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| 2016 | March

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Xiao Mei is officially Chaela Marie Odell- all of our required appointments are done and she has given her consent to be adopted for the last time today! Many have asked how her name is pronounced: it is Shay-la, which sounds somewhat close to her Chinese name, pronounced She-ow May, which is why we chose it. We’ve been using her new name interchangeably, but she seems to understand that this.... READ MORE

I am so encouraged by the bonding progress I have seen in the past 48 hours! Chaela is beginning to come out of her shell and we have actually felt like there have been a couple of times we’ve debated correcting her or “reining her in”. Caitlin, my calmest, easiest child said last night when asked how she felt about her new sister, “I love her so much!!! She’s a.... READ MORE

Friday we spent the day packing the suitcases back up and traveling to Guangzhou, about a 2 hour flight from Kunming. It was Chaela’s first flight and I was concerned how she would do with it. Both Claire and Caitlin cry if they don’t get to sit next to her, so she sat in the middle of a three-row seat with her sisters, and Joey and I sat across the.... READ MORE

Today was not very “Kai Shing” (happy). Night before last we were literally skipping together down the street to the performance, smiling and giggling, and today felt like we went right back to where we started. Most of today was spent in a difficult dance of me taking a risk to reach out to Xiao Mei, and her rejecting me. When I would hold her hand to cross the street,.... READ MORE

I am excited to share good news today and some progress! It didn’t start out great, but as the day went on things took a new direction. Since we weren’t going to the orphanage today at Chaela’s request, we needed to find something to do with our free day here. In my pre-trip planning I had on the itinerary to go to see the Stone Forest, the most popular attraction.... READ MORE

Right now I feel like I am in the middle of reading a really sad novel and all I want to do is turn to the last page to see how it ends. I want to see what I hope is the redemption and the happy ending, but in order to get there I have to first trudge through the murky waters and swamps of sadness. I wish I could.... READ MORE

  Today was one of the most emotionally taxing days of my life. I am holding on to the words of a fellow adoptive friend who encouraged and reminded me tonight that today is not the big picture. I am going to start out with the lighthearted because I do that better, and I am still trying to process it all. Having a Gotcha Day that starts at 3PM makes.... READ MORE

We’ve arrived in Kunming, but it feels more like we’ve stepped into an episode of the Twilight Zone. This place is more “China” to me than anywhere we’ve ever been yet (comparatively on a scale with Beijing). If it weren’t for the two other adoptive families here with us, we would be the only white, English speaking people here (so yes, we actually do draw quite a bit of attention.... READ MORE

We had a great time touring parts of Hong Kong yesterday that we had never seen before. In typical jet-lag fashion, we were up before dawn each morning and ready to go even before the breakfast openedĀ at 6:30. We mis-read the bus schedule (a regular thing that happens often on these trips!) and missed the free shuttle from the hotel that would have taken us to the subway station, so.... READ MORE

The Lord has so intricately woven the details of Chaela’s life story together with ours and we stand in awe of how He’s gone before us in this adoption. To give you some background, we did not initially set out to adopt Chaela when we got home with Carrigan. We knew we wanted to go back to adopt again after what we saw at Carrigan’s orphanage, but our hearts were.... READ MORE