Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Waiting Song

This is bigger than nations.
Something too big for borders is happening here.
This is more than relations.
Something thicker than blood is pulling us near.

Somewhere there is a hand that needs another to hold,
And here I am with my hand empty.
Across an ocean a cheek needs a good-night kiss,
And these words are the kiss I’m sending.

I am waiting for you, you are waiting for me,
there is nothing but time between us.
I’ve never met you but you are all I can see.
I’m just praying that you can feel this.

A tiny heart beats inside your little chest
and every beat is in step with mine.
If I could open my heart like a locket,
a tiny picture of you is what we would find.

Every morning I pray for your safety,
And every night I ask for your peaceful sleep.
And every morning when you wake wherever you are
is another day closer to me.

I am waiting for you, you are waiting for me,
there is nothing but time between us.
I’ve never met you but you are all I can see.
I’m just praying that you can feel this, too…

Everybody around the world sing “I need somebody to love”…
From me to you, wherever you are, I am coming for you, I am coming with love…

I am praying for you there waiting for me.
Ten thousand miles is only a day.
When the sun sets on you it rises on me.
One day closer that you’ll come home to stay.

I am waiting for you, you are waiting for me,
there is nothing but time between us.
I’ve never met you but you are all I can see.
I’m just praying that you can feel this.

©2007 Thomas Hicks - All Rights Reserved

Posted here with permission.
Please check out this artist's site at:

Monday, December 29, 2008

Music Dads Like

Adoptive Families (side link) has a link to a list of music that families experiencing adoption might enjoy. Leslie of "With Arms Wide Open" has a great list as well.

I kept looking and found a song for right now that is a little less typical, but that Daddy enjoys too!

Here's another:

Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas To Me

For me, writing is something to turn to in times of trouble. When things are going well I just don't need to write about them. Reading back through old journals, I seem to be always complaining - until I look at the dates and realize that weeks, even months went by without a word.

I thought it would be nice to take some time on Christmas Day to write about all that is right and wonderful in my world. It's a little difficult to put out there - no-one wants to tempt fate by bragging about how well things are going. But it's Christmas Day. And I want fate to hear my chorus of thank-yous. So here goes:

Thank you for our beautiful sons. Thank you for helping their first mother with her plans, and for giving them caring and experienced nannies. We're so glad they're in a safe place.

Thank you for my husband, he is a treasure.

Thank you for our family, and friends, and for keeping us all healthy and well.

Thank you for the home we love, in the neighbourhood we wanted, with wonderful neighbours, in arguably one of the best cities in the world.

Thank you for the job that I love, and for this year's class in particular, whose sweet and gentle nature and eagerness to learn make up for not being in Vietnam.

Thank you for my special co-workers and boss who have been ridiculously understanding and supportive from the very beginning.

Thank you for our amusing and life-enriching pets.

Thank you for hope, and believing, and for love.

Merry Christmas to you too!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas from Third Day

Planet Waiting

Such an exciting and happy time. I don't want to keep complaining about the waiting. But as I wait for exciting and happy things to write about I realize I am on Planet Waiting for the duration. Time to make peace.

I first visited this planet during our four years of waiting to get pregnant, but at that point I remained a tourist. I believed that God would send our babies when they were supposed to come.

When we began the adoption process it was made very clear to us from the start that it would be a long wait, from 9 months to over 2 years. Our wait from completed home-study to referral was relatively short (just over a year) so while I spent a little more time on P.W., I hadn't moved in.

Then we got our referral and the world changed. Everything looks different. So many changes need to be made that weren't known as necessary before. Priorities have been reassigned and the guilt that generally carries me through has wandered off distractedly. I just don't seem to be operating in the same dimension as everyone else. I've figured it out - I'm on Planet Waiting.

What's it like here? There are a lot of copies of the same few photos. There is the official 8-by-10 framed referral photo, and the complete set of wallet-sized that we both carry around everywhere - just ask. There are the photos on the fridge and over the computer. There is the poster-sized on the mirror, the framed set at work, and the 8-by-10 in my day planner. There is the line drawing at the top of this blog, also on the fridge. There are copies in every Christmas card.
Yesterday I finally figured out how to iron you on to t-shirts, and Daddy wants you on a mug.

