I’ve been so busy with adoption paperwork and fundraising, farm stuff, and homeschool preparations that I haven’t had time for posting. At least, I haven’t had as much time as I had hoped that I would.
Summer is passing so quickly. And summer looks like it is going to be cut short if the trees around the place are anything to go by. Yellows, oranges, and reds are already popping up.
We are so grateful to be here in this place. It is such a lot of hard work and we’re still learning so much about the land and how to make this farm work. But we are blessed. Just so blessed to be here.
How are you doing? What is happening at your place?
Life on the farm is extremely busy lately. The vegetables are finally coming on, and I have been spending a lot of time making jams and jellies from flowers and fruits collected round and about the place. We’ve even tried a new delight – mulberry jam. I’ve never had a mulberry before in my life, but William discovered an enormous mulberry tree out by the barn. It is LOADED with fruit. Like other such berries, they aren’t all ripe at once, which means that I’ve got to make lots of smaller batches. Now, if I can get the black raspberries to co-ordinate with the mulberries, we’ll alternate the two until we’re done. Chance would be a fine thing!
We’ve harvested lots of nettle, which is being dried in the carriage house, along with elderflowers and catnip. We’ve got chive seeds harvested from the little clump at the corner of the schoolroom, and soon I’ll be doing the same with the catnip seeds.
I thought that I was done with flower jellies, but I’ve got just one more to go – Queen Anne’s Lace. I always grew up believing that it was poisonous. It’s not. But you have to be careful that you’re indeed picking the right thing. So, I’m off to do that, perhaps this weekend. While I’m out there, I’ll look to see what we have for chicory root. And OH! I forgot that I’ve been collecting burdock and dandelion root. So, so much more to harvest from teh wild while we wait for our pokey veggies to get up and ready. Blossoms everywhere, and wee bitty vegetables.
It looks like we’re going to have a spate of veg all at once, rather than the steady stream we had originally planned. But there it is. Nothing can be done about how the weather behaves. And God is good. He knows what we need. Our job is to have faith and always and everywhere to give thanks.
I have been working on two knitting designs.
I had to frog back and re-work the Brendan longies I started several weeks months ago. But I think that this revision will look much better. I also decided to order a new skein of yarn to work it up – “Moorland” Madelinetosh Tosh DK (my current fave yarn) – it will go so well with a co-ordinating jumper/vest in Mad. Tosh DK “Filigree”, which I still have skads of from Georgie’s romper. The green is very, very similar to the “Kiwi” Lamb’s Pride that I began with, but much softer.
The second is a pretty pair of socks that I’m calling “Métro”. It’s a two-at-a-time toe-up sock. Lacy and pink. But it would be lovely in any colour. I can’t wait to photograph my progress and share with you. I am the world’s. slowest. knitter. Or I was. Until I rediscovered the Scottish style of knitting, also called Irish Cottage Knitting. I knit this way when my oldest ones were little, but gave it up when I started knitting in the round. And today, I discovered that Bulgarian babas knit Turkish or Tunisian style – with hooks! Holy smokes, how much faster must that be? Yep. I’m going to try it. The special, wonderful bonus is that it has a built-in lifeline in case you make a boo-boo. At least, it has a lifeline for the previous row or round. That’s enough for some of us. 🙂
And speaking of Bulgaria, we’re still beavering away raising funds for our adoption. Our little gal just turned 10, and our little fella is about to turn 11. We have been told that we have until the week before Christmas to get everything done. Looks like a trip for Christmas-tide. It’s coming really quickly.
I have applied to Reece’s Rainbow to see if we can get some fundraising help from them. I hope we’ll hear back sometime next week. In the meantime, we’re planning a little online fundraiser of our own. I was given a loving nudge by my friend Cassan to have the kind of fundraiser that has a little progress graphic and would possibly make all of the asking a little easier to manage. But because I can’t resist making a PROJECT out of a project (will I ever learn? Don’t answer that.), I have made a project out of it. LOL. My intention is to bless more children, more families with it. If I can do it for us, I want to use the same project to help others. I’ll share more when I can.
