Thursday, June 7, 2007

There's No Place Like Home

Our journey home began at 5:30am in Guangzhou China and ended a mere 29 hours later -- home at last. We flew from Guangzhou to Hong Kong, to Newark, to New Albany, to Cleveland and finally, home to Lexington -- that's a lot of airplanes, a lot of cramped quarters, a lot of bad food, a lot of trips to a bathroom the size of my right thigh, and a lot of flying time. Oakley did remarkably well with only a few meltdowns. Believe me, if I thought it might have helped us get home any quicker, I would have had a few myself. It was an exhausting day for us all, but oh, so worth it. When we finally reached Lexington I was literally shaking with anticipation .... I couldn't wait to see my boys and our family there waiting for us. What a homecoming!!

Out of respect for Oakley, our family waited eagerly at arms length to see how she would react. She was amazing -- smiling -- naming familiar faces from her photo album. I think you could have picked my dear Mom up off the floor when she pointed to her and said "Mamaw." How could one little girl leave the only home she's ever known and in just two weeks time lovingly embrace her new family? This is truly God's hand at work. I prayed throughout this journey that Oakley's heart would be open to us and my prayers have been answered tenfold. She spontaneously give hugs and kisses and already adores all THREE of her brothers, though I think Sawyer will always hold a very special place in her heart. He was, after all, the very first to interact with her China. And I know she holds a special place in his. This child could not be more loved and cherished.

We are all feeling remarkably well, were able to sleep last night and napped again today. I was the last to go to sleep because I decided to check the blog before retiring. Not only could I not view the blog in China, but we probably only received about one-fourth of the comments left. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to everyone who followed our journey, kept us in your prayers, and left comments for us. I cried until about 3am, marvelling at our blessings and the loyal following that this sweet little girl has developed. Truly, your comments and emails will be preserved for her in a special album that chronicles her journey to her family. We are so thankful for your support and your ability to love and accept.

We came home to a refrigerator full of food, gifts for Oakley, and a clean and brightly lit dwelling. A special thanks to my family for making sure that our homecoming was warm and welcoming. We very much appreciate everyone's efforts and I will forever be grateful to Marla for taking care of our home and boys in our absence, and to Lori for taking care of Scrabble, our springer spaniel. He'll be coming home on Sunday and he's going to throw Oakley into a tailspin because she's terrified of dogs. I have no doubt, however, that he'll win her over quickly.

Oakley slept in her bed last night from about midnight until 7:30am and napped this afternoon in her bed from 11:30am until 4pm; I guess she has some catching up to do. She had a full day today playing with her brothers and they are completely taken with her. Sullivan adores her smile and Hagan loves the way she sings, dances, talks, squeals ... you name it, he loves it. She had cheerios and bananas for breakfast, watermelon (thank you, Marla), cheese and more cheerios for lunch and fried rice for dinner. She tried peanut butter and jelly for lunch, but wasn't crazy about it (Jennifer, have you been talking to her?). Peanut butter ... it's a staple food in our family. We have discovered that we can't offer watermelon WITH her entree, because then it's the ONLY thing she will eat. From here on, it's going to have to be a dessert for sweet Oakley.

After dinner we took a brief walk in the neighborhood and returned for a bath, which she loves. The first time I bathed her in China I gave her a set of stacking cups to play with and she had no idea what to do with them. She stood up to get out immediately after I washed her and we literally had to teach her how to play in the bath tub. Now it's one of her very favorite things to do and she was thrilled to play with a whole new set of toys! After her bath, she had a quick tea party with Papa'. Notice how daintily she pours the tea, and then tilts her head back and chugs it! Then we got in bed, read a book, turned the lights out, and she was asleep within minutes.

Thank you to everyone for following us halfway around the world. It's been the most amazing journey and it's only just begun! I will continue to update the blog with Oakley's escapades.

p.s. Our luggage is still somewhere out there, trying to find it's way home. We carried on all of her adoption documents and the camera, but would love to have our clothes, toiletries, souvenirs and gifts home soon. I am kicking myself for not carrying on her "finding outfit" and the disposable camera that was given to us by the orphanage staff. Maybe tomorrow we'll hear good news!


Francie said...

Yea!!! I was so happy to log on and see a new post :)
I'm so glad things continue to go so well. She's just beautiful. If I didn't know better, I would never believe that the small, sad looking child in the yellow sweater is the same glowing child with the big grin :)

The Ferrill's said...

Oh joy joy! I cannot believe the change in Oakley from gotcha day...God is at work in your little girl's life! I love seeing her sitting at HER table in HER home! I know you had a trip of a lifetime. God bless you and I will continue to "visit" to see Oakley's adventures!

Bernadette said...

She looks so happy and that she will continue to change with her family. She is so loved and I love her smiles. I am glad to see you all home and that she is adjusting well. I pray your luggage is found and everything is still intact. Thank you for sharing your journey and I hope that you may look into mine once I get my TA for my son.
God Bless,

Karen Whitt said...

I am dying to call you, but I know this first week is overwhelming. Oakley looks so happy, God has been so good to answer our prayers.

I cannot believe we are both home with these two special little girls!!It has been a long and special journey!!

