us through this process. I highly doubt I'd be this positive right now if it wasn't for them. Thank to all our friends here in Calgary and to those new friends I've found in adoption forums. You are a blessing to us and know that you are a big part of this. We will forge on....with hope that one day we will hold in our arms...the child God has in mind for us. I've learned so much about who I am and who we are as a family. God has been ever present and I've been closer to Him these days then ever before. As the fight has gotten harder...I've clung more to Christ and who he is in my life. Some days I feel blind, not knowing what way to go...but God keeps saying, "trust in me and I will be your guide in the darkness of this storm you are facing. " And so we do! God is so good!

Thank you all for your prayers and sticking with us. You know that there will be the biggest party when we get off that plane with our little one wrapped in our arms! I can't wait!

...Carala (for Terence and our amazing boys!)

Friday, June 6, 2008

missing her....

Today...I miss our daughter.... I feel so blessed to have been to Taiwan. But, when I really think of it. Her "mother" was walking around Taiwan, when I was..... maybe even pregnant with our daughter. I was there in search of who she is, her people, her homeland. Her mom... searching for reasons to keep her, or to give her up. Our two worlds...so close...so very very close.....yet so far a part. I think my heart was kept guarded by God while I was there. Cause, I think I would have gone crazy thinking about her and her "mom". I think I would have crumbled at the door step of Chung Yi...if I would have thought much deeper. Cause now...when I think of how close I was to her...my heart hurts. I know we all go through this is one way or another. Adoption brings out different things in different people. I just know that today, I hurt. But, there's always tomorrow! And I know God allows both joys and sorrows into our lives. They all make us stronger! I'm thankful, so thankful for my short time in Taiwan. I got an opportunity few get. I can say, that Taiwan is an incredible country, with extraordinary people....and we are all blessed and fortunate to be able to love them and bring one of them into our homes....forever.

So, we continue on our journey....doing our best to stay hopeful and excited...for the day we get our chance to walk through the doors of Chung Yi....

...Carala

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Chung Yi - inside the Orphanage






Chung Yi - inside the Orphanage






I couldn't believe the number of books I saw! They teach the kids to be clean and tidy. It was definitely a nice surprise!
The first picture is of the front office, with 2 receptionists. Sandy (Choices contact person) is the one standing to the right. The social workers offices are in the back to the left.
The top right picture is a "common" living space to relax, eat a snack, watch tv, read books, and hang out. There are 2 of these per floor. This particular one was for ages 7-12 boys.

National Palace Museum - Taipei




These photos were taken at the National Palace Museum in Taipei. The view is spectacular from the Museum steps! (as you can see!) This is definitely a "must stop"...if you don't have children with you...they would be bored!


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Greetings from Taipei Airport!

Well, what else is there to do at this airport than check email, facebook and write on a blog! Oh, and most importantly....get a decaf iced cafe latte! Yes, I got addicted in 3 days to Starbucks! Can you believe it? There is literally Starbucks EVERYWHERE you look in this city! And, so much nicer than the ones in Calgary. Anyway, I have one in hand and ready to type. You get free internet at the airport....nice!

So, I'm sure you're all curious as to what the Orphanage was like etc. Well, It was so nice. Lots of books, toys and very clean (in my opinion) and tidy rooms. They train these kids well. All the kids were gone to school (unfortunately) so I didn't see any. And, I wasn't allowed on the 0- 6 floor because of sickness...hmmm.... Anyway, I wasn't expecting to see the infant/toddler area. I was told that before I left. It would be too hard on the kids. But, I did get to speak with Sandy...the contact person for our agency and she said she is the contact person for all agencies international. What a sweet heart she is! She was so happy I came and really tried to impress me with how wonderful and set up this orphanage is. We had a great conversation about the Orphanage and I could ask general questions. She was definitely had boundaries of what I could ask. Understandably. Anyway, I couldn't have asked for a better interview and tour. I came out of there smiling from ear to ear....wishing only for one thing...to just take that little baby home that I saw as I left the Orphanage...she looked 10 months and cute as a button. They wouldn't let me take pictures of her, but I couldn't take my eyes off her! Soooo cute!

I can't wait to come back to Taipei and see the rest of Taiwan! It is a wonderful place and pretty easy to get around. I was thankful to have my friend Mel with me! She lives down in Southern Taiwan and was a great "tour guide"!!!! And, the Hyatt wasn't too shabby either! Though I would definetly look into staying around the "main station" (MRT). I believe Caesar Park hotel is right there and is good. Adopting families have used it and said they liked it. I would rather be at the main station of the MRT so it's easy to get around. We were at the Hyatt by Taipei 101 (which Iwent up today in 37 seconds...506 meters high!!!!) In 3 days of touring Taipei I doubt I spend more than 12 dollars on MRT and bus and 8 dollars on Taxi (not many taxi rides). I don't know what we'll do with taking our two boys with us. We may take taxi more depending on them. The MRT is easy and the kids would love it. Has anyone had good luck with getting a "driver" and that speaks english? That would be nice too. Any good ideas would be helpful. No rush...we probably won't go for over 1.5 - 2 years....yes, it could really be that long for us.

