Friday, September 3, 2010

Why I Do What I Do...

I've been back at work this week setting up my classroom for this year. I'll be teaching kindergarten, which is definately something new for me. Jacob is in his own "school" and isn't exactly loving it yet, but I'm told that he'll adjust and everything will be just least that's what I keep telling myself.

While sitting in a staff meeting on Thursday, my principal asked us all why we do what we do. He said most often we're asked what we do when we're out at parties, reunions, etc..., but no one thinks to ask why we do that job. He asked us to reflect on that as we prepare to begin this year.

So why do I teach? I'm happy to answer the question! In fact, I'm typing it out so that when those days where more than three kids poop their pants happen, I can look back and remember why I do what I do.

I teach because I love kids. Plain and simple. I love each and everyone of them. I teach because I want to change lives. I want each and every child to leave my classroom knowing that they are loved, valued and respected simply for being themselves. Every day. I want them to leave as better people through knowledge of the world around them and for knowing themselves better. I want them to know that their thoughts count and their opinions matter.

I teach for that moment when you realize that they really trust and value what you say. I teach for those 'aha' moments when you know they've got it. I teach because kids can't get enough love in their lives. They can't have enough people telling them that they are awesome. They can't have enough people showing them how to live well and love others.

I don't take this responsibility lightly. I don't do what I do for the summer vacation, for the pay or for anything else. I do what I do because it's who I am. As my son grows older, I hope that this teaches him that when we're caring for others, it's a big, important deal. I hope that by my words and actions, each student who walks through my door will learn that too.

God's blessings on my new kiddies this year!!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Other Woman...

I've been thinking a lot this week about Jacob's birth mom. To be honest, I've been thinking more about her than I ever thought that I would. My heart has been burdened for her. I don't even know if they celebrate Mother's Day in Russia (pause while I google...nope, they celebrate International Woman's Day on March 8th), but I can only imagine how hard this day would be for her. I've been trying to figure out a way to begin a tradition of honouring her in some way on this day. Not only for our sake (mine and hers), but to begin to share Jacob's story with him. I've heard of cheesy things like lighting a candle or buying her flowers, but I'm not sure that can do her justice. My plan is to pull out Jacob's life book to share it with him on this day as he grows older (of course, I still need to create this book!), but I need something for this year. Any ideas???

It's really hard to think of something to do to honour the woman who made you a mother...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

This Year....

This week last year, I was in a very different spot. Wow. It's really, really hard to believe how much has changed in such a short time. It's almost hard to look back there.

I posted last year about those ugly pink carnations that are handed out at church. I posted about how much I longed earn them - about how I longed to deserve them. Oh, how I hate those stupid flowers!!! This year, I am a mother - as much as any other woman who loves her child more than life. But the ache of infertility will always be on my heart. I never want to forget - it will always leave Mother's Day as a bittersweet holiday for me.

So this year when they hand out those ugly flowers (seriously, who likes carnations??), I will decline. I will decline for all of those women who are still waiting for their miracle. I will decline for all of those women who have lost babies along the way. I will decline for those who are being raised by women who are terrible to them. I will decline for the woman who's wondering how her baby is on this day after giving me the ultimate gift. Yes, my joy is complete and my prayers have been answered, so I will squeeze my son tightly and let my husband make me breakfast in bed, but, I will not take one of those pink flowers.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Thank you to those of you who have sent me such sweet comments/emails. I am truly blessed to know such amazing people. I hope that experiences like the other day teach me to be more empathetic to ALL people....if so, I will count it all joy.

Hmmm...I think it's time to update on my little man!
1) He just learned how to open doors (today, actually)...I am screwed!
2) He loves to dress anything! My cousin got him an awesome dress-up bin and he goes crazy dressing up like a cowboy, or a pirate, or in my high heels....daddy is NOT a fan of that one!
3) He still isn't sleeping through the night, but we are having good and bad nights....oh man, do I LIVE for the good nights!
4) We go to a couple of classes at our community centre, and I absolutely love to see how fast he has learned the routines there, and how well he is listening to the instructions and getting along with the other kids.
5) We love to bake together....anytime I go into the kitchen he pulls the chair over to climb up and help.
6) He really loves to help out with anything that we do...he cleaned our neighbour's car the other day, then helped me to garden (gloves and all), all day on Monday.
7) He's started to cry out for me specifically when he's upset or at night. This is huge! He now knows for sure that mama or dada will be in to save the day
8) He loves to pray before meal time. We must hold hands, and we usually have to pray about three times before he'll eat. The more people there to share in the prayer, the better! He also loves to yell out "AMEN" in church after prayers (or sooner if it's going to long).
9) He still loves to sing..his favourites are our church songs. He does this crazy dance with it if we're in the car...he has moves like his dad.
10) He has an amazing memory and never forgets a face...he especially loves my friend Jamie, his cousin "Goga" and his little buddy "Lela"
11) He is crazy about the outdoors...he's not afraid to go down the highest slide at the park, and would bath in his sandbox if we'd let him!

