Our Sweet Angel

Saturday, April 5, 2014

China Approval - We have the LOA!!!!

The Letter of Acceptance arrived from China Yesterday - 4/4/2014!!!!!

We are one step closer to welcoming Jake home!!!!

Travel to China will be somewhere between 12 and 14 weeks from now.   (end of June / early July)

Jake has received our first care package with pictures of us and he is now being told all about us by his care givers.

See you soon Jake!!   We love you.

Waikaloa Lavaman 2014 - Team Carmen - We Swam, We Biked, We Ran

Wow.....what a journey

Our first Team Carmen meeting was early September 2013 and from there we embarked on an amazing journey of planning, coordinating, networking, T-Shirt designing, printing, invitation design, organizing, auctions, emotional roller coasters, fundraising and training all focused on the completion of the Waikaloa Lavaman Triathlon on March 30th.

Team Carmen 2014 raised at total of $53,000

combined with Team Carmen's 2013 result of $33,000

For a combined two year total of $86,000 for Leukemia Lymphoma Society.

Below is the message that Heather and I provided to LLS that they displayed at the TNT Inspiration dinner on Saturday before the race.  It sums up everything we stand for;

 Team Carmen races in honor of our beautiful child, Carmen Leolani White who passed at 5 years of age, on October 9, 2012.

After Carmen was diagnosed with Leukemia on May 26, 2011, she never let it get her down.  She fought with a vengeance and the courage of a warrior, earning the nick name - Tough Little Princess.

When not fighting through her chemo therapy treatments Carmen loved every moment of her life and lived more in her 5 years than most people will live in a life time.

There is a quote by Joseph Campbell that inspires Team Carmen;

"The sin of inadvertness, not being awake, is the sin of missing the moments of life.  Live with unremitting alertness"

This is how Carmen lived and why Team Carmen races for Team In Training.  It takes determination, focus and courage to complete a triathlon but it takes love to come together as a team for a cause like Team in Training to raise funds so that other children like Carmen do not have to receive their angel wings so soon.

Mahalo for all of your support.

Love and Light

Carmen's Mommy and Daddy and all of Team Carmen.

Such an amazing an inspiring day.   The pictures say it all......

Team in Training - the full San Diego and Hawaii teams.   (Team Hawaii is Team Carmen)

 Team Carmen (minus Darren Miller who was signing autographs)

 The lovely Bettina and Heather

 All smiles before the start

 Michelle - aka - "Super Woman" getting her game face on

 LJ coming out of the water with an unbelievable time of 27 minutes.  

 Coming out of the of the water in not such an unbelievable time.  

Chris coming into the Bike transition

 Kevin and Wendy at the finish.   Kevin posted the best time on Team Carmen - 2:28 - not that anyone was counting. 

 Trevor is such a hero.  Dragging his old Dad across the finish line.

 Almost there Darren

 Mommy did not need any help

 Shea, Heather, Chris and T-Bone

 Team Riedel and Shea

Raising Money to cure Cancer and the Best Post Race Beer Garden in the World.  Cheers!!!

nice photo bomb Trevor!!!!!

 The amazing Brother and Sister Riedel Team.

 "but...but....but......I just finished a Triathlon.  Okay...you're right.....it's my turn to feed the baby."

 Florian and Chris getting ready.  Actually....we are realizing we are in the wrong spot and need to be where Florian is looking.

 Heather entering the bike transition

Thank you all for your support of Team Carmen

Sunday, February 9, 2014

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Aloha to our friends and family,

Team White has beautiful news to share with all of you.

We have been pursuing a Chinese Adoption and have accepted a referral for a beautiful baby boy!! 

Carmen and Trevor's baby brother!!!!!!

His Chinese name is Wu Jun Hao and he is 16 months old today.   We have changed his first name to Jake, while keeping Jun Hao as his middle name  - Jake Jun Hao White.    Jun Hao is pronounced - Jun (june), Hao (how) and translates as:  Jun: gentleman/monarch, Hao: great/good.

We received approval from China last Monday and anticipate traveling no later than July 31st to bring Jake home!!!   He will be 21 months when we meet him.

