Monday, 8 August 2011


Ordinary. Expected. Routine.

All I can think about these days is how to return to normal. I used to delight in being different, mostly; now it seems nearly shameful that I would relish anything but being normal. I would love to blend into the walls, hide away in a crowd of people who won’t glance twice at me. Instead I stay in bed, hoping that when I wake up things will be back to normal.

I suppose this is the great sadness talking. The last few weeks have been slowly sucking me into a bleak place. It’s familiar. Like family should be. Now there’s so many families to blend together I have no sense of what is familiar. Just the sadness. That is more and more comfortable as the days wear on.

This is the happiest reunion I’ve ever heard about, read about, lived, and yet it’s still so much to bear. How on earth does the life-altering change into the new normal? I have no concept of what that will even be.

I recognize the signs in myself when I know the darkness is layering on. I have an appointment with someone who specializes in reunions...get’s on my birthday. Can someone ask Alanis if that’s ironic please?

I’ll let you know when I’m back to my new normal.

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Three Halves Make Me Whole

In the excitement of this reunion, I've been able to share my news with many of my friends and family.

"I've found my biological father! And I have three siblings!" <-- That's me, very excited.

Most common response, "Wow! Are they full or half siblings?"

My interior dialogue, That's the first question? Really? Out of, 'how did you find him?' or 'what are they like?' or just about a million more interesting questions...

Me, stunned "Ummm, half I guess."

Their reply, "Half eh? Well, that's still really something."

If you're one of those people that asked me that question, don't feel too badly. After all, it wasn't just you. I think I've been asked that about a dozen times. Including yesterday, which is what brought this post to the forefront.

It amazes me that could be the most important question in someone's mind.

For me, when I discovered I had siblings, all I could think was, Thank you God! I have a brother and two sisters... how much more blessed could I be? I wasn't thinking about 'half' or 'step' or whatever. That is so inconsequential for an adoptee. It really is. When you are raised with an adopted family, no one in your life shares any biological relationship with you. Not even 10%. It's a miracle to find a biological parent (and they're only 1/2 of your DNA FYI). How much greater to also find a brother (who is an amazing, mature soul) and two sisters (one who shares much of my personality and the other I've called effervescent... both are treasures).

Half or full, doesn't matter in my mind. In my new family, three halves have made me whole.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Emotional Baggage

I carry around a lot of great luggage.

Trust me, my favourite suitcase is this beautiful glossy-cherry-red. It's hard-sided, spins like a dream and it is completely 'me'. I have a Miche purse (gift from my mother-in-law), which is wonderfully versatile (and I really should start selling them based on the sheer number of people who have purchased them after seeing mine). I also have my favourite lunch-book-shopping-whatever bag that is covered with sunflowers (another gift from my mother-in-law; she knows my taste!).

I think I have great luggage because I have become very adept at carrying around loads of emotional baggage. I can do this with great ease now, most likely because I have so much practice at disguising ugly things and calling them alluring names.

Please take a look at this leather valise and meet Camille. She's my biological mother, and has rejected me again as an adult. I don't always remember to bring her with me, but most of the time I have her sitting next to the desk in my office; at home she sits in the front closet except for nights when sleep is particularly troublesome, then she's tucked beside my nightstand.

The next one is a real bother to carry around I'm afraid, would you lift that end for me? This very heavy trunk has been with me all my 27 years. I'll admit, it's a little bit '80s' but, it was born in 1983 after all. The big sticker slapped across the front "You're Adopted! And Therefore Different". I used to showcase this trunk as a bit of a trophy when I was in elementary school. I reveled in being unique. But sometimes it would be nice to be able to blend in a bit. Hard to do when you're carrying around a trunk all the time, although it is a handy place to sit when you're waiting for a bus.

This one is particularly heavy, I know it's deceivingly small. A tiny white box, just about exactly the size you may keep an engagement ring in, until the time is right. This box doesn't carry a diamond. I'm not sure of the contents, only that every few weeks it opens up on its own and I become completely flooded with emotions. I haven't been able to put my finger on what opens this box of its own accord, sure would be nice to find the trigger someday.

That's it for the today's tour. I do however have a huge walk-in closet, that contains many boxes, old purses, suitcases, even a few briefcases. Maybe I'll show you some more of them another day.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Our First Phone Call

Linda has agreed to allow me to share her thoughts about our first phone call.

I really wanted to talk with you because I am quite shy and I wanted you to be comfortable for our first visit. I assumed that talking with you would help you and I overcome the initial awkwardness of meeting new people. I was also feeling quite left out by this and Kevin were corresponding quite regularly (many times a day in fact) and the kids and you were doing the same. It was during this period of the reunion that I felt sure that I was never going to be loved by you and that the "division" in my family was sure to come. My feelings were all over the map. I was experiencing anxiety like I have only ever heard about. My mantra was "Dear God, help me".

The time was here that I would need to pick up the phone and talk with you. "Dear God, Your will be done in this me, help us." I don' t really remember what we talked about but I do remember hanging up the phone and feeling a calm and tranquility that I had not felt previously. I had made another step in welcoming you into our family. God was pleased.

Looking back...lots of pain but I had the definite assurance that God wanted this. What could I do...deny God? He was asking me to accept my husband's daughter. How could I say no? What could I have done differently? Hindsight tells me that had I not accepted you, I would have caused division in my family.


I remember before our call I was terribly nervous. I'm shy, you're shy...are we going to sit in silence for ten minutes before one of us has enough courage to speak? You called at exactly the time you said you would, and when I answered I was stunned. You're not shy on the phone! In fact, you're quite chatty, and it was great. You were completely friendly, welcoming, just lovely. After we hung up, I was so disappointed our call was over. I could have talked with you for a few hours. I'm so glad the anxiety was gone. I too felt at peace.


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Secret Fears

Email to Haley, from Linda; March 23, 2011


Does the Focus 3 Bible Course end in June? Sounds amazing. When you lead a Bible Study, do you host it in your home? In the church? (...) Thanks for the link to your church. I am listening to a sermon by one of your pastors right now. He is also doing a PowerPoint presentation. Do you help him with that? This sermon is wonderful! He has a real love for the Lord doesn’t he?

(...) At 28 years old I had a conversion...2 years after our marriage. I learned all about the love of Jesus and His Divine Mercy. I suspect all of Heaven celebrated the day I finally accepted Him! It’s quite a beautiful which I will share with you face to face.

Thanks for the pic of your parents! (...)

I can only pray that the kids will all find godly spouses. How happy I am that your marriage is built upon Jesus. You are so blessed and Nick is just as blessed to have a godly wife!

OK enough for now! I’ll call you tomorrow.

In Christ,


Email to Linda, from Haley; March 23, 2011

Hi Linda,

Our Focus 3 course runs from September to the end of May. It wraps up with "High Adventure Camp" where our group (there's 14 of us, including our senior pastor and his wife) goes white water rafting, high ropes course, horseback riding, etc. It's kind of like teambuilding. I'm very excited about it! It sounds scary and my goal is to try everything! It's been a very meaningful year together so far. Like I said, we write our 'stories' and then we actually share them with the group. It's been so cool to share everything, dark times and all, and still be loved and accepted. They've been praying for us as we reunite, and they were thrilled to hear about you and know that your family is Christian. They're my other family :)

When we lead our small group, we took turns hosting. Often it was here, but other couples took their turn too. We'd meet every other Sunday night and always start with dinner first. It's a great way to get to know people!

My favourite Bible studies have all been by Beth Moore. Have you done any of those? They're ladies Bible studies with a dvd and a workbook with lots of homework!

I can't wait to hear your faith story. I love how God uses different things in each of our lives to draw us closer to Him. Tonight I'm volunteering on our Healing Prayer Ministry team. It's amazing to be a part of, I'll have to tell you about it some time. It's been a huge part of my faith story too :)

Yes I do all the PowerPoint for our pastors (I actually build it in Keynote - Mac software). I love doing that! It's so fun.

Well, I gotta run to my appointment! I look forward to our chat tomorrow!



All the while, when Linda and I are emailing happy, hope-filled emails to each other...we were both having major anxiety. I'm panicking that she won't want to add another daughter; she's worried that I don't want another mother.

Here's the thing I've learned in the last few years. We have an enemy, and he is not really impressed when God's plans are moving ahead. So he tries to interfere, and he attacks us in ways that will steal our joy. But I've also learned that he doesn't have original ideas. He was putting the same fears into both of our minds.

And we agreed to talk on the phone. To each other. While we're both secretly panicking. I can't wait to show you how it turns out! Tomorrow's post is going to be worth getting up early for :)

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

A city on a hill

Email to Haley, from Linda; March 23, 2011

Dear Haley,

I too wear my heart on sleeve!

We would love to have you come to Mass with us. Initially, when the plan was that you would come on Easter, Daniel wondered which church you would go to. Our piano teacher is Baptist so we thought we would ask her the service times etc. Most people wear casual wear, jeans etc. The girls and I wear dresses (but that is not unusual for me since I mainly only wear skirts). Do you and Nick go to Bible Study? Is Nick's Dad a Baptist minister? (...) Whew, so many questions :)

I will call you on Thursday evening. Over time, phone calls will be a piece of cake. (...)

