Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Gotcha Day - 10 years!!

It all happened 10 years ago....the day we first became parents! Little Lu Ran-Ran was placed in our arms on November 21, 1997. Our WONDERFUL travel group got together to celebrate our 10 year adoption anniversary (aka gotcha day) - more to come on that later, but for now, my mind is reminiscing a little.....

I still remember walking into that conference room in Hefei, China...feeling excited, scared, anxious, nervous. I was SO nervous that at first I didn't even see the nannies holding the children!! I felt like I had blinders on. I only saw an "official looking" woman and the conference table. I was the first one into the room...I walked to the table and pulled out a chair....only to be told NO! by the woman. She then told me to go around to the other side. THAT'S when I saw the babies!! There on the couch were 4 nannies, holding 4 beautiful and precious little girls. When Randy and I turned to look at the babies, one of the nannies pointed to the child she was holding and said, "Ran-Ran" and then pointed back at us, smiling and saying, "Mama & Baba". I melted. There she was...only a few feet away, OUR daughter! The little girl we had waited so long to hold. We had to wait a little longer before we were able to hold her though, as the officials wanted the adoption paperwork completed first.

The next few minutes are a blur...with the 4 families completing paperwork, answering questions about our incomes, why we want to adopt, will we promise to love these children as our own, etc. The final step was to put our thumbs into red ink and "stamp" the papers.

THEN we were allowed to hold our children! Emily was dressed in a little onsie, a pair of split pants, and a little quilted jacket. Before she handed Emily to me, the nanny removed the split pants for the orphanage to keep. I cried a little when I first held Emily, but she just looked at Randy and I with wide eyes. Her little hands grasped the little caterpillar toy we brought with us. Randy and I were totally and completely in love with this child! I remember Randy saying over and over how beautiful she was. This was OUR DAUGHTER!!

Once we came out of our own fog, we were able to observe the other families in the room. Trish (a single mom) was singing to her tiny little one, the Gary's were smiling and taking photos of their daughter, and the Wood's were consoling their grieving daughter. Three of the girls were very close in age (14 months), however, the Wood's daughter was 2-1/2.

Fast forward 10 years. Our group of 4 first-time parents became "families" together. We also became close friends. We have gotten together every year for the past 10 years to celebrate our adoption day. We also get together every year for China camp. We have also tucked in a few extra events throughout the years such as a trip to Silver Dollar City, and many scrapbooking retreats for the moms. On top of all this, 3 families in the group returned to China earlier this year for a birth land tour! We don't live really close, but not really far apart either. The longest drive between us is 6 hours. We believe that our bond as parents has helped to bond our children together as well. The four little girls adopted that day in Hefei are now such close friends. They mail letters and cards, and send emails to one another. They make gifts for one another. They LOVE getting together for their gotcha day weekends and China camp...when they see each other, it's like they've never been apart. The girls are even scheming to go to college and live together when they're older!! :-)
We are SO thankful for this wonderful group of people. They are such blessings!!

1 comment:

Beverly said...

Happy Gotcha Day.


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