Monday, November 18, 2013

dinovember*


it's hilarious and funny and so so creative. 


the animals was hungry and went for some oats. crocodile dived in head first
and dog even rolled in the oats... 

his dino friends had to help him.... the animals are playing
with some xmas decorations and even broke one snow globe! gasp!!! 

i started last night. 
kellen saw it this morning. 
our conversation went something like this: 
him:  'awww mom, i know you did it'
me:  'no kellen, why would i do it? i cleaned up last night and went to bed'. 
him: 'mom, you did it. (giggling). you have that funny voice. i can hear it in your voice'. 
me: (trying not to burst out laughing) 'kellen! i will never do something like this. look at the mess and now i have to clean it up?'! 
him:  giggling and smiling... 'ok mom, you did not do this but i know you did it'. 

today he came to me and said:
him: 'mom, can you do the animal thing again tonight?' 
me: 'what animal thing?" 
him: 'you know... with the oats. oops, you didn't do it. can you please tell the animals to come out again tonight?'
me: 'where must i find the animals? i don't know what to do? why don't you tell them?' 
him: (giggling) 'ok mom, i know it wasn't you, but just tell them to come out again'. 



i'm joining in the creativity of Refe Tuma and their Dinovember.
“Can we still have that cereal for breakfast, Daddy?”



Friday, November 15, 2013

silliness & nap time*



every afternoon, monday to friday, i pick her up from her play school. we usually have fresh watermelon on the floor in the kitchen, talking about her morning.  then we go up to our bedroom for nap time.

for the first 2 years of her little life of 29 and a half months, she preferred to sleep in her cot, without anybody touching her or sitting with her.  at the beginning of this year, we decided to start putting her in our bed for story time, cuddles and some giggles before going to sleep.  (we've been doing this with kellen since he came to live with us).

this little video above is a perfect example of....

pure joy!
full hearts!
happiness!
silliness!

what love can do.  persistence and keep on trying. routines staying the same to accommodate our children. keep on touching and cuddling and kissing them. hug them tightly even if they don't like it. when they pull back or roll away, stretch your leg out and touch their feet, put your arm out, and stroke their back.. even if they push away again, don't get up. stay there.  it hurst, but keep on trying.

(in the adoption circles the professionals talk about reactive attachment disorder (RAD)... you can read more about that here.  )

today, this last 2 weeks, she has been asking 'mama arm lie'. which in our books are huge steps for her.  she falls asleep with her head on my arm, sometimes my shoulder and it is the most amazing feeling. her wanting to be close to me. her wanting to touch her mama before she falls asleep. pure m a g i c .

i told some new friends yesterday that if we stay in the moment, right here, right now, and concentrate on what is really important now, we will be happy.  happiness will come out in the form of giggles and joy and full hearts and little girls who is trying everything not to sleep, entertaining their mama's.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

she prays for us too*


the friday evening our social worker phoned us to ask when we can pick her up, i just came back from a two hour massage.

a two hour massage, where, when i went to lie down, i cried.

i cried to God. about us not being able to 'just get another child'. i didn't care if we did not get pregnant, why couldn't people who want to adopt children, not 'just get a child'.  (i know about all the legal things. trust me, i do).  but this night, i wondered and asked God and wanted to know why we could not just get another child. this not knowing. the hoping and trusting and wanting to believe, but you don't know how long you can still 'hold on'.  it's endless. it breaks your heart. every moment you have to hold on and cling to the promise that your baby is on her/his way, every new morning you get up, you hold on some more, but your heart breaks a little bit more too.

it usually takes me about 20 minutes to relax into the massage...
i remember crying, praying...
and then total surrender.

total surrender

i remember telling Him that i cannot do this anymore. i cannot hold on and believe that our baby is on his/her way. i'm tired.

i remember thinking 'i don't know what to do anymore, i surrender. totally and wholeheartedly, i surrender. He must do what He wants to do. i can't do this anymore'.

i closed my eyes and relaxed into the massage, with an indescribable sadness lingering within.