Haley, would you be able to send us a picture of your parents? I would love to know what they look like (I am a very visual person). When I saw the pics of you, my heart melted. The one where you are wearing your graduation gown seemed to tell me that you were a gentle, loving soul!

Hope you have a great day!



Email to Linda, from Haley; March 23, 2011

Hi Linda,

I think I've only been to Mass once or twice. I went in Jasper one time when we were there on a family trip. It was a world religions class assignment! It was different than what I'm used to :) I remember being confused about when to stand, sit, what to say/sing...I needed someone to show me!

Nick and I do attend a Bible study. We go every Tuesday night, and we really enjoy it. We led a Bible study group ourselves for a few years (we call them small groups). This year we're doing a program called Focus 3, and it's a leadership development Bible study course. One of our assignments was to write our life story and see where God's hand has been on each aspect of our lives. Writing that was what actually led me to decided to search for Kevin.

Yes Nick's dad is a Baptist pastor. Nick grew up very Baptist. (...) I'm not too concerned about denominations. I'm more concerned with people actually finding out who Jesus is and wanting a personal relationship with Him. In my opinion, no church has sole claim on that.

This picture of my parents is from last May; we went to visit them for their 40th wedding anniversary.

I look forward to your call!



So strange talking about faith and church via email. It's not usually something I talk about with, for all intents and purposes, strangers. Amazingly, it's not as awkward as I thought it would be. Faith is a huge part of my life, and obviously of Linda's as well. Glad that isn't going to be a stumbling point for us.

Sending her a picture of my that was a delicate decision. It's not like I think my parents will be running into them at the supermarket; they do live about four hours apart. It still felt like I was giving up some sacred information. I certainly considered declining Linda's request. I can't put my finger on why it made me uncomfortable. In the end, I decided it would be more honouring to my parents to share their photo, than to hide them away. Just as I choose to keep my city on a hill and reveal my faith in Jesus, I will share my parents with Linda. I know it's only a photo...but somehow it represents more than that.

Monday, 4 July 2011

I feel like I already know you

"I've read your entire blog and I feel like I already know you."

I was told that last week by a very dear, sweet gentleman. I'm sure it was meant as a sign of interest in me, and as a sincere compliment; he's enjoying learning about the addition to his extended family.

Instead of a compliment, I took it as a scary fact. My life is out there! For the world to judge. Not only my life, but also those of whose emails I've shared. My new family. Funny story about that...Linda's brother found out about his niece's favourite author by reading her email to me, on the blog. Oh, to live that one down! How can we share more about our lives on a blog than in real life?

I think I've felt fairly anonymous writing my story up to this point. I know my parents are reading it, my new family reads it (some of them religiously...), some of my facebook friends are reading it, that some fellow bloggers (strangers from afar) have taken interest. But now I know that people I will be meeting, that will likely be a part of my life to some extent, are reading it even prior to meeting me. That is a weird feeling. Very weird.

I feel I should issue a little challenge to you. You know who you are. You haven't commented on a post yet and you don't publicly follow the blog. Unless you do something like that, you're getting all the benefit of this one-sided relationship, and I'm just getting one more hit on my blog counter. I'd love for you to introduce don't have to share your life story, that can still be my half of the relationship. In fact, I'm truly honoured and very appreciative that you would spend your valuable time reading about my life. 

I guess what I'm saying is, I'd rather know you're around now. Otherwise, the first time we meet I'll shake hands with you, and you'll say "I've read your entire blog and I feel like I already know you." Then I'll have this awkward moment where I fumble for words like, "thank you?" or "are you 'hog11'?" And then, I'll have to write a blog post about you...

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Reunion; Take Two

I haven't heard from my biological mother, Camille, in about five and a half years. I sent her flowers a few weeks ago. A bouquet of gerber daisies, if you're curious. I remember when I visited her home, on our very first meeting, she had gerber daisies out on her dining room table. They are one of my favourite flowers, so naturally I commented on them. Camille told me they were her favourite. Funny how I vividly remember those flowers, and yet everything else from that night is a blur.

Why on earth would I subject myself to further rejection? I'm not sure. Perhaps I'm just a sucker for punishment. Or hopelessly optimistic...

Dear Camille,

I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately and felt compelled to write to you. I’m so sorry that our first reunion didn’t work out. It was very difficult for everyone involved, but I can’t help think it was hardest on you.

You’re the one with the painful memories of a teenage mother, who seemingly had no choices. You’re the one with hurts as an adult of probably the worst timing for a reunion, when you were trying to start your own family. It makes me cry just to think of this sorrow that I brought back up to the surface for you. I know sorry isn’t a big enough word, but it’s all I can give.

I’m not writing to bring back bad memories, though I’m sure I have even by having my name on the outside of this envelope...instead I just want you to know that I’m still here. I’ve grown up a bit more, have a few more years behind me, a few more grey hairs, and a bit more life experience to know that I should have been a lot kinder and more gracious in our first reunion.

I hope you are doing well. I think of you often, and wonder how life has been to you these last few years. I’ll be turning 28 in a couple of months. Wow time flies. Life’s too short for me not to give this relationship another try.

Lesson learned for next time: slower is better. I still can’t believe we met on the very first night! So much for my impulsive teenager-like tendencies! I promise I’ve grown up past that, well, mostly!

Let me just close with, I’m still here. Still interested in knowing you. 


It's been a few weeks now. Still haven't heard anything from her. If I'm very honest with you, I'm not surprised. Disappointed? Hmmmm, mildly. But I have many people in my life that love me, care about me, actually want to invest time in me. I can't get hung up on the one that doesn't. Well, I could, but I'll try not to...

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Happy Belated Father's Day

Due to our postal strike in Canada, I have had to delay this post until my Dad received his card! Only a few weeks late...I believe he got it in the mail on Thursday. This will be a rare fast-forward glimpse into our reunion. I've had the pressure turned up on me to get to the present story, so here's me caving to pressure, yet again :)

Today I stood in front of a wall of Father's Day cards.

I don't even send cards every year to my parents for Mother's Day or Father's Day. Our family believes in the conspiracy theories about the corporate card companies scheming to steal pennies from innocent card-giving victims on pseudo-made-up-holidays. But sometimes I do send them, and I thought it was especially important this year of all years.

I chose my Dad's card first. That one was easy,

     From your Daughter on Father's Day
     If I had asked God to give me
     the best Dad in the world...
     His answer still would have been you! (...)

Now for Kevin's card. The first ever Father's Day card he's going to receive from me. I wept.

So many cards with sappy poems...
So many with fond memories of childhood...
So many with the cute little girl standing on her Daddy's feet...
So many tears.

I couldn't see through the tears, so I'm not certain that there were many strange looks shot my way, but I suppose it's likely there were.

I'm torn in half standing in front of this wall. I have a Dad, and now I have a new Dad, and I don't want to hurt my Dad, and I want to include my new Dad, and am I even allowed to call him Dad?

I choose this, the only one that seems right,

     I'm thanking God for you, Dad...
     and praying your Father's Day is happy and blessed.

I think that's a pretty good gift. He gets to share the title now, Dad. Hope all of my Dads are ok with that.

Friday, 1 July 2011

To fake or not to fake

Email to Linda, from Haley; March 22, 2011

Hi Linda,

I often wear my heart on my sleeve, so if I express emotions I hope that doesn't scare you! I just try and be really honest about what my reality is. I never want to be the kind of Christian that pastes on a happy face and gives the impression that following Christ is a cakewalk. That's my reasoning behind the 'heart on my sleeve' mentality :)

I appreciate very much the fact that you are all trying to be very sensitive to me. I'm probably a handful to keep up with! I know that one email I sent to Kevin was probably not as sensitive as it could have been, but he was so gracious about it. I know I don't always have the censor that I probably need to have, so I hope you're ok with telling me when things are too much as well. (...)
I don't really know too much about Catholicism, so feel free to educate me! I'm very interested in learning more about what you believe. We would love to attend a service with you when we're out in April; I really want to see your church! Do you dress up when you go? Our church is pretty casual, so we often wear jeans.

Linda, I'd be delighted to chat with you on the phone. I'm sure Kevin probably told you about our phone call, but it was soooo much better than skype, and much less awkward. There's just something about one-on-one that's better for me too. I can definitely be shy and I especially don't like large groups, so I think a phone call would be great. (...)

Hope you have a great day! I look forward to our chat!

Blessings, Haley

I can't decide what's harder. Living life pretending to be happy, or actually letting people see inside my heart. I've done both, and most of the time I think being authentic is the way to go. But sometimes, especially when I feel really vulnerable, I wish I could go back to pasting on a happy face. As much energy as putting on a facade takes, it feels like that might be easier than letting someone in to see the real me.

Though I would like to hide behind a smile, eventually it will come out that I'm just a broken girl. Desperate for healing, craving acceptance, thrilled that anyone would want to phone me even if it's just to find out what my favourite foods are. 

Better to be the real me; I don't think I have the energy to fake it if I wanted to. 

Thursday, 30 June 2011

Great Expectations

Email to Haley, from Linda; March 22, 2011

Dear Haley,

To begin, I want to tell you how relieved I am that you are feeling better. On Sunday, I spent an hour and a half writing you an e-mail only to have Kevin tell me not to send it! E-mails are really tough for me since we interpret them through our own lenses. So what I thought would be a warm and comforting letter for you, Kevin thought differently and said it may be too much! Oh well, soon we’ll have a face-to-face visit which I am really looking forward to! (...)