In the meantime, we have to get a whole new term life insurance for parents. It’s no problem, I said. It’ll take about 5 minutes, I said. WRONG. Oy. So worth it, though. Can’t wait to see those two beautiful faces for real. And hug those babies up.
If you would like to help us get those hugs a little sooner, you can make a gift of any size through PayPal (nissa_@_gadboisfamily_._com), shop at our farm shop, or book a portrait session or hire me to photograph your next event.
Brian and Caroline are off to New Hampshire to pick up our new evaporator pan, the last piece of our sugaring outfit before we can start making syrup. Jack is doing some last minute work on the sugarhouse – getting the arch bricked up and the firebricks primed. It’s a heavy job, that. But he’s amazing – strong and hard-working. I am so proud of the man that he has become. His future wife will be blessed in him.
The rest of us are inside doing Saturday chores and preparing for keeping the sugaring crew fed through the long days and weeks ahead. We are baking bread, and preparing meals ahead wherever possible.
12 hour days up in the sugarbush and in the sugarhouse – back and forth with sap and empty buckets – makes everyone really hungry. I won’t be participating much in the actual sugaring the first couple of weeks because I am smack in the middle of a nasty flare. It is messing with my mobility and fine motor function, to say nothing of the pain. Tylenol is about the extent of the medication I can take (which is fairly useless) while I wait for the insurance to clear so that I can increase my infusions.
I’m hoping to have enough good hours here and there to finish the longies that I am designing for Georgie. I’m loving them so far. The yummy green is so appealing. We have been longing for spring and something GREEN. It has been a lovely long winter, and I love the snow, but it is time for some colour, no?
These longies will be joined by a jumper (sweater) and a hat, perhaps some wee socks or booties. Once I have the draft pattern completed, I’ll be looking for three or four beta knitters to make up sets and see how the pattern works for them. You can leave a comment below if you’re interested in knitting along, and sharing your progress.
And in other news (perhaps you saw my announcement on Facebook), Brian and I are pursuing the adoption of a beautiful brother and sister from Bulgaria. We have to move very quickly – something we are not very good at here. I beg your prayers. We have had our hearts broken so many times in the past. The story of how they came to be known to us is truly amazing. I will share it at some point. Really, truly the hand of God.
We have decided to set aside all of the proceeds from our remaining birch syrup for our adoption fund, if you are interested in having something sweet on your table, and doing something sweet with that purchase. I will also be putting all of the proceeds from my portrait photography toward our adoption, and getting the house ship shape for our new additions. That means clearing out the room that I have been using for my sewing and crafts to use as a studio here on the farm, so that I can increase my available hours. I’ll figure out later how I’m going to get my sewing accomplished (two first communions coming up and lots of photography props to make). Nearly everything is portable, so I can have some sweet soul lug the machines down and back as needed.
The younger children don’t know anything about the adoption plan yet. But I am preparing a Bulgaria unit study for all of us. We will learn about the history, culture, music, art, language and food, about the geography and industry and government. Jack, Caroline, and I previewed a beautiful video about Bulgaria this week and are completely smitten. What a beautiful place and people.
I am finding so much to be inspired by for my artwork and photography. I’m sure you will begin to see hints of it on the blog.
Despite the difficulties of 2012, we have much to be thankful for. Our (not so) little family first. Our new church community, new friends, old friends, extended family. We are thankful for health enough to work, employment to keep us running, a little house to shelter us, and a new home (nearly finished) for us to move into. Grateful for a farm, healthy animals, and acres of soil to steward, and for the woodland and stream that support wild creatures and make our new home so beautiful.
This year’s Thanksgiving meal was especially blessed since each child helped with a dish. Here is James helping with the pumpkin pie:
A very traditional New England Thanksgiving Dinner was enjoyed by all:
And we snuggled up by the fire with dessert and cherished family time.
