We’ve Moved.

12 Apr

 

After becoming parents, we took a break from blogging for a while for a few reasons but mainly because life became incredibly busy.

Now that the adoption process is over, we have the ability to reinvent ourselves.

As a result, we’re launching a new blog Attach + Wander. In short, it can be summed up in these four words: Family. Simplicity. Intentional wandering.

Interested? Check it out here.

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Calm Before The Storm

29 May

There are a lot of changes that are about to happen, beginning next week, and it will be the start to a very busy few months. We bought a new house (in another city) that needs a substantial amount of work (HELLO FIXER-UPPER!), Josh will be changing jobs, I will be going back to school (online) and we will have a two year old on our hands!

Life is about to get super busy…

Which made today even better! Today was just a regular Sunday but it felt so much more than that. We spent our Sunday together (just the three of us) making memories and taking in every moment. It was magical, and perfect and I want to remember it forever!

So here it is.

We started our morning around 6:30am when Asher woke up with a huge smile on his face (like he always does.) We decided to grab breakfast and then head to High Park. There is a small zoo there with yaks, capybaras, emus, reindeer, peacocks, bison and lamas.


Asher was more nervous than excited at the sight of the animals so we ventured around the park and found a playground, not just any play ground, it was the BEST playground I have ever seen! Josh and I did not object to following Asher around and through it because lets face it, the kid in us was just as excited as Asher was!


By this time, we had already felt like we had a full days worth of fun and it was only 10am!


After Asher’s nap, we ate a quick lunch and then decided to head out to another park that we had never been to but had heard about recently. We knew there was a splash pad so we made sure to get Asher’s favourite, fishy swimsuit ready and off we went.


This park and splash pad did not disappoint on this extremely hot day!


The rest of the day was spent relaxing, watching baseball, playing, reading and of course lots of laughing.

Everyday we have Asher home with us is a good day, but today was great!

We have seen so much growth and change in Asher and we honestly could not be more proud of the little person he is becoming. We are constantly in awe of him and the fact that we were chosen to be his parents…WE are the lucky ones.

 

 

Family Age & Dust Bunnies

11 Apr

Right now, I am writing this from the waiting room of LASIK md. I am by myself (for what I think is the third time in the last six months) so I thought now is a good time to finally write a blog post.

I had amazing delusions intentions (pre Asher) of what my time would be spent doing while I was off work and at home with our new babe. Obviously, yummy, healthy meals would be cooked nightly, the house would be spotless, and I would be an avid blogger. Well, if the crickets you hear when you come to visit this blog are any indication, this is not the reality of a new mom.

**I am sure there are some amazingly talented women out there who can do it “all” but I am not one of them.**

Josh and I read tons on parenting an adopted child. One of the biggest things we took from our readings is that when your child comes home, they should not be treated as the age that they are—in Asher’s case, 21 months—but should be treated as old as his “family age”. A child’s family age is based on how long your child has been at home with you. Asher’s family age is 6 months so in turn, Josh and I are doing all of the things that you would do with your six month old baby. We feed him, we wear him, we rock him to sleep, we come to his every whimper or cry and Josh and I have been the only ones to care for him since we were declared a family of three.

Some people reading this may think that we are spoiling him, or taking “helicopter parenting” to a whole new level, but the reality is that we are working extremely hard to build trust and attachment and teach Asher that we are his parents (not just another caregiver). We are not going anywhere, no matter what.

With that being said, building attachment takes time and a lot of intention. Sure, I could tell Asher to go play by himself while I make a fancy meal (he wouldn’t do it anyways) or I could be intentional about our attachment and bonding (this often looks like me carrying a 29 pound toddler on my hip while throwing together the fastest thing I can find).

One day in the near future (in what I can only imagine will feel like a blink of an eye) when Asher is a grown man, Josh and I will have all of the time to have a clean house and attempt making gourmet meals. For now though, our dust bunnies will live happily under the couch while our taste buds suffer but we are confident that all three of us will reap the rewards of the intentional, quality time spent together.

