Thursday, September 20, 2007

Crazy Daze of Summer!!

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


DoveFamily said...

So glad to read your latest post. Haley looks like she is really thriving. What a fun summer you guys have had! Sorry I haven't emailed or called in a while, but I plan to do so very soon. We definitely want to get together with you guys soon, at least before we leave for Ukraine!

Give Haley a big hug from Zack and me - see you soon!

Allison said...

What a blessing to read your story! A friend introduced my to your blog this summer. They adopted from Ukraine two years ago and went through Lifeline. My husband and I are back and forth on domestic vs. international. One wants one and one wants the other! We have taken a step back and are waiting for the Lord's direction. Haley is certainly at home! You can see it all over her face! :)You are a beautiful family! Thank you for making our hearts smile! 10,000 Blessings! Allison in Nashville

Kristin said...

This is amazing and I just pray for your lives to be continually blessed by Haley. Thank you for sharing. So much for us to catch up on.

Debbie said...

Lauri and Hunter, thank you for sharing your adoption journey with potential adoptive parents like me. What a blessing it is to be able to read your story and rejoice with you! I'm so glad to hear how well Haley is doing in your family. You give me hope that God will make it possible for my husband and me to adopt from Ukraine some day.

Big hugs from Colorado,

Passanita Family said...

Great to see all of your pictures and how well Haley is doing. She is starting to look a lot her mama! Look like you guys are having a wonderful time with her. We all have a lot to be thankful for this year!
Laura and Rob

The D'Antuono Family said...

Congratulations on your beautiful family!! I have enjoyed reading your blog! We are (a Georgia family) in the process of adopting a little girl from the Ukraine and your words have given me so much hope. Thank you. Blessings for a wonderful new year.

traMvaY said...

Find out about translator's/facilitator's vision of adoptions in Ukraine.

Start reading from the end. I've only started this blog, so comments and questions are more than welcome.

Melissa E. said...

'Stopped by through the dove family site.

Your post caught my attention because we had a "squirrel" too! Of the three boys we adopted, he is the most dramatically changed. Like night and day. The overly friendly and charming one in the orphanage has been the one who has taken the longest to learn to love and trust. And we have one who is just so even-keeled that he has gradually settled in (after a bumpy start) so that the changes go unnoticed until we look back and remember.

We can't imagine our family any other way!

Your little girl sounds like a real blessing!