Thursday, August 30, 2012

i live & love with my WHOLEHEART*

''Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion and connection to wake up in the morning and think. No matter what gets done and how much is left undone, I am enough.  It's going to bed at night thinking, Yes, I am imperfect and vulnerable and sometimes afraid, but that doesn't change the truth that I am also worthy of love and belonging.''    (The gifts of Imperfection - Brene Brown) 

''At the heart of Wholeheartedness:  Worthy now. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now.  Right this minute. As is.''  (The gifts of Imperfection - Brene Brown)

* This amazing woman also wrote this and this book

* You can find her here .. she is honest, speaking her truth, which is our truths, openly beautifully.

YOU, yes you, are worthy!  

Saturday, August 25, 2012

4 magical years your mama*

i was just looking through my old blog and came across this post  which captured the magic of the first few days that kellen came to live with us. he was 18 months old... such a sweetie. 

he was one of the easiest toddlers... always busy running and jumping and climbing and was laughing often.  i remember i did not have a clue as to what to do or what to give him to eat and wished my mom was with me.

hehe... i remember when it was 12 o'clock and i put him down for his nap, that i thought phew! now it's downhill to bedtime...hehe... this little rascal was busy!

he is soft hearted and kind, lovable and easygoing.  he is respectful and eager to learn new things. he is curios and loves any form as art.  if i could let him loose in my studio, he would be in heaven.  he loves ball sports and is like a fish in the water. when he grows up he wants to be a the best soccer player. his daddy is his hero.  

(* when we met kellen on that beautiful monday, marcel and i went to buy winter clothes for kellen.  i asked, out of curiosity, 'will we allow our son to wear spiderman t-shirts?' marcel looked at me and said: 'no, i'm going to be his superhero'.  for the first 2 years, when ever kellen saw a picture of spiderman, and we asked who that is, he would say 'my daddy' (which we did not initiated). hehe x)

he could easily live off pasta.  he prefers vegetables and lettuce to meat and would eat porridge for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  

for the past 2 years his favorite colour was green and for the last 4 months it has changed to orange.  he loves bright colours and asks endless questions. he will ask a question on a question which we will answer with :' you must surely know that answer as you are asking such genius questions'. 

he has a soft, soft heart... one day when he is big, 'he is going to pick up all the children on the streets who do not have mommies and daddies, he is going to take them to his house, give them food and be their daddy'.

last week monday evening he saw an advertisement on the television of a baby girl (that looks a lot like bella) who was begging for food. she looked sad and cold and he immediately wanted to know where this girl is.  that night, we could not get him to stop crying for this girl who looked so sad. he wanted to go out instantly to look for her, to bring her home and we can be here mommy and daddy too.  after a while, i read him a story and we talked about different things and i, very enthusiastically asked him what we are going to do tomorrow, on which he replied; ' we are going to look for the little girl, we are going to look for 100 little sad girls and bring them home and make their hearts full'.  i nearly burst out in tears and it took marcel and myself to explain again that it was only an advertisement...

the reality of this advertisement and the many children out there who does not have a home, always reminds me to be truly grateful for our lives... for our 2 children (and those that are still on their way to us)... you can make a difference too...

i have a feeling in my heart that he is going to be an ambassador for adoption when he is older and that this little boy is going to change the world for many other children...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

first time i saw my baby girl*

*this post had to be published on the 25th... i'm so in the moment of her being with us for a year, i couldn't resist.... but today, 22/08, our (baby) boy has been living with us for 4 to come xx

we drove to the airport in silence, each with our own thoughts. 

we had no expectations. 

we were scared. uncertain. excited. frazzled. nervous. 


thoughts of the past 12 years.  our journey of infertility.  the sadness. the hope. prayers said and we thought never answered. God's way. His timing. perfection. 

thinking of kellen and how all this is going to change him and his life... 


for calm. connection. love. for kellen. 

praying that she will instantly know i'm her mama. 

we parked the car and walked into the airport. you could hear the constant talking of kellen. excited. uncertain. questions. we answered them. each one. 

we sat down. the plane has landed. we looked at each other, breathed a deep breath and waited.
i fiddled with my camera, did not know what to do.  

we got up and bought some cool drink. kellen wanted bubblegum (!!). we said yes!  why not? we are getting a baby! 

then we sat down on the cold hard chairs... in the front row... each with our own thoughts waiting for our baby girl. 

no expectation. only love.

then we saw them. first our social worker, with a big smile. she has been with us on this journey every step of the way. angel.  she is an angel.  i asked her that morning, when she held bella for the first time, to whisper in her ear that her mama already loves her and that i'm waiting for her on the other side. 

we stood up. pacing up and down (wanting to jump over the railings...), not sure what to do...

then she handed our baby girl over to us...
her mama held her first...
and she was beautiful!

i wanted to make eye-contact with her...
she was light and quiet...
it was unreal.

i was in awe. i didn't know what to say or do or even think.

totally overwhelmed.

filled with joy.
and gratitude.
l o v e for this little baby girl that i just met...

i'm going to be your mama...

i am your mama.
my heart filled with love for this baby girl that i don't even know, that is going to be my daughter.
the longing and need of the last 12 years for a baby, our baby, fell like a leave into the river of grief and drifted off in the sunset. 