There are full suitcases everywhere. Most people spend the days before travel packing; I will spend them unpacking. For now I am considering every possible need.

Shopping for frivolities like Christmas presents or groceries DOES NOT WORK. It doesn't matter what my intentions or what store I am in, all I can buy are things for the babies. A minor breakthrough yesterday - I discovered that by looking for Christmas gifts FROM the babies I was able to purchase one or two things to wrap for someone else.

A LOT of time is spent on the internet. This and Facebook will be a nice way to show the boys what we were doing while they were in Vietnam. Beyond the blog, I have become obsessed with (a) finding someone who has been to Tra Vinh in the past few months to see if they have a photo of the twins - why is it so important that I find older photos? and (b) reading every word of every link of every blog from every family who has ever adopted from Vietnam. Mainly what I've learned is that I can predict nothing, and this is normal. I have to confess that in no post or blog anywhere can I find any evidence that the wait from a Tra Vinh referral to travel has been less that 4 months - which puts us at March 3rd, an impossibly far away day.

Following along with other families who are on their way or already back from Vietnam is one of the truly exciting activities that Planet Waiting has to offer, at least for me, and, unlike shopping, it's free.

Caught up in the ecstasy of names, ages, and photos in that first week I blithely proclaimed that while I was hoping for early travel, I was hoping more that you would be healthy and well-cared for during the wait. Of course I am delighted to hear that you are in a loving and responsible place, even though "responsible", when applied to paperwork, generally means "takes longer". Logically I know that you are okay with your nannies, ensconced in your hammocks, at peace with the world. You are not waiting for me.

I am here, on Planet Waiting, howling my longing for you.

Adapted from "The Gift of Waiting"
"Adopting is not an easy journey to parenthood because one doesn't exist. That which is precious always comes at great cost... I am glad to pay the price of waiting for my children. But I do so knowing that I can get caught in the cycle of anxiousness and worrying if I am not consciously doing things that grant me release. The waiting has taught me to look beyond this moment, no matter how excruciating, and think of what my children need most. They need a mommy who is minimally fried and who knows how to ford the mightiest rivers in life. This is one of those moments when the rubber of my lofty aspirations hits the road. I must choose to rise above the wait. This is the first gift my children have given me. I am astonished to discover what a precious one it is."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

10 Not-so-graceful Ways...

Ten not-so-graceful ways to survive the adoption wait:
adapted from

1) Put your adoption agency's phone number on speed dial. Call every week without fail during the entire process, even when advised the wait will still be months. Email for reassurance on all 'difficult' waiting days, such as those containing the letter S. After all, if they hear from you often, they won't 'forget' about you.

2) Sign up on every email list that is remotely applicable to your situation. Check for new email at least once per hour all day long. Check for e-mail from your agency every few minutes. Post on each group at least 3 times a day. For the most pressing questions, use all caps. Ask often if anyone has news about the next step in your process, whether it be referrals or court dates or travel dates.

3) Collect waiting information on every family you have contact with. Use this data to spend hours each day making elaborate time lines, guesstimating:
a. best case scenario
b. most likely scenario, and
c. longest likely wait for each step of the process.
Get very bent out of shape if any stage of your process exceeds the 'best case scenario' timeline. After all, your adoption is special.

4) Google all Vietnamese holidays, mark them on your calendar and worry about how these holidays might slow your process down. Take them off work – you need a break.

5) When you finally get your referral, print out dozens of pictures of your child and give them to anyone and everyone, including that nice checker at the grocery store. Then when you see anyone, talk about nothing but every nuance of your adoption.

6) Ask every traveling family to get pictures of your child, specifying preferred poses and outfits to be worn. Mark their 'return-home' dates on your calendar so that you can email them demanding news within 5 minutes of their scheduled homecoming.

7) Google the city you will stay in. Find your Social Protection Center and hotel. Study every nuance of the satellite maps. By the time you arrive you should be able to find your way around blindfolded.

8) Leap out of the bushes at your mail carrier every day, desperately hoping he/she is bearing news from your agency. Consider installing an alarm that rings indoors when your mailbox is opened in the unlikely chance that the mail carrier arrives while you are in the restroom.

