Happy Mother’s day – 15th of August

“Whaaaaat? Did she fall on her head?” 

No, I do know that May has long gone and that we have started the last two weeks of the summer holiday. Yeah mums, another two weeks and the kids are back in school, whoehoe! *do a little dance*

Ok, that was a small detour, but I’m back.

One of the many benefits of living in Belgium, Antwerp province to be more precise, is that we have two mother days. Well, that’s not entirely true, most “Antwerpians” celebrate it in August, but schools get the kids crafting in May due to the fact that there is no school in the summer.
My husband usually (“forgot” this year) gets me flowers in May, me being Canadian and all, but it’s in August when I get the goodies.

BTW, it’s called Moederdag or Moederkesdag in Dutch here.

Why is it on the August the 15th you might ask? Well, the primary religion here in Belgium is Catholicism and 15 August is considered the Day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a day celebrating Mother Mary’s being taken bodily to heaven at her death. It is even a public holiday here in Belgium, darn bakery that’s closed across the street.

So the only thing that I don’t really understand and maybe someone can explain it to me, is that mother’s day, celebrated on the 15th of August, only happens in Antwerp and not in the rest of Belgium. What’s up with that?

Anyway, I’m going to enjoy a relaxing bath with all the nice bath products that I received from the kids, brew myself some nice rooibos tea in the new teapot I received from the hubby and then this evening : SUSHI. Vegi for me considering my prengnancyness, but still delish!

So to all you ladies out there, have another happy Mother’s day, from Antwerp.

Big love!

 

Mother's Day Breakfast table plus dog.

Mother’s Day Breakfast table plus dog (and kid’s diary for some reason)

As you can see, getting up in the morning to surprise mom is a tiring thing.

As you can see, getting up in the morning to surprise mom is a tiring thing.

Another proof that getting up  for (step)mom is tiring.
Another proof that getting up for (step)mom is tiring.

 

 

Dreaming, missing and hoping

I woke up in the middle of the night from a dream I was having. You know the kind where you actually regret waking up because it was so good.

I was dreaming that I was shopping with my sister, we shopped, we walked, we went for lunch in down town Toronto to her favourite vegan place. We were having some quality sister time.

Then I woke up just before I was going to have a bite out of my sandwich. Typical, food wakes me up.

I went to the bathroom and quickly jumped back into the warm bed next to my husband, but I couldn’t fall asleep  All I could think about was my birth family.

We spent the summer with them, three weeks, but we had to divide our time between my a-dad (and his family) and my birth parents. This didn’t go as smoothly as I hoped for, but that is expected when two families have to share one. Plus, the fact that my husband and three children where sharing a home with my birth family of four, came with it’s own struggles. We all like our private space and it was a challenge sharing it I must say.

But two weeks ago, when I watched a film montage that my daughter had put together of our time in Ontario, all I could feel was sadness. Sadness because I missed them so much and I’m pretty sure that I’m not the only one. When my sister and b-father saw the movie, they too said that they missed us and that we had such a great time. It’s weird, you don’t remember the ‘not so good times’ when you are missing someone, you only remember the good.

Even though I find myself to be blessed because I found my birth family, when so many haven’t, I still feel a bit bitter at times because of the fact that we live so far away from each other. A big Atlantic pool between us. I often find myself checking plane ticket fares hoping to find a good deal, but there is never a good deal when your family consists of 5 people on one pay check.

I guess I’ll just keep on dreaming…a whatsapp’ing.

“The scariest thing about distance is that you don’t know whether they will miss you, or forget you. “

If you have found birth relatives, do you see them much? Do you live far apart? If so, how do you build up a relationship?

Mother posts video of daughter being bullied on to Facebook

As another year of school is ending, a story of a bully has surfaced in Belgium. This most shocking story made the news.

On the 26th of June 2012, Kayleigh who is 13 years old, was the victim of bullying while she was waiting for her bus in Roeselare, Belgium. Two of the bullies have filmed the poor girl’s ordeal with their mobile phone and have uploaded it to YouTube. The film has been removed but you can still see it on Facebook, where it has been shared over a 65,000 times. It is Kayleigh who wanted to keep this video in circulation with the help of her mother, so she could start a petition against bullying. I, as a parent and as a victim of bullying in the past , am appalled! Take a look for yourself on Facebook.

