During our long wait for Oakley, I felt blessed to have the support of the members of my Yahoo Group - families who have all adopted, or are in the process of adopting, from the Zhangzhou Social Welfare Institute in the Fujian Province. It was through this group that I learned the most about Oakley's province, what to expect when we travel, and all about the best places to stay, dine, shop and visit as we soaked in our baby girl's homeland.
It was also here that I was able to secure photos from Oakley at varying stages of her life in the orphanage. Families who traveled before us often took photos of the children and posted them on our Yahoo site for the waiting families to see. These photos are treasures to me, and will one day be treasures for Oakley, too. Someday she will yearn to know all the details of her first 2 1/2 years of life. It pains me that I won't be able to recall for her the early milestones -- her first smile, her first words, her first steps. But thanks to this blessed community, I will be able to share with her photos of her first friends.
One of these first friends is sweet Sophie, seen in the above photo taken in March 2005. Sophie is the second sweetheart from the right in the first row (chubby cheeks)! Oakley is the second from the left in the second row. Sophie's grandmother, Yvonne, was a huge inspiration to me throughout our journey. She was the first to congratulate me when I posted good news, the first to encourage me when I began to lament the wait, and she followed our journey to China and rejoiced with us when I finally held Oakley in my arms.It turns out that Sophie, her Mom Melissa, and her grandmother, Yvonne, live in a neighboring county - YEAH! They came to visit us in late July. Sophie is absolutely precious, beautiful beyond words, sweet and kind. I look forward to these girls being able to rekindle their friendship and I have no doubt that Sophie can teach Oakley all about Disney princesses. She's quite the expert, especially where Cinderella is concerned.
Sophie brought a little basket of toys to share with Oakley and Oakley LOVED the Fisher-Price Snap 'n Style Dolls!
Imagine our surprise when we found a gift at our front door on Oakley's birthday! Sweet Sophie gave Oakley her own set of Snap 'n Style Dolls.
Thank you Melissa, Sophie, and Yvonne, from the bottom of our hearts!! We can't wait to set-up another play date!!