Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sleep test and dental surgery...oh the fun!





At the end of November we got a sleep Apnea test done on Caate. Thankfully it's as easy as putting a little "bandaide" on her finger with a cord running from it through her PJ's to the machine. She was amazing! Didn't once pull it off her finger and slept amazing. If something was seriously wrong, we would have heard from them right away. But we didn't, so that's good. We will have our follow up appointment with the ENT in mid January. So, we can ask some questions about her sleep.

So why did we request a sleep apnea test? Well, when we first got Caate home she was a very VERY loud breather when she slept. It was quite disturbing. And when she rolled onto her back, she would stop breathing. It was pretty scary for both of us to see. We'd watch her at night as she flipped from front to back to side to front etc etc. All within 30 seconds. And, to think of it now...no wonder why she slept 3-4 hours in the afternoon at that point. She was not sleeping at night. Slowly her naps have reduced to 1 1/2 - 2 hours. In time she has become more of a less restless sleeper (as far as we can tell). You can hardly hear her breath now, which is GREAT!!!! We do still notice that she stops breathing when she rolls on her back. So, we thought it was still worth it to get her checked out. We've been pretty lucky with Caate. She really has had no health problems at all. We do hope that in time she will gain some weight. She's such a petite litle thing! She weighs 27 lbs and 94 cm. But, she's no different than Ryden....so she totally fits in the fam! :-)

Next on our calendar is dental surgery! Oh, doesn't that just sound like fun! NOT! Caate needs a lot of dental work done. So, we opted to get it all done at once...while she is put under. Hopefully all goes well. We are scheduled for mid January. We go in the morning and we should be home by lunch. They say by the next day she should be herself again. So far this is the last thing we need to deal with. It will be so nice to have her all fixed up! Caate has been feeling pain in her teeth over the 3 weeks or so. It pains me as a mom to see this. My poor girl. It especially gets aggravated when she has sweets. So, we've been trying to limit them...but with Christmas it's been hard and will be for the next few weeks. Oh well, she has survived so far...I think she can handle a little while longer.

Well, that's just another update. I included a few pics of when we did her Sleep Apnea test! :-)

Love,
Carala

Sunday, December 5, 2010

4 Months...and 1 day!




Caate has been home 4 Months and 1 day. We were so busy yesterday I didn't get a chance to blog!

Caate....she has a zest for life! She is talking so much more. Hardly any Russian words at all. Maybe 4 or 5. She is putting more sentences together. Like this morning Caate said "Ryden, let's play, come on let's go!" or, something else she's been saying in the last couple days...."I want to SKI!". Yes, we bought her skis on Friday! Hopefully her and I will hit the slopes on Tuesday at our local ski hill. Don't worry...I'll have my video camera handy. It's going to be quite the experience. This girl has NO fear...so hopefully I'll be laughing, and not crying! :-)

Caate knows her colors, and can say 1-10 in English most of the time. She sings the ABC song and gets a lot of the letters right. Identifying them isn't her thing yet...but that will come in time. She can write the letter 'C', 'A', 'T', 'E'. So pretty much all the letter of her name. But, some are side ways, or flipped the wrong way. Usually her 'E' is generally the right way. Her love really is coloring, singing, and building with K'Nex...oh, and cars.

Caate is also 3.....she loves to push mama's buttons. :-) She has moved passed the stage of not wanting to hold my hand on roads, parking lots or on the way to school. She does it willingly now, and usually her idea. So, this is progress!

We went through a time where she was wanting to go to some of my friends (who she knows quite well). We quickly put the breaks on...and emphasized that she has 1 mama and 1 papa and if she needs anything we are here for her. She seemed to catch on...and my friends have been great and super supportive. We just asked that no one hold her hand or hug her. Everyone's help on this has been positive and Caate is definately coming to me for everything. Only on a rare occasion has she reached out to one of my friends. Oh course mama's watchful eye has been there to easily scoop her up and tend to whatever need she had. We know that this all will take time. It has only been 4 months afterall. I really wonder at what point she will figure out we aren't going to send her away? I look forward to her english getting better and as she grows up we'll be able to talk about more things.

I love how she prays every night before she goes to sleep. And I love her desire to sing. We sing a few songs every evening before bed and she just loves it. It's such a great bonding time as well and we snuggle up close and we sing together. Papa also gets to spend this time with her so we both get to enjoy her snuggles.

Caate's hair is growing! She is growing in height, but not weight. I don't know if I should be concerned with this or not. So, for the time being I'm not! She's happy, healthy, and active. Very active. She's just a skinny mini like her mom....so at least she fits in! She still wears size 2 pants and mostly size 3 shirts. And, she turns 4 in February...so she's petite! 27 lbs and 94 cms tall. She's so strong though! I think she will be a fantastic skier. I can't wait to bring her out this week. I can just see her now....Caate do it! CAATE DO IT!!!!!! HA! Should be interesting!!! I'll post some video to show you how she did.

What else have we been up to? Well, the house is decorated, shopping is very very close to being done. I'll finish up the Christmas baking this week. And next week I'll be packing and cleaning my house as we leave on the 17th to go to our place in the mountains for a week of skiing! My parents will be joining us for about a week and they'll spend Christmas at our house after we're all at Panorama together. So, should be a fantastic Christmas. And so special that we have our little Caate in our lives to celebrate the blessing she has been to us!!! God's greatest gift to us(besides our 2 other special blessings!)

The boys are doing great! The 3 of them together is perfect. They do sooo well together. A match made in heaven! They get a long great....and have quite the blast together. I can't wait to see them all on the ski hill together. They'll be racing eachother down the hill in no time!

Well, that's it for now. I know there should be others things I should be writing about her...but I'm drawing a blank! When I remember I'll post again!

Time to run...I have soccer tonight and we're off to visit TJ's mom and dad. :-)

Until next time!
Carala

Friday, November 12, 2010

the every day...

I sat down today...not knowing exactly what I would want to say. Not that I had planned to write on my blog today. But, as life rocks and rolls us...I want to be real and share my life.

Life is full of ups and downs. I always thought our life with Caate after bringing her home would be a lot of downs, to tell you the truth. So many people said that the first months could be very very difficult for our family. We knew some things about Caate that lead us to believe that the first 3 months in particular could be hard for us. Well, it's really been nothing but incredible with her up til now. 3 months of amazing connection and love. We've really had a blast. But just over this past week or so, as we've let our guard down a bit with her ( and not intentionally) that we've seen some things that remind us all over again that she did not grow up in our house for the last 3 1/2 years, but only for the last 3 months. Attachment is probably one of the most important topics in the adoption world. It's the one thing I read about the most before adopting. It's a scary thing, because it is soo essential to having healthy relationships in life.

As life has gone on...Caate has done well with attaching to us. But, we knew that it would take a lot of time, many months and years before we could really know how well she is attached to us. It takes a lot of time and intentional actions on our part to make sure we are doing things to promote attachment. For those of you who don't know much about adoption. This would be all foreign to you. With our own biological kids...the bonding starts in the womb...and then continues as we hold them, feed them, and snuggle them as babies. It's something we don't have to think about doing...we just do it every minute of every day. Well, Caate's history of all of this is unknown to us. We know she has lived in many places...and so we know she has been neglected and most likely passed from one person to the next.

Why would she think at this point that we are her parents for life, her family for life....if everyone else has thrown her away? So, we have to intentionally take the extra time she needs every day to tell her we love her, smoother her with kisses and hugs, and tell her we will never leave her. Plus spend lots of hands on time with her...and that means neglecting my house work (which some days isn't so hard to do! LOL!), not keeping up with the laundry, and having less of "me" time. So, if you come by my house on any given day during the week...it is not all cleaned and tidy...it's most likely a little messy and not as clean as it was last year.

