Thursday, January 26, 2012

A New Vegetable

We tried another one of Charmila's recipes the other night - her Karavila Sambola. It is made with bitter gourd, the weird, ugly vegetable you see on the picture.
It is called bitter for a reason! I think the gourd itself is an acquired taste...
The recipe, however, was really good. The bitterness of the gourd is offset by tasty raw tomatoes and onions in lime juice. The recipe is an interesting mix of textures and some of the ingredients are hot while others are uncooked.
It is so much fun to try a new cuisine with ingredients we've never even seen before! I guess we'll be ready for Sri Lankan restaurant food when we're over there :-)

Our Dossier!

Is this not the most beautiful brown envelope you've ever seen?
7 months of hard work, 202 days of bureaucracy, 305 grams of hope...

And the Sri Lankan program is still closed.

As soon as we hear word from our agency that they are accepting applications again, we're putting this beauty in the mail...
Let's just hope it happens quickly.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Blood Clinic

To donate (in Canada), visit:
Canadian Blood Services
 Today, I learned some pretty sad news. Someone in my extended family has passed away this weekend.
It's bad enough to think that he won't be around, being silly and joking with us, anymore. But I'm also very sad for those who remain. Those to whom he was not extended family. Those are people whom I love very much and who have a golden heart.

Then, this afternoon, I had an appointment to donate blood. And while I sat with the needle in my arm, I thought about how health is everything. If you're worried about your health, how much does anything else even weight? And the effect is still bigger when it's about the health of someone you love.
This person did not need blood in his last moments. But someone else will need the blood that came out of my arm this afternoon. Someone who is going through a real rough patch. Someone whose parents, partners, kids and friends will be deeply worried about.

It was humbling. We have been going through some tougher times, these past few years. But I am healthy and free to push my cross-country skis on the freshly fallen snow when I want to. The man of my life, my mom and sister, my dad, all my in-laws, my dearest friends, even my aging grand-mother are all healthy. They all have this amazing freedom to enjoy what they like most.
True. Life could be easier. The adoption could go smoother.
It could also be so much harder that none of this would have any importance anymore.

I'm glad I gave blood today.

Rest in Peace, Michel. You will be remembered.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

January - Friends for Adoption

I got a package from Tina, my Friend for Adoption, today!
It's a gorgeous notebook! You can't see it too well on the picture, but the yellow flowers are all glossy and nice :-)
Tina sent a note explaining that she uses a journal to keep inspirational quotes, songs lyrics and thoughts to remember what she's going through. What a sweet idea!
The first entry in my notebook will be the note... Having a friend to share your thoughts in such an emotional time is a real blessing. Tina's note will be a reminder of how the adoption community is a huge source of support in this intense adventure!

I already love this Friends for Adoption thing :-D
If you'd like to sign up, have a look at this previous post, it explains how!
And make sure to visit Tina's blog!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Adoption-Free Saturdays

Pablo and I had a really good heart-to-heart, today. We talked openly about a lot of the complex issues surrounding adoption.
It felt like a good time in the process to regroup, we've been at it more than 6 months! I'm glad we did this.

One thing we have decided is to have Adoption-Free Saturdays! This process is so consuming, it's sometimes dfficult to back up and focus on ourselves. So from now on, Saturdays are a day off from the paperwork, the worrying, the waiting and all things adoption. We won't talk about it, read about it, take any adoption related action or blog about it. And we'll make Saturdays a time to be together as a couple.
It was Pablo's idea, and I think it's great. It may not be easy at first, but I'm sure we'll benefit from this!

I wonder if this is something a lot of families do... Are we the only ones getting so caught up in this process that it's hard to think about anything else?

Friday, January 13, 2012

How Much Does an Adoption Cost - Home Study

Since we're done with the Home Study bit, I thought it might be interesting for some of you to know how much it has cost us so far.
Discussing money when adopting is always a bit touchy... Some people think that this money is used to buy the child or something. Of course, this couldn't be further from the truth! A lot of administrative work is involved in processing a legal and ethical adoption. And this work is not free.