Everyone speaks english here...so no problem. They are also very helpful when you look all confused! I can't wait to come back....I'm so sad to be leaving so soon. But, I miss my boys terribly right now. I get on my flight in1 hour...I'm so happy. I've been gone 19 days....can you believe I survived without crying once! God is amazing! He has been my rock and my strength this trip. Any fears I had were taken away and I've enjoyed every minute of this trip. Both in Cambodia and Taiwan. I have just had a trip of a lifetime! It was even greater than I imagined it could be.

ANyway, gotta run. INternet is closing!

I'll post pics and video when I return.

Love,
Carala

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hello From Taipei!

Well, I went to the Orphanage yesterday...what an amazing experience! Hard to put into words! I will post photos and video clips when I return. I leave in 14 hours....so sad. But, I've had a great time and can't wait to be back here! In just 3 days I've come to love these people and this amazing country!

....Carala

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

hello from Cambodia!

Hey guys,

It's been an awesome trip so far...can't believe it's Wednesday already! Crazy! The lighting is coming along. Hopefully Monday I'll get to work on that stuff. I've gotten to do a "kids camp" at the orphanage all week with two other team members. It's been awesome. The kids had 3 days off school so we had lots to plan in so little time. I was a little stressed. But, God is good and supplied some extra help and some fun stuff! Hanging with these kids has been such a huge highlight! I can't even put it into words. I could take all 140 of them home with me if they would let me. They are wonderful kids with the best smiles. They latch onto you and never want you to go. I was been impacted already by these kids and I know I will never forget them. This is an amazing home for them. Marie Ens is an incredible lady with a huge heart for God and these kids. She had this idea the other day to build a school for the kids..but didn't know where she'd get the money. Then she got a phone call and a church in Airdrie donated $100,000 to the Orphanage for whatever they needed it for. So, now by this fall they will have a school for all the kids! Isn't that awesome! :-)

Some time I look at these kids and can't believe I've only known them for 2 days...it feels like we've been great friends for years! Though their english isn't great...we can say hello, how old are you, etc....we share this bond! We sing, laugh, play (I even got to play soccer with them today with the balls that were donated by a local soccer store in Calgary and a couple of my friends/family), run around, or just chat in our own languages to each other and then just laugh cause neither of us didn't know what the other one was saying! HA! Soccer, it was awesome...hot, but awesome! The kids LOVED LOVED LOVED the balls we brought! I got to play in my bare feet which was fun!!! The kids here love bare feet or just flip flops. Pretty much that's what I've been doing too. It's been a little sloppy around since it's been raining some. But, not as much as I thought. We've had cloudy days which is great cause it's not as hot. I don't think I could have made it through 2 days with the kids with the heat. They could run all day and not get tired. I'm surprised that I'm not more pooped at the end of the day. Maybe I'm over jet lag now. God has been so good in giving me energy for these kids. I never have this much energy with my kids! HA! I wish I could go on and on but I shoudl go. Another early morning tomorrow. We get up at 5 a.m. so that means that it's my bed time....it's 8:20pm now. We like to be in bed before 9pm but last night it was 9:30pm and I woke up at 4:30 and couldn't go back to sleep. So, I should run.

THanks for listening! I hope I can write more tomorrow night. we'll see how it goes. We're going to ANGKOR WATT on Friday til Sunday so I hope we can still email up there...assuming we get the time. Jack has a pretty packed schedule...lots of good food testing (indian, khmer, Thai, etc) and sightseeing when we're not working. I don't think I've rested except at bedtime. We go from work to shower to sightseeing, then supper the email, and then bed! I'm tired just writing that! :-)

One interesting thing before I say good-night ....we saw a elephant walking down the street last night.....it was so funny! I couldn't believe it! Right in the middle of the capital city! I LOVE this place. We even when for coffee at a place that Terence and I went to 8 years ago when we were here! It brought back great memories!!!

Good night and thanks for being part of our trip!

...Carala

Saturday, May 10, 2008

waiting in Vancouver

well, we're in vancouver...waiting..waiting..and waiting some more! thanks to wireless internet we're having some fun at these laptops that are getting donated to Place of Rescue. :-) I think I would have been completely bored if it wasn't for my blog, the Cambodian blog and facebook! HA! :-)

So far we're all doing great. Our flight leaves in 2 hours so it's getting closer! I think I will sleep well...I bought one of those blow up pillows...ahhhhh.

Well, we'll touch base sometime in the next few days. We'll see how it goes. I got to phone and chat with TJ's sister who are with the boys....things are going well so far! I'm so happy! :-) It's only been 9 hours since we left home....how many to go? Too many to count! But, I'm not counting cause that will mean the fun will be over. We're so excited about going to the Orphanage...it's going to be great!



