Wednesday, February 29, 2012

29 things you have to know about adoption ( L E A P year!)

1.  adoption is magical in every way
2.  it is miracles come true.
3.  it is answers on prayers - 10 years worth of praying
4.  it is more than anything we every dreamed off
5.  it is true - children change your world! :-)

 6.  there are no co-incidences.  bella and kellen have the same surname.  we have 2 court orders. with both children, when i held their adoption court orders in my hands, I quickly opened the letter (because i knew what it said and just wanted to 'confirm') and read:

  '"According to the provisions of Section 242 of the Children's Act (Act No. 38 of 2005),  your adopted child is now for all purposes regarded as your child as if born to you and you are now for all purposes regarded as the parent  of the adopted child."

my eyes filled with tears and the emotion of really being their mama, pushes up to my throat, and i cry and laugh at once, experiencing how great our God is.

                                        first time we met kellen - he put his arms out to 'his daddy' to pick him up.
                                                                             instantly bonded, as if he knew.

7.  you don't 'need time to think about it'. just do it. it is huge and scary and amazing and challenging
and it is love.
8.  adoption is love.
9.  it is a journey. your journey.
10.  nobody really understands except fellow brave hearts going through the same process.
11.  you don't have to say anything. just love and smile and praise God.
12.  show up, and be there. be happy with us (them).
13.  the process is not that long. it takes time, but it is not that long. by the time that you realised you still need this document and that document, you've been so busy trying to be the most amazing mama, that time would have passed and your little ones will be 5 or 6 months older.
14.  from the time we heard of kellen, getting the adoption order and changing his surname to malan, was
5 months.
16. adoption is not tiring. parenting is. :-)
17.  there is no difference whether they came through my body or through adoption...after a hard day, i feel as if i have birthed them.
18.  as a parent, you 'forget' you adopted them.
19.  you think they look like you, you see similarities and you are in such awe of this awesome miracle that is a little boy and girl, that you forget that other people see the difference.
20.  adoption makes you feel loved.


20.  there are sad adoption stories too, but it doesn't need to be your story.
21.  people pity the children (maybe the parents too) when they hear they are adopted.
22.  adoption (and parenting) can be scary and uncertain.
23.  adoption (and parenting) can be bright and happy and absolutely the best thing in your life.
24.  adoption is not a big deal.
25.  it can be, but it's not. it depends on your social worker and where you are in your journey.
26.  adoption is awesome.
27.  adoption is life changing.
28.  adoption is a dream come true.
29.  it is taking a 'leap' into the unknown, it's taking a 'leap' into opening your heart, not half way, all the way, so big and wide that all you have for that little boy and girl, is love, it is taking a 'leap' into loving 'your' child (and yourself) with all that you have.

on this wednesday, this 'leap' day, the 29/02/2012, i sat in the home affairs office in somerset-west, with a court order in my hand, stating that this world  has just 'birthed' a baby girl (adn boy) into my(our) life. sitting alone, with little bella squeeling with joy, with only me knowing why i was there, i felt like any other parent waiting at home affairs to register their child's birth certificate. my heart felt overjoyed with emotion, filled with gratitude towards even just the possibility of adoption, in this moment i surrendered into love.

(surrendering into love for a*)

Saturday, February 25, 2012


“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins
[noun] a wild and exciting undertaking (not necessarily lawful)
escapade, risky venture, dangerous undertaking

Since Kellen was 18months old, I showed him maps of the world. I told him about all the 'adventures' we are going to go on and the far away places we are going to explore and discover. I told him stories of all the places we have been to and how i'm going to show him as much as possible of our beautiful world.

today we went to the airport to pick up his daddy.  early morning we had this conversation:

he: mommy, can we go earlier to walk around in the airport?
me: of course. do you want to walk around in the airport? that is a great idea.
he:  mommy, to fly is such a big adventure. i love adventure.
me: 'gasp'... my heart racing.. he understands... yay!!! he is going to be world traveller!
me:  yes, it is big adventure. mommy loves adventure too. and i love that you think of flying and travelling as an adventure.  just imagine all the places we are going to see... smell...experience...
he:  mommy, when can we fly again. i want to go to malaysia.

me:  be still my heart!

we are going to travel the world.
we are going to meet new people and experience how they live.
we are going to help people in other countries.
we are going to interact and learn from other cultures.
we will taste all their traditional foods.
we will drink their traditional drinks.
we will partake in this grand adventure that is life!

Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.

Anais Nin

Monday, February 20, 2012

how to love 24/7*

open your heart
               i dare you.

"She followed slowly, taking a long time,
as though there were some obstacle in the way;
and yet: as though, once it was overcome,
she would be beyond all walking, and would fly."

   - from Going Blilnd,
      Rainer Maria Rilke
  (translated by Stephen Mitchell)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

tips on 'how to ignore grief' *

Happy birthday mom. We love you xx

1.  what grief?
2.  smile.
3.  stay busy. 
4.  act as if you don't have time for yourself. 
5.  ignore any other birthdays/anniversaries of friends/family who have died...
6.  'forget' special dates
7.  definitely don't speak to your siblings.
8.  don't phone your dad.
9.  act strong.
10. put a cheer in your voice.
11. smile when someone phones you.
12. don't phone anyone.
13. change the subject when they get too close for comfort.
14. don't cry. jump up and do something totally different... like cleaning something.
15. breath deeply... and even deeper.
16. don't look in the mirror at yourself. you'll see straight through your masks.
17. celebrate something.
18.  have a picnic.
18.  be ruthless and wild (total give-away!)
20.  keep on telling yourself 'i'm ok' :-)
21. on a second note, don't answer any phone calls.

PS: tomorrow will be part 2 of the grieving thing..hehe

PPS: 3rd birthday of my mom since she died

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

how to love 24/7

How would YOU love 24/7?
Can one love 24/7?
What is 24/7?
Being present, what's that?
Being present is the equivalent of loving 24/7.

24/7 |ˈtwentēˌfôr ˈsevən| (also 24-7)
adverb informaltwenty-four hours a day, seven days a week; all the time you just can't afford to let things get you down,especially when you are on call 24/7.
it means to love all the time... is that at all possible? to love being aware that you are loving? i believe you can and this is how to love 24/7:  

Watch something extraordinary! 

Spoil yourself with a package with YOUR name on it, 
(from Amazon...) 

believe in a better world

always have little umbrellas to celebrate 
this ordinary extraordinary day. 

get wet, laugh & take a photo. 

light candles... celebrate beautiful summer evenings
celebrate love... 

Grow something

Get messy. 

Make flapjacks, stack them so high that they tumble over. 

(most important):  Open your heart! 

Go to a wedding. 

Take family photos in the mirror.

Cut and paste hundreds of hearts for every mirror 
in your home. Love yourself too. 

Sit, close your eyes, smile and let them draw on your face. 
(It washes off easily). 

Love with ever fibre in your body. Forget about everything else, 
in this moment, you open your heart and you love. 


Monday, February 13, 2012

14 tips on savoring THIS moment*

1.  open your eyes & move slower
2.  look around you
3.  when something 'catch' your eye, sit down
4.  watch (them) it
5.  keep still
6.  smile
7.  touch your heart...take it all in
8.  keep on watching...wanting to touch and feel (them) it
9.  'thinking' you want to 'remember' THIS moment for ever
10. jump up and get a camera..anything that can shoot a photo
11. remind yourself to do it quietly
12. snap...snap...snap...
13. continue your day with a smile on your face, a warmth in your heart and memory that you can go back to when ever you need to s l o w d o w n.
14. treasure (them) / it / your life.

Friday, February 10, 2012


This is our first baby, our first child, our son that we prayed for and hoped for for so many years.  This is the boy that filled my heart.  This is the boy that God chose to gift us with to raise, to love, to teach and to comfort. This is the boy that calls me mommy, the little boy that loves to cuddle and giggle and kiss and tickle.  He made me a mommy.

This is also the most amazing big brother.

This is a five year old boy. A little five year old boy who is currently struggling with having to share his mommy and daddy with a little sister.  It's a boy who don't understand that he will always be our first born, that nobody can take the space he has in my heart.  This is a little boy that would rather say 'he is just tired', than to say he misses his mommy kissing him until we fall down from all the giggles, who would rather say 'he is tired', than to ask his mommy to play with him.