2,5 hours later she phoned. and she asked: 'when can you be back in south africa to pick up your little girl?'

just like that. today i can say just like that. returning to the waiting, especially now, being within the waiting again, it's heart wrenching.  it's playing with your emotions daily, trying to stay in the present and make each moment count with the people around you.

but

you do hold onto that hope.
you trust. big time. not just because you need Him. you trust because He is the truth, the way.
you believe that He has big plans for your life.
you know that He wants only good things for your life and
you feel your other children is out there, waiting for you.

you can feel it.

we prayed for years for our little girl too.  in october 2010 i wrote a letter to 'our beautiful baby' under a tree in the shade, not even knowing that she was on her way.  already growing in her birth mama's tummy.

but i could feel her in my heart.

she won't go to sleep at night before we did not pray. and it is kneeling-down-on-your-knees, hands-together-praying. 

she prays:
'................ (insert mumbles of sounds here)... pappa'
'.................(insert mumbles of sounds here)...mamma'
'.................(insert mumbles of sounds here)...boeta'
'..................(insert mumbles of sounds here)...whobin' (robin)
'..................(inserts mumbles of sounds here)...ferris.....timo.....nana (her best friends and their mama)
AAAAAAAAAAAA-men!


Friday, October 11, 2013

blessed*


a few nights ago, while putting him to bed, he turned around, threw his arms around me and said:
'thank you mama, thank you that you were the first mama that prayed for me'.


last night he prayed: 'thank you God, that you chose the perfect mommy and daddy to be parents for me'.

it can be by chance that he prayed the above... but having prayed for this little boy for 8 years, made his prayer exceptionally special.  it was moments of deep breaths, reminding one self, to be quiet and to cherish that moment... grasping the prayer with both my hands into my heart where the love i have for this boy, is deep and fierce.


he gets me. his daddy will some days look at me, then at him, shake his head and say: "he is just like you, are you sure we adopted him?".


he is soft and kind and silly and fun.  he loves to cuddle and is always touching me with his foot or hand. he will take my hand in public and hold on tight, 'to never let me go'.


he gets irritated and frustrated when he is tired. he loves to sleep and always has a teddy or two or three with him in bed.


he is currently into sports. want to take golf lessons, because 'he wants to master all the different types of sport so that he can be really good'.

the day he was born, a friend came to me and told me: 'your son was born last night. i had a dream that your names was engraved on his forehead'.  i thought... yes right.  we are moving to the uk, i don't really care.

but i kept on praying. for our children. to come home.

18 months later, on a monday afternoon at 5, my phone rang, the same friend asked me if i was sitting and asked if we can adopt him, as he is going to be placed for adoption.

i prayed for him. every single day for 8 years, i prayed for him.

now he is praying for me xx


Monday, October 7, 2013

where have I been?


my first born went to year 2.  we were both a bit apprehensive and scared for the changes and the new things, but he was brave and willing to take on the new challenges.


this little muffet started a new school and LOVES it. amazing what a difference experienced teachers make to your child's life. 


i am so in love with that little lips..the way she pulls her mouth when she concentrates... adorable. 


she loves play dough and trying new things... 


Robin Hood went to school... he was quite the man :-) 
(for bookweek)


superman and papa smurf was there too. 
(this is Kellen's principal and department head of his school - i love the teachers) 


his new class and everyone was game for some fun in book week 


the year 8 children came down to their class to read with them... 
i still cannot believe that my son can read.... amazing


 we helped Kellen's teacher to decorate the front of their class for the book week door competition... 



and we won! 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

you can climb every mountain*

kellen half-way up the mountain in the Quiver forest just outside Nieuwoudtville 

kellen:  "i'm going to run up the mountain". 

dad:      "no, you can't go now. we can come back another day. grandma and grandpa is waiting in the car. we have to take them into consideration as well." 

kellen:  "but dad! this is what traveling is all about. running up mountains, looking for treasures,                    exploring and seeing and finding new things. it's the first time we are here and i have to try everything at least once!" (with an exclamation mark)  

me:   "yes, you are right. run, i will wait for you. you can climb every mountain." 

Gosh! i love this boy. and one day when he starts traveling by himself, i will stand at the airport, waving goodbye, swallowing my tears, but boy will i be proud! 

