Sunday, December 26, 2010

Our First Christmas Card with Sophie

Merry Christmas!

Thank you to Uncle Aaron and Aunt Jackie at Aaron White Photography for doing such a great job!

Santa Came to School!

On December 15, Sophie had her Christmas party at school. Earlier in the month they painted the cutest t-shirts. They all wore them to the party.

Sophie sporting her Christmas shirt

When I went to get Sophie one day, I asked the teachers if Santa was coming to the party. When they told me that he was, I immediately began telling them of Sophie's terrible run in with Santa at a shopping center. They assured me that they would not push Sophie to sit in Santa's lap if she was afraid, but we were all hopeful that she would want to sit in Santa's lap after seeing all of her friends do it. Well, the day of the party arrived, and when I picked Sophie up that afternoon, I asked her if she saw Santa and if she sat in his lap. She told me that she did, but truthfully, I thought it was a likely story. Boy was I shocked to find the picture below in Sophie's bag of goodies from the party!

Our very first picture with Santa

Sophie's First Christmas Parade

Posted by Picasa
On December 9th, we went to Jackson to go to the city's Christmas parade with family. We missed the local one because Sophie and I went out of town. It was quite a chilly night, which really made it seem much more like Christmas than we are accustomed to. We sat in my uncle's truck, where it was nice and warm, while we waited on the parade to arrive. Sophie loved catching beads and candy and waiving at everyone as they passed by. Thank you to Aunt Bot and Uncle Mac for having us over for the parade and dinner! We had a great time!

Special Little Girls

(L-R: The Gallahues, Sophie, and the Whitneys)

When we first started the international adoption process, we were assigned to a travel group by our adoption agency, based on the date that our paperwork was logged-in in China. This meant that when the time came, we would all go to China together to get our babies. As it turns out, things did not go quite as we thought, and all of us traveled at different times, even years apart, for some of us. Early this month, Sophie and I traveled to Fairhope to the annual gift market that our original adoption agency has, and we were able to see two of the families that were in our travel group. It was great to finally see our children together, and I hope that we will all continue to stay in touch, although our daily lives are much, much busier now.

One of Sophie's Favorites

When Sophie wants to do something, EVERYONE participates!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

IAC and the Birmingham Zoo

Posted by Picasa

On the Monday before Thanksgiving, Sophie had a checkup appointment at the International Adoption Clinic in Birmingham, so we decided to spend the weekend before there to get some shopping done. On Sunday, the weather was beautiful, so we decided to take a trip to the zoo. We had such a good time. Sophie was a little afraid of the chickens running loose, but what child would not be afraid of that! Sophie also rode a carousel for the first time. Sunday night, we met our friends, Mike, Rhonda, and Hannah Grace, for dinner. We enjoyed spending time with them and watching our girls play together. They are both SO precious!
Sophie's appointment at the IAC went great! She's still on target with development and is currently having no problems. She is getting so big and gaining weight. We will go back again in 6 months. Wow! That means she's been home with us almost a year now! Where has the time gone?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Our Little Turkey!

Sophie had her first Thanksgiving party at school yesterday. When I got home from work, she was sporting her new turkey hat. It was so cute! The tailfeathers are made of cut-outs of her little hands. How precious!
I'm loving all of the artwork and projects that she comes home with from school, especially the one below.

How cute is this!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Our Day in Court

Sophie has been home with us 8 months, and she's already had to go to court! It was for a good reason, though. It was to finalize her adoption in our state. It was painless and took all of 15 minutes. Most of that was taking pictures! We are so happy that we were able to have our friend, Judge Greg Norris, preside over this very special court appearance. He and Terry had prayed very hard for us and Sophie during our adoption process, so it was so special for him to be a part of it now. Thanks, Greg! And, Sophie, this better be your first and last time to be in court, young lady! :)

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Happy Halloween!

This was Sophie's first Halloween. She dressed up like a ladybug, if you hadn't already figured it out. She had so much fun.

We started out trick-or-treating at Aunt Emily and Uncle JW's house...

and then we went to see Aunt Margaret

and Uncle Billy.

We then went see Aunt Judy and Uncle Larry, where Sophie had to choose which ring she wanted. Decisions, decisions......

