My First Born

I haven’t updated on Livi recently. Well let me just say that she is AWESOME! I love being her mom. She makes it easy… most of the time. Lets face it, she is a 2 year old.

Her language skills are sky rocketing. She continues to talk non-stop but her annunciations are getting so understandable! I really love it. She is starting to say some pretty hilarious things…

Me: What’s that on the wall Livi?
Livi: Just pizza, Mommy.

Me: Don’t eat the Playdoh Livi.
Livi: I not eating Mommy, just tasting.

Livi: (as we were driving up a really big hill) “Up, Up, Up to the moon!”

Livi: (after being woke up by selfish Mommy and Daddy for midnight cuddles) “Where’s the rainbows?”
I think we must have got her out of a dream for that one.

It seems to me that Livi has a very developed imagination for a two year old. She has been talking to her stuffed animals since she was about 18 months old. Now she has whole conversations, makes me kiss them goodnight, has me talk to them instead of her, has them clean up after herself and describes the delightful scenes she sees in her scribbles. Have I mentioned that I love it?!

Being a two year old she is slightly manic. Her ups are very up! Shrill and screechy in a pleasant sort of way. Her lows are loud and stubborn in a very frustrating sort of way. I’m scared for her teenage years! I entered Livi’s second year of life thinking that if these were the “Terrible Twos” that everyone is talking about they aren’t so bad… but apparently they don’t really start until they are 2 years old plus one month.

I slowly started time-outs with Livi just before she was 18 months old (I think) and they have been great for her! We had decided early on that we were not going to spank or use any form of physical punishment on our children. With my background I don’t trust myself to spank when I’m not angry and I can’t emotionally handle a man spanking a child… even if they do it properly. So, we started time-outs as more of a break from things when Livi was acting up, to remember how she is supposed to act. It has been awesome. If she is getting frustrated she will put herself in time out and come back to the situation calm. I love that it isn’t seen as a punishment to her. I like consequences much better. Generally, I just ask her if she needs a time-out or is she going to listen to mommy. If she chooses a time-out she comes back, apologizes, gets hugs and kisses and does what I was asking… generally speaking 🙂 She is two. 

Potty training had been a breeze up until a few weeks ago. She had been pee trained within a day and poo trained within two weeks. Well a few weeks ago she started having more than the odd dribble before she went on the toilet and even had two poo accidents! The number two accidents happened when she was playing really hard so I can excuse those with she being preoccupied but she seems to have regressed with the peeing for some reason. She is not having full on accidents. She is just having a rather large drip (big enough that I have to change her pants too) and then holding in the rest until she gets to the toilet. There is no new stressors in her life that would justify regression so I’m a little puzzled. Someone suggested that she may have been to young to begin with, but I really don’t believe that. If she were too young, she would not have been potty trained in a day and have a near perfect record for nearly three months. I’m don’t really know what to do so we’ve gone back to the basics… chocolate chips when she poops on the toilet and putting her on every few hours whether she says she has to go or not. It seems to slowly be working.

Livi is in a big girl bed and she LOVES it. EVERY morning the first thing she tells me is that she slept in her big girl bed and she’s been in it for over a month already. It isn’t actually a real bed. It is just her crib with one of the railings taken off. We are holding off on the official big girl bed until we move her to her new room. it just saves us from having to assemble and take it apart more than once.

Livi has recently mastered zipping up her own jacket with out any help from Mommy or Daddy. She can take her shoes off alone too but refuses to even try pulling her pants down alone. She doesn’t like getting her hair done but understands it is a necessary evil to getting it out of her face… It is always in her face. She can open most doors now but still stays in her room in the morning until we come to get her. She will sometimes open her door to see if she can see anyone but shut it if no one is there and return to her stuffed animals to play. The only time she really cuddles is if she is watching cartoons and definitely has her favorite shows : Sesame Street, Elmo’s World, Super Why, and Dinosaur Train.