9) Go into a depression at the end of every week, because the arrival of Friday means another weekend to survive until Monday when you can once again hover near the phone/computer/mailbox waiting for news.

10) Read every word of every adoption blog you can find. Copy and paste anything that resonates with you on your own blog (Like we did with this!)

Monday, December 15, 2008

What's In A Name?

Em and Anh Le Quoc

Em means "younger brother"
Anh means "older brother"
Le Quoc means "independence"

Maxem Earle and Vanh Frank

Grandpa Max Haines and Opa Frank Oord
Great-Grandpa Frank Haines and Great-Great Grandfather Frank Davis
Great-Grandfather Guy Earle
V for Cousin Vincent, daddy Wolter - and Victory!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Gift of Life

The Gift of Life

I didn't give you the gift of life,
But in my heart I know.
The love I feel is deep and real,
As if it had been so.

For us to have each other
Is like a dream come true!
No, I didn't give you
The gift of life,
Life gave me the gift of you.

-author unknown

Friday, December 12, 2008

Letters from Grade 3

To Max and Vanh
I hope you have fun with your Mom and I also hope you have a good time and I think your Mom is kind.
Love J

Dear Mex and Vanh
I hope you have a good fly on the Airplane and can come to school
I hope you don't get scared,
from your friend M

Dear Max + Vanh
Watch out! Your mom scolds some time and she can be seriously mad so BEWARE!!!
And she always is very very very very very very very very very very kind so BEWARE of kisses and hugs!!!!!!
Your friend: S

Dear MAX
Would you ever come to my school?
I am serious Max. Do you like Canada? How would you feel without your mom?
Your friend A

Dear Max and Vanh
Guess what your mom Samantha? She is a teacher! Your mom is cool! She is nice and your mom is funny! I am glad that you have a mom now! I am so happy.
Sincerely: Y

Dear Max - Vanh
Please do not pull hair, bite, break valuable stuff, pull earrings, play chase with pets, touch nose, hit face, scream loud, don't be bad be good babies.
Signed. N!

Dear Max and Vanh
I have to tell you something. Your mom is very very nice but if your in your moms class be careful because she scolds a little. Your mom is still the best teacher in the world. If your in your moms class a lot of girls will hug your mom.
Your friend, E

Dear Max and Vanh you are going to be very lucky that you are going to get adopted but be careful your mom is so wonderful I might steel her. Just kidding don't worry I won't steel her can't wait to see you guys!
your friend M

Dear: Max + Vanh your mom is very nice. When you come to Canada it will be freezing in the winter and in the summer it will be burning,,,(well, at school).
Trust me if you will break anything I think your mom won't care because she wanted to have babies alot. Your mom is kind and won't yell alot but she will scold. And if you guys pee on the floor I think she won't mind.
From: M

Dear Max+Vanh
Your mum brought you to school and I held you and you were so cute. Did you know your adopted? I wish I was adopted you are so lucky. You should be kind to each other and be a good pair of brothers.
Sincerely, U

You guys are so cute and when I go to grade 4 I'm going to miss you and your mom!!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

With Love to Adoptive Parents

With Love to Adoptive Parents

You cannot change the truth
these are your children
but they come from somewhere else
and they are the children of those places
and of those persons as well.

Help them to know all about their past
and all about their present.
Help them to know that they are from extended families,
that they only have one set of parents
but that they have more mothers and fathers…

They have grandmothers, godmothers,
birthmothers, mother countries and mother earth.

They have grandfathers, godfathers,
birthfathers and fatherlands.

They have family by birth and by adoption
they have family by choice and by chance.

Childhood is short
They are our children to raise.
They are our children to love
and then they are citizens of the world.
What we do to them creates the world that we live in.

Give them life.
Give them their truth.
Give them love.
Give them all that they came with.
Give them all that they grow with.

Your children do not belong to you
But they belong with you.
You cannot keep from them what is theirs
But you can keep loving them.
You do not own your children,
But they are your own.

Author unknown

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Frequently Asked Questions

Some of these questions are from young children. Some are from impulsive but well-meaning adults. Some are just the questions everybody asks. With some I was prepared for the question, but not how it was answered by someone else. Some caught me off guard. I hope our answers are of some use!