Last year I had 3 full days to myself. I got my toes painted, I got my hair cut and dyed regularly, and played a lot more soccer, I shopped by myself, and I even remember that I vacuumed the entryway almost every day cause the grass and dirt bugged me (I have a hard time actually believing I did that!!). To the onlooker and acquaintances, they probably don't understand the stresses of being an adoptive parent. Caate looks all too connected with us and is loving life. How hard could it be? Well, it definitely different than parenting biological kids and takes more time mentally and emotionally. But, she is so incredible I couldn't imagine life without my Caate, my daughter. She is worth it a million times over! I know that if we put in the time now, we will reap the rewards later as we look at her develop relationships and be able to trust. It's like we are trying to play catch-up on the 3 1/2 years we weren't able to love her. I believe God wrapped his arms around her during those 3 1/2 years that we weren't able to be a part of her life. So, I don't want to worry about what all happened to my daughter while I wasn't there. All I know, is that I want to do what I can to be the best mama that I can be for her. I will neglect the rest of my life temporarily so I can concentrate on my daughter and what she has missed out of with me in the 3 1/2 years of her little life. I know there also needs to be a bit more of balance in my life. I do need to have a little more "me" time, I need to get my hair cut more than every 6 months, I need to take care of me.

And, so....I am in the process of doing that. Tonight is the 3rd game of soccer this week. Soccer is late at night...so the kids are fast a sleep while I'm playing. It just means I'm a little more tired the next day cause I didn't get to sleep until after mid-night. But, I need this for me. And so, once in a while I take a nap while Caate is napping and I don't get as much house cleaning done. It's not going to kill anyone. :-) And, mama will be happy, and healthy and ready to be a great mom to my kids...all of them! :-)

So, to every adoptive mom (and dad) out there....know that we all go through struggles and it's a good thing to talk about it! The faster we can figure out these struggles the better parents we can be! I am also thankful for all our friends that support us, even if they don't understand. You guys are amazing!

With much love,
Carala

Thursday, November 4, 2010

3 Months Since Gotcha Day!







What is Caate doing these days:

*she counts 1-2-3-4-8-82! (LOVE her counting)
*she knows her colors...sometimes she gets them right, sometimes not.
*She wrote her first letters yesterday! the Letter "A" and "C" and "E" and "T" (the letters of her name)
*she only has a handful of Russian words left (such a happy/sad thing)
*she is LOVING gymnastics - it took til just last week to want it every day! It's hard to tell a 3 year old that you don't get gymnastics every day!
*She is a "normal" 3 year old more this month than the 2 previous months.
*She eats pretty much anything...especially loving bananas and watermelon...and chocolate (of course!)
*She wishes she could go to school. She will start her in January at the same preschool that her friend Corbin(also adopted from Russia) is going to.
*She is putting together 3 and 4 word sentenses.
*She understand pretty much everything we say
*She LOVES her extended family! (we got to see some at a family wedding)
*She loves her grandma and Grandpa.
*She LOVES to color. She colors in the lines too!
*She loves music!
*She loves going on adventures, be it hiking in the mountains or driving somewhere in the truck

I'm sure I missed a bunch of things...but there's a little bit about our little Caate! She is 3 years and 9 months....hard to believe in another 3 months it will be her birthday!

There's another monthly update! Crazy how times just slips away. Soon it will be Christmas! Well, until the next one...

....Carala

Monday, October 4, 2010

2 Months Since Gotcha Day!









I don't think much has to be said after those photos....Caate is doing great! I took these just this morning at the park near our house. So many people have commented on how well she fits our family. We totally agree. Caate fits more than perfectly. :-) Yesterday we hiked in the foothills near our place...and she kept up with the boys no problem! You could tell she didn't want Ryden to lead...so by the end of the 4 km hike she was leading the pack! :-) What a girl...3 years and almost 8 months...and we didn't carry her ONCE on the hike! There is so much strength and determination in that little body of hers!!!! So fun! So, today we celebrate another milestone. I was thinking the other day about stuff she used to do, and now doesn't. She used to bite her fingers or just put them in her mouth....I can't remember that last time she did that! She definitely uses less Russian words. Certain ones she uses still are just so cute...I hope she will always use them! :-) Today she said a word I couldn't make out...so I said, "is that a Russian word or English word?" She said, English!!! LOL! I totally laughed out loud...I didn't even know she could say the word, ENGLISH! It's amazing what she knows. Her engligh is coming along. I have no idea what is good progress and what is not. But, she's doing fine! She repeats a lot of words...and I think that shows great progress. :-) Anyway, as I said...the pictures do really say it all. She is happy...and that makes the rest of us happy too! :-)

Love,
Carala (for all my kiddos and hubby too!)

Monday, September 27, 2010

7 weeks home...


Some days it's hard to believe she's home....but most days I feel like she's always been here! She has fire, depth, heart, and incredible strength. She is helpful, happy, ready for any adventure, and has absolutely no fear in whatever she does. And, she is my girl! The one I dreamed about, prayed for, loved from afar....the one I ran that crazy 8km race for last fall...when she was going through probably the hardest time in her life!!! I ran my hardest for her...and she fought through days when I'm sure she wondered if anyone would ever love her. She's the one I cried an ocean full of tears for...on good days and bad. She's the one God had in mind for us...before she was even born. And, to think God placed adoption on our heart in January 2007 because he knew Caate was going to be born in February 2007 and would need me...one day. So, he took us around the world....in search of our girl. We never gave up...only because we knew God wanted us to keep going. No matter how many valleys we encountered...and how many mountains we had to climb...God was there to help us through. So many days I didn't understand why so long, why we had to wait, why did we had to change countries so many times, why? why? why? But, God was patient with me and patient with my questions. But through it all, I learned more about God in 3 1/2 years than I had learned in my 35 years of life put together. I learned to live by faith, to love without abandon, to trust Him when it didn't make sense to me, to hope when the chips are down, to persevere when you're runnin' on empty. God filled my tank when there was no station near and gave me strength to push through thoses days in Russia that almost broke us. We kept going, because we knew God had a plan for us and for Caate. When nothing made sense, He made sense!!!

My favourite song was "Praise You in This Storm" by Casting Crowns, during our journey to Caate. I learned what it meant to praise God during the most horrific storms of our adoption. Not that it was easy to do, but I knew it was what He was asking of me. Did I trust Him with our girl?...then praise Me too. I think some of my best days...were the days I followed God without looking back. When I was consumed with God. When I desired to follow Him, serve Him in my daily life, and when I chose Him over worldly things that got in the way of really SEEING Him. When I chose to think positively about our adoption, and not fall down and cry my eyes out. Those are the days I think back on and know I chose to think about my daughter, and not me and my circumstance. Whatever I was going through, was nothing compared to NOT having a Mama and a Papa...and never getting to know the one that loved her more than anyone....her Heavenly Father, GOD. Caate never forgets to pray before nap time or bed time. If I forget, She reminds me! :-) It's like she knows that there's someone much bigger and more amazing (as hard as it is to imagine! ) than Papa and Mama...and she desires to get to know Him. And, she prays, " Dear Jesus, thank you for "Mama,Papa,...etc etc" ....all on her own. Talk about a tear jerker! Talk about an answer to prayer. I've prayed for so long, that she would desire to know Jesus, to want Him in her life. I never imagined that her first sentences would be in prayer. Isn't God good?!

Well, that's what's on my heart today. So thankful for lessonsed learned...so thankful for those who also helped us through. And, I'm feeling so blessed today.

If today you feel like giving up in your adoption journey, the days are hard, there seems to be no hope, the costs keep going up....DON'T! Please don't. There is a little boy or girl with your name imprinted on their heart. You need to keep going. You need to lift your chin up and keep going. You need to cast all your cares on God...cause He cares for YOU! Let Him take your heavy load...and Praise Him for the storms of your journey. What would have happened if we would have listened to those people who said to us, "Are you sure you are supposed to be doing this? Are you sure you're supposed to adopt?" Just because it's tough...doesn't mean God wants you to quit. God doesn't promise an easy life...but He promises to carry us through! Trusting God with everything was the best decision I ever made...I hope you will too. :-)


Here are a few pictures of Caate from the weekend. :-) Enjoy!




Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Back to work....

