Friday, December 2, 2011

Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Took Him To The Doctor

Tegegn was sick yesterday. He had a fever, a rash and wasn’t feeling well. Today we took him to the doctor. This shouldn’t be anything to blog about. It is something we do when our children are sick. Here in Canada, when you are not feeling well, you go to the doctor. We make a phone call, walk in the office, hand over a little credit card size piece of laminated plastic that allows us access to health care, medicine and a better way of life, and we get better. This is one of the many things that separate us from other countries. With everything that is going on in the world, from the American economy to the famine in Africa this little act of going to the doctor has made me think.

We are lucky. I mean really lucky. Sure our health care system has its problems. I have been dealing with, and have complained about the long waits, differences of opinions ect. myself over the past 2 years since my accident, but let’s face it. WE HAVE HEALTH CARE! When I watch the news, read the papers and follow people on the ground in Africa on Twitter I can’t help but think of the differences in our world. In the United States, people go bankrupt trying to pay their medical bills due to a sickness or accident (I know, I have seen the bills), In Africa children are starving, lack medical attention and are dying….. and we (myself included) complain about wait times. Honestly, I’m embarrassed. I’m embarrassed for myself and for Canadians in general.

My children will never know the pain of hunger (again), they will get medicine when they are not feeling well, they will have dental surgery and have eye glasses if needed. These are things that as Canadians we have access to and take for granted every day. Although it is not a new year, I am going to try a mid-year resolution for myself. I am going to try not to take these things for granted. I am going to try to be aware every time I step into a doctor’s office, dental office or go to an eyeglass appointment that these situations will never happen to me because I live in this country.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Ethiopian Food Crisis - What We Are Doing.....

As some of you are aware, I am involved in a Charity called Chance For Change International Outreach. Currently there is a major food crisis in the horn of Africa, and Chance For Change wants to help. If you are interested in knowing about this crisis or donating to help us bring aid to some of the 4.5 million Ethiopians affected, please read the link.

Ethiopian Food Crisis - What We Are Doing.....

Thursday, July 7, 2011


We have raised enough money to start.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June has been busy!

The month of June has been a busy one.

It started with a Gotcha Day celebration. The weekend before the 1 year anniversary of meeting Tegegn we had 2 of the families that we traveled to Ethiopia with over. It is always nice to catch up, and reminisce of the time we spent in Ethiopia and watch the children grow up. One year ago there was 2 babies and one very small shy toddler. Today there is 2 toddlers and 1 almost 5 year old little man.

Next was a trip to the dentist. Tegegn had some pretty major problems with his teeth when he came home from Ethiopia. Malnourishment and no dental care can rot your teeth very quickly. We knew that he would have to have surgery to correct the problems, but we wanted to wait until he was secure within our family before we made him go under again. Going under anesthetic after he broke his arm was not a good experience for him nor I. June was the month we decided on, after 3 failed attempts at the dentist. He did amazing. After the X-rays, we realized the damage to his teeth was even worse than we originally thought (he wouldn't let us do X-rays previously). Here is a recap of what he had done:

3 front teeth removed (one was so bad that there was almost no root left)
1 root canal
1 abscess
all top molars are capped
all bottom molars are filled from cavities

Thank you for insurance!!! It was a big bill. I spoke in great length to the dentist after the procedure. My main question was "how is it possible that he wasn't in any pain". Tegegn had never once said or implied that his teeth hurt or we would have brought him in for surgery sooner. The dentist explained that there was no way he wasn't, however he probably lived with it his whole life, so the pain was normal. That sentence broke my heart. The fact that children have to live in pain and deal with it is heartbreaking to me. I have never had a cavity, but my husband has and he tells me that the smallest cavity shoots pain up the tooth with every bite of something cold. I regret not doing the surgery sooner.