...until next time... The very sleepy Jellemas

Thursday, May 8, 2008

1 more sleep til I leave for Cambodia

Hey everyone! We have 1 more sleep until we leave for Cambodia. We're pretty much packed....little things to do. I can't believe we're going! It's been a crazy week. I've been spending some time on my "Cambodian blog". I started one for while we're in Cambodia so we can keep everyone up-to-date on how we're doing and so we can talk about our experiences etc. I hope you will look at it! The site is www.lightuprescue.blogspot.com

Please continue to pray for us, for health and safelty as we travel. It's going to be a 24 hour trip over there. And, we'll face the heat and rain once we get there. We are so excited to start working! To see the kids and know they will get light once all is said and done! How exciting! I'm bringing 6 soccer balls to the kids! Thanks to those of you who donated these balls. I'm excited to play soccer with them. I may be missing a month of soccer here at home...but I get the chance to play with a bunch of little kids! I'm so pumped!!!

Well, I guess I should run. One last evening with my boys ( boo hoo!). I don't know if I'll get a chance to update this blog...but have a look at my other one instead! I assume adoption stuff will stay the same while we're gone. There's been a lot of stuff going around the adoption forums lately and we received some news from our agency that it's going to be harder to get a "healthy" child through Chung Yi. We don't know at this point what is true or not. We have some stuff to think about over the next weeks and we'll make a decision when we get back. At this point we're still on board with Taiwan. Nothing for us has changed. Yesterday was quite a bad day for me but I keep trusting that God has his hand in all of this and I just have to believe that he will take care of all of us....especially our little girl...wherever she is!

Thanks everyone for all your support! This trip is going to be amazing and I can't wait to get back and tell you all about it!

.....Carala

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

the count down is on to our trip to Cambodia...and Taiwan!!!

Wow! 9 nights until we head to Cambodia! We still have lots to do before we go, but I can't help but day dream about what it will be like at Place of Rescue(the AIDS orphanage we'll be installing solar panel lighting at)..the little kids climbing all over us. Wanting our attention. Our team leader is already there getting stuff ready for us, and every day he's had this cute little 4 or 5 year old boy clinging to his legs! I can't wait to be a part of that! At the same time I know how hard it's going to be leaving that place. Leaving all these little boys and girls that I'm sure only dream of having a mommy and daddy to wrap their little arms around. It's going to break my heart. But, I know that going there to help these little ones, is better than doing nothing at all. To share in their life for only a few weeks, is better than not. Kicking around a soccer ball with them will be a hoot! I hope I get a few chances to do that with them. I hope to bring some soccer balls with me. We'll see if I can get a soccer soccer store to donate a few. That would be so great for the kids! I can't help but want to give them a few balls since I have such a passion for the sport. I'm so excited!!!!!!

But, at the same time...I dream about Taiwan..and what the orphanage will be like, the city, the people, the smells, the sights, the sounds....it's going to be amazing! I'm so thankful I have a friend to tour me around. It's going to be a pretty incredible 3 days! To see the city our daughter will live for the first year of her life. To see her home, her caregivers....what an amazing opportunity! It kind of feels like a dream. It's hard to explain. I wonder why I am blessed with such an opportunity? I feel there's so much more that God wants from me. That this is the tip of the iceberg. It's a scary feeling. To really let go and let God take your life where he wants you to go. I feel this pull towards orphans. And not just my daugheter's country and orphanage...but others too. There are so many hurting people, hurting children, orphans that need hope, need Christ, need love. I especially feel drawn to Cambodia. These Orphans have no hope for being a part of a family at this point. Cambodia is closed to International adoption right now. If there is something I can do to help them, now is the time. They need our help. My heart is just bursting with emotion. I want to beam myself over to Cambodian right now. It's hard. I really hope and pray that this desire, I believe God has created in my heart, will grow and bring me to help more children. I don't know how or when or where but it's amazing what happens when you open your heart to God and the possibilities it brings!

...thanks for listening!

Carala

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

# 3 !!!!!!

Well, by sounds of it we're # 3 on our agency waiting list. Now, we have no idea how long it will take before our file goes to Chung Yi, but I'm happy to know where we are. Peace of mind is worth a lot! :-)

It's a HAPPY DAY in our house!!!! So very very happy!

:-)

...Carala

Translation is done!

