Tuesday, February 5, 2008

For God So Loved the World

This beautiful book was a gift to Oakley from sweet Esther Strand, one of her Zhangzhou sisters. It quickly became one of Oakley's favorites. She has it memorized and will "read" along with me. There is nothing sweeter than hearing her say, "For God So Loved the World," as she turns each page. The book is a work of art, beautifully written and illustrated -- the words For God So Loved the World appear in different languages on each spread. And it has such special meaning for us, not just because it's a wonderful reminder of God's love for all the world, but because it was given to us by such a special family.

The Strand Family traveled to China in November 2006 to bring home their baby girl, Esther. While there, they took time to photograph all the children and posted them on our Zhangzhou yahoo group's website for the waiting families. These photos were priceless to me -- you can read about it here.

In addition, this precious family took some amazing video of their visit to the orphanage and Oakley and her friend Caeleigh are in several of the frames. They posted the video on their website and we viewed it over and over and over again ... freezing the frame on Oakley -- studying her every expression, her every movement ... looking for reassurance that she was okay.

In November 2007, we received a package in the mail from the Strand Family. It contained this beautiful book, written by Dandi Daley Mackall, and a copy of the orphanage visit video. What a treasured gift!! The first time we viewed it in it's entirety, I was flooded with emotions. We are so BLESSED to have this baby girl, to have traveled to the other side of the world to bring her home.

On a day-to-day basis, it's easy to forget that she had a life before us -- it's hard for me to accept sometimes that I wasn't there for her when she needed me most. We allowed Oakley to watch the video with us and she was entranced. She alternated back and forth throughout the video from talking animatedly about it, to becoming very solemn and quiet -- almost reflective. She asked to watch it again as soon as it was over, and we did. Then she smiled broadly, ran upstairs to her room to play dress up, and she hasn't asked about it again.

We placed the video in Oakley's Life Chest, along with her Finding Day clothes, her Gotcha Day clothes, and the beautiful locket given to her by the orphanage staff. These items will one day help fill in the missing pieces in her early life and I have no doubt that they will mean the world to her.

So ... a belated thank you to the Strand Family and to sweet Esther Li Lyn. You hold a very special place in our hearts and we are forever grateful to you.


Whitty's Four said...

Miss Oakley is as beautiful as ever. We love it when you post new pictures.
Karen Whitt

PS. Hi Oakley from Caeleigh

The Ferrill's said...

Sweet sweet sweet!
Oakley is just so beautiful! I think the idea of a "life chest" is wonderful. Right now I have K & Q's things in a "life bag" in my closet! I need to get that organized!

Nicole said...

Oh Jana, I bet you were studying her watching it. What a neat thing to have! Love you both!

Jake and Taryn said...

Oakley is just gorgeous and I just love her name! I love that you have saved so many things that will mean the world to her! She is such a doll! :)

Lori said...

What a beauty!!