'i am your mama. you are my baby and you are beautiful'

'i am your mama. you are my baby and you are beautiful'

'i am your mama. you are my baby and you are beautiful'

'thank you Jesus' xx

these were the only words constantly going through my mind and mouth... 'i am your mama. you are my baby and you are beautiful. thank you Jesus'

Sunday, August 19, 2012

'the' call*

today a year ago, i went for a 2 hour massage. i was sad and found myself walking into baby shops all the time. i would look at everything i would buy, 'should i have a baby'. then i would choose some things for friends' babies to get totally overwhelmed.  i would leave everything just there and leave the shop.  this specific day, overwhelmed did not come close to what i was feeling.  i couldn't understand why some people could just add to their families by deciding to get pregnant, get pregnant and 9 months later they had a baby.  i  was not even jealous of them... just so sad that we cannot do the same. so i went for a massage and just before the lady started i prayed to God and totally surrendered. i told Him i give up. i don't understand any of this and i'm so tired of trying to make sense of it. i surrender.  i know He knows better for us, but i'm not in this any more.  i remember clearly thinking 'whatever'...thinking that this was the end of our road to have more children.

2 hours later as i was walking into our apartment in kuala lumpur, marcel said: 'lin, here is a text message for you'.  you should phone back immediately.

i was still so overwhelmed by our loss of not being able to naturally 'just conceive', sad because i surrendered and i wanted to embrace and feel this loss that i've been carrying with me for so many years; all that i really wanted to do was take a bath and go to sleep.

but i phoned.

'how soon can you be back in south africa? i'm flying on monday to pick up your baby daughter'. 

that evening we changed our return flights to that tuesday (it was friday), and on the thursday we picked up our baby girl at the airport in cape town, south africa.

today, a year ago, we got 'the call' that any prospective adopting parent waits for... today a year ago our family grew from 3 to 4 and we got our baby girl.

the only other information we got was that she is beautiful and nearly 3 months old.  after we said our goodbyes the first thought i had was 'what is her name?" so i phoned the social worker again and her answer was... i could hear the smile through the distance... 'bella'.

that night i could not fall asleep. our social worker sent us a photo of our baby girl and she was beautiful.  i saw her sweet face all the time and could not get out of my  mind how sad she looked in the photos. i wanted to cry. i wanted to scoop her up into my arms and hold her tight, i wanted to hug her and whisper sweet nothings into her ear... i wanted her to know she has a mama, a mama and a daddy that loves her with everything in us... i wanted her to know that she is loved. and wanted. and treasured. i wanted her to know in that moment how much we loved her.

i had a dream that night... it felt as if i 'connected' with her and that she knew we were on our way... it was surreal and real and i got this feeling that she knew i was her mama... even though we have not met.

she knew.

today, a year ago, our hearts were filled with love for a little brown-eyed curly hair girl who is feisty and wild. the day i held her for the first time, my whole heart was filled.  that feeling of 'longing and need to hold our baby' was exchange with a feeling of disbelieve, of magical dreams coming true, of prayers answered, of God knowing our hearts and who's timing is perfect.

a year ago the universe gave birth to our baby girl, bella xx

Thursday, August 16, 2012

on being real/truthful*

You gotta commit. You've gotta go out there and improvise and you've gotta be completely unafraid to die. You've got to be able to take a chance to die. And you have to die lots. You have to die all the time. You're goin' out there with just a whisper of an idea. The fear will make you clench up. That's the fear of dying. When you start and the first few lines don't grab and people are going like, “What's this? I'm not laughing and I'm not interested,” then you just put your arms out like this and open way up and that allows your stuff to go out. Otherwise it's just stuck inside you. ~ Bill Murray via Emma Alvarez Gibson

this is the reason why i blog. i love to write. i love to take photos. i love to share my (our) life with the world.  i want everyone to know that i am who i am.  every time i write, 'i put my arms out like this and open way up and that allows my stuff to go out'. truth*

