First Day of School!!!!!

Well..... it finally happened. Summer is officially over and School is officially back in session! My little Zoee is now a 2nd grader. I cannot believe how time has flown by. It seems like JUST yesterday I had a little Kindergartner.

August 20, 2009
First Day of Kindergarten

August 19, 2010
First Day of 1st grade

August 24, 2011
First Day of 2nd Grade

Zoee.... you are such a smart, beautiful, artistic and talented young lady, and Daddy and I couldn't be more proud of you!!! We love you so much and wish you a fabulous year in 2nd grade!!!


Top 5 Most Frequently Asked Questions!!!!

We have truly been overwhelmed by the joyous responses we have recieved since we announced our big news! It is SO exciting to finally be able to tell everyone about our "LuLu" and to have that beautiful little face to show them:) Along with those congratulatory hugs comes plenty of questions and so I thought I would devote this blog post to answer some of those questions!
  1. By FAR, the most popular question is "When will you get her?" And, unfortunatley, I really do not know. This is our first adoption and while I am trying to learn everything that I can, the one thing I have figured out is that the timeline to adoption varies greatly. There are charts and timelines out there that one could obsess over, which I am trying desperately NOT to do. The one thing I do know is that God will bring her home to us at exactly the perfect time! But..... based on those timelines that I try really hard not to look at, I am thinking we are looking at least the end of April to early May.

  2. Another hot topic is "What made you decide to adopt"? Many families adopt for many different reasons, but for us, there really is only one answer. God placed it on our hearts. Plain and simple. I have close friends that have adopted, and I have always thought that it was such a selfless and wonderful thing to do, but honestly, I never believed it was a journey that my family would take. God placed this adoption on my heart months ago, and from the very first minute, He has shown this family that this was truly His plan for us. Over the next few posts, I will share some of Tulah's story and how God showed us that she would be a part of our family...forever.

  3. Ahhh.... most popular question number 3.... "You're naming her what"? Ok, this one is simple! Her name will be Tulah Liu Rhea Hatley. Yes, it is a long name. Yes, it is a different name. And yes, I love it! Her Chinese given name is Liu Ya Run. In China, the last name, or sur name, is first. Her last name is Liu, which is given to every child in her orphange because this represents where she is from, Liuzhou City. Every girl in her orphange is given the first name Ya. And, according to her records, the name Run was assigned to her with no special meaning. So, you better bet that her new forever name was going to be pretty special!!! Both Zoee and Grayden have family names, and so I was determined that she would have a family name as well. Tulah was the name of my great-great grandmother. We will keep the name Liu for her to represent part of her Chinese heritage. And, Rhea is Michael's mother's middle name. So, there you go! A very special, unique and family name for our girl! ( I have to give props to my mom and my sister for helping me find this special name for her) And, as far as a nickname, we have been affectionately calling her our little "LuLu".

  4. Many people also want to know "What do your kids think"? Well, for the most part, they are really excited! Zoee is thrilled to be gaining a sister, although she did say she really wanted a "China twin sister" that would be her same age! But after a few minutes, that quickly changed and she can't wait until her little sister is here. She has been really great about the whole experience. Before she knew anything about the adoption, she had been talking for months about getting a "big girl" room. She wanted to paint, get a new comforter, things like that. So, when this news came, we offered to make her a new room upstairs. But, suprisingly, she wants nothing to do with that! She wants to share her room, just like it is now, with her new little sister. She is very excited to have a roomate!! Grayden, isn't quite as joyous about a new sister. He REALLY wanted a brother. But, he says "it will be really cool to be a big brother. I'll get to look out for her". SO SWEET!!!!!

  5. And last but not least, "Does she have special needs"? Why, yes she does. Our little LuLu has club feet and hip dysplasia. This will mean some surgeries for her in the future. I can tell you that this did cause some anxiety for us, as any medical issue would, but God has given us a peace about this child, and we are confident that she will get to be just as active as any other child.
So, there you have it! Answers to your most frequently asked questions! Please keep our sweet girl in your prayers. We already love her as much as if she had been here from the day she was born. It just breaks my heart that she doesn't know that yet. Pray that God would be preparing her heart, even though months away, for her forever family. And before I sign off, here is another picture of our girl. Isn't she just perfect?!?



The Hatley family would like to introduce you all to the (soon-to-be) newest member of our family.....

And we can't wait to tell you all about it! We would love for you to follow along on our journey to our new daughter!


Field Trip!!!

As I write this, my summer vacation is rapidly coming to a close and, I have to admit, that my heart is heavy with that thought. Oh how I have loved every single minute of sleeping late, sitting on my back porch in the morning before the kids get up, spending time at the beach, lying by the pool, and my most favorite summer activity of all....... sitting in the driveway late at night listening to the crickets and talking with my BFF! Yes, it's true, come Monday morning I am back to work.

With that in mind, I realized that my friend and I have promised our kids a field trip all summer long and that if we were going to keep our promise, that field trip was gonna have to be this week! So, with the 100* temps, we searched for an indoor field trip and settled on Discovery Place, a museum not too far from where we live. All the kids loved it and had a ball! (Sorry for the poor quality pics... I forgot my camera and had to use my phone)

We checked out a rain forest.....

Hung out with a few bears....

Practiced being really scientific....

Saw what it was like to "see" like a dragonfly....

Walked through a pretty cool aquarium....

Took a ride on an air chair.....

And even laid on a bed of nails!!

Yes, a great time was had by all on the field trip!