Thursday, March 29, 2007

NEW PHOTOS - Beautiful Baby Girl

Thanks to the Whitt Family (and I DO mean THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU), we have new photos of Oakley!! Can you see me smiling? That's because SHE'S smiling in a couple of the photos ... and what a beautiful smile it is. It's so good to see her looking happy and healthy. Maybe it's because she knows her family will soon be there for her.

In her little hands she holds the family photo album I put together for her. Jeff Whitt visited the orphanage, took these photos and emailed them to me. According to the Whitt's, she clung to the photo album. Imagine our delight when we could actually see her holding a photo of her three brothers (they all thought that was way cool, and I have to agree).

She's grown so much and she still looks very much like a little old soul to me. -- way beyond her two years, seven months, one week and two days old (not that I'm counting).

Blessed will be the day when we can celebrate as a family of six! My beautiful baby girl ... it won't be much longer.

PLEASE pray that we receive LOA and TA SOON!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Cry Baby

Okay, I admit it. Last night I was a cry baby. Too many emotions all at once ....

The Whitts are in China now with their precious baby girl, Caeleigh. I must have checked their blog 20 times yesterday for an update. No, patience is not one of my virtues. Starved for information and eager to see new photos, I was thrilled when their new post finally appeared last night. I studied the photographs of beautiful little Caeleigh, wondering if Oakley is about the same size (they are only two months apart in age), trying to determine what size she is wearing, wondering if they are letting her hair grow, wondering if she is taking a bottle ... wondering if she is missing her friend.

I savored every word, and was thrilled to read that Caeleigh is bonding quickly to her Mama, is smiling and playing, eating well, and I'm sure, feeling very much loved and cherished. As I read through the post, I caught my own name in the text, and my heart raced. This gracious family not only agreed to deliver to the orphange director and nanny a little family photo album I made for Oakley, but they also took pictures of her at the orphanage and then took to the time to address me in their post to update me.

To my friend Jana Curd. I want you to now that Caeleigh loved your little book for Oakley. It was the one thing that calmed her down. She clung to it. We had to sneak it away when it was time for the nanny to take it. Jeff did get pictures of Oakley and she just clung to that little book too! I will have Jeff email you and we will try to send the pictures. He also got other pictures we will try and post for my friends at Zhangzhou SWI. The nanny said they were good friends.
-- Karen

Yes, tears of gratitude and longing flowed freely.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Caeleigh Has Her Mom and Dad!

I'm so happy to report that the Whitt's have Caeleigh and it seems that all is going well. I'm so happy for this family!! Caeleigh's nickname at the orphanage is Koo -- how cute is that?!?!

If you want to follow their journey, please click here, then click on PUBLIC JOURNALS on the top menu bar. You can search by child's name -- spelled Caeleigh. Please remember this family in your prayers. It's going to be a difficult transition, even under the best of circumstances. Pray for their health and safety and that Caeleigh is comforted by their love and devotion.

I wonder what Oakley is thinking now that her little friend is gone? I hope she knows we're coming for her soon.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

We're Making Progress

It's been a productive weekend!
  • I made the thank you cards I'll be including with the gifts we'll present to the Chinese officials.

  • I ordered Oakley's window treatments and the fabric I need to make her memory board.

  • Mike has the trim up in Oakley's room and has started to paint!

  • I finished my taxes for Creative Memories and we're ready to deliver everything to our accountant this week. A HUGE load of my mind (and Mike's)!
Quite an accomplishment given the fact that we fit all this in amidst four soccer games ... three of them being out-of-town! We even made time last night for a little impromptu bonfire in the backyard by the lake.

p.s. You can't roast mini-marshmallows. It doesn't work.

A Backpack of Her Very Own

I live with three boys, so buying for a little girl is a new experience for me. Believe me, I have lived with my fair share of Matchbox cars, Brio trains and Playmobil knights. They can be found at any given time in pockets, under beds, in the bathtub, in the washing machine, in kitchen drawers and even in my purse. Sawyer was obsessed with Brio, Hagan with Playmobil and Sullivan with Matchbox cars. I wonder what Oakley will like to play with?

I've been collecting little things to take with us to China. We'll be spending a lot of time with Oakley in the hotel room and I want to make sure she has a few things to keep her entertained -- in addition to the new strange looking people with whom she'll be spending her days and nights:).

I found this ADORABLE elephant backpack online at Pottery Barn Kids. It was on clearance and it was a true bargain, even with the personalization. This will be the first of her very own belongings, things she can call her own, play with anytime she wants, and carry with her everywhere she goes. I hope she finds something among these things that she loves.

