Blog Archives

Pura Vida Costa Rica

Living the “Pura Vida” in Costa Rica now.

We have a tropical garden, listen to the ocean waves, pick bananas from the garden, and hear howler monkeys daily (not to mention a new little rooster nearby – ahum!)

Astrid is in a fantastic new school called La Paz and making new friends. Her English is growing phenomenally and she gets a bit of Spanish too!

We are also part of La Paz’s community and hope to meet many new families also in the many play dates to come.

It’s rainy season so there are very few tourists. Little commotion. Lots of mosquitoes.

Gunnar is in Nairobi having the adventure of a lifetime! We are proud beyond words and listen for all small details. His safari, camping adventure, school lessons and more info on why there are 3 girls to every boy there… It is a good year for him. He deserves this chance to be himself. To grow and live life to the fullest.

Ragna is soon on her way here. Astrid is talking about her constantly and planning to share her bed. Soon Ragna will start her big adventure volunteering around the world. How fantastic! What a great step of independence for her! We are so excited and proud to watch this new adventure. Again, we are proud.

Sigrid is just landing again from her whirlwind tour of Europe with some girlfriends from her Australia travels. She continues to travel and explore while contemplating life, her world, where she is and who she is becoming. It is amazing (and sometimes exhausting) to see all of her ongoing energy. We simply nod our heads in approval and admiration. And more pride here also.

Meanwhile, we are working and tweaking the business. Expanding and such.

I am fighting plantar fasciitis and focusing on me, my feet, my heart and my place in life. Attempting to look inwards. Never an easy feat. Thus, I take small steps in all areas… Careful to tread lightly and consciously in both my physical and spiritual awareness.

Jonas is taking Spanish and learning quickly. He’s also trying to dance salsa. Give him encouragement as he discovers his hips and such. It’s fun to both dance and watch!

And adoption…

Oh yeah. We are still waiting.

And waiting…

Nothing has happened.


We sent our papers in March to the adoption organization with the expectation of them delivering them to the National Adoption Committee in 30 days (as written in the protocol…) But, well, that didn’t happen. They have been backed up since last September. In July they asked for some additional info before transferring our application (we truly hope) to NAC in August.

We are just one of MANY families in a hold pattern. Truly there is nothing we can do.

Wait or quit. Those are our options.

Instead we choose option 3 – Pura Vida.

We will focus on the here. The now. The family we are. The family we are becoming. The family that continues to grow and love and strengthen with each day.

All of this in hopes that we will someday be blessed to join another small being’s family. To come to their world, their life and their culture. To join them.

Meanwhile, we are learning to adapt here. It is a beautiful life. One must simply keep their eyes open.

Love to all! Call us! Email! Stop by!

Officially waiting!

Today our adoption file was officially submitted to the National Adoption Committee in Kenya.

The news from Little Angels Network is, “The file will be submitted tomorrow (Friday). A lot of our files were still pending at the committee and we did not want to submit more before the backlog was dealt with.  Now that they have dealt with most of the back log from last year, we feel more confident submitting the files.”

So that is good news!

Back to packing so we can go to Germany and then Costa Rica…

Letter of Motivation for Adoption

Hippopotamus YawningContact made!

Today we heard from Kenya. Not the BIG news, but a step forward – we hope!

They have asked for additional information for our adoption application such as our divorce decrees and a Letter of Motivation.

Sooooo, in the middle of packing to move to Costa Rica, I had to rearrange my day to:

  1. Search the attic for the divorce papers which I packed away long ago – but still have, thank God!
  2. Frantically write a kick-butt Letter of Motivation – see below.

We don’t know if our adoption papers have been formally given from Little Angels Network (LAN) to the National Adoption Committee (NAC), but we hope so!

As 3 other Norwegian families were approved and notified today, I think this is a good sign.

Let’s keep the hope alive.

Letter of Motivation for Adoption

5 August 2014

We, Jonas and JoEllen Nordström, do hereby declare that both of us have always dreamed of being parents. Before we got married, we both told each other of our hopes to one day be parents together. We dream of providing a loving home to our large family.

We both love children and know how they bring much joy and happiness to daily life and our family. Before we had our biological daughter, we had already discussed adoption as an option as we planned for many children.

Our original family plan for additional children failed when our long-anticipated son died shortly after birth. As we are now infertile, we have a strong motivation to adopt. We are unable to have biological children after 5 miscarriages during the past 4 years and an emergency operation to remove an ovarian cyst. However, we have not given up on our dream.

We know personally that families are built in many different ways, and adoption is one of the positive ways of uniting with our child. We are very comfortable with adoption and promise that we as a family plan to love the child that we adopt as completely as if the child was born of us. Our entire family (Jonas’ older children and our soon 5 year-old biological daughter) longs for a sibling and playmate. We are all waiting eagerly to meet them.

We are also very close to our extended family members and friends who will love the child that we adopt from Kenya and fully accept the child as a family member. Adoption is a great option for becoming a family. We are so thankful for the opportunity being given to us by the government of Kenya to not only adopt a child but to also learn the culture of our new family member by living in Nairobi. In fact, our son is now traveling independently to study at the Swedish School in Nairobi in anticipation of being present for his new brother or sister.