** read this beautiful written piece on traveling young  by Jeff Goins


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

smiling big*


our hearts are full... 


we spent 4 weeks with cousins + godchildren + sisters + brothers + fathers + mothers = family.
it was loud and busy and real and funny and a few fights and lots of laughter.
loads of memories.



we went to the seaside, open planes of the knersvlakte and the beautiful winelands.


we spent all our time with grandparents, cousins and friends. 
trying to get as close as possible to them without another cousin jumping in between. 


smiling from ear to ear, sleeping off the jet lag, unpacking and smiling,
remembering every moment in our country. 

“Sometimes," he sighed, "I think the things I remember are more real than the things I see. ” 
― Arthur GoldenMemoirs of a Geisha




Sunday, August 18, 2013

cousins*


one of the few moments of standing still... in silence...just hearing the wind blowing around us... 


these four have been busy and loud and awake! and alive! 


we may (or may not) have given them a little something to stand against the wall and smile...


but the suspense and eagerness to get up and run? 
they are on the go all the time.

in this moment i'm sitting in the bathroom with my laptop.
 i locked the door. 

all the kids (6 in total), in the lounge with the family... 

the silence in here, truly is golden. 

breath... 

ok...

ready to enter the madhouse 
of love and laughter! 

no place like home with the family! 


Thursday, August 1, 2013

inspired*




i am inspired by the wonder and awe of our children... their fascination to learn and know everything about anything... i'm inspired by the love for my country... the boldness and longing to do something meaningful with ones' life. i'm inspired by maggie and how she is changing the world one child at a time... my brain is spinning with ideas of how i too, can change life, one child at a time...

Monday, July 29, 2013

hOmE*


we are visiting south africa for four whole weeks.

it means... family, cousins, cold cold weather!!!, winter clothes, dogs, grandma's and grandpa's, giggles and lots of laughter... it also means babies getting up at dawn = jetlag :-) and friends and my mom's house (feeling so close to her) and just being here. it means sick babies and puppy dogs and good good food. it means pro nutro every morning and family dinners at night, it means midnight chats with my sister-in-law talking about our 'exercise programs'..hehe... love love love being home.

there surely is no place like home.

hearts are full, full, full xx

Thursday, July 25, 2013

truth* (of infertility)

the truth is...

i don't want to write about all the sad things of my heart.

right in the beginning i thought my blog is going to be about our amazing and beautiful and blessed life. i did a writing course and realised again that my best writing, and the writing you want to read, is the truth of my heart.  the posts, where i write from my heart, where i open it up, where i don't think about it, and just write what comes from my heart, those are the posts that you want to read.

blogging is a funny thing.  I thought that people want to read about happiness and good things and dreams coming true, which i believe to be true too. right now,  i guess it's the heart of the matter, it is the truth that needs to be told.

i'm writing about this, because i know how grateful i felt when i stumbled upon a blog 7 years ago of a beautiful girl who could not have her own children too... i thought i was over all the infertility stuff and have moved on, but the more i read, the more the feelings re-surfaced and i realised i did not have the words to say what i was feeling. and here, here is someone who knows exactly what i'm going through.

i felt held and loved and not alone.  i felt 'normal' within the abnormalities of this journey. someone, a million miles away, knew how i felt.

i felt seen.

accepted.

loved.

she gave me hope.

i'm quite a 'what-you-see-is-what-you-get' type of girl - very honest. not always the best combo, but i'm all about showing up and being real.

(if these post are too heavy or personal for you, this is maybe not the blog for you to read).

i hope that my words will make you, who truly need this, feel as if you are not alone either. that what you are feeling is real.  i hope you feel 'normal' within all this sadness, but above all, i hope you find
H O P E in my words, because at the end there is always always hope!

H O P E and T R U S T.

i would love to hear your story... please email me at lynnemalan@gmail.com.

the truth of infertility is that your story matter.

it's ok to feel what you feel.

you are normal.

this all sucks right now, but in the end, when you hold that little baby in your arms, it was all worth it!

please share... and know that you are not alone.