Well,

Terence is back at work after being off 9 weeks!!! I thought I would have been a wreck this morning. Having to get up, get all 3 kids ready for school, and get out the door on time. But, it really felt like any regular day! I'm totally surprised! The only thing I have to do different is make lunches the night before...other than that I get up regular time and still get Caate ready, hair done, fed and teeth brushed! AMAZING! She's pretty easy though....other than a slow eater! LOL! When she came home she was a rock star eater....ate so fast!! Now, she doddles! oh well, the honeymoon had to end at some point. :-) At least she eats what I feed her! :-)

Wow, 9 weeks is over. We were talking the other night about how much we've done in 9 weeks. Here are some of the things: We left for Russia, endured the trials Caate put us through in Russia, Trennon was sick the whole 3 weeks in Russia...most likely pnuemonia, Terence had the stomache bug the whole trip, then got pneumonia and was sick for 3 weeks after we got home, we camped 2 times, took Caate to our local amusmement park 2 times, spent the first month after getting home just with the 5 of us...having lots of family time, getting to see Caate smile at us for the first time 20 minutes into the flight from Ufa to Moscow on August 4th (gotcha day!), taking her to church 3 or 4 times now and she really likes it, taking her to school to drop off the boys and pick then us...and to see how much she LOVES it, etc etc etc. I could go on and on. We've been home over 6 weeks now and it just feels good to know how well she's adjusted. She got a clean bill of health from her doctors and with that we are pleased! She's happy, and loves life! What more could you ask for?! :-) A Happy Girl = A Happy Mama!

Terence also did a lot of work around the yard and the house since he's been off. The "boot room" is almost finished. He just has to install the cabinets! (that he built himself!) I can't wait! I'll have to do a before and after picture for you when it's done. Hopefully by the weekend! At least winter will be a little more enjoyable with places to put wet jackets and snow pants for 5 people! The 5th person sure increased the amount of clothes and shoes hanging around the entry way! Especially a girl! I can't tell you how many jackets and shoes she has!!!!!!!! It's insane! We've been given an unbelieveable amount of gifts and hand me downs. We feel so blessed!

So, what does Mother and Daughter have planned for the coming months?? Well....Caate and I start Gymnastics together TODAY!!!! I am sooo excited! Caate is ready...she is energetic and ready to DO something on a regular basis. It's a parented class so I get to participate too! I did this same class with Ryden and we both loved it. Hopefully Caate will love it too. She's fearless and flexible, loves to run and loves to jump....so I'm thinking this is the perfect sport for her! :-) What Russian isn't good at gymnastics?! LOL! I am just looking forward to having some fun with her. Doing daughter/mom stuff. Shopping, playing dolls (and cars!), cleaning the house together, going to the park, having friends over...just the two of us.

Ryden has started Beavers again and starts indoor soccer in a couple weeks. Trennon is one more evaluation for soccer (tonight!) and then he starts developmental soccer 3 days a week. It will be a busy fall, but a fun one. We have a couple trips planned to see family which will be fun. Hopefully the snow holds off so we can enjoy the fall a little. It's been a cold one here in Calgary this fall. Oh well, what can you do! :-)

Well, that's the update! Regular life is about the start!

Love,
Carala

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Happy 8th Birthday Trennon!



My little baby boy is all grown up! :-( Hard to believe it's been 8 years since I first held him in the hospital....I was such a happy mama. He was sooo cute! Everyone said he looked like an old man! He looked very mature from day 1, and if you know Trennon today...he is still that very mature boy! I love you sooo much Trennon and we are both so proud of the big boy you've become. You have a heart of gold, always thinking of others, and have a very special love for God. You truly are one amazing son and I feel so blessed to have you as my oldest boy. You have patience like no one I know. You waited so long to meet your sister...you were there in the tough times and still held your head up high. You never gave up hope! You shed tears with me when the chips were down and when we finally saw her picture for the first time. You have strength and passion and always looks on the bright side of life. I love you very much. :-) Have a very Happy Birthday my boy!!!!

Here are a few pictures from Trennon's party yesterday! He had a few boys over for some Wii time and then they went to Shakers to play laser tag, climbing wall, go-karts and mini golf!!!!

Caate and I just had some girl time while they partied! It was the first party I haven't been at. :-( Oh well, everyone had fun...including Caate and I! We shopped, ate and had a KUPATSA (a bath!!!!...something she loves the most in life!)

Trennon was pretty stoked about his gifts!





Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Meant to Be - Steven Curtis Chapman

This song, "Mean to Be" by Steven Curtis Chapman is featured in the new Veggie Tales video , due to come out October 2nd! Just wanted to post it just in case you hadn't heard about it! Thanks Stacey for posting this as well! :-)


Monday, September 6, 2010

1 month Anniversary - Gotcha Day





So, September 4th has come and gone. We were camping on September 4th..and celebrated 1 month since Caate has been in our lives. So much has happened...time has flown by. We've camped twice now and gone to Calaway park (amusement park) twice as well in the last month with Caate. She loves both! She's always on the go and always happy. She is a bright light in our lives. :-) She loves going to the boys school to pick them up and drop them off. She feels pretty comfortable there already...sometimes too comfortable for mama. :-) I have to keep a watchful eye on this girl of mine!!! She listens very well though and doesn't push the boundaries too much. So, we are sooo thankful for that! LOL!





Caate LOVES the bath...anything with water! We were just camping this weekend with Grandma and Grandpa(which was fun!) and she got to play in the lake for the first time. She kept pointing to her feet, which were full of dirty sand. Wasn't too sure about that! She dumped water (cold) on herself and then wanted to dump water on me! She had soo much fun! We even took the kayak out and she loved the boat. When we had the boat sitting at the campsite she would sit in it and just smile. At one point she laid down in it and had a sleep for 10 minutes! (as in picture above) We just laughed!

Caate loved getting to know grandma and Grandpa on our trip camping. This was the first time since the airport that my parents got to spend with her. She really did well with them. Grandpa teased her and she really liked that. And, grandma even got to hold her hand and got some kisses from her too. We are all looking forward to going to visit them at their house at Thanksgiving in 1 month! Caate does well in the car (except for the million or so, "mama! mama! papa! papa!" when she does something or sees something outside the window!) so the road trip will be fine. She will get to meet her cousins and aunt and uncle for the first time while we are there too so that will be fun! So many firsts for Caate! She really enjoys it all though. She loves a new adventure and she loves her little life. She fits into our family so well, it's also unbelieveable! I never dreamed it would be this good. It will be interesting to see how she does when the boys activities start in the next few weeks, and when Terence starts back at work again after being off 9 weeks! I think it will be her toughest adjustment yet. But, she will do fine!! I have no doubt about that. :-)

I am looking forward to having some little friends over in the next few weeks. I have some lined up, one being my friend Stacey and her son Corbin that came home from Russia about 6 weeks before Caate! We are both looking forward to that. Stacey and our family were both with the same adoption agency for Russia until changed back in February. Thankfully she made it though and came home with Corbin in June! We both have been looking forward to this day when we can sit on our deck and sip lemonade and talk about the days gone by and the amazing days to come with our darling little kids! It's been a long time coming for both of us....but I definitey can say it was ALL WORTH IT!!

We have some great little trips planned over the next couple of months. Us Jellema's never stay still!!! I remember when I told my mom we'd be sticking close to home over the month or so after Caate comes home. You know, to get her used to her home and for her to settle into our life. My mom said something like this, "why would you do that? You guys are always on the go, that's what she's got to get used to!!" Well, that's so true! And, now that she knows home...we're back to our normal routine of going place!! We have a couple trips to our place in Panorama, a trip to Grandma and Grandpa's and then the last cousin on my mom's side gets married in Edmonton so we'll be heading up there for a weekend at the end of October. Lots of fun planned...and I know Caate will love it as much as the rest of us! :-)

Until next time...

Carala (for all the J's...including the littlest one, Caate!)
** here's the boys on "dress up" Friday at school this week! Aren't they just handsome! ;-)




Thursday, August 26, 2010

update




As you can see....we got some professional photos done! Some good friends took these photos for us this week, we had a lot of fun! These are only the first couple they sent us as a sneak peak...there will be many more to come. I can't wait to see the rest! :-)

The first picture says it all. Our friends found this wall downtown that had this written on it...and nothing else. And, Caate pointed to the words all on her own. It's like God was saying....see, I took care of you, I helped you through it, and now you have your Caate. And, you NEVER GAVE UP! So many times...we were tempted to. So many valleys that looked like we'd never get out of them. But, God always showed us a way out. Even though it was hardly ever in our timing (the fast route!), we trusted Him (sometimes reluctantly!) and look at the result. Yes, it took 3 years and 7 months...but I have to say...she's SO worth it!

