The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

As The Season Approaches

I love this close-to-Christmas time of year. Yes, we are still in the midst of fall; the leaves are falling, most kids are getting their sugar on, the wood stove heats the house and keeps away the damp air which hasn't quite turned really chilly.

But there's also a feeling of Hope. The knowledge that there is more to come in the months that lay ahead than simply gray, dismal rain. There is more than the day-after-day routine. There will be gingerbread houses and men, Christmas chains, tree set-up, stockings to hang, snowflakes to dangle.

Our official "Christmas set up" doesn't begin until after November 11th. We will respect those who gave their lives for us. We will not overlook the sacrifice of thousands.

But in my mind, I must plan. To let you in on a small secret, my Christmas cards are already made and the shopping is nearly done. (Keep in mind, we keep things fairly minimal around here - knowing that there are millions who go without. The thought of indulging or worse, over-indulging leaves a knot in the pit of me. Materially giving more, when we already have so much...for me...takes the joy out of the season filled with just that: Joy.)

The other part of this up and coming season that I absolutely love love love is the generosity and sudden philanthropy which seems to come out of the woodwork. Wish it was this consistent year round? Sure I do. But better something than nothing at all.

Catching up on a friend from way back, the other day Katie shared about this.

So of course I had to read up on it.

And now, I'm inspired.

It wasn't enough to just read about this concept, which has been so incredibly executed. I had to listen to the message. (Click on the Be Rich logo and you'll be set.) It's a bit long but not in a bad way. It's a bit long in a make-sure-the-kids-are-in-bed kind of way. I'd urge you to listen. Listen while you make your Christmas cards. Listen while you're picking up the toys at the end of the day. Listen while the babes are napping. Just. Don't. Miss. It.

Christian or not, it's for you. It reminds us of how rich, how blessed, how privileged we are. Yes, the top 1% of the world type of rich. Yes you. And me. And we cannot turn away from the knowledge of this truth.

Katie shares a few more bits of her wealth of information...she's a smart girl...

If you wander a bit further afield, you quickly come to realize just how relative the word rich is.
Rich in China = USD $36,000/year
Rich in Indonesia = USD $11,000/year
Rich in Ethiopia = USD $1,600/year

(All of these numbers are approximately 10x the average annual income)
Rich in America? Maybe you are, maybe you're not.
Rich in the eyes of the rest of the world? You bet.
I want to BE RICH because we are rich. And regardless of your spiritual, moral or political beliefs there's no denying that if you're reading this blog, you're rich.

Are you acting like it?

And now all that's left to do is figure out my plan of action.

What is yours?

Friday, October 30, 2009


We don't often get accurate, up to date Canadian stats. So this is a bonus...for more immigration details, etc you can head over here. It's all just so fascinating. And, moreover it is my (our!) responsibility as pre-adoptive parents to get a better understanding of where some of our daughter's potentially future friends may live. The opportunity she will have to identify with others who share her culture, heritage, race, and loss (to name a few) is growing in leaps and bounds.

And I think it's exciting...don't you?


News item has been prepared by the Adoption Council of Canada (ACC) and Family Helper.

(October 26, 2009). On Friday, the Adoption Council of Canada (ACC) received the 2008 international adoption statistics from Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC).

In 2008, 1,908 children from abroad found adoptive homes in Canada. This is an increase from 2007 and marks a return to numbers last seen in 2004.

1995: 2,010 1998: 2,222 2001: 1,874 2004: 1,955 2007: 1,713
1996: 2,061 1999: 2,019 2002: 1,926 2005: 1,871 2008: 1,908
1997: 1,800 2000: 1,866 2003: 2,180 2006: 1,535



Country of birth










































South Korea













































































Total, top 16 countries







Total, other countries







Grand Total







Thursday, October 29, 2009

Building On Trust

What a morning.

What an update.

What progress.

We often come to these times of desperation and exhaustion, only to finally knock.

And the door is opened.

How simple. How pure. How calming, comforting, convincing of the true reality of God.

I opened my email this morning to this, (bits and pieces for you, for sake of ease)...

Dear families of Imagine Adoption,

We have been anticipating this first communication to all Imagine families for quite some time, and we know many of you have been anticipating the same! First let us say enormous congratulations to all of you for believing in this dream and fighting to keep it alive. Watching the families involved come together with such passion and perseverance has been incredibly inspiring, and we, as a board and staff, feel honoured to be a part of this endeavour.