Gotcha Day was great. We spent it at the Guelph Multicultural Festival. I had a booth there to sell our products for Chance For Change so my friends volunteered to watch my booth so that I could have dinner and spend some time with my family. All day I kept looking at Tegegn thinking WOW, your here. It was such a long hard road to this point, and it's like it never happened. It feels like he has always been with us. Tegegn is a normal adjusted 4 year old Canadian. The only time he shows any signs of insecurities is when he is around other children of colour (people with brown skin as he says). That is when I have to reassure him that he is part of our family and that he isn't going anywhere.

Last weekend we had another Chance For Change event at the KW Multicultural Festival. We did great. We have had amazing support from the Ethiopian Community. They are all very happy that we are helping "their country".

Chance For Change is doing great. I have recently received an e-mail saying that we have raised and sent enough money to Ethiopia for the washroom facility at our sponsor school to begin ( Our Goals for 2011)

It's incredible to think that by selling some scarves and jewelry in Canada we are able to provide basic sanitation to 1215 students in Ethiopia. Thank you for all the support you have all given our organization.

Well, the month isn't over yet. Today I go for surgery. This is stemming from an injury in 2009. It is a day surgery, so should hurt to bad. My hope is that this will be the last one and I can put the memory of my injury in the past. Here's hoping. We have decided to take a short 5 day vacation up to our cottage after, so we are going to celebrate Canada Day on the beach. Not a bad place to recover from Surgery I think! I will keep you posted and upload some more pic's soon.

If you get a chance check out Chance For Change on our website.....

Chance for Change

Friday, June 10, 2011

One Year Ago

We ended up going to Ethiopia one year ago tomorrow (June 11, 2010) with a great group of people that we had never met. One of these people made an amazing video about their time there. I need to share it.

Thanks Rob

Facebook: "- Sent using Google Toolbar"

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Our First Family Vacation With Tegegn

We spent 9 days in Florida and it was a blast. We didn't do much but relax and hang out. Tegegn had so much fun. He decided that he doesn't love the brown water (ocean) and that it tastes icky. It took us about 2 days to explain to him the concept of keeping his mouth closed while swimming. After that he liked it a little more and decided that he really liked the wave. Here are some of the best pics.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Reflections - One year later

One year ago today......

-I had booked our plane tickets to travel to Ethiopia to pick up Tegegn. He didn't yet have his VISA and we had no idea how long I would be in Ethiopia.

-I didn't know who my son was. I had no idea that he loves to sing and dance, gives the best hug, has amazing balance, is very busy and has a great sense of humour.

-I had no idea that Celine would open her heart and end up being the best big sister ever. I didn't know that she would love to teach him and watch out for him and that she would never wish we hadn't adopted him.

- I didn't know that traveling to Ethiopia would make me want to start a charity. I had no idea that my evenings and weekends would be filled with planning and attending events to try to raise money to support a school in Africa.

- I thought I wanted 3 children. I wasn't aware that Tegegn would make me feel like our family was whole.

- I thought that I had a great life. I had no idea just how good it was going to get.

One year ago this was our family!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day - the good, bad and painful

Today is the day that we celebrate mother's. I am lucky enough to have an amazing mother. One who always stands by me, loves me and tells me to follow my dreams. I am also fortunate enough to have a great step mother and mother in law. Both of whom I am very close to and admire a great deal.

Today like always I celebrate the day with my mother gardening. Yes, I put my mother to work on mother's day, but it has always been a day that we enjoy. I woke up with two little children yelling"happy mommy's day" in my ear, followed by many wonderful crafts, cards and special surprises that they made me. We then had a great breakfast and my mom came over for the gardening to begin. Now when I say gardening, I don't mean we plant a few flowers. I mean we dig up grass, move huge rocks and shovel wheelbarrels of dirt, all in the hopes that we can create some privacy in our backyard which is lined with chain link fence (yuck). We are exhausted by the end of the day, but we always have a wonderful meal that my husband prepares (or at least most of it).This year was a very special year as you can all imagine, because beside me were my 2 children helping. They dug, watered and of course stopped a lot to play on the trampoline.