Kevin keeps telling me to keep the e-mails simple so I will follow his advice. I thought it would be nice to phone you and ask about the kinds of foods you and Nick like to eat. It would give us a chance to talk and to feel more comfortable with each other! (...) I love heart to heart, one-on-one talks! I certainly look forward to these talks with you (if you are willing) I can’t wait to hear all about you...every little detail!

In Christ,

PS In regards to one of your e-mails to Kev...Kevin is can’t screw anything up! Haley we don’t have any expectations! It’s hard to disappoint people when they don’t expect anything...really :) We are grateful that we can get to know you and we will take things one step at a time!


She's so sweet. I am completely impressed by this woman. I still can't get over how she could welcome me into her family, without even knowing who I am. "I can't wait to hear all about you...every little detail!" Am I ready for that? I guess I'm going to have to be!

Can you believe this thing about no expectations? No expectations? As much as I have tried to keep my expectations low, to protect myself from disappointment, I still have expectations. I don't think I could define what they are, but there are definitely hopes and they are growing rapidly. 

It's sort of impossible not to have expectations, don't you think? 

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Planning a Visit

I feel like I haven't written in so long that I forgot where I was in the story!

Quick re-set; had our first Skype call, I had a little meltdown, then Kevin and I talked on the phone and I calmed down a bit, Nick and I discussed and decided to do a visit.

Email to Haley, from Kevin; March 21, 2011 

Hi Haley,

I enjoyed the call as well, it isn't often I don't have something to say, and at times I was at a loss for words!

Great to hear you're going to jump in and come visit, in my calendar the 16-17 is better, and Linda is going to check her outlook and let me know this morning, and I'll ph you this afternoon. (...)

I'm glad to hear you're doing better, e-mail is a double edged sword for sure, more time to think writing, more time to misinterpret reading! (...)

I'll talk to you later Haley, I know once the arrangements are made, the kids will be excited, and Sarah can begin prepping her long golden hair! (ha ha)



Kevin called me in the afternoon, and we tried to pick a weekend. Who knew it would be so complicated? There was Easter weekend in there, Nick and I already had plans to go to Invermere, another weekend we had volunteer commitments, I think Daniel had a scout camp one weekend, and Amy had a birthday date with her Mom another weekend. It looked like June would be the earliest date. *sigh* How on earth could I wait three more months?

Later that day, and after 3 or 4 calls we finally picked a date that was nearly perfect. Can you believe that my dear sister Amy willingly gave up a birthday night out with her Mom, just to meet me? What a treasure that girl is. She had already emailed me that she was going to a concert in Seattle by one of her favourite artists, and that it was going to be a special evening out, topped off with a night spent in a hotel! I knew she was really looking forward to it, and I didn't want to be associated with taking away a treat like that. But Amy was so gracious, and seemed to be more excited about meeting me than a night out. They still planned to attend the concert, but would only miss a few hours with Nick and I, not a whole day.

Just over 5 weeks from today, Nick and I will meet them all face-to-face! I don't want to sell him out here, but Kevin sounded so excited on the phone, it was kind of like talking to an eager child a few days before Christmas. I was also looking forward to a visit, but had enough anxiety to temper the excitement down to a more palatable level. I hope that didn't come across on the phone as ambivalence...

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

It's all about me.

When I started to share my story through this blog, I mistakenly thought it was all about me. I needed to write to process all my feelings, to keep them from swirling around in my head. Big life change, lengthy mental processing needed.

At the beginning of the reunion, I used up all my free time with my husband talking on and on about my new family. At dinner, on date night, during hockey games. Note to self: Don't talk to your husband during a hockey game unless your sentence has the word 'wings' or 'pizza', preceded by, "do you want more ______"? He's not interested in hearing about the latest email from my little sister when the game is in overtime. Trust me, that email was way more interesting that the overtime period.

My friends, surprisingly, were not all interested in every moment of my reunion tale. One even interrupted me in the middle of my story, and said, "oh no, I didn't mean I wanted to hear all of that, I just wanted to know it was going well." Oh. So you don't want me to ramble on for hours at a time? I listen to you talk about your kids for hours, I guess it doesn't go both ways.

I needed another outlet, and a blog seemed to be a good choice. It helped me untangle weeks of pent up thoughts and emotions. Unpacking story by story was incredibly helpful to my mental health.

I haven't felt the compulsion to write every day for a while; *spoiler warning* I do have a post saved up about Father's Day, but with the mail strike in Canada, I didn't want to post it until my Dad actually got his Father's Day card, since the post is all about choosing Father's Day cards.

Since I stopped writing for a few weeks, I've been getting bombarded with advice as to how to 'cure writer's block' or 'just jump ahead to the present story'. I was told that a certain member of my new family now sleeps in again, because she used to get up early to see what I had written, and now doesn't bother. Ouch.

Ok, I can take the hint! It's important to them to meet me here at the blog every morning. They get a glimpse of me, of my heart, answers to questions they might be too shy to ask, something extra that helps them process this reunion thing too.

And here I thought the blog was all about me...

The real question is, when will they read the new post! Since they're not in the habit of checking every day... :)

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Writer's Block

Last week I was explaining to someone (whose name I'll kindly neglect to include) that it was often challenging to write the blog. This person affectionately teased me saying, 'you're not even writing anything, you're just using other people's emails anyway'. Yep. That's what I'm doing, and yet I'm stuck. Now I know what it feels like to not know what to say next; what writer's block feels like.

I spent an entire day today reading through old emails and struggling with what part of our story to share next. I'm still getting nowhere. So much for just copying other people's emails to me; if that's all I was doing, then I shouldn't be stuck...

If I'm a bit more erratic with posting, now you know why. I'm going to try and muddle through, but it might be more sporadic than I'm used to.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

A day in my time-travelling shoes

I suppose I'll be shifting around a bit more through time with the blog for the next while, as I'm opting for keeping conversations together rather than keeping to the exact timeline. We'll see how this goes :)

Email to Haley, from Linda; March 19, 2011 

Dear Haley,

I can’t tell you how wonderful it was to speak with you and Nick today! You are so beautiful...and that smile!!!  (...)

I’m trying to imagine what it would be like to be in your shoes...and it is difficult to know what you may be feeling/thinking. I just want you to know that we are glad that you made that first call. I am so grateful that you are such a “good” girl and will be a great role model for the girls. I think God has a great future for us all and I trust completely in His plans.

Today, a Skype, a real visit!!! How exciting!
In Christ,

Email to Linda, from Haley; March 19, 2011 

Dear Linda,

I loved seeing you all in 'real life'. It's so much better than just a picture! It was hard for me to concentrate on talking I was so busy taking it all in! Sorry I didn't have much to say, I think I was a bit in shock. (...)

Emotional doesn't begin to describe me today. I'm a wreck. Happy sad nervous anxious scared excited all at once. I smile reading through the emails and then I'm bawling because I'm afraid of messing this up. Overall just a wreck. I spent the rest of the evening trying to write an email to Kevin. Nick is still working on the truck, so I used a half a box of Kleenex on my own :)

I want to get to know everyone and I don't want to slow things down with you all, but it's definitely an emotional time!


Half a box of kleenex, home alone with the keyboard and the dog...if I drank much, I think tonight would be the night to get out a bottle of (insert your favourite drink here). But I don't, so it was just me, the kleenex, the keyboard and the dog. I can't call anyone because I don't know what I'd say. I looked so forward to the Skype call, and then had this terrible breakdown immediately afterward. Where's the DSM-IV TR when you need it? Perhaps I'm not quite the 'great role model' Linda has in mind.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

The Phone Call

My last entry left me napping on the couch with a phone, wondering if Kevin was going to call me.

He did!

We talked for about an hour, and it was amazing. I know I didn’t hold up my end of the conversation as well as I would have liked, but it was a lot better than question. It’s been so long since the call, I am struggling to remember everything we talked about, but I do remember that it was so good.

Kevin was friendly and open to learning more about me. He engaged me with many questions (which is essential when talking to someone who can be as shy as I can). He answered some of my burning questions about when I was born. I don’t know how many turning points my story will require, but this was another major one for me.

Email to Haley, from Kevin; March 20, 2011 

Hi Haley, 

I really enjoyed talking to you today, e-mail is good, talking is better, as you said, tough to read emotion in an e-mail. 

I just put the old salmon on the bbq, and Linda and I were talking and I wanted to clarify something about the kids. When I said that Linda asked the kids to slow down with the e-mail, what we are after is to not overwhelm you, but we are not asking the kids to stop. You need to know that as of when we told our kids about you, we would not cut you or them off. There will always be ebbs and flows, but they are natural and I don't want you to think you have to walk on eggshells or anything like that.

We're very happy to get to know you and welcome you however much you want to be welcomed.



Email to Kevin, from Haley; March 20, 2011 

Hi Kevin,

So our phone call today is my favourite interaction so far. It was so nice to talk with you and get to know you better. I am astounded at how genuine and caring you are. I never expected to be that lucky! I guess what I'm trying to say is let's do that again :)

I talked with Nick and we decided that we should just jump in and do a visit! (...) Let me know what you think, and we can plan from there. (...) 