[...] Most often we will respond to questions through a bi-weekly general update sent to all families.

[...] One particular question that we know many families are asking right now relates to their position on the "list" of families waiting for a referral. We have come up with a plan that we hope will clarify this for families, without causing conflicts with our confidentiality agreement. We will provide all retained families with a copy of the list of all families in the Ethiopia program, showing only child request (age, gender, single child, siblings, or twins) and the date the dossier was received in Ethiopia. There will be no names of any families included on this list. An individual email will be sent to each family indicating their position on the list and confirming the date their dossier was received in Ethiopia.

Going forward, in addition to our bi-weekly communication, we plan to send out monthly updates outlining how many referrals have been made that month, which will help you keep track of where you are on the list. [...] The purpose of the list is therefore not to give you a definite timeline on when to expect a referral, but rather to give you an idea of where you currently are in relation to the other families in the program and to monitor how the process is progressing.

[...] P.S. The retainer agreements are in the final stages of being prepared and will be sent to families as soon as they are ready.

Adoption Programming Representative

Imagine Adoption
your dreams of family coming true...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I haven't held off posting due to a lack things to say. Much the opposite. My head and heart are overflowing. I just don't know where to start. I don't know what I should say, what I should not...or how I feel about those things.

I read quite some time ago that people who feel the need to blog are egocentric. Bloggers are people who feel the need to puff up their chests and write about themselves alone. I feel the need to contradict that, but wouldn't I then be called biased? It could be said that I am justifying my actions. Would it look as though I felt I was the exception to the rule? Likely.

I digress.

The blog was started - and continues - as a Life Book. It is a journal of events I know I will someday forget. It will shed light on a part of her past. And it will help give meaning to her future. It is a following of our trials, the ups and downs, to complete a journey we know we were meant to travel. A Life Book is not a scrapbook, (I even took a course to better understand it) for those not familiar with the adoption related term or project.

As defined on, simply (and very basically put) a Life Book...

[...] is the story of a child’s life. Beth O’Malley, in her book Lifebooks: Creating A Treasure For The Adopted Child [Adoption-Works Press, 2000], shares that when people ask her to explain what an adoption lifebook is, her first thought in reply to this question is to say that a lifebook is the “best gift in the world for an adoptee. It should be required for each adoption, just like the birth certificate.”

Beth O’Malley further explains that a lifebook for an adopted child or a foster child is a “security blanket, a concrete tool… a medium for one complete personal history. It promotes positive grasp of identity… It makes talking about adoption feel like everyday conversation. It promotes attachment.”

The lifebook is the child’s history explained in an easy to read, easy to understand format.

Again, I digress. I am not intending to swell my head each time I sign in to post news, updates, or share stories about our little life. So, when something as drastic as bankruptcy occurs, it is hard to come back and trustingly put faith back in "the system".

I am being challenged by this. We have just gone through over a year and a half of build up, only to have the walls come crashing down. Back at square one, there are days I still feel as though I am still peeling myself off the sidewalk upon which I was squashed, back on that awful day in mid-July. I am finding it hard to digest that we still have (likely) over a year of waiting until we have hope of a referral.

I am having trouble offering Trust.

But I know we must. We cannot give up hope. We will not turn out backs on something we know will come to realization. I guess this is faith defined though, is it not? Believing without seeing. Holding on to hope when there is no tangible evidence physically standing in front of you , forcing you to believe?!

I know that when the first referral comes, then the second and then the third, my heart will rest completely at ease. Confidence in the same system that let us down will be restored.

Until then, we will find hope in the little things. I cannot bring myself to purchase clothing, toys, or other such items. Gifts made are an exception. But for me, sewing, creating, designing, painting, decorating...that will all come after The Call.

So for today we will enjoy this new momento. A small reminder each time we walk through the dining room. A glimmer of hope each time we look up from building our puzzles. A light when the days of waiting seem never ending.

Trust is easily destroyed and slowly rebuilt.

The foundation, however is being formed.

Friday, October 23, 2009


The day wouldn't have started without the thought. It wouldn't have ended without a post to mark this, the thirteenth month into our wait.

While I had hoped to have received our new Retainer Agreement, (anticipated to have been sent to us sometime this week via email) perhaps Monday will mark another line in the sand.