Kayleigh’s mom posted it to Facebook to raise bullying awerness

Now, did you watch it? Did anything catch your eye? No one was helping the girl. Kids were staring, adults were passing by, yet nobody made it stop, they all just watched and let it happen.

If you are like the average person you neither encourage nor act to stop bullying when you see it happening.

A small percentage of people will jump in and join the bullying or will cheer the bully on. An even smaller percentage of people will actively get involved to stop the bullying. But the most common response people have when they see bullying is to do nothing.

Inaction is like adding fuel to the bullying fire. A bully likes an audience because the bully can control those who watch by creating the fear that they could be next. The people who join in with a bully may seem to be offering a bully the most positive reinforcement but in reality it is the vast majority of people who do nothing that keep that bully bullying.

Now as a Christian, I believe that we are called to play an unusual role in dealing with bullies. It is not a role the world plays—filled with anger and vengeance. It is not a role of passivity. It is not a role of hate. In other words, it’s not easy.

We are called to love our enemies, to pray for them, but to stand firm against unrighteousness and injustice. We are called to draw a line in the sand about our beliefs. We aren’t aggressive, but we are assertive. We aren’t boastful, but we are confident about our God’s wishes for His people. Most importantly, we can’t ignore the problem. remember that Jesus did not stand back and simply watch others being bullied. He had the courage to step in and stop it. Do you remember the story of the adulterous woman who was brought before him in John 8? The Pharisees thought they would trap Jesus with a little “holy bullying.”  They dragged the adulteress before Him. The woman had even been caught in the act. The Pharisees were ready to stone her. With stones in hand, they confronted Jesus. Even at the risk of physical harm, Jesus did not back down. He defended the woman until one by one, her accusers left. Then he offered her words of love and hope.

Ignoring a true bully doesn’t make the bullying stop. It just fuels his or her need for power. So what does help? First, pray for God’s wisdom in the situation. Understand that God loves you, and all His people, and wants not one of His children to be victimized in any way. Then, if there are physical threats or violence, get to somewhere safe and tell someone in authority. If the bullying is of an emotional nature, determine to respectfully take a stand on what you believe God is calling you to do. If it’s important enough, then be strong.

While that’s not a guarantee a bully will back down, it’s a start to developing a bully-proof life. Really, it’s a start to building moral courage in your heart. And bullies can’t stand that.

I believe God calls us to a life of passion for His people, and sometimes that takes moral courage. In fact, it’s going to take a lot of moral courage to address the injustices in this world. And it’s going to take a righteous indignation like Jesus had about the temple money changers. And it just might start with facing the bully in your life.

Bad bad mommy…and daddy!

Yesterday, after a long day of work,  I came home not only to cook diner for my family but I had forgotten our youngest daughter of 9 , had a school project due for the next day. I’ve never been good at getting stuff done well ahead of time and this project wasn’t any different.

Her project was about Brussels. You know, the capital town of the European Union and of Belgium? You might be rolling your eyes at your screen now, but believe me, when I’m travelling and I say that I live in Belgium, I’ve had people tell me “Oh yeah, the capital of Brussels!”. I’m then the one rolling my eyes.

Anyway, that was off topic, back on the subject now. I came home, cooked diner and for the first time in my life, I baked a whole batch of Belgian waffles. Here they call them “Brusselse wafels”. They looked pretty good, but I wasn’t convinced about the taste. Oh well. You can see a bit missing on the bottom waffle….I’m the culprit.

While I was doing that, my husband was putting the Atomium together. We had a little argument about ; how much parental help is too much help with school projects? I mean, I was baking waffles and he’s making the Atomium and all the while Veruna is asking ” Can I help, please? Can I do something please?”  I hope we haven’t scared her for life now. Bad mama, bad papa! I’m promising myself that I will let her do her next project by a-l-l by herself, with maybe some help from me.

Once my husband had put the whole thing together, she did get the chance to help wrap the darn thing in alunium, alumion, aluminum….Arg, in foil. The next stage was hiding it from the cats. They destroy everything that catches their interest. This was the finished product :

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Atomium, this is what it looks like in real life :

Atonium

Atonium (Photo credit: Med PhotoBlog)

So by the time my hubby finished the construction and I finished making the waffles (made more than was planned because everyone kept on eating them) it was almost 11 pm…Noy much of a relaxing evening. Thank Goodness it’s Friday folks!

