Sunday, 30 March 2014

Adoption


How to have a baby when your tummy won't give you one.
The word adoption literally means: “to take into one's family through legal means and raise as one's own child”.  The process of adopting a child is a rather complicated, which is why it isn’t common knowledge but I think it should be.

No baby
In most cases adoption is not a first choice. This was also the case for Theo and Anne, a young Dutch couple. Eight years ago they decided it was time for a family expansion; unfortunately this didn’t go as planned. After a year of trying they decided it was time to check if everything was okay, wondering why nothing had happened for them yet. It took the doctors three years to find out why it wasn’t working for Theo and Anne. In those years they tried a lot of different things, Intra uterine insemination and in vitro fertilisation, but still no baby. So it was time to think off other possibilities. Anna explained why it took a while to take the step towards adoption. “I needed a little time to find peace with the fact that my baby would not be conceived by me”.

Adoption
Their journey with adoption started in 2010, they had to go through a long list of courses and inspections before they would be put on the waitlist. They had to convince the adoption agency and child protective services of their ability to raise a kid, but first a lot of decisions had to be made. They decided they wanted a kid that would be newly born to the age of six years old form the country Nicaragua. Anne explained their choice: “Because of my job I see what it does to kids and their parents when the child has disabilities and needs help with almost everything.  I didn’t want that for my child, which is why we had to broaden the age limit, to still make a chance at getting a baby. The chances of getting a healthy young baby are rather slim. We also saw advantages in getting an older kid. We would be able to communicate with him or her and explain what is going on. You can’t really do that when it’s only a baby”. After their decisions and inspections their file was send to Nicaragua in the beginning of the year 2013, which meant that they would be on the waiting for at least another two years.

Waiting
This seems like a long time but parents who are about to adopt a baby need this time to save money for the process. They have to pay both the adoption agency in their own country and the adoption agency in their future kid’s country. Theo and Anna had to learn Spanish, make a dossier about themselves and plan everything ahead, because once they received that relieving phone call they would only have three weeks to finalize everything and pack their bags. Parents have to stay in the country of their adoptive child from three up to five months. In this time they get to know their kid, but the adoption agency also gets to know them. They want make sure that the kid is going to be in good hands. There is a long process that still needs to happen when parents are finally there. The Adoption council have to decide whether they are in fact good for the kid, after that a judge has to name them official parents and then all the paperwork starts.

This process and months out of their home country is the other reason why they have to save a lot of money, because they have to pay for their stay in Nicaragua but they also still have their monthly expenses at home, which might not seem like a big deal but really, it is.

Finally
In November 2013, after only eight months of waiting, Theo and Anne received that relieving phone call, packed their bags and left for Nicaragua.  They have been with their beautiful baby boy for a while now. “There are not a lot of couples here on the ranch, so most of the time it’s just us and our baby boy. It’s a challenge but also very special. We get the chance to get to know him very well, see him grow up. We can’t wait to take him home!”. Yet there is still a long process in front of them. Once the council gives the judge their verdict, he or she gets to name them the official parents. Then they can get him a passport and a visa, once that is done, all the waiting is over. They will finally be able to take him home.

It’s a happy ending for this couple and this baby. They are going to take care of him like he is their own, because after all the paper work and this long process, he will be their baby boy.

But is this process of selecting parents effective? She couldn’t really say: “The child protective services turn you upside down and screen you until they are sure of your ability to raise a child properly. It seems like a lot to take in, but I understand why they do it. After all it’s about the baby, not about you”.

Even though a lot of people choose adoption as their chance off getting a baby, there are a lot of couples on the waiting lists for a kid, there are still a lot of children out there that are not and might never be adopted and aren’t as lucky as this little guy.

Due to privacy reason the names in this story have been changed.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Vampire Academy

I promised myself I would read the book before seeing the movie, unfortunately I did not hold myself to this promise. I was occupied with reading other books (THFIOS) and I really wanted to see the movie. So I went and saw the movie anyway.

This book is popular and it has been for a while. I never understood why (since I didn't read it but also because it was one of the many vampire books during the period after Twilight came out/became popular) and I didn't want to join the hype of this series, too. In the end I told myself to get over it and read it (hoping I wouldn't like it so I wouldn't have to read all six books.

Vampire academy, written by Richelle Mead, is about an academy for vampires, only they don't call themselves that, they call themselves Moroi. They can practice magic (E.G water and fire, they specialize in junior year). The school is named after the a Saint, practically their only saint at that, Vladimir. Moroi's are rare and important, which is why they are protected by Dhampirs , half human half Moroi (but they are like Mules), also known as guardians. Moroi don't kill people to get their blood, they have donors. These humans have voluntarily signed in to be a donor, most of them are addicted to the vampire venom. 