Jake Jun Hao White

We were pulled to adopt from the special needs program in China.  Jake has a cleft lip and palette.   His lip has been repaired at Shanghai Hospital but we will be providing Jake with the excellent care and treatment he deserves to repair his palette.

Jake was found in a park wrapped in blankets on October 12, 2012.   They estimate his birth date to be either October 8th or 9th, 2012.   

This entire process started 12 months ago with Heather and I came to the realization that we had a child waiting for us in China.  It is hard to remember clearly anything that was happening in our lives in the early part of 2013 but this one decision seemed to be out of our hands.   As many of you know, the adoption process is long and full of incredible amounts of paper work.  We do not want to say it was difficult, because this was one of those beautiful things that doors continue to open for us one after the other.  The administrative part of the adoption, simply just flowed from one step to the next.  Heather is definitely the expert on the journey and she will share a more detailed post at a later date.

Part of the special needs adoption process was us filling out a medical form that lists conditions that we felt we could provide care for.   On this same form we indicated that our son or daughter would be between the ages of 1 and 4.  After we became logged in LID in China December 19th, 2013, we knew we could receive a referral anytime from that day forward and even waiting a year or more for a referral was not unusual.

 Adoption Documents.  Over 1,000 pieces of paper reviewed, completed, submitted, mailed, tracked and finally approved.

Henan Province, China.  See you soon Jake.

Early in the morning of January 20th, Heather woke from an extremely vivid dream that we had received a referral for a child from our adoption agency.  I had already left for the day to train before work.   After Heather dropped off Trevor to school at 7:55am, she received a voice message from the adoption agency!!  They had called her only one other time since we signed with them last February!  Before Heather called them back she excitedly called me at work to tell me about the dream!  I was fascinated by her dream I was anxious for Heather to call the agency back to hear what they had to say.

When Heather spoke to the agency, she let them know before they could saying anything that she had a vivid dream about receiving a referral last night.  After a pause.....the agency said...."Well.....that is incredible....because we have a referral for you!  A beautiful baby boy!!"

Heather learned a little information about Jake over the phone, including his estimated birth date of October 8th or 9th, 2012....Heather about hit the floor and knew immediately this was our child!

Words could never describe the overwhelming feeling of peace and clarity that came over Heather and I, after hearing Jake's estimated birth date.    Despite, knowing in our hearts that adopting a child into our family was perfect for us there were certainly times that we wondered how we would KNOW the child referred was OUR child.   With the wide range of ages we provided to the agency, to receive a child referral with an estimated birth date of when Carmen became spirit is the sort of divine intervention that you simply can not make up.

When Heather and I reflect back on our last moments with Carmen here on earth, we now understand that she was already working with her spirit guides to ensure certain things were in place before she became spirit.   We believe in our hearts, that Carmen needed to go to a special place so that she could help so many of us all at the same time.   To watch over us and her new brother Jake.

Though the timing between approval and being able to hold Jake will be longer than we would like, we are comforted knowing that Carmen is with Jake every second telling him all about his new parents, brother Trevor and dog Roxy.

And....then there is Trevor!  He is SO excited to be a big brother.   We wanted to capture this life changing moment to be able to show Jake when he's older!  Here's is a video link to us telling Trevor about Jake:   Trevor you are going to be a BIG BROTHER Video!!!

There are some other amazing things that have happened during this journey that we would like to share, in the theme of this blog post - "you can not make this stuff up".

During this journey we have been fortunate enough to meet people who are truly gifted intuitively.  Some we have sought out, others have approached Heather and I to share their insightful and powerful messages.  These messages have come from a place of love however they do not usually provide much context to help us understand their meaning.  Fortunately, Heather took the time to right down a few points from these conversations.  The two images below are of Heather's notes.   The first from last May and the second from August.   You can clearly see on the first note:  8 to 9 months, baby boy and putting him in my arms, blue.   The full conversation, was surrounding a vision shared with Heather of Carmen putting a baby boy, who was 8 or 9 months, wrapped in a blue blanket into Heather's arms.  The second note states the words, June and At Peace.  At the time, Heather did not understand this message but it certainly makes sense now that we are about to welcome Jun Hao into our family. 

We are so exited for this next chapter in our journey and look forward to sharing more with you as we have more information.

Love and Light

Team White

A picture of the care package we are sending to Jake.

