We're praying you all had a safe and Happy Halloween!! Gabriella's first time trick-or-treating couldn't have been any better as she spent it with family and very special friends! Watch for pictures of the big night very soon!!
Gabriella has blessed our lives beyond measure. She is truly the daughter I have always dreamed of! She is funny. She smiles all the time! She is happy. She is thoughtful. She doesn't want to miss anything:) She snuggles and cuddles. She makes up the cutest songs to sing while we're riding in the car. She can turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary day simply with her smile:) She is a true princess and loves girly things, yet can hold her own while keeping her three big brothers in line. Just like grandma said earlier this week "she was specially ordered from heaven and she couldn't be anymore my daughter". I love you Gabriella Hao Grace and you have made all of my dreams come true:)
To say that Gabriella loved the beach puts it mildly...
Papa was very excited to show Gabriella the ocean!
She wasn't sure about the water touching her feet but in time she loved it!
Last year in Myrtle Beach we wrote her name in the sand...this year she is here and in the picture with her name in the sand:)
Building "sand cakes" with Grandma:)
The boys are teaching her that princess' live in castles so she is building sand castles...
Did we happen to mention how much Gabriella loves the sand? We need to reserve two chairs and an umbrella for our Myrtle Beach trip next summer:)
As the morning went on she became more secure playing in the ocean...
Auntie Jen and Gabriella cuddling on the porch:)
Did we happen to mention Gabriella enjoys shopping...and there was a Gymboree outlet? I think Grandma was as excited as Mommy when she went in!
After a full day of going to the beach and shopping Gabriella and her dollie were ready for bed:)
Mommy and her baby girl:)
Gabriella loved playing with Grandma and Papa:)
BFF's...and to think it all began with a jar of Ragu!
Gabriella's first girls trip could not have been more perfect! It was very special as she was able to meet Auntie Jen on this trip as well:) Our trip was fun and relaxing all at the same time! The only tears that were shed by all of us were when we said goodbye at the airport. Once Gabriella realized she had to tell Auntie Jen goodbye, she took her backpack off and gave a her a hug as big as her little arms could give as well as a juicy toddler kiss...it was a kleenex moment! We're looking forward to many more girls trips together and hope that Aly, Jennifer's daughter can join us on our next trip:)
You guessed! It's time for Gabriella to learn about our special girls trips to Florida:) I have taken these very special trips a few times now and have grown to love them. Being in school the last few years and with adopting Gabriella we haven't had one for a while so it makes it even more special:) Papa and Grandma have a condo down in Florida. I go down and take a girlfriend with me and the four of us have a wonderful time...we shop, lay in the sun, go to the beach, eat and repeat ~ it is wonderful!! I almost feel like I'm a little girl again and I love it!! Gabriella will be meeting my very dear friend Jennifer from CO. Jennifer and I used to live three houses apart from each other for several years and truly became the best of friends and we looking forward to spending plenty of girl time together catching up:) Grandma also mentioned there is a new Gymboree outlet...I can almost guarantee we will need to check it out during one of our shop, lay in the sun, go to the beach, eat and repeat days:) Gabriella asked if we will be on the "airplane long time like China". I reassured her it will be a much shorter flight than our plane ride from China:) We will share plenty of pictures when we return:)
Saturday evening is one that we will always remember as a very special night! Melissa, a dear friend of ours for many years and the manager of the best Christian radio station in the world, hosted her 12th annual adoption celebration in Ft Wayne. Melissa adopted her baby girl from Guatemala 12 years ago and has a huge heart for orphans and adoption; she was also an inspiration and encouragement to our family when she knew God had planted the seed for us to adopt a baby girl from China. When we lived in Ft Wayne I remember us helping with the adoption celebration and knowing deep in our heart, in Gods perfect timing it would be our turn to bring our daughter to this very special event. Not only did we bring Gabriella to the adoption celebration but Melissa asked our family to be her guest on stage and share our adoption story of Gabriella. Though we all shared a different aspect of how special Gabriella is to our family I believe Jordan stated it best when he said "its like she has always been a part of our family...she just finally came home this year".
Following the adoption celebration was A Night with the Chapman's which was wonderful!! It was very special as our friends from where we currently live, were able to come up and join us in Ft Wayne for the Chapman concert...the last time they went to see Steven Curtis Chapman is when they decided that they too had a daughter waiting for them in China:) Emme and Gabriella enjoyed their first concert together at the ripe ol' age of 3. They both had a great time yet fell fast asleep in their mama's arms as the evening began to come to a close. This was a very special night and one that we will always remember...thank you to everyone who was a part of it and most of all God for knowing exactly how to answer a family's prayer and deliver the perfect daughter and sister to our family...even though she was 8000 miles away.
I have concluded that the accumulation of wealth, even if I could achieve it, is an insufficient reason for living. When I reach the end of my days, a moment or two from now, I must look backward on something more meaningful than the pursuit of houses, land, stocks and bonds ~ nor is fame of any lasting benefit. I will consider my earthly existence to have been wasted unless I can recall a loving family, a consistent investment in the lives of people, and an earnest attempt to serve the God who made me. Nothing else makes much sense.