Have a great weekend!

Are we adoptees just mental?

I think one thing we adoptees must have in common is wondering from who we have inherited some of our habits.

If you have kids like me, you must have at one point or another compared your child’s habits and looks to yourself or to that of their other parent. All the good things have come from you of course and all the bad ones from the other person. Hey, at least, that’s what I do. However, now that mine are teens, I do realize that my daughter has many unpleasant habits in common with me, like her stubbornness or being convinced that she is always right and oh “the rolling of the eyes”…arg!

When I was little, my adoptive parents told me that they saw the doctor who delivered me and who was active in the adoption procedure during a trip to Wal-Mart’s. He looked at me and told them that he knew from whom I had inherited my long fingers. And that was it, that was the one and only thing I knew about them at that time and I have always carried that sentence in my heart and would wonder and dream about my natural parents. Huh, I imagined my mother being Céline Dion for some crazy reason.

Then I became a teen and my adoptive parents had divorced and my mother then took me back to her country of origin, Belgium. She had always had severe manic depression, but coming back to Belgium and not finding it the same as she had left it , 30 some years before, well that just put fuel on to her depression and she started to drink and take pills on top of it. I will spare you the details, but my teenage years were horrible, and I’m being mild here.

So as being a young adult, I had put it to the back of my mind, the though of me looking like someone else out there, and replaced those dreams I used to have with fear of becoming like my adoptive mother. Anytime I would have a tad bit too much to drink, I instantly would think of her and be petrified that I would be changing into her, an alcoholic. Or if I would have a couple of days of feeling down, (usually once a month) I would be scared that I was getting into a depression.

Last week I was doing my daily newspaper morning surfing and was reading an article in the Daily mail titled :

“When Cherry adopted these ‘angelic’ sisters she thought a loving home would heal the wounds of their troubled past. How terrifyingly wrong she was.”

In short it’s about a couple who have adopted two sisters. The eldest was 3 years old and the youngest 6 months. Their natural mother was a troubled person and couldn’t care for them anymore and so they moved from foster home to foster home, until this couple adopted them.

Picture isn’t me, but I was however delivered in a laundry basket.

According to the article , this couple was a stable family and having all the means necessary to raise these children happily and comfortably. Unfortunately after having adopted these children , they noticed some behavioral problems that caused much stress. In the end, the couple divorced, the wife ended up having to care for these children on a minimal income and the girls, now in their twenties are behind bars in jail. “‘Ironically they have followed exactly the same pattern as their mother,’ says Cherry.”

Again, this is a short sum up and to get the whole picture you should read the article yourself.

Then one paragraph really caught my attention :

Quite understandably, adopted children often suffer emotional difficulties. A U.S. study found that being adopted approximately doubles the odds of an adolescent being diagnosed with an emotional or behavioural problem. While these issues can usually be overcome, they often have a massive impact on the child’s adoptive family. 

My question to you dear readers is do you think that adopted children do have more problems? And I’m not talking about the many kids given up for adoption that have come from high-risk pregnancies, exposing them to potential for developmental delays, impulsive choices, poor choices, attention deficit, hyperactivity, learning disabilities, and emotional disorders.

I do think that we might be more emotional than others and therefore I think that it is highly important for adopted children and their families to have enough support and that they have an adequate mental health support system at reach.

I also believe that God in His sovereignty, places orphaned or abandoned children with families on purpose, even if it doesn’t seem so at that moment. And what I have discovered is that conflicts that arise from adoption issues, whether on the side of parents or of the adopted child, can be overcome.  God has a way of taking conflict and using it for our own good.  God doesn’t give up on us.

So what do you think? Are we mental? Do we inherit traits ? I would really like to hear your thoughts or story, so please do share!

The one year anniversary of meeting my birth parents.

It’s been a year now since I have met my birth parents with the help of a Belgian tv station/show, they heard about my story and suggested to pay for our trip; mine, husband and the kids, to Canada to meet them and of course station would film it.

Since then I’ve been in daily contact with my b-dad over whatapps and on a weekly basis with my b-mom. After we met them in Canada, they flew over to Belgium for my wedding and got to see how we lived, spend time with their grandchildren and got to meet those dearest to me here.