Then there is the Strigoi, also vampires but the evil-kind instead of the nice-non-killing-kind. Vampires whom sacrificed their magic and morality to become immortal. They are strong and hard to kill. They are the things the guardians try to protect the Moroi from.

This story is about Rose Hathaway, a Dhampir and the best friend of Lissa Dragomir, a Moroi Vampire Princess. Lissa lost her parents and older brother in an awful car accident, in which Rose was also involved and should have died, but magically survived against all odds. Lissa is now the only one left of her royal bloodline. The Moroi have 12 royal families and are led by a queen (who is a major bitch if you ask me).

Not too long after the accident, Lissa and Rose decided to run away from the Academy for Lissa her sake, she wasn't doing so well (you read later on why and what was going on). Two years later (this is where the book actually starts) they are caught by a few of the academies best guardians and taken back to the place (and people) they were hiding/running from. Rose is not happy about all this. She will do anything to protect Lissa. Rose thinks this environment, (the school, the royals, their mind games) will not be good for Lissa and might make her relapse. Then weird things start to happen to Lissa. Someone is trying to mess with her head and Lissa is using a kind of magic that is not supposed to exist..

I really enjoyed reading about Rose and seeing the school and the people through her perspective. She is a feisty little lady, strong and pretty. It's funny how in one way she's a slut (making out with one guy and friend-zoning another) but than on the other hand she's a virgin and treasuring this specific thing. I don't quite understand Lissa and what's going on with her and why Rose is so attacted to her. They have been friends for a long time but I don't particularly like Lissa's character.

Their friendship was very confusing to me. Neither tells the other what they truly think and feel. They keep things from each other all the time and make decisions for one and the other all the time too, thinking of what they think is best for her, but not thinking of the feelings it might give her. I wouldn't want to have a friend like Lissa or Rose, I wouldn't know if I could trust the other. Nevertheless, it seems to work for them. The other characters are just as hard and complicated to figure out, but it makes the story enjoyable. Keeping you on the edge of your seat and trying to think of ways or reasons why people act the way they do.

movie poster
Nevertheless, I already moved on to reading the sequel, Frostbite. I couldn't just leave it like that. Need to know more. Please let me know your opinion on this particular book. For the original review you can click here.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Oscar Disagreements


So the Oscars were last week and I wanted to talk about what happened there. Even though there are a few winners whom I agree with (FROZEN!), there is a lot a disagree with. Movies and actors/actresses whom deserve to be mentioned as well. I don't know much about the politics behind this event and I don't really care about it either, so I'm just going to give you my opinion on the topic, as a viewer rather than a part of the academy (though it would be awesome to  be a member). That is why I decided to write this, hope you enjoy it and let me know whether you agree or disagree with me (or the academy).


First of all. Yes a lot of people are disappointed.. Leonardo DiCaprio didn't win an Oscar, again. He does deserve to be in that position but to be fair, not for the Wolf of Wall street. I didn't even write a review on that movie because it was funny but I just didn't see what the message of the story was. He should have won an Oscar for his role in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, if I hadn't known him before I saw that movie I would have thought he was actually a kid with down-syndrome. Or even Titanic! 'Cause let's be honest, who doesn't love Jack Dawson! But not this year, not this movie. Sorry Leo (but also, it's not like he is the only one, I mean did Johnny Depp win an oscar yet?)

Next I want to talk about Rush. I just do not understand why it wasn't nominated at all, not for best picture but also, Daniel Brühl wasn't nominated for best actor while he did a brilliant job on the part. Of course Chris Hemsworth put James Hunt to the screen in an interesting way as well, best I have seen him act, ever. I loved the scene where he hits a journalist because he asked Niki Lauda a very mean question. It was an amazing story about two men who respect each other while being enemies/competitors on the track. An unlikely friendship yet a friendship nevertheless. I am a girl and not even the slightest interested in cars or racing, but this story made it interesting for the uninterested audience. It was about the story behind everything and what it meant to them, more than the actual 'sport'. The story deserved a part in the Oscars. Niki Lauda deserved a part in the Oscars, yet they didn't get it and I am disappointed because of that.