This said, I have kept the count of every adoption related expense we have made since our decision to adopt and it comes close to $4,000. I guess this is what an average Canadian family should expect to pay for the Home Study process of any International Adoption. From there on, the cost will depend on the country you picked...
These $4,000 include the cost of the Home Study itself (to pay the social worker time and mileage), but also lawyer costs (for documents certification), agency fees, courrier fees, administrative fees (when requesting documents from the government and other institutions), International Adoption training and a (very inexpensive) wedding.

That's pretty close to what we had planned for. I expect the next part of the process (getting a match and travelling to pick up our cinnamon baby) will make these $4,000 look like pocket change!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Home Study Approval!

Today is a great day!
We have received our Home Study approval from the government of Alberta!!!
What this means is that our government is confident that we will be a good adoptive family and is ready to say so to the Sri Lankan authorities.
It also means that we can tick off the first of three big steps in the international adoption process:
- Canadian Process (Home Study)
- Sri Lankan Process (Dossier and Match)
- Immigration Process
Yes. We are done with the Canadian piece of the process!!
I was so excited when I saw the return address on the envelop that I had to tell the cashier at the grocery store (where our post office is) what it was :D

Oh and I guess they were satisfied with our explanation of Pablo's names!
Now, we try to get registered with our Ontario agency to put our Dossier together and send it to Sri Lanka...

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Book While You Wait

Picture from
I have just finished reading this beautiful book:
I Wish for you a Beautiful Life - Letters from the Korean Birth Mothers of Ae Ran Won to Their Children

I found it heartbreaking, but also enlightening and so very touching...
I keep thinking about the birth family of my Cinnamon Baby. I know I can't even begin to understand what they are (or will be) going through...

This book contains letters that birth mothers have written as part of the grieving process after their child was placed for adoption. Some are raw emotion, others explain a bit of the context these decisions are made in. All express intense pain, grief and guilt. Putting your child up for adoption is never an easy, lighthearted decision. It seems to be something that stays with you every single day of your life until you die.
In Sri Lanka, as in Korea, unwed mothers are stigmatized and rejected. Children who are raised by single mothers are looked down to.
A lot of the birth mothers in this book are young women who were abandonned by their boyfriends after they became pregnant. Their families reject the pregnancy and they have to go into hiding to give birth. They really have a limited choice.

I think a book like this is a marvellous resource for waiting parents who are wondering how they will address their kid's questions. It also helps putting in perspective the discomforts of the adoption process...
Be warned, though, it's not a book for kids. The letters are written in very painful and distressed moments and some talk about suicide and abortion.

"Everything else remains the same; only your mother changes. At the place where you should be there is emptiness, and this empty spot in my heart is too big for anyone to fill." - p.89

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Documents Certification

We met with a lawyer today to get our documents certified. She was really nice and only charged us half the price for all our documents!
She also helped us try to understand exactly what had to be certified.

We made copies of a bunch of documents and she compared the copies with the originals. She then stamped and signed each copy, stating they were true copies. That's what a certified copy is...

One more step in the process!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Friends for Adoption

It all started with two ladies waiting for a child from Taiwan... They became friends and a source of support for each other. And then they had the idea of Friends for Adoption: a matching program for waiting adoptive parents!

It's such a great idea!
All you have to do is visit Brooke's blog to register. She will match you with your Friend for Adoption. Each Friend has to send a little something every month. It can be a gift, or even just a card for support. It has to be less than $15.

I just got matched with Tina, an american Mom waiting for her baby from Poland. She seems really nice, I'm sure we'll get along great! Please visit her blog:

I will keep you guys posted on how the program is going!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Sri Lankan Delights

Tonight, we tried some Sri Lankan cuisine!
This week, I went to an Indian market in Calgary to buy a few spices we were missing. And tonight, I cooked a pineapple curry.
It was delicious! Very sweet, and with a distinct taste. A lot of the spices are the same you find in Indian cuisine, but it tasted different. I had never cooked with curry leaves or fennel seeds and they added something new...
If you feel like trying some Sri Lankan food, have a look at Chamari's awesome cooking blog. There are a lot more recipes I want to try... I'll let you know what I think!