I'm feeling a lot better since our chat. I think I just needed to get past the 'this is always going to be extremely awkward' to 'this is natural' stage. Thank you for spending that time with me today, I really appreciate it.


Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Asking for something I want

Email to Kevin, from Haley; March 20, 2011

Hi Kevin,


If I'm honest, I checked my email about every 10 minutes last night until I finally fell asleep (and then again when I was up very early this morning...I'm turning into a real junkie!). I was very concerned about what you might say, but as always you're very kind and understanding; thank you.

I don't mind when you tell me about who I look like or sound like, I just don't know who you're talking about! I'm used to years and years of, wow you look so much like your mom or dad, and laughing it off because I'm adopted... I'll have to show you a picture of them sometime, we do look pretty similar, it's kind of funny :)

I love watching Dragon's Den. I never watch the news anymore. I read it all online. We try and go to a couple Eskimos games every year, but I'm not as interested in sports as I used to be. Nick loves watching cfl and hockey. I got him tix to the Oilers vs Flames next Sunday for his birthday. I can't believe he's turning 28. That means I'm not far behind...

Visits...I wish I had someone to tell me what to do! My heart's desire is to meet you in person, I would love to do that and I've been checking out WestJet flights since I found out where you live. We're going to Invermere at Easter and I thought you guys could come out and we could meet on neutral ground. I was excited when Amy told me you usually come to Edmonton once a year. I'm confused. You say it's up to me about timing...but I'd like to know what you want. I need some help on this one.

Nick would like to add something...

"You have been very gracious about how you've dealt with the whole situation and very sensitive to Haley's feelings. I appreciate that you've been willing to share about yourselves freely. Your thoughtfulness and way you've handled the emails, skype etc. has been beyond what I would have ever expected."

We're going to be home all afternoon today, if you're not busy, why don't you call me and we could try and talk about what to do next? And I want to hear about what you were thinking when you got my first message on facebook!

Blessings, Haley

As awkward as Skype was, I still was craving contact with Kevin. I don't know why I wrote that I wanted him to call me, because I am terrible at asking for things that I need or want. Terrible! But I did, and as soon as I hit send, I became completely worried again. Too much too soon; How could I be so desperate; It's going to push him away. I wrote earlier about 'the irony of being needy' and here I am again.

The worst part of this email? Putting it out there that I hoped he would call, but not knowing if he would. I went downstairs and napped on the couch with a phone. How sad to admit that! I'm pretty sure it's things like this that make my husband think I'm a tad crazy...

Monday, 6 June 2011


Email to Haley, from Kevin; March 20, 2011

Good Morning Haley,

We watched the movie Secretariat after we went for a bike ride to the gelato shack in town. And it was during that movie that I read your e-mail, but I couldn't respond just then. The movie was terrific, I would recommend it, but your note left me with not much to say - which anyone here would tell you that's impossible. It was terrific to see you and Nick as well, skype is indeed good at helping the overwhelm.

I certainly appreciate your comment regarding flying blind as for sure you don't have the benefit of knowing the rest of our family; after some reflection I think we would have preferred not to make some of the comments about your voice or mannerisms that might be similar to others in my family. We forget we're new to you. And that there are 5 of us!

Expectations are crazy things, huh?

I can't speak to the TV shows you mentioned, I watch the news, MASH, The Dragon's Den, and CFL football; but that's pretty much it, we didn't even have cable until the CBC lost the football rights to TSN! I do know that lots of tv is a train wreck! So best not to set our expectations off of what's on tv.

I really don't know what my expectations are Haley. We would love to have you and Nick for a weekend if you guys would like that. I'm certainly ok wih phone calls and going slowly, as I know we are starting with very little other than perhaps desire to know more about where we come from and our history. We're just going to have to muddle our way.


Haley, there's no such thing as screwing it up. 

When you told me about your history with Camille I felt very badly about your experience for you, and for Camille and her husband as well, I couldn't imagine how hard it was for all of you.

So back to not screwing it up; we're trying to find our way you and I, and Linda and Nick are caught in the crossfire! I'm thinking there are times where they are thinking, 'what is happening here?'...there are so many layers its mind boggling, so as I've said to Linda, let's keep it simple. Keeping it simple will help us determine where to go and how fast and all that stuff. If I were to die today (I have no such plans!) I'd be very happy with what we have been able to share with each other in the past few weeks.

Frankly I'm very proud of how you and I have made out since your first e-mail. Especially when you consider our limited experience with these types of situations :) !

My cell number is _________, our home number is _________. Phone anytime.

Have a super day Haley, I hope I haven't thrown too much at you here; for me, I'm very supportive of you (and by extension Nick) and whatever speed you two want to go at is good for me.


I don't know what to say. I think I finally understand that this reunion can be different. Kevin's letting me set the pace; He can handle my desperate emails; I don't know what I can do that will push them away. Being accepted just as I am is a strange feeling that I'm not used to. I'm unsure of how to process this. 

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Reality Check

We hung up after the skype call and I was in shock.

The first thing my husband said to me, “You sure didn’t talk much!”. I didn’t? I didn’t really notice! I tend to be pretty shy, so that’s not really a surprise. And what was I supposed to say anyway? I was too busy trying to take it all in to have room left to think about what to say.

Then I had a mini freak out. Maybe a huge freak out. How can Kevin look like a stranger when we’ve been sharing life stuff for a few weeks already?

It was so different to see them live. I’ve seen pictures, and they look exactly the same as their pictures, but now they’re real.

It’s hard to explain, not as though I thought they were ‘fake’ but to know each person is real, and what they have emailed me is really from each of them; I think of the kids especially. Their personalities shone through each email. I can tell just by reading the writing who each email is from if I never saw the reply address or a signature. To match that up to a live face is overwhelming.

It was like I’ve been living in a fog-filled dream world for the last two weeks, and then today in twenty minutes I had my eyes truly opened. The mist cleared away and this was my reality. I’m the plus-one in a new family.
Email to Kevin, from Haley; March 19, 2011 

Hi Kevin, 

This is the first email to you that I'm struggling to write! I hope you can read this with filtered lenses please, I am going to be as honest as I can be - but sometimes I know I can come across as critical instead of honest, and I don't do too well at censoring myself. So please read it with grace lenses :) and I'll ask for forgiveness in advance. 

It was so wonderful to see you all 'face to face'. Somehow it makes it seem so much more real.

I'm embarrassed that I didn't say much; I'm sorry. I was sort of in shock I guess. There's 5 of you and only one of me, and it's hard for me to take it all in and still have room left in my brain to think about what to say next. With emails it's so much easier because I can take the time I need to think. I'm a fairly quiet person when I don't know people well, and I'm even worse in groups. If I'm at a table with 10 of my dearest friends, it takes a lot to prompt me to join in the conversation.

All that being said...I think I need to right-size my expectations. I've been having these grandiose ideas about visiting for a weekend or I don't know, just big plans for an ideal reunion. I have to quit watching tv shows like The Locator and Find My Family! I guess it's easy to splice a 60 minute awkward silence-filled conversation into a 2 minute sound byte. We're essentially strangers, and you get the benefit of me looking like or sounding like someone in your family, but I'm flying blind. It feels so strange because even though we've had a couple of weeks of emails I still look at you and feel like I don't know you at all. It's surreal, like it's not really my life, but someone else's.

I'm scared because of what happened with Camille. I think I'm putting a lot of pressure on myself to make sure I don't screw this up, but I don't even know what it should look like.

So where do we go from here? I don't know. I'm at a loss. I think skype is so cool because you can see each other, and it's almost like you're in the same room, but it's distracting for me to see you and I'm trying to see me in you and I can't think about what to say. It's info overload. I guess I would like it if you and I could just talk on the phone instead for a while. And I think I would like to ask you a few questions about when I was born if that's ok. And if Linda or the kids wanted to talk, that'd be ok, but I think I'd like it to be 1 on 1 instead of everyone at once.

Ok, so that was long and rambling, sorry. Nick went back to work and I'm just processing it all on my own and thought that you should know what I'm thinking too.

I'd love to talk again soon, but you can email me first and tell me how long and rambling I am sometimes :)

Blessings, Haley 


Saturday, 4 June 2011

The Skype Call, Part Two

I'm thrilled to tell you that Kevin has agreed (I'm told this was half 'happily' and half 'reluctantly' due to his private nature...) to write a guest post. Please enjoy the view from his glasses today.

Skype day was like most Saturdays at our house, a bit busy and a bit lazy. Everyone in the house was excited/nervous all day. We knew Haley would become and remain part of our lives, my wife and I had already agreed (how good is she?!). Skyping would be another step in the string of steps already taken. I set up in the kitchen. In retrospect, my wife told me she'd never seen me so nervous. I remember feeling anxious, very anxious...

I don't recall who called whom, but when we got on the call it was only Haley and I. Initially it was surreal, my first time on skype, seeing the daughter I knew I had but knew little about until just a few weeks previous.

I had prepared a small list of things to talk about because I'm not very talkative on the weekends as I talk all day at work. We'd traded photos previously, so I recognized her immediately. It's impossible not to notice mannerisms in Haley that I and my siblings share.