When will you get them?
We don't know. We have heard 6 to 11 weeks (from November 21), 2 months and 4 months (from November 3). We chose to BELIEVE it will be sooner rather than later.

How will they get here?
We will travel to Vietnam. After about a week in Vietnam, our "Giving and Receiving" ceremony will be scheduled. We will remain (together) in Vietnam for 2 weeks after that while paperwork is completed.

Where are their parents?
(Variations: Are their parents dead? Don't they have parents? Why did their parents give them up?)
Most probably the birth family were not able to afford to raise them. It must have taken an incredible amount of selfless love for their birth mother to have given them up. We believe that she wanted them to have a different life than they could have had in rural Vietnam, and that maybe she even hoped they would be Canadian. She will always have a special place in our hearts.
Specific information about the birth family is private, unless the boys want to share this information with you when they are older.

How much does it cost?
Let's get one thing straight - you don't buy babies. The babies are FREE.We are fortunately allowed to thank their nannies with token gifts.
There are many professionals (lawyers, social workers, doctors, police)in both countries who have and will put in many, many hours making this adoption happen - these people and their staff all need to be paid.

Here is a website (not our agency) that gives a cost breakdown in American dollars:

And yes... Most fees are doubled for two!

Were you expecting twins?
(Variations: How did you get twins? Did you want twins?)
When we started this process my sister was working with someone who had adopted twin girls from China, which made us think wow, that would be neat. We did some internet research and discovered that twins seem to go to couples who are young and rich - definitely not us. We asked our social worker why we couldn't be approved for twins (wondering what it was exactly -too poor? too old? too addled?) and she said of course we could apply for twins, if that was what we wanted. We had to do more research and prove that we understand and accept the increased health and financial issues, and that we are educated as to how to raise twins, etc. We were then approved by the Ontario Ministry for twins. I think my background in education helped, as I've taught twins every year and have seen first hand how the need to treat them as individuals can be thwarted by the tendency of everyone around them to compare them. It was made very clear to us throughout that the chance of twins being offered to us was small to nil.
We were ecstatic when we got the news. We didn't dare to dream that we could be this lucky. No twins could be more wanted than these!

Are they healthy?
Yes. That is to say, their current state of health is fairly standard for babies in rural orphanages in Vietnam. I'm sure they could use any well-wishes you wanted to send their way.

Are they yours for sure? Could anything go wrong?
They are not legally ours until we sign the documents at the Giving and Receiving Ceremony in Vietnam. They have been ours in our hearts since we first saw their photos. I believe they are meant to be ours and that all of our spirits united and God are looking after them.

Please feel free to post or e-mail us your questions so we can add to this list.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


November 12
Samantha is maybe twins... TWINS!!! Pray for us... 4:35pm

Gloria wrote at 4:48pm
Oh wow! Double the fun!

Stephanie Haines wrote at 4:54pm

Shana Burgess wrote at 6:16pm
OMG!! Does Shadow know?? :)
Congrats? lol ;)

Christine Moores Dunphy wrote at 7:46pm
Wonderful news, fingers crossed, prayers said!!

Karen Hounsell Lewis wrote at 10:43pm
Awesome...prayers are being said for you!!!!

November 13
Victoria Porter wrote at 12:20am
fingers and toes crossed

Maryanne wrote at 7:36am

Diane Munier wrote at 7:48am
Oh, Samantha !!!!!!!!!

Cindy wrote at 8:20am
Oh my goodness, congratulations! They are precious!!!!

Victoria Porter wrote at 8:58am

Gaelen wrote at 9:40am
A huge huge even bigger congrats on the babies ... they are beautiful and majical ....
I am sooooooooo excited for you .... YAY!!!

Marilyn F. wrote at 10:55am
Congratulations! They are the most beautiful babies. I am so thrilled for you!

Kathy B. wrote at 11:12am
They are beautiful !!!!!!
I am so happy for you !! Thanks for letting me know. This is wonderful .
My best wishes go to you and your lovely new family.
Keep in touch. I will be delighted to see them as they grow.
Great news Great News .

Stephanie Helferty wrote at 11:21am
So glad for you and your new growing family!