I am the mommy. The one that thought he was doing 'ok' with the new sister, that he was 'accommodating' having to share all the attention and love. I am the mommy that saw how he withdrew, that saw this coming, but did nothing about it. I am that mommy. 

On Monday and Wednesday morning Kellen started to cry when I dropped him off at the school, which was unusal him... he cannot wait to get to school in the mornings, to see his friends and his teacher, but this last week things were different for him. I sensed it had something to do with me, his sister, us... i waited....for? For him to guide me to the answer, which I already knew. 

After picking him up at school, he started crying because the tuckshop was closed. I thought 'here we are, ideal time for staylistening '.  We got in the car, I put him on my lap, put him in a position where he cannot hurt me and continuing saying 'i love you, i will always be here for you, i will always be your mommy, you will always be my first baby, i love you'.

The first 20 minutes did not go smoothly as he was very angry and upset.  I tried to hold him and rock him, but he was fighting and screaming 'i don't love you, i'm not your son anymore'.  I continued to say 'i love you, i'm always going to be your mama, i love you'.  At one stage i let go of holding him so tightly, where he bend down and bit my hand... he was lashing out, trying to hit me and kick me', i've never seen him so angry. (in the back of my mind i always knew one day or another this is going to happen')

After about 35 minutes of holding him, reassuring him of my love for him, he said it.  (my heart still breaks just thinking about it).  'you were my mommy and daddy first, i was your first baby. i don't like you, or daddy or bella, i don't want a sister. i want to be your only child'.  Through all this talking he was still fighting me physically and trying to losen the grip.  It was so sweet / sad...while i'm reassuring him of my love, he kept on saying i must stop saying i love him, i keep repeating myself and he has heard that before. And i must please not stroke his arm, he wants to sit by himself, and he does not want to listen to me.

This post is like spilling my guts, or hanging the laundry out..hehe... anybody who saw me these last 5 months first question was always 'how is kellen handling having a little sister'.  My answer would always be the same: 'fantastic, he loves her and wants to play with her all the time. I don't know why everyone is asking me the same question'.  (in the back of my mind i knew it was coming..).

i believe in honesty, in telling my story so that i can help other parents.  Whether your children are born from you or adopted, they (the children) are all the same, and go through the same things.  He wants attention, I have to give it to him... I have to learn how to balance it, make sure that i make time for him alone.

Was it not for the staylistening , i would have felt in my gut something is going on, but i think i would have left it, because life goes on and 'i did try talking to him'. (the easy way out).

Dear Mommy & Daddy,

When your child starts crying over something little/silly, go sit with them, hold them, tell them how much you love them and that you will always be there for them. Your child needs to hear that, he/she needs a platform where he/she is able to express how they feel without judgement, without telling them it is going to be ok, you are going to get through it.  Please go read more about staylistening on their website (right here ). When they cry, don't send them to the bathroom/room and tell them to finish crying... there is always some emotion that have to come out. Through listening, and really being there, you can help your child work through their emotions from an early age, teaching them to reach out to you, that you are their safe place, instead of teaching them to hide their feelings and to just move on.

Where does this leave me now? 1-on-1 time with him every day without his little sister. Giving him 'all of me'. I know you know and I know...but we don't realise that it is actually happening.  Call it jealousy, tantrums, anger...whatever.  He wants and needs my love, he needs to know that I'm always going to be his mommy too (first).

The touch of someone we love calms, soothes and decreases stress.  When someone is in physical or emotional pain, we move toward them with physical expressions of warmth and comfort.  Clearly, touch is an important channel of communication and a vital mechanism of human bonding.

Louis Cozolino in The Neuroscience of Human Relationships: Attachment and the Developing Social Brain

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

tips on living life (and playing catch-up)*

Let's start this post with a VERY HAPPY smile... 
Good day, my name is Lin and I'm trying to play catch up 
being a mama to 2 children, a wife to one husband (hehe), 
a business woman (to myself) and an entrepeneur (to prove to myself that i can really do it all). 
Then I'm not even speaking about my other parts...sister, friend, daughter, domestic goddess (!), 
lover of life (this is for my brother..hehe)... 