Our meeting falls into that category of significant and life-changing events that I will never forget:  being told that I was adopted, the birth of my children, my moving to Belgium, my wedding day,. All of these events, in fact, were crucial in the timing of my meeting my birthmother. But let me start at the beginning.

I was adopted as a two week old baby in what is called a closed adoption. I was not supposed to meet my birthmother. She was supposed to forget me and get on with her life. We were supposed to ignore the fact that something out of the ordinary had taken place.

What is it like being adopted? Being adopted means being different. Different is not bad, it is just different. To deny my difference would be to deny who I am. I started out in this world differently. My conception, prenatal experience, and birth were different. My birthmother was not joyfully pregnant. No one gave her a baby shower. She never saw the infant she gave birth to. Or at least that’s was what I thought.

Losing the mother who gave you life is traumatic. I wanted to keep a part of her in my soul. I thought about her a lot. My fantasy life about my birthmother was that she was a famous singer. Celine Dion maybe… I didn’t have a lot of facts about her. Only that she too, like myself was a teen mom and I knew her blood type. That’s it. I wondered if she ever thought of me. Did she remember my birthday? I had lots of questions that I wanted to ask her. I wanted to see her. I wondered if I looked like her. I wondered if I looked like anyone.

I was very tall and people would ask me how I got so tall. I didn’t know. They were brunette. I was blonde. People would even say that I looked like my a-dad but I couldn’t help but thinking each time I looked in the mirror; “Whose eyes are those “?

I began to search for my birthmother when I was 18 years old, just shortly after having my second child, my son Jaimy. I was totally a computer illiterate at that time and so I self-educated myself. I created my first e-mail address; I joined support groups, forums and wrote letters to try to obtain information that would help me locate her. I even created groups in Facebook. There were a lot of dead ends and a recurring voice in my head that said I shouldn’t be trying to find her. I would be intruding on her life if I showed up now. It wasn’t fair to her and in the end; I had to admit that she might just not want to be found.

My searching took many routes and I have had many disappointments. I had been searching for thirteen years when I decided to stop. It really consumed me. I let it define my happiness, I let in define who I was and so. At the age of 27 I had given my life back to the Lord and decided to just put it into His hands.  I didn’t want it to take over my life anymore, I wanted to just be happy with who I was.

A couple of months after that, coming home after work and having finished my mumly duties, I sat down in my couch and flipped open my laptop to find an email that would change my life forever. It went something like this:

“Hello Miriam!
My name is Leah . I am responding to a post I just found on the Quebec Query Board.
My mother’s name is Lynn . She had a daughter when she was very young on April 6th 1978. She named her Brenna.
I have been thinking about searching for my possible sister my whole life. Since my mom told me about her when I was 12.
Today..I made the decision to start the search. I sifted through pages and pages online and contacted a company called Batshaw (who was NOT very helpful).
Then..I stumbled upon this page..scrolled down..reading all of posts from people in the adoption world looking to find family and answers. I didn’t think anything would come of it..but I felt compelled to continue reading on..until I saw an entry that made me forget how to breathe for a few moments.
Posted May 14, 2009
Birth daughter looking for birthmother or relatives. I was born on the (date removed), in Montreal, giving name at birth was Brenna.

Is there a chance that this is a coincidence??? I’m not sure. But I would love to speak with you.
You can contact me whenever you like. My fingers are crossed it will be soon!”

What more can I say? I am blessed to have such a caring and wonderful  sister  who finally looked for me. I also now have father, brother and of course birthmother and we are fortunate indeed to all know each other. Even if it did take thirty-one years to meet.

Image

I’m the one in white. Sorry, but the blury is for privacy reason’s. I looked awful.

Gallery

Yes, we made into Glamour Magazine!

 

YES! Our amazing story has made it to one of America’s best selling magazines and I am particularly happy with the end result. It even brought a tear to my eye….ok, I can can be honest with you all, it made me weep. It was embarrassing.

So people, go get the magazine, get something warm and comforting to drink (vanilla latte is my preference) and enjoy.

Thank you to all of whom took an interest in our miracle and have made this story happen. Also a special thank you to my adoptive father who has always helped me in my search and has too welcomed them into his family. It must be hard but he did it and  with grace.