Woah! Not easy.

At times it feels like we're just staring at each other; even though we've found a nice pleasant rhythm in our writings back and forth, adding audio and video has added a whole new dimension that for sure I'm not prepared for.

I'm struggling to bring things up, and Haley is really quiet, it kind of feels like we're on a nervous blind date, time to call in the reinforcements! We pull Linda and Nick into the camera view and things start to settle down again, then after a few quiet pauses we bring in our kids.

After more small talk there are seven of us watching tv, not much to say but all amazed as we look through the glass. My list of questions gets used up, I try to make jokes to keep things light but it's hard for everyone (maybe because they weren't funny, though I find that hard to believe) we're all excited and nervous and mesmerized by the new family members. We lift up our 45 pound dog Danny and introduce him to Lucy, who likely weighs 6 pounds out of the bathtub, this was proof to me we were struggling a bit for content!

After we say goodbye, everyone in my kitchen lets out a huge sigh of relief, we did it! I imagine it was the same in Haley's house. We'd successfully met 'face to face' and not only survived, but set ourselves up for continuing to head down the path of getting to know each other.

That was an amazing day; with luck there will be many more to come.


Friday, 3 June 2011

The Skype Call

March 19 through my Facebook statuses:

7:37am: Today is the big skype date! No wonder I couldn't sleep...I've been way too excited. I hope this mountain of laundry can distract me until 5:00!

4:02pm: 1 hour. I'm gonna throw up. It was easier when I was busy with cleaning. 

I chose very carefully what to wear, only to recall that our webcam has more of a neck-up view (ha! so much for vanity...). I put on makeup, to which my dear husband says, “makeup for skype? really?” Yes really. No I don’t wear full makeup every single day of my life, but on days that I especially feel like smoothing over any flaws...

I asked Nick to make sure skype was on, and then I sat in the other room feeling like I was going to throw up for about an hour. That’s what happens to me when I’m nervous; full on nauseous. Finally, after watching every second tick by on the clock there was only ten minutes left to wait. I sat at the desk and waited. New clock to stare at, unkindly though it didn’t provide me with a second hand. Each minute was monotonous. Kind of like how you’re thinking right now, so get to the call! What happens on the call? The anticipation burns, and there’s no relief until you eventually hear the ring.

Finally, at exactly 5:00pm, the appointed time, we met 'face to face' for the first time.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

A Little Break

I'm going to be taking a little break from writing the blog for a week or so. I'm going away for a few days and I'm not sure if I'll have Internet access. In addition to that, some of my most faithful readers are taking a, well, let's call it a 'fast' from electronics. This way, they won't have to miss anything :)

In the meantime, thank you for reading our story. Why don't you tell your friends about it? The more readers the merrier!

Next post is about "The Skype Call". Is that considered a cliffhanger?

<3 Haley

Monday, 23 May 2011

Looking forward to Skype

Email to Haley, from Kevin; March 18, 2011

Hi Haley,

It’s Friday and we're really looking forward to tomorrow afternoon's Skype call, as I said earlier it may be me, Linda and I, or it might be the whole band. Is that ok? I'm not sure how it will unfold, so if you have a preference please say and we'll do that. (...)

I haven't been counting days or weeks but I know it's been a very short time since we began conversing...feels longer for me, but I know it’s short. (...)

Have a great day, we'll see you tomorrow!



Email to Kevin, from Haley; March 18, 2011

Good Morning! I have been trying to reply to all the emails that are overflowing my inbox! It's an interesting balance of wanting them to get a careful and timely reply and yet I have to run to work right away! Not literally though, my legs hurt like, well a lot. I had an early morning training session with a lot of lunges yesterday.

As for tomorrow, I am very excited! I would love to 'see' you all but how about just you and I start and then we can add people in to the call as we run out of things to say :) I do want to greet all your kids, as they have certainly expressed that desire in their emails. I need to frame those emails, you should read them all! They are amazing :) (...)

Thanks for the emails...and for including me in the family. Your children are so special. They're already dear to me after only a few typed words back and forth.


Our time together has been short? It's been less than two weeks since the Facebook conversation of March 6/7. Wow. How fast can you build a sustainable relationship? 

One of my big regrets with Camille is that we actually met within days of our first emails. Let me correct that, it was the same day. I got the first email from her at 3:20pm; Nick and I went to visit her at 7:30pm. Too much too soon? Yes. Of course hindsight is 20-20. 

Is this too much too soon? It's like taking out a few stones from the dam every day, and then there's a trickle of water coming out...which leads to a breach and widespread flooding. It's too late to put back any stones now, so I think I'll just hope the flood is good for the land. 

Sunday, 22 May 2011

My Inbox Runneth Over

Email to Haley, from Kevin; March 17, 2011

Hi Haley,

Daniel and Sarah told me they e-mailed you last night, and then I heard Amy mention it to Linda as I drifted off. I was so happy to hear that, hopefully its not too much for you now...they are incredible kids, and yet I can't help but think it overwhelming for you as well.

Be sure to speak up, ok?



Email to Haley, from Linda; March 17, 2011

Hi Haley,

Are you overwhelmed yet? I am fully aware that the children have been e-mailing up a storm!!!!!!!! How excited you have made them. I have not read any of Amy’s or Daniel’s correspondence but since Sarah’s e-mails come into my e-mail box I have read hers. Imagine my horror :) at her describing her hair as long and golden (I am sure she is humble somewhere in her soul!!!) When she read that to me I laughed and hoped you would too! She has taken so much time to e-mail you that it touches me.


Many blessings to you and I look forward to Saturday when we will hear you voice and see you face to face (kind of!)

In Christ,

Email to Kevin, from Haley; March 17, 2011

It is very overwhelming in a 'my cup runs over' joy-filled way! I was thrilled to read their emails and responded to them last night. They are an absolute delight! I'm privileged to get to meet them!


What a wonderful problem to have. I used to be afraid that I had read the very last email I'd ever receive from Kevin, and now I can barely keep up with my inbox. I don't think Nick has ever seen me so attached to my iPhone or the computer. 

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Sarah, Part Two

Email to Sarah, from Haley; March 16, 2011

Hi Sarah!

Wow! You sound like you love ballet. That's so neat! I've never ever tried it, but I remember going to see the nutcracker when I was about your age and loving it! Do you do recitals in your class? The closest I come to dancing is a Zumba fitness class, that's Latin dancing plus aerobics. It's pretty fun!

I saw a picture of your beautiful hair! I have dark brown hair, it's only shoulder length now but I used to have very long hair when I was younger. It was too hard for me to keep straight! I have very fine hair and it would always get tangled.

We have a Wii too! We only have a couple of games but my favourite is bowling. Which ones do you like to play?

Do your dolls have names? My favourite doll had red curly hair and I named her Penny. I really liked to pick out dresses and do my dolls' hair too. We had a friend that made doll clothes so it was always special to get a new outfit that you couldn't buy at the store! Do you like to do any crafts?

Sarah you're pretty wise for 9 years old. Faith is very important and I know a lot of people don't take it seriously. It's a good thing that God gives us second chances (many of them) and that He loves us enough to forgive us when we don't take Him seriously.

Thanks for your email Sarah! What a treasure you are! I can't wait to meet you!



I can't wait to meet all of them! Only a couple more days until our first Skype date! 

Friday, 20 May 2011


Email to Haley, from Sarah; March 16, 2011

Dear Haley,

As you already know my name is Sarah and I am so excited to get to know you. I am going to tell you my hobby’s first, I spend most of my time listening to music and story CDs. But one of favourite hobby’s is ballet. I go to do ballet twice a week. I also enjoy playing with Amy and Daniel, styling dresses for my baby dolls (all eight of them), and doing my long golden hair!! But I think out of all these things I like best to play with Amy and Daniel. (...) A few years ago my dad and mom got us a Wii, so now Amy and sometimes Daniel will play Wii with me. Unfortunately Amy has given up Wii for lent. I am giving up sweets (candy) for lent. Mom is giving up coffee. Daniel is giving up sweets too. And dad? He is giving up smoking and he doesn’t even smoke. And that brings me to talk a little bit about my faith. Faith should have been the first topic in this e-mail because it should be so important in everybody’s lives even though it seems like nobody feels this way. Well by for now!!!

All my love,


Sarah is nine, and she is a complete doll! I laughed at "my long golden hair" and cried at "All my love". 

I just can't express what it means to receive these emails. They are the dearest kids I have ever known, and I haven't even had the pleasure of meeting them yet. It's inexplicable. I don't know them, yet I love them. They don't know me, yet they have already opened up their hearts to me. Oh to have childlike faith. 

They deserve the best big sister in the world. I hope I don't disappoint them. 

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Amy, Part Two

Email to Amy, from Haley; March 16, 2011

Hi Amy!

Can I just start out by saying how adorable you are? I just loved your email! It gave me a glimpse of your sparkly personality!

I love reading too. I remember when I finished off the library at my middle school, the massive disappointment of no new books...then I got to use the public library and I haven't run out of books since. :)
I love all sorts of books, but right now I read a lot of non-fiction Christian books. My favourite fiction authors are John Grisham and Jodi Picoult but I don't think I started reading those until I was in my late teens.