Well, finally it's done. Somethings are out of your control in this whole adoption process. Well, a lot of things! HA! I don't know why it really took this long to translate...but it's done. And now to move on to the next waiting game. Our file now waits at our agency in Victoria. We have no idea where we are on the "agency list". We hope to find that out from them soon. Just so we know for peace of mind how long we may have to wait. They will send over the next file on their "list" as soon as another file in Taiwan gets a referral(there are supposedly 6 files in Taiwan waiting for referrals). So, does that that mean it could be 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, or 12 months...who knows. I can't even venture a guess at this point. I'm just happy it's out of translation and ready to go whenever it's time. I know my patience level has been tested a lot over the last 12 weeks. At times I failed. And that was frustrating in itself. I'm know I'm stronger than that...because of Christ in me. I pray every day that I can keep grounded in all of this crazyness. That I won't lose focus. We are one more step closer to our baby girl now! It's exciting! We need to encourage one another and remind eachother that God is in full control. He is watching out for our little one. And will bring her to us when the time is right. For those out there that are on this adoption journey, I pray that you too will have the patience to get through to the next stage of the process. We can do it! And we can be a shoulder to lean on for each other. Keep your heads up! :-)

....Carala

Thursday, April 17, 2008

an update on our translation...

So, we talked to Choices today to see what's the hold up with our translation. I guess our translator was out of the office for 2 weeks cause of a death in the family(which is so sad). I still don't get why it has taken 10 weeks so far...even with the 2 week delay. And, it's still not done. Others I know have taken 6 weeks. Anywho. Our agency said it won't affect our position in line. That meaning, the order in which our documents went to translation is the same order our stuff goes to Chung Yi. If this is the case, we should be in a good position. I hope to hear some good news about our documents soon. At least I'm trying to be positive. It's easy to get anxious. But, at least I know now why the hold up and that it won't affect our place in line.

Now, to focus our thoughts on getting ready for Cambodia and Taiwan! 22 more sleeps! Plus, I am excited about our family reunion in S'toon in a week! It's going to be sooooo fun! And, I get to see my newest nephew in 5 sleeps....yipppeee!

Have a good weekend folks!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

an unexpected trip to Taipei....

So, as many of you know, I'm on my way to Cambodia in 5 weeks! How exciting! The mission of our trip is to install solar lighting in an AIDS Orphanage called Place of Rescue. This alone is going to be one amazing trip! To work in an orphanage, to give back to a country I once visited just to see and experience their beauty, culture and history. Our flights to Cambodia just so happen to go through Taipei (EVA Airlines) so on the return I have the greatest opportunity of stopping at Chung Yi for a visit and a tour! I will have 3 short days in Taipei...but so worth it even for such a short time. I hope those 3 days last forever...cause I want to take in all I can of the city our daughter will be born in one day! I can't believe God has given me this amazing opportunity. What are the chances that our flights would go VIA the country we are adopting from? Some days I still can't believe I am actually getting to do this!!! Unfortunately Terence can't join me, he needs to go home to the boys. :-( I will be joined by a friend of mine who lives in Taiwan, for the 3 days, so I'll have a companion to show me around and also get to visit the Orphanage with me!! I'm so excited!

I hope to take some stuff for the kids at Chung Yi. I don't have much room as my bags are already dedicated for stuff for the kids at the Orphanage in Cambodia. I am trying to squeeze in a little bit of stuff like Vitamins (I heard they are in need of this). I wish I had more room. But, I know my main reason for going is to help those in Cambodia. So, any little bit of stuff I can bring to Chung Yi is a bonus! :-)

....Carala

To my daughter

I've been thinking of you today. Wondering if you are growing in your birth mom's tummy. If you're sucking your cute little thumb? Today I wish I could hold you in my arms. But I know when I can't hold you, my father in Heaven is snuggling you tight. And, I know you are safe there. So, I hold out for the day I hear you're alive and well and ready to come home. I know you'll go through times of being so scared. Not knowing why you've been taken from one person and given to another. We are here praying for you through those moments though. Your brothers pray for you every day. They can't wait to see you and hold you just like your dad and I can't wait!

Ryden is talking more about you these days. I love it! You are so blessed to have such loving, caring brothers. Just at breakfast this morning Ryden pointed to his old booster seat (he now claims he is WAY too big for it!) and said that's for you! I love how you're always in their thoughts. They can't wait to share all their stuff with you. Ryden is eager to pass on his lightening McQueen ride on toy, and countless other toys he knows you will LOVE!

I know your dada can't wait to wrap you in his big strong arms. When I see your dada snuggle your brothers I know he has lots of room to snuggle you too! I can't wait to see you pile on your dad with your brothers and tickle him until he can't take it anymore (he says he doesn't like the tickling...but I know you'll have fun doing it just like I do!). I love that there will be TWO girls now in our family. I never thought I'd have a girl to hang with, shop with, dress up with, play soccer with. The list goes on and on. I love when God has other plans for our lives. I'm so happy he has picked you to be in our lives. To be my daughter. I remember when I good friend of mine adopted her daughter after having two sons. The light in her eyes, the excitement when she talked. I knew one day I would share in that same excitement and joy with you.

There is so much more I want to say. But just know you are always on my mine and in my heart. A day never goes by that I don't dream about you. I pray one day soon you're be laying in my arms all safe and warm, our hearts only inches apart. I love you my girl.