By now our probably thinking where is the bad and the painful that the title refers to. Well that is about all the other mother's that I have been thinking about the past few days. The mothers that out of selfless love gave up their rights to their children so that they could have a better life, and the women who are mothers in their hearts. You see it was only last year, and the 3 before that I like many others spent mother's day in pain. Yes I had my wonderful daughter that I enjoyed so much and never took for granted, but there was a void, something missing. For many of my friends they went through this day with the pain I felt for many years. You see adoption and infertility robs you of this day. It is a reminder that you don't have what you long for so much. I can't speak about infertility because I fortunately never had to go through the heartache of the tests after tests, treatment after treatment and days of wondering if it will ever be, but I can speak to adoption. Like I have said so many times before on this blog, waiting adoptive parents are most often forgotten. People outside of the adoption world don't understand that from the minute we sign those adoption papers and are considered "waiting parents" in our minds and hearts we are parents already, just as when I women finds out she is pregnant. We have already fallen in love with the child in our hearts, with the one(s) we long to see the face(s) of. I have many friends in this situation as well as some battling infertility. So I guess to all mothers, and those who are mothers in their hearts already I say Happy Mothers Day!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tegegn's First Canadian Easter!

It was a great weekend. On Friday we had our annual Good Friday fish and chips dinner with family and friends. Yes we are baptized Catholic, but no we are not practicing. We have just always done it. It seems as good a reason as any to get together for dinner. This year we went to a new restaurant, and I think they were very happy they gave us our own room. There was 18 of us included 7 children under the age of 10, so it always gets a little loud.

We decided to go to our cottage for the rest of the weekend. Due to it being a 4 day weekend (yes I work for the government) and so late in the year we thought it would be a good time to open it up for the season. This took a little convincing. My husband Darryl didn't want to sit in the rain, and Celine was really concerned that the Easter bunny wouldn't know how to open the door to the Cottage and wouldn't know we were there. After looking at the weather report, and leaving a note to the Easter bunny at our house to let him know our plans we were off, and glad we did it. The weather was beautiful. We spend the afternoons out for walks, playing at the beach and exploring (our favourite things to do at our Cottage).

Sunday morning came very early. At 4:00am, I had a little girl in my bed asking if she could wake up Tegegn to start his very first Canadian Easter. After a little convincing, and some little white lies (I told her that I didn't think the Easter bunny had come yet, and wouldn't if we were up) she fell back asleep, but only a few hours later, and I had another body in my bed. 4 people and 2 large dogs are a lot for a double bed, but it was a great way to wake up on Easter morning.

Walking out to the living room was so much fun. Tegegn's eyes lit up. He couldn't believe that a bunny rabbit brought him a basket full of things and hid eggs full of chocolate all around the Cottage. It was a great day. I unfortunately forgot our camera. Thank goodness for blackberries, because I was able to catch some of the moments. These are the moments I will remember always.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Very Exciting!

Well some of you who read my blog probably know about the Charity myself and some other wonderful people have created called Chance For Change International Outreach.

Our goal is to help create sustainable employment and educational opportunities in Ethiopia. Well today we have launched our website. It was a lot of hard work, but it's up and I am very excited about it.

If you have a few minutes, please check it out. It still needs some finishing touches, but we feel it's at a point where we can spread the word about it. Check it out, and follow "our journey", the blog we will be updating as we move towards our goals.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Finally, but it brings with it a lot of pain

When I originally heard the news a smile came over my face almost as big as the day I got "the call", but after watching this.....It's all pain.

I knew this day was coming. I was one of the people interviewed by the RCMP as part of their investigation a few months ago and was told that there would likely be charges brought against these individuals soon, but watching this reminds me of the pain my family and so many others went through. The days after the bankruptcy were some of the worst of my life.

By alas, I woke up this morning with my beautiful little boy smiling at me. We are one of the lucky families. Our son is home. I can't say that for everyone who went through this horror.

Hopefully some justice is done, although, it no amount of retribution or hopefully jail time will be enough if these individuals are found guilty. What they "allegedly" did was unthinkable.

CTV Toronto - Operators of bankrupt adoption agency charged - CTV News

Friday, April 8, 2011

Confession Friday

I confess.......