Wendy C. wrote at 4:27pm
They are two very adorable, observant, little boys. I'm very excited and happy for the two of you! You are going to be very busy parents!!!
Love, Wendy

Betsy C-W wrote at 5:59pm

Samantha is over the moon. 7:09pm

Erin Brunet wrote at 7:33pm
They are sooooooooo cute. Congratualtions!

John Daigenault wrote at 7:52pm
That's great you guys! enjoy!

Stephanie Haines wrote at 7:59pm
They look intelligent!

Peggy wrote at 8:00pm
I am so happy for you and Woody when I was driving in my car this evening thinking about your joyous news I literally had chills running through my body Love you

Tracey Gullage Rafael wrote at 8:47pm
Your boys are beautiful! You guys are blessed! I am very happy for you!!!!!!!

Deborah Pitt wrote at 11:06pm
I had no idea ... that is soooooo awesome! Best to you all

Tamara Beth Fairchild wrote at 11:06pm
Twins! How wonderful! I'm so excited for you!!!

Paul Billowes wrote at 11:43pm
Wow, congratulations. I owe all 4 of you a poke.

November 14
Justin Shulman wrote at 7:42am
Mazel Tov!

Rebecca Montano Charron wrote at 11:28am
When? How? When?
They are beautiful!!!!!!

Graham Chivers wrote at 11:58pm
Congrats! Twins? Amazing!!!!!
Dad! ;)

Meredith Chivers wrote at 2:52pm
TWINS!!??!! Congratulations!! When do they arrive?

Val Hounsell Oxford wrote at 11:21pm
WOW!!!! Congrats you guys!!! I am so excited for you!! You will have to give me your address now so I can pick up some adorable outfits to send to them when they come home! Can't wait to see more pics!!!!!! My love to you both!!

November 15
Leslie Emerson Lightfoot wrote at 10:02 am
oh wow! congratulations. TWINS?! that is wonderful
Samantha!!!! they are adorable. big congrats on your beautiful boys.

Amanda Head wrote at 10:27am
Congrats Samantha! Such a wonderful gift you have been given!!!!They are very cute!!!

Samantha is finding it challenging to write report cards from the moon. 10:35am

April Poole-Barron wrote at 10:53am
Congratulations....they are absolutely beautiful! I am so happy for you....

Shana Burgess wrote at 11:27am
OH my goodness!!! :) I'm soooo happy for you, they are gorgeous!!

Lorna Andrews Thie wrote at 11:39am
They are adorable. Congratulations! Twins are awesome :)

Christine Moores Dunphy wrote at 1:45pm
I am so very happy for you 4! There is absolutely nothing in this world like the love between parent and child (x2) Congratulations!!!!!!!!!

Lynette Andrews Breault wrote at 2:03pm
OMG! Congratulations! What a blessing. I agree with Lorna

Natalie Crewe-Montague wrote at 2:23pm
many congratulations to you both!!! this is awesome! what beautiful children! :)

Karen Hounsell Lewis wrote at 10:40pm
Congrats to you both....what a wonderful life they and you guys will have!!!!

November 16
Lisa Jenkins wrote at 7:41am
They are beautiful!!! Congrats..I'm so happy for you.

Samantha is wading through immigration applications. 8:26am

Brandon Patterson wrote at 9:47am

Tanya Ambrosia wrote at 10:19am
Congratulations Sam!! I'll be praying for you guys that all goes smoothly and quickly!! I'm really happy for you!!

Erin Lomore wrote at 11:54am
Yay! Addie will have 2 playmates in Ottawa now! I'm so happy for you guys. Let us know if there is anything we can do to help! I'll be packing up some of Addie's 'gender neutral' clothes for your boys. But I still wanna go shopping... lol
Congrats guys. I wish you all the happiness in the world and I hope this goes smoothly and quickly for all of you! I really hope you travel next month and can have them home for their first Christmas!

Tracy Leech wrote at 1:08pm
Amazing!!!! That's so exciting!!
Congrats Woody and Sam!

Cyrilla Hillier wrote at 1:20pm
Congratulations on the news!!! I hope everything goes well for you all. In my thoughts and prayers.... what lucky babies!!! xo

Michelle Rice-Newhook wrote at 2:25pm
Congratulations on your new additions! You must be sooo excited.