She has developed the art of fake crying. She can actually do it really well but it always starts with a “meh”. I can’t help but laugh, but I probably shouldn’t. She has begun crying to try and get things. She has also begun having some major separation issues with going to nursery. When we talk about it at home she is really excited to go and play with all the kids and toys, but when we get to church and start walking to nursery she starts getting really clingy. If I leave, she throws a crying fit. I feel terrible and haven’t left her without me or Jon. Its so unlike her so I don’t know whether to cater to her or push her through it. She is fine with being left at other places, it is just nursery. This week her Auntie Danielle is supervising so I’m hoping to get there with Livi and hopefully her Auntie Danielle can help Livi get back to normal.

Last Monday we went to the Apple Barn! What a fun place! They had a petting zoo that Livi loved! She went on her first hayride and wasn’t afraid at all! She didn’t go on the zipline and the slides were  really steep and fast so we didn’t let her go on them. Aside from the petting zoo the pillow trampoline was the biggest hit! She had so much fun!

The petting zoo was her favorite part.

She tried to pick it up but it was too heavy…

So she sat on it instead!

She had so much fun on the pillow trampoline,
but there was some bigger kids on it so she spent a lot of time on her bum 🙂

Thanksgiving Whirlwind

As you could probably gather from the title of this post, Thanksgiving weekend was a whirlwind of friends, family, food, laughter, and a whole lot of love! Apart from three Thanksgiving meals with family, we got to celebrate Jon’s best friend get married too!

Friday night we went out to the delicious rehearsal dinner and ended the evening with a spur of the moment date with my love! He took me out for a night cap and creme brule! Saturday we had a delicious ham dinner with my family and as usual played Scrabble! 

Sunday was our really busy day! We woke up that morning and thankfully had all our bags packed or we would have be really behind schedule. We left Livi with my mom because she was going to go to the Wiggles with her Aunties that day! I had bought tickets for us forgetting that we had a wedding to go to. I couldn’t sell them so Livi still got to use her ticket and “she” invited her Auntie Lisa, who was visiting the mainland for the weekend, to take my place! Livi had a blast, and Auntie Lisa enjoyed seeing Livi have fun… I’m not sure that the Wiggles was her first choice in concerts 🙂

After we said goodbye to Livi, I dropped Jon off to hang out with the Geoff and the rest of the grooms entourage. Jon was the best man. I went to finish up my make up and make an appearance at Jon’s extended family gathering’s annual Thanksgiving wiener roast! The wedding started and the bride looked gorgeous, the groom cried, my husband looked dashing up there in his suit 🙂 The party as a lot of fun! Good food, friends and I actually enjoyed dancing! I’m not a dancer but I let loose and danced the night away… thanks to a few drinks 🙂 

Monday we enjoyed a lovely breakfast and conversation at a cute little coffee shop in Fort Langley with some friends and then went to meet up with Livi, who had stayed the night at Jon’s mom’s house after the concert. We had yet another delicious meal that afternoon of Wetaskiwin Ribs. No turkey this year but that was fine with me 🙂 Everything else more than made up for that!

It was a really great weekend. I have a lot to be thankful for… I’m thankful for my family, for precious moments with Livi, cuddles and love with my husband, good talks with my mom, laughter with my sister, and even china pictures from my brother! I’m so thankful for all the supportive, understanding and tolerating friends in my life that make me laugh, listen to me when I bitch and push me out of my comfort zone. I’m grateful for my beautiful grandparents who have taught me so much. I am also thankful for good food, great alcohol, family weekends, sleep, a child that sleeps, fireplaces, fall sunshine, flowers, sushi, Egyptian cotton sheets, beautiful dresses, cameras, music, pedicures, the allure of princesses to little girls, Glee, massages, Christmas, okay… I’m slowing down now so instead of trying to think of more stuff I’m just going to end 🙂 Happy (slightly late) Thanksgiving Everyone!

Bulgarian Q & A

Monday night Jon and I had the opportunity to talk with the president and vice president of Anido, our Bulgarian agency! This evening was just what I needed at this stage of the adoption. I don’t feel any less eager to get things moving with the adoption but the anxiety I was feeling has been relieved… for the moment any way 🙂 The information was first hand and complete. I got a lot of the rumors I’d been hearing cleared up and some reasons behind things cleared up. It was invaluable and I’m so glad we got to go.