- that I have not been a very good blogger lately. I have been really busy, and just haven't found the time.

-today was a good day. The monsters that bankrupt Imagine Adoption have finally been charged. I know they won't get the punishment that they deserve, but finally they will have to face up to what they did, and with any luck will see some time behind bars.

-I am very excited about the things we have been working on for Chance for Change. I can't wait to share it with everyone.

-I just cut Tegegn's hair for the very first time, and I have decided that it's not as easy as I thought it would be. Faux hawk......NOT

-I am looking forward to our first family vacation in May. We are going to Florida for some fun in the sun.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Confession Friday!

I confess

  • I don’t understand road rage. I mean really… is it necessary to yell, scream and flip the bird to people because they accidental cut you off or took your parking spot unknowingly. Who hasn’t done that before and let’s face it, you really aren’t affecting the person in the car you are yelling at, your are just making a jack a$s of yourself and giving them something to laugh at because the sight of you is quite funny.
  • The recent news, articles, updates ect… that have come from the Ethiopian Adoption community in the last week have made me mad, upset, thankful and non edge. I know a lot of people still in this process, some of which I consider my friends and the thought of the pain and unknowingness once again that they are going through are the reason for these feelings.
  • That the last month has been a little hard. Darryl and I own some rental properties, and in the last month we have had issues with 3 of our units. We knew these months would happen when we decided to become landlords a few years ago, but I have to admit, there has been a day or two this past month when we question if it is worth it……IT IS!
  • I am very relieved that after 2 months our shipment for Chance For Change finally left Ethiopia. We haven’t been able to raise much money these past few months, because we don’t have very much product in Canada at the moment. This was our first shipment we sent with our license and we now know all the red tape associated with a shipment. Let me tell you…. There is a lot.
  • I have my finger, toes and legs crossed for all of my adoptive friends who are currently fighting for their children, leaving for Ethiopia to attend court and hoping that the next few months brings “the phone call”.
  • I kiss my children good night every night when I go to bed. Most nights I stop for a minute and stare at them sleeping. It is usually in those moments that I realize that the greatest accomplishment I have in my life was becoming a mother.
  • I can’t wait until summer. Every day the sun is shining I want to leave work and go and open our cottage. COME ON WARM WEATHER!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Every day is an Adventure!

Tegegn has been in our family for almost 9 months now. He adjusted so well, that most days I honestly forget that. It feels like he has always been here, and that he is just a regular 4 year old Canadian child that didn't spend the first few years of his life in sever poverty not having a toy to play with or a change of clothes.

There have been so many things I have watched him learn about over the past 9 months that I can't name them all. At the airport surprisingly the airplane wasn't the highlight. Honestly I don't really think he knew what it was, and we just kept telling him that it was like a beep beep car. That seemed to work. The things he was amazed by were chairs that were stuck together, of course the escalator and most shocking was the ceiling fan. Just another thing on a mile long list that we in Canada take for granted.

Last night something happened that made me remember that he is a boy who grew up in a developing country and he is still figuring things out (something that I can honestly say that I sometimes forget). Tegegn does not like his hands and feet being cold. The first time we realized this was in Ethiopia when he had ice in his drink for the first time. We don't think about it but ice is a luxury, and one that most of the world doesn't ever get to experience. We were out for dinner and his drink came. We had forgotten to ask for no ice, but we realized that Tegegn was use to the water of Ethiopia so thought we would just let him drink it. Well that was not happening. Even though we didn't understand a word he was saying, it was very obvious that he had no idea what that was and was having no part of it. After taking the ice out of his drink he picked it up. The reaction was hilarious. It was something he never felt before, and I could tell he didn't like it. He has grown accustom to ice now and has no problem with it, but he doesn't like to hold it. In the summer I had to wrap his freezes up in paper towel for him to eat it because it is "too cold mommy".