Rejoice always Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.~ 1 Thes 5:16-18
Although it is not yet even Advent, I know that many of you have begun shopping for Christmastide. And today is Small Business Saturday. We have sets of Chrism-Scented Christmas candles, hand-poured by us, available for pre-order in our online shop. They smell positively divine! $25 the set.
Sometimes the mission you think you’re setting out on changes slightly. The big picture is the same, but the finer details, the ones you had imagined, are revealed to be very different. And that is as it should be, because God’s plans are always
better than anything we could imagine.
This week, after several weeks struggling with our chosen adoption agency, we decided that we couldn’t work with them anymore. I won’t go into details, but if you’re curious, please do email us. What this means is that, in all likelihood, we won’t be able to adopt Sveta and Alexi. We have been told that there is another family also working on adopting them, and we hope that that is true. More than you know.
We got a piece of information last Wednesday that helped us to determine our current course of action. I checked my email on my phone, read through the message from Ukraine that I was expecting, and suddenly felt at peace. I hadn’t anticipated that reaction. But it was a confirmation of our suspicions, and fears.
At that moment, Brian and I were sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room, fretting over what we were certain was going to be bad news. The staff all looked sorrowful and anxious. But I need to back up a bit…
Several weeks ago, before my twice-monthly injection, I took a routine pregnancy test. To my surprise, it was positive – strongly and quickly positive. Of course, I was thrilled, and Brian was thrilled. But it was tempered with caution after our recent experience of the loss of our little Beatrice. We were guarding our hearts. And we decided to guard everyone else’s too. We told no one but our pastor, Father David, who gave us and the new baby a blessing on the spot.
And we decided not to say anything to our social worker or our adoption agency until we felt as though we were out of the woods…
And last Wednesday was to be the day. I went in for my 12 week check up with the doctor I had seen throughout my previous pregnancy. I was wracked with nerves because this was the point in my last pregnancy that we learned that she had passed away. My blood pressure was high and my pulse was racing. The midwife applied the doppler probe to take a listen for the baby’s heart beat.
Several minutes passed and still she searched.
She checked my pulse.
She kept searching.
She kept her spirits high and was trying so hard to encourage us. She sent us to the waiting room to wait for Kathy, the ultrasound lady. Kathy and I had got to know each other very, very well during my last pregnancy, what with the weekly ultrasound to determine our status. Once a week for 10 weeks.
After what seemed like an eternity, the door opened and Kathy, looking very tense, called us into the ultrasound room. She asked all of the usual questions – usual for me – “are you bleeding?” “how are you feeling?”
She snapped out the lights and I lay on the table, bare belly, Brian standing by my side. I couldn’t watch the screen as she moved the probe over my abdomen. I covered my face with my arm, tears streaming down my cheeks. So quiet…
Then Kathy said, “Nissa, I want you to look at this.”
I reluctantly uncovered my eyes and turned them to the screen. I stared. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. There, in the middle of the dark screen, was the form of a perfect, wiggly baby.
To music none of us could hear. Not with our ears.
But in our hearts.
All is well. All is well.
Our newest baby will arrive during Eastertide, sometime in April. We are overjoyed. We are so abundantly blessed.
So what does that mean for our ministry to orphans?
The short answer is that we aren’t sure. At least not in the short term. We are planning to continue with our homestudy and get it completed (we will likely need to have it updated after the baby arrives), renew passports, and gather as many of the required documents as we can (the ones that aren’t time sensitive). And we will be working with an independent adoption facilitator in Ukraine. Someone we have come to trust, for his honesty and generosity. Someone recommended to us by a family who has used him for their adoptions.
And we are asking to be approved for up to four children. These children may be related or unrelated. And because pre-selection of children is actually against the law in Ukraine, our children will be a surprise!
That isn’t unlike birth, is it?
God’s plan is perfect, and we are humbly honored to participate in it, no matter where it leads.
We are continuing to raise funds for these adoptions, if you are moved to contribute in any way. You will be blessed. Please check our adoption page later this week for updated information. And pray for the children we had hoped to adopt. They need our prayers still.