Karen Whitt

Lisa Porter said...

What a perfect way to start the day! Oakley in her forever home. Lori had filled me in on the fantastic arrival at the airport. What an incredible little girl!

I'm astounded that she is sleeping in her own room! Hurrah!

I have my fingers crossed about the luggage. Guess that close connection in Hong Kong was a little TOO close for the luggage.

Hardest thing I've had to do in a long time is NOT go to the airport when she arrived. The idea kept popping in my brain and I would have to push it out.

Welcome home!

Lisa P.

Mom of 5 said...

What a great post. Brings tears to my eyes. I am so glad Oakley is doing well. To think that Mia knew her and now she has a home too is great... Your luggage will find it's way home don't worry.
Enjoy every minute...

Beckyb said...

We have loved following your journey - it has brought tears to our eyes many times and brought back many memories too. You are a wonderful family and Oakley (as well as you all) are truly blessed!! We will continue to pray for a smooth transition - God is so good!

Anonymous said...

Please post some pictures of the boys with Oakley for us to see. So incredible that she slept in her own bed. She knows she is finally HOME.

Rob and Ang

Marla said...

Carter is getting a kick out of picturing Mike sitting at Oakley's little table having a tea party. I'm loving seeing her in her room, full of smiles. Let us know when you are up for company, Carter keeps asking when can I go play with her!

Love you all!

Mommy-To-Channing said...

Yayyy.....Welcome home!! Oakley sure looks happy. You have one beautiful little girl Jana. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. You did a fantastic job!!! I received my LOA so now am waiting for my TA to arrive....hopfully soon I will have Channing in my arms!! When you get a chance I would love some "hints"...anything!!! Enjoy your weekend!!

Nicole said...

AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I can not believe she is sitting at her little table, sleeping in her precious bed. I just can't wait to meet her! :) I have to call today as we are leaving for vacation and I can not wait another week to talk to you. Sorry for the intrusion. LOVE YOU!

Leslie said...

Welcome Home Little Oakley. I'm so glad you and your family are home safe and sound now. Your just so precious, and hope that I can meet you one day soon. I know Lily and Ella would love to have a Tea Party with you one day.

Jana, I don't know if you saw my blog, but we received our LOA on Wed, the day you came home from China...LOL. We waited 180 days for that to come. So when things get back to normal, than I would love to talk to you first all about Oakley, than any tips you could give me.

Welcome Home,

Kathy Shanklin said...

God is so good. Like so many, I have followed your blog...eagerly anticipating each entry and thanking God for his many blessings. I just can't say enough how beautiful Oakley is and how well it seems she is adjusting...your's a God thing. I'm looking forward to meeting little Miss Oakley. I can't wait to follow the rest of your blog and hear all about Oakley's new experices. Thank you so much for including us in your amazing journey.

Kathy Shanklin

Anonymous said...

Oh!!!! I am SO glad your home at LAST! My goodness, it feels like you have been in China forever. :) It sounds like you had an absolutely amazing time. Oakley is such a doll, and what a belssing from God that she is bonding so well. I hope you hear about your luggage soon. I would be so deleriously happy to be home I don't think I would notice. Haha.


sherry said...

My girls have looked at your blog daily. Whenever we go towards the computer, they say, "Oakee!" as if that is all we sit here and look at(OK, so maybe A LOT). I CANNOT wait to see our girls together! There was certainly a time I never thought I would be saying that for either of us...HOORAY!
Love you all and see you on the 29th. Sherry R.

Anonymous said...

I am astounded at what has happened over the last few weeks. Without the photos on the blog, I could not have envisioned how beautiful this adoption has been. To me, it seems more of a miracle than childbirth. You refer to China as her first home. And you are correct. It is her birthplace, and it seems that it was a "holding place" for her until you could arrive to bring her home. I wish every child in the world could have a family like Oakley has. She is an amazing girl and my heart has been touched each time I see her face. See you soon.

Anonymous said...

Jana and Mike:
I was so thrilled that you did not mind if I came to the airport. I wouldn't have missed it for the world and just think I even got a hug from Miss Oakley!!!!!!! She is beautiful and I can't wait to get to know her better. As I have said to you before, you all are special and I am so thrilled for you. I love you all and wish you all the best as you work toward Oakley's adjustment to the good ole US and her new family. If there is anything I can do for you let me know.

love ya
ronnie & donna

Anonymous said...

how is oakley and all doing?

Anonymous said...


I am so glad you all are home and safe!!! Oakley looks like she is soo happy. Please keep writing. I am addicted!!!! I will pray she continue to adjust as well as she has been doing.


Anonymous said...

we are wanting to know how things are going this week. please email us an update.

angela and robby

Ken & Mystina said...

Dear Oakley and family~

Welcome home! I believe that we just missed each other in Fuzhou. When we were leaving our hotel to fly to Guangzhou, Jack came to say goodby too us and that he had just given another child to her family. Olivia is keeping us so busy I, just as Jill predicted, have not been able to follow any other journeys. I just had a chance to check your blog today. So glad to see that you are safe and happy in the USA!! God Bless,
Ken, Mystina, Micah and of course OLIVIA.