Well last night Celine asked if she could have a piece of ice. I'm not sure why all kids like ice, but they do so I let her have one. Now Tegegn is in the stage that he wants to do everything his big sister does so he wanted one as well. Totally forgetting about his cold hand issues I handed him a piece. Well you can guess what happened "no good mommy. Ice is cold. Tegegn needs a napkin". So I put his ice on a paper towel. About a minute later he was saying it was still to cold. I asked him what he wanted me to do, and he pointed to the microwave and told me that he wanted me to warm it up. I tried to explain that that would melt the ice, but 4 year old's know better so the paper towel and ice went into the microwave. After 30 seconds it was half melted and I took it out and gave it to him. He couldn't understand where half of it went but it was ok for a minute. Then it was cold again, so into the microwave it went. 30 seconds later I opened the door again, and WOW surprisingly it was gone. Tegegn's response "where did it go mommy?". After explaining with disbelief he asked for another piece. So again I gave it to him on a paper towel. Once again he told me that it was to cold and it needed to go into the microwave. I tried and tried to explain that it would melt again, but once again 4 year old's know best. This time he wanted to press the button. I think he thought I did something wrong. So I picked him up, showed him the 30 second button to press and away he went. 30 seconds later I fully expected him to question why the ice was half melted and the process to start again, but NO. The microwave stopped, he pulled it open to find a half melted piece of ice and a soggy paper towel. He took it out and said "Tegegn's done". I put him down. He proceeded to start to walk away with his ice in his hand, but first he turned around and said......" See mommy Tegegn knows".

Everyday is an Adventure

Monday, February 28, 2011

It Has Already Started

When we decided to adopt we bought our daughter Celine some books on adoption. We wanted her to be a part of the process and understand exactly what adoption meant. We read them often at bedtime It was a great way to open the doors of communication. One of these books is Rosie’s adoption. It is a story about a dog who is adopted into anther breed of dog’s family. It was one of Celine’s favorite.

Since we have been home with Tegegn we have occasionally read him these books and others about the differences of people. We really want to prepare our kids the best we can to the inevitable cruelty that will one day fall upon them.

A few nights ago we were all sitting on Tegegn’s bed reading Rosie’s adoption at bedtime, and when we got to the part of the story that talks about how Rosie’s friends sometimes question if her family is her “real family” Celine said “that happened to me at school”. I took a deep breath, prepared myself and asked her what happened. Now you should know a little about my children’s school. They go to a French immersion school in a predominantly Caucasian neighbourhood. It is a very small school in today’s world, so everyone knows Tegegn.

Celine started explaining how last week a boy in her school asked if Tegegn was her brother, to which Celine replied yes and thought nothing of it. Then recess came. She was playing with a group of her friends and another little girl ran over to her yelling “Celine come here”. I guess the little boy who originally asked her about Tegegn was telling other kids that Tegegn’ wasn’t really her brother. At that moment my heart sank. I think the knowledge of the questions, hurtful comments and ridicule that could possibly happen is the greatest fear for parents of multicultural families. As parents we do our best to bring our children up to know that all families are different in their own way, and ours is beautiful, but we would be naive to think that the entire world thinks the same way as us and that they will never feel the hurt of the words of racism or ridicule. This day was not that day though. I asked Celine what she said. She looked at me as if Duh mom…..”I said he was”. And that was it. As plain as that. Here’s hoping it will always be that easy…..

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Every Little Bit Helps

This weekend was a fun one. My husband and some friends went to our cottage for a weekend of ice fishing, beverages and whatever else is entailed in the annual male bonding rituals while myself and the kids enjoyed a weekend with my step sister and nieces. We took the kids to an indoor playground one afternoon and just had a lot of fun. All the kids are so close in age that it is really fun to watch them interact.

On Monday my other niece who is 10 and nephew who is very close to 9 came over to play in what I hope is some of our last snow of the year (wishful thinking I know). When they walked into my house they handed me a Tupperware. Inside was some change. They told me that they were inspired by one of my last posts in which I told the story of how Celine gave me her money from creating a store to send to Ethiopia. After reading that post, they went around their house and collected all the change they could find. This included pennies, nickles, dimes and a couple of quarters. They told me that they wanted me to add it to the next cheque I send to Ethiopia to help the children there. After they left I counted the money. It totaled $4.61. I started thinking what you could do in Canada for $4.61. Well you could buy a coffee and a bagel at Tim Hortons. That would give you a few hours of hunger relief. You could get your car washed, your car would look nice for a total of a few hours if your lucky. You could buy one beer at a restaurant.... yummmmmm tastes good. Or you could send it to Ethiopia and help a child have an education.