 

Patience

3 Feb

Patience is something that I have been thinking about a lot since becoming a Mama. Each response given to my son can be either said with understanding and patience, or reaction and frustration. Parenting toddlers is hard work! You know, like when they dump the dog food all over the floor, or decide that they absolutely, under no circumstance will they be putting on their winter jacket. In these moments I have a choice on how I respond to my sweet tiny human (that I have the privilege of calling my son.) I can take a deep breath and respond in a loving and caring way, that will nurture my child, while at the same time teaching him, or I can react.

Yes, before you say anything, I know I have been a parent for all of two seconds but I have been working with children long before this. The same rules apply whether you are parenting the child or not. In order for progress, there must be a trusting relationship that is formed and maintained.

  
I was looking back on our adoption journey. You know, the one that took many years to complete, and while I was not always patient, I have learned so much what it means to be patient and the amount of good that can come when you are.

  
I honestly believe that I am a better parent because of the long and trying process that we went through to get to Asher. I look and him and think that if I wasn’t patient and if I would have gotten what I wanted (a baby) when I wanted it (NOW) then things would be so different and we would not have our sweet son. I cannot even imagine this and that very thought makes me so sure that some of THE best things are worth waiting for.

  
I look at my son with such amazement and excitement. I am grateful every day for him and the joy he has brought into our home. I am thankful that I am a more patient, understanding and loving mother because of our long journey to find him.

  
So this is me admitting that 1. I do not always know best 2. even though the long journey to our son almost killed me, I would do it all over again! and 3. I of course will have my moments that I react and have to later apologize to my son, but I am confident that if I choose patience more times than not, Asher will grow into someone that responds with love and understanding…and thats all I can hope for!  

  
 

Family photos

18 Jan

We have been home now, with Asher, for three months. 
I have been been wanting to hire someone to get family photos done since the day we landed because I feel like Asher has already changed so much and I want to be able to remember the little details! But of course, life with a toddler is busy and has a way of getting away from you, so we never scheduled a time.
On Saturday, while Asher was napping, Josh set up the camera and we were able to capture some moments ourselves. Asher was very intrigued by the equipment and we have lots of pictures with his face up to the lens (so cute)! Overall, I think they turned out pretty good and I am thankful to have these memories to look back on in the years to come.

   
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
   

Celebrations!

1 Dec

Since returning to Canada with Asher, it has been a busy balancing act. Trying to balance “cocooning” and routine so that Asher can be confident in his attachment to Josh and I, and introducing Asher to our family and friends that have been anxiously awaiting his arrival.

While we were in South Africa, my mom started planning a celebration party for Asher. It would be a day that people could pop in to meet our amazing new addition to our family. November 21st seemed far away at first but came quickly! We have now been a family of three for almost three months (so hard to believe)!

It was a great day! We were overwhelmed by the amount of people that came to meet Asher and to celebrate him!

The food was delicious, the company even better! But the best part about it was that instead of making this party a typical baby shower, where we get a bunch of stuff that we maybe don’t really need or particularly have room for (living in the tiny shoebox that we do), people gifted money towards another family that is on the journey to adopt!

As we all know, adoption is EXPENSIVE! I have made many connections with amazing families that are in the process of adopting. Somehow, when you are going though this amazing, but hard process, you really connect (even if never met in person) with other people that are going through the same thing.

Josh and I chatted and we discussed who we would like to gift the donations to in order to help with their adoption.

We chose The Stromberg’s! Josh, Shaeline and their son Solomon are on their second adoption journey from South Africa!!! We are so excited that they have decided to adopt not only once, but a second time!

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We cannot wait to see what amazing things are in-store for you and to see which little miracle is meant to be the fourth member of The Stromberg family.

Thanks to everyone that donated! You raised $515(!!!) for this loving and deserving family!

