Connections

While we were on the Island we got to enjoy dinner with the Keno’s! They are a family with lots of experience with adoption and people with special needs. They have three birth daughters, one adopted daughter and four adopted sons. Three of their sons have Down Syndrome and the most recent addition is from Bulgaria! They are obviously great inspirations to us and a fabulous connection to have as we go through this process ourselves.

Jon got to know the Keno family as a teenager at church in Port Alberni. They gave Jon his first introduction in to the world of the differently abled 🙂 Aside from including all their children in the church community, they used to run a summer camp for special needs adults and asked Jon to come help out one year. Since he had just been laid off, he agreed to go and figured it would be a good experience… even though he was kind of terrified and had no idea what to expect. The relationship that developed with the Keno’s and their children, as well as the experiences he had those summers were invaluable. They gave him a new perspective, a new world view, and a new understanding. It was the foundation for Jon to fit in with me and my family so well. The passion that began to form then grew in to a career that Jon loves and now in to becoming a father to a child with special needs as well. Basically, if it weren’t for the Keno’s we probably wouldn’t be married, Jon wouldn’t have a fabulous jobs that he loves, and we wouldn’t be adopting our second precious baby girl!

Dinner was so informative. I should have taken notes because now I am finding it difficult to remember all the information they gave us. Basically, I asked all the questions I could think of. We heard all about their experiences in Bulgaria. Practical things like what to eat, how to tip, where to go, what to expect, how the travels were, what the people were like, what to expect at the orphanage and how they got by with the language barrier. We asked all about meeting their son and how the transition and attachment has gone, how other people reacted to them adopting and how they dealt with that. The dinner (which was delicious) was so informative… I’m still processing everything. I don’t think I’ll really understand everything they went through and experienced until we’ve personally gone through it all ourselves… I am not saying we are going to adopt as many kids as they have 🙂

One of the biggest things I have learned from the Keno’s is to have an attitude of gratitude towards Bulgaria. (I’m really sorry that rhymes but I can’t think of any other words and Jon won’t help because he enjoys seeing me frustrated!) I have struggled with resentment towards the cost of adoption and the hoops that you have to jump through to adopt a child that they don’t care for effectively and may not even want. The Keno’s have modeled a thankfulness to the country for entrusting them with their precious child. They are right. I need to be thankful. I am thankful! I am blessed to be blessed enough to have a home where their child can thrive! The hoops that we have to jump through are safe guards to try and ensure the children are safe. Many countries, because of political unrest and war, don’t have the means to care for these children and are doing the best they can. We need to be sensitive to that and walk along side them. Yes, international adoption is expensive but most of those fees go to the agents, lawyers and travel. We pay thousands of dollars to the agents and lawyers involved in selling and buying our homes… these are our children we are paying for!

Talking with them has raised up a few more questions and concerns too… The main one right now, as we are waiting for our proposal, is that Bulgaria does not have the most efficient child registry to refer orphans from. I’m not entirely convinced that they prioritize international adoptions, let alone special needs adoptions, as I have been told they do. With the amount of special needs orphans in Bulgaria we should have numerous proposals already. Although we have not been legally approved in Bulgaria, we’ve been told that they have our home study and could send a proposal any time. I’m anxious and impatient to know who my baby is and that plays a lot in to my uncertainty about waiting. We can’t make an official decision until we are approved anyway.

So, where are we in our adoption? Well, our Dossier, which is our application to adopt from Bulgaria, has been sent to Bulgaria. We are waiting for approval from 5 different sections of the government there. Once all 5 approvals are given, we will be put on their adoptive parents registry. Even if everything goes smoothly and they don’t require any updated paperwork, it takes about two months. We are around the 6 week point in our wait. Typically, after we are on the registry this would mark the beginning of our waiting for our proposal (although with us adopting a child with special needs the proposals could come any time).

 There are two children in our sights already… both not official proposals because they are both a little older than we thought we were thinking. We have been talking about it and discovered that we are a lot more open to an older child than we originally thought. We decided from early on that we would wait until we are accepted by Bulgaria to make a final decision for which child we are going to bring home. We may get more referrals by then too. (This is such a weird situation to be choosing our child.) It is very difficult for me to be patient! I can’t help but wonder if one of these girls is our daughter… and yes, we did ask about adopting both of them 🙂 We can’t adopt two unrelated children at one time. So, our soon-to-be daughter may not be who we originally thought she’d be but I know that she is going to be perfect for our family and us for her 🙂 I can’t wait!!!

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I Have A 2 Year Old!

My baby girl turned 2 yesterday… Who thought I was old enough or mature enough to have a two year old?! I love my baby girl and am so thankful to be blessed as her mom. She is truly an amazing child… although definitely entering her terrible two’s!

I was looking through the pictures of Livi’s first two years and realizing that she is growing up way to fast. I know that is so cliche to say, but you truly understand it when you are watching your children grow up. I have a real little child now. She talks so much, frequently in full sentences. She does have a little bit of a lisp that is pretty cute. She is starting to get quite accomplished with feeding herself and drinking out of a real cup. A lot of the time, she prefers it if we help her because when she does it herself she gets frustrated if she spills. One of her favorite pastimes right now is jumping. She jumps all the time, everywhere, off of everything. She has become quite good at it but I’m sure a broken limb is in her future. Livi can count. She sings a lot. She is starting to learn her colors and a letters. She loves playing with other children, particularly ones who are slightly older than her. She is still my fearless little daredevil who keeps us on our toes but she is getting a little better at using caution and listening to our rules.

As per tradition, on Livi’s birthday I took her “Good Morning!” picture…

Then went out for a little mini photo shoot! I think I got a few beauties…

We a a birthday party too. It was actually a combined party for Livi’s birthday, my belated birthday and our housewarming! I think about 25 of our dearest family and friends came out to celebrate with us. We felt very loved. The weather forecast was looking pretty bleak but it turned out to be beautiful! I knew it would 🙂 The kids had a lot of fun, minimal melt downs occurred, and I think the adults enjoyed themselves too!

 Instead of a birthday cake I made adorable ladybug cake-pops… They were a hit!
“It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to!” 
She didn’t want to wear the helmet 🙂
 Thanks everyone who came out!