Your mama (forever!)


**I wanted to share with you this "letter to my daughter", cause I know there are other moms out there that understand the longing for our babies. For me it's having the assurance that God is holding my daughter safe during this process, that gives me the patience I need to wait for her to come home, in His timing. I pray that you too can have the patience it takes to get through this process without getting too frustrated or anxious.

Love,
Carala

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

wish I had news.... :-(

I heard from my agency this morning...but no news yet. Our papers are still in translation. I hope maybe we'll hear next week sometime...but you never know. We're approaching on 7 weeks now.

Well, that's it. Hope you all have a wonderful Easter! My parents were in town and we had a great time. We even got out to see Paul Potts last night with some good friends of ours. You know, the winner of "britain's Got Talent" last year?! He was amazing!!! Considering he's only been touring for 9 months...it was an amazing show.

....Carala

Thursday, March 13, 2008

short update...

We're still waiting to get our stuff back from translation....it's been over a month now. So, we hope to hear shortly!

We're all doing great these days. Trennon busy with school, Ryden busy with play dates and play groups. The other day Trennon did a painting at school...and in the picture was all 5 of us (including his little sister!). It just made my heart smile to see that. She is already so much a part of our lives. :-)

Cambodia update.....we're both still so excited about going. It's only 8 weeks away now. Time will fly! We're excited that we're both fully funded to go! (thanks to all of our friends and family who supported us!) It's going to be an amazing xperience. We're both so pumped!

I'm off to Provincials for soccer in two weeks. We just clinched first place in our Division last night! (yah!) I'm hoping to take a few soccer balls to Cambodia with me...and hopefully get to play with the kids! :-) What fun!


Anyway, lots to do so I must run. Hopefully I'll post more exciting news soon.....

....Carala

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Our meeting with Choices

Thank you to the "anonymous reply to my last post"....you inspired me to post today....

The meeting went well. Holly was there from Choices. She always answer questions with ease and gives me full confidence that we made the right choice when going with CHOICES (ha!). Sorry. I'm a little tired today. Anyway, She first talked about Russia (someone talked about their adoption experience from about 3 years ago) and then she talked about Bulgaria a bit. But not much since no one was really there for that country. Then she went on to Taiwan. It looks like there looking at 2 more orphanages in Taiwan. She thought maybe by summer they may have something more concrete. But, I know how things go. So don't get your hopes up. I'm am excited about this prospect though. We would all hopefully get our kids faster...which is best for the kids and best for us! It's a win/win situation! I believe she said there are 12 files in Taiwan and 8 in translation. The rest who are interested are put on "hold". Not totally sure if this is 100% correct. I don't really like to get caught up on this kind of stuff. We're amongst the 8 being translated right now. It's been over 2 weeks so hopefully in March sometime we'll get our stuff back. I asked Holly if the "3-5 file rule" is being implimented with their agency yet. She said yes. But really, does it really make a difference. Even with the 12 files in Taiwan...how many are even being looked at, at the moment. I'm sure they only look at so many at a time. So, I think it's ok. I think they need to control the amount of files coming to Chung Yi. I agreed with Holly. It is a good decision. And, if they get more contracts with other orphanages then I think things could potentially go faster. Of course, these are only my opinions. Don't go posting anything I say on the adoption forums!! :-) I think forums are for putting "good" information only. Not opinions that can stress people out. I'm a little tired of the "stress" on those forums. That is why I don't post any longer. So, if you ever want to "chat" with me about adoption/Taiwan stuff then feel free to email me direct. I'm always up for a chat!

It was just a really great meeting to be at. Meeting new faces and getting to know new ones. I got to chat with our social worker from Calgary which was nice too. Patty from Calgary (I believe) had just gotten back from CHUNG YI(they are in translation as well)!!! Yes, we saw pictures of the Orphanage. It's was amazing! Lots of toys, bright colors, books, books, and more books line the shelves, cute little bunk beds,.....it looks like a really well run place! It was hard to believe looking at the photos that it really is an ORPHANAGE!!! It looked so wonderful and Patty confirmed that too. So, seeing pictures and hearing about the Orphanage made it worth going just on it's own. CUTE kids too!!!! I can't wait to see pictures of our girl!!!!!!

Anyway, if I think of anything else worth saying I'll post again. My head just isn't working too well today...a little tired.

:-)

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Information meeting with Choices, Sunday, Feb 24th here in Calgary!