Next I want to talk about the movie Prisoners. It came out in September and it turned my world upside down. Since I love both Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables) and Jake Gyllenhaal (Source Code), I really wanted to see it, but when I saw the trailer I felt weird about it. It was a little bit too much like Taken (Liam Neeson). But then when I actually got to see it, I realized it was nothing like that. At all, not even close. It was very intense, emotional, cruel, real and scary. It was a real life horror story. Nothing like Taken, at all. At the end of the movie I sat completely still in the cinema for 10 minutes. I was just too horrified and shocked to move. My boyfriend had to escort me back home because I was just out of it. Very well done. Yet no one mentioned it at the Oscars, why? Why did this movie get totally overlooked? Both Hugh and Jake gave very good performances and I can't help but wonder, why didn't they get nominated for anything?


Then there is Gravity and Sandra Bullock's performance in this movie. I mean come on. How did she not win best actress? It was hands down her best performance ever and not only that, it was better than any of the other women nominated. She deserved it, I feel really bad for her, not having won. Gravity won a lot of Oscars, but this one, they deserved and didn't get.


Before I go on and on about this, I think I should stop now. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I just wish that they would listen to the audience more often.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

300 Rise of an Empire

Who hasn't been looking forward to this sequel, even though I had no idea it was coming until like last year? 300 (which gets a 7.8 on IMDB which is a bit high if you ask me) was a very big hit, even though I never fully watched it until I knew there was gonna be a sequel: 300 Rise of an Empire (gets a 7.2 on IMDB, which frustrates me because I liked it better than 300).

I wanted to talk about these movies because not everyone I know has seen them (since it's a 16+ movie in most countries) but even more so it is based on a comic with the same name, written by Frank Miller and Lynn Varley. The story is based on the Battle of Thermopylae. It takes place in 480 B.C. in Greece near Sparta (even though it's not close to the coast anymore, it was then).

The Persians came to their country and wanted to take it over. King Leonardis of Sparta was forbidden to go to war by the oracle to go to war with the Persians. But only because there was betrayal involved in the council.To save his people, the people of Sparta, from the Persians, Leonardis decides to go towards them anyway. He only takes 300 men with him in total. Trained and fierce soldiers to defeat an enormous army, which seems like suicide. So needless to say, the fight doesn't end so well for Leonardis and his best warriors.

In Rise of an Empire you see what happened before and after this particular fight, so in a way it's both the prequel and the sequel. They bring back a few of the original characters like Gorgo, Leonardis his wife, whom is now leading the Spartan army. What is left of it that is.  And Dilios, the only of the 300 whom returned from the fight to give Gorgo a message) . Then there is Xerxes, who is a human god leading the Persian army. To me he is just a big baby in a golden diaper, angry that his dad was taken away from him and trying to take revenge on all the Greek for what one did. Irrationally trying to destroy everything that the Greek built. But that is just me.

We also get to meet a lot of new characters. You meet Themistokles, a general from Athens whom killed King Darius, also known as Xerxes his father. You see Xerxes before he turned into a god, learn how and why he did that to himself. You also meet the fearless Artemisia (whose name is clearly basted on Artemis, goddess of war. Which suits her rather well. Love how Eva Green brought her to the screen), she had an awful youth and experience with her own nationality, Greek. Which is the reason she is with the Persian army anyway, to punish the Greek. Those awful people that made her life a living hell.

Anyway, I guess you get the gist of the story by now. It's not hard to imagine what it looks like. Lots of fighting scenes, which involve a lot of blood, cruelty and nicely done special effects. Lots of bare chested guys, not so much bare chested girls, but I'm not one to complain (and I didn't hear my boyfriend complain so, yay).


End scene of 300
I don't really know what other there is to this movie than the fighting and the story. I have always had a thing for historic movies which involve a lot of fighting (Troy, Kingdom or Heaven, King Arthur ect). It's all fictional of course but never the less, I like that it gives me the idea of travelling back in time to witness something that happened so long ago. It had been awhile since I left the cinema this happy and content with what I had just seen. I genuinely liked both these movie, but in particular the second part. When the credits appeared on the screen all I could think was: AWESOME! I just hope that Pompeii won't ruin my good feeling towards movie about historical events in Greece/Italy.

And after all of this. I feel bad towards to story, because when I toured through Greece. I visited place like Athens, Olympia but we didn't stop in Sparta. So I need to go back there sometime (poor me *uch*).

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Fault in our Stars

After a lot of begging, pleading and ordering. I decided to read this book, just to please all those that had been pressuring me to do it for so long (and because they did an episode on the book with Teens React and I realized I wanted to read it before the movie came out. Something I also should have done with Vampire Academy but people make mistakes). I feel kinda bad to tell you I was disappointed though. Since so many people had been telling me to read this book. I expected more, something different than what I got. Never the less, I love this book.