 FYI, the Dum Dums and cookies are for the nannies and older kiddos.  The white cloth hopefully will go to Jun Hao as a snuggly as they usually are given a white wash cloth at bed time to snuggle with rather than blankets or stuffed animals.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Purpose of Team Carmen, Carmen's Story & Legacy

Below are the beautiful words of Darren Miller, our amazing brother-in-law and dear, dear friend.    Darren and Carri, were part of our Team Carmen support team last year but have courageously joined Team Carmen to each complete the full Triathlon in March.

Darren's words capture the essence of not only why this cause is important but how Carmen continues to inspire all of us every day.

Love and Light

Heather and Chris


PURPOSE OF TEAM CARMEN, CARMEN'S STORY & LEGACY and CONGRATS CARRIE LINGENFELTER (sometimes people say a story is not for the feint of heart, I say this is a story for the full of heart) - by Darren Miller

So proud of you Carrie Lingenfelter, regardless if you hit your personal time goal in yesterday's Marathon, or not.  Thank you too for your pre-race words of inspiration about Carmen on our Team Carmen | Waikola Lavaman 2014 team page.  In many ways it sparked what follows, which I hope will also be inspiring to those who take the time to read it --

As you know, there are so many goals when you take on something the size and scope of a marathon or a triathlon.  There is the threshold you cross to just start the process, period. There is the goal to train for X amount of months and X amount of days and hours per week... to appreciate the personal milestones and navigate each challenge along the way... and to hit/exceed your fundraising goal for such a remarkable cause as Team in Training and all of the many individuals, families and friends fighting Blood Cancers everyday that those efforts impact!  There is the goal to just make it to race day, the starting line and to find your way through whatever your body is dealing with on that day for those hours tackling each mile of the race. Whether that means making it all the way to the finish line or simply pushing yourself to complete as much of the distance as you are capable of on that particular day.  That is truly an accomplishment to be proud of...  Even if you didn't hit your particular time goal, I choose to celebrate all of the other goals you conquered along the way to finishing your 2nd Marathon, your 5th TNT event, I choose to celebrate those last 8 miles yesterday (which were probably the toughest) when you weren't seeing the times you hoped for and yet I know you still dug even deeper within yourself to push to the limit of what you could find in each minute, each step of the remaining distance.  That is true spirit and courage in my book and to us in the McMiller household!

That you choose to and continue to run in Carmen Leolani White's honor and carry on her legacy in your individual commitment to fight Blood Cancers is of the highest honor to me personally (one of her many proud uncles), to Carri McClure (my wife and one of her many proud aunties), and I think I am safe to say, to her father Chris White, her mother Heather White, her magical brother Trevor and all of Carmen's extensive array of family, friends and supporters.  As so many of us can attest, Carmen's courage, limitless zest and beautiful unique spirit continue to inspire thousands.  Your commitment to raising funds and racing in her honor allows her story and inspiration to continue to grow and give courage directly or indirectly to ANYONE facing whatever type of challenge they are dealing with in their lives, disease related or otherwise.  I believe that is at the core of why each of us are putting in the time and commitment to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on behalf of Team Carmen and log the miles and hours of training in order to show up and compete on race day at the 2014 Waikola Lavaman Triathlon.  We are all proud to do this in honor of Carmen, as Carrie, you have now done 5 times in your TNT marathon work and as each member of Team Carmen 2013 did last year when Carmen was also honored as the Lavaman Race Angel for the approximate 1500 race competitors.

Carmen has touched and inspired us all individually in so many ways personal to our own growth.  In her battle against Leukemia she showed us first hand the true meaning of limitlessness.  What I remember most about Carmen's courageous fight with the disease is anytime it/or the related circumstance surrounding her treatment attempted to imposed a limit or constraint on her, Carmen made a point of finding a way through or around it; her spirit would not be bound.  With her own brand of sheer will and fearless determination she met each challenge head on and refused to be confined for any real period of time from embracing the fullest joy and beauty she was capable of manifesting and sharing each day with everyone around her.  Her teachers will tell you that, her friends will tell you that, her caretakers will tell you that, complete strangers who she encountered will tell you that. It is not to say she didn't have bad days (as anyone struggling through the intensity of such extensive treatments does) but she simply refused to allow it to limit her over time from the celebration she embraced and expressed as love and life.

