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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Easter Fun

The girls had a wonderful time with all the Easter celebrations. The girls had many opportunities to search for eggs over the past two weeks.

Early Practice Session at Grandpa Cliff and Grandma Diane's before Easter weekend...

Grandpa sure makes it hard (and prickly) to find these eggs!

On Good Friday we went to a local Easter Egg hunt. The weather was beautiful and families came out in droves from our community as well as towns close by. In past years the highest attendance was 650 kids, this time there were close to 1000 children. It was a little bit too busy for us, so we might rethink attending next year. 

Keeping busy playing in the dirt while waiting for the egg hunt to start...
 By far, this was the most enjoyable time for each girl...
 Daddy's arms were getting sore by the end.

 Seasoned Pro's this past weekend at their Grandpa Roy and Grandma Marjorie's...

Hope you enjoyed your Easter weekend, we certainly did!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

ACTION NEEDED: Please help bring these kids home from Ghana

This post was taken from the Rowan Family. I know the adoptive mom Jessie in this story personally, and am hoping that with some attention that this situation can be remedied quickly. ~Joyanne



Please help bring these kids home from Ghana!!

Folks – this is a friend of ours who has been waiting SINCE THE IMAGINNE ADOPTION BANKRUPTCY to bring home her kids. She is so desperate, she has finally decided to go public and she REALLY needs our help.





April 19, 2011, Kelowna, BC: After 7 months living in Ghana, and 8 requests for additional information from the Canadian High Commission in Accra, the Soroka family’s only hope is that the two sides of their family will be united soon.

Jessica and Gregory Soroka were one of the unfortunate families caught by the Imagine Adoption agency bankruptcy. When the agency went bankrupt in July 2009, the Sorokas already had been matched with a referral of two young children from Ghana: Thelma and Gabriel. Jessica and Gregory learned that their adoption couldn’t be completed by the agency, and they were devastated.  Meanwhile, the Ghanaian orphanage where the children resided shut down, and the children were sent back to their biological parents.

The Sorokas decided that the children were too special to forget, so they signed on with Life’s Vision International, a US agency, to facilitate the adoption. In January 2010, their files arrived in Ghana. Thelma and Gabriel had been re-relinquished by their biological parents by this time, and were living in a foster home. The Department of Social Welfare one again matched Jessica and Gregory to Thelma and Gabriel. Jessica left her husband and then four year old son Tamire in Canada, and flew to Ghana to start a three month fostering period.

On April 26, 2010 in Accra, the children were placed in Jessica’s care by the Department of Social Welfare, and on July 6, 2010,  the Ghanaian court awarded the Sorokas a full adoption order for Thelma and Gabriel. Jessica spoke with her son in Canada over the phone, promising to return with the three and five year old Ghanaian children as soon as the Canadian High Commission allowed.

Little did Jessica realize that she would live for seven months in Ghana, apart from her Canadian family. Her son Tamire, born in Ethiopia and experiencing loss for the second time in his life, grieved for his mother’s return the whole time. Jessica developed a strong relationship with her new Ghanaian children, but, after seven months, the Sorokas could no longer afford to live on two continents. So now Jessica, Gregory and Tamire are waiting in Canada for the High Commission in Accra to allow their Ghanaian family members to come home. Thelma and Gabriel are being cared for by a nanny in Accra; they wonder if they will ever see their new mother again.

Why is this family waiting and torn apart?

  • HC Accra has asked for additional information on 8 occasions over the course of eight months. Some of this information is irrelevant to the legality of the adoption. Each time, the requests have been fulfilled, only to be followed with additional requests.
  • HC Accra asked Jessica to appear for an interview in Accra on 5 day’s notice, shortly after she had returned to Canada after seven months in Ghana. They declined to interview her until that request, although she had visited HC Accra 6 times.
  • Both the Department of Social Welfare and the Ghanaian courts have met with HC Accra attesting to the legitimacy and legality of the Soroka adoption.
  • The last request for additional information was for the original copy of a document that HC Accra has held a copy of for months. This document does not relate to the legality of their adoption and was not used in any way for their adoption.
PLEASE SUPPORT THIS FAMILY’S UNIFICATION BY WRITING A LETTER TO THE FOLLOWING PEOPLE. If you can write a physical letter, it will be counted by the government and taken much more seriously than an email. IF you can’t print and mail a letter, please do email. Since we are in the middle of an election, please take care to send your letters in a timely fashion.

Most important, in order:
Neil Yeates, Deputy Minister of  Citizenship and Immigration
Jean Edmonds Building, South Tower, 20th Floor
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario  K1A 1L1
Telephone:613-954-3501 Fax:613-954-3509

Claudette DeschĂȘnes — Assistant Deputy Minister, Operations
Ministry of  Citizenship and Immigration
Phone: 613-954-5335   FAX: 613-957-8887 Email

Rt. Honourable Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Fax: 613-941-6900 Alternate Fax: 403-253-8203

The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism
Phone: 613-954-1064 E-mail: Fax: 403-225-3504
1168 137 Ave SE, Calgary, AB, T2J 6T6 P. 403-225-3480 F. 403-225-3504
325 East Block, House of Commons, Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6 P. 613-992-2235 F. 613-992-1920

Your Own MP
Find out who they are here:

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mary's next surgery date...May 18th

We have been waiting...and waiting...and waiting... to hear when Mary's next surgery date would be. Her surgeons have given the go ahead to try to repair her cleft lip again, everything has healed nicely from the last surgeries. Today the hospital FINALLY called to inform us of her next surgery date - May 18th. 

While we are not looking forward to another surgery per se (ie. pain for Mary, sleepless nights due to nightmares from the anesthetic and trauma, sleeping away from home in the hospital) we want to help Mary speak clearer (there are several consonants she can not say until her lip is attached together: p, b. ) and drink using sippy cup or straw.

We also want to help Mary build her self confidence when out in public. When we are at home we usually don't have her wear the steri strips over her lip. She needed them immediately after her surgery for about six weeks to help hold her nostrils in place to heal fully. Since everything has healed, she doesn't technically need to wear them anymore. We have found however that when we are out shopping or playing that if she is wearing the medical tape, people usually just give her a quick glance and a small smile while going about their business. If she has the tape off, people (usually adults) stare, or ask questions, and continue to stare. If I catch their eyes, they usually look away and appear to be a bit embarrassed for being caught staring.

But Mary also notices their staring, and she often will lean into me if she is in the shopping cart, or press herself into my leg is she is walking. It reminds me of when we were in China and she would do the same thing when people would come right up and look at her face and have conversations about her. I do think she is aware and it bothers her. So depending on where we are going, sometimes we put the tape on before leaving the house.

We think this lip surgery will be important in helping her build her self esteem.  We love her just the way she is, but recognize that this is not the way the world works. Here are a couple of before pictures of our little princess...

The week before her surgeries...

Six weeks after her two surgeries...

Ten weeks after surgery...
 Cheesey grin...
In order to prevent an infection again this time around (the suspected cause for the failed surgeries last time) Mary will be on IV antibiotics in the hospital immediately following her surgery. She will also have a longer stay, likely three days in the hospital instead of just over night like last time. We are happy to know that she will be on IV antibiotics but not looking forward to the extended hospital stay, as hospitals aren't necessarily the best place for toddlers to recover from surgery (ie. sleepless noisy nights, unfamiliar surroundings, disruption to routine). However, it is what the surgeons feel is best, so hopefully the time goes by quickly for Mary.