Caate is adorable (as you can see!). She laughs and smiles all the time. She loves to run and play and jump and slide and be a crazy fearless girl! She's definitely our girl! Trennon and Ryden are just loving her. Yes, she gets into Ryden's cars and doesn't want to give Trennon as many hugs and kisses as he'd like...but that's just sibling stuff! She is in crazy love with her brothers and we all think she is just the best. She's a rock star sleeper...does 12 hour nights and doesn't get up to pee even! She's never had an accident and eats everything that's put in front of her. No complaints. Now, I'm sure we'll eventually get some complaints...but for now I'm going to enjoy this! She even naps 2-3 hours every afternoon...could life be better than this? NO! :-)

We were never sure how much we'd get out in the first 4 weeks of having her home. We just weren't sure how the transition would go. Well, she's been so at ease with her "new" life that we've even been out camping for a few nights with her already! And, we've only had her 3 weeks! She LOVED camping...totally her thing. She's an outside girl, loves to bike and loved the pool at the campground. She loves to swim too...we could not have been matched with a more perfect girl for our family! The wait was worth it baby!

So, to families out there...waiting and waiting and waiting for your child to be matched with you, it's for a reason!!! Your child may not be ready for you yet. As much as we cursed at having the change agencies in February...we never would have got matched with Caate if we hadn't have. Caate had a hard adjustment to the orphanage...when she finally started to talk (end of February of this year)...that's when they said she was ready to be placed with an international family. We changed agencies Feb 11 and Feb. 26 we got her proposal. So, God's timing is perfect...so perfect. And, thankfully I listened to God when He said we needed to change agencies. As scary and difficult as it was to do...we just felt deep down that God was asking us to do this, so we just had to be obedient. To me it didn't make any sense to throw a ton of money down the toilet and all those years were gone. But, He knew what was waiting for us...our beautiful daughter!!! So, hang in there. Keep trusting, keep holding on to hope. Know that God's plan is amazing. And, in the end you will be holding your child and all the pain and agony and despair will be behind you. Adoption is not only for the tough ones, but for those that will also reach out and ask friends and family and those that have gone before you(like us!)...for support. You need a support network to help you through the tough times. Cause, there will be tough times!!!! But, our story is proof that you will make it through! You can do this! So, I just want to encourage you to keep with it...and NEVER GIVE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

With much love,
Carala

Friday, August 13, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

My Girl....Caate (pronounced "Kate" :-) )




My Blog is open to everyone once again!

Well, I've decided to re-open my blog to everyone. Since we are home and there is no need to keep our journey privatized.

Hope you all enjoy catching up on our journey! We have been home since Saturday and things are going great with our little Caate! :-)

Love,
Carala
**I will post soon. I've been extremely tired...go figure, I have 3 children now! LOL! :-)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

GOTCHA DAY!!!!!!!!!!!

GOTCHA DAY - AUGUST 4th, 2010





We made it! 3 years and 7 months later...our girl is finally ours for life! We can't tell you how happy we are...to have Caate in our lives. She is so precious, so beautiful, so perfect for our family. She is giving, caring, helpful, determined, creative and passionate! We know it will take time for Caate to blossom into a beautiful flower, but in time she will show us all her beauty that she possesses.

Today we celebrate her! We celebrate the beginning of a new family. And an exciting journey ahead of us! Yes, it won't be without challenges...but we know if we can get through 3 1/2 years of challenges...we can get through anything...with God's help and guidance. And, with the love you all of you, our friends of family. Thank you for being a part of our journey, for always listening when we needed an ear, and always encouraging when the chips were down. We will never forget all the people that helped us get here. To you, we are grateful!! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you...from the bottom of our hearts. :-)

And to God...we am thankful!! With Him....all things are possible! Without Him...we never would have found our girl. We figure God must have an amazing plan for Caate, if he went to all this trouble to bring her into our family. :-) We are looking forward to being a family and anxious to see what else God has planned for us.

With love,
Carala, Terence, Trennon, Ryden and Caate! :-)

**when we get some pictures of Caate smiling...I'll post them. So far....we have none! :-)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

a Jellema update from Russia!

Hello!!!! Yes, we are still alive! :-) As you can imagine...it's been a crazy journey these last few weeks. Having to deal with jet lag, 2 children (well 3 actually!), getting used to different food, bad stomaches, Trennon's bad cold, and a bunch of other things. Plus, figure out how to get Caate to want to be with us! LOL! Out of everything, that has been the toughest and most difficult challenge. Behind closed doors, Caate would tell her caregivers and friends how much she wanted to be with us and how she liked her new mama and papa and brothers. Yet, when push came to shove....Caate screamed in our presence. Slowly day by day we had to try different things. But, nothing was working. We spend the first week going to the orphanage, but no progress was being made. All her friends loved us! We had a great time interacting with them...but Caate wanted nothing to do with us. No treat or toy or forced alone time with her made a difference. The caregivers were beside themselves. We were too. Until, we(Terence and I) add the idea to have her come to our apartment for visits each day. The baby home agreed to this (to our amazement!) and we started just spending 1 hour - 1 1/2 hours each day just with Caate. Lilia our host was here to help with any translating. We started this on Sunday...and by Thursday this week we decided to do 2 visits a day with her...since things were starting to go better. Today, we even got to venture outside for our time...since Caate doesn't cry now with us. It was so nice to just be able to go somewhere with her...we finally felt like a family of 5 for the first time!!! Yes, each step is a baby step...but baby steps are so much better than no steps at all! We are very thankful that things are starting to get better. :-)

So, that is the short update. Monday is the last day before we "technically" can call Caate ours! But, because our court date was moved up and our friends was moved back...we won't get Caate til Wednesday, the day we leave Sterlitamak for Moscow. Which is fine. There's paperwork to do and stuff anyway. Kind of complicated...but, just know we are just excited about leaving with her on Wednesday!!!

Tomorrow we start to pack up. I think we may have just done our last load of wash. No dryers here...so everything is line dried. It's definitely been an experience living with a family. Especially with the boys with us! We've all had our upset stomaches...mine of course happened the night we decided to go out to our hosts' Dacha(summer home). Ya, nice. I spend half the time in their "outhouse". Now, I've been in many outhouses in my life...but none like this. Just a hole in the wood floor. Thankfully I made it home and by morning I was fine. I think it was the raw cabbage salad. Ya, I've avoided cabbage altogether ever since. LOL!!! The food hasn't been too bad though. Lilia is a great cook. It's just so different than how we eat...so the boys have had a hard time...but I forgot to pack peanut butter for Trennon. So, it's been a lot tougher on the boys than it could have been. :-)

We got to experience a Russian Orthodox church...a neat experience for the boys especially. And, we've been to a Russian amusement park with great rides. They had a lot of fun there! All in all we've done well. Just all ready to be home. And, to have Caate in our lives forever. It's not fun having to visit her 2-3 hours a day...we want her 24/7!!! But, we're sooo close now. In just a few days we won't have been be away from her ever again. I really think things will go better with her once we're together non stop. She won't be able to escape us any longer! :-) hee hee!

We know the road ahead will not be all roses...but we are excited to see the plans God has for our family. :-) Thank you all for continuing to journey with us. For praying for us and for encouraging us.