Now for some pictures of the great day!!

 

 

Home 💛

27 Oct

We are home!!!! (for over one week now)

and I finally have a keyboard to type on instead of just my iPhone (I swear that is what was behind my blogging being almost non-existent while we were in South Africa)!

I will do my best to fill you all in and I am going to post lots of pictures now that we can upload from our fancy camera!

First of all, Asher did AMAZING on the long 30 hour journey home! I think he handled it better than Josh and I!

  

When we arrived at the airport the woman asked us if we wanted two seats together OR we could press our luck and decide to sit in a row with three seats and hope no one else is put in the third seat. We decided to risk it and sure enough….Asher had his very own seat on the 16 hour flight from Johannesburg to New York. It was uncomfortable enough trying to sleep, I cannot imagine if we had our boy on our lap the whole time!!

  

Once we landed, my mom and Paul picked us up from the airport! They took us back to our condo where Josh’s parents, as well as, his sister, brother in-law and 2 nieces came to meet Asher for the very first time.

  

 

It was both exciting and overwhelming! He was finally home!!! A day that so many have been waiting for for so long!

Our nieces (3 and 5 years old) were so sweet with him! They kept bringing him toys, giving him endless amounts of water and making sure he had enough kisses and hugs (they were like little mamas).

   

 

After family left, Asher started to explore his new housecondo. I cannot even imagine how confused and overwhelmed he must have been. He had experienced so many “firsts” in one day. Plane rides, airports, pickup trucks, new faces, new (COLD) weather. I am exhausted just thinking about what that must have been like.

  

Knowing that, we decided to hunker down and start our “cocooning” (a term that is used by Adoption experts). Families of adopted children are advised to “cocoon” when coming home- which basically means keeping our child’s world very small, predictable and simple. There’s so much change for them to process, so much stimulation…the less new stuff thrown at them, the better. And this includes people: A child’s ability to attach to new parents is much more easily accomplished when theres no one else to bond with.” http://slowmama.com/adoption-2/the-cocooning-stage/

Having said that, we are slowly introducing family and close friends to Asher. Mostly in our home (a more familiar environment) where they can observe him, and him them. He then can warm up to them on HIS terms.

  

Josh and I sent out a letter to the closest people in our lives describing our choices and how parenting our son who is adopted will be different than maybe they are used to. For example: our 15 month old weighs 27 lbs, but we have been “wearing” him everywhere we go. This is not because I love a sore back but it is because it is important for attachment. It helps him feel close to us and safe when we are out where there are lots of other people. I have already received comments that implied he is too big to be carried but Asher feeling safe and attaching to Josh and I are our main priority.

While he was loved immensely at his baby home in South Africa (which we are so relieved and thankful for), he is not used to having only one or two people that are his primary caregivers. He was used to many different people meeting his needs and so now that he is in a family environment, our job is to teach Asher, that Josh and I are his Mama and Dada. We are the ones that will be there for him always and meet his needs (emotional and physical.)

We have such high hopes for this kid! Asher is so so clever, loving and handsome! He has already come so far in the month and a half that we have been together! Attachment, bonding and feeling secure takes time (how much time we do not know) but when it happens, man will it be worth it!

We want to thank you all in advance for your patience, love and support.

Now of course…more PICTURES!

   

    
    
    
    
 

The latest…

25 Sep

Sorry for the lack of updates in the past week! One thing that I have learned since becoming a mama to our sweet Asher is that it is HARD getting anything else done!  
Trust me, I am so happy that he wants to be in my arms most of the day and I truly cherish every snuggle, kiss and laugh he gives. Anything else that has to be done can wait until nap time!

  
So here is a little update on what we have been up to the last week!

The weather was quite rainy at the beginning of the week (much needed rain here in SA) but it made for a few long days. We all felt a little cooped up in our room at the B&B. Asher would say “Bye”‘and point to the door because he wanted to be outside!

