Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas '09 - Our Last without Sophie

Our Christmas celebration came in 4 parts this year! It began at Tim and Michele's on Monday, where they hosted me, Bo, Michael, Jessica, and Merrill for dinner. We had a delicious dinner and enjoyed opening gifts with the kids and grandkids. Nicholas, Anna Kay, and Merrill had a great time, as did we watching them.

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On Christmas Eve, we celebrated Christmas with my Dad's side of the family. We had a late lunch of soups, sandwiches, and baked potatoes along with a smorgasboard of desserts. After eating and visiting for a while, we all went to church for the candlelight Christmas Eve service. This is always such a special service and having the opportunity to take part in the Lord's Supper on the night before Jesus's birthday makes it even more special.

On Christmas Day, we began with Christmas with my parents, sisters, brother-in-law and nieces. We opened our gifts, had breakfast, and had a leisurely morning. We then went to my grandmother's house and had lunch and spent time with my Mother's side of the family. We all ate lunch and just enjoyed being together. That evening we went back to my parents' house for dinner and watched my nieces open their gifts.

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On Sunday after Christmas, we travelled to Lee and Regina's to have Christmas with the two of them, Tyler, Brianne, Wyatt, and Bailey. We all (minus the twins) went out to lunch together and then went back to their house to open presents. On our way back home, we had to make a stop to see Wyatt and Bailey, who are back together in one place, thank the Lord! We were able to spend some time with both of them. They are both growing so much and have changed dramatically since the first time we saw them. They are truly miracles!

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As I said in the title of this post, this is the last Christmas we will celebrate without Sophie. It's been a long journey through this adoption process, but we knew God had His hand in it. It was difficult at times, and still is, but we know we will have Sophie in our arms very soon. It will all be worth it in the end.

We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and wish you a Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Sophie's First Baby Shower

On Sunday, December 20, 2009, a very good friend of mine, Johnnye Peacock, hosted a baby shower for Sophie. Johnnye is one of the most talented and creative people I know, and she really outdid herself for the shower. Johnnye's home was beautifully decorated for Christmas, with her collection of Christmas villages displayed throughout her home and three beautifully decorated Christmas trees in various rooms of her home. The invitations were just precious, and the food was delicious. Johnnye had beautiful poinsettia cupcakes in a cupcake tree, the cutest Sophie cookies I have ever laid eyes on, fruit and cake with chocolate fondue, spinach dip, nuts, apple cider, coffee, and water. We had a great crowd to attend the shower, and it was fun visiting with everyone and opening up all of the great gifts! Thanks, Johnnye, for all you have done for us and for being such a great friend!

Enjoy the slide show below!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Care Package Is On Its Way!

For the past month or so, we've been gathering things to put in a care package to send to Sophie. Yesterday it began its journey to China. In the package was a Build-A-Bear panda that plays a recording of our voices, a security blanket, a photo album with our pictures in it, an Alabama onesie for her and one for her foster brother, an Alabama elephant for her foster brother, a disposable camera that we hope her foster family will use to take pictures of Sophie while we wait, Priester's honey-glazed pecans for the foster parents, a letter for the foster parents, and a map of the US that indicates where Sophie will be living when she comes to America in a couple of months. We hope it makes it there quickly so that she can see pictures of us and hear our voices enough that we will seem a little familiar to her on Gotcha Day. We have sleeping with the security blanket for a few weeks and hope that our scent will be familiar to her as well. As a friend told me one day, "Every day that passes is another day closer to Sophie". I hold on to that and remind myself of it daily. The time is certainly going by quickly, and before you know it, we will be boarding a plane to China!

Sophie's goodies

Foster Brother's goodies

Foster Parents' Goodies

Monday, November 16, 2009


I emailed our agency rep today to see if she was still thinking we would travel in January or February, since it is already mid-November and we haven't received our Letter of Acceptance(LOA) yet. I thought that our LOA would come quickly since we were logged in back in 2006, and our file had already made it through the review room. She emailed me back and told me that since we changed agencies, things were a tad more complicated than that. It seems that when you switch agencies, someone has to find your file thas was with your original agency's pile and move it to your new agency's pile, and then your file has to go back through the review room again. Well, our file has been located and transferred to the new agency's pile, and it made it to the review room today. Our agency is hoping that we will receive our LOA in December and travel at the end of January. So.....we wait a little while longer, but we know what the prize will be in the end. It will be worth it! But it truly is harder to wait once you see your baby's face, and you know she is half-way around the world waiting for you to come and get her. On the bright side, there is a very good possibility that we will be celebrating Bo's birthday in China! This will definitely be a memorable birthday for him!!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

We Have Sophie's Finding Ad!

