~ Leap Of Faith ~

The Collins Family

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Collin's Family Update

I can't believe that we are in the heat of the summer and that July is almost over. We have been enjoying the warm weather and as a family have been spending days at the lake, the swimming pool and letting the girl's talk us in to pulling out the slip-n-slide.

Addy has grown-up from a baby and has definitely hit the toddler stage. A couple of weeks ago she figured out how to pee-pee in the potty. Yay, she is a big girl now! It was a proud moment for her to get to go to Wal-mart and pick out her own "Big Girl" panties. She settled on Dora and My Little Pony undies. Jaidyn has been very adamant about me not letting Addy wear any of hers as one day I put a pair of her panties on Addy and she had a #2 accident in them. Jaidyn was truly disgusted and I can't say that I blame her. Jaidyn is now on panty patrol making sure that I don't do that again. Addy has also began to say so many more words and phrases. I think her favorite phrase has become "I don't wanna go to bed!". Even though I wish her sentences could be more positive, I am impressed that as a 2 year old she is stringing together 6 words at a time. Now that Addy has hair, she loves having her hair in a ponytail with a cute hair bow. Most nights she won't even let me take it out to sleep and that is the hair bow included.

Jaidyn continues to love being the center of attention and is fearless. We can talk her into trying about anything. She loves going to the lake. Jaidyn runs off of the dock and jumps out as far as she can. She also likes to do cannonballs and cartwheels off the dock. This past weekend she even went tubing and loved every minute of it. Jaidyn has also earned the nickname, "Triple J" aka Jabber Jaws Jaidyn. This weekend we witnessed her sitting outside with her Papa Dave for about 20 minutes and it was a complete one-sided conversation. Car rides with her can be quite exhausting with all of her "How Come? and Why?" questions. And she never settles for our "Just Because" answers. She has decided that she doesn't need to take naps anymore. She will go to all means to get out of taking a nap. She will lie down with me and usually I am the one who ends up falling asleep. She has more energy than anyone I know. She has also figured out how to rhyme and is constantly giving us words that rhyme. They worked on this in preschool last year and she was always coming to me with words that were associated with each other, but they never rhymed. And then one day it all just clicked. She is so excited for preschool to start up again in September.


Two Peas In A Pod


Wes has been working tons of extra hours. His zone is down to 3 people so he works many days by himself. On his two required days off each week, he usually wants to spend them at the lake. He has recently bought tickets to see the upcoming Missouri University and Illinois football game and is excited about spending the weekend in St. Louis with the guys.

As for me, I am enjoying the hot summer weather. I don't necessarily like excessive heat, but will take it any day over cold weather. I love the summertime!

And just a little update on our adoption. Last week, I got a little bit of an update from our agency. So far they have placed 17 children from the Philippines with families this year. That number is normal and on pace with the average number of children placed. The last few families have only waited approximately 9 months for a referral. The time frame that was given to us as an average wait was 12-15months. We are in month 8 now of waiting as we were officially placed on the adoption list by the ICAB board in the Philippines in December of 2007. It is exciting that the wait time has seemed to decrease some, but then there are still some families that were approved in February and June of 2007 who still do not have referral. We also received an email awhile back stating that waiting time has increased to possibly 2 or more years. However, this was for families that were being approved in 2008, so it looks like we may have barely squeezed in and will hopefully receive our referral much sooner than that.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Travel Tips To Manila, Philippines

I like to get on the Yahoo Philippines Adoption Board from time to time. I found this post from a woman who recently adopted domestically from the Philippines. She had some travel tips for all of us who will one-day travel to meet our child.