I just can’t believe how lucky we are. I have an amazing, loving ,sweet,  beautiful and talented sister whom I am sooooo proud of ! The future is looking bright. She might be in the spotlight, but behind her are our loving parents who have welcomed me, my children and my husband into their family as if we have always been together. A great mom who acted just like a mom would at our wedding. A father, who I feel like I related to the most and a great brother who my son A-D-O-R-E-S ! I kind of like him too. We even have matching tattoo’s now. We got them in Amsterdam. My wedding present from him. Sweet!

I only hope to be able to see each other more often. Having a sea between us ain’t helping! Can someone give me a job over there? Please ? ^^Ooops, I’m embarrassing myself again.

Love yah sis, mother, father and bro! Dad, I love you too of course!

Thank you God!


Jeff Dunham -The guy who talks to his hand

Jeff Dunham, American comedian, with his puppe...

Image via Wikipedia

I just had to get this of my chest.

Jeff Dunham visited and came to further soil the country that I have adopted. Belgium.

I really started getting annoyed when many of my “Facebook friends” statuses started to take over my screen with remarks as to how funny he was and how great and blablabla.

Now seriously, I’m not some overly conservative mom (hellloooo teenmom here at 15) I can even have a laugh while flipping the channels and spotting JackAss, but this guy, Jeff Dunham. Oh boy.

Once upon a time, ventriloquist were meant to entertain children and so of course if your child is flipping threw the channels and see’s this guy with one of his puppets,well, of course your child will stop and watch it. Mine did. If I start talking to them about a certain Jeff Dunham, they ask me “who?”. When I then say -whilst pretending that my hand is a puppet- “Silence, I’ll kill you”, well that’s totally different, then they understand straight away of whom I’m talking about and start laughing like hyena’s.

I then, very momly of myself, start gesturing and summing up reasons as to whyyyyy I don’t find him funny. My kids are goods kids and they agreed to some point, but I’m not stupid. I know the next time they see him on tv, they won’t zap, unless I’m around.

I find that the Jeff Dunham Show is both hateful and hatefully unfunny with his racist, homophobic, misogynistic, anti-semitic puppets. It is disgusting because the racism, homophobia, misogyny and anti-semitism that he expounds is never funny, nor does it ever have any kind of point to it other than to express a genuine worldview as it seems, because, well, so many people love him and find his ‘jokes’ great, so making fun of your gay neighbor is normal. Declaring that all colored people are on crack, sure, why not?

And if you find his jokes amusing, well, I’m sorry to say, but there might be (for sure) something wrong with your point of view on the world.

In the end, I’m not going to make this an angry rant at some person who talks to his hand for a living (I can see your lips move sir), I just want to warn you parents out there that letting your children watch this is just not right. I don’t care if you are trying to avoid your teens wrath because they think your too strict or because they say that all their friends are allowed to watch it from their parents, they still have to listen to you and you still have to raise this kid that God has blessed you with, without them thinking that making fun of gay people or different races is normal, cause it’s not!

source : Videogun

10 differences between Canadians and Americans

No, I’m not American!!! And I’m so tired of having to say that sentence over and over again.

When people here in Belgium,  hear me speak English, they always ask me if I’m American. Like the Americans are the only ones to speak English in the world. I NEVER ever had anyone ask me if I was Canadian. I even got someone who asked me if  I was British, go figure!

So I’m just going to point out 10 differences between us Canadians and Americans. I’ll be nice.

  • Canadians will say “eh” pronounced “ay” after every freakin sentence (I’m guilty) , Americans start every sentence with “like” and end it with “whatever“.
  • Canadians pronounce the letter “Z” –zee, Americans –zed.
  • Canada has a Prime Minister, America a President.
  • Canada has a “highway”, Americans a “freeway”.
  • We call our 1$ a loonie and our 2$ a toonie. Americans just call them dollars or bucks.
  • We have public health care insurance for everyone, gun control, and  almost no history of slavery . America …well…
  • Canada has provinces and territories, America has states.
  • Canada produced Céline Dion. America ,Barbara Streisand.
  • Summer starts for us when it stops snowing, in the States it’s in July.
  • It is ILLEGAL in Canada to use the letter “O” without putting a “U” after it! (As in “Colour” or “Poutine“)

Ok, some of that wasn’t very nice, but  it’s really hard “eh”, definitely after the Americans made the South Park movie ” Bigger, longer & uncut“. Oh yes, I’ve had to listen to people singing “Blame Canada many times. Thank you very,very much Mister Trey Parker.

 

Does anybody have any other differences?

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