We promise to always love, care, educate and equally provide for this child as our own. We realize that adoption is not the same as having a child biologically. This child will have an additional culture, a unique background, and a former family. We promise to embrace this and help them to understand their history and life story. We will never neglect, harm or abandon the child that we are fortunate enough to adopt.

We have the necessary resources of time, love, energy, and financial stability to raise another child. We promise to love them unconditionally for a lifetime. We wish to build a healthy and trusting relationship which will allow our new child to fully experience the blessings of a forever family.

Ultimately, adoption is more about the child than us. We are committed to providing the necessary foundations for a healthy relationship and a positive outcome. Difficulties will not change our commitment or love.

Thank you for your kind assistance, consideration of our family and dedicated care of our future family member.

Starting a new chapter…

We are moving to Costa Rica!

We are starting yet another new chapter in life. A chapter that will simply unfold as we travel the path and create the story. Life truly is that way – it’s just that right now we are setting our compass in a whole new direction.

Personally, I feel the need for space – a huge pause – from Sweden. This little bubble of “perfection” (The Borg as I like to call it when in a funk) has me way too confused and frustrated. I need to escape. I need to see a more diverse world with a variety of people, interests, and real adversity. I am tired of hearing luxury problems (of which I am jealous) and kitchen renovations. I want Astrid to live in a world where an iPad and mobile phone are not on her very sincere 4 year-old wish list. There are so many things from which I simply need a break. So back out into a more real world…

Now we have officially booked our new home in COSTA RICA! Check out our new home HERE! After you take a look, let us know when you are coming to visit! We will stay in this home all of Sept and Oct.

Nordström Family Update:

We have enrolled Astrid in school at Guanacaste International Academy.  Here she will attend school in both English and Spanish. Plus, they have a half-hour of combined German and French Daily. (Why not!?) She will learn chess on Fridays. A fantastic environmental and experiential education. Woohoo!

Jonas has researched volunteer work in the region. We hope to see plenty of sea turtles and other wildlife.

JoEllen has found both a surf school and yoga center. It is TIME! Time to be strong and get back to the ocean! Time to focus energy on the inner and less on the outer world… Time to rebuild from within…

Gunnar is flying to Nairobi independently to attend school at the Nairobi Svenskaskolan. We are sooooo proud of him. He has decided to journey out into to the world on his first big adventure – SOLO! We hope to catch up with him soon as a family. Until then – “Good job, Gunnar!!!” As my first adventure was at 17 to Sweden and the USSR, I know how amazingly eye-opening and life-changing this can be. His determination and independence really shines! He is becoming such an amazing young man.

Ragna is also off on her first big solo adventure. She will volunteer with PeaceWorks. She will spend 9 months traveling around the world volunteering. Currently, Ragna is considering Costa Rica (so we can meet her there!), Tanzania (not far from Kenya!) and another program in Asia. WOW! How fantastic for her. It feels like this is the independence that she so needs and desires in life. I am sure she will shine.

Sigrid has just returned from her own big adventure to Australia with her boyfriend Fredrik. You can read a bit on Sigrid’s blog as she continues to add travel writing to her repertoire. Now she creates her next chapter in life. We don’t know if that is school, work or more travel…or a combination of all 3. All is yet to be determined. It just feels as though she got a much needed break. And that is great! Now, I am waiting for all the fantastic stories and pictures from Oz!

Kenya adoption remains on hold. No news. Meetings from the National Adoption Committee (NAC) are unannounced and unconfirmed. We think our papers are in the hands of the appropriate people but we have no confirmation. Barnens Vänner’s phone calls and emails are supposedly unanswered when/if made to Little Angels Network (LAN). Who knows what is going on? We don’t.

What we do know is that families are slowly being approved and this past month we have seen several Swedish families get their referral. We hope to join that group within the next year.

However, we have decided not to simply sit in limbo.

We choose to set sail on a new adventure.

We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. – Bertha Calloway

Kenya Update for Adoption May 2014

As all our paperwork has been sent to Kenya now, we sit in anticipation and planning. All prospective adoptive families are seeking information so I am sharing this “official” newsletter info that we received (and translated via Google). Perhaps to see that communication with NAC is going forward will be of some comfort to all. Keep the faith!

LAN sent an Easter greeting with information that NAC held a meeting on 18th March and that all applications reviewed at the meeting were approved. However, none were sent from Barnens Vänner. NAC also approves the annual authorization applications from both foreign and domestic adoption agencies, which were reviewed during the same meeting. April’s meeting was scheduled for today, Tuesday, April 29.

Barnens Vänner’s Representative Visit / Journey to Kenya
Lisbeth met with representatives from AC and BFA and had a great trip to Kenya. A general task at similar trips is to provide information about Sweden and adoptions; that our
families are well prepared, investigated and equipped to accommodate a child.

Visit to the Children’s Department in charge of families living at Diani Beach
• The employees take their task very seriously and want to be sure that it is a good solution for the child to be adopted abroad.
• If families live three months on the coast and then move to Nairobi it creates extra work for the authority; they then must speak about how the child has adapted and must do additional home visits to ensure that they provide an accurate assessment to the court.
• They find it disturbing if families contact them in order to speed up their work; they want to have 21 days in which to submit their observations. If a family calls often it can
cause the family to be perceived and judged as unsafe. That some families on the issue of why they have chosen Kenya answer “because it goes fast” is perceived as negative; families need to be able to justify it in another manner. For example it is important to convey that Kenyan adoption is an amazing way to convey the child’s culture of origin to the child (and the surroundings).
• They also point out that families should not compare themselves; each process is unique, both based on the adoptive family and the child to be.