We're very excited that our adoption facilitator, CHOICES, is coming to Calgary this weekend. Sunday Feb. 24 from 2-4pm at the CO-OP on McLeod Trail S. (for those who are interested in Taiwan, Bulgaria, or Russia information). It's always great to meet up with others that are in the program or interested in the program. It will be good to hear from Choices on how things are going and what the outlook is for Taiwan. So far they are doing a great job of facilitating this program. It's never an easy task to take on something new. Nothing ever goes as planned, so we need to support them, as they have supported us. We are a team working towards every one's best interest. Choices is making a way for us to adopt our sons and daughters. Isn't that just amazing?!! That someone would go through the pain and headache of red tape and bureaucracy so you and I can love a child of our own for the very first time, or maybe for the third time. So one more child has a family and a home that is safe, warm and full of love. What a great gift they are giving.

My passion for adoption is growing...and some days I wonder how I'll be able to take just one little girl from that orphanage. There are so many, so many that need families. How do you stop at one?..... I guess that's why the stats are, 90% of people who adopt, adopt for a second time.....interesting.

Good night everyone....

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

belated - Happy Chinese New Year!!! .....and a little update

So, we didn't get to celebrate Chinese News years with the gang from IAFA(international adoptive family assoc.)...we missed the Lion Dance. I saw a video clip of it and it looked great! Terence arrived back in Canada just when the party was starting so we'll have to catch it next year. We also had another invitation for Chinese New Years that we couldn't make. I know there's always next year. It's just hard missing stuff like that. I plan to be more on the ball next year. This celebration is all so new for us. Hopefully we can decorate the house and have some fun next year with others adopting from Taiwan.

So, our stuff is in Translation!! Yippeee...now to wait. We've had some great talks with Choices lately and we're happy with how things sit for us. We're on their "first list", vs. being on their "second list". It looks like the people on the frist list either have their papers almost in Translation or in Translation already. Plus there are around 8-9 that have their documents in Taiwan. 3 referals have been made to those already with their files in Taiwan, but 2 were declined. So, we wait to see what happens next. They don't know yet if our stuff will go to Taiwan right after they are translated...or with this new "3-5 file" rule(our agency may only be able to send 3-5 files at time), things could be different. Nothing is for sure yet. We are hoping to find out more about this "rule" sometime soon by email from Choices. They are supposed to talk with Chung Yi this week to talk about these things that are unclear. We hope our file will get sent before this rule is put in place. All we can do is pray that this rule takes longer to impliment! :-) So, even though it looks like our stuff could go to Taiwan soon...the wait is still long. Could be up to 2 years before we get our daughter. I know, it's crazy. But, if we can get our file in sooner...who knows. We just have to keep positive and know God will take care of our girl until we get there!

Well, that's all for now. Some days this all just seems like a dream world. Will it ever happen? Will we ever get our daughter? Then when I saw a friend at play group this morning with one of her two Chinese adopted girls...and I know it will happen for us too. It's great to be around those that have adopted! It's encouraging, but also makes me want to hold our daughter right now, and not later! And not have to wait for paper work and political nonsense. But, my impatience reminds me that I need to trust God more. Then I'm fine...until I stop trusting again. :-) What a crazy world we've entered into....it's not always easy. But, I know how worth it, it will be!!!!!

Love,
Carala

Sunday, February 3, 2008

You know you are an adoptive Mother if.......

I found this on a blog and just had to post it....thanks Dawn.(another Calgarian adopting from Taiwan too!)



You know you are an adoptive Mother (or you should be!) if:

1. The fact that there are 143 million children without a parent to kiss them goodnight has ever made you lose sleep.
2. You realize DNA has nothing to do with love and family.
3. You can't watch Adoption Stories on TLC without sobbing.
4. The fact that if 7% of Christians adopted 1 child, there would be no orphans in the world is convicting to you.
5. You spend free time surfing blogs about families who have experienced the blessing of adoption.
6. It drives you crazy when people ask you about your adopted child's "real" parents.
7. You have ever been "pregnant" with your adoptive child longerthan it takes an elephant to give birth (2 years!)
8. You had no idea how you would afford to adopt but stepped outin faith anyway knowing where God calls you He will provide.
9. You have ever taken a airplane ride half way around the world with a child you just met.
10. You believe God's heart is for adoption.
11. You realize that welcoming a child into your heart and family is one of the most important legacy's you could ever leave on this earth.
12. You know what the word Dossier means and you can actuallypronounce it!
13. You have welcomed a social worker into the most private parts of your life.
14. You shudder when people say your child is so lucky that you adopted them, knowing full well you are the blessed one to have them inyour life.

I did not create this list, but boy can relate to it.esp # 14.

Carala

Posting a comment without a blogger account

For those of you who don't have a blogger account, but still would like to post a comment, it is now possible for you to do that. It's always nice to chat with everyone who visits our site about adoption, travel, another great site you visited, etc. Feel free to leave a comment. Others enjoy it as well!

Thanks.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Place of Rescue, AIDS Orphanage in Cambodia in need of our help....