Lori McKergow wrote at 3:10pm
That's awesome! Congrats guys... welcome to the weird, wonderful and tiring world of parenthood!

Paula Frankie Cooper wrote at 4:12pm
omg finally!! I am going to be an auntie!!!!! yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! I went off of facebook for awhile and I come back on and look twins!!!!

Uncle Guy Earle wrote at 5:45pm
holy crap...
no crap....
they are my birthday brothers!
auntie andrea sends her love and congrats too

Kathryn McKenna wrote at 6:52pm
Samantha, your boys are beautiful! I'm so very happy for you and Woody. Good luck with your travels - hope all goes well.

Woody is thinking all of us Oords will make an interesting "O" zone... 6:53pm

Rebecca wrote at 7:28pm
Congrats Wood-man! You guys are going to be awesome parents!!! Can I be the one to teach the boys how to do puzzles and higher physics equations?

November 17
Samantha is thanking Aunti Mari for the delicious dinner (and lunch)! 8:20am

Kathy Radisch wrote at 3:23pm
Congratulations! Your boys are beautiful!

Carla Vollmecke wrote at 4:10pm
OH MY GOD - where have I been??? Where have you been?? I'm crying Sam.
can' type - crying. best wishes, love and free advice forever.

Samantha is filling out paperwork and then shopping! 5:26pm

Jill Osmond Lunnen wrote at 8:38pm
Two of everything? Should be fun. Congratulations and best wishes!

November 19
Samantha is thinking of her babies on their 4-month birthday. 3:56pm

Shana wrote at 4:15pm
awww....happy 4 month birthday to the sweet lil Oord-lings :)

Stephanie wrote at 1:20pm
I'm going to blow out two candles 2nite!!!

November 20
Erin & Adelaide wrote at 10:01am
Can't wait for you guys to get your babies! I keep telling Addie that she'll have 2 playmates in Ottawa now... she's super excited... not that she understands but she picks up on my excitement!

November 21
Samantha is introducing Vanh Frank Oord and Maxem Earle Oord

Rhiannon Boyd wrote at 8:01am
Your babies are beautiful!!! I can't wait to meet them!!! Congrats to you and Woody! Two very deserving people!!

November 22
Samantha is excited about shopping.

Nicole Delaney wrote at 1:28pm
How exciting for you both! Congrats you are going to have such a wonderful Christmas this year!!!

Wanda Head wrote at 7:28pm
congrats on your boys, they are beautiful..twins are fun, lots of work but fun!!Mine are 11 now,they grow up soooooo fast!!I hope you soon have them to hold forever!

November 23
Samantha is collecting baby & kid stuff for the orphanage.

Patrick Calnan wrote at 9:11pm
Hey Samantha... just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of congratulations. Bundles of joy indeed. Cheers!

Heidi Hutchings Kays wrote at 8:27am
Samantha! - They are beautiful - when will you all be together? Where are they? So many questions :)

November 29
Samantha is making sure there is shopping somewhere in her busy day

November 30
Samantha is done decking the halls.

December 1
Francesca L'Orfano wrote at 7:52pm
Gosh they're beautiful! When do you expect to travel?

December 2
Samantha wrote at 7:50am
I find all I want to do it think about them, or go on the computer and talk about them, (Hello); they get worked into every conversation. I spend a ridiculous amount of time doing things like Googling their orphanage name or looking at where they are on Google satellite maps. If I try to go shopping for something (ie groceries, Christmas presents) I end up buying baby things. I respond to people's requests and the lack of follow through on my own obligations with a big smile and my latest news or thoughts - thankfully they all seem to understand. I am the happiest I have ever been so far in my life.

Samantha is needing to shop as she just found out she may be able to send Christmas presents to her boys !

For Vanh:

For Max:

December 3
Samantha is hoping everyone is understanding when all she wants to talk about during Parent-Teacher Interviews is HER children.

First Post

Welcome to our blog.

When we got married in 2002 we wanted children right away and had already chosen adoption if nature didn't cooperate. We started the adoption process in the fall of 2006.

On November 12, 2008 we received word that we had been matched with twin boys from Vietnam. They are 3 months old in these photos.

We are currently waiting for our invitation to travel to Vietnam.

(Update: We left for Vietnam 3 months and 1 day after our referral)