So to please Basma, Layla, Sam and lots of other friends on GoodReads: Here is my review on The Fault in our Stars. I'm gonna try not to spoil anything for those out there that haven't read the book yet. In case I do: I am so very sorry.

What I knew before starting to read this book: it's about a teenage girl called Hazel Grace Lancaster (which to me just sounds like Lannister), with cancer. She has to go to a Support Group, her parents feel that she is depressed, because of her illness or rather her life. She got cancer when she was only 13 years old.  Then one day at support group she meets the gorgeous wonder that is Augustus Waters. A guy who used to have cancer and who is befriended with the only nice guy in the support group, namely Isaac. This is how much information I gathered from the trailer of the movie (which comes out in June), I had not even read a single word from the book yet.


I had my doubts about getting into this book because I already read Before I die about Tessa, a 16 year old girl who has leukemia, which was very heartbreaking. It made me witness and live the story, the illness from her point of view. Like I was actually ill and on the verge of dying. She made a list of things she wants/needs to do before she dies and in this process she falls in love with her neighbor, Adam. Who is slightly older but very cute.

So you see where I had problem with finding this story original. Don't get me wrong, I loved it from front to back. It was funny, sad, emotional, loving all at the same time. But I came prepared. I wasn't pulled into the book at spit back out at the end. I new what was going to happen, so held back from the book. Didn't give it my soul so it could break it, which was a wise choice, since I'm not a sobbing mess right now, but also means I didn't experience Hazel her story like I experienced Tessa her story, a year before.

Yet the words are in my heart and after finishing the book I walked up to my boyfriend and begged him to promise me never to get cancer, ever. He smiled at me and said: "I pinky promise," and then hugged me. It's a silly thing because no one can assure a thing like that, life isn't something you can decide on. It's something you either get the privilege of living or not.. I used to lie awake wondering about what my life would give me and the people around me. I used to wonder how people could believe in someone special up there in the sky when all he gave them was hard and painful times. I understand, it gives them hope and strength to think about heaven, a place where they will once again meet their loved once. Right now, in moments like these (after reading a book like that), I just hope they are right and I promise I will put my stubbornness aside and admit my mistake if it is the case.

On that note, I can't wait for the movie to come out and go to the cinema, prepared and with tissues, to sobbed my eyes out. Can't wait to see the characters on the screen and experience Amsterdam, which felt like my hometown while reading this book, from their perspective rather than my own as a Dutchie.

For the original review on this book on my GoodReads page, please click here.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Thought of the day

Sensitive Moment with Alyssa

So I haven't done a blog entry kinda thing experience ever, because I just felt like I was going to bore my readers by doing that but for once I thought I needed to share something, maybe?

As a self-conscious and insecure girl I think I can speak for a lot of girls when I say that we all fall for mysterious-older-bad-guy once (or twice or three times) in our lives. We love the way they make us feel. Exited, fun, bad ass and in some way special. When that bad guy picks you, no matter how bad of an influence he (or she) has on you, it makes you feel special. Because out of all the girls he could have picked, he went for you.

Nevertheless, they always break our heart. To them we aren't special. We are easy. Easy to get, convince and get over. We are just another one of those girls that they get bored with fairly easily. We all fall for it and will all get over it at some point, hopefully.

As did I. I fell for a mysterious-older-bad-guy when I was 13 years old, chased him for years and years, and got to him when I was 18 years old. Five years of pain, hurt, growing (physically and mentally) and rejections before he gave into it. Friend-zoned me like crazy. One of the most painful (yet lovely) experiences in my live. It made me stronger, but it also made me realize than I am better than that. I deserve more than that. I am not someone's castaway or rejection. I am a good and lovely person and deserve someone to take care of me and love me the way I love them and take care of them.

So in the end.. I was 'saved' and fell in love with a guy that can only be described as a best-friend kinda guy, because up to that point that was all he had been for other girls. And now 2,5 years later, here we are! Totally in love and I have never been this happy in my life.

So for anyone out there being friend-zoned or thrown aside by a bad-guy or bad-girl. Seriously, they are not worth it. You will find someone who loves you as much as you love them. Someone worth fighting for and for whom you would give up anything! It's a two-way-street. You are special and deserve someone that realizes that, and don't settle for anything less or let anybody tell you any different!

Let me know what you think about this or read my longer version of this story here.