Thursday, September 1, 2011

1 year as our daughter....


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











Saturday, July 16, 2011

11 Months since Gotcha Day!

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

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

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

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

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





Thursday, June 9, 2011

Our Sponsor Child

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, June 4, 2011

10 Months since Gotcha Day....



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

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

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




Wednesday, May 25, 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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


Until next time!
Carala

Friday, May 6, 2011

9 Months Home!!!!

The months are just zooming by! I don't have time to write about the last month and Caate's progress...but I will soon. For now, here are some pictures I took today. No green grass or beautiful flowers...it is spring here afterall! LOL! Enjoy!






Monday, April 4, 2011

8 Months Since Caate became ours!!!

Wow! 8 Amazing months!

If you were to ask me what is the best thing that's happened in 8 months, this is what I'd say: Caate is attaching well!!! Yes, there's ups and there are downs when it comes to attachment. But, in the last few months it's been way more ups than downs. She really is getting to know where her real deep love comes from and that we will always be there for her. No matter what! There's no more desire to run to strangers. She keeps close to us. And just the other day, we had another great moment I want to share!

My parents had arrive to help look after the kids for the adoption conference and Steven Curtis Chapman concert!!!!! So on Saturday, my mom said Terence and I should get out for a bit while Ryden goes to a birthday party. So, we put Caate for her nap (in which grandma helped!) and left. She knew where we were going and that we'd be back later. Well, when we got back a couple hours later...Caate was fine. (we thought) Then, about 10 minutes after we got home...while I was snuggling her...tears started to pour down her face. And, she kept hugging me tighter and tighter. She missed me. She missed us. We think she was scared that we wouldn't come back. But, she knows we do. The thing is, I haven't left her very many times since we've been home. If I leave, Papa is always there. But this time, we both left. Our poor little girl held in her fears for the whole time we were gone. Thankfully she felt safe enough, to burst into tears in my arms. That, is great progress. And truthfully...my heart was singing for joy as she was crying her heart out. The cry was unique. It was a cry we rarely hear. We hear all types of crying...but not this one. It was music to my ears. It was a cry of love for us...and she wanted to make sure we loved her too. And, that we did come back. I reassure her all the time that we do come back. But, I have a feeling she may always be this way when we leave her. I know there was some major neglect in her life. 3 1/2 years of neglect. People leaving her and really, never coming back. We want her to know we will always come back...hopefully she will learn that we will, always. I know it will take time, lots of time. Maybe years and years...who knows. But for today....it was another giant step forward in the attachment category. Caate is loving us deeper and deeper every day. And that, is worth all the heart ache, pain and stress that we've felt for 8 months trying to do what is best for Caate in regards to attachment. Hoping our protection over her, restricting hugs from anyone besides our immediate family and grand parents in order to help her attach to us in the best way. Knowing, we don't know all the answers....we aren't experts. We, are just two parents that love our kids...all our kids. And, hoped our research on attachment would be enough to work with her!!! We'd like to say it's working...but, that will really take years to fully see. But for now....this mama is happier than ever...knowing my daughter missed me and hugged me tight and didn't want to let me go. And, missed her Papa equally! That is something to CELEBRATE!!!!!

We think Caate is finally starting to gain a bit of weight! This, is HUGE! Of course our scale is not really accurate...but just looking at her skinny mini little body...it looks like she's getting a bit (and I mean a bit!) of fat on her. She's grown 3 inches in the last 8 months...so she is growing. But, just UP!