  
This kid loves being outdoors! He is so content being carried in our baby carrier and just looking around. So the first day that it wasn’t raining we decided to go to Makaranga Garden Lodge. It was just a short drive away and the gardens and statues are so beautiful! Josh and I got some coffees and we spent the afternoon walking around and enjoying the fresh air! It was perfect!

  
  
  
  
Wednesday, we decided that we would go to Tala game reserve! Turns out that children under five years of age are not allowed to go on the safari trucks but we could drive ourselves around. It was very affordable and made for an awesome day! We must say though that we would advise people driving rental vehicles to stick to the main roads! We went off on some side routes and our little Hyundai that we rented could not handle the uneven and rocky ground! It was a little touch and go at some points but no damage was done (thank goodness!)

  
  
  
We saw many animals on the reserve and the scenery was absolutely stunning!! (Josh took some more pictures with our good camera but we don’t have our laptop here so we will share once we get home!)

Thursday was a sunny and hot day! Also, it was Heritage Day here in South Africa! We hung out by the pool (Turns out, Asher LOVES the water!) and in the evening Josh picked up some meat to Braai (BBQ) for us and the other families at the B&B to share! We had an awesome evening hanging out, eating and laughing!

  
We hoped today would be a beach day, it is perfect weather for it! But instead we are running around getting some paper work done so that we can hopefully bring our little man home on time!
  
  
His citizenship application is filed and after that comes back we will then apply for his Canadian passport! We hope that all goes smoothly and that there are no delays!

So that’s what we have been up too!

I will try to get better at using nap time to its full potential, but sometimes I can’t fight the urge to join him!

Blessings on Blessings

18 Sep

Like most parents-to-be, Josh and I had discussed baby names at length during our four year wait. We had a list of both boy and girl names (not knowing which would bless our family!). I of course, had my favourites and so did Josh! Neither were the same but we would just smile and say that we would decide once we received our referral and could see which name suited them best.

Well the referral came and so did the pictures of our sweet boy! I took one look at him and knew that the name that I have loved did not suit him at all! 

Sibusiso was his given name. A mouthful to say initially and it took a few days to be able to say it ‘proper’ to how Google pronounced it (which is apparently not entirely accurate here in a South Africa).

I wanted to look up the meaning of his given Zulu name. You may have caught it from the one lovely comment on Instagram but Sibusiso means “blessing” (how perfect is that?)! 

In reading his story, Josh and I found out that he was given this name by his birth mom. We always wanted to keep their name (whether it was given by the birth family or orphanage) and move it to a middle name. In this case, we knew it was vital that we honour her choice in naming her little blessing so like we had previously decided, Sibusiso will be a middle name. When he is older, we will let him know that it is common to go by a middle name so if he chooses to go by Sbu, we will be supportive (and thrilled)!

Because he didn’t look like any of the names we had up our sleeves I started looking for others — starting by searching names that meant the same thing (to see if anything could work). I came across Asher, which means “blessed” and fell in love. We both thought he looked like an Asher and that it fit perfectly! 

We also decided that we wanted to give our boy a second middle name – Michael. Honouring a brother I never had the chance to know. Papa’s (my step-dad’s) son who left us to soon. The only boy in my amazingly blended family. 

His name is a nod to family! His beautiful birth mom (we know because we have pictures!), his uncle Michael, and to our family which he has blessed. 

Our little man, Mr. Asher Sibusiso Michael Dueck. #littleblessingsonblessings #hashertag

  

We passed court!!!

17 Sep

It happened…

We passed court and are OFFICIALLY a family of three!!!

We are so excited to introduce you all to Asher Sibusiso Michael Dueck!!! I know you have all been waiting to see his handsome face so here he is..

   
    
    
    
 
We will be posting more about his names and the meaning behind them soon! But I figured you would all be too distracted by seeing this amazing boy for the first time!