Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Give the Annessa's a Hand!

Remember Brooke, the waiting Mom who came up with the Friends for Adoption idea?
Her family is going through some pretty intense stuff right now... While they were awaiting a match from Taiwan, they got matched domestically with a tiny little girl!
They sure feel blessed to have this gorgeous angel! Unfortunately, little Adelyn was born premature and she’s still in intensive care. Her parents are staying in a nearby hotel, spending their days with her at the hospital.
What a stressful time!!
While they are worried sick about her health, they have to pay for a much longer stay than they had originally expected... So Brooke wrote a post on her blog about how we can help. I’d really like you all to go have a look. You can also see some pictures of their brave little girl...
If praying is something you do, make sure you leave a comment so they know they are not alone. Even just that would be greatly appreciated, I’m sure.
And why not pack a lunch to work tomorrow and donate the five or ten bucks you save to them?
You can also buy some pretty cool stuff, and the profits will go to Brooke’s family.
It's a great opportunity to give a hand to a fellow adoptive family? After all, we’re all in the same boat!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My Sri Lanka

http://www.sbs.com.au/shows/mysrilanka/about/page/i/3/h/About/
My sister and brother-in-law gave us a really cool present, when I was over there. It's a DVD of an Australian TV show called My Sri Lanka.
It is hosted by Peter Kuruvita, a real citizen of the world. Now a chef in Australia, he spent his childhood in Sri Lanka. He takes us through "his" Sri Lanka in search of the perfect ingredient, and recipe inspiration.
The show is about food, but it's not a traditional cooking show. Peter cooks on beaches, or in busy city streets. He goes quickly through the recipes, which you can find in details on the web site. But he also takes us through amazing landscapes and makes us meet people and discover colorful traditions. It's really beautiful!
It shows Sri Lanka through the eyes of someone who knows and loves the country, but also has a western eye. And he does share a lot of his personal memories.
The first episode is on Colombo. It shows lively markets, gorgeous beaches and busy temples. It made Pablo and I quite impatient to go there!
If you're adopting from Sri Lanka, you absolutely should watch this show. At least have a look at their web site, it's full of information, and the recipes are all on there.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Waiting for the call...

Well... Here we are, waiting for the call. Not the actual Call, just the call to finally send our Dossier to Ontario!
We're waiting to get permission to wait...

Our agent said that the ban will be lifted once the 2012 quotas have been released and a new procedure for international placement is available to Sri Lankan agencies. She thinks it's a matter of a couple of months, but who knows?

We're already a month later than we had estimated. I hear almost all adoptions have setbacks like this one. We just have to keep hoping it'll be quick and efficient!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sisters

Dear future child,
I hope one day you know this very special and precious relationship that is sisterhood... At first and for a while, you may not always enjoy it. Sisters fight, they sometimes get in the way and they can get on your nerves. But sometimes, you'll be glad she's there. You'll play together and, more and more as time goes, you'll share a good laugh and a few secrets.
Then, one day, you'll realize that you can be really, deeply happy because life is being good to her. And this will be a pure feeling, untouched by jealousy or bias.
And one day, you'll see her shed a tear because you're in a rough patch, although your circumstances really don't affect her directly.
And you'll wonder how you could ever wish you were an only child, as the sometimes difficult relationship will have grown into a strong, true friendship.
That's what sisterhood is. I really wish it upon you!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Going Home

I can't believe it's already over! I'm flying home today...
I don't know how long it will be before I see my sister again. And it's horrible to think how the little kangaroo will have changed the next time we meet! :-(
I really can't complain, though. I had such a great trip! I spent some amazing quality time with E. and M. And I realize how lucky I am, being the first family member to spend time with the new parents. I know little T. will be told growing up that her auntie was there to give a hand when she was just a week old. And that's precious!
I'm going home with a heavy heart, for sure. But it's heavy with love for my new goddaughter!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Frikkadels

I found a Sri Lankan recipe in an Australian cooking book, in my sister's kitchen! I had to try it! 
So my kid's aunt and uncle and, indirectly, big cousin, have tasted a bit of the Sri Lankan cuisine. 
These meatballs are made with beef, shredded coconut and fresh mint! Believe me,they're delicious! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Stuff

Having a baby requires equipment. A whole lot of it!
If you have a 4-stories mansion with a backyard as big as a National Park, this is probably not a big deal for you. 
But we're going to have to decide what we really need and what we can fit in our house without having to throw away our own bed...
So I used my time at my sister's and brother-in-law's to evaluate what I thought was absolutely necessary and what was not.

So, here's what I think you really, absolutely, completely can't live without when you bring your baby home:
     - A crib.
     - Clothes. Lots of them!
     - Some mean of transporting the baby (often a stroller, at least a sling, pouch or back-pack carrier).
     - A car seat.
     - A high chair - you won't need this just yet if you're adopting a newborn, though.
     - Formula, a full set of bottles and teats and cleaning equipment, if you're going to bottlefeed.
     - Baby shampoo, baby skin cream, baby laundry soap
     - Diapers (either washable or disposable) with wipes. Hundreds of wipes. Wait... make that Thousands.
     - Linen for the crib, a little towel and facewash for the bath, blankets, bibs.
     - Basic baby accessories (nail cissors, nose pump, thermometer, etc)

Here is some more nice-to-have stuff:
     - A baby bath - much more comfortable for you than using the sink or the bath.
     - A changing table - again, more comfortable than kneeling on the floor and more convenient than a          countertop.
     - A rocker or bouncer so that baby can be with you without being in your arms.
     - Teething toys, rattles, stuffed toys.
     - Baby books - both cardboard books and plastic books for the bath.
     - A sterilizer for the bottles - quicker than boiling water in a pot.
     - If you choose to breastfeed, a breastfeeding cushion, breast pump and, if needed, a system to complement with formula.
     - A nice diaper bag that you can keep fully furnished and just grab when you're going out.
     - A portable changing mat, and maybe some disposable ones as well.
     - A lifebook - you can make your own, but they also sell adoption books that are a bit like traditional baby books with entries specific to adoption.
     - Pacifiers, if you decide you'd like one.
     - Baby monitors.
     - A freezer full of healthy food to help you keep up with the crazy pace!