"i live in manila, we did domestic adoption last year. my husband
and i were in limbo of whether to take the adoption plunge and my
discovery of this support group was the exact push we needed to begin
our adventure in parenthood.
> to those beginning their adoption research, let me assure you that
this group is a gold mine of information, suggestions and a veritable
source of moral support. i may not have endured the same 2-year wait
as a lot of you have/had but the local adoption process also had us
going through the eye of a needle. i sure can relate to the fears,
nightmares, hopes and dreams of PAPs.
> lurking through the mails, i wish to offer my usual sporadic
suggestions based on my travels and experiences here with foster
families, orphanages and tips from social workers:
> 1. CONTACT BEFORE TRAVEL - i am told one of the best gifts you can
send before your meeting is a thick photo album of your family made
to look like a picture book -- this way your child's foster parents
and caregivers can use it as a tool to introduce you to your child
and create some sense of familiarity. i saw caregivers using them
during day care with the kids in their laps and them saying this is
your daddy, this is your mommy blowing you a kiss, this is big sister
waving at you, look there is your house. it works better than a video
because its always handy ( the caregivers may not always have access
to the video player,etc.), the kids get to regularly touch and kiss
the faces on the photos and caregivers like it because it helps them
also detach from the child and lessen the separation pains.
> 2. DOUBLE BEDS IN HOTELS NEAREST AIRPORT - if you want hotels in
relative proximity to the airport this means hotel addresses in the
following cities: Pasay, Makati, Manila (roxas blvd and remedios area
only) and Quezon City (only up to Ortigas and Greenhills area) in
Metro Manila. Double beds or queen size beds are usually de rigeur in
deluxe hotels (eg Intercon, room rates $100up), but then it gets iffy
when hotels go down the budget lane. Bringing family? consider
condotels where you can cook and do the laundry. I find
tripadvisor.com and traveltipid.com useful for such info.
> 3. TRAFFIC UPDATE - Believe it or not, the roads (in Metro Manila
at least) are abnormally easing up of late. Call it the silver
lining of rising gas prices, traffic officials noted a 10% decrease
in traffic with more people using the MRT and car pooling. So you may
still to choose a cheaper hotel relatively farther from the airport
or city center and still catch your flight.
> Cebu City's roads, however, are still choked so do follow the
locals' advice on travel time to the Mactan airport on the other
island. The nice thing about most Cebu hotels is the hotel shuttle
service (some are free of charge) which you should use to ensure on-
time travel.
> 4. AIRPORT TAXIS AND TIPS - the airports have new metered taxis but
i always take the coupon taxis which has fixed rates per area of the
city depending on the distance from the airport. this way i still get
safe and good service and i don't have to haggle for rates or worry
about over or under paying. depending on distance and how much
luggage you have with you, tipping is usually from $2 up.
> 5. TRAVELING SOON? - Anyone with travel dates from july to october -
- best bring an umbrella or a light water repellant jacket. we are
now in the monsoon season, and a wetter than usual one these days.
The up side of this is this is also the time for the best low-season
travel deals especially with hotels and domestic airlines. so it's a
good time to bargain hunt if you want to do some side trips other
than ICAB and the child care centers.
> 6. THE WAIT - please do not be discouraged with the long wait for
philippine adoptions. on hindsight i finally understood why the ICAB
people and the like have to be thorough given the challenges they
face processing your cases. but you will see why it is worth it as
soon as you see your child's face.
> i remember what the orphanage director told me when i held my baby
for the first time: it is not you who chooses your child, but it is
actually your child who has chosen you."

Color Hunt (Green)

Addy will be attending preschool one day a week starting in September. We have been working on learning our colors like crazy. We read lots of color themed books and also talk about what colors things are throughout the day. For some reason, Addy is stuck on Blue. Everything is "Blue". At least she knows it is a color word and associates it with the color of something. So today, we went on a "Green" Color Hunt. I found this idea on the Chasing Cherrios blog. This SAHM works with her 2-year old on preschool stuff daily and has lots of creative teaching ideas. Jaidyn, Addy and I walked through the house finding things that were green. Jaidyn took off through the house and found her own items. She couldn't wait for me to bring her dress-up box down from the top portion of the closet so she could put the Tinkerbell dress on. Addy continued to call everything that I picked up blue and then I would repeat green. By the end of the color hunt, she was saying green, but when I picked up a purple shampoo bottle and asked her what color it was, she said "Green". AAGGHH! Oh well, Addy had fun toting her items around the house and making a green lego figure that she called her dinosaur. We ended the hunt outside and took a picture no place better than on the GREEN grass under the GREEN leaf tree.