Here's what's included:
  1. a Curious George coloring book and crayons (chosen by Sullivan because he loves Curious George)

  2. a car key set that makes a variety of sounds, and it doubles as a little flashlight!

  3. a heart slinky (thank you McCaleb)

  4. a Dora the Explorer Doodle Pro

  5. a happy baby colors book

  6. a fuzzy windup chick (thank you Jennifer) -- great for sensory integration

  7. two packs of Play-Doh (thanks again, Jennifer)

  8. Goldfish crackers

  9. Gerber fruit juice treats

  10. a Fisher Price "ipod" featuring favorite nursery rhyme songs

  11. Gymboree bubbles (not pictured because I just got these today, along with a precious swimsuit coverup -- yeah for Gymboree bucks!)

  12. and my favorite ... this mini Calin Asian doll

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Oakley's Family Photo Album

I've been working on another little family photo album for Oakley and had planned to include it in her next care package. However, Caeleigh's family will be travelling to China on March 23 and they'll meet the nanny/orphanage director on Caeleigh's Gotcha Day. They've graciously agreed to deliver the photo album to the orphanage staff and request that they give it to Oakley!! YEAH!! I am so happy and so grateful to this family.

I can't be sure that Oakley actually received her first care package. Although I really want her to have the gifts so she knows we're thinking of her, more importantly, I want her to have the photo album so we won't be complete strangers to her when we arrive.

I've included more photos of me and Mike, her brothers, Mamaw, and even Scrabble, our beloved Springer Spaniel. He's a real sweetheart and he's going to love having a little girl around the house. I also included the photo of her and Caeleigh so when she's missing her little friend, she'll be able to see her anytime she wants.

Thanks again to the Whitts for helping make sure our little girl is ready for us! We'll be forever grateful.

Friday, March 9, 2007

How SWEET is this?!?

Last week I arrived home from work to find a package from Caeleigh's family. What a wonderful surprise and a beautiful and thoughtful gesture! Karen, Caeleigh's Mom, had a picture of the girls printed in black and white and framed in the most adorable pink and cream frame. This precious photo was taken in November 2006 by the Strand Family during their visit to the orphanage. I hope you can see the tulle tied around the top -- I love it! I'm sure this photo will become one of Oakley's most treasured gifts and it will certainly be displayed prominently in her new room. Two sweet baby girls, friends from the start, sharing not only a life in the orphanage, but a journey to their families halfway around the world.

In celebration of their special bond, she also purchased identical friendship bracelets for the girls, each with their respective name in little silver blocks. Each bracelet has half of a charm -- a heart that reads "Best Friends." Caeleigh has one half and Oakley has the other half. I'm so thankful that this blessed family is now a part of our lives. We have shared so much already, and because Caeleigh's father is from my hometown and his parents still reside there, these girls will be able to visit each other every year. It is my hope that they will maintain their friendship throughout life.

Please remember this family in your prayers. I rejoice in announcing that they received TA yesterday and plan to travel on March 22! May God keep them safe and healthy during their travels, and prepare them -- in body, mind and spirit -- to welcome Caeleigh into their hearts and home. May God walk with this baby girl as she is lovingly placed in the arms of her new family and may she be open and receptive to their love and nurturing.

Thank you to this wonderful family for sharing the journey!

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Control Freak

It's March 1. That means we're officially one month closer to getting Oakley! Thank goodness February was a short month. The WAIT is getting SO hard.

Because I have NO CONTROL concerning when we receive our LOA, when we receive TA, or when we travel, I've chosen to exercise my control in other areas. Other trivial areas, to be exact. Like obsessing over the hallway coat closet because it was a hodgepodge of hangers (metal, plastic and wooden) and coats were just being shoved in, hanging in no particular order. I know .... CRAZY! So this evening I went out and bought all new hangers ... MATCHING hangers, and I organized the coat closet. Completely in my control -- mission accomplished. how sad is that?!?!

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I have nothing to do but wait. I could definitely spend my time a little more wisely ... we still have MUCH to do before we travel. Oakley's room isn't even ready! We bought the paint last weekend and we're going to get the chair rail installed this weekend, I hope! I'm heading to the Pottery Barn Outlet on Sunday after church to look for window treatments and I plan to make some real progress in the next week or so.

Last night I went shopping for items for another Care Package I plan to mail out on Monday. I was really hoping to have her in my arms soon, but since we could still be a few months away, I want to make sure she knows we are thinking of her ALWAYS! I'm putting together another little family photo album for her this weekend and I pray that when she gets it, her heart will begin to open to us.

March .... the promise of spring, warmer weather and renewed life. May it also bring an LOA, TA, and the promise of a little girl being welcomed into her forever family.