Lin xx

* soaking up this beautiful life for the next 4 weeks! will be back in September


Sunday, July 21, 2013

this is for you who are still waiting...

we are waiting too.

we are waiting for our other children.

it's endless.

you don't know anything.

it could happen tomorrow, next month, next year, 2 years from now...or never.

the 'is it going to happen at all' enters one's mind so often...daily... while you wait with every little thing in your heart for your child... you pray, you think positive thoughts, you hope and trust. you stay grateful for the life and children you already have. you try not to feel guilty for wanting more children (when there are so many couples who are still waiting for their first child).

you believe that the plan that God has for your family goes beyond anything you have ever thought... you believe that the plan He has for your family is huge and beautiful and many kids full and happy and healthy and soon. you believe it will be soon, 'at exactly the right time for your family'.

you trust.

and pray.

and trust again.

you live in trust.

you hold to every promise God made in the Bible and you trust in the big big plan He has for you.

thinking back about our life before our kids...how 'we' decided we are going to go on with our lives without children... 'because we choose to do so'...just to have that little bit control in your hands...you made that choice...

and today, with 2 children in our hearts and our hearts waiting in anticipation and patience and trust for our other children.. we cannot imagine our life without children. we, him and i, were put on this earth to parent these children... i know it in my heart.

wanting to have control in the situation is natural and normal.

let it go.

it takes too much energy. energy you can use to pray your children home. energy that you can use to let go and trust that He knows.

surrender.

surrender into trust.

surrender into God.

“God had brought me to my knees and made me acknowledge my own nothingness, and out of that knowledge I had been reborn. I was no longer the centre of my life and therefore I could see God in everything.” 
― Bede Griffiths


it will happen xx

* sending you who are still waiting the biggest and softest, 'i understand' hug... i know how scared you are, i know how much you doubt this truth, i know.

i also know it does happen, and you are loved and wanted and waiting... and yes, you are a mama, you are trusting, because it can happen for you too.

Friday, July 12, 2013

crazy, happy get-togethers* (dreams coming true)


“I realized these were all the snapshots which our children would look at someday with wonder, thinking their parents had lived smooth, well-ordered lives and got up in the morning to walk proudly on the sidewalks of life, never dreaming the raggedy madness and riot of our actual lives..."
― Jack KerouacOn the Road


(christina & Michelle...this is for you! xx)

i've dreamed of this madness...of kids running around, noise, lots of it, in reality something that sounds like chaos, but it's such happiness!!! being with these people was crazy and loud and funny and not funny and tiring and exhilarating... it was kids crying and kids fighting and laughter that ended in tears, kids saying they are hungry and mom's looking at each other...silence... 'no, not serious', continuing the same conversation for the 10th time. it was a dream coming true.

i thrive and come alive with many kids around me... my heart expands and fills up all at once... it's crazy and bizarre...

it's hard too. and challenging. and 'i-don't-know-what-i'm-doing' hard, it's guessing and trusting and believing that you are teaching them the right things. it's repeating and reminding and smiling and praying for patience... reminding yourself in their moment of overwhelm 'be the parent, be the parent'... don't over-react'... breath out... hard i tell you.  to get that balance right... it's hard.

but i would not change one thing.... except having more kids :-)

everything. all of this. it's magic.

 “the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.” 
― Jack KerouacOn the Road
*dear christina & michelle,
thank you for being 'mad' with me and allowing me to be mad with you :-)
thanks for making me burn with desire to be the best mom for my kids!
you inspire me xx

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

End of school year... only 2 more days!


t w o days. 2 days until we have long summer holidays!

i am counting down the days until this school year ends. 
i'm not making any appointments/dates for  the first 2 weeks. 
in this house we are going to go under the radar... sleep late, stay in pajamas all day, sort out the toys, eat whatever we feel like. paint. mess. bake cookies. order pizza. 

tonite, all i can think of is sleep. lots of it. not having to get up. wake up, have tea and getting back into bed. napping. movies. swimming. no reading. just being.  

not.doing.anything. not even talking. 

with 2 kids? 

you bet. 

