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

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ben and I went out for our Annual Boxing Day Movie Date again this year. It was great. Time alone in a crowded mall where we are in a hurry to get nowhere. Seriously, it's not stressful because all we're doing is spending time together while waiting for our matinee to begin. And, once we're in the theatre we have to share it with (usually) a whopping six or eight other people.

This year we went to see The Blind Side. I would highly recommend it. It's not necessarily a theatre must-see, but it is a must-see. I don't want to go into any sort of analytical detail because of course being a Hollywood flick, there are some things a little more rosy than likely occurred. Nonetheless, here's a sneak peak and a heads up to set your PVR for friday night's 20/20, as the family will be interviewed. And, I feel the Tuoys are one of those families we would all be better people for "knowing".

Rub A Dub Dub

They just spent over 2 hours in the tub*

*the fine print: I have come to realize that the amount of time spent in the tub is directly correlated with the water level...there was a lot of water this time.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb

It was good this year. Really good. Full of homemade and handmade, fair trade and direct trade, full of laughter and food, quiet times and loud.(mainly loud) No gifts were obligation or guilt gifts. All were chosen and given with a purpose in mind. Each unique to it's recipient and opened with the same excitment as when chosen or made.

Christmas came and went as it usually does: fast and faster, respectively.

There was something just a little different this year though. A little extra twinkle in the merry of the day. The knowledge of a Greater reason than gifts and garland. The desire to seek equality and social support rather than just materialism.

Having two in the house this year who more fully understand and embrace the true meaning but also the notion of Santa, stockings, and taking turns while gift opening (well, sort of) made it different. Or perhaps it was the nearly doubled financial amount raised for a Well in Tanzania that was announced at our Christmas Eve service.


It was different. It was right.

"Did he come, Mama?", are words I will never forget as they left the mouth of the oldest and were echoed immediately by the youngest Christmas morning. The shrieks and joy that "OH, Santa did come last night Nana," was almost too much. Surely it was the cookies we made and left the night before.

I could go on for pages but the pictures will do it better justice. I think I'll revisit moments and special gifts from time to time but for now, here you go.

May your 2009 end with a contented peace.

May your 2010 begin with a fresh joy.

May you enjoy every moment.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

15 And Fifteen Doubled

Our file has now been in Ethiopia for fifteen months. If someone dared mentioning that to me twelve months ago, it is possible they'd have been in for a black eye. Honestly, I'm not sure I would have made it this far, as sane as I have. That's the thing with life though isn't it?

You never know what you're going to know, the box of chocolates thing. (Thanks Forrest.)

And journeys of 1000 miles begin with one step.

I am thankful, not for the turmoil of what was our life over the summer and months following but rather for the strength we have found in ourselves and moreso in our faith through it all. We no longer take parenting and the ability to adopt or have children biologically as something we should simply be able or allowed to do, providing we take the right steps. I have always, always claimed parenting to be a privilege and not a right. Yet, I don't think I truly understood what I was stating until this past many months. So, while I am not thankful for the heartache, I am thankful for the growth it allowed. And am thankful for the friendships I have made through this all...adoption-related and not. I am thankful for the best this stress has brought out in others and through them, we have been encouraged and carried.

Last night Imagine Adoption was featured on The National. It's been a very highly, positively publicised week thus far. However, after this particular segment we were called and emailed by two individuals whom we wouldn't usually have heard from; one from whom we have never received a phone call but who has been extremely encouraging and supportive upon each meeting.

These troubled times, they bring our the best when the best is at stake.

So thank you for keeping us going 15 months strong. And for the months ahead, thank you also. We don't know how long our wait will be but we know this: it is no longer "if" but rather "when".

(Oh - and the fifteen doubled thing...let's just say that '79 was a good year. A very very good year.)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Some Indulge In Chocolate, Some Crack Open A Dusty Bottle Of Bubbly

I knit?

Not that I've ever really knit before. A basic pair of mittens and scarf but really that's about it.

So, when Noah asked me to knit a scarf a couple of weeks ago I thought why not. He's always so appreciative and reminds me of his gratitude when he grabs it on his way out the door.

I'm a sewer. I love how quickly the needle zips along to form the seam of my pattern. I love that it can happen quickly and that even mistakes can be ripped out with a somewhat frustrated force, leaving the fabric ready to be re-sewn...and my patience renewed.

But I can't take the machine everywhere. I can't use it when it's not in the sewing room, with the needles, and buttons, and tape measure.

So, when Ben's parents were visiting awhile back, I handed a pattern over to his Mum and asked her what she thought. Two days later of off and on work and it was done. And I loved it.

So, when the news came of referrals actually starting up last week I had to do something. For me it's about planning and seeing tangible results and reminders of what is to come. So I picked up the same pattern, this time using larger needles and a thicker yarn. And I got to work. I climbed a learning curve and embraced it.

And when it was all done it just didn't look complete. Wonderfully exciting but not complete.

What better than a pair of baby legs to seal the deal, I thought.

I'll share more confessions of this PAP later.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Higher And Higher

I'm still pinching myself each time I reflect upon the events of the past few days. I thought about it a moment ago and I swear I've received more emails from Imagine and more positive adoption news since Wednesday than over the past 5 months combined.

The final piece to this new agency puzzle was just placed and as often seems to happen, I had just been wondering about this piece this morning.