Visit to the Court in Mombasa
• Both lawyers and judges met during the visit before the Court and all were positive set to work with international adoptions.

Visit to the Children’s Department in Nairobi where NAC meeting is held
• Josephine Kemunto Oguye of the Childrens Department and secretary of the NAC informed BV that they have many foreign adoption applications, which means that it can result in prolonged waiting times.
• They also discussed the new guidelines to limit the number of applications by introducing infertility certificates, prioritizing childless couples and that applicants should not adopt a third child to the family.

Visit to the Embassy
• It is important that families should closely follow the security when they are in Kenya by Embassy website and in the news.

Visit to the LAN (Little Angels Network)
• LAN has extended its collaboration with orphanages; about 35 of which about 15 are working with international adoptions
• LAN has a social worker employed in Nyeri, one in Mombasa, two employees in Kisumu and 12 in Nairobi.  In Kisumu and Nairobi, both social workers and other office workers . In Nairobi ‘s example, Maureen is in charge of hosting, ie the practical with accommodation / transportation.

The Kenyan Visitors  in Stockholm
Josephine Kemunto Oguye from the Children’s Department and the secretary of the NAC was in Stockholm a few weeks after BV’s  visit to Kenya. The journey from Kenya to Sweden was to be with the EurAdopt. During her speech at EurAdopt she mentioned that Kenya is revising their guidelines for adoption, that they aim to make it 70 % domestic and 30% foreign adoptions. But she also mentioned the respect for the applicant families’ longing for children, and the “extra miles” they go to adopt when they cannot have biological children. Josephine also mingled with Swedish adoptive families who adopted from Kenya, visited  MIA and the social services in Stockholm . She was very positive about all she had to experience and will share this new knowledge with her colleagues.

• Barnens Vänner has introduced infertility certificate requirements for future families who want to adopt from Kenya and that single applicants only are considered for children with special needs.

• Two new applications were sent to Kenya since last time. Both families have a child already.

Last (?) papers on their way to LAN!

So, thanks to some help from a friend and our selves last week we could get both the document of infertility and our updated passport copies stamped by N.P., Swedish Foreign Ministry and the Kenyan Embassy. To do that in one week equals the speed of light in adoption land….(“adoption space” would probably fit the speed of light better…anyhow). Send off to Barnens Vänner who received them yesterday and…

Today we got confirmed they have been sent to Kenya!!

So, we hope, hope, hope that these papers will complete our dossier and LAN can hand it over to NAC soon after they have it. Then we just hope to hear no more news about rejections, but about a positive result from the NAC/LAN meeting where NAC don’t implement any new “rules” for us already in process, which seems quite unfair.

Well, my son is asking about what is happening and when we are leaving (as he is looking forward to studying in the Swedish School this fall) and one of the older daughters is planning for visits during the year and volunteer work. Look forward!  / (posted by Jonas – will soon learn how to post from own account)

Next stop Kenya…

ElephantThe NAC in Kenya has set forth new “rules” / guidelines for processing adoption applications such as ours. Online people are talking about Kenya adoption rejections, a long wait time, and fear that it could be worse. It can be worrisome. So today we spoke with our representative to get some firsthand information regarding US and what is happening now. I can say that I feel better.

I am not a fan of relativity with regards to emotions. I would rather say that I feel confident or good, but for now I feel better. Could be nerves in general here…

Anyhow, for all those other families who are waiting just like us, here’s the scoop!

The new committee is meeting once a month. They are working to catch up and she believes that they are sorting through papers in some sort of chronological order.

There was one family rejected within LAN. They did not receive a reason why. Therefore, LAN is in communication with NAC to receive additional information. To receive a rejection without an explanation is not acceptable. They will try to resolve this asap.

The new guidelines are being implemented. However, this month there will be a meeting with LAN and NAC to discuss when they can implement such changes. The families that submitted their dossiers prior to the new committee were in compliance with the active rules/regulations. Thus, LAN’s goal is that a deadline be determined. It is vital for LAN to be able to maintain professionalism with the families they represent. This will be the objective of their next meeting.

LAN will also emphasize the impact such delays have on the children waiting within the orphanages. Again, the emphasis as always will be the chidren. It is important that decisions and actions be made that focus on the best interests of the children – first and foremost. (When I hear this, I always feel more confident with the organization. Yes, as waiting families we can be frustrated. However, as long as the children are best being served, we can remain a bit frustrated.)

It is not common that the entire NAC committee is replaced. Most times there are board members who remain and assist with the transition. This predicament is new and is a result of the election and new governing power. The theory is to avoid any corrupt members remaining. (I have no knowledge of this being an issue but it could be. Who knows…)

Yes, there is a meeting in Stockholm for the European adoption organizations. There are families who have adopted from Kenya being invited in to share their experience. We were advised that it is not a public gathering for families waiting to adopt.

As for us, they are expecting our papers. They will hold our dossier until the infertility certificate and new passport copies arrive. (We hope to pick up these copies with stamps from Notary Public, Foreign Ministry and Kenyan Embassy stamps on Friday.) They will then collate them and submit in May’s meeting to NAC. They stated that they hope our file will come forward in June or July. I think this sounds WAYYYYYYYYYYY too optimistic but it was good to hear anyhow.