Through her example this 5-year old pink twirling princess literally taught me a different way of seeing the beauty of life, the magic of imagination and pure creativity, the limitlessness of love and life if you find the courage to look inside and draw up your own will and not let outside circumstance keep you from it!  Outside circumstance no matter how imposing is not strong enough to contain the will of the human spirit and the love it can express and share.  On a large public platform Martin Luther King, whose birthday we celebrate today taught us this through his living example, Nelson Mandela who recently passed shone a light on the possibilities of the human spirit for change when willed into a direction that dismantles artificially imposed limits and Carmen, in a no less 'impactful' and personal way, taught me this first hand in how she handled herself through the disease willing herself through each imposed limit in a fight not simply to live, but to ensure she was not missing a single opportunity to live each moment of each day to the magical fullest she could muster... and it didn't stop there...  For Carmen, she had to share her special infectious gift for life with everyone and we are all thankful and the better for it!

Coming back full circle to Carrie Lingenfelter's marathon run yesterday in Carmen's honor.  I remember this day in late December Carrie texted myself and Carri a picture of her holding a sign.  She had just completed her longest training run to date in preparation of her race.  She had run 16.6miles (further than I had biked that day ; ).  When she arrived at the finish of her run her Team in Training Teammates were there holding up a sign for her with a picture of Carmen on it that read "Carrie! You're an amazing women with an even more amazing heart -- In memory of Carmen."  I can't tell you how much that inspired me and touched me to think that somewhere off in the middle of Arizona Carmen was having a part in providing inspiration to someone, and even a group of teammates possibly, who were not just challenging their own limits, but finding their personal place and space beyond those limits and in doing so were giving and contributing to a cause near and dear to our hearts.  Carrie, in doing that you have shattered any personal pre-set time goal or time record in history, as far as I am concerned.  That is what matters.  That is what makes a difference in life and in the lives of others, as I believe Carmen would concur!  You may not be competing with us on Team Carmen in the Lavaman this year but you are always an honorary Team Carmen member... and an inspiration to me (and possibly other the Team Carmen members) as we reach for our team fundraising goal and find ways to get through our own individual perceived limits as we train and prepare for our race starting line in March.

Me and Carri were support staff for, but did not compete alongside last year's Team Carmen 2013 Lavaman team members, but, you who did and the incredibly moving experience we had last year during the race events inspired us to do so this year!  That said, being peripherally around the race and preparation of the race, one thing became unavoidably evident to me...  when you race for Carmen and in honor of Carmen you don't race alone.  As I am sure many of our fellow teammates who raced last year on Team Carmen experienced, the spirit of Carmen (in everything I described above) is right there to draw on and inspire you in your training and in your race.  In the past months, this has become even more directly clear to me in my training.  Whether you are just starting your training today or if you are two and a half months into official training like myself and Carri, or more, there is no difference.   Whether you have never technically swam a competitive lap in your life and are just learning how to breath in the water like Carri who courageously dipped her toe in the water and started working with the swim coaches in the pool last week (very proud of her!) there is no difference.

I never expected or planned on this (and know it isn't to last forever, which I am not worried about), but each workout since my start of training I have achieved a new personal record that in some way or form exceeded my previous work out.
I wasn't focused on this and didn't even realize it until a little over a week ago. Some weeks I am even working out 6 days in a row, my legs wearing and fatiguing more and more and it has still continued to happen (and again I know there will a stopping point to this).  BUT, what I also began to remember is that in each and every workout (or even when I didn't want to go work out) whatever the 'wall' was that I was hitting, I would think of Carmen, the fierce strength, courage resolve and love that the TLP (Tough Little Princess) showed me, and everyone, and I find the inspiration from her to move through it -- break down that next limit that faces me and find that new space on the other side that I couldn't see before.  As Carri described so well in her fundraising message a couple of months back and so many other of our team members have highlighted, as well, Carmen personifies the true meaning of inspiration for ourselves and so many others who she continues to touch in many different ways.