Here Sophie is posing with Aunt Judy and Uncle Larry. From here, we made our way back to Peterman, where we attended our first hayride..after trick-or-treating a little more, of course.

Here is Aunt Bot getting ready to fill Sophie's pumpkin, while Nana waits her turn.

Sophie had a great time running all over the yard, as anywhere outside is her favorite place to be.

Here, Sophie is playing musical hay bales with Nana.

And a second turn with Aunt Bebe.

After a delicious dinner of soups and sandwiches, perfect for a crisp Fall evening, we went on the hayride. Sophie was a little apprehensive, since she had never ridden outside in the dark, but Baba held on to her tight and made sure she was good and warm. We had a great time celebrating our first Halloween as a family, and we are looking forward to many more.

Sophie's Baby Dedication

Sunday, October 24, was Sophie's baby dedication. Brother Terry Harden, who is an adoptive parent himself, officiated the service. It was such a special day for us; one that we had waited for for a very long time. Many, many Sundays I sat in church wondering what it would feel like to stand before the church to dedicate our daughter to the Lord. It was so much better than I ever imagined.

We are constantly in awe of the fact that God blessed us with such a special daughter.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 18, 2010

1-2-3 Imagine

Last Sunday, Bo and I took Sophie to see Sesame Street Live. She loves to watch Sesame Street every night before going to bed, and she knows most of the characters by name, but we weren't real sure about how she would like seeing them in real life or if she would even sit long enough to enjoy it. I think this picture speaks for itself...

This was right after seeing this...

Sophie loves Big Bird, and she kept saying, "Wow!". It was precious!

Bert and Abby Cadabby were there.

And so were Ernie, Elmo, and Telle.

We counted with the Count!

And went Surfin' USA with the whole gang!

Sophie was mesmerized.

And had a great time!

After a little intermission and a box of raisins,

We traveled to Elmo's World! Mr. Noodle was there, but we didn't get a picture of him.

Then we went to the jungle. It was really neat!

Shortly after, Oscar appeared from his garbage can. We wondered if he would be there.

And finally we went to Mardi Gras singing "When the Saints Go Marchin' In".

Bo and I were a little skeptical of whether the show would be worth the money, but we were wrong. It was a great show and getting to experience this with Sophie was priceless. I hope this will be a memory we all hang on to for a very long time!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

I'm Donna Det You!

Sophie's new thing these days is to play peek-a-boo with herself in the mirror. It's really funny to watch, and I was able to catch her doing it on video. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Home 6 months!

Tomorrow we will have been home 6 months! Time has flown by so quickly, but we are enjoying every minute along the way. I was looking back the other day at the first picture we ever saw of Sophie. I don't think I have ever shared it with you all. I will give you all a little background on the events that led up to our receiving the picture....

As most of you know, we started the China adoption process over 4 years ago. At the time, the wait was around 18 months. As we filled out the mounds of paperwork and did all the things necessary to get our dossier to China, the wait began to extend, and China began changing the rules to curb the number of applications they were receiving to adopt their children. Thankfully, we were already logged into China's adoption system, so the changes didn't really affect us directly, as in make us no longer eligible to adopt, but it did increase the time we had to wait until we received our referral of a child and then travel to China to complete the adoption. All of the paperwork, homestudies, and fingerprinting that are required to adopt from China have expiration dates, so as we were waiting, we were having to renew paperwork, be refingerprinted (in case we committed a crime since we were last fingerprinted), have our backgrounds checked, and update our homestudy. The wait was painful, but at least we had these things to keep us busy and remind us of why were waiting.

Last August or September, a friend of our's who had already adopted from China, emailed me to tell me that China had changed its policy and would now allow anyone waiting for a referral to look on another adoption agency's private list for their child. These children were all special needs children, which was great because we had already decided that we were ready to take the special needs route of China adoption. Most of the children have correctable special needs, and if we had had any biological children ourselves, there was no guarantee that our biological children would be born without some form of health issue. After hearing this news, I began joining various Yahoo groups that adoption agencies from around the US started as a means of notifying those interested that they had a new group of pictures of children from China and as a way for adoptive families to "meet" each other and share experiences and to root each other on through this process.