So, what's next? Well, Caate is getting her tonsils and adenoids out on Thursday April 7th! This, hopefully will help her sleep deeper and with ease and hopefully will burn less calories at night trying to breath and in turn helping her gain some much needed weight! She definitely eats WELL!! So, Thursday is one big day! I will get to stay over night with her so I am VERY happy about that. If you pray, will you say a prayer that day for Caate...and the rest of us! I know Caate, she is tough. She, can handle pretty much anything. She will LOVE all the popsicles and jello. She is going to be in heaven. She loved her dental surgery day...so, we'll see about this one. I think this will definitely be harder on her...but we'll see how much harder. Like I said, she is one tough girl. :-)

Well, that's it I think. Life is good. Caate's vocabulary is developing well! She recognizes most of her letters now and says them. She can write some as well. For someone a couple months ago who couldn't care less about letters or numbers...it's amazing to see! I'm so proud of how far she's come in 8 months. :-)

Yesterday we attended (what I think was) Calgary's first adoption conference, called End the Wait tour 2011!!! It was put on by Focus on the Family Canada. They sponsored Steven Curtis Chapman and Geoff Moore and they've been making their way across Canada. They have 5 cities across Canada where they have done an info sessions on the 30,000 kids that are in foster care across Canada. Bringing awareness to most that don't know about the thousands of kids that are without a mom or dad. Steven Curtis Chapman and Geoff Moore both have adopted children from China and both have great hearts for the fatherless! They put on a fantastic concert last night that packed the place out!

Steven has 3 adopted daugthers from China and 3 biological. He shared about the accidental death of his youngest daughter (from China) that happened 3 years ago this May. They've been through some dark days, but, they have hope because of what Christ has done for us. That one day they will see Marie Sue again, in Heaven.

God is our father, who is the ultimate adoptive dad that invites anyone who so chooses to become a child of God. Adoption is so close to God's heart. He wants us to take care of the fatherless. Doesn't just mean adoption, or foster care. It could mean making a meal for a family that just adopted a child. It could mean giving respite to a couple that is fostering a special needs child. It could mean sponsoring a child with Campassion Canada or World vision (or many others) James 1:27 says this "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress..."

I was reminded last night of many things. But one thing I know...God has only begun to use our lives in order to spread His love for the fatherless. God has great plans for Canada, for Alberta and for Calgary! We are both excited to see what God is going to do!!

Please go to the focus on the Family website for more info on adoption in Canada. Or, if you have any questions I would be more than happy to try and answer them or redirect you to someone that would know the answer.

I'll leave you with some photos of our little Caate...8 months home! I took this pics just this morning. Boy, I'm not sure what I would do without my girl. :-)





8 Months since Caate has been with us!

Wow! 8 Amazing months!

If you were to ask me what is the best thing that's happened in 8 months, this is what I'd say: Caate is attaching well!!! Yes, there's ups and there are downs when it comes to attachment. But, in the last few months it's been way more ups than downs. She really is getting to know where her real deep love comes from and that we will always be there for her. No matter what! There's no more desire to run to strangers. She keeps close to us. And just the other day, we had another great moment I want to share!

My parents had arrive to help look after the kids for the adoption conference and Steven Curtis Chapman concert!!!!! So on Saturday, my mom said Terence and I should get out for a bit while Ryden goes to a birthday party. So, we put Caate for her nap (in which grandma helped!) and left. She knew where we were going and that we'd be back later. Well, when we got back a couple hours later...Caate was fine. (we thought) Then, about 10 minutes after we got home...while I was snuggling her...tears started to pour down her face. And, she kept hugging me tighter and tighter. She missed me. She missed us. We think she was scared that we wouldn't come back. But, she knows we do. The thing is, I haven't left her very many times since we've been home. If I leave, Papa is always there. But this time, we both left. Our poor little girl held in her fears for the whole time we were gone. Thankfully she felt safe enough, to burst into tears in my arms. That, is great progress. And truthfully...my heart was singing for joy as she was crying her heart out. The cry was unique. It was a cry we rarely hear. We hear all types of crying...but not this one. It was music to my ears. It was a cry of love for us...and she wanted to make sure we loved her too. And, that we did come back. I reassure her all the time that we do come back. But, I have a feeling she may always be this way when we leave her. I know there was some major neglect in her life. 3 1/2 years of neglect. People leaving her and really, never coming back. We want her to know we will always come back...hopefully she will learn that we will, always. I know it will take time, lots of time. Maybe years and years...who knows. But for today....it was another giant step forward in the attachment category. Caate is loving us deeper and deeper every day. And that, is worth all the heart ache, pain and stress that we've felt for 8 months trying to do what is best for Caate in regards to attachment. Hoping our protection over her, restricting hugs from anyone besides our immediate family and grand parents in order to help her attach to us in the best way. Knowing, we don't know all the answers....we aren't experts. We, are just two parents that love our kids...all our kids. And, hoped our research on attachment would be enough to work with her!!! We'd like to say it's working...but, that will really take years to fully see. But for now....this mama is happier than ever...knowing my daughter missed me and hugged me tight and didn't want to let me go. And, missed her Papa equally! That is something to CELEBRATE!!!!!