Both Terence and I have a wonderful, exciting opportunity to go to Cambodia in May. We have the unique privilege of going with a team from our church(Rockpointe Church) for two weeks to work in an AIDS orphanage called The Place of Rescue. (www.placeofrescue.com) The scope of the project will be to install Solar lighting in 45 of the buildings and AIDS homes within the orphanage complex. This will help provide light for 150 AIDS orphans, mothers, and grannies at Rescue who would otherwise be in the dark after the generator is turned off in the evening. The lights will also help off-load the generator and reduce operating costs.

I never knew how much our lives would change, the moment we considered adoption. Both our hearts have been opened to give more of ourselves to helping orphans and those who just need our help. Given that lighting and electrical stuff is totally up Terence's alley, we feel that we have been lead to this place, in order to help give little orphaned boys and girls, light after dark. We take so many thing for granted living in such a blessed country. We really want as parents to show our kids that it is our responsibility to help others less fortunate and to share God's love with those who don't know there is a God that loves and cares for them. Sometimes we feel so small on this earth. How can I make a difference in this vast world? How much of a difference will my little donation or two weeks in an Orphanage make in a place that is in such need. I believe God will make a difference in this world if we let him use us. So, we decided to take a leap of faith and hope that even if we just bring a smile to 1 sad face that has been in the dark every night, we know we will have made a difference in someone life.

We want all 3 of our kids to know that we didn't just want to go to an orphanage to pick our daughter up, but to serve an orphanage. We feel like this has left a permenent imprint on our lives and in our hearts. We want our daughter to know that because of her, we have this passion in our hearts now to really take a step and do what we can to help other kids in orphanages, and those less fortunate. As much as I'll be tempted to take everyone home from Rescue, I know I can't. But if I can help them, give them light, give them smiles, and show them that God loves them...then I feel I've given of myself alittle and that I've done something not because I get something from it, but soley to give of myself. God didn't put me on this earth to ride the "easy life". He wants to use me to help others, he wants our family to help others.

Thank you all for being part of our journey, part of lives being changed. Our trip to Cambodia is taking a little more money than expected. If you feel you'd like to contribute to our trip, which coveres plane tickets and expenses I'm going to leave some info below. Personally I feel so blessed to just have the support of my friends and family encouraging us and being excited for us. I know God will take care of the rest. I want to leave this posting with one last quote. I read it in the book I read over our holidays called "Beyond the Blue" by Leslie Gould. It's a must read for those adopting or not. My mom read it and loved it as well. In short it's about a Vietnamese adoption that takes place. A heart wrenching book. Go pick it up from your library today, you won't regret it! This quote is from there.

“I’ve wanted to trust humans, when God has wanted me to trust him. And not because my trust will control the outcome, but by trusting I’ll be faithful, by trusting I’ll be changed.”




HOW TO CONTRIBUTE?

Your donations will go directly towards my plane tickets and expenses. All donations over $10 get a tax receipt through RockPointe Church.

ONLINE
You can donate online with VISA or MASTERCARD through a secure donation system called SPORG. Follow the below link, then click on:
- CAMBODIA MISSION TRIP
- DONATE NOW
Fill-in the form, and choose my name(Carala or Terence Jellema) from the pull down menu under "Donation Designation".

https://www.sporg.com/registration?link_type=org_info&org_id=21519&view_type=windowed

If you donate online could you please let me know you did so? I'd like to track this so that I can report back to all my supporters on how things went and the impact the project had for the orphanage.


Thank you.
The Jellemas

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

a little update and some thoughts

Well, we're trying to get back into the swing of things. We had hoped all our adoption paperwork would be already in Choices hands, but that hasn't quite happened yet. Last night we sent our pictures and "letter to the birth parents" (wahoooo!). We now have to send our Criminal checks, Intervention check, and medicals. So, that's what I'll do today. They also need our first installment of money so this is when you really realize how real this is becoming! I get goose bumps just thinking about all we've been through with paperwork and phone calls, emails...and now we're starting the Taiwan portion. How exciting! CAS has our references so they will send them for us. All in all things are looking pretty good! Which is very exciting.

Terence had a good chat with Holly from Choices yesterday. Just to see where everything stands. We will be the first from Alberta to get on the list, we think. It does look hopeful though. We're just happy that we're not 100th on the list! So many people get caught up in the "wait" times for adoption and I keep reminding myself that God has a plan and our daughter chosen for us already. God's timing is always best, and we may not always understand that or like that! But, when you finally hold your child in your arms...it all becomes very clear why you had to wait all those months(or years!).

On a side note....I am going to get to spend sometime at an orphanage in May for a couple weeks. Not in Taiwan...but in Cambodia. I'll post more later about that. I'm very excited!! It's an amazing opportunity that presented itself once..and I didn't think we could swing both of us going. But, it seems that God has a plan for me to be there...and managed to move mountains for me to go. So, Terence and I go on May 9 for 16 days. More later.....

Saturday, January 26, 2008

We're back!

Sorry I haven't posted for a while. We were off on a 2 week vacation to Florida and a cruise to the Caribbean with the boys! Boy did we ever have fun! But, now back to work, school, and adoption stuff!

