I can't believe it's September and you can already feel a slight fall chill in the air!! Although I am excited for fall weather, football games and tailgate parties, I am not ready to let go of summer just yet. What will Haley do without her beloved "pool"?? It will be hard to see the warm, sunny days go!
Oh, what a wonderful summer this has been! Every new day with Haley is an adventure waiting to unfold!
Haley is a totally different child than the one we were with in the orphanage in July. She is a loving, funny, smart child who just melts our heart every time we look at her! We are having so much fun being her parents! She brings so much joy to our lives!
It’s hard to describe the incredible change in her. I keep thinking back to a story a friend told me years ago about a little squirrel who was stuck in a drainage ditch and unable to climb out to safety on his own. A man passing by reached down to rescue him, but the squirrel, unable to understand that the man was trying to help him and bring him to a safer place, fought, bit and clawed to keep the man away. When we visited Haley in the orphanage, she acted like that squirrel in survival mode, doing all she knew to keep us at a distance. She literally hit, clawed and bit us when all we wanted to do was love her, take her to a safe place and make her part of our family. So many days we would leave the orphanage feeling overwhelmed with the challenge ahead of us. Can you even tame a squirrel??
The amazing thing is that when we finally got our little “squirrel” out of her "ditch", she shed her "squirreliness" almost immediately and soaked up love and affection like a sponge. This was a great lesson for us! Hunter and I had to solely rely on the Lord for the strength to walk forward in what we didn't understand and felt ill-equipped to handle. Yet, all along Haley was just waiting for our love to finally become the sweet little girl God had created her to be. We will ask each other all the time, "Was she really that way in the Ukraine?" because it doesn't seem possible today. We have received an extra blessing in that we did not expect to see such a dramatic change in her personality and heart so quickly. It's so much fun to be a part of her life!
Now for some summer highlights:
We were able to travel and visit friends and family in August, including a trip to Arkansas to visit grandpa and her 8 cousins (some are pictured to the left), a week at the beach, and attending our first family camp (as a family!) at Windy Gap just to mention a few!
Haley experienced a plethora of firsts in her life: her first trip to the beach, her first visit to UNC, her first water park ride, her first trip down the 50 foot slide at Windy Gap (this was NOT mommy’s idea!)...see picture to the right--that's Haley and Daddy at the top...on their way down!
Not surprisingly...Haley LOVED the beach!!
It’s so much fun to see her enjoying all the fun things in life: Family, friends, hugs, kisses, I love you’s, opening presents, eating ice cream, running in the park with friends, slides, swings, long baths, trips to “gamma’s” pool, singing in the car, dancing and twirling and playing the guitar…so much joy!!
Haley started preschool at our church last week (2 days a week for 3 hours). Here she is walking to her classroom..."book" bag in tow! :) There were a few tears the first minute, but then she fit right in and started to play with her new friends. She loves her teachers and now walks right in to her classroom without looking back. A bittersweet moment for mommy and daddy!
We attended the LifeLife adoption reunion last weekend in Birmingham, AL. We were able to see the Sims and finally meet their sweet little boy, Jacob (pictured here). It was a great weekend and fun for us to introduce Haley to Donna and Anna from LifeLife who helped us with our paperwork.
What a great summer! Although I hate to see it end, I know great things are just around the corner. Hunter and I will celebrate our 5th wedding anniversay the end of September, my birthday in October, Thanksgiving trip to Arkansas in November, and Haley and Hunter's birthdays in December...not to mention our first Christmas as a family! So many things to be thankful for!
Blessings to you! - Lauri