My niece and nephew have briefly heard me talk about helping the children in developing countries, but not at any great lengths so I find it amazing that one little post and they would decide to do this. What they probably don't know is that the change they collected from around there house is almost enough to change a child's life for a year. School fees in Ethiopia are 100 Birr a year. At today's exchange rate that is $5.93 Canadian. It's amazing to think that the money that is lying in our couch cushions, in our junk drawers and on our dressers could do so much.

So, thank you so much Lauren and Hunter. I will proudly add your $4.61 to the next amount of money that I send to Ethiopia. It will change a child's life.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


When we decided to start a charity in Ethiopia I knew it was going to be a challenging undertaking, but I think I underestimated it a little bit.

Some of the challenges I knew I would face were the language barriers, differences in processes between two completely different countries, technology challenges and of course cultural differences.

Chance for Change International Outreach received our charitable status in Ethiopia on December 6, 2010 after jumping over many hurdles, but that was just the beginning and looking back the easy part. Because the model of our charity is based around sales of goods as apposed to strictly collecting monetary support there is additional challenges. Developing countries do not have systems in place like we do here in Canada. In order to import products for sale purposes in Canada there is a few steps that have to be taken. These steps are clearly outlined in a number of different governmental organizations. It’s not a simple task, but one that if you follow the steps and talk to the right people you are able to achieve without too many swear words coming out of your mouth in the process. Ethiopia is a different beast. Getting an export license wasn’t that difficult because I have some good people working for me there, but the process after that has been a nightmare. Every time we think we are days away from our shipment leaving there is another form that needs to be filled out, another process that needs to take place, another place to bring the shipment to get authorization to allow the shipment to leave……ahhhhhhhhh (insert swear words). Anyone who has travelled to Ethiopia or I would assume any developing country knows that electricity comes and goes at will with no notice and with it Internet service. Adding this to the time difference, and cultural differences in the fundamental ways in which Canadians and Ethiopians do business means I go days and days without knowing what is going on and thinking that everything is fine, only to find out that once again we are stalled usually because of one more piece of paper that is needed. My hope is that once we have this processed ironed out, every shipment from here on will be a piece of cake and looking back it will just be the story of the beginning of a great Charity.

I know the shipments will get here, and with them we will be able to continue with our goal of helping educate and employee some of the people in Ethiopia but for right now the frustration mounts.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Confession Friday

I confess that ……

I really like green licorice. The long thin kind that as a child I used for a skipping rope before I ate it. I think more stores should sell it. I would buy it

I have a hard time with people who have pity parties constantly. Don’t get me wrong, I feel that everyone deserves a day or two or period of time here or there to wallow in their own self pity, especially those going through adoption. God knows I’ve had my days in the past few years of adoption hell where I found myself curled up in a ball eating candy to comfort myself. I am talking about the people who are always saying “poor me”, or “why can’t my life be different” or my favorite “why me”……… AHHHHHHHHHH you create your life, you make your own existence. If you don’t like it change it, do something different, create something new, but stop complaining all the time.

I haven’t read a good book in a while, and I need to.

I’m a procrastinator with a lot of things. If I’m not passionate about doing something, I have a hard time getting started and I often put it off far too long.

I throw out my children’s school work that they bring home when they aren’t looking sometimes. I love the art that they do and I don’t want to crush their spirits but they just bring home sooooo much. We can only put so much on our fridge, so when they go to bed or up to their room, I throw some out.

That I still check the yahoo adoption site way too much. I still get so excited for people when I see a referral, or a passed court date or a VISA, and so sad and upset when a family get’s news that they don’t expect or have a hard time with the endless waits. I don’ t think those feelings will ever go away. Having lived through it, I think it’s incredible that one little phone call or lack of a phone call can instantly change someone’s life.

