Sunday, November 30, 2008
Clare having fun with pom poms. Our latest news is that Clare begins school tomorrow. On the recommendation of Bill and Sue Bowlby and Steve and Michele Popielec, Clare will attend Abundant Life School here in Oklahoma City. It is a small "home school" style learning environment which we feel will be a good transition for her before she begins attending Rosary School (in connection with St. Francis of Assisi). We have seen remarkable improvement in her English skills in just this first week home from China. She has learned quite a few words, and it appears that she understands considerably more than she can speak. We continue to be amazed at her apparent "artistic" and creative skills. We contemplated waiting until the spring semester before we attempted any schooling, but our December is so hectic with Brycie's law school finals that we decided to go ahead and get her in school now.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Monday, November 24, 2008
On November 12 we had the opportunity to visit Clare's orphanage at Shantou. These photos were taken by one of the Shantou staff members. The top photo shows Jim near tears as the young girl clings to him. She is one of Clare's best friends at the orphanage. By the end of the year she will "age out" and be unadoptable. For all of you who have followed our blog we urge you to contact anyone you know who might be ready to adopt an older child; a family that is "paper ready." Hopefully there will be a family willing to act quickly. Please pass the word. This young lady desperately wants a home. If you are not in a position to adopt this young lady, please pray fervently for her; that she can find a family before it is too late. Thank you.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
This weekend was a weekend of "firsts." We were astonished when we got Clare a coke in a cup with ice. She had never seen or tasted "ice." She had her first taco from Taco Bell and her first milkshake from Braums. She wore her first dress to Mass this morning with her first tights. This was her first Mass. She loved her first french fry and was crazy about her first taste of ketchup. Looks like we've kinda been eating out this weekend. No food in the fridge after two weeks away. And, today after we got home from Mass, we walked by Clare's bedroom and saw that she had made her bed. Now that has probably got to be some kind of "first."
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Sometimes angels cross our paths and touch us with God's love. Here are two photos of angels who have blessed us with their friendship and love. The bottom photo is Angelo Ventresca and his daughter, Daniela. They are wonderful neighbors and friends. We feel honored that Angelo, his wonderful wife, Sandra, and their darling daughter, Daniela, are our friends. The top photo is (from right to left) Theresa Hurt, a powerful prayer warrior and gentle woman; next is Lauren McClain, an amazingly kind and compassionate lady; next is Bill Bowlby, truly a gracious gentleman, wise and strong; next is a sweet young lady, Claire Bowlby, Bill and Sue's daughter from China. Bill and Sue gave us so much information on the adoption process for which we will be eternally grateful. Next is little T.J. Eldridge, such a cute ball-of-fire. His smile will brighten the lives of all who are near. On the left is dear, dear Amy Eldridge (Love Without Boundaries). Her love for Chinese orphans is so genuine and so deep. We are so blessed to call her our friend. Her angelic presence has brought health and healing to so many little children; it has brought precious Chinese children forever families. The wonderful woman who took this photo is Sue Bowlby. She and Bill have blessed our lives. We have felt the strength and presence of God during our adoption process through the angels He sent to protect and guide us. There are many other angels who have touched our lives. These are just a few. Thank you all.
Here are some fun shots of T.J. Eldridge, Claire Bowlby, and our Clare. These faces are too sweet not to share. These wonderful shots were taken by Sue Bowlby, one of our dear friends from Church, and mother to Claire (who is also from China). Thanks, Sue.
Here are some more Homecoming photos taken by Amy Eldridge. The bottom photo is of Amy's son, T.J., Claire Bowlby and her mother, Sue; the middle picture is of our Clare, Claire Bowlby, and T.J. Eldridge; and, the top picture is just too cute for words of Clare, Claire and T.J. Thank you, Aunt Amy.
Here are some pictures of our homecoming Friday evening. Our thanks to Lauren McClain for taking these memorable photographs. We are glad to be home with our little Clare. After 10 hours of sleep, we are recovering. Keep checking for more fun things. The second photo is of Clare, Brycie, and our good friend, Bill Bowlby (father of Claire). The bottom photo is of Claire Bowlby (daughter of Sue and Bill Bowlby), and T.J. Eldridge (son of Amy Eldridge).
Friday, November 21, 2008
We are home! When we arrived at the airport, there was a greeting party waiting. Our homecoming was made incredibly special by our dear friends Amy Eldridge (Love Without Boundaries) and her son, T.J. (who also came from Shantou orphanage); Bill, Sue and Claire Bowlby, Theresa Hurt, and Lauren McClain from our Church, St. Francis of Assisi; and our dear friends (who happen to be our neighbors), Angelo, Sandra and Daniela Ventresca, who brought two cars to help us get all of our stuff home. We will post pictures of our airport homecoming, but we weren't the ones taking the pictures, so we will have to get them e-mailed to us so that we can share. God Bless you all for your love and compassion.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
To all our family, friends and well-wishers, we thank you for your love and support during our journey to Clare Isabella JiaQi Loepp. We leave Guangzhou Friday morning at 8:30, with a plane change in Tokyo, then on to Detroit, then home to Oklahoma City, arriving Friday evening at around 5:00 p.m. We gain back the 14 hours we lost when we came, so our Friday will be about 38 hours long. Please pray for us as we fly, pray for our family as Clare leaves her homeland. Our next post will be on Saturday from Oklahoma City. Keep tuning in for updates. God bless.