opening my arms and flooding out is love for my (our) children... watching them every evening while they sleep... our eyes filled with tears of gratitude...sometimes still in awe of the magic happening in our lives because of them... how they fill our hearts to the brim with possibilities & magic. truth*

opening my heart and not worrying about what other people think. for years i've had this thing that everyone was looking at me. (now they are looking at my children..hehe) it does not matter... live your life as if no one is watching. today only matters to you and what memories have you made with your family, to remind them how much they are loved? be goofy and silly and serious and funny and loud and there. be in YOUR life and let the rest go. real*

opening my heart/arms and flooding out is being goofy with myself and them... loving my whole self. even though i am feeling a bit self conscious around the swimming pool, as soon as i'm in, nothing else matters.   we swim/play from 7am until 5pm... being goofy and silly, going down the water slides with them...hearing them giggle... priceless*

opening my heart and flooding my loved ones with hugs and kisses and cuddles. touching them, patting them on their backs, talking and listening and praising them for every small and big thing they do/accomplish.  they live what they hear.  marcel helped kellen with something the other day and i heard him thanking marcel: 'thank you dad, you are a genius'. truth*

opening my heart and wanting to cry because i forgot the 3rd anniversary of my mom's death. grief is something that never ever leaves you. it sits in your bones. it is there. every day. it's in the sunrise, in that first cup of tea you drink, it's in the looking at your children, wishing she could be there one more time to tell you how proud she is of you being a mama. it's in the way your children love you and you want to share every little thing with your mama. it's in the preparation of dinner and the memory of how she used to cook. it is the one time you 'quickly' want to phone her to ask her something...and then you remember. grief in on your pillow when you put your head down and you wish you could smell her just one more time. grief is real. 

opening my heart into being real... for myself and my family. i am who i am. 

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” 
― Dr. Seuss,

Saturday, August 11, 2012

tips on how to react on a tantrum*

Part of living in a different country is the hundreds of opportunities you get...which you cannot decline... life is too good to decline things that your heart desire...that makes your heart beat faster and make you feel alive! 

 This is a photo of the sun setting tonight in Kota Kinabalu, Borneo.  (I know!!!! Borneo!!!!) I still cannot grasp how amazing it is to get these opportunities... for me it is all blessings from above... especially this sunset...


while i was playing with the manual setting and trying to get all the technical things of my camera, i put little bella down next to me in the sand... and then i moved... (and she stayed)... and i moved again... and she stayed... and when i looked over to her, this is what i saw (insert BIG surprised eyes!) and a huge smile in here...

Bella fell down into the sand, threw her little legs up in the air and start screaming...
I know! Can you believe it? 14 months old... i burst out laughing... and snapped away..hehehe..

'mamaaaaa.... i don't like the sand.... please pick me up....'

'if you don' pick me up, i will just lie here... in the sand... which i don't like... at all...'
(and in the meantime kellen is copying everything she is doing and saying)

'mama!!! pick me up!' (no: please mama, can you please pick me up')
just maaaaaaaa... 

tips on how to react on a tantrum: 

1.  turn around and act surprise
2.  smile and say you don't believe your eyes
3.  make sure she cannot hear you
4.  turn around and giggle loudly
5.  ignore said person and continue shooting sunsets
6.  listen to her in the background
7.  walk closer with a smile on your face
8.  say 'smile'... and take a few photos... and some more... 
9.  take her hand and pull her up
10. smile and keep on talking as if nothing happened... 
11. smile and laugh from within...knowing how truly blessed you are to be her mama 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

tips on having fun during looonnggg holidays*

1. dress brightly...the sun is shining... your heart is singing... life is good... (i hope for you too) xx

2.  learn to snorkel... eventhough you may only scuba dive when you are 12... seemingly life is unfair for this 5 year old boy... he wants to scuba dive, gym, play big boy soccer for which you have to be 12 years old

3. work on your balance in the swimming pool... take one step at a time... and smile.. you are beautiful!

4.  wear different hats....literally... make some new ones and if you don't like the hat you have on now, change it. the sooner you do the change, the sooner your heart will sing with happy

5.  play and laugh...try something new. learn a new skill. go on! do it! yes YOU!

6.  swim as much as possible... relax... imagine you are a dolphin in the water... and make the sound of dolphins playing...hehe.. when last did you do that... my brother and i used to play this when we were little... was one of our favorite games....

7.  teach your little sister to breathe in water... or to hold up her breath... of if neither works, just throw water in her face and see what happens. he calls it 'experiment' / or learning her something new / or he wants to see what she does...

8.  get up and live! just do it xx