I have a hard time with electronics. My husband is constantly shaking his head when I try and turn something on. I mean really….. why can’t their just be one controller, and why is there so many buttons. I don’t have the patience for it all when it doesn’t work.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Joy of Winter

I'm not a big fan of winter. I always say that I wasn't meant to be born in Canada. Don't get me wrong I love the country, and everything we have here but honestly is asking winter to be cut back to 2 months out of the year too much?

The past 6 years have been a little better. Watching and playing with my children outside having fun in the snow, learning to skate, tobogganing and this year snow boarding has made it a little easier to handle, but I have to say...... I would rather be watching them and playing with them in the sand of a hot, tropical climate.

Come on Spring...... Where are you?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Proud Mommy!

Last night I went out with a group of 3 other wonderful people I have met throughout my adoption process. 3 of us have brought our children home and 1 is still waiting for a referral. Whenever I get together with adoption mom’s I am so happy after. It’s always great to be able to speak to other people that know and have shared the experience of not only the ups and downs of adoption but also the experience of traveling to Africa. All 4 of us have been there (Ethiopia or other countries) for various lengths of time, but we all had the same impression. It was a life changing trip that we will never forget.
You can tell people over and over and over about the poverty you saw or the beauty of the people, but to witness it with your own eyes is an experience that I think every person should have. To watch a person dig through the garbage, get their water from a puddle at the side of the road or be so frail that they can hardly walk is a humbling experience. To explain the beauty of a smile on a child’s face when you give them a balloon or hand them a necklace that you brought from a dollar store is something that can not be put into words.

One of the things I have always said about being a parent is that I want my children to Experience the world as much as I am able to afford to them. By this I mean to not be sheltered. I want my children to be awear and see with their own eyes that we are LUCKY to live in a country like Canada. To know that there are places in the world that people don’t have running water, electricity and computers, but that this is OK as long as they are not suffering. I want them to know about different cultures and the history of different countries. And mostly I want them to be compassionate and want to help those who are suffering.

The other night Celine and Tegegn decided to make a store. They took different items from our house and asked Darryl and I to come shopping, so we did. I decided that I wanted to buy a stuffed dog and Cat and a blanket so that they would have something to sleep on. I handed them my pretend money, and to my surprise they said “no mom, at this store we only take real money”…… so I gave in and handed them $2.00. Next came Darryl. He decided to buy everything else at the store. After negotiating he paid them $3.00, which was a far cry from the $80.00 they said they wanted.

Now during this process I suspected that Celine was just trying to get more money to save for her Pokemon cards that she wants and was taking her brother along for the ride, but NO. I was so proud of her when after cleaning up the store she walked over to me and said.
“mom, when are you sending more money over to Ethiopia for Chance for Change”. I said I’m not sure when the next time is. She reached into her pocket and took out the money that She and Tegegn just made from there store and said “ Please add this to it. We want to help the people in Ethiopia”. My heart melted. How proud am I?

Friday, January 28, 2011

I'm Back - New and Maybe Improved

Well, I thought I was done blogging. I had every intention of being done. I didn't feel like I had anything to write about. I mean we are a normal everyday family, but I have to say; I read a lot of blogs and I realized that I missed blogging. So I AM BACK. I will be honest. I don't really know what I am going to write about or if anyone will read it, but I enjoy it, so I'm going to do it.

What I have realized is that I'm a dreamer. I have a lot of dreams (too many sometimes), but some of these dreams I have turned into reality. So what better then that to write about, as well as my adorable, cute, loving children.

One of the things a lot of blogs I read have been doing is Confession Fridays. I love this idea so I'm stealing it. Here it goes.

I confess that the highlight of my day was getting an e-mail from my friend L telling me that after 9 (not a typo) court dates her little boy legally became her son. I started crying and shaking just like the day I got my phone call.