(insert loud laugh) xx
(who am i kidding?) 

but that's the idea :-) 


Monday, July 1, 2013

infertility blues*

since i can remember i wanted many children... then we realised it was not 'just going to happen' and in between the infertility treatment and wondering what the future holds and the many people who always asks 'when are you going to start with a family', i used to joke and say we want 10 children. yes, you read correctly, T E N ! :-) 

during one such conversation a friend ask me 'what does your husband think about that?' and i thought oh! i must most probably ask him.  To which he answered: 'i will settle for 5'. (yes! i have the most amazing husband). 

after our unsuccessful infertility treatments, we decided 'what must be will be' and moved to the UK with the idea of not having children at all and if it happens for us, it happens.  We were quite naive. thinking we are over all the grief and totally on the other side of it.   The 2 years in the UK was our grieving period for not being able to have our own children.  Everything about those 2 years was sad and depressing.  but it was also the way God prepared us for our children.   

Fast forward 5 years and we are living in Malaysia with 2 beautiful, healthy, funny and caring children.  We decided to adopt here in Malaysia and so the process began.  The possibility of adding to our family and expanding in the one thing we know to be true... our love for our children and each other... again, to expand on that love and love even more, when you think you don't know how you can even love them more, and then it happens and your heart explodes with love and even more possibility. 


friday night i had 3 little brothers here at our place for a sleep over and it did not help.  it confirmed to me (again) that my heart has the capacity to love more children... the feeling i got when i took this photo?... i felt like i was in heaven... 10 little feet running around through the house, the noise, the giggles... e x p a n d i n g heart! 

yesterday we met with a contact to adopt here in malaysia.  during the conversation some things did not make sense and the story did not add up, so we stood up and walked out. my heart not broken, but sad, because today we could have had a little baby girl in our arms.  (unfortunately here in malaysia trafficking is huge and as potential adoptive parents you have to be extra careful when meeting people). 

we talked about it. about God and answers and not understanding. then my husband said 'you ask for an answer from God, He gives one and then you are not happy with His answer'.  (shall i roll my eyes? smile? cry? ) how does one know what is the right thing to do? how do you know if this was really illegal or who knows, maybe  they are legal, you don't know. you trust the feeling in your gut... 

trust. faith. for me it always ends in faith. knowing that God has our best interest at heart, that He is waiting for the right time, arranging the meeting of our next child to be absolutely perfect... 

He knows. i know He knows.  

having faith and trust in God, knowing in your heart that He is busy working with your life plan, having 2 beautiful and healthy children, does not take away the 'falling into the rabbit hole' of wanting to have your own children.  it's not so much wanting to be pregnant, having my husband's children... it's more of 'i wish it was as easy for us as for other people, to decide to have more children, get pregnant and give birth'... until you decide to have another child... and you get pregnant and your carry the baby and you give birth again, and have another miracle in your hands'... 

whenever we talk about more children, starting the process of adopting again, there is always a time where i wish i was like other woman...able to carry and have our own children, because then we don't have to think and try to understand what the plan is that God has for our life, or to think about... oh my goodness... there's a million questions when you adopt... but primary wondering when your baby is going to come, when the timing is right, when this is going to happen... is it going to be a little boy or girl... oh my goodness... stay calm, be objective. don't hope. or hope. be positive but don't expect too much.  i hope they are not part of a scam and having to be extra careful when meeting people, having to trust your gut and your first instincts. wondering when you are going to get 'the call', trusting and letting go... 

it's always a case of trusting and letting go... 

i guess it's normal for one to linger in the in between of infertility blues and possibility... trying to make sense of this journey, of the meaning of all that life brings to you and i would think most importantly, how we decide to act/react on everything happening with you... 

it's a crazy and whirlwind ride, but that moment when you get the call, and this is it, your baby is here, you can get ready to collect your baby... every moment was worth it. 

thinking about my son and daughter... we would go through that 9 years of infertility treatment again and again to be right here where we are now, in the midst of being blessed over and over again.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

dear birth mom, i've had you on my mind*

dear birth mom of this beautiful little girl, 

i've had you on my mind since the week before her birth day.  i've been wondering about you...where you are, what you are doing, if you are thinking about her, about us. having you in my thoughts all the time. 

usually i try not to think about you too much, because 'we want to move on with our life' have a 'normal' life, not always thinking about adoption, but it is impossible. every milestone this little one achieve, i think of you. whenever she has a melt down, i think of you... wondering if you would have giggled with me looking at this scene unfolding in front of us. i think of you when she laughs and run and turn around and look at me and laughs some more... and i have an instant feeling of gratitude in my heart for you... that you were born to birth this beautiful girl into our lives. 