Roll on 14.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Whatcha' Been Up To?

Other than mini-vacations (still riding that high) we've been busy using our dozens of pounds of apples. Still a long way to go but I feel we're making a real dent. Popped into the deep freeze (actually, it's a bit of a very calculated squeeze right now but well worth the effort,) to be enjoyed throughout the next 12 months. It wouldn't be Christmas without the smell of Apple Pie filling our house.

We're also anticipating a non-glucose-high sort of way. Rather, you know...Ashleigh style. They love it. Why wouldn't's no different from years past. Oh sure, we'll celebrate somehow but not likely with a 5 pound bag of candy.

And of course, it wouldn't be a Keizer household without the Leafs.

Who do you cheer for?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Do You Have 20 Minutes?

Grab a cup of tea or coffee or a glass of water and enjoy this.

The Danger Of A Single Story is truly thought-provoking.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Oliberte Again

You'll possibly remember my discussion about Oliberte, the coolest new shoe company on the market. With their symbolic desire to teach men to fish and therefore feed themselves for life, they're attaining new levels of media hype and publicity.

It's all for great reason, I believe.

The desire, as their Canadian founder shares isn't to supply people with shoes. He doesn't really care about the product. Well, he does...but he doesn't. The desire is to see those with less, those who struggle in developing countries to earn a mere $30 a month, with employment. Because for these people, employment means greater self-worth, a desire to be more and better and self-sustaining and a dignified part of the human race.

Not only is Oliberte scoring articles in the Globe and Mail but later this month, you can catch them, (him - founder Tal Dehtiar) on the Dragon's Den.

I'm still waiting for my first pair. They'll be purchased once materials all originate from Liberia and are manufactured in Ethiopia. Currently, operations are still starting up in Liberia and the rubber therefore comes from Sri Lanka. Call me picky if you want.

So go on. You've got to catch this Globe and Mail article...

Shoe maker wants to prove Africa can provide a competitive edge

Workers make shoes in Tal Dehtiar's shoe factory in Liberia.

Michael Posner

Globe and Mail Update

At first, the idea sounds simply outlandish: manufacture high-fashion urban casual shoes in Africa and export them to the world.

Even at the best of times, many seasoned professionals know, Africa is a difficult place to do business, burdened by an untrained work force, distance from markets and, too often, political corruption.

But that's precisely the challenge Torontonian Tal Dehtiar has decided to set for himself [...]

Monday, October 19, 2009

New Week. New Updates.

This is a great way to start my week.


Happy boys playing.

Pie making (finally!).

And a great joy is the ever anticipated update - a positive one - from BDO. I eat these things for lunch I tell ya.

Here we go...a little cut and paste action with highlights which affect us. Our life. Our family. Our journey. Our daughter.
The proposed Board of Directors met for a third time on October 6th. (Note: I believe this is more times that the old board would have met in a 2 year time frame...possibly more. Not placing blame...I'm just sayin'.) BDO was in attendance.

With respect to the action plan outlined in BDO’s last general update, the following goals have been met:

• Two full time staff and one part-time staff have been hired. All these staff members are former employees of Imagine Adoption and bring strong knowledge and experience to their roles. As outlined in the Proposal, Jo Ann Barber will be returning as Adoption Administrator, Valerie Goodyear will be responsible for Adoption Programming, and Melissa Burke will be responsible for Clinical Education and Support Services
• The Board of Directors is now actively working on filling the position of Executive Director. We have received 6 applications and will begin interviewing the first week in November.
• The new office has been furnished and current, active files have been transferred from BDO.
• Office telephones will be installed during the week of October 19th and we are expecting delivery of computers (and remaining telecommunication equipment) by the following week.
• The Ontario Ministry license renewal application was completed and submitted to the Ministry October 9th as required.
• The renewal agreement contracts have been drafted and the Board is working towards the goal of e-mailing these contracts to families during the week of October 19th. (Hello! That's this week people! Hold your breath with me.)
• Arrangements have been made for a delegation from Imagine Adoption, including Ted Giesbrecht, to travel to Ethiopia to establish new orphanage contracts, assess existing operations, to assist with cases of children currently matched with families, and other relationship building matters. The delegation will arrive and begin work in Addis Ababa on November 1st. (Seriously. Ted Giesbrecht is worth his weight in gold, diamonds, platinum, if you will. Bless his legal, philanthropical heart. The guy is truly a gem.)
• Initial fund transfers to Ethiopian orphanages have been made and staff members have been instructed to proceed with the administration of the cases of the children still in Ethiopia who have been matched with. We are pleased to report that one of these families has had a successful court date!
• With the goal of achieving much greater transparency than existed in the past, the Board of Directors is working on determining a new communication strategy. We will advise in future updates.
• As part of the above communication item, the Board is currently looking into the possibility of reactivating and expanding Imagine Adoption’s previous website. (Great news!) In the meantime, we will aim to provide general updates every ten business days on the BDO website.