An Executive Director has been hired!!!

In my mind this was a huge part of the deal. I knew interviewing had been taking place and there were several very qualified candidates. However, as part of the email sharing this exciting information, the new Executive Director included a letter introducing herself. And the final sentence in the final paragraph convinced me that she is the one.

The whole letter was well written. She articulated herself, her experience, her expectations and anticipation over the road ahead quite clearly. But when S ended her letter with the sentence below, I was comforted with the reassurance that,

We. Are. In. Good. Hands.
I am proud to be a part of the future-development of this agency, and I am committed to making this an agency for the children, with their needs being of the highest priority, as we work hard to unite them with their destined families.

(bold mine)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


What do you think?

Hello Imagine Families!

It seems this is a week of very good news here at Imagine!

As was communicated yesterday, we received our Ontario Ministry License
renewal early this week. We have further received word today that our
NGO license renewal in Ethiopia has been approved!

We are also very excited to inform you that we have been able to
commence the process of referrals once again!

We trust that this news brings you all a sense of relief and joy, as it
did in our office today! We recognize that there may be challenges
ahead. However, there has been much accomplished in these last several
months, and we know that the lives of these children and families, one
by one, will be forever changed!

The Board and staff continue to await the final review and approval
from BDO. The Board does not anticipate there to be any significant
issues that will arise during this process.

We send heartfelt congratulations to each one of you!


The Staff and Board of Imagine Adoption

Yes, it sent shivers down my spine too.

(And then I started to cry when I read it aloud to Ben. If you must know, yes it was the Ugly Cry.)

***since posting this 1 family has already received a sibling referral!!!***

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Snow, Adventures In Gingerbreading, And An Imagine Update

We got snow.

Ok, give me a break: we live in BC for crying out loud.

And, while you may think you only see refined sugar (products) on these houses, I can assure you that you are mistaken. Tait, yesterday at the store was adamant that we purchase prunes (like the kid needs help in that area), among other non-sugar items. No kidding.

The decorating was a blast. Mostly because there was no disputing about whether or not to eat candy, they simple did not...(and they didn't even ask...only ate a very few pieces upon encouragement - I know! Seriously, I love that).

I think this was my favourite Gingerbread Housing afternoon ever because of the pure creativity and originality that went into each of the boys' houses. Mine is anal. Would you expect any less? The pink and brown roof caps perfectly colour coordinated make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I'm just twisted like that. Tracy simply worked with and around the boys...wouldn't expect anything less. You are such the gentle soul, Tracy. But the honest, "I think this goes here" feeling in the room was pure.

'Tis the season.

Oh - and our final (yes, I promise this time absolute sign, sealed, and as close as we'll get to our referral without actually getting it, delivered) hurdle was passed today. The province of Ontario has officially relicensed Imagine Adoption to facilitate International Adoptions. PTL.

I'm not sure you may realize the enormity of this feat. Being accredited as an International Adoption Agency includes a mile-long, many dozens (likely more) of points checklist which is no simple task. It's like that 1000 piece puzzle you never want to begin for fear of misplacing one of those tiny pieces. Except ours is all together as one big, beautiful picture.

Last week's news included information that Imagine anticipates referrals beginning much before the proposal's outlined March 2010 date. So, roll on January and February.

2010 is proving to be a decade to remember already.

Monday, December 14, 2009

It's Beginning To Sound A Lot Like Christmas

As I hear shrieks of laughter in the background, (please, please let them continue and not end in tears) whilst singing along with Raffi to Frosty The Snowman, I am feeling a true sense of Christmas in the air.

This weekend included a whirlwind trip to the mainland to celebrate the 60th birthday of truly, the youngest 60 year old I know. (And, I'm not just saying that because she is my Mum or because it means that in a few days I'll hit a milestone, too.)

Pre-party, we hit Stanley Park and rode the Christmas Train enjoying all that the lights of this annual event. Perhaps it was that afternoon, coupled with Raffi, and the new fallen snow (not to mention the icy near-miss on the way home from town an hour ago) that are making it feel and sound a lot like Christmas.

(Adoption updates to follow this week...last week's update email was relatively anti-climactic, but we are still moving in the right direction...and that, people, is ahead. We are moving ahead. But you already knew that.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

All Quiet On The Western Front

Though I have to stop and remember to breathe during these busy choc-a-block days, all is quiet on the Western Front...if we're talkin' Adoption. We should hear from BDO any day now (if you're reading between the lines you know that means I'm chomping at the bit and slightly on edge about any news as far as the next step).

We're enjoying the dry but freezing temperatures and if I return from an early morning run one of these days without an ear or a thumb, I likely won't notice until I thaw out several minutes later. I love it though. It's a great change and the freezing without the neige is perfect for now. Who knows, we may convince Tait to wear socks yet. We turned a corner the other night and his jacket is finally (!!) replacing his vest. Baby steps.

We lost a dear friend and lifelong companion this past Saturday, ironically it was Tucker's 6th birthday. Perhaps this is the reason for the blog silence. Dear Charly was 17 years and 7 months old. He joined our family when I was 12, (go ahead and do the math) and we lived in the lower mainland. He came with us when we moved to England, then back home, and then over to HongKong when my parents moved over 10 years ago. Truly the 3 continent puppy. If you're not a dog lover this may seem trivial but I can assure you, it is not. He was and always will remain a part of our family.