When children are found abandoned in China, the police are contacted in order to help find the birthparents. As part of that process, finding ads are placed in the local newspapers that include pictures of the children, a description of the place where they were found, and the date on which they were found. This finding ad is usually the earliest information that adoptive parents can find about their child(ren). Brian Stuy, with Research-China.Org, provides a service to adoptive parents where you send him your child's name, birthdate, finding date, and finding place, and he finds your child's finding ad in the local newspaper and sends it to you. Today, we received Sophie's finding ad. We are so pleased to have this information to share with Sophie one day, and we are thrilled to have a picture of her at such a young age. This will be so important to Sophie in helping her to understand her past and the things she experienced as a baby.

She is the one on the left, #1306

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Have You Ever Seen a Sweeter Smile?

This weekend, we received a new picture of Sophie. It looks like it's a couple of months old, but we are so thrilled to have more pictures of her, since we have missed so much of her first 14 months of life already. I hear that when we go to China we will receive a cd with pictures of her from the time she was a newborn until we get her. That will be priceless. So many people never get these pictures. We are blessed that she is in foster care sponsored by Love Without Boundaries because they understand how much it means to families to have these pictures and make sure that pictures of the children are taken while in their care.
Many people have asked what happens next. The next step is receiving our Letter of Acceptance, or LOA, from China. This tells us that she is ours. We then have to sign the LOA and send it back to China. Then we wait for travel approval, or TA. When we receive our TA, our agency can then make our appointments with the US Consulate, which will determine when we travel.
I have asked around about how long it has been taking to receive LOA. I have heard that some people received theirs within 11 days, while others have taken up to 75 days. We've been waiting for 12 days, so we can only hope and pray that we are on the lower end of that spectrum.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

There Is Someone We Would Like for You to Meet....

After what seems like an eternity, we would like to
introduce you to our daughter, Mary Sophia Rigby.

Sophie is 13 months old and in foster care in Shantou City, Guangdong Province, China. Her birthday is August 23, 2008. Her chinese name is Li Ji Xing (pronounced Lee Jee Shing). They tell us that Li comes from book of family names. Ji means auspicious and happy. Xing means happiness. They hope that she would be auspicious and happy, grow happily and have a happy and perfect life. When she was in the orphanage, the caretakers called her Xingxing (pronounce Shing Shing).

Following is what they tell us about Sophie:
Li Ji Xing is physically strong and healthy and she seldom gets sick. She is lively and outgoing personalities. She always smiles when she meets with other people and she is a lovely child. She can now pull herself up to a standing position. She can crawl quickly. She is very lively. She loves to play with her foster brother. She touches his body with small toys or grabs his clothes and babble to him loudly. She loves colorful toys. She especially like to shake the bells. She giggles when she hears the sound of the bell. Li Ji Xing is very attached to her foster mother. Whenever she sees her foster mother, she reaches out her hands, wanting to be held. If she sees the foster mother is holding the foster brother, she will yell because she is jealous. Li Ji Xing loves outdoor activities. Every afternoon after nap she demands to go outside to play. "

Sounds like she has quite the personality, huh? We are so looking forward to bringing her home and hope to travel in January or February. Thank you to all of you who have prayed for us and with us during these last 3 years. Our prayers have truly been answered.

Please continue to pray for us and for Sophie, that she will attach and bond quickly and that we will be in tune to her needs and provide the security and trust that she needs.

The next step in this process now is for us to receive our Letter of Acceptance (LOA). I hope it comes as quickly as our preapproval did!

Saturday, October 03, 2009

First Annual Rigby Family Vacation

Sounds like the Griswold family vacation, doesn't it? LOL!

On September 18, we made a weekend trip to Destin with two of Bo's sons, Tim and Lee, and their families. We stayed in a great condo at Baytowne Wharf, where they have their own little town. I mean you can literally park your car and never get in it again until you are ready to leave. They have restaurants, great shopping, a general store, shuttle service to the beach, and great activities for the kids. I would, however, recommend staying longer than a weekend. Because checkout is at 10am, you really only have one day to do anything.

The weather for the weekend was quite rainy, but we did manage to make it to the pool for a swim. We were the only ones in the pool, so it was great! We had a really good time and hope to make it an annual family trip, with Michael, Jessica, and Merrill included, of course!