We think Caate is finally starting to gain a bit of weight! This, is HUGE! Of course our scale is not really accurate...but just looking at her skinny mini little body...it looks like she's getting a bit (and I mean a bit!) of fat on her. She's grown 3 inches in the last 8 months...so she is growing. But, just UP!

So, what's next? Well, Caate is getting her tonsils and adenoids out on Thursday April 7th! This, hopefully will help her sleep deeper and with ease and hopefully will burn less calories at night trying to breath and in turn helping her gain some much needed weight! She definitely eats WELL!! So, Thursday is one big day! I will get to stay over night with her so I am VERY happy about that. If you pray, will you say a prayer that day for Caate...and the rest of us! I know Caate, she is tough. She, can handle pretty much anything. She will LOVE all the popsicles and jello. She is going to be in heaven. She loved her dental surgery day...so, we'll see about this one. I think this will definitely be harder on her...but we'll see how much harder. Like I said, she is one tough girl. :-)

Well, that's it I think. Life is good. Caate's vocabulary is developing well! She recognizes most of her letters now and says them. She can write some as well. For someone a couple months ago who couldn't care less about letters or numbers...it's amazing to see! I'm so proud of how far she's come in 8 months. :-)

Yesterday we attended (what I think was) Calgary's first adoption conference, called End the Wait tour 2011!!! It was put on by Focus on the Family Canada. They sponsored Steven Curtis Chapman and Geoff Moore and they've been making their way across Canada. They have 5 cities across Canada where they have done an info sessions on the 30,000 kids that are in foster care across Canada. Bringing awareness to most that don't know about the thousands of kids that are without a mom or dad. Steven Curtis Chapman and Geoff Moore both have adopted children from China and both have great hearts for the fatherless! They put on a fantastic concert last night that packed the place out!

Steven has 3 adopted daugthers from China and 3 biological. He shared about the accidental death of his youngest daughter (from China) that happened 3 years ago this May. They've been through some dark days, but, they have hope because of what Christ has done for us. That one day they will see Marie Sue again, in Heaven.

God is our father, who is the ultimate adoptive dad that invites anyone who so chooses to become a child of God. Adoption is so close to God's heart. He wants us to take care of the fatherless. Doesn't just mean adoption, or foster care. It could mean making a meal for a family that just adopted a child. It could mean giving respite to a couple that is fostering a special needs child. It could mean sponsoring a child with Campassion Canada or World vision (or many others) James 1:27 says this "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress..."

I was reminded last night of many things. But one thing I know...God has only begun to use our lives in order to spread His love for the fatherless. God has great plans for Canada, for Alberta and for Calgary! We are both excited to see what God is going to do!!

Please go to the focus on the Family website for more info on adoption in Canada. Or, if you have any questions I would be more than happy to try and answer them or redirect you to someone that would know the answer.

I'll leave you with some photos of our little Caate...8 months home! I took this pics just this morning. Boy, I'm not sure what I would do without my girl. :-)





Tuesday, March 8, 2011

7 Months!!!!

Caate has been home 7 Months!!!! She sure has become an amazing little girl. Acting so much older, listening a little more consistantly, and just adjusting so much more to life in her family. The biggest step for her in the last 6-8 weeks has been trust and love. She LOVES us so much more deeper than she ever has. It's sooo exciting to see!!!! Because we have the boys to compare to (which I try not to do), but for measuring "depth of love and attachment", it's been quite handy. Her love for us as parents has grown leaps and bounds! The way she looks at me now, compared to 3 months ago is completely different. The love she has in her eyes is so incredible!

