Tuesday, May 26, 2009


We were invited to a picnic by our adoption agency with "a delegation from Vietnam"... we were very excited to find this included "our" orphanage director and other staff we had met in Vietnam, as well as all the staff from our agency that we had not met in person! We got to ask who was born first (Anh means older brother, we were right). It was also great to see the other adoptive families we know, and to meet a new one.

PS More photos on Aimée's blog

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Facebook update

For earlier updates click here

April 15, 2009
Samantha is very happy to find out she can extend her leave to June 2010 without losing her right-of-return to her school!

Samantha is finished with the credit card, problem solved thanks to https://www.punkbabyclothes.net/

April 17
Samantha is uhoh... http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/04/13/mothers.internet.addiction/index.html

April 24
Samantha is experiencing very cranky but well-vaccinated babies

Samantha is wondering how to tell the new neighbours they need to stop having parties on the balcony under the babies' room?

April 25
Samantha is happy to announce cranky no-nap babies sleep for 11 hours at night

Samantha is listening to more Raffi thanks to Tracy

April 26
Samantha is guess who has 11 teeth?!

April 27
Samantha is learning to keep credit cards away from the computer

April 30
Samantha is liking this Mommy thing

Samantha is considering cutting her own hair again

Samantha wants visitors to come back more - what should I be doing to entice them?

May 1
Samantha is thinking you can never have too many crib sheets

May 2
Samantha is wondering where and how to hang this outdoor baby swing?

May 5
Samantha is trolling for visitors...

May 6
Samantha took almost 100 photos of the boys playing in a tub of water and thinks you want to see them all

May 8
Samantha is thinking there is no cuter sound than 2 babies laughing

May 9
Samantha is wondering what to say when people ask if her twins are identical

May 11
Samantha is needing more visitors (except during nap time)

May 13
Samantha is hoping this devil's-food cake with fudge icing will help her entice visitors so she can get a shower

Samantha is still lonely and unwashed but at least I have cake

May 16
Samantha is 14 teeth, ouch

May 17
Samantha is happy, happy, happy! (Daddy has 3 days off)

May 19
Samantha is http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=2280395&l=242c60f0c3&id=567817084

May 24
Samantha is enjoying the best of all worlds

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy 10 month birthday!

It will be 3 months tomorrow that we've been together.
How lucky I am to realize how quickly this time goes so I can appreciate every moment.

Not a lot has changed this month... they can now sit up by themselves and are getting around more. They still don't "pull up", I can see some changes coming when they do...

They also have more syllables (ba, muh, va, uh) and seem to have more understood words (mostly food related)

Monday, May 18, 2009

Geocaching in the Gatineaus

Daddy's favourite rompers

Look! I can break this with my bare hands!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Best babies

I have written a post about post-adoption blues which I will publish later, once my desire to help others overcomes my embarrassment. If you are a typical adoptive parent you will already know what I mean.

To balance it I have to talk about how lucky we are, how the word blessed has real meaning when you think about your children, how impossible it has become not to believe in God, in a force from nature that never gives you more than you can handle and believes in you. It is apparently common for new-adoptive Moms to wonder if God didn't give them children for a reason, as they struggle with their new role. I have to say I've never doubted that my children came to me from God. When I told my Grade 3 students why I would be leaving them, one little girl waited until all the others had left to get their lunches and then she leaned forward and said, very quietly, "Mrs. Haines, why didn't you pray to God for a baby?"
"Oh I did," I replied, "And here they are!"

They are lovely babies. They really make it easy to have two. They are patient a lot of the time, okay some of the time, but really how can babies be expected to be patient? They almost always go down together, so that the rare time when just one is awake it's fun to be able to lavish attention. They pretty much sleep from 7:30pm to 6:30am, then 10-12 and 3-4. They play for a good hour at a time (about 15 minutes independently. They like the stroller and usually settle in the car seat (once we're moving). They really like riding around stores in shopping carts. None of this applies when they are teething, but that only lasts a day or so. They are adorably cute.