We were told that we can go ahead with our plans to move to Nairobi in August. That LAN will meet us and assist with housing regardless if we have received our papers for an adoption. They will still need to approve our home and such so we will simply go forward as planned.

Lastly, Barnens Vänner have not had any rejections as of yet. (AND let’s hope it stays that way forever!) They feel quite confident that LAN is very good at identifying any concerns with paperwork before submitting it to NAC. So…let’s just hope that stays the same for now and the future.

Overall, there wasn’t a huge change in information. However, it always feels best to get the information as directly as possible. Too much chatter on the forums and groups online creates a lot of worry. (And I am sure that I will still watch for information like a hawk there!) But let’s hope that this whole back-up and delay is temporary. Let’s pray that NAC gets the support, strength and direction needed to resolve the problems so that more children can find a home.

We know how it is to lose a child. I hope that we will be able to help a child who is also overcoming such a loss… Together we will become family!


News from Kenya


NEWS!?!?! Good, bad, what…???

Today we finally heard some “unofficial” news from Kenya regarding us and the ongoing process.

It’s not particularly uplifting so we will continue our application / search and hope for something good.

Our file will be sent to the NAC next month. With the current backlog, I doubt it will be reviewed so we will submit further documentation regarding infertility and our reasons for adopting since we already have one living biological child together and 3 bonus kids. We’ll also send information regarding Kasper’s death due to medical negligence and hope that we get a bit of sympathy.

Anyhow, we just got this information from the Swedish Friends of Children regarding the NEW “rules” of NAC:

Update from the visit to Kenya
NAC is composed of ten members, including doctors, lawyers, representative from the State Department, and representatives from NGOs. Common to all members of the Committee, they have experience working with children.

Every third year members in the NAC are replaced. Autumn 2013 were all members exchanged as a result of new government. The new committee is in a learning process, it takes time before they have found their approach.

We have received indications regarding the following, however, we have no official communication from the Authority to us or our partner organizations directly :

– NAC meets once a month, as previously
– Max 10 applications for inter-country adoption is approved per meeting
– Childless couples have priority
– NO to adopt a third child
– Infertility certificates shall be included in the dossier . The reason for adoption must be clear. NAC wants to understand why you want to adopt a child from Kenya, and if one can smoothly get biological children, they are not a priority.
– An update to the consent investigation (home study) is required if the investigation is over a year old when the file is sent to Kenya

Waiting times at the NAC
With the current situation it is very difficult to know how long our applicants must wait before NAC can get an answer. NAC has many applications waiting for answers and they have not yet had time to go through all the applications received from October 2013 onwards.

Our partner organizations will ask for a meeting with the NAC to get a clarification of the guidelines being implemented.

Applicants who have a priority of NAC may continue to send their documents to Kenya.

Non-priority applicants may contact their respective administrators for a discussion.

We can in the current situation not give any details for specific cases as we must await approval from the NAC .

Applying for Adoption – The Home Study Report


Opening up our home & lives during adoption…

Choosing to adopt a child is choosing to have your entire family life and personal history evaluated, scrutinized and judged. You open yourself up completely to an authority figure who will determine IF THEY think YOU are worthy of a child.

It can be very humbling.

Additionally, you also must ask those around you for support during one of the most vulnerable times of your life.

It is a time when you humbly request permission to be a parent to an unknown child.

You request others to submit letters of recommendation, serve as guardians, testify to your worthiness, confirm your affiliations, prove your economic stability and more.

And you do it.


Because it is in the best interest of the child and not yours. It ensures that there are safety nets and people looking out for this defenseless small being who has already suffered great loss. That’s why. Because you give love before you have even met. You try to protect them…even from yourself.

So what is the Home Study? (Utredningsrapport)

It’s a LOT of paperwork. Ours was around 100 137 pages (including the pages of stamps, stamps, and more stamps) when completed. I believe on average it is probably 60-80 pages depending on your family size, medical particulars, legal background, traveling history, etc.

To apply for adoption to Kenya, each document had to be in English (translated from Swedish), notarized, stamped by the Swedish Foreign Ministry, and then stamped a 3rd time by the Kenyan Embassy. Each stamp costs.

One of the wonderful things that happens during this process is that you do receive the support and love of those who truly want to see you succeed. You receive beautiful letters with accolades of your parenting abilities. You have people step forward and promise to care for your child in the unfortunate event of your death. You feel love from those around you. That can be very amazing, assuring and much needed during such a long and arduous process.

Additionally, you receive a formal report which outlines all the details of your home, family and marriage. I found it quite amazing that our Social Secretary could somehow weave together all the small details and events our lives in such a professional, positive and supportive manner. (Jonas and I met for the first time 25 years ago!) Needless to say, I was pleased with her report. And it felt good to see someone else’s perspective on our family.

(Mind you – this is Sweden. This service is provided by the government at NO CHARGE to us. Thus, it is an unbiased and truthful evaluation of our home. The Social Worker does not receive anything from us. She is working solely to protect the new child / Swedish citizen. Very cool!)