Yesterday I was praising her for not doing something over the last few weeks, that she had been doing for the last 7 months. I wanted her to know how proud I was of her. What I didn't expect, was the beam of light that radiated from her face and eyes!!!! She didn't need a reward, or a treat....it was good enough to get words of praise from me. She was so proud of herself...and for once all she wanted was to know that I noticed and that I was proud of her. She had the look on her face that her brothers have when I praise them for doing something well. It was a break through moment for us. My words were all she needed and wanted. Mama's approval and love. I almost cried. You work so hard every day, fun or not, to be intentional when raising a child from a 'hard place'. It's hard work...harder than raising biological kids. And, the fact that I didn't get the first 3 1/2 years with her....you have to try and undo some things that she had learned. That can be tough. And, you have to do it with sensitivity and gentleness as well. The most rewarding moments, are when you have break throughs! Even small ones. Yesterday I felt like we leaped forward a huge step! I don't feel she has as strong a desire to seek out love from anyone other than her parents and her brothers anymore. She really does LOVE US!!! She knows now that we will always love her, even when she does something wrong, or something that disappoints us. She spent many months pushing every one of my "buttons". Boy, was she good at it!!! LOL! But, over time she realized that I still loved her in the moments that pushed me to my limits. Yes, we have bunted heads a few times. Yes, we've gone through some tough times...but Yes, I chose to love her and wrap my arms around her when she tried to push me away. Yes, it was hard. It's hard to love someone when their actions are not of love. But, God gave me the strength to love her despite the cirumstances. And, now I can honestly say I love Caate much deeper and stronger than I ever have. Our love has grown over the last 7 months. It wasn't automatic. It took effort. Most people don't know that about adoption. It's not always automatic to love your new child as much as your biological ones. Honestly, it was effort. And really, what it took was time. I am thankful I am blessed to have her home with me. I don't have to leave her at day care. I can spend every waking minute with her...creating strong attachment and love. I feel so blessed. I want to give her the best of me. And, I want her to know I will sacrifice all that is in me for her. :-) She deserves to know how to love and trust someone....and I will do all I can to teach her that.

Caate,
I will always love you, and do everything that is in me to protect you. You are something soooo special. I feel pretty amazing that God chose me to be your mom. To get to spend every day with you, to get to be your teacher of life and love. You, are a dream come true! Thank you for being patient with me, as I make mistakes and not always do things right the first time. You really do love me and I know that will never change. I am proud of you, what you have overcome in your 4 years of life. You are a bright shining light already....and I know God has big things planned for your life! I know there are many things you will still have to over come in life as you begin to realize that your life has been quite different than your brothers thus far. I hope we will always be able to tackle each step together as mother and daughter and that you know I will always be here for you. Your Papa and I love you so deeply and want the very best for you! Your brothers adore you and will also love and protect you always. :-) You are our girl, through and through!!! Don't ever forget that!

With love,
your forever mama

You will notice that Caate's personality is FINALLY coming through in her monthly pictures!!!! I loved this shoot with her...we had so much fun! ( I didn't get 6 month pictures as Caate and the rest of us were quite sick, so hopefully these will make up for it!)





Saturday, February 26, 2011

1 year ago....