A few days ago I heard these words in my heart, spoken by God. "Good things are to come Carala, don't worry. Good things are to come!" He really has been the strength of my heart this week. There's a great song that says those words, "God is the strength of my heart"...and really, without Him leading us and guiding us this week...I don't know how we would have made it through. We had some rough days. But, we made it through and God helped us figure out a good way to make head way with Caate. Thanks for praying for us!!! The end of this part of the journey is almost finished....and the REAL journey with Caate and our family is about to begin!!! I've dreamed about this for soooo long...we all have! And now, we're just a few days away from being a family of 5...forever. We're sooo happy that Caate will have a "forever home"!!!!! And, we're so happy that SHE was chosen for us...cause we are the luckiest family around! She is soooo beautiful, so strong, and has such a caring passionate heart for others. We think she will fit into our family JUST fine! :-)

I don't know when I will post again. Gotcha day is Wednesday August 4th, but I don't think I will be able to until at least the 5th or 6th. On August 7 we jump on a plane at 7am Moscow time and we get home at 11:15am Calgary time on August 7th! So, we'll see if somewhere in there I can post a family pic!!!! :-)

With much love,

Carala (for Terence, Trennon, Ryden and Caate!)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We're alive and well and through Court!!!!!

Well, we're finally getting over jet lag....so I think I can write without getting too exhausted. :-)

Here's how the journey has gone so far...I'm sure you've been anxiously waiting.

July 17 we left Calgary. We hopped on a plane and landed in Ufa, Russia on July 18 at almost midnight. Our driver picked us up and we started the almost 2 hour drive to Sterlitamak, Caate's hometown of almost 300,000 people. En route we got a phone call from our translator that our court date was moved and now we are too be in court in 10 hours, instead of the following day. Oh my goodness. So, we got to Sterlitamak at 1:30am and we quickly put the boys to bed and ironed our clothes for court. We slept from 2:00am – 5:30am and the got up, showered and ate breakfast before jumping in the car again at 8am on our way back to Ufa...where court was being held. Don't ask me why we didn't just get a hotel in Ufa that night and skip the car commute. But, I think they just wanted to keep us safe with our host family. Anyway, we got to Sterlitamak just before 10am for our court proceedings. This all felt quite surreal. I sat in court, almost wanting to pinch myself. I just got off a plane from a 25 + hour journey and now we're in court? This is just insane!!!! I was happy to get court over with. While at the same time I wanted to take in this moment as it was the moment Caate would enter our family for life. A very special moment that I know I will never forget. Court went just fine. Our speeches were great (according to our translator) and I didn't cry. Which I was told was the best thing I could have done. I figured crying in a Russian court wouldn't be too highly looked upon. :-) And, I was right. It was hard to keep my emotions on the level as it was an emotional time. Caate would be apart of our family for the rest of our lives...and if I would have let myself I could have just balled. At 11:30am we became official parents of Caate. :-) Now, we wait out the 10 days period. Well, actually 14 days...not including weekends. :-) So, on August 4th we will be official, OFFICIAL parents of Caate. We get to pick her up at the baby home and take her to Moscow to get her visa for coming home. We will spend 3 days there...and leave on August 7 for the big trip from Moscow to Canada!!! We arrive home at 11:15am and hope a bunch of our friends and family will show up at the airport to welcome our daughter home!!!! It will be the icing on the cake to have all who supported us these last 3 ½ years there to greet us! So, if you are one of them...please come and meet us!!! :-)

Our first visit with Caate was on July 19th at 5pm. Of course she cried. Poor girl. She's having a hard time with us. But, we know each day it will get better. Our 2nd day was July 20th and we had 2 visits. One at 10am and one at 4:30pm. These will be our regular visiting times for the entire time we are here. We play outside during this time. It's about 1 ½ – 2 hours of visiting. Since she doesn't accept us very well at this point...we just end up playing with her, with her group of about 12 kids ages 3-4. We could tell right away the kids really missed us! And, remembered us!!! We were happy to see them all. What a great group she is a part of and such well behaved children. :-) I think we make this a little wild and out of control at times...but that's fine too ( at least in our minds!)...they are kids afterall. :-)

The boys have made a great connection with Caate. They can be beside her and she doesn't feel threatened by them. Us, on the other hand. Well, she cries when we hold her. But, we know the time it will take for her to allow us into her heart. Each visit, we make baby steps. So, if you are the praying kind, can I ask you to pray for our little Caate? That somehow she will be able to let her defences down and allow us a little each day to break down the walls between us. :-) When she lets a smile out...it is the most beautiful thing in the world. She shines a light that is just gorgeous!!!! She like the bubbles today and did jump around a bit for them and smiled as she caught them. She brings out Hope Bear ever time too. And, you can tell it has been well loved by her already. :-) I'd love to see her sleep at night with |Hope in her arms. I know, she is trying her best to love us in her way. A little bit at a time. God has been so good to us. Giving us the patience we need to move a little closer to her each day. We know we have been given 13 more days to visit her...in total 26 more visits...the get closer to our daughter. So, by the time we take her for good...she will be willing to go with us. I look foward to that day...as does the the boys. The boys miss home...yet love going to spend time with her. The boys are such a great gift to us. They are bridging the gap between her and us. We are thankful that they are here and I love the experience they are getting in a foreign country and in a new culture. They are both great traveller and have done well with the food. Especially Trennon. Ryden is a homebody so I'm especially proud of him for doing so well here. He's not keen on the food, but is trying things he would have not wanted to at home. Our host is a very good cook and makes him balini for breakast (pancakes). He LOVES that. Trennon loves her soups for lunch and eats way more stuff than I could have imagined him eating!!! We think he will be a traveller one day....well, I guess he already is , actually!!! He just goes with the flow. And, he's also the one fighting a cold during all of this. What a trooper! Thankfully we got medicine before we left so he's been taking that twice a day. So far he's doing ok. Hopefully by the end of the week it gets a lot better. Now, that the boys are sleeping through the night...I think he will start to get better. It sure didn't help that he was getting absolutely no sleep as he can't sleep during the day time. Ryden, has no problems with that! :-) I think he gets that from me! I could sleep all the time!

Ter and I are doing great. Now that I'm getting over jet lag...I'm feeling like I have a little more energy. I only woke at 6:30am this morning after going to bed at 10:30. Not bad. Each day will get better. Not bad for a 12 hour time change!!!

Well, that's it for now. We go in 1 ½ for our 5th visit with her. This visit is always the worst one as she is tired from her day and it's almost supper time for her. I hope it will be a good visit and we make more of a connection with her. During this visit our friends will almost be there with their new daughter. We have loved getting to know them and we know we have made friends for life. They live a long ways away in Toronto...but I know we will always stayed connected because of our girls. :-) It would be fun to get together one day when our lives are more settled.

That's the update I'm sure you've all been waiting for. We are feeling a lot settled in to our routine now. We hope to do a few more adventures during our free time with the boys. We saw there is an amusement park right here in Sterlitamak!!! The boys were excited about that. So, one day our driver will take us! We can't wait!!! Our own little Calaway park!!!! (just like the one in Calgary!) Our driver took us to a “pet store” today....and we saw a monkey. Not, what we typically have in a pet store....so the boys loved that!!! I'm sure we'll go back and visit it again. They are different animals and reptiles that we don't normally have in our stores. So, it's kind of fun. We are finding more things to do for fun than I thought. :-)

Anyway, must run. Hope all is well with everyone. I don't get on to check blogs at all but will one day.... I promise! :-)

with love,

Carala

Friday, July 16, 2010

A Note for Caate

Dear Caate,

Tomorrow we fly to Russia! We are so excited this journey TO you is about to end, and a life WITH you is about to start. You are our sunshine, you are our daughter and sister. And, we all anxious to start our life with you.

We know these next few weeks are going to be tough on you. We don't know what your reaction will be to us. We know you are scared..but at the same time we know your desire to hug us and love us. And, to have a mama and papa...and 2 brothers. We will take it one day at a time. Know, we love you soo much (I think you'll figure that out pretty quick!).

I can't wait to have you home. To show you your new world. To introduce you to our friends, and your new friends. And, I can't wait for you to get to know a little about Jesus...the one who lead us along this long road, who guided us all the way, and gave us the strength we needed to be patient for 3 1/2 long years. It was sooo worth it though, and God made it all possible for each little thing to fall into place...in his perfect timing. I long for so many things Caate. I long to hold you and rock you and sing you to sleep. I long to kiss you all over and make you laugh a big giant giggle. I can't wait to be your mama. The one you go to for kisses for all your hurts. To walk beside you, hold your hand, and watch you ride a bike for the first time. To continue playing soccer like we did at the baby home. :-)

Soon Caate, the day is coming when we can do all of this. :-) And, that makes me truly happy inside. Knowing all my dreams are coming true.