So I thought I would share it with you. Just the Home Study Report for now.  Warning: It is long and can be repetitive as it attempts to answer all the necessary questions / areas of concern.  Here is the translated English version:

The Social Board for Children and Youth
Individual Committee South
Uppsala Municipality

Regarding the application from Mr & Mrs Nordström, Erik JONAS born 690729-xxxx and JOELLEN Mae born 720104-xxxx, residing at XX Uppsala, requesting the individual committee’s consent to allow the couple to receive a child or twins from abroad for future adoption.

The undersigned has met with the Nordström couple, both jointly and with each individually at the Office for Legal Family Affairs in Uppsala County, and has also met the whole family at the Nordström’s household including the children, Sigrid, Ragna, Gunnar and Astrid. The couple also had a son, Kasper, who died eight days old in 2012.

Towards the end of the investigation period a final interview was held with the couple. Contact has also been made with Astrid’s preschool. During the various contacts, the following details have been  gathered regarding the Nordström family.

Jonas Nordström was born in Johanneberg in Gothenburg, but the family moved to Stockholm when he was about one year old. His parents still live in Jonas’s childhood home in one of Stockholm’s western suburbs. Jonas’s father, born in 1943, worked before retirement as an engineer at Ericsson, and his mother, born in 1944, has worked as a special needs teacher within an elementary school. Jonas has a younger brother born in 1976 with whom he has good contact. The brother is married and lives with his family in Stockholm. Jonas describes a good and secure upbringing. He had many different interests  that he followed. He (and his family) sailed, went skiing, played soccer and badminton, and enjoyed jogging. He excelled in school and he developed long, stable friendships during his childhood. His paternal grandparents who lived in Småland, as well as his maternal grandparents, were important people to him. During the summers, Jonas’s family visited his maternal grandparents’ summer cottage on the west coast.

When Jonas was nine years old, Jonas’s aunt died and he remembers this as a very tough period in the family’s life. Today Jonas has monthly contact with his parents and his older children regularly visit their grandparents on their own. The parents have a summer home on the east coast and the family members regularly meet there.

Jonas studied the Science Program during his three years in upper-secondary school. He then studied chemistry for four years with a specialization in Materials and Environmental Chemistry in which he received his degree. The studies were conducted first at Stockholm University and finalized at Uppsala University.

During and after completing his studies, Jonas has been involved in projects and programs within various international organizations regarding nonprofit and environmental issues and he has run his own business. From 1988-1992 he was involved with the organization PeaceQuest, an international educational program designed for educating leaders in public diplomacy. He was a member of the board, employed as a project manager and led courses and study tours. It was within these activities that the couple got to know each other in 1989. Between 1992 and 1995, Jonas worked on projects concerning environmental issues in the Swedish Association for the United Nations. From 1995-1998, he worked as an environmental consultant in a private business and from 1998-2008, he was founding partner of the business Wide Narrow, a company that, among other things dealt with business intelligence and IT research. In 2008 he began working in the company, Writing & Editing Services International AB, which Joellen started in the USA. It is an internet-based business within the editing and proofreading industry. Jonas’s present responsibility within the company is managing the technical aspects. Jonas splits his time between the company, his family and various charitable projects with Valsätra Church’s diaconal group. This group has been working with immigrant families to help them establish themselves in Sweden. Jonas has also run a lecture series for parents of teenagers. During two days / month, Jonas additionally acts as consultant in an architectural firm in Stockholm.

Joellen Nordström was born and raised in Salina, Kansas, USA. Father, born 1946 served in the Navy but was seriously injured at just over 20 years old in a fight with another soldier. He thereafter has had medical and psychological problems. Her mother, born in 1953, was young when Joellen was born. She was a stay-at-home mother until Joellen was 12 years old and is currently working in a supermarket. Joellen has a younger sister born in 1978, who lives alone with her two children. Joellen’s parents, sister and other relatives all live in Kansas. Joellen says she maintains very close contact with her mother, mostly by phone. The couple also frequently travels to the United States for family visits. Joellen says that her upbringing, which was influenced by her father’s lack of parenting skills and rather poor finances, was quite difficult. Nevertheless, she says that because of this challenge she grew up as a strong, independent person. After completing her upper-secondary school education, JoEllen studied at the Kansas State University. She studied anthropology and completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology with a secondary degree in International Studies. She then worked as an instructor in various outdoor activities, for example at a summer camp in Minnesota. At this camp, she had responsibility for the group of six year olds. She says that for many years she worked extensively with children and young people, within the Big Sister / Big Brother organization, the Scout movement and other various organizations for children and youth. She has worked both as a leader and as an administrator. She has also gone through various training courses to be able to work in these areas, such as safety, hygiene, and nutrition. Since she worked as a leader she has also attended leadership training programs. For four years, she worked on cruise lines in the Caribbean and here she spent one year with the children’s club program and three years as an art auctioneer. She has also worked with children’s activities in the UK. For five years in the USA she ran her own company where she served as auctioneer for fundraising events within variouscharitable organizations. In 2006 she started up the business Writing & Editing Services International, where she has 25 employees. As mentioned above it is an internet-based company in the proofreading industry. Joellen says that she currently prioritizes her role as a mother for the family’s children more than her role as the company manager / CEO.

Current Status
The couple runs their own private company. They say that because the business is internet-based they are not dependent on a fixed workplace but they are both flexible with where to work as well as the possibility for leave of absence. Both spouses say that they currently focus mostly on the children in the family.

