Gotcha Day!!! (More pictures at the end)
When we woke up on Monday morning we were definitely a combination of extreme nerves and extreme excitement. It is hard to describe how it feels to have something materializing that has been such an illusive dream for so long. We were actually a little early to meet the driver which shows how unusual this day was!! We met the driver in the Hotel lobby and then rode in what they called the “mini van” to the civil affairs building to meet the girls. The “mini van” is actually a huge bus that we wish we could transport back to the US for our expanding crew! Our guide met us at civil affairs and told us they were already there and waiting… OH MY CRAZY NERVES. I thought I would pass out. I think we are the only family in Hefei adopting right now so the building was very quiet. They brought us into a familiar room that we have seen tons of pictures of from other families adopting. And there they were…it was really happening!!! It’s so funny but there’s almost a part of you that wonders if it will ever finish, this race that we’ve been on to bring these children into our family. They were shy and sweet and giggling and every bit as anxious as we were. It was probably one of the most awkward and most wonderful moments of our lives. We just walked up gently and started patting their arms and telling them that we are Mama and Baba, daddy. And that is pretty much how the first twenty minutes went. All of us just standing there, barely speaking, just looking at each other and trying to figure this moment out. The guide went straight to paperwork so if it wasn’t for Amy being there we would have had no translation at all. Thankfully she was able to translate a little bit for us and talk some to the girls. Then Lili Claire let go of her reserve and started bouncing around and being happy and excited and silly and that broke the ice for everyone. We brought them new backpacks which they loved and Daddy had bought them sparkly, Hello Kitty necklaces for Gotcha Day. Oh my sweetness. They LOVE those necklaces. They immediately wanted to put them on and were admiring them. Joshua put the one on Lili Claire and that was the most precious moment. The rest of the time passed with them showing us all of the papers and pictures they had brought with them, signing all the official documents and talking a little bit to the orphanage director about their medical needs. Louisa was so proud of these pictures she had painted for us and a very sweet letter she wrote us for Gotcha Day about how excited she is to have a family. She is so sweet and stunningly beautiful! She signed all of the papers she brought from this past year with the name Louisa May. Lili Claire always calls her Louisa May and she responds to it immediately. It definitely seems they have been calling her that at the orphanage and she loves the name. Hanli loves being called Hanli Claire or Lili Claire. When they say “Claire” their accent is so beautiful. It’s so funny to me how much I fretted over whether to give them English names or not. They love them and totally own them. After we finished, we took the official adoption pictures that I have seen hundreds of over the past year and a half. Now it was finally our turn!!! Then we all went back to the hotel. Loading Louisa May’s wheelchair up for the first time was a little bit of an adventure but really not a problem. It was so precious to see Rob lift her up for the first time and see her hold onto her Baba!!
When we got back, we were on our own and it was time to dive into this adventure!! The girls immediately were sweating and hot in the extreme. The orphanage is so cold so they were wearing thick layers and I don’t think have ever been in such a warm room in their life. They got flaming red cheeks and were fanning themselves at a great rate. They took one look at their clothes closet and wanted to get those thick old clothes off and put on some of their pretty new things. Thirty minutes later we had totally de-orphanaged them. They had on fresh, beautiful clothes. Mama and Mami braided their hair and they picked out pretty new fascinator headbands to wear. When we went downstairs to eat they were like two new creatures. It was precious. By the end of the night they just already felt like our children. I gave them a bath and they were only shy for about two minutes before letting me just be their Mama. All of the awkwardness about those type of moments with adopting older children that I pondered how to deal with were just really not there.
That is pretty much our experience with them over the past couple of days. They just are our children. Yes, it is a bit odd when we really stop and psychoanalyze it, so we’ve chosen to just have no psychoanalyzing of this situation. But for the most part from moment ONE they have claimed us as their family just as much as we have claimed them. The guide said that all of these months of waiting they have asked when were we coming every single day. That they were just beyond ready to leave that orphanage and have their own people. And we can absolutely tell. They have been so loving, so happy, smiling so big constantly. They say I love you all the time, give hugs and kisses, act silly, let us help them, tell us their needs, etc. Of all of the scenarios we have been educated about this is the very best one!!! They just feel like ours. It’s a good thing too. They both have medical needs that are going to demand a certain amount of trusting us on their parts for us to deal with and get through successfully. I am so thankful to the Lord that the bonding has been easy since that part will be so hard.
I can not express how much we are grateful that the Lord has allowed us to become their mommy and daddy. To love and serve Him in this way. We know that they are blessed to get a family and will have a life so completely better than they would but we are just as much blessed to have them in our lives. To be stretched in this way. To trust the Lord and find Him faithful. Our lives and faith will never be the same. They boys are already showing a remarkable change in their desire for the Lord. They see Him in this, they see how much these girls needed us and they get “it”.
The girls are so, so happy to finally be with us-that is very apparent. Our hearts are broken to see how much they desperately wanted to be with a family, to see how they crave love and attention, to see how proud they are to hold our hands and claim us as their own. There is nothing that can replace the love of family. That since of belonging. I am so sad they had to wait so terribly long for it and am amazed at their resiliency.
Gotcha Day was just amazing, nothing short of amazing. We are so, so happy to finally have these two precious gifts to add to the four we already have the privilege of loving. It is a blessing and a miracle.
Sweet welcoming cards from friends waiting to meet them back home! Their clothes!!
Getting to know each other through video games
Baba has been all of our HERO!!!
The orphanage director. I know she truly cares for these girls.
Our precious new daughters and sisters. They’re matching snow white sweaters were so sweet.
Our official adoption picture!! They are legally ours!
Singing and clapping as we leave that building for our new life as their family!
After we put on some of their beautiful clothes and fascinators.
Maybe one of my favorite pictures ever!
This is how they ended the night! Lili Claire poured out the sparkling water and they toasted their new life!!
Thank you so much to everyone who prayed and supported us!!!!
One thought on “Gotcha Day”
Congratulations! So happy everything is going so well and that the girls are weaving themselves perfectly into your family. They looke like they are going to be perfect addtions to your family.