Monday, July 7, 2014

Vacation Day 7 (Saturday)

On our last day of vacation, we packed up the car and left by 8am to head to Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia.  We have been wanting to take Kate there for a long time, but hadn't made it yet because of various reasons.  We picked this day to meet up with Kate's birth family and we thought the zoo would be a great place to go.  It ended up being a perfect place to meet, and we all had fun visiting with Lori and Bobby, and their extended families!

We got to the zoo a little after 10, and the very first thing that Kate wanted to do was.... ride the carousel!  I think if she'd had her way, she would have ridden the carousel for 3 hours. We let her ride twice, and then told her we had to move on to something else.

After the carousel, we started making our way around the zoo to actually see the animals. 

Kate was our little tour guide the whole time.  She got a copy of one of the maps, and led us around the zoo the entire time.  I think she spent the majority of her time that day looking at the map, pointing in some random direction, and saying "This way! Come on guys!".  See the map in her hand in the picture below?  She never put it down.

The giraffes were probably my favorite.  They had an area where the animals could come right up to you, and you could feed them if you wanted.  Kate was content to just look at first. 

But then she worked up enough courage to feed them!

The zoo area itself was pretty big, so even though we thought we would be able to see everything in about 2 hours, it really took a little more than 3 hours.  There was SO MUCH to see. 


This is Kate with two of her aunts - Lori's sisters!  She loves hanging out with the "big girls". 

And even though I loved the giraffes, this was my other favorite exhibit- the TIGER, of course!

After the zoo, all 11 of us headed to Cracker Barrel for a late lunch, and a little more visiting before we all got on the road back to our homes.  It was a great visit, and we are so thankful for our relationship with all of Kate's family. 

When originally started the whole adoption process over 3 years ago, we were not exactly sure what an open adoption even was.  Of course since we had no idea what it really was, neither one of us would have said that we were 100% comfortable with it.  But, after getting educated by our agency on what open adoptions entail, Kevin and I decided that if we had a choice we would prefer to have an open adoption.  Although, we were still somewhat nervous as far as what that meant. Adoption is a scary thing! There are so many unknowns, but sometimes that's where you can see God at work the most. And boy was that true here. Yet another example of how God's plans for us are so much greater than anything we could have planned for ourselves.     

While we may not have been sure of an open adoption when we first started considering adoption, 3 years later we couldn't imagine any other kind!  We have been beyond blessed by adding Kate to our family, but we feel like our family has grown by not just 1 tiny little firecracker but by so many more, including her entire birth family.  We may not all have the same last name, but this just another branch on our family tree!


  1. This is a wonderful post! I love seeing families come together for the love of another person. Kate is a lucky girl!

  2. Kelley, the pictures are awesome! What a fun day for all of you! Kate is truly blessed to have such a wonderful extended family who all love her so much! What a wonderful example you are setting for Kate! We are also blessed to have Kate in this big family! I love reading about her and seeing her grow!! Love to you all!

  3. Great pictures and memories! Open adoptions are so beautiful!!

  4. I know that this is a year late, but I just must say that this post touched my heart. It is so beautiful. Wonderful that she will grow up knowing her birth parents. Blesses. Thank you.

    Ha, your daughter and I share the same name... Katherine - Kate. Or sometimes Katie for me. ;) And again, thank you!

    1. That was meant to be "blessed" not "blesses". Oops! Ah, well... ;) Sorry 'bout that.


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