Wednesday, May 28, 2008

For This Child I Have Prayed - Gotcha Day Anniversary

One year ago today, our daughter came into our life. Actually, this raven-haired beauty captured our hearts long before then, but one year ago today Oakley Xinxiang physically became a part of our family. I’ve written this post a thousand times in my head and I can never seem to do it justice.

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 listened to God’s voice telling us that our little girl was waiting for us in China.

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 China, and she still reserves this title for him alone.

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!!

Michael and I love our girl unconditionally and with all of our being. It’s so hard for me to put into words all that I feel. I cannot begin to comprehend life without her.

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 na├»ve 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 China and bring me home!” She always follows that up by telling me that she missed me when she was in China. She also tells me two or three times a week that she missed me when I was in Louisville (for a scrapbook retreat last January) and that she missed me when I was at the phone store (getting a new cell last month).

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


Ken & Mystina said...

Congratulations Curd family! Looking at these pictures it doesn't even look like the same little girl. How blessed are you that you get to spend each day with her? How blessed are you that God said, Here I want you to take care of her for Me? She is so pretty and so full of life. There is nothing better.
Oakely may you always know how precious and loved you are. May God walk with you each day.

Ken, Mystina, Micah and Olivia

Stefanie said...

What a post. I think you did your girl justice :) What a blessing you are to EACH OTHER... God's plan is always perfect!!

Whitty's Four said...

Beautifully written Jana.
What a transformation!! God has been good!!
She is beautiful. I love her smile.

Caeleigh sends a big, big hug!!
Karen and Caeleigh

Anonymous said...

Blessed is the only word that comes to mind. For you to have her, and for her to have you. What an amazing transformation.

God is good.

Mom of 5 said...

Lovely post. Oakley is so beautiful. She is beeming and glowing. Congrats on your 1st year !

4ever 4some said...

God is good! What a beautiful transformation...from sad eyes to sparkling, twinkling jubilation. Her eyes tell the story. Thanks for sharing your 1 years anniversary.

Lori L Johnson said...

What a beautiful tribute Jana. It brought back wonderful memories and a few tears of joy. I'm so thankful that she is here. It seems like only yesterday that we saw her sweet face for the first time and yet it seems she has always been here......

Give her an extra hug & kiss from me today. Bless you sweet girl - I love you. See you soon!


Ang :o) said...

Congratulations! Your situation sounds so familiar to ours as far as her bonding so easily and blending right in. She seems like an amazing little person and she's so pretty!

Jennifer said...

Happy One Year Anniversary to you ALL! What an amazing journey this has been for all of you - and such fun to watch it unfold. The pictures you have posted are adorable!! She has changed so much... it really takes your breath away. I almost seems longer than just one year...but then - not.

Paul and Jackie said...

I have bookmarked and watched your blog for a long while, and I LOVE your little Oakley. We have 4 children, including 2 from China. Our last adoption was just turning 4 when we got her. She is now 6. These little girls are so amazing! I just love looking at Oakley's pictures as she has a certain sparkle in her eyes that is capturing! How blessed you all are to have each other!

Jackie Wetzel

David and Sarah said...

So beautiful. Congratulations!

Mission to Macie said...

Happy One Year!!!!

I am so excited for you and your family.

It is still so amazing to me the similarities in our girls.

Oakley is adorable, congrats again!

Jill and Macie :)

Our Journey to Leilah Grace said...

Congratulations sweet Oakley on your 1 year anniversary with your forever family!!

Your daughter is beautiful, so full of love and life. So happy for your family!

We hope to be bringing home our daughter about the end of summer. We can only hope she adjust even a fraction as well as your dear daughter. You are truly blessed.

Sheri W. (Leilah Di's Mommy)

Jill and Rick said...

Happy Forever Family Day, Oakley!! Jana, your post brought tears to my eyes. We have four bio kids and three blessings from China, and your words really hit home for me. Thank you for sharing Oakley's special day with us!

Jill G
Mom to seven, including Allie from Zhangzhou

Sandra said...

I just had to post. I've adopted 8 times and I've never seen one change so much so fast. She had such sad eyes and now you can see just how much she loves her family! I love seeing her enjoy her new clothes too! It has been a blessing to watch her change in the last year.

christy b., that's me! said...

What a lovely story. I feel that I have been touched by heaven just reading it. Oakley is a beautiful child and how blessed she is to have a family that loves her so...

The Ferrill's said...

Jana! You're not supposed to make me cry when I'm at the beach! What a beautiful update of a wonderful year with your Oakley. I too am amazed by her transformation in the pictures. Oh what plans the Lord has for this precious girl!
And THANK YOU for writing the 'what if' part of this post. I really needed to read that today! The Lord used you to encourage me today!

Anonymous said...

Jana, your post gave me goosebumps. It was perfect! It has been an incredible year -- not only for Oakley and your family but also for those of us blessed to know you and your fantstic family. Seeing the pure joy in Oakley warms my heart everytime. While you were in China, I think I checked your blog 5 times a day. A year later, I still check every day to see what your Wonder Child and wonderful family are up to. Please keep sharing the Joy.

Lisa P.

Debbie and Sam said...

Thank you for sharing the tremondous year that both your family and Oakley has experienced. You were in China when we got our referral for an unexpected almost 3 year old. We spoke on the phone once and I have followed your journey over the past year. Thank you for sharing the joys of adopting a toddler!


Adam and Cynthia said...

Isn't it funny how quickly time passes once they are home! God's timing is always perfect! He knew when you were ready to hear His whisper about Oakley and He knew just when to send her home!

What a fabulous year and what a fabulous little girl!

Shannon said...

Oh, Happy Gotcha Day Anniversary! Isn't it amazing how time can go so quickly and yet we can still feel that moment of holding our children for the very first time! Your post was beautiful, thank you for sharing your heart. Love reading your blog, especially since we share a boys name! ;-)

Nicole said...

Dag I thought you had not been blogging, you're not coming thru on my feed anymore for some reason. ? Any ideas? I love your girl so much. I can not believe it's been a year. She is so beautiful, inside and out! I'm so proud of her and so proud of you guys for listening to God's call!

Judy G. said...

I check on you guys every once in a while, and like everyone else I am touched by how God has used your family.
You are a great writer, and should consider making your story a book.
I actually have a friend who could publish it.
Blessings to you and family.
Judy G.

Dawn said...

I have been stopping in for awhile now, but today wanted to wish you a Happy Gotcha Day ( a little belated :) Oakley is so darling, and I enjoy checking in!!

Leslie said...

What a beautiful post Jana.

Sorry this is late, but Happy Gotcha Day Oakley. Your one beautiful and blessed little girl. It's been wonderful watching you blossom so much in a year's time. I hope I can meet you one day soon.

Chris & Deb said...

Jana...thanks for sharing this beautiful post of Oakley! You can just see in her eyes that she is thriving! She is just precious!

Jodee Leader said...

Happy Gotcha Day Anniversary! Oakley is just adorable! Wishing you many more happy years together!

Keri said...

Congratulations on your anniversary! I would love to get the girls together this summer. We just got back from a trip to the shore with 2 other China beauties. Claire has the same Bitty Baby and she takes her to church in the same dress. Gotta love these "girly girls"!