Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Awkward Questions

Have a read at this Mom's post. She has a large family, with some special needs kids and some trans-racially adopted kids too.
She came up with a list of the most awkward questions she's been asked.
Some are so ridiculous they're funny. others are plain hurtful.

But other than for a good laugh, I think it's worth reading because of how she chooses to answer some of these intrusive questions. I admire her zen attitude, and I think she has a point: being defensive about it doesn't give your kids the best perception about their adoption...

I'll have to try and rememer this...

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

What's in a Name?

Yesterday, I posted about first names.
We're enjoying the perks of expecting just like any other expecting parents would.

But there's an added dimension to naming your child, when you're adopting.
Our Cinnamon Baby will already have a name when we first meet him/her. It will very likely be a Sri Lankan name (we don't know of what ethnicity, yet).
Some families rename their child when they adopt them. Others don't. And there are a ton of arguments for doing either.

The birth or orphanage name may be difficult to pronouce in the child's adoptive country. What if it has a ridiculous or offensive meaning in his adoptive language? What if it sounds really weird  with the adoptive parents last name?
Deciding on the name can also help adoptive families claim their children.
And it can make the child feel more included in his family. If 4 generations of men in the family have worn the same name and it gets passed on to him, it may mean a lot to him when he starts questioning his identity.

But the birth name can also be a very strong identity symbol. Though it is sometimes chosen by the orphanage, it may also have been chosen by the birth mother. Or it may mean something important in the child's birth country or birth family. Maybe a boy is named after his birthfather, or a girl has her birth grand-mother's name.
Children who are adopted a bit older will usually recognize their name. Renaming these kids means yet another change for them to cope with. Still, how old is too old? Would renaming a 5 years old be ok? How about a 2 years old, or a 10 years old?

There are different options. Some people decide to rename their child, but pick a name from the birth culture. Others keep the birth name as a middle name, or select a middle name in the adoptive culture and keep the birth name as the first name. Some families look for names that are common to both languages.

It takes a bit of time and a lot of honest reflection to decide on what's best for your child and for your family.
And then, whatever you decide can all change when you get a referral or when you meet your child...

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Quest for a Name

Adopting, just like pregnancy, has some fun parts, and some not-so-fun parts.

I'm trying to untangle the facts about immigration right now. Not fun.
More on this soon (or not so soon, depending on how long it takes me to understand the process).

At the same time, Pablo and I are in the process of picking first names. Now that's fun!!
It's really not easy in our case, but the challenge is making it even more fun...
See, the problem is that half of our family is Spanish-speaking, while the other half is French-speaking. Because we want the name we pick to sound good in both languages, more than half of the names in baby name lists are a no-no for us!
While Etienne doesn't sound right in Spanish, Guillermo is unpronounceable in French.
Any name that has a J in it is a catastrophy, because the Spanish J isn't a sound in French, and vice versa.
So Jaime would sound Haime in French, but Julien would have this throaty sound in Spanish. (My own first name is a problem too, in fact...)
On top of that, names that are in fashion in South America may be fit for my grand-father's generation in Quebec, and Pablo sometimes laughs when I suggest a name which has been associated with a TV character in his culture.
And then, I grew up with 4 other Gen's in my class, and I hated this. I've always wished I had a more original first name. I mean, nothing too weird... just something I didn't share with half my generation...

We already have an idea of a girl's name, but boys names are a real puzzle.
So yesterday, after supper, we sat together and pulled a few lists from the Internet. Popular names in both languages, but also older and forgotten names. We went through the list, pronouncing the names in French and English. We both had to give up names we really liked because of the constraints we're dealing with. But we also had a few good laughs... Moshe is pretty funny in French...

In the end, we have 4 possible boys names. My first choice is Pablo's fourth, and I'm bothered a bit by the fact that two of those names are very popular right now in Quebec. But we're making way! And it's so much fun doing this together, I'm not sure I want us to settle on anything quite yet anyways :-)

Monday, June 18, 2012

We're Pregnant!

... on paper that is...

The FedEx website had this for us this morning:

Our paperwork is now in the hands of the Sri Lankan government! The package was signed for at 1am (our time) last night.
To us, that means the same as this:

Picture taken from

It's so exciting!!!! I had to wake Pablo up (at 5 am) to tell him :-)

And now we wait!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Our Dossier is in Sri Lanka!

Our Dossier is on its last stretch: it has cleared customs at the airport in Colombo! Now, to the government offices!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

I Love FedEx's Tracking System!