I love you. I can't WAIT to be with you...forever.

Love,
your forever mama

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

4 days to go!!!

So, 4 days until we are off to Russia to be with our girl! We leave Saturday at 1pm and we're back at 11:30am on Saturday August 7th!!! 3 weeks exactly! If you are in town and would like to meet us at the airport...you are certainly welcome! The bigger the crowd the better!!!! :-)
We are on a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt(international arrivals) at about 11:30am. Don't remember the flight number! :-) Hope we see some of you there!

We figure it's a great time for people to see us and Caate before we go into succlustion for a bit. We don't know how Caate is going to react to her new "world". So, we probably will be just hanging out exploring her world with her, getting to know her and her, us! That may be for a month or so. All depending on her. So, if we don't call, or write and return your phone calls...it's because we're just taking time to get our life figured out, quietly. :-) I'm sure you understand. :-)

I can't promise how much I'll write when I get home. I know some people promise they will, and then don't. I don't want to disappoint people. I hope I will again, when a little some time...whenever that will be!! LOL! I hope to give some updates in Russia...and will post pics when we get home at the end of this all! :-) She is a sweet sweet girl and soooo beautiful!

Thank you all once again...for being there for us, for loving us, and for getting us through a difficult but exciting 3 1/2 years! God was amazing through it all and we give Him all the glory for bringing her into our lives. We are so thankful for all we've been through and all we're about to go through. The adventure is only beginning!!! We are so excited to start our life with her. And to give her the love she deserves. :-) And, we can't wait for her to love us back. And, we have dreamed of sharing our lives with her for sooo long...we can't wait to start! :-)

With love and hope in our hearts...
Carala

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Introducing... :-)

Introducing……Caate Rae Jellema

The darling little girl we’ve dreamed of for 3 ½ years…is coming home. Caate was born February 9, 2007…just 1 month after Terence said to me…maybe we should adopt! Who would have thought that our adventure would only start there? And almost 3 ½ years later we are almost to completion. On July 17th, we head to Russia, and our plane arrives back home August 7th; as a family of 5! So exciting.

Now, about the name. :-)

Ekaterina is her Russian name. Which, translates to Catherine in English. Now, let’s back the story up to when I was pregnant with Trennon in 2002. If Trennon was going to be a girl, his name was going to be Makenna Catherine Rae. Catherine, after my grandmother, who past away just over a year ago…and was very special to me. And Rae…my grandfathers name and one of my middle names, who was also very special to me. But, then we had Trennon John (middle name after Terence’s dad) and Ryden Terence. So, my hope for Makenna Catherine Rae was over. Well, until we started talking about our little girl to be. When we got the proposal of Ekaterina….you can only imagine how fast my heart was racing inside. After dreaming so long of my little girl and what her name would be…and then to see her name was Catherine all along and we just never knew it. I could hardly believe it!

So, we decided to shorten it to Caate (pronounced KATE)…with a little different spelling. Cause, we wanted to make her unique…just like her brothers! And Rae, for my amazing grandfather who was a very special man in my life.

I can't post pictures until "Gotcha Day". (that's the very special day when she's ours for life, in the adoption world!). Our Gotcha Day, will be August 4th. That is also the day we leave Sterlitamak, Bashkortostan with her....her home and birth place. We will spend 3 days in Moscow getting her visa and passport for Canada...and arrive home August 7th! We hope you will join us for a celebration at the airport on our arrival. I will post flight arrival times as soon as we have them!

Thanks again for joining us so far on our very special and incredible journey. We couldn't have made it this far without you! And, this is really only the beginning. We know we have a lot to learn over the next months as we get to know Caate and she gets to know us. It's going to be a crazy ride but we're soooo ready for it!

love,
Carala, Terence, Trennon, Ryden...and now Caate. :-)

Monday, June 28, 2010

We're back!

Hey everyone,

We're back safe and sound. It was soooo good to see the boys.

What a crazy week! We had a great time. I hope to write more later...but have so much to do so I can't be long right now.

We have a court date of July 20th...so we go back on July 16 with our boys. Our facilitator and orphanage staff are excited for the boys to come. They feel that Ekaterina will be put more at ease with them there. We're so happy about that! Also, our host family and their english speaking daughter will sit with our boys outside court! So, my mom will not be going with us. Everything is taken care of, which is amazing. I'm so glad I didn't worry about any of this!!!! Cause there was no need to worry.

About Ekaterina....

She is a sweet sweet sweet girl. And sooo beautiful!!!! Wow! She is very shy and her defenses were up most of the week. So, it was a hard week in a lot of respects...but a wonderful one at the same time. We made some head way with her and could be in her vacinity more towards the end. We did have some special moments with her that we will never forget. I got to play soccer with her(and throw the ball) and she had a big smile on her face to whole time. Terence got to hold her and 3 of her friends at one time and spin them around. It's these small but amazing moments we will never forget. As much as we would have loved to hold her and throw her in the air and just be close to her...we know that will take time. Lots of time. But, we were much closer to her after the 9th visit verses the first visit where she screamed and wouldn't even look at us.

Since Ekaterina didn't let her be close to her...we got to spend lots of time getting to know her group (the kids she lives with!). There are about 10-12 of them and they LOVED us from the very start. It was so crazy...cause everyone at the orphanage bonded to us from the start...except our duaghter. We know the pressure she had on her this week and we know how much she wanted to just throw her arms around us like her friends. I can't imagine the heart ache she went through this week. I could have cried the whole week...but I held it together. (that's a big thing for me!). I felt so sad for her and I understood why she was the way she was. She's been through a lot in her 3 years of life. I get it. But, it was still hard to stand back and give her space. The mama in me just wanted to go hold her and love her and kiss her and hug her. It took all the was in me....to just let her be. The great thing is....she has attached to all the caregivers and LOVES them deeply. And they are soooo happy she has found her forever family. :-)

Sorry this is short...but there is so much to do in the next few weeks.

One last thing.....Ekaterina took my hand at the end of one of our visits and brought me inside and all the way up to show us her area where they have locker for their outside clothes and where their play room is. We haven't seen her room yet...but hopefully next trip! :-) what a sweet, beautiful, smart, and helpful girl she is! So happy to call her mine.... :-)

Love,
Carala

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

the count down is on!!!

So, it's been one busy week. Lots to do to get ready to go! Tying loose ends up and getting the house ready for my mom to arrive to take care of the boys. I'm run off my feet...but it's going well. :-)

I have 132 hours left before we meet our daughter for the first time. You don't know how good that feels to say it in hours...and not days!!!!!! :-) We leave Sunday and come back the following Sunday. It's going to be one quick trip...but hopefully it won't be more than 4-8 weeks before we go back.

Anyway, just a quick one to let you all know we're alive...just a little busy. :-)

We won't have internet while we are there...so I won't be updating my blog. I will do some posts when I return.

Love,
Carala

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

the latest...

So, we moving along here. We received our passports back with the VISAS in them! So happy to get them back in our possession! Courier companies ALWAYS make me nervous! :-)

We had to go to our local police...the other thing we tried didn't work out. It looked so different than the local police report we just didn't want to take a chance. So, we went down to the Calgary police department on Monday a.m....and showerd our travek itinerary (thanks for the tip Carla!) and they said it would be done in a week. So, Monday I just have to go downtown and pick it up! SOOOOOO happy. Oh, and we were just told that there are 2 consulatesI...so even though 1 is closing for 2 weeks...the other is open. So, we will have no problem getting the legalizing done etc. Don't ask me why they even told us the one was closing. What does it matter if there is another one open? I think I missed something in all of that. Anyway! We are just happy that we will get a lot of this done with no issues. We sent our medicals to our agency so they can start on that stuff. We won't get our social workers licence for a bit yet...so that is all we are waiting on at this point. I hope we can get it before we go. But, I am not worried. I feel pretty relaxed. EXHAUSTED, but relaxed! :-) Everything will come. God has taken great care of everything. And, it's all coming together!