We Team Carmen members did not set out to be triathletes, but Carmen gives us the opportunity to transform ourselves into triathletes with the purpose of helping those who face challenges similar to those Carmen faced herself.  She inspires us and in turn maybe we can inspire others!  That is the spirit, the story and the legacy that is Carmen and that is the purpose of our resolve, me, my fellow teammates and those who support us.

ARE YOU WITH US?  If you are and if you are inspired to make a donation to support the cause, please do so at the link below.

I know not everyone will have read all of this (as I just set another personal record for longest post in my FB history and probably future), but thank you for those who did take the time, as it is my personal tale of the ever-inspiring story of Carmen and her ongoing impact in so many lives.  Thank you to all of the supporters who have donated to Team Carmen and its members thus far.  None of this is possible without you and none of it has the purpose it does without your donations, which go to support the millions of lives currently effected directly and indirectly by the disease.  May each each individual out there facing blood cancer and those individuals standing by there side find healing, courage and support from what we are attempting to accomplish and above all else know you are not alone.  We have been down the road ourselves and we know it is not a road anyone should have to or can travel alone.  In the interest of that we are with you in spirit and support, doing what we can so you have as much care and opportunity for the best treatment and with the hope that one day maybe no one has to travel that road at all.

There is no way I can repay the gifts that Carmen gave me as thankfully they are the truest type of gift that require no repayment -- only appreciation for having been touched by the lessons and the willingness to share it with others, which I hope I have done here today.

At one point during Carmen's treatment, she made a wish and comment, not that she hoped to get better but, selflessly, in her own words, 'that she wished no kid had to suffer or experience childhood Leukemia again.'

If you are with me/us in fighting to make this wish come true and haven't donated yet, please feel free to do so at the below links.

If you want to donate to my personal fundraising page this is the link -- all donations made to my personal fundraising page automatically pass through to credit toward our overall Team Carmen fundraising goal too

If you happen to read this, but don't know me and just want to donate directly to the Team Carmen fundraising page by all means, please do! -- here is the link to the Team Fundraising page

If you somehow read this and don't know any of us feel free to click the link to the Team Carmen Fundraising page above and then feel free to click on any individual team member name to go to their personal fundraising page and SURPRISE them with an unexpected donation.  Carmen loved surprises and all donations made to any of our individual team members automatically credit toward our overall Team Carmen fundraising goal too

Lastly, if you want to make a donation and happen to work for a company that is willing to match your charitable donation (many companies do this or are willing to do this if you ask).  It is a great way to double the impact and also give your company (and yourself) a charitable tax write off.

* If you want to do something, but are unable to make a financial donation me or one of our teammates can find a creative way that you can contribute -- sometimes those are the most fun anyway.  Help us reach our Team Fundraising Goal.  We are almost 70% there and looking to break through that threshold.

And remember... no donation is to small or TOO BIG!

If you are not familiar with Carmen's personal story you can discover it in more detail at her blog --

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Carmen's 1st Makana


Many of you will remember the original blog post titled Carmen's Makana (gift).   In those days after October 9th, 2012, Heather and I understood that since we were living so far from all of you that you wanted/needed to do something/anything to help.


At the time of posting the original Carmen's Makana post, Heather and I were only trying to convey that we felt there was a different way to honor Carmen instead of flowers or other traditional gestures given during difficult times.

What happened after writing the post astonished Heather and myself.   The generosity and support was incredible, exceeding anything we ever thought was possible.

The Carmen's Makana fund will be able to perpetuate Carmen's strength, love and spirit through the giving of a $300 gift to a family on April 1st (Carmen's birthday) and October 9th each year, for the next 18 years!!!!

Many people opt to contribute to an established charity.   This is a wonderful idea and we likely would have been fine with this.   For whatever reason, Heather and I decided at the time that taking this path did not seem like it was the right thing to do.   Everything Carmen did was touching, meaningful and with purpose and giving to a large, well intentioned, charity would be beautiful but we felt it needed to be more intimate.

Carmen would want to be able to walk right up to someone and give them a big hug.  And that is what Carmen's Makana is.   A great big, warm, loving hug from Carmen.

We are proud to let you know that Carmen provided her Makana (gift) to the first child.

Heather and I worked with Dr. Wendi Hirsch with Kapiolani Hospital to help choose the right child for Carmen's Makana.  The gift is only a small gesture to let the family know that someone cares about them and understands what they are going through.