Our Dossier is in Dubai. I hope it's sunnier there than here!

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Smile of a Future Dad

You can tell the future dad is excited...
When he received the polite, official sounding email from Alberta Adoption Services, he decided to forward it to me with only a smiley face for a message.
But instead of hitting foward, he hit reply. And he sent a smiley face to the lady at the government... I think he’s getting a little too casual... :-D
He had to send her another email to thank her, apologize for the smiley face and explain that it was destined to me.
Her reply? A smiley face!
I guess it could have been worse.
Oh and by the way, our Dossier is in Memphis, Tennessee, right now. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Almost There

We got an email from a lady at the Alberta Adoption Services today: OUR DOSSIER IS ON ITS WAY!!!!

It was sent this afternoon to Sri Lanka via Fedex. And you know what the cool part is? We have a tracking number! So we'll know when it has been received and signed for in Colombo...

I am away from home for work right now. I can't wait to go home to celebrate yet another step with the future papa! He's the one who called me, all excited, to give me the news :-)

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Okra Sambol

Okra Salad
Okra is not a regular in our kitchen... I know it's used quite a bit in southern US, but it's not even readily available in grocery stores where Pablo and I live.
So this okra sambol was pretty exotic for us!
This time, I got the recipe from a different web site:

It was good, though the okra makes the salad a bit gooey...

We had it for supper tonight, with a fish curry and rice. Sri Lankan cuisine has definitely entered our regular menu, or at least its curries! We still have so much more to discover!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Baby Steps

Since yesterday, our file has the Ontario seal and Sri Lankan consulate approval on it :-)
That's one more step out of the way.

Our paperwork will be sent to the Alberta government by FedEx today.

Monday, June 4, 2012

From the Doorstep of a VIP Club

One unexpected effect of going to that kids items sale on Saturday was that I was for once allowed to behave like a future mom.
Each family had rented a table to display all the stuff they wanted gone, a bit like at a multi-family garage sale. While I was shopping for used clothes, I talked a bit with the parents (mostly ladies) who were selling.
Here's an example of a typical conversation:
Seller: Are you looking for boy or girl clothes?
Me: I don't know yet, we're expecting :-)
Seller: Oh! Congratulations!
Me (all smiles): Thank you!
If people asked more (because I don't exactly look pregnant), I would say we are adopting and get all sorts of curious (but never inappropriate) questions.

I know, this sounds terribly ordinary.

It' not.

Not if you have waited years to become a parent.
Not if all parents in the world seemed to be members of a huge private club in which you were persona non grata just a few months ago.
Not if you've ever seriously doubted you'd ever get to be in that position.

In all reality, we're not quite expecting yet. Our file is still in Canada. But we are so close, and I think I'll have the most beautiful pregnancy!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

More Stuff for our Collection

I have been bargain hunting for a while now. I keep an eye on Craigslist and Kijiji. It doesn't always work out, though. A few weeks ago, I had found a really inexpensive crib. I phoned and asked for it to be kept aside until later that same week, when I would have time to go pick it up. When I called back the night before I was going to pick it up, the guy had sold it to someone else... Oh well!
This weekend, however, I had two good finds.

I found an umbrella stroller for $5.


 And a set of 8 glass bottles with different size teats for $25.

This weekend, there was also a sale for used baby and children items. I was hoping to find used furnitures. A crib and changing table maybe. But it was mainly clothes and toys. Still, I found a few good items for the space behind our washing machine (did I tell you that's where we're storing our baby stuff while we wait?).
For a total of $75, I got:
  • 2 sets of crib sheets
  • 2 receiving blankets
  • 2 washable diapers (different designs, to try them out)
  • 2 bibs
  • 5 onesies
  • 5 pajamas
  • 1 pair cotton pants
  • 1 pair jeans
  • 1 short
  • 1 sun hat
  • 5 little cardboard books
  • 1 bath book
  • 1 grown-up book on baby development during the first year (it even talks about adoptive parenting!)
  • 1 sippy cup
  • 4 baby spoons
The clothes are all sized between 6 months and 18 months. It turned out to be really difficult to find gender neutral clothes for 6-18 months old! There's a lot of gender neutral stuff for newborns, but it seems like as soon as parents know they have a boy or a girl, it's all blue tractors and pink butterflies! As soon as I saw something yellow, green or white, I'd get it :D


I've made a little back-of-the-envelope calculation and we would probably have paid right around $350 for all this, brand new. It cost us a total of $105 used... It's definitely worth the trouble of buying used stuff, especially since we have nothing but time in this process!