International adoption is ever changing, very political, and quite based on relationships between agencies. People who think adoption is the “easy” way out are very mistaken. Our Canadian agency, Sunrise, had gone to Bulgaria a few years ago to start developing their relationship with Anido and it was their turn to come check things out here. They started the evening by giving us a bit of a synopsis of how things looked in Bulgaria as it related to adoption. It was a lot of info to take in so I’m just going to write out some of the more pertinent parts that relate to our developmental special needs adoption… which is DEFINITELY not the norm for Anido.

– There are four types of orphanages in Bulgaria…Ages 0-3, 4-7, 7-18, and severe special needs orphanages. Down Syndrome is classified as a severe special need. (Sadly so is deaf and blindness, even if they are developmentally typical.) In the typical orphanages the children have all their needs met (aside from the obvious downsides of orphanage life). The special needs orphanages are not so lucky and “are not is as good a shape” as the vice president put it.

– 90% of the orphans are given up because of poverty. Their parents do not have the resources to care for them.10% are given up because they have health issues. It is the 10% that we are interested in 🙂

– Children are available for international adoption after one year of age.

– An interesting cultural difference in looking at ages is if you say in your home study that you want child “under 3”, you will get a proposal for a 2 year old. If you are open to a 3 year old you have to say “under 4 years old.”

– Another rumor that was cleared up for me was the 2 month proposal thing. I, along with a lot of other people, understood that the agencies shuffle files of children between them every two months. This had me really worried about correct timing for finding our child and frustrated with how inefficient that process was. Thankfully, this is misinformation. There is a centralized registry of all the children. When an agency does take a file of a child to propose to a family, they can only hold on to it for two months to make sure no other agencies take it and propose it to another family. This ensures families don’t get attached to one child only to have it be adopted before they finish up their own paper work. That does happen in many other countries.

– Once our Dossier is accepted Anido registers us in the Adoptive Parent Registry and we are put on the list. The Ministry of Justice then looks at their list of children and starts going down the list of parents to see if any of the kids meet their criteria. Special needs kids are prioritized. The wait time for a typical, healthy child under three is 3 years… the wait time for a kid with DS is 3 days – 3 weeks!!! Can we all say YAY!!!!

I had a hard time relating to the other potential parents in the room. We were the only people in the meeting interested in adopting a child with special needs. We were the youngest couple in there. We are not looking at a long wait. One woman I talked to has been waiting 4 years already! We (thankfully) don’t have grief issues around not being able to have a biological child. I can’t imagine the grief that this causes but I get frustrated at the idea that adoption is a way to guarantee parents get a “perfect” child. One woman was frustrated with the fact that there was no way to ensure the birth mother hadn’t drank during the pregnancy. This is Europe we are dealing with here… everyone drinks! Perfectly “imperfect” children are the way to go!

So what’s the hold up with our Dossier? Well, Bulgaria has a lot of National holidays, like stats in Canada, so their vacation days add up. They don’t need to use them because they have so many long weekends. So, the government forced people with too much vacation banked up to take a vacation… which was everyone. Everything stopped and there is at least an extra month added on to everything. We were told between 2-3 months for our Dossier to be approved. It now looks like it will be closer to 4 months. We are almost at the 3 month mark for our wait. Once we are approved though, our waiting should be almost over! I do have to remember that international adoption is very unpredictable and tons of different things could happen or go wrong.

One really exciting thing that Anido told us is that we could probably get a video of our daughter with, or shortly after, our proposal! That will be so fabulous to see her moving and maybe hear her voice and her laugh. How incredible! I just have to detach myself from thinking of her in an orphanage that doesn’t have enough of the bare essentials for all the children. I don’t know how I’m going to cope with leaving her there after the first trip. I cry just thinking about it. Our friends had a really great experience with the orphanage that they picked up their son from. Hopefully ours isn’t as bad as I’m imagining. I need to stop imagining.

I think this evening was really good for Jon too. When we started this adoption process Jon had just started a new job. Most of his attention was going to that and I was in charge of all the particulars with the adoption. I find all the info, get all the paper work and just keep Jon up to date and involved where he needs to be. He knows he wants to adopt but has not begun the attachment process like I have. I think it takes some guys a little longer than moms. It took Jon until after Livi was born to be attached to her, where as I was in the process of attaching since the first time I felt her move in my belly. I think this evening made it a lot more real for him. He couldn’t sleep that night because he was “too excited about the adoption!”