The economy is based on Jonas’s monthly income at approximately SEK XX,000 and Joellen’s monthly income of approximately SEK XX,000. They have savings which will cover the adoption costs. They have adequate insurance coverage.

During and after the death of Kasper the spouses have been on sick-leave, first full-time and then part-time.

Their home consists of a three-level house with 175 m2 rooms, plus a kitchen and three bathrooms. Three of the rooms and one of the bathrooms are located in the basement level. The house gives a very pleasant impression. The house is situated on a plot of approximately 500 m2. The property has a value of about SEK X.X million and a mortgage of about SEK X.X million. Pre-schools and primary schools are located in the nearby area as well as natural recreational areas.

During their leisure time the family gladly socializes with friends and relatives. The couple likes to cook together and invite friends for dinner. The family travels to the USA and meets relatives and takes holidays abroad. On the west coast of Sweden there is a summer cottage which the family goes to. The cottage is owned by Jonas’s mom but it is Jonas and his brother who maintain the home. Jonas’s parents also have a summer cottage on the east coast where the families often get together. Both spouses are engaged in various activities in their church (Valsätra Church). They are both interested in nature and active in sports like sailing, swimming and diving, hiking out in nature, fishing, and Jonas likes to works in the garden. He’s a swimming teacher for children aged 1-6 at a swim school that is run by the parents. His older children have previously participated in the swim lessons and now it’s Astrid’s turn to learn swimming. Both spouses like to read. Jonas is interested in music, he plays the piano and together with a good friend, he plays jazz music. He explains that he is interested in political and environmental issues. Joellen meets her friends; she participates in a painting group at church; and she takes Astrid to various activities such as musical play sessions and various outdoor activities arranged for children.

After Kasper died, the family has been active in the Lost Kids Foundation (Spädbarnsfonden).

Religion and Outlook on Life
The couple are members of the Swedish Church and the Valsätra Church, an ecumenical church. They regularly attend church and are active in various groups there. Joellen is active in the church advisory committee and within a women’s group. Jonas is active in the diaconal group. Astrid participates in the church’s children’s club, and she will later join the church’s children’s choir and scouting club. If the spouses can adopt a child, that child will also take part in the church activities in the same way Astrid is doing.

During the years Joellen lived in the U.S., she was a member of church at the different places she lived in. She also attended volunteer work within the church.

Marriage and Networks
The spouses got to know each other in 1989 when they participated in the PeaceQuest program, an international exchange program in Stockholm; Jonas was the leader and Joellen was a participant. They maintained contact with each other thereafter and met once in the United States in the early 1990s but Joellen felt too young to enter a relationship. They both got married later to others, and they both also went through divorce. A few years later, they reconnected to each other via the Internet. They have now been a couple since 2005, they had very close letter contact for two years before Joellen moved to Sweden in 2007. They married in 2008 and in 2009 Astrid was born. In 2012 their son Kasper was born, but due to a birthing injury, he died eight days old.

The couple say that they have a great relationship. Jonas says that they have a foundation of big love, that they complement each other’s personality and that they have similar interests. They are older and have more life experience than when they first met. Joellen says that they are stronger as individuals, more mature and more independent today than when they were young. When it comes to the grief after losing a child, they say that they grieve in different ways but they have been able to and can support each other and also the children in mourning.

Both spouses have been married before. Jonas met his first wife early on. They had three children together born in 1993, 1994 and 1996. They had a relationship for some years and a marriage that lasted from 1996 to 1999. The marriage dissolved when Jonas’ wife met a new man. Jonas and his former wife have, because of their common children, made sure to maintain good contact with each other. The children have lived alternately with each respective parent. Joellen was married in the United States between 1993 and 1999. She and her former husband separated in 1997 but the divorce was not finalized until 1999 due to the state’s divorce laws. Joellen says that she and the former husband were young when they married and that the marriage ended due to the husband’s infidelity. The marriage was childless.

The couple has shared their adoption plans with their families and friends and only had positive reactions. The neighbor families are informed and positive, see references. Joellen says that the couple has a good network. When Kasper died it quickly became clear their friends were most supportive and remained close in their network. Their network of friends and relatives are both in Uppsala and Stockholm. Many of the couples’ friends in Stockholm live in the same neighborhood, and when the family visits Stockholm over the weekend, they meet several of their friends simultaneously.

Jonas describes himself as kind and caring, helpful and generous. It is difficult for him to become irritated. He likes children and has a lot of experience with children. He further says that he is intelligent, efficient and well-organized. Joellen speaks of him as a person who thinks of others and who cares about the world. He is stable and kind; he likes children and wants to spend time with them, listening to them and trying to understand them. He works well with children. He’s intelligent and he has a big network. She and Jonas are working together in their own business and she thinks they function well also as colleagues.

Joellen describes herself as a strong and independent person. She’s social and verbal, happy. She has many friends. She wants to be an inspiration for others; she has built up her business and she’s a good businesswoman. In the USA, she worked a lot with charity and raising funds for such purposes. When Kasper died, the couple organized a fund in his memory, where money, via Valsätra Church, is used to support an organization for foster families in a country in Southeast Asia. Jonas describes Joellen as kind and responsive, a person who is open with her feelings of both joy and sorrow. She communicates a lot and easily, and she thinks it’s important that you are clear in communication. She can easily read others and she is not afraid of conflicts. She cares greatly for her family, believing that family comes before anything else. Jonas says that Joellen is good at focusing on the present moment, while he himself is a long-term planner.