I confess that I talk to much. Anyone who has ever met me knows this, and I know it. I once bought myself a t-shirt that read "Help me I started talking and can't shut up". I have tried to stop but I realized that that will never happen, so now I just own it. I mean if you can't laugh at your own issues and downfalls what can you laugh at.

I confess that I have had the same wallet for at least 15 years. My good friends try to get me to buy a new one but I don't.

I confess that half of the reason I don't buy a new wallet is because I like the reaction I get from my friends when they see I still have it.

I confess that my dad is my hero. Along with my husband he is the best man I know.

I confess that I love New Kids On the Block. I hated high school and I think that they are the one thing I remember about it that I liked. My friend and I went to 3 of their concerts last year (had tickets for a 4th, but left for Ethiopia) and we stood up and screamed throughout the entire show just like we did when we were 15.

I confess that I am very proud of Tegegn today. He got the student of the month award for learning two languages and following routines. Not bad for someone who has only been in school since October.

I confess that my bucket list is so long, that I know I won't get to do everything on it, but I plan on trying to.

I confess I love sour keys a little to much. I rarely buy them, because if I do I will eat them until my mouth hurts and I can't taste my food for days after.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I started this blog almost 1 year ago. A few days after one of the greatest days of my life. Our referral day.That was the day that I was sitting in my office at work when the call that changed my life came. That was the day that I got to see the picture of the little boy that I had been dreaming about, loving and planning for for years. That was the day that I knew life as I knew it was over.

Since then so many things have happened and I have been able to share some of those moments with the friends, family and total strangers that read this blog. I don't really know how many of you there are, but I appreciate all the comments both "on and off the record".

December was a great month for the Laferriere family. There was of course, Tegegn's first snowmen, which turned into an entire snowman family. We stopped at the dogs because we had no idea how to make them stand up. He got to experience his first Christmas, and no he wasn't afraid of Santa. And we are very close to finishing his room. This was something that was very important to me to let him be a part of. Before he came home, we bought a bed, a shelf and a blanket that was it. He picked out his new rug, pictures for the walls, light ect... Now it represents him. Our fun loving, always singing and smiling son that loves the movie Cars. He is honestly a joy to be around.

Tegegn has brought so much to our lives. Watching Celine as a big sister brings tears to my eyes. She is so sweet and caring. She is always wanting to teach him something and is the first person to say good job Tegegn when his figures something out for the first time. I was scared that having a younger brother would change her, and it has, but in a wonderful way. He also makes me enjoy the mornings more. I am not a morning person, but it is very hard to be in a grumpy mood when you wake up to his little voice saying Good morning, I love you mommy. I melt.......

Traveling to Ethiopia to pick up Tegegn changed me forever. I will never forget the poverty that we left behind there, and the faces of all the children. It is what has motivated me to turn 52 scarves into a charity that I am happy to say made $5600 in the first 3 months. We have been able to start renovations on the washrooms facilities at the school we are supporting and so far have paid for 35 children to attend school by paying for their uniform and yearly school fees. It has been a much harder process then I originally thought. The government of Ethiopia doesn't make it easy. They tell you that you must have an office, employ a certain amount of people, do work in certain areas ect..... so it took longer then what we thought, cost more then we thought to start up, but it's working and we are excited about where it will go. We have had alot of good support from friends, family, people I've met in the adoption community and total strangers.

I started this blog for two reasons. After our referral I had a lot of people asking me what was next. I thought that the easiest way to get the information out and only have to tell the story once was on the net. So here we are a year later. He is home and we feel like we are a regular family now. I am back at work, our kids go to school, swimming, karate, soccer, we eat dinner together every night, go to our cottage and live a normal life. The second reason was to be able to let Tegegn know how I was feeling during this year. This is my journal for him to read and know the story, reasons and feelings I had while going through this process.

So, This is it! I don't know how many of you there are out there reading this, but thank you. Thank you for letting me do this. I never thought of myself as someone who would enjoy putting their life out there for total strangers to read, but I have made some wonderful friends through this blog, and it's been a lot of fun. I will leave you with some of my favorite pictures throughout this year.