1 Year ago....I was going nuts in my house waiting for the phone to ring...so my friend S. and I went for coffee at Indigo to pass the time. S. also was in this crazy process and had already experienced "the call" so she gladly took time out of her day for me! It was shortly after 1pm when I received a call on my cell phone. We were about to take our coffees and drive over to Winners (I believe!) but of course this call ended our coffee break! This was the call that would change our lives, forever... I told my social worker I'd call her back at home when I could get my husband on the phone as well...he was at work. So, I sped home....a million and one thoughts going through my head. Oh my GOODNESS!!!! This is it!!!! (I was thinking!) Trying to stay calm we got all 3 of us on the phone....our S.W. was emailing the photos over to us and we planned to open up the email together. I had always imagined our girl with dark eyes and dark hair....and there she was! Very much all I had ever dreamed of. She had fair skin, fairer than I thought she'd have though. She was cute (phew!)!! It's funny thinking back over those initial thoughts...."could I love this little girl?" "Is she really going to be ours?" "Are we ready for this?"

We first thought her name was Yapparova! Poor little girl, I thought to myself!! LOL! In Russia they have 3 names(kind of like North Americans)...but it's a little different. The 2nd name mentioned was her 1st name. I didn't find that out until talking with my sister-in-law later. Thank GOODNESS! :-)

Of course we had a lot of thinking to do that day...and for several days after. It was a very stressful time for us. If you don't know the whole story...we initially turned down the referal of Caate. Thankfully, God brought together a plan to change our minds and travel to Russia to meet Caate. Thankfully for my new found friend S. in Toronto....we got info about Caate that made us rethink everything. It was a chain of events only God could have planned out. Such a cool story. Anyway, we ended up accepting the referal for Caate and we set into motion something that never stopped...and on August 4th, 2010 we received Caate into our lives forever. It took less than 5 1/2 months to bring Caate home. It was pretty incredible journey!!! Not without many lows...but through those lows I got to know the God of my life so much better. Without Him leading me through some very dark days...I don't know if I would have made it to Caate.

Today, Caate has been home almost 7 months. Time has flown by! She has changed so much...and best of all....we both feel her love for us is soooo much deeper than it was even 6 weeks ago. We are thankful that God has helped us through the tough days when I wondered when she'd really love me. And, God brought people around us to support us through that time. The journey really started when we brought Caate home. Everything before that was just preparation for what was to come. I'm so glad it took 3 1/2 years to find Caate. If it was an easy journey...I'm not sure I could have handled the last 7 months. Yes, there are highs, and we are so thankful and blessed to have Caate in our lives. But reality is, it's not always easy. We've struggled, we've cried, and we've held each-others hands through some hard days....but even with that....she is worth EVERY BIT of struggle. Cause when I laugh with her, when I hug her...and especially when I hear those most amazing words, "I love you Mama". It makes you forget all the tough days in the last 7 months! Caate is one silly girl, loves to laugh at herself and thinks she's funny, loves to run (she's pretty fast with those little legs!), loves to color, to ski (her knew LOVE), to play dolls, have tea parties, to swim (I'd say her biggest passion in life is WATER!), to eat chocolate MOST of all! She loves her brothers, and they love her and even in Trennon's prayer tonight he said how thankful he is to have her as his sister. Wow, music to a mom's ears! I love how God knew Caate needed 2 amazing brothers to be great examples on how to love God, love life and how to love eachother. Trennon and Ryden are definitely THAT! So, she is equally blessed to have them in her life. To see them play together, fight together, share together and just BE together. It is a match made in heaven. God brought these 3 amazing little people into our lives....to show us how amazing our heavenly Father is. That he could make each one of us and know we'd all fit so well!

So today, I am thankful. Thankful for the crazy life journey God has brought me on. Most people want the easy road in life. Well I say, "how boring!" The journey with God isn't always easy, actually, most of the time it's challenging, tough and pretty much rocks you around. But, the tougher life gets, the closer I get with God, and the happier I am. (if that makes any sense!) If we would never have grabbed onto the journey of adoption and just chose to have another biological kid or none at all....we would have missed out on so many of the blessings God had in store for us! And, He couldn't have used our family to bless others with His story of the love He has for all of His children...including Caate! So, yes, I am thankful for the rocky road. I know I will continue to have rocky roads as we continue to parent Caate and our boys. I find I always have to be on my toes, reading up on attachment issues, behavior issues that stem from kids that are from "hard places", social issues, speech delay issues, sleep issues, teeth issues, growth issues....it's never ending. But, God knew Caate needed a mom that loved being a mom. :-) And, that I do! And, I am so thankful that Caate got the best dad in the world....cause He is one amazing dad. And, God knew she needed a dad that would wrap his arms around all her hurts and around her beautiful little body and never let her go. Caate loves her Papa....soooo much! It's pretty beautiful to see. :-)