I've been wanting to sit down and take different events/days in our lives and write about it. And puff... it's February. I realised it is never going to happen, so instead I'm being honest with myself (and you) and am going to give you a peek into our lives these last few months.  Let's see... enjoy the ride and take note of the tips... (insert big smile here...) 

Smile to strangers, your husband, look your children in their eyes..and smile.... 
We've been living in 'happy'....giggles, laughter, a few tears (because my mom always says 
'van lekker lag kom lekker huil')... living in extreme love 

Watch the sun rise & listen how the world comes to life. 
We've been watching the sun rise...seeing that our little girl wakes up at 5:30.... but it was only a thing...the mama has found the trick... and now she is sleeping until 07:30...magical... 
we've been living the magic (happening) in our life...

Love every season.
We've been seeking out the blue skies of this absolute perfect summer! 
We've been outside, embracing the heat and loving every drop of sweat... 

Climb that mountain, come-on! you can do it! 
We've been climbing our own mountains.... Kellen started EC2 in his school, 
Bella is sitting and crawling.... for the adults...normal stuff like balancing the cheque book, 
balancing time with the family, sneeking in me-time :-) and trying to get more hours of sleep :-) 

Spend time with YOUR wife/husband & children. 
Family outings are as important as 'me-time'. With our beautiful weather we've been 
spending lots of time at the beach walking and playing and laughing...
treasuring every moment we have together.... 

Find love. 
Love find us everywhere! Every day, every hour.
We and 'Love' have became best friends. 

Be courageous & funny. 
To truly grow within ourselves, we have to face the daily challenges with 
courage and humor. this photo Bella is tasting some new form of food... 
as you can see definitely not her favorite.... 

Go for a walk. Get out of your head.
Every day is a good day to go for a walk...make it beautiful.  
Look for the beauty in every step and treasure it... 

Challenge yourself... 
i dare you.

Be kind to yourself. 
Wrap yourself up in love...
Don't be so hard on yourself. 
You can try again tomorrow. 

for no reason. 
Get balloons, blow them up, play with them and then... 
then jump on them and burst it! 
Yell and giggle. 

Don't look too far ahead. 
Only focus on the now. 
Here, right here, is more than enough. 

Look for the beauty & say thank you.
There are 2 roads that I can drive to Kellen's school. 
I choose the 10minute longer one... 
for it's beauty... it reminds me that we live in the most beautiful country, 
i love the mountains, the winelands, the blue skies... 
i feel grateful & happy. 

Be innovative. 
Try new things. If you wonder about something, experiment and try something else. 
Don't just except an answer. Question and question some more. 
But keep in mind that sometimes the answer can just be: it is what it is.  

Surround yourself with people that inspire you.  Make a mess. Clean up. 
Spend time with friends that really 'sees you'.  
Have fun. Be honest. Open your home for them.

Look people in their eyes when they speak to you. It's good manners. 
Be proud of who you are.  

Pick strawberries. 
It's such fun. And so hot. 
You'll be grateful. With every bite into that delicious strawberry you will be so proud of yourself, 
for picking it yourself, for 'trying something new', for doing it. 

Exercise (or play on your bed). (hehe) 

Be different. 
Be courageous and try something new... 
the new hairstyle, the new dance style, that dress you always wanted to have...
go out and do it. Even if it means your brother has to encourage you all the way. 

Make a mess. 
Clean it, don't clean it. Stop trying to be so perfect. You have permission to 
let loose and do something outrageous! 

NOW is the perfect time. 
Don't wait for 'one day' to do something...if you hear the whisper... do it. 

Be proud of who you are. 
Lift your chinny-chin-chin (like Kellen would say)  and say loud and clear 
'I am ..... and I'm proud of who I am'. 

Get a different view/opinion. 
Sometimes you are in your head too much and your vision get blurred. 
It takes one person to give you a new perspective. 
It's great, try it. 

let someone take care of you.
you are so loved. 

Rest in the knowledge that you are love(d).
Love someone... love yourself.  

Stand in your power. 
know who you are. 
watch a sunset. 
embrace life.