Monday, January 29, 2007

Favorite Finds

Okay ... this is REALLY fun!! It's so exciting to be able to shop for little girl things. I LOVE my boys, but you have to admit, girl clothes are so much cuter ... and so much more plentiful! I have really refrained from buying too much too soon. Oakley now has a few things hanging in her closet, and although we haven't really started on her room, I have found a few things I just couldn't resist.

In preparation for her arrival, we moved Sawyer downstairs to my overflow scrapbooking workspace. I think he really likes his new digs ... it's away from his brothers and he has a little more privacy (but not too much)! We redid Sawyer's old room for Hagan and it turned out beautifully. He's a cowboy at heart and his room suits him well! I'll post pictures of all the bedrooms soon so you can admire Mike's handiwork. He's an AWESOME painter!

Sullivan is moving to Hagan's old room and he'll share a jack and jill bath with Oakley. Mike put up a chair rail last week and he's in the process of painting now. We're going to have it together just in time for Sullivan's big birthday party/
sleep-over this weekend! He's so very excited.

THEN .... we'll begin on Oakley's room. I bought her a distressed white sleigh bed at the Pottery Barn outlet and it matches the nightstand she's inheriting from Sullivan perfectly. I purchased her quilt (the doll dress quilt from Land of Nod) off ebay, for a bargain price, and we've selected pink and brown as the color scheme for her walls (it's one of my favorite color combinations). I have the room mapped out in my mind; now making it come to fruition will be the challenge!

Anyway .... her are some of my favorite finds so far:
  1. an adorable bunny lamp for her nightstand -- I'm going to add little white pom poms to match her duvet cover and pillow sham

  2. her Magnolia doll -- There is a Chinese Legend that says when a child is born there are invisible red threads connecting her to all the important people in her life, and as she grows these threads become shorter, drawing her closer to these special people. In Magnolia's pocket is a red thread, personally selected by Marcia (the doll maker) when she went to China to meet her daughter. As she chose the thread, Marcia said a prayer of blessing for all little children waiting for their "forever family".

  3. a precious doll dress quilt to keep her warm and toasty at night

  4. this too cute bathing suit -- I'm hoping we can take her swimming at the hotel in China! Not that I'm anxious to put on a bathing suit (ugghhhh!), but I think it's a great opportunity for skin-to-skin contact, which will promote bonding, and it should be fun and non-intrusive. I'm hoping for the best!
Have I mentioned that I'm having fun?!?!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Oakley's Growing Up

We received new measurements from our agency today and our baby girl is growing up WITHOUT US. Why must it take so long to process the paperwork?!?! When I first saw her face she was just 22 months old. Now she's 29 months old and I want to be there to celebrate each and every milestone!

Here's how she measures up:

Height: 87 cm (34.25 inches)

Weight: 15 kg (33 lbs)

Chest Circumference: 51 cm (20 inches)

Feet Length: 14 cm (5.5 inches)

According to the American CDC Growth Charts, she ranks in the 25th percentile in height and in the 90th percentile in weight. The orphanages tend to clothe the babies in MANY layers for warmth, and I'm not sure if she was weighed with or without those layers. Regardless, she seems to be pretty healthy!

I think she's probably wearing a size 3T, and of the few things I've purchased for her wardrobe, this is the size I've been buying. I wish I could freeze time until we reach her!

They Don't Stay Little for Long

I know all too well how quickly time passes, and how fast they grow up. Sullivan, my youngest, will be SEVEN tomorrow!! How does that happen? I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I was cheated. Sullivan entered our family trying to play catch-up to his two older brothers and he never really wanted to be a baby. He is ALL boy and it's truly never fast enough, high enough, or adventurous enough for him. He is fearless, but oh, so sweet.

