So much has happened since I last blogged. I will do my best to fill in the biggest events that I have missed recording.
Caylie is now a junior in college, and has transferred to UCA. She has been dating Tim for 4 years now, and he is also a junior at UCA. Carson is in 2nd grade, Christian is a junior in high school, and we are now in the process of adopting a new little blessing.
We welcomed Cati Beth into our home when she was 10 months old. After a long battle with her health, my precious sister, Jeanna (Cati Beth's birth mother), had just passed away.
Jeanna loved her beautiful daughter with all of her heart, and could see how very much our family loved her too.
As a single mom, Jeanna was aware that her health would always be a challenge, and had asked if we would raise Cati Beth if something were ever to happen to her. We were touched, honored...and couldn't have imagined having any other arrangement.
The picture below is a treasure. It was taken on Easter, just weeks before Jeanna passed away. A large group of family and friends had all attended church together in Conway, and then eaten lunch at a restaurant. Following lunch, we spent some time just relaxing and visiting at a park. I believe that this is the only picture of my mother, my sister, myself, and our children.
When Jeanna gave birth, she named her newborn baby Josie Beth. After Jeanna passed away, we carefully considered if/how we should change Josie's name. Each member of our family has a name that begins with C, and we wanted wanted Josie to always feel fully included in our family. In the end, we decided that we should change her name.
Below is how my father recorded the process that we went through. He sent this note out as an e-mail to family and friends to announce/explain the change...
A New Name
The happiest days in Jeanna Beth's life came with the birth of her beautiful daughter, Josie Beth, into our family. Jeanna would have only ten months to love, nurture and adore this miraculous, breath taking bundle of joy, but what a wondrous gift she has bequeathed to her family. Above all, Jeanna wanted baby Josie to be raised in a loving, safe and godly home, and had asked Christi and Corey to raise the child in the event of her death. Christi, Corey, Caylie, Christian and Carson have welcomed Josie Beth into their family, and into their home, and she will be blessed with all of the hopes, dreams, possibilities and love Jeanna had stored up for her.
God's beloved children are often blessed with new names, and to mark this occasion forever Josie will be given a new name, a name honoring Jeanna's legacy, and identifying Josie with her new family. Catherine Josie-Beth Gillum, to be known as Cati Beth, will be the child's adopted name. There will be joy in heaven as my mother, Janie Katherine, my little sister, Frances Katherine, and my grandmother Catherine Smith (Mama) celebrate their namesake in this tiny baby girl. And, I just imagine Mama, in her inimitable style, will smile mischievously as she reminds us all, my name is Catherine with a "C." And, so it shall be henceforth!
Christi and Corey have been granted permanent guardianship by the court, and will become Cati Beth's adoptive parents at the end of Arkansas' six months waiting period.
Peace, Love and Joy
We are a little bit more than 3 months into the process at this point. In November, we look forward to being able to start the adoption process.