In response to questions we have received since October 1st:

Q: What steps have been taken with respect to fundraising?

A: The Board of Directors does plan to implement fundraising initiatives in the near future. As Imagine Adoption does not have charitable status we are unable to provide tax receipts for any donations. However we are setting up a separate account for donations and we encourage families to proceed with fundraising initiatives. (Anyone know of someone with a wad burning a hole in their pocket? I've got a good place to put the green.)

With thanks for your continued patience and support.

Board of Directors

While I Was Out

After the most wonderful of relaxing, restful, rewarding weekends I came home to what seemed to have been a successful weekend on this front.

While I was out, the boys had...well...a boys weekend.

The pumpkin was carved, (phew! the thought of the gutsy mess was just not enticing this year) and seeds left for roasting.

And as there was only one pumpkin he, uh, he has great could almost say multiple personalities...or at least multiple faces. Isn't he great?!

In the spirit of helping out his little brother, Ben overheard Noah encouraging Tait on the can early Saturday morning...and when they get along and encourage one another, we have a similar theory to the sleeping baby thing. Steer clear. Ride it out. Enjoy the peace.

"You can do it, Tait"...

"Okay, Noah"...


Tait now sports a potty war wound, earned while trying to get on the potty but failing and slipping off the stool, landing square on along the edge of the trash if he'd lined it up and centered it right between his nose and right eye...around his cheek...all the way down to his chin.

"A" for effort, little guy.

And as if they knew how to end the weekend perfectly, not a sound was heard in our house this morning until the familiar thud of little feet paced down the hallway a solid 45 minutes later than the usual wake up call.

It was bliss.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Need A Vacation...Gotta Get Away... you remember that Club Med advertisement song? Maybe I'm dating myself. Perhaps you just don't had some old folks dancing away in the sun, enjoying the heat of wherever they'd chosen as their destination. They were all relaxed and mellow lookin'. Not a care in the world, everything appeared perfect.

Such is fiction, I guess. (Or their geriatric condition.)

However, vacations are truly refreshing. And, while the Birch Bay trip did offer a change of scene and family time, it wasn't overly restful and didn't necessarily wipe away a summer of kid-overload, adoption-chaos, and go-go-go exhaustion.

I Need A Vacation...Gotta Get Away

So, this weekend due to the most wonderful of husbands and a very generous of friends, I'm gettin' away. Solo. Alone. Well...except for the company of that most generous of kind friends. I feel the 2 days and nights will call for tea, movies, jammies, and perhaps strolls through non-child-friendly stores.

I can't wait.

This week has been nuts and after starting it with a real marathon, I feel this is the perfect weekend to head out and get refreshed. We've bounced all over the place this day boasting of a 9:15am start to an incredibly meaty Truth Project bible study, followed by a coffee break with friends, followed by lunch at the camp - thankgoodness someone was feeding us that day! otherwise I would have continued to devour leftover Powerbars...they carried me through - followed by a small child's hair cut, followed by a swim lesson. Phew.

While routine is coming back...and this truly is a has taken a toll. Normal especially...seemed to peek back at us. Finally. Some semblance of peace and happiness and "my old kids" returned as we strolled down the road in our boots, looking for puddles, and ponies down the way. Chatter flowed easily and giggles spontaneously erupted as the cut grass was thrown around the park.

In keeping with one of my goals of being outside at least 4 times a week, rain or shine, we headed to the garden. While mostly all green (and that not being a good thing), there is still some edible nutrition in there...and perhaps one or two of the unripe goodies will eventually attain fruition. Anyone know a good "fried green tomato" recipe? Or, is that just a myth and a great movie?