He's definitely the most affectionate of the three boys and loves to climb in our bed every morning to cuddle. I WILL say, however, that although he loves to hug, give back rubs, and hold hands, he REFUSES to give anyone a kiss. He stopped cold turkey over a year ago because he said he "didn't like the sound it makes." No, we're not necessarily noisy kissers. I thought for a long time that it was just a phase, but I'm beginning to wonder. I've cried over it, I've bribed, I've threatened ... but to no avail. He knows it makes me and his Dad sad (mostly me), and I can tell it truly breaks his heart, but he won't budge.

I DID get a few Eskimo kisses this week, so maybe he's slowly easing back into the world of kisses .....

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Funding Our Journey to Bring Oakley Home

I don't even know where to begin. We have been so blessed and have SO MANY people to thank for helping support our journey, both in financial contributions, and in prayer.

When I first shared with Michael my desire to adopt a little girl, his FIRST comment was, "I'm totally open to the possibility." His SECOND comment was, "I'm not sure how we're going to afford it." And my response, was, "I'm not either. Let's do it!" Not very practical, I know. But this IS a journey of faith.

We both struggle with the fact that we aren't better prepared for the boys' future higher education needs. They are all four years apart and while we won't have two in college simultaneously, the reality is that we have 12 years (now 16, with Oakley) of college tuition looming ahead in the not-so-distant future. A typical adoption from China costs anywhere from $18,000 to $23,000. When you include all the incidental fees not taken into account in the estimated budgets provided by the agency, it can easily rise to $25,000. Needless to say, we don't have that kind of money at hand.

I knew it would be necessary to do some fundraising to help with the costs and as a family, we were committed to saving and sacrificing where possible. The boys were selfless from the start and fully supported our decision not to vacation this summer.

We established a special account for our journey to bring Oakley home and held our first fundraiser on June 17, 2006. Our yard sale yielded over $743 and Hagan sold $46 worth of cookies and lemonade. NOT a bad start!

My sister, Lori, one of the most SELFLESS people I know, organized a yard sale at her house and told me that she was going to donate all proceeds to our adoption fund. She shared this information with some of her friends and coworkers and the response was overwhelming! They donated enough items to fill her garage to capacity and Lori spent DAYS getting everything organized and priced. She's quite the merchandiser and some people would go so far as to say she could be a professional yard sale consultant! The one-day sale netted $540.13 and we still had enough inventory to go another round. The weather warmed up a few weeks later, and Yard Sale Fundraiser Part II netted another $386.22. Many, many thanks to Lori and company for your generous spirit and support!

In November, my dear friend Leigh Reed, also a Pampered Chef consultant extraordinaire (, helped me organize a Pampered Chef fundraiser. Guests were challenged to help sell raffle tickets for a Pampered Chef Shopping Spree and gather orders from their family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and associates. My family and friends rose to the challenge with great enthusiasm, and I will be forever grateful to everyone who participated. This fundraiser netted $1,637 in cash! My special thanks to Leigh for doing everything in her power to ensure a successful event:)!

In January, I hosted the 7th annual Cornerstone Inn Scrapbooking Retreat in Brown County, Indiana. I prepared about eight page layouts and held a silent auction. Thanks to my Creative Memories clients and friends, this brought in another $171 for our adoption fund.

In addition, family and friends have donated $6,160 toward our adoption fund. This has been a very humbling experience and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for opening your hearts to us and sharing your resources. Michael and I have been truly amazed by the generosity and have wept tears of joy on more than one occassion for the blessings that have come our way.

Here's a summary of the funds we've raised to date:
  • Yard Sale (6/17/06) - $789.00

  • Yard Sale at Lori's (10/21/06) - $540.13

  • Yard Sale at Lori's (11/24/06) - $386.22

  • Pampered Chef Fundraiser (11/29/06) - $1,637.00

  • Scrapbook Silent Auction (1/7/07) - $171.00

  • Contributions from Family and Friends - $6,160.00

We have truly felt from the beginning that God is preparing our family to bring Oakley home and we trust Him to prepare us emotionally, spiritually and financially. To each of you that has contributed to our journey, please accept our heartfelt THANK YOU!! We feel so very blessed by your love and support and appreciate you answering the call to help provide for a little girl, so very far away, who needs to come home.