I'm kind of sad to be grown up too. I feel like missed out on quite a few years with you! But I'll still try to be the cool older sister who doles out boy advice and has their driver's license!

I really love Christian music too. I volunteer at a huge Christian conference in Edmonton every year and this year I got to run our Sunday night concert. I got to meet a bunch of bands: Pocket Full of Rocks, Bluetree, 33Miles, Building 429, Leeland. We've also met Matt Maher, Paul Baloche, Robin Mark, Third Day, Michael W. Smith, MercyMe, Casting Crowns, Brian Doerksen... Lots of them! It's kind of a cool volunteer job! I used to work for the conference so they trust me :)

I love Chris Tomlin! How lucky are you!?! Is it a special birthday trip?

I am so impressed that you passed your grade 8! That is a huge accomplishment! Congratulations! What type of music do you like to play? Is it more classical or pop?

Amy, you can email me anytime (as long as your mom and dad are ok with that...). I'd be delighted to hear all about your life and answer any questions that I can. I don't have all the answers, but I know someone that does :)
Do you have many other activities? I heard you go out for sushi after piano! That's fun! I love sushi too.

I think we've got great potential here for being kindred spirits :)

A sister at last! And not just one, but two...I can’t wait to introduce you to Sarah. She’s effervescent! 

Wednesday, 18 May 2011


Reminder of what I wrote to Amy and Sarah:

Amy and Sarah - I saw your pictures and you are both so beautiful! I am so excited to have sisters! If you're ok with me joining your family as your big sister, I think we may have some great late-night chats, spa dates, watch Anne of Green Gables with giant boxes of kleenex and maybe you're past the barbie stage...but I still have a box of barbies that haven't seen sisters play together yet.

Email to Haley, from Amy; March 16, 2011

Hi Haley,

I’m SO excited to have an older sister! I’ve always wanted an older sister. Older brothers are fine, but they just don’t get girl things. (...) Little sisters are fine too, but you can’t ask them for advice or anything like that. In other words, I’m glad I have you now! I hope you don’t mind being an older sister. (...)

Ok, I am Amy and I am 13 at the end of April. I LOVE reading fantasy books, but I also like mysteries like Nancy Drew, and I like books like Anne of Green Gables. Wide variety! But fantasy books are probably my favorite. My favorite fantasy author is Bryan Davis, he is GREAT! He writes for adults and teens. You should read some of his books. (What kind of books do you like to read? I’m always open for suggestions, because I go through books pretty fast.) I requested a new book he just wrote from the library in September, and it STILL hasn’t got here. It’s the second in the series and I’m on pins and needles to see what will happen next! (...)

I also just kind of got interested in music. I’m a big fan of Christian music and some of my favorite artists (that is such a weird name for a song writer!) are: Matt Maher, Chris Tomlin, and Toby Mac. Well, I only like 5 songs of Toby Mac’s but it still counts…Dan found you’re face book page and it said you like Matt Maher too! He wasn’t sure if it was the right page though. I’m going to see Chris Tomlin live in Seattle in April! I’m SO excited for it! Mom and I are going and after the concert we’re going to stay in a hotel for the night! Fun!

Besides being an avid reader, another hobby is piano. I just passed my grade 8 exam, and I’m SO excited about it because now I’m qualified to teach piano! (...)

Yes, I think I’ve past the Barbie stage, but I would LOVE some late night secrets! I’m not real big on a spa though…Sarah is though! She loves stuff like that! (...)

I’m sort of disappointed you’re grown up, but in a way I’m glad because then I can tell you boy stuff, and you probably won’t ever meet them, and let something slip that I like them. 

Love, Amy


She’s a complete delight! The time, thought and trust that she put into this email, it’s incredible (The original had 1042 words...Amy and I edited it down quite a bit). It demonstrates to me what wonderful parents these dear children have had.

I can’t wait to meet her in person! What a gift to be loved by someone who has never met you.

The best line... "I'm sort of disappointed you're grown up." Me too.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Daniel, Part Two

Email to Daniel, from Haley; March 16, 2011

Hi Daniel!

No it's not every day you find a new family member is it?!? And I found 5! Have you told anyone else yet? Everyone I've shared with has been very excited for all of us.

You have my permission to grill my husband Nick a bit if you need some practice screening boyfriends, except for the part about being in the garage...that's just a bit too scary for me :)

I do love to read! I used to read 5 books a week when I was about your age, now I read less, but still love it. Thanks for the recommendations, I'll have to see if I can find some of them!

I loved reading about your interests, thanks for sharing! God is #1 on my list too. I'm so thankful we have that in common. It took me until I was about 16 to really accept Him into my life, so I'm extremely happy that you've already done that. Do you have any favourite Bible verses or stories?

I used to read a lot of fantasy/sci fi too, but I haven't lately. I read a lot of non-fiction Christian books and also books about adoption. My favourite fiction authors are John Grisham and Jodi Picoult; I also read a lot of CS Lewis when I was younger.

I love music too! I listen to all sorts of music, but I especially love worship music. Matt Maher is awesome! I actually got to meet him; he has come to a conference in Edmonton that Nick and I both volunteer at. It's called Break Forth, and it's an awesome Christian event. Maybe sometime you guys can come up for it.

I'm not really "sporty" either, although I did promise Nick that I would play softball this I guess I'll still have to practice playing catch with him :) Do you like to watch any sports? I heard you had a special visit to see the grey cup! How was that?

I like being outside too. I used to be in army cadets and we did a lot of orienteering things like camping and target practice, don't tell Nick... but between you and me, I can start a fire faster (and in the rain!). Do you get badges in scouts? What kinds of things do you do at scouts? Your Dad told me you were on a trip with them last weekend. Sounds like fun!

I have seen a picture of your dog! He looks like a great furry friend. Have you seen a picture of mine? Her name is Lucy and she's kind of a princess dog. She doesn't like to go outside when it's cold or wet, but she does love walks! How old is your dog? Lucy is 5 but still acts like a puppy sometimes.

Thanks for your email! I look forward to meeting you 'face to face' on skype soon!



The day I received the email from Daniel was monumental. I literally expected to come to the end of my life (many years from now...) never having experienced what it's like to have a brother. Yes I have three great brothers-in-law, but it's not the same. Nick has a strong bond with his siblings. And no matter how close I've become with them, it's different. I know I'm an 'in-law' and while I'm warmly accepted into the family, I'm an addition. It's most clear when we take family photos; There's always the one photo where the 'in-laws' step aside to let the original family have their photo taken. I realize I am floundering at trying to explain this, let me just say that if you're not living this, you won't understand.

Monday, 16 May 2011


Reminder of what I wrote earlier to Daniel:

Daniel- It must be great to be an older brother. I know you've got some serious responsibilities on your shoulders. Soon you'll have to fend off future suitors for not just one but two sisters. You get to be the 'man' of the house when your Dad's away. And you have two sisters who may have ganged up on you to force you to play house or let them cut your hair...I'm sorry that I don't balance out the boys side for you :) But at least you don't have to screen my boyfriends, I'm already married! Seriously though, what a great honour I'll have if you allow me the privilege of being your big sister. I always wanted a brother to show me how to do some boy stuff like playing video games or someone to play catch with. I also need someone who can recommend some great books...I go through a couple most weeks! I hope you can help me out with some of that!

Email to Haley, from Daniel; March 16, 2011

Hey Haley!!

I’m SSSOOO excited to have you as an older sister!!! I can’t wait to meet you in person!! This whole thing is really exciting for me, I mean it’s not every day you have a new sister!!

Yeah being an older brother is awesome....most of the time :P (...)

Dad and I have always joked that when the girls are older and a boyfriend comes to take them on a date we’ll be in the garage like in that song.....oh what’s it called..? hhmmm....and I’ll be sharpening my knife and he’ll be sharpening his axe and we’ll screen the boy first :P. Dad mentioned that you like to read...thats something we have in common...well You might like this series of books ‘Dragons in our Midst’ by Bryan Davis... They tie in with another series called ‘Oracles of Fire’ and they are both great Christian fantasy series (by the day read Dragons in our Midst first).

Well I guess I should probably tell you about myself because I’m guessing I won’t have much time when we have our video call on Saturday or when we meet. So... I have a few passions which are: God and my faith, reading, and music (classic rock mostly). Some of my favourite books are: the Inheritance Cycle, Sherlock Holmes, Dragons in our Midst, Oracles of Fire, Lord of the Rings, and a few others. Then some of my favourite bands are: U2, Rush, The Who, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Boston, The Beatles, The Police, Matt Maher, and Bon Jovi. I’m not a very sportsy person I prefer to read or play videogames (which I don’t do a whole lot because I am only allowed 40 minutes/day. I really love to be outdoors though. I am in scouts and I love camping and hiking! I also like walking the dog (did you know we have a dog? He’s awesome! 

Well I’m not quite sure about what else to tell you so help me out by asking questions!!!

(feels so weird to be saying this) Your Brother,


Ok, my heart totally melted. I love him already! What a charmer :)  "It's not every day you have a new sister!!" No it's not!

I love the signature..."Your Brother,"

This is what joy feels like!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

It's a new day!

Email to Haley, from Linda; March 16, 2011

Dear Haley,

How your e-mails warm my heart!!