They do eat sand. I read somewhere not to worry if a baby eats sand, they will try it once but will quickly discover it is not food. Not my babies, they shovel it in like it's cereal. Maybe the sand at our park tastes good or something.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I have to start by saying I DO NOT have post-adoption depression, or any sort of problem. I was just wondering - why do I sometimes want my babies to be asleep more than I want them to be awake? And why does my husband keep complaining about missing his "old" life? Aren't we deliriously happy?

I've read a lot of blogs by parents of children adopted (or born) from years to months ago, and the one thing I've noticed is they all talk about the great joy and happiness their child has brought; best thing/ meaning of life, understand love now, etc etc. All I can say is, if bringing this creature that mostly makes loud noises and demands things into your home, completely taking over your life and making you tired and unable to do the fun stuff you used to do, not to mention taking all your money and completely changing your personality - if all of those changes bring you joy, then your life must have been pretty boring before. In fact, if you were such a boring person that losing your life brings you nothing but happiness, I wonder if you should be a parent. I mean, we had a good life. Two incomes, no debt, lots of disposable income, hobbies, friends, and the ability to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted, outside of the work week. Why would we be delighted about losing all that?

If I were waiting to adopt, and reading this, I would be gasping in horror that this terrible person was allowed to have children. But the truth is, I am not alone. In fact, according to some research


the majority of adoptive parents experience some ambivalence.

I hope you can appreciate how hard it is to share this publicly. But I think it's very important for people to know this, even if (like me) you are reading this and not really bothering to register it because you know you would never feel like this!

"When I first heard the term, post adoption depression syndrome (PADS), it seemed like a paradox. After all, once the paperwork, home study, waiting and expenses, (not to mention the stress) were over, wouldn't the moment of finally holding one's baby be a time of rejoicing? For many it is, but, for some it's not, and instead they experience post adoption depression. This reaction may catch people off guard, especially when it can't be explained by hormones, as is the case with postpartum depression."


I'm sure, too, there really are lots of new parents who never ever feel anything but complete bliss every second of every day - we don't need to hear from you, your blogs are easy to find!

Anyway, I just wanted to link those articles because I found they made me feel better. That is not to say there isn't real joy around here most of the time!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Desparately Seeking San José

Vanh is drowning in darling baby Habs clothing, but dear Maxem has naught but a Sharks lanyard. If anyone that lives near us happens upon 2nd-hand baby/ toddler stuff for our little San José Sharks fan, we would reimburse you, plus shipping of course.(We've decided no more ordering from the States for a while.)

Friday, May 8, 2009

Take Me Out...

Beginning of the End

We got our match (referral) November 12, 2008, when our boys were not yet 4 months old. Until that day we had not seriously entertained the idea of twins (does anyone?) and our adoption social worker, or Adoption Practitioner (AP) advised us that the Ontario Ministry wanted us to do some research. So I got to work and quickly discovered that best (only?!) sources of information were blogs written by other parents who had adopted twins of about the same age. I thought it was pretty weird that these people would put all this personal and private information out there for anyone to read, when they could easily set up their blog for viewing by invitation only. Weird or not, they sure had a lot to say, and I quickly realized that the mix of experiences was what I needed to hear in order to bring home the overall lesson that every child and experience is different and the most important thing to expect is the unexpected. Once this was combined with the very meaningful and educational experience that was our Homestudy (Our AP did her role perfectly and I would highly recommend her to PAPs who really want to learn) we were much better prepared.

I never thought I would be one of those weird public blog people, but I realized that my experiences too were important to add to the mix, for the next person looking for information about adopting twins. The standard adoption stuff doesn't work for us in some ways. For example, unless you have arranged for two parents to be off work for a substantial amount of time, and another two to come by every day to help out, and none of you ever have to answer the phone or use the bathroom, you will have to let a baby cry longer than you want to.