So, we received our approval and got our documents in the mail this week. I had thought they were going to be here earlier...but you know governments! LOL! Terence's dad mailed our homestudy off on Thursday to Choices. The next step is translation. We will be sending our "letter to the birth mother" and pictures of our family, on Monday. So, we have lots to do tonight amongst the unpacking and laundry. It's been hard today trying to get my head out of vacation mode.

Hopefully in the next few days I can post a few pictures of our vacation and a few more thoughts.

....CJ

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Homestudy on it's way to us!!!!

WOW, this is so exciting! We heard today that our Homestudy has been approved by the Alberta Government and will be on it's way to us shortly! By next week it should be in our hands.

So what's next? Well, we need to send it off to Choices in Victoria to get translated. From there it will get emailed to Taiwan. I will update more once we hear when it gets sent to Taiwan. We still have to write our "letter to the Birth Mother" and get our pictures together. Christmas was so hectic with family and fun so hopefully we'll get this done in the next few weeks.

Well, lots to do so I must run. What a great day this is! Wow, one more step closer to our baby girl! :-)

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Taiwan Adoption Court Process

For those interested, this is an idea of how the court process works for adopting from Taiwan. I found it very interesting since I hadn't seen a break down before. It may not be completely accurate but at least gives an idea of how it works to some degree.


1. District Court Process
a. The family court office reviews the case/petition and a Judge is assigned to the case.
b. Judge reviews and considers the case and schedules a "hearing". Hearings are handled differently depending on the birth family's situation, the judge's schedule, persons representing the birth family and those representing the adoptive family. The time involved in getting a hearing scheduled depends on the judge's calendar/schedule and that of everyone else required to attend. Hearings can result in--The immediate decision to finalize the adoption (though this is rarely the case) or - Result in the judge's request for more information (in one case we saw the judge request additional counseling for the birthmother and he scheduled a follow-up hearing. Again, this is rare). -Most often, the hearing just provides a judge with more information about the case and allows him/her to rule on the adoption with confidence. Most often, the judge's decision (final ruling) happens weeks or even as long as months after the hearing.

The responsibility of the District Court is to make sure that every issue related to the best interest of the child has been considered. Though lengthy & frustrating at times, the District Court process protects the child, the birth parent, the organization caring for the child, AND in the end protects us as adoptive parents. When the District Court decisions have been made, adoptive families can be confident that the process was handled with consideration and in the best interest of the child. 2-4 MONTHS

2. Part I of Final Decree (first decree).
Once the District Court hearing has been completed and the judge has had time to make a decision to finalize the adoption, he/she issues the first part of the Final Decree. This is a short statement signed by the judge that is forwarded to the parties involved (social services organization on behalf of the adoptive family and the birth family) notifying everyone of his/her decision to finalize the adoption. This first part of the Final Decree must go to each party and there is a waiting period of 10 days before any more can happen to ensure that everyone has been notified of the judge's decision. 2-4 WEEKS.

3. Part II of Final Decree.
Once the 10 day waiting period is up (and the court staff finds time!), the second part of the Final Decree is forwarded to all parties. When the second part of the decree is received by your child's social service organization, the court process is DONE!

4. Household registration change and immigration requirements. Before adoptive family travels, a lot must be accomplished by the child's social service organization. All court documents and background info on the child must be officially translated to English and submitted with certain paperwork to AIT. Also, the child must have his/her Visa medical exam which is forwarded directly (unopened) to AIT's immigrant visa office. At some point the child's guardian must file for a household registration change. The household registration is a file located at local government offices in Taiwan that contains certificates and information about each person in Taiwan. Your child's household registration is attached to his/her guardian's file until the adoption has been finalized by the Taiwan courts. Once the child has been legally adopted in Taiwan, the guardian files with the government office to remove the file from theirs and create a new file showing that the adoptive parent(s) are the new legal guardians.The household registration change takes a day or two or a week depending on the placing organization and the local government office. 2-4 WEEKS.

5. New family receives a travel date. Each organization in Taiwan is different in when and how they schedule a travel date. Some wait until all of the above paperwork is filed and then give the family notice to travel quickly. Some schedule the travel in advance, while they work at preparing the above documents, giving a couple of weeks notice before travel.

"Unknown author"

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Words of a 5 year old.....

Hi, I'm Trennon. We can't wait until we get our little sister from Taiwan. Mama and Dada can't wait either. We'll adopt her into our family. We love our little girl even if she's in Taiwan. We will probably get her in 2009. It seems like a pretty long time. But soon she will come. She'll probably like to go down stairs in the basement and play with Ryden and I. She's probably like to go on our baby swing in the back yard. When she's lying down on pillows I'll make funny faces and she will giggle!

Love,
Trennon Jellema (age 5)

*I'll probably be 7 when we get our little sister. :-)