the very first photo taken of her when she arrived at the Breath of Life house

thank you so much for giving birth in a hospital. she was taken to the breath of life house where she was loved and cuddled for 3 months before she came home.  the people at this house is amazing.  when we picked her up, she had a suitcase full of clothes, a box with the clothes she is wearing in the photo, a  book with photos in and her little life story of the first 3 months of her life. they also gave us a book filled with letters from everyone who looked after, held, prayed and played with her. we felt so blessed to have something of the first 3 months of her life.  

two nights ago i started her birth photo book and got the photos on the cd out that we received in the box.  i've never looked at them.  about 70 photos of the first moments of her life that was recorded on film. her first recorded bath, women holding her and feeding her in the middle of the night, her laying next to two other little babies who came to the home with her.. who i think of so often.  i went down stairs to show these photos to her daddy and we both sat on the couch, looking at the photos, tears streaming down our faces...no words. just sadness for the beginning of her life in the way it began. she needed to be held and loved from the very first moment she came into this world.  i want to believe that you too loved her from that very moment...  that you would give anything to see her grow up and be the best of who she is.   


she has this routine in the morning when she wakes up to call either 'mama' or 'pappa'. we will pick her up and put her in bed with us. she immediately takes her daddy's phone to watch the video's on it of her when she was baby. it's so sweet, she mimics everything the baby is doing in the video and then she giggles.

a few days ago she kept on asking and showing to something in one of the videos. she was laying under a little blanket that she got as a gift. i've kept the blanket and gave it to her.  the joy of receiving that blanket is indescribable.  when she have a nap or goes to bed at night, her first words are 'bers'.  (short for blanket in afrikaans).

i captured this photo of her this morning.  i saw this one and a deep sadness settled in my heart.  her eyes, the way she was holding the blanket...but more the look in her eyes... reminded me of her story. of you giving birth to her, you choosing a closed adoption.  her going to a house of safety. her being loved and comforted by strangers who has now become family, and her coming home.

i guess with adoption there is always the bittersweet moments.


and then...

then i look at this face every.single.morning and i thank God for her.  i thank God for choosing us to parent her and raise her. i thank God for her health and the joy that comes forth from her every big and small gesture. i thank God for her spirit, that is resilient and strong, for her confidence and that she knows how to show love. i thank God every single day for this little human being and that she did come to earth, because she is going to change the world.

thank you Birth mama, for birthing this gift into the world!

Friday, May 31, 2013

the birthday girl*



a very special little girl turned 2 years old 2 days ago... 


we woke her up to put her in our bed, turned on all the lights


she started clapping while we were singing happy birthday to her...


waiting patiently, or rather impatiently...she just wanted to blow out the candles


we celebrate with doughnuts, 6:30am. 


she is obsessed with blowing bubbles these days, she instantly knew she got bubbles...


while she took her afternoon nap, I bought 20 helium balloons and put it 
around her cot for when she wake up


i opened all the curtains, took loads of photos, nearly fell off the bed, but she did not wake up. 
I had to leave to pick Kellen up. I took all the balloons and hid them in the one bathroom, 
because I wanted to see her face when she sees all the balloons. 
balloons + bubbles = happy girl


when we got back kellen kept her busy while I put the balloons back into her room... 


and took position in to take photos of her excitement... 


and there is joy! seeing her room filled with balloons, running to 'catch' all of them together


sweetness and love...there was lots of that too... 


giggles and laughter... add some joy and her daddy to that mix and you get
an absolute satisfied little girl with balloons


i don't know who was more excited about blowing out the candles... 
he was such a great big brother...trying to stop her (so that i can take photos) 
(where i actually had to light the candles 3 times because she was too fast) 


she clapping and dancing because we are singing (again) happy birthday to her... 


let's blow... no wait! 


one....two..... 


three! 


and she is so proud of herself. 


But how will I eat cake if my head is over there, and my hands are over here?” 
― Marie Antoinette

i'll just dive in! 

happy birthday beautiful girl! 
we love you to the moon and back xx