Below are the words in the card and the picture we sent with Carmen's Makana.

Live with Strength
Live with Laughter
Live with Love in your Heart
Live with knowing a guardian angel is watching over you.

Carmen's Makana

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Earth traveled around the Sun one full time....

Aloha Friends,

Chris, Trevor and I want to thank everyone so much for the outpouring of LOVE and support this week.  We have been feeling everyone's love for Carmen and beautiful energy surrounding all of us who love Carmen and all of our children so dearly.

Thank you for the messages, phone calls, texts, flowers, photos of your own Carmen Celebrations - which seem to be many!  

I know Carmen did not want us to be sad on October 9th.  I know she wants us to continue working on ways to enjoy life as it is right now and to find ways to keep filling up our souls and others.

Experience takes effort so we made many things happen this week to fill our lives.  There has been golf, zip-lining over waterfalls, a big strobe light dance party with a bunch of Carmen and Trevor's friends, lillikoi cupcakes, fairy wings, BEAUTIFUL flowers and many many messages of love. 

I went to bed the evening of the 8th afraid of what may come up...in the same bed I was with Carmen one year before.  

Those "lasts" came into my mind.

Then Carmen popped in my head and this is what I got...

Mommy, this day only signifies the earth going around the sun one full time.....don't be sad.  

I'm with you all of the time.  Now get some sleep.

Message in Carmen's lunch - Sept 28th, 2012

I wanted to post this beautiful message received yesterday from a student friend of Carmen's from Hualalai Academy.

Aloha Mrs.White, 

I don't know if you remember me as much as I do you. Tonight on 10/10/13 I sit here at my computer remember the blessing that you brought into this world. At this moment right know I glance down to my right wrist where a pink bracelet sporting the words "TLP" "Smile and Be Happy" and "I Love You Carmen."  It reminds of a beautiful story how a beautiful young girl came for a visit.  She taught people to laugh and smile and enjoy the small things.  Then one day she had to leave.  When she left the people who loved her grieved and mourned.  Suddenly a rainbow slid across the sky, and the people remembered how the girl loved the colors.  They began to smile, she was still there but in a different manner.  

She could still make them laugh and smile and enjoy the little things for she was all that. 

So Team White, think of the things that make you laugh and smile. Enjoy the little things. Carmen is still here. She lives in your heart and my heart and in the heart of everybody she ever touched. 

Thank you for her.  Carmen is my inspiration. Some people want to be rich or famous or something great, but I? 

I want to be more like Carmen.  

God Bless, Halle

And we want to say Happy Birthday to Rainbow Jacquie (Carmen's energy/spiritual healer) who shares October 9th as a very significant day with our Carmen.  They are connected in so many ways...forever.  

October 9th, 2012 Jacquie told me the story of how (before she knew about Carmen that morning) she was swimming at Makapu'u beach Oahu and a monk seal swam right up to her and stared in her eyes for a LONG time...as if trying to tell her something.

She realized later that day why this had happened.  

We love you Jacqui.

Beautiful Jacquie...

See you in a wink baby

Love, Team White

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

We Will Meet You at the Gate

Our Dearest Carmen Leolani...


Meet you at the Gate

A beautiful garden now stands alone,
missing the one who nurtured it,
But now she is gone.

Her flowers still bloom, and the sun it still shines,
But the rain is like tear drops, for the ones left behind,
The weeds lay waiting to take the gardens beauty away,
But the beautiful memories of its keeper are in our hearts to stay,

She loved every flower even some that were weeds,
So much love she would plant with each little seed,
But just like her flowers she was part of Gods plan,

So when it was her time he reached down with his hand,
He looked through the Garden searching for the best,
That's when he found Carmen, it was her time to rest,

It was hard for those who love her, to just let her go,
But God had a spot in his garden, that needed a gentle soul,

So when you start missing Carmen, remember if you just wait,
When God has a spot in his garden, she'll meet you at the gate.

by Barbara Bailey

We miss you with each breath we take. 

It feels like it was only yesterday that we held you in our arms.  

Now we hold you in our hearts.  Our sweet voice from heaven.

See you in a wink.

Love Mommy, Daddy, Trevor & Roxy