State of Health
Both spouses have a clean bill of health. Joellen’s medical certificate shows that she takes the medicine Levaxin.

At the time of the application’s submission, Jonas was 43 and Joellen 41 years old.

Reasons for Adoption
The couple says that they think it is important that Astrid grow up with siblings. She has several older siblings but it feels important to both spouses for her to have a sibling close to her age. Jonas says that it is sad if it is just Astrid who is the only young child in the family. He thinks it is important for a child to have siblings so they have an opportunity to learn consideration, to get more insight about themselves and above all, it provides security, he says. Joellen says that a home becomes more alive when there are children there.

The couple had thought about adoption even before Astrid was born. During the years between Astrid and Kasper’s birth, Joellen had two miscarriages. After Kasper died, both spouses returned their thoughts to adoption as an option to expand the family. They explain that they now have begun to look forward again, that they can handle their grief after their son’s death and that they both have love, time and financial resources to be able to take care of additional children in the family.

The couple has been talking a lot with their children about the adoption plans. The children have a positive attitude and look forward to getting a sibling through adoption. The older children have several younger siblings on their biological mother’s side and they think it will be fine with more young siblings on the father’s side. Astrid has already determined where in her room the new child can sleep.

There is adoption experience in the family, for example Jonas’s sister-in-law has an adopted sibling. There is also international experience, as Joellen comes from the USA and has her family there, and the aforementioned sister-in-law is from Mauritius. Everyone in the family is bi-lingual and English is spoken at home.

The couple hopes to adopt a child or twins who have not reached three years of age. The couple says that it is important to have an age difference between Astrid and any siblings so Astrid has the role of big sister.

Knowledge of Children; Insights and Preparedness Regarding an Adopted Child’s Needs
In the family there are four children. Sigrid was born in 1993; Ragna was born in 1994; Gunnar was born in 1997; and all three are Jonas’s children from a previous relationship. Astrid was born in 2009 as the couple’s own child. The couple’s son Kasper was born in November 2012 but died eight days old.

Sigrid, Ragna and Gunnar have over the years lived alternately with their father and mother respectively. Sigrid has now left her childhood homes and lives with her boyfriend, but before that she lived the longest time with Jonas and Joellen. Gunnar comes to Jonas and Joellen every day since his secondary school is close to the family’s home.

Sigrid will travel to Australia in autumn of 2013 for work there. In preparation to this, she has worked in a cafe and a restaurant in Uppsala. She would have traveled to Australia in the autumn of 2012 but chose to stay home because she wanted to be near her family after Kasper’s death. The couple describes her as social and extroverted, responsible both with her family and her friends. She is interested in human relationships and wants to become a psychologist eventually. She is thoughtful but also determined and strong-willed. She enjoys writing novels and at the age of 15, she published her first book.

Ragna graduated from school in 2013 and has thereafter been working at a cafe during the summer. In the autumn she will work as a tutor giving children help with their homework and thereafter continue her further education. She completed secondary high school with very good grades and has a desire to educate herself as an architect or engineer. She is described as more reserved than Sigrid and she puts very high demands on herself, something that she is well aware of and in different ways trying to overcome. Jonas says that he has periodically made sure to be at home full-time in order to give her support. Ragna also has a boyfriend and she shares her life respectively between her parents and her boyfriend.

Gunnar has just started his first year in the upper-secondary school’s social science program. The couple says that he’s very musical and he plays piano, guitar and drums. The couple describes him as a well-adjusted person, he is loving and helpful and he takes things lightly, i.e. he does not complicate things. He’s a very nice big brother to Astrid and likes to play with her.

Astrid is a happy and extroverted little girl. She is secure and peaceful, loving, independent and strong mentally. Both spouses say that she probably is a bit precocious given she has older siblings. She has well-developed language skills and talks a lot. She enjoys swimming, reading and counting, painting. She goes part-time to a daycare. Like her older sibling, she has always been involved in Kasper’s life and in the family’s grief, but at a level appropriate for her age.

Contact has been made with Astrid’s preschool and it is determined that Astrid is a happy and confident girl, who works well in the children’s group and with the educators. The contact between the parents and the school is good, and the parents are noted as being quite caring of the girl and her well-being. Jonas and Joellen are very interested and involved in the preschool and they are involved in the preschool parent council.

It was determined during the period of investigation that Joellen has embraced Jonas’s children in a good way. Jonas says she chose from the first moment to be involved in their children’s lives in both the positive and the negative. She has not stepped into the mother’s role for the children but instead has established herself as another important adult for them. She came into the family when the children were in, or en route into, adolescence and it has obviously been a big adjustment both for her and for the children to adapt to each other.

The spouses’ subsequent experience of children comes from relatives’, friends’ and neighbors’ children. These are children from toddlers up towards young adulthood. Jonas’s nephews’ were born in 2010 and 2012 and Joellen’s niece is thirteen and her nephew is eleven years old. Jonas has a cousin in Gothenburg who has three children from five to eight years old, including a pair of twins. Jonas explains that many of his friends, like him, have gone through divorce and later formed new families; thus, they share experiences and support each other. Jonas is currently working as a swimming instructor in his spare time. When his adult children were small, he worked for a total of 1½ years as a stay-at-home-dad to their own children and as childminder for another child. He has even regularly given lectures in different subjects in his childrens’ school and even in other classes. As is apparent from the above information, Joellen has worked extensively with children of various organizations in the United States and completed numerous different training programs focusing on activities for children.