Those are just a few of the things he amazes us with every day. I love my sweet boy!!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

The club...

I have spoken before (I don't know how to link to previous you can look in May 2009), about the Mommy Club and how I longed to be a part of this elusive group. I have longed to sit with a group of mothers and feel like I really belonged. Finally, I would fit in. I had a couple of adoptive parents say to me that I'd never really belong in the club, and I didn't believe them.

Turns out, they were right. I felt like an idiot sitting with a group of women at a baby shower this weekend. I had nothing to contribute. My experiences were not theirs, and while mine were no less painful, they were not the same. No, I don't know what it's like to carry a baby inside of me. I don't know what it's like to bring a baby home from the hospital for the first time or figure out if I should go the breast milk or formula route. People think I have no idea what it's like to get up hour after hour with a crying baby (FALSE!). I don't know what it's like to see my baby smile, or walk, or talk for the first time. I even had someone comment to me "Oh sure, you've left the hard part to us." I may have one foot in the door, but no, I am not in the club. It sucks. I wish it didn't bother me so much to be on the outskirts, to be judged, to feel insecure.

Hmm....Maybe I don't want to be in that club. Jacob couldn't be more mine if I gave birth to him myself. I couldn't love him more if I had've carried him for nine months. While I ache to have known him for the first two years of his life, to have carried him for nine months and saw his face before anyone else, I won't be bitter about a past I can't change.

I just wish it didn't hurt so much when that clubhouse door is slammed in my face.

*I should make sure to point out that not all mommies (who gave birth to their children) make me feel this way...*

I was reading a new blog this evening and found this amazing video I have to share...please watch.

What IF? A Portrait of Infertility from Keiko Zoll on Vimeo.

More to come...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I'm hoping that anyone who pops onto my blog over the next couple of days will take a moment to sign this petition to ask to keep Russia-US adoptions proceeding as usual while ensuring that those who harm children will be punished.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

What a Gift!

Jacob and I had our last shower today, and let me tell you, it was amazing!! He was spoiled with so many great things and he was a trooper and loved opening all the presents! He refused to take off his brand new rain coat, and insisted on going "night-night" when he opened a beautiful quilt from Grammie. He is such a sweet boy!

The last gift I opened came from my sister-in-law. It was a book-written by me!! She had taken all of the posts from my blog and had them made into the most beautiful book that I have ever seen and included some pictures of my amazing son. It was the most thoughtful gift that I have ever received, and I will cherish it forever. It will something special to share with sweet Jacob as he gets he can learn about the journey that brought me to him! I sat and read the entire thing tonight when I got home....I can't believe how far we've come!! I am so blessed in so many ways!!

I think I'm going to get Stacey to help me make another one to share with Jacob as his "life book." WHat an amazing way to share all of his information wtih him!!!

Have I mentioned how blessed I am??

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sharing My Truth

Here is a letter from the Joint Council on International Children's Services:

We Are The Truth

A Campaign and Call to Action

The outrageous treatment of Artyem by his adoptive family has rightfully resulted in outrage by the Governments of Russia and the United States and all who care about children. The tragedy has cast a light on intercountry adoption that says it is not safe, the system failed and adopted children cause insurmountable problems. The heartbreak of Artyem Saviliev’s abandonment has once again elevated a singular incident to a level which may result in the suspension of intercountry adoption. Suspending adoption, even temporarily, will only cause thousands of children to suffer the debilitating effects of life in an orphanage.
You, the community of adoptees, adoptive parents, adoptive grandparents, child welfare professionals and child advocates know that the outrageous and indefensible actions of one parent are not indicative of how children are treated by adoptive families. You know that families who encounter difficulties do not simply abandon their child. You know that help is available, that solutions are found and that families can thrive. And you know that suspending adoption does not protect children but only subjects them to the depravity of an institution…and an entire life without a family.

You, the adoption community know the truth. You live the truth. You are the truth.

Join our campaign to bring the truth to light and help children in need find a permanent and safe family.

