I love reliving Gotcha Day -- walking into that office and seeing those scared, soulful little eyes looking up at us. Knowing that she was my daughter and that her whole world -- and our whole world -- was about to change. But words evade me when I try to recap all that Oakley means to me and to our family.
I simply wonder time and time again … what if …
what if ... we hadn’t followed our hearts.
what if ... we had given into the fears of treading those unknown waters, of not being able to financially afford to grow our family through adoption, of not being able to meet her needs.
what if …
I praise God for his unending faithfulness and for the blessings he has bestowed upon our family. Oakley has blessed us in ways unimaginable. She is pure joy, uncontained, with such a zest for life. She finds excitement in the mundane and she is THE most loving child I have ever met.
She has allowed our boys to unabashedly show their tender side. They love her, adore her, watch out for her, and are so proud of her. Sawyer will forever hold a special place in her heart, and her in his. Their relationship is too precious for words. She referred to him as Ge-Ge (older brother) in
But she loves Hagan and Sullivan mightily too and calls them her brudders. I met with Sullivan’s second grade teacher this afternoon and she informed me that Sullivan has become quite the advocate for adoption. During a recent SHARE time at school, he informed his classmates that when he grows up he plans to have a large family … probably four children, and he wants to adopt at least two of them. My eight-year-old then proceeded to tell his classmates that maybe they should adopt too, because it’s a great thing. LOVE this boy!!
Before travelling, I read all the material I could get my hands on regarding adopting a toddler. A lot of it was scary stuff and I had mentally prepared myself for the worst. But our own experience was just the opposite.
Oakley came to us not only deserving of a family of her own, but needing and wanting a family of her own. She was receptive to our love and reciprocated almost immediately. She thrived on our love and attention, blossomed and transformed in front of our eyes.
We met with the social worker last week for our final post placement meeting and Stacie asked if she ever went through a grieving process. And she honestly didn’t. I’m not so naïve as to believe there won’t be rough times ahead … difficult questions, a longing to know “why”, and quite possibly some grieving. But we are fully prepared to see her through it and we will do our best to help her heal.
Today, Oakley is a beautiful, talented, spirited and FUNNY three-and-a-half year old!! She loves to draw and color, she sings to her heart’s content, she talks non-stop, and she loves to play dress-up, tea party, dollhouse, puzzles and games. She’s also partial to lipstick and asks for it every morning before heading off to school.
She’s incredibly smart, knows each letter of the alphabet, can spell, write and sign her name, can spell a few words (STOP being one of them), can recite the Pledge of Allegiance and knows the words to many, many songs. I sometimes joke that we have a Child Wonder on our hands. She picked up the language at such record speed, it astounded us and all of our family and friends. She’s also really great at remembering names, even if she’s only met you once, and she loves to use adjectives like disgusting, obnoxious and beautiful, beautiful, beautiful (always said three times in succession.)
She still speaks of China often … she talks about her best friend Caeleigh, her blue bed, her little round bathtub, the playground, and Ayi. And every times she sees a plane, she shouts excitedly, “I ride on a plane! Mommy and Papa and Ge-Ge come to
I pray that she will maintain a fondness for her birth country and we will do everything in our power to make sure she is proud of her heritage. I’m not sure how much she remembers about her homeland and how much she is remembering through the photos we took while there and through the scrapbook pages I have completed. I do know that she’s lost the ability to speak any of her local dialect with the exception of a few words, and that she can no longer remember all the words to the little nursery rhyme song she used to sing soon after we arrived home. This makes me sad, but I know it’s natural given her age and her desire to move forward.
The first year with our girl has been incredible. We are blessed and very fortunate to have been given the responsibility of raising her, loving her, and watching her grow as a child of God.
“For this child I have prayed,
and the Lord has granted me what I have asked of him.”
1 Samuel 1:27