Well, there you have it! Lots has happened in a year! :-)

With love,
Carala

Friday, February 4, 2011

6 Months Since Gotcha Day!!!!

Wow! Hard to believe we picked up Caate only 6 months ago! We've done so much in 6 months it feels more like a year or two!

Normally I post pictures on her "anniversay", but we're both really sick with colds and sore throats so that won't be happening. I'll post some next week in conjunction with her birthday! Yes, Caate is turning 4 on February 9th! Hard to believe! She still seems like a 3 year old...and probably will for a while yet. She's petite too. Although she's grown in height, she hasn't really in weight. On Monday we go back to the adoption specialist for her 6 month appointment so hopefully we'll be able to chat about her weight. We are starting to have some concerns. Although we figure getting her tonsils out will help her breathing at night. She uses a lot of effort to breath at night, so hopefully she won't burn so many calories trying to breath after we get her tonsils out. Our appointment is April 7th. So, 2 more months of this. I know it will go fast.

Next week we are going to the airport to see one of Caate's friends from the baby home. He's coming home to his new forever family along with his 2 little brothers. We don't think Caate remembers him. We showed her pictures of him and she didn't seem to remember him at all. She has lost a lot of her memories of the baby home. I just wonder if D. remember her at all? Will she look so different that he doesn't even remember her? Will he try speaking russian to her? Will she even remember any Russian? We think she's lost a lot of her Russian, like 99 % of it. But, I wonder if she'll at least understand him when he speaks to her. All these questions! It's going to be fun though!

Caate finally got her first cold. It was a doozy! But, she's a trooper and has handled being sick better than I do. She had a fever of 104-105 for 2 days straight, sore throat and cough. The poor girl! 6 days later she has no fever, but still has the cough and a sore throat. Doc says it's viral...so we just have to wait it out. So not fun. It's been hard keeping her still. But,she's doing fine.

Well, I think that's all for now.

Carala

Friday, January 21, 2011

Success!

So,

Caate had dental surgery and came out all fixed up! She did great! So great, she called it a FUN Day!!!!! What an amazing, strong, and brave little girl we have! She recovered so quickly...it was like she didn't even have anything done! She had 9 fillings in all and 4 extractions of the 4 decaded teeth that were actually absessing (poor girl!) So, good thing we got them out of there!

Then, on Thursday this week we had her ENT appointment (ear, nose, and throat). We had this booked months ago so we had to go no matter how well C. was doing. Thankfully she was great! With her sleep issues and difficult breathing at night we wanted to get things checked out. Well, the short story is...she needs her tonsils out. Oh boy....here we go again! But, the doc said what a difference it will make for her sleeping. Hopefully she'll get a much deeper sleep so she won't have to nap for 2 hours every afternoon. And, he said she will probably gain some weight (finally!). I don't think she's gained even a pound since coming home. He thinks she burns all her calories at night trying to breath. He's seen this before and the kids will actually gain weight in the months following surgery. So, we'll see! Hopefully she'll gain something!!! She sure eats a lot for a little girl her age!

Well, that's what's going on in our lives these days. Caate should be booked in for surgery within a couple of months. So, we're all good with that. It's so great to be so well taken care of with these great doctors and dentists! We feel so blessed!

Today we're off to go enjoy the snow and do some skiing at our place in the mountains....should be fun and relaxing! :-)

love,
Carala

Monday, January 17, 2011

The big day!