There was one particular group that I joined that had so many people talking about how great the agency was and how helpful their China coordinator was with matching families with their children. Every day or so, someone new would join the group and ask what others thought about the adoption agency and if they were easy to work with, etc. There was always a flood of posts raving about Xiaoqing, the China coordinator, and how great she was and how she would stay up all night long to talk to the people at the CCAA in China about the children, etc. I kind of stuck that in the back of my mind, and continued to look around at various agency lists, never dreaming that we would find Sophie so soon after.

On Monday, September 21, I checked my email and found a post to the Yahoo group from Xiaoqing about a new list of children that had been received. I looked at the list, there were no pictures ~ only a description of each child, and I saw some information on a little girl, Jan, born in August of 2008. I thought, "Wow, she is really young!". We had asked for a child as young as possible, so I thought, "I'm gonna check this one out." I emailed Xiaoqing and asked what I needed to do to see the pictures of Jan, and she immediately emailed me back with a form that needed to be filled out. I quickly filled it out and sent it back to her. In a little while she emailed me back with the following picture attached. I was blown away! I was looking into the sweetest little face. The face that would soon be our daughter.

We love you so much, Sophie! You were definitely worth the wait!

Our first picture of Sophie

Gotcha Day!

First day home

Home 3 months

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

And the Winner Is......

Sophie!!!! Yes, Sophie won the Laura Cantrell Casting Call for 2010! Sophie wins a free 16x20 and a free sitting, and her portrait will be used for advertising for Laura Cantrell's studio until the next casting call. Thanks so much to those of you who voted. We really appreciate it!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

50th Percentile!

Sophie went for her 2 year old checkup last week. She weighed in at 25 lbs and is 33 1/2 inches tall. Yea! We finally made it to the 50th percentile on the height and weight chart! That's no easy feat for a Chinese child. They normally stay way behind American children and hardly ever catch up. We knew she was growing because her clothes were fitting much different than they had been. I was beginning to wonder if we would ever out grow anything. Well, I'm proud to report that we are. (I may live to regret those words!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Please Vote For Sophie!

Sophie is a finalist for Laura Cantrell Photography's Casting Call 2010!
Please go vote for her!  You have until noon on Friday, September 24, 2010!
*Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on 
    view your personal images here
* A new window will appear , type in the event ID to enter gallery:
* Fill out your personal information.
Your vote will not count without your name and email address.
*Click Enter Gallery.
*Sophie is on page 2 or 3.  The image name starts with Rigby, so you can enter Rigby in the search box and find her that way, if you like.  Click on add to favorites.  You have to choose 3 favorites for your vote to count.
*When you have selected a total of 3 images click on HOME at the top of the page.
Click on Favorites and then click Submit Favorites.
*You will then see a notice that says your favorites have been submitted to the photographer.
* IMPORTANT!One vote per email address ONLY! You must vote for 3 different images for your VOTE TO COUNT!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Home 5 Months

Wow, it is so hard to believe that we have been home with Sophie for 5 months now. The time has just flown by. She has changed so much so quickly. She is no longer the shy and tiny little girl we first met in China. She has filled out and gotten so much taller. She is a great eater, and thankfully, we have had no problems with dairy, like some Asian children do.

Her vocabulary has grown tremendously lately. This morning we were sitting at a traffic light on our way to daycare. A school bus went by, and she pointed and said "bus", just as clear as day. She will say things sometimes and Bo and I just look at each and ask, "Did she just say that?". I think being in daycare with wonderful teachers and around other kids has made all of the difference in the world.

Sophie's newest thing is trying to dress herself. She loves to put shorts on, no matter if they belong to her or not. Here you notice that she has both legs in one side of her shorts. LOL!

She is learning to put her shoes on by herself and will sit and work for the longest time trying to put them on and buckle them. Of course we have quite a ways to go on the buckling.

She loves wearing my shoes, too!

Working hard

So proud!

She has been such a blessing to us and our entire extended family in these 5 short months. We are really looking forward to celebrating all of the upcoming holidays with her, and seeing things through her eyes. I'm sure these will be holidays that we will never forget.