So, that's the update! We have 11 days to go!! Still doesn't feel real. I can't believe it yet. It's just so unreal. So, pray for us. We have lots to do before we go. Lots to plan for and lots of loose ends to tie up (with leaving the boys with my mom). But, that will come too. It's just tiring...and I am already tired. But, my girl is sooo worth it! :-) I am looking forward to the time between trips. Yes, there will be things to do, but the boys will be off and we won't have all the running around to do for soccer and t-ball! :-)

Anyway, must go to bed. I am exhausted! :-)

...Carala

Friday, June 4, 2010

updates....

Well, here we are again. Having to update all our docs...medicals, criminals, and new social worker license that we just found out expires at the end of June. Great timing all around! Just LOVE the updating! (NOT!)

Yes, it's been stressful. But, God is good. I found an agency that can do crim checks in 3 days...and they cost less than going to your own cop shop. Plus, they work over the weekend. SWEET! So, hopefully by Tuesday or Wednesday we'll have those back...and our medicals are done. So, we wait a couple weeks for our social worker's license to come in...and then, VOILA! Ya, sounds sooo easy doesn't it. Ya, not. I've been so stressed...since I wasn't expecting to have to do them again so soon. But, everything expires after 3 months...ya, forgot about that! Oh well, God is good and is giving me a bit of sanity in all of this. I can feel the prayers of others and I know....that in 2 week and 2 days...we'll be on a plane to Russia. SO! How can you NOT be happy?! :-)

To my darling girl,

Yes, this has been a rough road...but for you, I'd do anything. :-) We love you, and are counting down the days til we get to hold you and play with you. Some days (most days!) I still feel like we're in a dream world. Is this really happening? It feels too good to be true. But, we have our tickets booked and we're gathering up clothes(thanks to your Auntie Kristen and Uncle Karmen) and some toys to take to your orphanage. I hope you like some of the things we bought. We'll get to do bubbles together and puzzles and play with the bear the boys made you. I can't wait! I hope this day of meeting us won't be too scary for you. Of course I dream of a perfect day...but I know how scared you will be. Know, I understand. :-) I'm a little scared too! :-) But, it will be soooo fun when we get to just play together and hopefully I'll get some hugs and kisses too! You girl, are so worth every hurdle we are having to jump over! Yes, I may complain and shed a few tears...but they because I just want you home and it's all of these things that are standing in our way to make that happen! We love you, and we are sooooo excited to jump on that plane and then make that first walk up to your orphanage. I've dreamed about it a million times...and finally a dream is going to become a reality! It's only because of God's great love for you, that this dream is going to happen. We can't wait to share God's amazing love with you, sweet daughter of ours. Sweet dreams, and soon we'll get to walk hand in hand. :-)

Love,
your forever mama

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Plane tickets purchased!!!!

So,

We just purchased 2 tickets to Russia! We leave June 20th and arrive back June 27th. Wahooooo!

I did medicals today...and on Thursday we'll go get our criminals done again. Oh the fun.

Visas should be back next week by Wednesday for sure. We seem to be ready to go...it's kind of strange.

Well, besides the house is a disaster and I have to clean and bake food for my mom while she is here with the boys. And, I have a bazillion field trips to go on with the boys before school is out and I have coffee meetings and a 6 year old birthday party to throw this weekend, and soccer tournaments and, and, and,......you get the picture! (and that's only the stuff I can remember off hand! LOL )

Oh well, it will get done...or it won't. Either way....we're going to Russia baby to meet our daughter!!!!!!!!

Happy dance oh happy dance! :-)

...Carala

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

TRAVEL DATES!!!!!!!!

The day has finally arrived, June 1st, 2010. We are allowed to finally go meet our daughter. We need to be there June 22nd...so we will either fly June 19th or 20th...whatever is cheaper! And, we'll come back sometime after the 26th. Time to book flights! I'm just waiting on a couple different agents!

Sooooooooo excited!!!!!!!! :-)

Carala

Thursday, May 27, 2010

VISAS!!!!!!!

We get to apply for our visas!!!!!! We aren't 100% confirmed yet with our travel dates, but hopefully by tomorrow we will be! I'm sooo excited! June 19 or 20 should be our travel date!

WAHOOOOOOOOO!!!! WE'RE GOING TO MEET OUR DAUGHTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, gotta run. House to clean and visas to apply for!

love,
a VERY VERY happy mama!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sorry...no news yet. :-(

Well, it's Wednesday...and no news. Although we're sure we'll be leaving June 19th or 20th...we really don't know. It's crazy even to think we're leaving...cause so much changes so quickly in Russia. For all we know...we could get delayed. But, we just have to trust that God knows...and will be our strength no matter what happens.

If I was to think optimistically...I would think....WE'RE LEAVING IN 3 WEEKS!!!! We're going to touch and hold and play with our daughter!!!!! My eyes sting with tears when I think about that. It just doesn't seem real. I feel like we're in this holding pattern. Circling, circling and circling some more. Just waiting our turn...and to think...our turn is just around the corner. Wow. Pretty neat. Amazing. Unbelieveable. Incredible.

So excited to book tickets! So excited to get this show on the road! So over the moon to meet my girl. To stand face to face...watching her, watching me. To see her reaction when we show her "Hope" the bear that her brothers made her. To show her pictures of her brothers...I just wonder what she's going to think. I wish I could be in her head, to see what she's thinking at that moment. Does she even believe that we're really going to love her, for real?! If she only could know how hard we've all worked and sacraficed for her...just because we love her....and only her. There's no one else we are doing this for. We want her and long to love her. If she could only understand. It will be a sweet sweet day...when we walk away from her orphanage. Knowing she will never have to go back. Yes, one day we hope to visit again, when she is ready. But, to leave that day...and know she is ours and we are hers. To know the end is near, is within our grasp....it's hard to even imagine let alone get our minds around. Yes, our adoption journey was never supposed to be this long or hard....but in the end it was sooooo worth ever bump, hurdle and mountain that we had to get over. God is good. He took care of us all the way through. No matter how frustrated I got or longed to just let it be over....he gave us the strength to get through another day. And one day at a time, we got here. 12 hundred and 44 days....1 day at a time. And yet...we are not done living it out 1 day at a time. We still have months before she will be ours forever. I think the hardest will be waiting to go back to see her after holding her and loving her during Trip #1. I hear it's the worst part actually. Can you imagine loving your children...and then have to leave them for an indefinite number of months? Yes, we hope we will only have to leave for her for 2 months...but we don't know that for sure. Anything can happen. I know it will be a difficult 2 months...but if I've gotten through the last 1244 days...I know God can get me through another 60 more. I think it would be like running a marathon (not that I've run one or anything, but only could imagine)...you get to the last 5 kms...and think...really, they had to put a hill this late in the course? Really? Did they realize how tired I am? Well, that's us. Tired and ready to be done...yet we know we have a big hill to climb before the finish. With God at our side, we will do it! We will make it...I have no doubt about that. :-)

The party is around the corner folks! I look forward to that day... :-)

with love,
Carala

Friday, May 21, 2010

still waiting...

well, nothing much new here. Still waiting for our dates of travel. I'm not really expecting them till the end of next week anyway. But, if a week could drag...it was this one. It seemed like it went in slow motion. I spent the week trying to hash out what flights we should take and what amazing price we would get! LOL! Ya, I figured out the flight we'd like....but the price, not so nice. And, as time goes on I'm sure it's only going to go higher unfortunately. But, what can we do? Not much. So, we will pay what we have to pay.

Yesterday I went shopping...yes, I broke down and bought PINK! I really don't have a choice. It's all pretty much pink out there. And personally...if anyone is going to look good in pink...it's my girl. With her black beautiful thick hair and her brown eyes....she will look so adorable in pink. I did buy this cute purple tie dyed dress with leggings....adorable. And, I got the cutest jeans that flare at the bottom (I LOVE jeans!)...of course I bought them in 2 sizes! I'm trying to figure out how many outfits to bring...not too many of course. It's hard to decide! I'm trying not to buy too much stuff cause I don't know exactly which size she will wear yet. When I do know after trip #1 then I can go alittle more crazy. And, I do want to wait until fall clothes come out cause she will hopefully be home in the early fall. Fall is my favorite season for clothes...nice warm sweaters and cords...and jeans of course! So fun. I think I will enjoy buying her fall clothes more than summer. I also found this weaved purse with flowers on it and little tassles. I can't wait to fill it with stuff that little girls love! And, I bought her, her first doll. She is so cute with dark brown hair (and short like hers!) and brown eyes just like her! And, of course a "my little pony". I never had them as a kid...but I think she'll love it. I need a "bag of tricks" to play with while we are there on trip #1. Hopefully she'll really be into one of those things. You just never know what she'll be into.