Something that nagged me from the beginning was the idea of posting the boys' photos out there for anyone to see (and download). Especially when they were still in Vietnam and some nut could have easily tracked them down. Especially now as I see how many people end up on this blog by surfing the phrase "Beautiful Boys". But I did it because in the beginning they needed strength, and I believe all of you strangers and friends who read about them and thought good thoughts and sent prayers made them well. And I do it now because I know for every weirdo there are hundreds of beautiful souls reading this, sending love, peace, health and happiness to my children.

So, it makes me sad that I won't be posting photos of the babies here for much longer. Definitely not once they're a year old. Facebook works so much better for photos and privacy, and I don't mind the directed ads...

Where was I? I keep getting called away from this blog, and then forgetting what I was trying to say when I left. Another reason to give this up - time and focus better spent, and all that.

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

More May flowers

Thanks to Aimée for the high tech water station idea!

Oh, and if you are a new parent and thinking this looks like a good idea - it is, just be sure you have a pile of towels, dry diapers, and a change of clothes nearby before you begin.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Questions and Comments

Are they twins?
If you have twins, near twins, or 2 children within a few years of each other, you know what I mean. It's funny that even though I get tired of hearing this question 100 million times a day, I still can't stop myself from asking when I see someone else with a double stroller.

Must be a handful!?
Variations include references to how busy they keep me or how exhausted I must be. The thing is, I don't find twins harder than one baby. I've never had one baby, so how would I know? I don't find there are too many diapers, or too much mess, or too many bottles to make. I am old enough to know how quickly time passes; when you are raising children what you are complaining about today is gone tomorrow and I want to enjoy every minute I can. So please don't tell me you are glad you are not me. You should be so lucky!

There is one unique thing about raising twins that I find difficult, and that is when they both want to be held at the same time. It is heartbreaking to see a baby crying for his Mommy when his Mommy is busy, and with two this happens way more often than you want. Can someone please explain why both parents don't get parental leave for twins?

Are they identical?
The truth is, we don't know, but this is not really what you want to say. To me they look more alike every day, but my eyesight could be going. I guess the best response is "What do you think?"

Which one came first?
Why is this so important to everyone? You would not believe how many times I get asked this. Anh means older brother and Em means younger brother, so that would be an answer. I like "They both came at the same time," no-one has asked me to elaborate yet.

What heritage is their father?
I wish I had the nerve to say "Dutch" and leave it at that. But truthfully, I don't mind sharing. I'm proud they're adopted from Vietnam and happy to have an excuse to talk about how wonderful they are.

Something that surprises me is how often I hear how lucky I am. A few years ago, upon seeing children adopted from Asia people would exclaim how lucky they (the children) were. We were prepared to respond to such comments by explaining that is it us (the parents) that are the lucky ones. I guess a lot of parents have been doing a lot of explaining, because most people in Ottawa upon finding out they are adopted twins tell us (the parents) that we are really lucky to get twins.

We still get asked if we were expecting twins. Some are curious as to whether we had a choice - after all, parents of birthed twins don't get a choice. Well, to adopt as an Ontarian not only do you have to request twins, but you have to do extra research to demonstrate that you know what you are getting into and that you don't just have some romantic ideal of what twins are (as if anyone would want twins without a good dose of romantic idealism...). However, the chances pf being matched with twins are still very small, so if it happens to you you feel like you've won the lottery. Even then the agency (or at least our agency) still gives you a choice - you can say no, I am not prepared for twins, and you will be returned to your "place" on the waiting list and matched to a single child. So adopting twins is something you really have to want in order for it to happen, and something you feel incredibly lucky to have happen to you.

Those questions and comments are generally from strangers. What true friends and family will ask is
What do you need? (and most will mean it). Since you will be operating on double baby brain and will not be able to provide a coherent answer, here are some suggestions - These may apply to any new parent, or possibly just to me and not to other parents of twins, but I thought I would share:
1) Visitors
2) milk chocolate
3) cleaning service
4) Heinz whole grain brown rice snacks
5) new broom
6) new floor
7) hand and face cream
8) ultra-light double jogging stroller with high handlebar, big wheels, and fixed or swivel option on front wheel
9) money
10) nice weather

Friday, May 1, 2009

Happy May Day!

Which one is your favourite?