They have asked for anyone and every who has been touched by adoption (themselves or in their families or circles of friends), to blog about the amazing miracle that adoption is. One woman's terrible decision can't be the end for thousands - no millions- of other children who are waiting for their families.

Here we go:

My son Jacob encompasses every bit of my heart. He's been home with us for just two short months, but he's quickly become my world. I love him more than life. He is God's goodness and faithfulness exemplified. He has grown and changed so much in his time with us...but it feels like it's always been the three of us. He is happy and healthy and we are more than blessed. I made a promise to a judge, to God, and to the most beautiful little boy I have ever laid eyes on on a cold February day that I would love my new son unconditionally and forever. My gratefulness to the Russian people who took care of my little boy until I could bring him home can't be put into words. I owe it to them, to the woman who gave him life, and to my brown-eyed boy, to do the absolute best that I can for him every day. And by the grace of God alone I will do that.

God be with those waiting children.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Worth the Wait

Our sweet boy has been with us for over a month, and I haven't written ONE THING DOWN!! I want to document everything that I can remember (well, not the sleep deprivation...NO ONE wants to remember that!), to share with Jacob as he gets older. I promise to get on that this week.

Parenting has been the biggest challenge and greatest joy that I have ever experienced. This month has flown by and Jacob has changed so much. We have been blessed by too many people to count. Many people have told me that they've followed by journey on here (sorry for letting you all down this month), thank you so much for praying and reading.

One month ago, we were sitting in a Moscow hotel room with our son. Things were not going well, and this little boy who we had taken from everything that was familiar to him was not happy with us. We couldn't get him to stop crying. We couldn't get him to sleep. We could get him to eat, but when the food was gone he would only cry harder. We couldn't talk or reason with this 2 year old because he couldn't understand a word we said. He didn't want to be held because we were the source of his anger. We couldn't bring him outside because he would scream on the sidewalk. I can only imagine what this little guy was thinking. We were still strangers to him. People who had given him toys and goldfish crackers and then taken him from everything he knew. NOTHING was the same for him anymore. We were so angry with ourselves for hurting him in this way. We didn't have anyone to talk to but each other and God. We prayed all the time...begging God just to let him sleep. We pleaded with God to bring us home. We wondered if things would ever get better. We were scared too. We've never felt more helpless in all our lives.

One month later, Jacob is doing so well! He understands most of what we are saying (he chooses to ignore some things, like "no," for example :), he gets his point across when he wants us with words or actions (like dragging us there), he repeats everything we do. EVERYTHING. He giggles and laughs, and tries to make us laugh. He loves, loves, loves to cuddle. He learns new things every day and doesn't forget a thing. He no longer hoards food and even pushes it away now. He loves to go with mommy to the grocery store and doesn't eat the bananas whole like the first time, but now he helps the bagger to bag the groceries and waves goodbye to everyone we meet. He loves to sing in church, and doesn't try to "wake" people up by yelling when they are praying anymore. He laughs his head off when he passes gas (especially at the dinner table). He sleeps with three stuffies and is sucking his thumb more and more. He is our pride and joy and we can no longer imagine our life without him.

He is my answered prayer. He is God's goodness and faithfulness exemplified. He is my pride and joy. He was worth the wait.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


It has never felt so good to cross the threshold of my home as it did last night. I carried my little man in (doing everything I could not to wake him!), after the longest day in history ( was a 32 hour day for us). Jacob is home. Our family is complete. He is being such a trooper after a very long 4 days stuck in a Moscow hotel room (those were not my favourite days, but maybe I'll write about that later..), he has spent the morning enjoying all of his new things. Oh folks, the journey this sweet boy has taken over the past week is nothing short of incredible. He has learned so much in such a short time with us. There are so many words I could say, but I haven't slept more than about 10 hours in the past 3 nights, and my tears will ruin my keyboard.

We are so, so grateful for our family and friends who cooked us dinners, cleaned our house, gave us amazing gifts, and met us at the airport for the sweetest homecoming ever. God is good.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Jacob...Here We Come!!!

We are t-8 hours from taking off to see our little boy again!!! There's no leaving him behind this time...our worlds are about to be ROCKED!! I cannot, cannot, cannot wait!!

Please pray that everything goes smoothly (and please ask everyone you know to pray as well!) while we are in Russia, that we can come back as soon as possible (we are hoping that we'll be home February 9th, but we won't know until the 4th if that is the case), and that the transition is smooth for our sweet, sweet boy!