Enjoy a few pics from the weekend!

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Roll Tide!

Yesterday, we went to Tuscaloosa for the Alabama vs. Florida International game. Lee, Tyler, Tim, and Nicholas met us there. It was Tyler and Nicholas's first college game ever, and they had a blast! I think we has just as much fun watching them. Alabama won big - 40-14, so it was an all around good weekend.
Roll Tide!
(click on the collage to make it bigger)
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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Miss B is 3!

Our granddaughter, Brianne, turned 3 on July 6. This weekend, she had a Hello Kitty birthday party at the YMCA. Everyone swam and had a great time!
Thanks for inviting us to the party, Brianne. Bebe and Granddaddy love you very much!

Enjoy the collage of all of our little "fish" swimming. Merrill, we hope you will be able to make it next time!

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Baby Pepe Le Pews

This picture is not very clear, but I got as close as I could considering the situation. My cousin, Jimmy, who lives across the street called us to come over and see the baby skunks. Believe it or not, I had never seen a skunk outside of a zoo, no less two baby skunks. They were really cute, but we kept our distance lest we get a whif of their "perfume". LOL

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Wagon Train's A Comin'

For about 3 years now, the wagon train has been coming to town. This is the second year we have been able to see them, and the first to get to take pictures. Last year, there were about 3 wagons and just a few people. This year....well, it has grown to about 6 or 7 wagons with about 30 men and boys. The ride takes them about 97 miles, and they try to make 20 miles a day. Every year, they camp in the pecan orchard at my grandmother's house. Mr. Joel Cobb(in the above picture - on left in first wagon), from Pine Apple, started this ride, and you can tell he loves doing it. Enjoy a few pictures of the wagon train.

A new fangled wagon

Pulling up the rear

Almost there

Unhooking the horses for the day

Setting up camp

Worn out from a long, hot day on the trail

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Kindergarten Graduation and Trips to the Beach

Tyler is moving on up to Big School!

On Thursday, May 14, 2009, our grandson, Tyler graduated from Kindergarten. The program was great. The graduates sang many Christian songs they learned in school and played the bells. We were very impressed with how much Tyler has learned and were touched by the level of love and concern that the teachers and administrators expressed for the kids.

Brianne "enjoying" the kids playing the bells

Tyler receiving his diploma

Bebe and Granddaddy with Tyler and Brianne

After graduation, we all headed to the beach. When I say "we all", I mean WE ALL headed to the beach. For the first time, we were able to get all of the kids and grandkids together at the beach at one time! We had so much fun!

We started out by doing a Country Boil Down, which is potatoes, corn, Conecuh sausage, and shrimp all cooked together in a big pot with crab boil. It is delicious and seems to have become a tradition of sorts for us. After dinner, the kids got in the boat, which was in the yard, by the way, and played until 10:00pm. They had so much fun. They laughed and squealed for hours. Nicholas was the official driver of the boat, while Tyler was the pumper of the gas when they needed a refill and the one to do the count down as they blasted off to their next imaginary destination. Even some of us "kids at heart" got in the boat for a couple of the trips. Oh to be young again.......

Merrill wondering why she can't play in the boat

Pilot, Nicholas, and co-pilot, Tyler

Hey, Tyler, it's time for a refill!

Hang on, Brianne. Here we go!

I'm going to sit here and be the backseat driver.

On Saturday, we headed out on the boat, in the water this time, to the island to do some hermit crab hunting. Brianne and Tyler are now pro's at this. They found LOTS of hermit crabs. So many they kept escaping from the buckets! Last year Tyler wouldn't touch the hermit crab. This year it was not a problem. The weather was great, and the water was crystal clear. Thank goodness there were no jellyfish. Last year we couldn't even get in the water there were so many jellyfish. We took a picnic lunch with us, and the ice cream boat (Yes, I said ice cream boat) came by just in time for dessert. What a way to finish out a day on the water.

The hermit crab hunters

Only part of the hermit crabs that were captured

Found another one!

Is there a sand crab in here?

Playing in the sand

Come on in. The water is fine!

Lunch time!

Say cheese!

Saturday night, Michael, Jessica, and Merrill came back to the beach to eat dinner with us. We grilled hamburgers and hung out and played with the kids again. What a way to spend a weekend. With family.... at the beach.......

Merrill and Pawpaw hanging out

Next year I'm going to be driving that boat!