Well, that's what I've been up to. Just trying to pass the time. The boys seem to be picking up the Russian better than myself! Not surprised if they're anything like their dada! He definitely has a better grasp on lauguages than myself. But, it's going ok. I'm a little nervous about communicating. But, I know it will be fine. We will play plya play...and I know that will make her happy. I keep wondering how our visits will go? Will she even like us? I've heard all sorts of stories about first visits. Some go well...some not so well. I wonder how it will go for us? I just hope she will at least let me hold her by the end of first trip. I know I've been dreaming of this for sooooo long. But, she hasn't. So, it will be interesting. I'm so glad Terence and I will be together. He is sooo great with this age in particular. Kids just go to him. :-) And, I loved when the boys were 3! Such a great age. :-)

.....wahooooooo, my girls bedding just arrived!!!!! It's been 3 months of issues...but it finally made it here! I'm was soooo happy I even cried! Finally...our house is going from a boys only home...to a little bit of girl. :-) See the picture below! I can't wait to finish her room...we've been waiting for her bedding so we can start her room with paint, furniture and decorating! Soooo fun!




Anyway, that's it....

Until next week!
C.

Friday, May 14, 2010

tentitive date!!!!!

So, quick post cause we're heading camping right now!

We have a tentitive date of June 21 or 22 to be in RUssia. So, would mean traveling either June 18/19/20 to get there in time.

Ryden's Kindergarten grad is June 18th...so we NEED you all to pray (if you are the praying kind!) that we don't have to leave until June 19th at the earliest!!!!! I don't want to miss it!!!!! So pray folks!!! Thank you!

We will know for sure at the end of the month...so another 2 weeks to wait! I'm getting good at this waiting thing! But, this is good news! One step at a time. :-)
Unfortunately we can't book plane tickets yet....so, we're a bit worried about the cost as it's peak travel season in Europe. So, you can pray about that too! thanks!

..Carala (a very VERY happy mama today!)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

She is sooooo adorable!!!!

I almost hugged the puralator man when he came. He said I must be excited about something if I opened the door so quickly! Yes, just a little happy! He was so happy for us and said he doesn't normally get such happy people greeting him! :-)

She is soooo shy. She never smiled in the video...but just did some educational puzzles and followed every instruction perfectly without a sound. It would have been nice to hear her cute little voice...but even so, I am sooooooooo excited to just have a video of her! She is a smart cookie! She had no problem doing the puzzles at all. :-) She is perfect in every way.

I am in a puddle of tears. This is the girl, who we almost declined!!! Well, we did decline, until my friend S. told me about her visit with her and so we felt we should at least travel to visit this little girl. Man, I can't imagine if we would have missed out on having her in our lives!! Already I know how perfectly she will fit into our family! The boys are going to LOVE her as their sister. She has already filled my heart right to the top. I can't wait to hold her little hand, to hug her and play with her. To show her how special she is and that she deserves to be loved with a special love that we are dying to give her.

I am so thankful to God for giving us this special gift today! Yes, it may be ugly and snowy outside...but inside this house it is full of love and excitement. I can't wait for the boys to come home from school! What a party we are going to have!

Thank you all for your prayers, for your love and for all your support. There have been few times in our adoption journey that we have had reason to celebrate! Today is one of those days!!!!! We hit the jackpot today! Nobody gets videos. And it was 6 minutes 23 seconds worth of her, our daughter! So amazing! I know this will help us get through until we are able to travel. :-)

Thank you God for this special gift. :-) You are so incredible!

To my sweet darling, most amazing daughter,

I love you, and as I watch your video I can totally see that you will fit into our family. God made you for us, and us for you. You are so beautiful inside and out and a very smart cookie! I am so thankful that you will soon be in our lives, forever. And, I want you to know, that you were so worth the wait! Our journey to you, started days before you were born....and now God is finally bringing us together, forever. I love you, and can't wait to finally meet you!
love,
your forever Mama. :-)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

DMP report and the soon to see video!

Well, it was a great day today! We received the DMP report (district Medical Practitioner) They assessed our girl on April 7, 2010. It had a little more to say then the first medical we got in February, so that was nice. A little more about the birth mom and a little more about her. So, all in all I am one happy mama today!

And, tomorrow...I will be even happier! We will get a video from our agency of our girl tomorrow!!!!! We will see her walk, maybe talk, but hopefully smile...for the very first time!! So stoked! I don't know if I'll sleep tonight! It's like seeing your baby for the first time. The anticipation of what they'll be like. We've seen many pictures of our girl...but not a girl that is alive and moving. We feel so blessed to be with this region and to have so many that have gone before us, to help us through by bringing back videos and pictures of our daughter. I hope one day, we will be able to do the same for another family. :-)

So, to happy days at the Jellema's!!! I am really enjoying all the blessings God is bestowing on us. Like Trennon said today, the wind was blowing hard all night for a reason.(we had 90km an hour winds!) He was movin' mountains! Yes, He was. Today's gift of the medical and tomorrow's gift of the video are from God. A sampling of the little life that will ours soon. :-) I am a very very very happy mama! :-)

With much love,
Carala

Sunday, May 2, 2010

another short update...

Well, we had the most incredible time at the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit! WOW! It's hard to even sum it up! I will do another post soon about our experience, but for now I just wanted to send a quick update on our adoption.

We don't know anything official yet. Our dossier should be in Russia by now, and hopefully this coming week or next so should get our travel dates. I can't believe it's MAY! Wow!

A friend of ours just came back with their new daughter from the same orphanage last week!!!! I am soooo happy for their family. It must be so amazing to be done this process and now start a new chapter in their lives. S., I am soooo happy for you! Know you are in my prayers and thoughts as you embark on this great journey of being a mom! The rewards are great and the fun has just begun!!!

S. also took some video of our daughter, soooooo...we are anxiously waiting to get the clips. They were taken with someone else's video camera, so it may take a few days to get the video. We are trying our best to be patient! :-) I can't wait though! To see our girl in action! WOW! I know I'm going to ball! I hear she is a smart cookie and very shy. But, "lights up like a Christmas tree", as S. put it, when she's with her friends and other children! :-0 Aweeeeee, just like her mama! :-) I was a very VERY shy child. So, this is sooo exciting for me. What a blessing to have someone that has spent some time with our girl. God is so good to us. He has given us a gift most pre-adotive parents don't get before they adopt. To have first hand info, pictures and video of their child. It's unheard of with most Russian adoptions. We feel so blessed! It really has given me the "ok" to fall hard for this little one. I love her more and more every day. I've let my guard down a lot in 2 months. I know God has given me the ability to just let go and trust Him. I'm not scared to love her and give my heart to her anymore. I am thankful for that! :-)

Well, time to go. Amazing race "date" with my honey! :-)

...Carala

Monday, April 26, 2010

2 days!!



We are 2 days away from going to the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit in Minneapolis, MN!!!! We are so excited for many reasons! For one, we heard about it from my sister-in-law just a few weeks ago...and decided we should GO! We are looking forward to the time we'll get to spend with them. They have a real passion for Orphan ministry and work for The CoMission for Children at Risk, equipping believers to minister to orphans in Russia and Eastern Europe.

We've been wanting to attend a conference on Adoption and Orphan care for awhile and I didn't think we'd get to go before our adoption was complete! But, God made a way for us to fly for free on points and our hotel was on points as well! When we figured it would all be covered...why not go!! We are also looking forward to meeting a lot of new people and contacts. And, we will attend some great sessions!!!

Anyway, our documents are flying to Russia...very very exciting! I am looking forward to getting our travel dates and making another step towards having our girl home, forever... :-)

...Carala