God is good!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Tomorrow is last day of work! Oh man, how my life is going to change....I'm going from focusing on my 20 "babies" for 6 hours a day to focusing on my baby for 24 hours a day. I simply can't wait for my world to change.

Of course, leaving is a little bittersweet. I am working at an amazing school, with an amazing staff, and amazing kids. This is the class that got to follow through this journey with me. These are the kids who said good-bye as I left for trip #1 to Russia. These are the kids who listened with sheer delight as I described my trip and my sweet, sweet boy. These are the kids who insisted on making an extra of every craft they made for Jacob. These are the guys who asked questions, and told stories about Jacob to everyone who entered our room. These are the kids who gave me a candy cane to give to Jacob simply because he's never tried one. These are the kids who wrote letters to Jacob to tell him all about Canada (and promised to be his best friend...). Totally bittersweet. I don't think I could be more thankful to have been through this journey with them. Their sweetness is how I will always remember them. I truly, and honestly love, love, love my job...and I know that my next job will be that much better. God is so good.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sweet, Sweet Boy,

It's just over a week until our family becomes official. Of course, you were mine since the moment I laid eyes on your beautiful face, and you had been growing in my heart for months, no years, before that. We have ached every moment that you weren't with us, but we know that you were well cared for by amazing, selfless people. You never left our thoughts, every experience we had during these past two months, we've dreamed about how much better it will be with you.

Our worlds are about to be rocked. We are taking you from everything that is familiar to you and bringing you to a world full of unknowns. We promise to do everything we can to make the journey smooth. We have spent hours planning and preparing for you to come home. Your dad made you a headboard, and painted your room...we think you will love it. We thought about all of the stories and snuggles that will be happening there while we painted, built, folded, organized (and reorganized). Your Grammie made you a beautiful quilt to go on your bed. While you sleep you'll have her love surrounding you!! So many people showered us with gifts for you. You are completely loved already!!

Sweet little man, we have BIG dreams for you. We want you to be happy. We promise to treat you like the blessing and answered prayer that you are every day. Every day. We want you to know how loved you are. Most of all, we want you to know about a very BIG God who brought us to you. We want you to love Him the way we do. We want you to live a loved life, and we promise to live our lives the same way too. You already make us better people.

We promise to bring you to the zoo and to movies and to hockey games. We promise to take long walks just to explore the amazing world around us. Your mommy promises to do her best not to be a worry wart and shield you from everything. We promise to bring you to Disney World! Sweet boy, we never want to see you hurt, but when you are sad, we promise to give you hugs and kisses and icepacks, even for the inside hurts.

We love you completely and unconditionally. That will never change. Not a day goes by where we don't thank God for you. You are our living, breathing answered prayer...the most tangible example of God's love that we have ever experienced.

We love you, Sweet Boy, from the very bottom of our hearts!

Mommy and Daddy

Monday, January 18, 2010


I told my Grade 3s today that I would be leaving in a little more than a week to go and get sweet Jacob....those sweeties applauded (I hope it was for him and not because I'm leaving...;)!! They gave me a list of all of the things I should buy/bring for him (after seeing pics...Goldfish crackers were a must!). This class has been absolutely amazing through this experience-asking questions, and really wanting to learn more about the whole process. They definately highlight why I teach kiddies and don't work with crazy adults!!

Later in the day we began talking about the situation in Haiti...our school is putting on a fundraiser, so I wanted to give the guys some perspective. Well, wouldn't you know that this was the first one to come up....

My heart is with those who are waiting for their babies to come home...I worry about Jacob every second of every day. I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like to have to watch this devastation on TV, knowing that your children are there. There have been so many more stories that have touched my core...such unbelievable devastation. God be with them.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

He's Coming Home!!

February 4th is officially the day that will change my life forever. Sweet Jacob changed my life the fist time I saw his sweet face...but now it's official! My sweet boy is coming home!!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


So after yesterday's downer, I thought I'd just add a little something to brighten things up. I had a student hand me their homework this morning (well, just a review sheet...we're not allowed to give "homework"). I took it from him as he said to me: "I did this on the toilet. I always do my homework on the toilet because I can think really well there. THe only problem is that my butt gets sweaty."

That. Is. Disgusting.

I love my job. Kids are awesome (disgusting, but awesome).

p.s. Thanks so much to those of you who commented/posted. I felt bad that you had to read it...but it means so much to know that you empathize with me. I like it even more that there are those of you who are willing to punch people for me! My life is a blessing and I have no regrets. Love you all...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Feel free to skip this post...