Today is Wednesday, and the kids have piano lessons first thing in the morning. Following these lessons we normally go to a local Japanese restaurant for sushi. I shared with the kids more details about you and their responses were amazingly enthusiastic! Daniel asked if he could have your e-mail, so I took the pleasure and told them that they had an e-mail waiting for them at home! As soon as we entered the house, the kids asked to read it!! Well, they did. How they delighted in your personal words to them. It is agreed that you have an amazing personality! They will be responding to you (today probably).

I hope you don’t become too overwhelmed but they are anxious to get to know you and anxious to tell you all about themselves!! We’ll all be present for Saturday’s Skype call.

May God Bless You



Yesterday I thought I would have to wait as long as a few weeks to interact with my siblings.

It's a new day! And you only have to wait one more day to read what the first email from my brother said...

Saturday, 14 May 2011

A Very Delicate Situation

Email to Linda, from Haley; March 15, 2011

Oh dear! I learned not to open personal email at work, because I had a serious break down today! Your email was so accepting and honest, I was able to hear your heart. That's no small accomplishment via email :) Thank you for the warm welcome.

I was so nervous to share that I am a Christian, but I'm so grateful now that we can share that faith. Thank you for being open about that with me. It's a significant part of my life too.

Your dear ones! I have been so focused on thinking about what a big change this is for me, I didn't fully think about what a huge change this will be for them. I didn't know you had told them yet, but thank you for being so candid about their reactions. It makes it real for me to know they have some processing to do too. There's no disappointment on my end; you know what they can handle and I trust that you will be as gentle with them as you can in this very delicate situation.

It's a delight to have heard from you Linda. Thank you again for the kind words and for sharing from the heart. I can't wait until Saturday!

I told Kevin before that my productivity is way down...well I told my boss today that I haven't really been "mentally present" lately and he laughed and said "whenever I have a new grandchild, I'm not here either. You gained a whole family. You're high functioning enough of the time to have a few weeks of being a bit slower!". What a great boss :)



Email to Kevin, from Haley; March 15, 2011

Good morning Kevin,

I was so excited to get an email from Linda, she sounds wonderful. I think you're very blessed!

It's totally fine to Skype just the adults. I want you to go as slow as they need. I can't imagine the shock factor for those dear ones! I'm glad you're not rushing them.


Sometimes I have a hard time falling asleep, so I listen to podcasts of old radio shows, or Wiretap. I downloaded some more Vinyl Cafe to add to the list. :)



It's amazing to me that much of the anxiety of the reunion is fading just from knowing that Linda is ok with it; I know how much it means to me that Nick is supportive of the reunion. Now, I think of my siblings and my heart aches for them.

Imagine you are 9 years old (or 12 or 14), and your parents sit you down and tell you that your Dad has another child. Even now, when I know what their reaction was, I still have a hard time thinking about this. It's not the romantic, long-lost daughter story line that would fit in well in any soap opera. It's losing the image of an infallible father. It's confusing and difficult to understand. It's shaking up a world that you're very comfortable in.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Four Fathers & Four Mothers?

First, please forgive the delay in this post. Blogger has had some issues lately, and therefore deleted my current drafts. Drat. So I have a bit of re-writing to do...thus the late post.

I'd like to introduce you to someone who has become very special in my life. I already told you that Google failed to answer what her title is...and biological father's wife is kind of stilting, not to mention somehow unflattering.

I suppose I have four Mother figures in my life now:
  1. My Real Mom - she's the most amazing mother, I love her dearly. No 'adoptive' mom qualifier needed here.
  2. Mom-in-Law - I'm so blessed to be able to call her Mom too, she is a fabulous mother-in-law. Seriously, they do exist!
  3. Biological Mother, Camille. What can I say, I'm happy to be on planet earth! I'm thankful for the life she chose to give me.
  4. Linda (Kevin's wife) She is, well... read for yourself:

Email to Haley, from Linda; March 15, 2011

Dear Haley,

Firstly, I want to start by telling you...welcome!
Secondly, I want to thank you for the e-mail that you sent to us. It was beautiful! I hope you won’t be too disappointed, but we won’t share it with the kids just yet. We will share it with them in a few days (maybe weeks?). Less than 48 hours ago they didn’t even know you existed. We want them to be settled with the information first and then I will pass your e-mail on to them. (...)

Now for me...since Kevin told me that you had contacted him, I have experienced every emotion possible...fear, joy, anxiety, apprehension, relief, excitement, and even resentment. Emotions are emotions and I don’t want to become too caught up in them. It’s our “will” to do the right thing; the Godly thing. All that matters to me is that I do God’s Will and it is quite obvious to me that God’s Will is that we accept you and Nick into our lives! So I have and I will, without reservation!

Thirdly, faith is very important to me too! Imagine my initial relief when I saw you sign your e-mails with “Blessings”. I also suspected that you were a Christian when I discovered that you married so young. (I’m quite sure that only souls concerned about chastity do so in this day and age! ) The children and I have a strong faith in God. We have home-schooled them since the beginning so it has been easy to instill Christian morals and ideals. They certainly are not perfect (nor am I!) but they are pretty good kids. I think you will care for them a great deal over time.

Finally, I will talk face to face (kind of) to you on Saturday (if that works for you?) with Kevin. I truly look forward to getting to know you better. You sound like an amazing young lady and I am sure your parents are so proud of you! You’ll love meeting the entire extended family too and they are sure to share that love meeting you.
Bye for now.

In Christ,

I was afraid Linda would reject me. That she would discount my presence, as I am not her child. Perhaps somehow she would prevent Kevin from contacting me so her family could maintain the status quo.

The tears of relief that were shed reading this email! I can't express how grateful I am. She is welcoming, gracious, candid...and even includes my parents. She's a Christian! Could God have made this any better? I don't think so. It's so good.

I reached the end of Linda's email and I knew I could love her.

Thursday, 12 May 2011

A Big Sister

Email to my new family, from Haley; Subject: "A Big Sister"; March 14, 2011

Linda - It sounds like you married an amazing husband and father. I know we all have some baggage in the past, but not everyone inherits a 27 year old. Thank you for being supportive of this whole situation and thank you especially for letting me share Kevin. I don't want to disrupt any family dynamic intentionally, but I know that things will probably be a bit different now. I hope that's ok with you. I hope I can be a great addition :)

Daniel- It must be great to be an older brother. I know you've got some serious responsibilities on your shoulders. Soon you'll have to fend off future suitors for not just one but two sisters. You get to be the 'man' of the house when your Dad's away. And you have two sisters who may have ganged up on you to force you to play house or let them cut your hair...I'm sorry that I don't balance out the boys side for you :) But at least you don't have to screen my boyfriends, I'm already married! Seriously though, what a great honour I'll have if you allow me the privilege of being your big sister. I always wanted a brother to show me how to do some boy stuff like playing video games or someone to play catch with. I also need someone who can recommend some great books...I go through a couple most weeks! I hope you can help me out with some of that!

Amy and Sarah - I saw your pictures and you are both so beautiful! I am so excited to have sisters! If you're ok with me joining your family as your big sister, I think we may have some great late-night chats, spa dates, watch Anne of Green Gables with giant boxes of kleenex and maybe you're past the barbie stage...but I still have a box of barbies that haven't seen sisters play together yet.

I'm so looking forward to meeting you all and discovering what you actually like to do instead of guessing!

With great expectations,

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Yes, I knew when you were born...

Email to Haley, from Kevin; March 14, 2011

Hi Haley,

Yes, I knew when you were born, and that you were a girl, we can talk more of those details and history face to face sometime.

Lets line up a skype (correct terminology?) for Saturday afternoon at 4:00 pst? Linda is away until mid afternoon Saturday. Is 5:00 okay for you, or too close to dinner?

I'm totally ok if you want to write something to the rest of the family, I'll cc our home address. Feel free, she's looking forward to it!

My FB picture was when I was about 13, I put it there because I think FB is more for kids, I have a quirky sense of humour...




Sometimes it's like God can read my mind, that He knows my prayers before I pray them. "the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God's will" ~Romans 8:26a-27

When He knows I cannot take one more moment of fear, that I'll fall into despair, I receive something to look forward to. Skype! I'm thrilled. Who cares what time dinner is; I will fast for the day to get a Skype call. And I can email Linda and my brother and sisters! I don't even know if they know about me yet...but I'm still going to write to them. What on earth would you write to siblings that didn't know you existed?

And he knew I was a girl. "The Putative Father was aware of the pregnancy but not of the birth" (From my adoption records). I suppose news travels...

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


Email to Haley, from Kevin; March 14, 2011

Hi Haley,

13 minutes seems preety good to me, I can barely make it two blocks without a rest! I will take heart that can make it up to 13 minutes if I keep at it.

Linda and I lived in Manitoba for three years in the late 90s, we moved there for my work. We really liked it, except the winter weather, it makes Edmonton look like Vancouver! Both Daniel and Amy were born there, we bought our first house there, and we made some wonderful friends, the people were unbelievable! Really warm and welcoming.


I'm totally ok with how we've been e-mailing, we're getting to know each other.. :) Feel free to reply however you like, I do both, right away or wait, depending...