Well, tomorrow is the big day! Caate will have dental surgery tomorrow at 9am. We are so happy this day is finally here! She has been in pain on and off for a couple months now. We will be so happy to have her mouth pain free for the first time in her life, especially Caate!! It will be so nice to be able to give her sweets more often or when people offer our kids a candy I don't have to cringe anymore cause I know she won't hurt because of it. She will be able to have juice and enjoy it...not complain about her teeth hurting. Oh, how wonderful this will all be!

So, if you pray. Please pray for Caate tomorrow at 9am Mountain time. I just hope she won't be too scared and that she won't hurt too much after the surgery. I have no idea what to expect. But, we also know how tough Caate is....so I'm sure she'll be ok. :-) Hopefully I'll be ok! ;-) Surgeries seem to be tougher on the parents sometimes than the patient themselves. God is good though. He has protected all of us from sickness this winter. Terence was the only one of us that has been sick this winter. We are so thankful that our boys haven't brought home the high fevers and vomiting that's going around. God is good! So good! It's sure going around so I'm so thankful for this bubble God has placed over our house hold. He has allowed us 5 months of being sick-free. That is amazing! We've needed this time to really adjust as a family. And, we are soooo thankful that we haven't gotten the stresses of illness to really make life miserable. Wow, God is so good to us. :-) I feel so blessed.

Well, I should run. So much to do while Caate naps!

I'll update when the surgery is over....
love,
Carala

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Caate's First 5 Months

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Caate at 5 Months Home....



Caate is really starting to say longer sentences. Her understanding is growing leaps and bounds as well. She'll say words like, "maybe", and not just yes or no. Or should I say, yup! LOL! In the last few weeks Caate has gone from a "push mama's buttons" stage to her loving to just be with me and play. She hasn't been going out of her way to do something she knows I don't like!! :-) She really is a delight and such a bright light in my day. :-) Today she really wanted to play soccer. Well, if you know me....I LOVE doing that! So, I taught her about "headers" and that we can't use our hands. Of course then all she wanted to do was use her hands. :-) She can be quite the tease as well!

Sometimes it's hard to remember what all she is doing. She acts more and more like a typical 3 year old that has been in a family for their whole lives. Some days I can't believe it's been only 5 months.

Last night we had our social worker over to do our 6 month post placement report. Everything went so well. :-) It's nice to just keeping checking that "list" off and getting things done. In 12 days Caate has her dental surgery and in 14 days she goes to the ENT doctor (ear nose and throat). check check CHECK! :-)

Caate grew a little more than last month...but her weight is still about the same. Sure, I'd like it if she gained a pound or two...but, she's so happy and eats like a champ!

Caate is consistantly sleeping better and better. She gets about 12 hours a night and still a 2 hour nap. If she gets her sleep, she is very happy. Rarely gets grumpy. I know she is grumpy when all she wants to say to her brothers is NO! LOL! But, that is so rare. She really loves them both and has a lot of fun playing with them. It was fun to watch Ryden and her playing CLUE Jr. the other day. He was so great at letting her role the die and move the men. Such a sweet boy that Ryden is! Trennon and Caate continue to have this great respect for each other. I'm so amazed at how well all 3 of them get a long. When they all get laughing, it's pretty great to see. Ter and I just look at each other and smile. We sure do have pretty wonderful kids, thanks to God's 3 amazing plans for our family. :-)

A few more facts about Caate:
She knows all her colors
She can count to 12
She identifies what a 1, 2 and 3 look like
She loves to sing
She now like to dance(a new thing for her!)
She LOVES puzzles and is very good at them
she has begun to make her dolls and stuffed animals talk (she thought this was strange before!)
she now likes to play "doctor" and have "tea time" with her stuffed animals and ME!

Anyway, that's just a few things!

Until next month! :-)

...Carala

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

5 Months Home!!!!

Hard to believe 5 months have flown by! Here a few pics I took today on her "anniversary"! Hopefully I'll have more time later tonight to post an update on the things Caate is doing. :-)