Jaidyn already has plans for going on a "Red" color hunt tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

We Pray For Children

I found this writing on another blog, My Journey Back to Manila and it continues to touch my heart everytime I read it. Just wanted to pass it along and share it with everyone.


We Pray for Children

We pray for children who put chocolate fingers everywhere, who like to be tickled, who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants, who sneak popsicles before supper, who erase holes in math workbooks, who never can find their shoes....

And we pray for those who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire, who can't bounce down the street in a new pair of sneakers, who never "counted potatoes," who are born in places we wouldn't be caught dead, who never go to the circus, who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions, who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish, who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money, who cover themselves with Band-Aids and sing off key, who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink, who slurp their soup....

And we pray for those who never get dessert, who have no safe blanket to drag behind them, who watch their parents watch them die, who can't find any bread to steal, who don't have any rooms to clean up, who pictures are not on anyone's dresser, whose monsters are real...

We pray for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday, who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food, who like ghost stories, who shove dirty clothes under the bed and never rinse out the tub, who love visits from the tooth fairy, who don't like to be kissed in front of the school bus, who squirm in church and scream in the phone....

And we pray for those whose nightmares come in the daytime, who will eat anything, who have never seen a dentist, who aren't spoiled by anybody, who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep, who live and move, but have no being.

We pray for children who want to be carried, for those who must, for those we never give up on, for those who don't have a second chance, for those we smother....and those who will grab the hand of anyone kind enough to offer it.

~ Ina J Hughes

Sunday, July 13, 2008

We'll Be Dancin'!


A few weekends ago we celebrated the marriage of my Cousin Sally and her husband Damian near Kansas City. The wedding was beautiful, gorgeous weather and it was perfect ceremony. I loved her pink color choice and all of the Lily flowers. Jaidyn was a flower girl and loved getting to be a princess in pink for the day. As a gift from Sally, the flower girls received matching flower girl dresses for their dolls. Since the wedding, Jaidyn has been taking turns marrying her stuffed animals and dolls. Just recently, Lizzie (her doll) married the stuffed bear Corduroy.

We all had a fabulous time at the reception. We definitely danced the night away. Jaidyn and Addy spun circles and twirled for hours. Along with my sister, cousin and Aunt, I pretty much danced to about every song that was played...Chicken Dance, Cotton-Eye-Joe, Electric Slide, Cha Cha Slide and Dollar Dance. Wes and I even got to swing dance to a song. We really need to practice as we have forgotten a lot of it from our lessons this past winter.

Here are some of the pictures from the wedding and then a slide show. I had lots of pictures from the weekend!





The Wedding Slide Show

Monday, July 7, 2008

4th of July


We headed out-of-town and spent the 4th of July weekend with family on Wes's side. Despite the weather reports for rain, we had a beautiful weekend. We celebrated the weekend with yummy meals (once again Lauretta over-did herself), fantastic fireworks, and lot's of outdoor play. The holiday was filled with family, fun and time spent enjoying the simple things.

4th Of July Slide Show

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Stars and Stripes


The 4th of July is for America. And while our family primarily celebrates it with picnics, family gatherings, flags and fireworks I try to be mindful of how thankful we are for this great country and the freedom we have. I feel so blessed to live in the United States of America and I love to celebrate Independence Day. Most of all, I love the red, white, and blue of our flag and seeing it softly waving on so many people's porches and flagpoles. This day has impressed upon me the amount of sacrifice that my ancestors made to get me in this place. I also think about all the veterans in my life that came before me, some I know well and some that I will never know. I also pray for the safety of the men and women who are currently fighting for our freedom. Tomorrow, when I am enjoying the day with my family I want to remember that there are soliders (dads, moms, brothers, sisters, grandparents) out there fighting to give me this day. A day they are not spending with their family, a day they are not watching fireworks with their children, but a day when instead, they are fighting for my freedom.

I hope everyone has a great 4th of July holiday and that friends and family can come together and the happiness of the day is lasting. Display those stars and stripes proudly through the holiday weekend! Be safe!