In regards to the upbringing of children the couple mentions that it is important that children receive love and security; that as a parent one must be present for the child, care about them, and give them support so that they feel seen and understood. It is also important to have routines in everyday life and rules which allow the child to know what they may or may not do. The couple wants to pass on traditions to the children and teach them etiquette standards.

The couple has experience with children growing into teenagers and understands that children during this period may need professional assistance in different situations to support their development and to feel good. Thus, they are not afraid to ask for professional help if problems should arise during the adoptive child’s upbringing. When Kasper died the couple themselves sought support from a psychologist and also found help in the form of conversations with good friends.

In preparation, the couple has participated in a parent education class for aspiring adoptive parents. They have read several books on adoption and children’s developmental stages and they are members in various adoption forums on the internet. They plan to tell the adopted child about the adoption with the help of story books, photos and videos from the adoption journey. They will also be sure to keep the adopted child’s original culture present with food, books, movies and photos, music, and various memorabilia.

Three written references have been submitted and are attached to the investigation. The spouses present a clean police record.

Summary and Assessment by Case Worker
The spouses were born in 1969 and 1972. They have been a couple since 2005, have lived together since 2007 and were married in 2008. They have one daughter together, Astrid, born in 2009. In 2012 their son was born and died eight days old due to an injury during birth. The couple has known each other since the late 1980s, when they participated in a joint training course. They were young and Joellen did not feel ready for a relationship. They each married later to others. Jonas has from his previous marriage three children born in 1993, 1994 and 1997. Joellen’s previous marriage was childless. Both Jonas and Joellen separated from their respective first spouses in the late 1990s and a few years later found each other over the Internet.

Astrid has three older siblings, but the couple would like for her to grow up with a sibling similar in age. They therefore wish to expand their family through adoption. Thoughts of adoption were present with them before Astrid was born. They say that they now feel that they can begin to look forward again after Kasper’s death and they therefore would like to adopt. They say that they have love, time and financial resources to be able to take care of another child.

To prepare for possible parenthood, they have participated in a parent education course for prospective adoptive parents. They have also read numerous books about adoption and spoken extensively within the family about adoption and what this will mean for both the adopted child and for the family.

They hope to adopt a child or twins who have not yet reached 3 years of age so that there is an age difference between Astrid and the adoptive siblings. It is desired that Astrid feel she is the big sister. These requests comply fully with the undersigned’s assessment.

The couple runs their own business together. They explain that they have a lot of flexibility within their business work because it is an internet-based company which currently allows them to prioritize family life and children. The family lives in a detached house in one of Uppsala’s suburbs. Jonas’s older children have lived / live alternately with their respective parents. The Nordström family has good social and financial conditions, they have many hobbies, as well as a large network of friends and relatives. The network is positive and supportive of the couple’s adoption plans. The couple has presented a clean bill of health.

According to the “Adoption Guide for Social Services” published by the National Board of Health and Welfare in 2008 and the National Board’s Common Advice Publication SOSFS 2008:8, applicants should be no more than 42 years of age when the application for consent is submitted. Exemptions from age recommendations may apply only if one party in the joint application is slightly over 42 years. Jonas was 43 years and Joellen was 41 years old when their application was received, which means that the exemption for age recommendations may be applied in their case.

The undersigned finds the couple open and easy to communicate with, warm, mature and responsible, and they have many life experiences. The family’s children and young adults are open, friendly and frank. There is a large cultural competence in the family. The couple’s adoption plan seems well thought through.

Ups and downs while waiting…

Adoptees New Room Picture

We’re waiting for you…

We submitted our papers to Barnens Vänner (21 Feb) and they quickly sent it to Little Angels Network. It has officially been received in Kenya as of 28 February.  So now…we…WAIT.

There is no communication until there is a decision.


Today, I saw a horrible post on Facebook of a family who is adopting via DanAdopt who has been REJECTED. They have previously adopted from Ethiopia but have been rejected by the National Adoption Committee in Kenya. As of right now, they have no idea why. UGH!

Astrid has asked again and again, “But Mamma, what if they say no?” And I have responded, “If they say no, then I will just keep loving on you everyday. We will stay here with our friends and chosen family. We will be OK. If we get to adopt another kid, that is a bonus, but we are OK.”  So now…to let that sink in further and further…

Yes, I suppose we are ok without adopting. But I would really like a super, wonderful surprise. A bonus! A happier ending…

Life is not bad. Life is good. We have our family, our friends, our home and such. We have sooo much. We have also lost our son and our previous dreams of that family. Now, we are trying to simply cling to hope.  To happy surprises and days where we hear Astrid laughing with another.

Maybe we will get this. Maybe we won’t.

Of everything that has happened, I have learned that there are absolutely no guarantees. We simply do the best with what we have. What we have is amazing. My only hope is that we can share this with another child who also longs to be part of a family.

The journey continues…

Here’s a song that has come to mean so much to me over the past 3 years…    The Promise by Tracy Chapman


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