Oilers / Eskimos, automatic! As we've moved around a bit I've learned over the years to cheer for the home team, so today it would be the Canucks, unless they're playing the Oilers. Ditto for football. (...)

Our annual vacation tends to be the one I mentioned in Jasper with Linda's family. Kind of low key, but we all enjoy it as we spend the whole time together doing hiking, biking, fishing, lots and lots of fun. I've been fortunate to travel a bit with work and I'm learning to stay an extra day or two to see the local sights.


Have a great day Haley. Have fun!

Email to Kevin, from Haley; March 14, 2011

Today's my day off so I'm going to clean a bit, meet a friend for lunch and maybe cook some freezer meals. I love to cook. Nick likes to eat what I cook :) but he does take a turn in the kitchen every once and a while. He really loves to bbq even when it's -25. I think his cutoff is about -30.

I read through some of my adoption paperwork again, it says you knew Camille was pregnant, but did you ever know when I was born? I wondered if you knew I was a girl...

Maybe tomorrow I'll scan some of it and send it to you. I got the report in 2005. Alberta opened adoption records in the fall of 2004. After what happened with Camille, I didn't think I would ever look for you. But God stirred up a desire in my heart just in the last 6 months. I am in a Bible study group and we all had to share our "stories" with each other. Basically it's a life story where you try and look back and see what God's been up to in your life. While I was writing mine I noticed that empty space again so I decided to look for you. All I had was your name and I thought you probably had gone to school with Camille. So I tried Facebook. There's more than just one Kevin _________...but at the time your picture was you as a boy. I thought your smile looked a lot like mine when I was little. I knew in my heart, this is the one. So that's all I did. You're the only one I messaged and I didn't know what to write. High school seemed innocent enough...


Now all I can think about is when do we get to meet? If you have Skype sometime this week we could book a time (...)

Is it ok if I write something to your family to share with them?



The emails are getting longer now, there's lots more 'life stuff'. It's so good. Yet so completely nerve-wracking! Every time I hit send, I think, should I have been less _______, more _______... should I have said ____________, instead of ____________. Ahh, second-guessing. You're a real cross to bear.

I wondered if it's because I'm a woman, an adoptee, or if it's just me. It's so validating reading some other reunion blogs, because they share the same feelings! Fear, fear, fear. Anxiety vs anger. Regret and shame. Brief flashes of joy.

The joyful moments seem to be the most fleeting. It's really unfair. I get butterflies when I see the email is from him. I open it, it's wonderful, full of new information and interest in me...then in comes the anxiety. What am I going to write back? Did I read that right? I hope he didn't think __________ when I said _________.  Then I write the reply. Re-read it, rinse, repeat, and again. Hit send at a weak moment. Then I have to wait with the fear in the pit of my stomach. When will he write back? Will he write back? Or was that the last email. The last time I'll ever hear from him.

It's a shame the joy can't last longer. Maybe it can push some of this fear away next time it shows up.

Monday, 9 May 2011

The Irony of Being Needy

Email to Haley, from Kevin; March 12, 2011

Thats terrific news Haley, all of the bits you gave me!

Linda was a marathoner before she broke her ankle 18 months ago..I started to run (?) the dog a month or so ago to save some time and get more exercise. I don't consider myself a runner as I was a hockey goaltender until I was 35 so my knees are 'well used', probably people who see me say, "woah check out that guy, he looks in pain!"...though I'm happy with it because its a 15 or 20 minute pickup every morning as I take Danny around 5:00 am.

I've heard of the home performances but haven't been to one, I love music so I'm sure it would be great for me.

-17 is tough. My hobby is motorcycling and one of the reasons I love living here is I can ride year round, sometimes its wet and cold, but I will ride anyway. In half an hour I'm going to go for 90 minutes or so, its only 8 degrees but any ride is better than no ride!


Have a great weekend Haley,


Email to Kevin, from Haley; March 13, 2011

A visit to the gym turned into a 3 hour nap. I guess I'm more tired than I thought! I think an emotional roller coaster can be way more tiring than a 6:00 a.m. visit to my trainer.

I started 'running' last summer, if you call it that. I'm still very slow. I max out at about 13min before I need to walk a minute.

This morning we're going to church. We usually go every Sunday but sometimes I skip because it's a bit tougher to attend the church you work for.

Nick's Dad is a pastor. They live in MB right now, but Nick grew up mostly in the Calgary and Edmonton areas. His one burning question for you is are you an Oilers fan? I should interject that when we were first dating, I had no idea he liked the Stampeders and the Flames. Made for a very awkward viewing of a western conference CFL final. But I have since converted him to the Eskimos and Oilers side. He claims it wasn't me but instead "time" that converted him. Sounds suspicious to me.

Do you go on many family vacations? We try and take a big trip every other year. Last year we went to the Maritimes and it was amazing. This year going to visit Daniel is a bit of an exception to our every 2 years rule; we're excited that we'll have him as our tour guide.

How did Linda break her ankle? That's a pretty devastating injury. Sounds like she loved to run!

Great emailing back and forth with you. I hope it's not too often. Nick told me I didn't have to email back immediately and it hadn't even occured to me to wait a bit before replying. It doesn't help that I'm an iPhone addict. Sorry if it's been too much! I guess I just have 27 years to catch up on.



Gosh I can be needy. I think it's driven by a fear of rejection. Which is ironic, because needy people are often rejected for being so high maintenance. I know because I have rejected a few people in my time for displaying the same characteristics that I am now displaying. It's embarrassing, yet I'm afraid I can't help it. I think Nick is a bit concerned about the frequency of my contact...and while I appreciate that he's trying to protect me, it's kind of like fighting a losing battle.

Sometimes in my elusive high-self-esteem moments I think I can be quite witty and charming; that's the "how could anyone not love me?" mode. But the majority of my time is not spent there. Instead I frequent the other much less glamorous, self-deprecating and inadequate mode. I used to live exclusively in this area of my mind, but thankfully God is revealing how He sees me. Little by little I allow myself glimpses of the Haley that He treasures.

Which Haley am I in my emails to Kevin? How will he see me? I know that I have people in my life that love me and accept me as I am, but will he?

Sunday, 8 May 2011

An aside... Mother's Day

I'm going to take a one day break in our story, to reflect on Mother's Day

I spent some of my afternoon yesterday reading a few other adoptees' blogs. Fascinating to see others who have gone before me on this journey. Quite a few had notes about 'Birth Mother's Day'. Hmmm. I hadn't heard of that before. I've just had many bittersweet Mother's Days wondering if my bio-mother, Camille has made any progress in her healing.

When we met a few years ago, she was unable to have children and unintentionally (or otherwise) blamed said problem on me. That's a lot of guilt for someone to carry. Thankfully, I have given that back to God, and hopefully Camille will be able to find some healing in that area too.

So today, I celebrate because I have a wonderful Mom, a wonderful Mom-in-law, and I also grieve for Camille. I haven't yet had the privilege of becoming a mother (sometimes when I witness a spectacular tantrum, I'm not sure I'd like to...) but that doesn't keep me from praying that she'll be able to have that joy sometime. Today I also celebrate because I have a new 'Mom' in my life. You haven't met her yet, you've just heard her name. I'll share more about her in days to come.

Blessings to each of you on this Mother's Day. We don't need a 'Birth Mother's Day' because they can share Mother's Day; they are mothers too.

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Finding the best camping spot

Email to Haley, from Kevin; March 12, 2011

Hi Haley,

Great to hear about your parents, they sound like terrific people, you're very lucky! Lucy sounds pretty lucky too; dogs are great and our kids really love Danny, but it may be Linda and I that spoil him the most.

I bet it's great to work four of five days, I'm all for a long weekend every weekend. Are you and Nick campers at all? If so, you would get the best spots at every campground every week! We do an annual camping trip to the rockies with my in-laws every year, it's really great because when I was younger our annual vacation was in Jasper so I really love that area. (...)

Have a great weekend Haley!



Email to Kevin, from Haley; March 12, 2011

We love camping! We try and go a few times a year, even if it's just for a weekend close by with friends.

I was finally able to connect with my parents last night. My Dad was very excited and wanted to hear all about you; my Mom was surprised but happy too. They encouraged me to pursue a relationship with all of you and they look forward to learning more about you too. I'm very relieved, as that was my last big anxiety-causing item in this whole situation.

Last night we had a bunch of friends over for a house concert. Have you heard of those before? Our friend Calvin is an excellent performer and he sang for the evening. It was awesome! We love hosting our family and friends. It's one of my favourite things to do.

So we are going to have a pretty quiet weekend now, that concert was our only big activity. Just lots of laundry and maybe going to the gym. Nick is training for a 10k and I'm training for a 5k. My first run!

Hope you all have a nice weekend too! I hear it's a lot warmer there...I think we're -17 at the moment.



Telling my parents was such a relief. I'm so thankful it went as well as it did. At least last time I had told them in advance of my search, so it wasn't a huge surprise. This one was a bit out of nowhere. I'm really blessed to have them.

I'm also fortunate to have a great support system walking alongside me during this time. My husband has been very supportive, and mostly just listens to me talk and talk about it (seemingly endlessly...). He has the patience of a saint. The small group we're a part of has been praying for us as well, and I know that that has had a huge impact on safeguarding everyone involved.