I am having a hard time writing just what I want to say here right now...I really just need to vent. After an amazing weekend filled with so many great things, I have had a week filled with some dousy (is that a word?) comments. I am having a hard time holding it together...people are either incredibly mean or incredibly ignorant...and while I say stupid things all of the time, I wish some people would just learn to keep their mouths shut or think before they speak!!

1. I had a co-worker come up to me this week and ask about adoption (no biggie...I LOVE to talk about it). As we were finishing our conversation (about how hard the wait is, how much I miss him, how complicated and long the process is, etc, etc, etc), this mother of two biological children actually had the nerve to say to me: "I wish I had've adopted. It's so much easier than giving birth."
Did you not just hear a word I said??

Jacob is my son. There is no doubt about that. There is also no doubt that childbirth and raising a little baby is freak'n crazy tough. But without having walked even a step in my shoes how can you possibly say that I took the easy way out. I would give anything, anything, to have Jacob in my arms right now. I would give anything to have carried him for 9 months. I would give anything to have felt him in my arms the second he was born, to be so tired that I can't think straight because he was up and crying all night long. I would give anything to know everything that went into his body during his first two years of life, to have been a part of every experience and milestone. Let me assure you, ignorant woman, that I in no way took the easy way out.

2. I had a parent call me this morning about a grade that I had given her child on a presentation. The grade was a level 3 (or B), which is the goal for students. I completely respect and appreciate parents sharing their concerns with me, and I listen and always respond to them. I've never led them to believe anything differently. Well this mother said to me "Do you have any kids? Then you just can't understand." As if because I don't have children of my own I don't care about the needs and feelings of others. THis is the exact reason why I became a teacher!!! I wanted so badly to put her in her place and tell her exactly why I don't have kids (all of the parents in my class, including her, know about our adoption), but either I couldn't think fast enough or I was too caught off guard to say what I wanted to say. It could also be that I am so sensitive about my teaching...I work very hard to make sure my students get the best of me. I screw up regularly, but there are few things I work harder at.

I try hard not to complain about what I have missed out on. Yes, there are times when it hurts unbearably. Those times are amplified by hurtful comments like these. But God has always been good to me. He has always, always, always shown his goodness and faithfulness in the midst my heartaches. He's good...he doesn't need to prove himself...but when my faith is weak, his mercy is strong. He has never left my side.

Phew...I feel better!!!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Showers of Blessings!

My sweet friends threw me my first shower yesterday. Many of them pooled their money together and got me a lot of stuff from my registry. All of them purchased books that were significant to them or their kids, or books they knew would be special to Jacob. I spent the day in shock and even today I'm still in shock that all of this was for me (well for him, but you get it). I am more than blessed to have these girls in my life, and so so grateful for their thoughtfulness.
I was browsing through the books that I got and I opened the cover of one called: "My Mom and Me." It wasn't the title that got me, it was what was written inside the front cover: This book belongs to Jacob Kennedy. Oh man, I have been VERY good at holding it together, but the tears started flowing. This book is his. These are the books that my little man is going to be reading (and colouring in, and ripping...) as he grows older.
I miss my guy more than I can even begin to put into words. I want to smell his freshly shampooed hair, and sit and colour with him at his teeny table. I want him to taste my chocolate chip cookies and meet all of the people who have been praying so long for him. I want him to read his books. I don't want to wait another day, another hour, another minute.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

I haven't posted in a while...partly because I've had nothing new to report, and partly because I just haven't felt like it. We had a wonderful Christmas, and were so thankful to finally have something to look forward to this year. In terms of infertility, Christmas has been the hardest time (next to Mother's Day) for me. I spent years searching for the greatest presents for my neices and nephews but always felt empty wondering when it would finally be my turn.

I expected to crumble this year knowing that Jacob was waiting for us while we celebrated with our family. But God was so good and blessed both of us with strength and courage. He blessed us with loved ones who recognized that Jacob is a very real part of our family and showered him with gifts. I can't believe that I didn't spend every second crying...I just can't wait for him to see all of his new things. Speaking of which, we haven't heard yet about when we're going back to bring him home...we are still praying for the end of January.

We spent a TON of time decorating Jacob's room. It took me FOREVER to decide how to decorate it, but I am so glad with how it turned out. WIth everything we chose, purchased, painted or put away we thought and dreamed about and prayed for the sweet, sweet little boy who would soon be spending his nights there. My heart just aches wanting him to be there when I walk in!! I promise to post pictures soon!!

More soon...