And then there's the travel material, too...

I'd like to make an opportunity out of the excruciatingly long wait and try to slowly pick up our baby stuff either pre-loved or on sale. If you buy everything new and without investing too much time in shopping, the bill can go up really quickly!
Having baby stuff at home may be a little difficult, but I'm looking forward to seeing us more as expecting parents. I still haven't discussed it with Pablo though... We'll see what he says :-)

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Washable or Disposable?

In the last few days, little T's parents have tried a mix of washable and disposable diapers (they call them nappies, here). She is still very small and the washable are more difficult to adjust.
What I'm taking away from this:
- They both hold. We were worried that the washable would have a tendency to leak, but we were wrong.
- The laundry can become quite a bit of work with washable diapers, but it's manageable - we're 3 adults for 1 baby :-)
- The poor little thing is sweating like crazy in the washable diapers! They're made of this thick, fluffy fabric. They are very warm. I don't know if I would use them in the hottest of summer days.

Of course, the washables are better for the environment, and a little cheaper in the long run.

I think I'd be willing to try the washable once we get our Cinnamon Baby. We can still use disposable from time to time, when we're out and about or when it's really hot out.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On Feeding

Already parents will find this pretty obvious, but I didn't know you had 2 option when feeding a baby: On Schedule feeding, and On Demand feeding.
Basically, on schedule feeding involves waking the baby up at a steady schedule to feed. It means less crying, and is easier on the parents sleep. It's also easier to plan you day around scheduled feeds. Of course, if the baby was to wake up before her time, you would have to adjust...
On demand feeding means you let the baby sleeps when it sleeps and feed it when it cries hungry cries. One advantage is that the baby can sleep uninterrupted and be on its own natural schedule.

Apparently, there is a raging debate over this (Really?!?).

Because of attachement, this issue can have a particular signification in an adoptive family. I think a baby who is anxious and worried that its needs won't be met may benefit from a feeding routine, because the parents wake their baby up with a ready bottle before he is hungry. This is good for attachement.
However, I have read that a child who spent a long time in an institutionnal setting may have learned that asking is useless in getting its needs met. These kids are passive and not very fussy, and they may not get all they need because they don't ask for it. In such cases, I guess it would be beneficial to teach the child to cry for milk and use an adaptation of the on demand method...
These are all just thoughts, of course. I am no pediatrician!
As adoptive families of non-newborn babies, we won't have much choice. When we pick up our Cinnamon Baby, he will already have a routine. I expect the caregivers will tell us what times and what quantities our child is used to. And that's fine, we'll adjust. But it's good to know other methods exist. I think you can gradually change your child's routine to fit your new family life better.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Practical Skills

I've already learned quite a few practical skills, since I got here!
I'm a lot more comfortable holding the little gal. I learned how to swaddle her so she won't scratch her little cheeks, and also how to give her a bath. I still need to get better at changing diapers and dressing her.
I don't yet know how to transpose these new skills to an older baby (ours will be between 3 and 12 months old when we get him/her). But the level of confidence I have gained will make a huge difference. I know I can figure it out, with a few trials and errors.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The Little Dragon

I'm getting to know the latest addition to our family. My niece is absolutely, completely gorgeous. All the time. Even when she doesn't smell quite like roses.
She's barely over a week old and still looks quite lost in her world. When she's awake, she looks around with an air of confused awe.
Really, you could say her activities are quite limited... She sleeps a lot, eats a lot and poops a lot. But it's the little things that make her so irresistible: the expressive faces she makes all the time, the way she falls asleep in the middle of her meal and her Mom has to wake her up, her tiny toes, how vulnerable she is when you pick her up...
It's sad that we'll miss these early days with our Cinnamon Baby.
I'm really grateful I get to spend this time with T. And believe me, I'm not worried about me not attaching to my baby! If she's that irresistible, it'll take less than a minute!

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Australian Parenting Class

I'm posting this from Australia!
I'm here for 2 weeks to spend some time with my brand new goddaughter.
My mission here is threefold:
1- Spend some quality time with little T. and her parents (whom I miss very much in my day-to-day life)
2- Give my sister and brother-in-law a hand with household chores, so they can dedicate themselves to their new role
3- Learn some tricks of the trade!

Parents by birth get all this training in the process of having a child: Lamaze classes, tips from the doctor during their pregnancy, free government documentation easily available at their doctor's, then coaching from the nurses when they're still at the hospital after the birth...
There's going to be a day where Pablo and I will be in a hotel in a country we know little about, far from all our family, with a child we don't yet know. We'll have to figure out what to feed him, what to expect in terms of development, sleep patterns, how to dress him, how to hold him, how to bathe him... In fact, I don't even know exactly what furniture and accessories are a must before we go, and what are just gadgets!
So while I cook and clean for the new parents, I'm also asking lots of questions, and getting lots of practice with their gorgeous little girl. I'll let you guys know what I learn...