Friday, July 25, 2008

2 years ago today...

...we saw her sweet face for the first time.

Honestly, this story never gets old. It is always the same, beautiful story... the story of our sweet girl. Yet, it a story that never leaves my mind. It is just as vivid 2 years later as it was on that day in late July, 2006. Before I get into the story of how we received AnnaClaire's referral call, I want to mention a few things...

We were DTC on July 7, 2006. We had read about SN adoption and were interested and praying about it, but at this point, we were not on our agency's list or anything. However, a week after we were DTC, we received our DTC packet with info on SN. We felt like God was calling us to adopt SN... It was only a few days before we decided to go on and get on the interested families list. This was on July 16. On the 21st, AWAA received 4 "surprise" referrals. I remember reading about this on the weekly update:

"America World was surprised to receive four Special Needs referrals this week and anticipates the receipt of the remainder of the set in the upcoming weeks. The Special Needs Coordinators are unable to predict precisely when they will arrive. The four Special Needs referrals are being translated and eligible families will be contacted once the translations are received. The Special Needs Coordinators are unable to give out any information on these four referrals until the complete medicals translations are received. When the remainder of the referrals do arrive, the Special Needs Coordinators need time to translate these referrals to process them accordingly. All applications received on or before Friday, July 21st, will be considered in the matching of this Special Needs referral group. Please understand that there are many families on the Interested Families list that have requested female, 0-2 years, with minor special needs. Due to the increase, not all families on the Interested Families list will receive a call with this upcoming Special Needs referral group."

I ran downstairs to Mom and told her. However, there was no way we would receive a referral... we had just been added to the list! So keep in mind that only families that had applications received by the 21st were considered in this batch. Our application was received on the 18th. Also keep in mind that we were VERY close (I'm talking less than an hour) off missing the Wednesday cutoff to be DTC on the 7th. If we had not been DTC on the 7th, we would not have gotten the DTC packet with the SN info in time to be added to the list to be considered for this batch. So as you can see, this was a HUGE God story!

On July 24, Mom and I were at Target getting AnnaClaire's carseat. At this time, we thought we would have this carseat for a long time with no baby to go in it. When we got home, there was a missed call from AWAA saying to call back before 4, they needed to talk to us. It was after 4, so we knew the office was closed. No one really thought anything of the call because Mom had called AWAA to ask some questions about the special needs matching process. However, the next day, after a few tries on both ends, our phone rang at 1:04 and it was a Virginia area code. I was reading The Waiting Child when I heard Mom say, "Of course! We would love further information!" My heart started racing. I ran downstairs just as Mom got off the phone.

She was 8 months old. She was in Chenzhou SWI in Hunan China. Her name was Chen Xun Hui.

I was hyperventilating as we waited for the email with Xun Hui's pictures to come. (Oh by the way, we did call Dad during this time!) We opened the pictures. She was perfect. She was ours. She was AnnaClaire. We forwarded the email to Dad and he called back agreeing that she was ours. These are the first pictures we ever saw of our sweetie... the face we fell in love with...


The day definitely had it's share of talking and researching, but by the end of the day, I think we all knew that she was ours. Mom and I had actually been on our way to our big outlet mall, so we headed there and got a few little things for AC. (fitting that we had to go there today, too!) While at the mall, Mom called Dad and said, "It's her."

And so... the story of how God put AnnaClaire in our lives. How he blew us away and matched us with this beautiful little girl that I am blessed to call my sister.

2 years later, I still see that face we gazed at in her. She has the same flat nose and the same gorgeous eyes. However, she has grown so much. She is no longer the sad baby that she was in those pictures. She is a happy (and by happy, I mean HAPPY) 2.5 year old who loves everything and everyone.

Today will always be a special day. It will always mark the day that we saw our beautiful girl for the first time. Praise God for my sweet little princess and the way he put her into our lives!

Two years ago, we fell in love with her. Today, that love has only grown. I love her more and more with each passing day... and it all started with those pictures we saw on July 25, 2006.

1 year referral anniversary (7/25/07)

14 comments:

amy jo said...

Very sweet! Thanks for sharing and Happy Referral Anniversary! Sooooo glad Miss AC found her forever home with such a precious family!!! Yes, she sure is a HAPPY girl!!! Love to all of you!

Amy Jo said...

You've been tagged. Come to my blog to see what that's all about. Love, Amy

Anna Grace`s Jie Jie said...

WOW! 2 years goes by really fast!!

Kate said...

Happy Referral Day! I find it amazing--every time I come across a Chenzhou Girl, they look so much alike. My Luci and your Kate could pass for sisters! Chubby pieces of sweetness! I could just eat it up!

Kate said...

Ooopss! I meant ANNACLAIRE and Luci looked alike!!! I've got Kate on the brain! Could it be that my name is Kate?

Happy Anniversary...again!

Jie Jie to Sarah Lu and Chayah Ru said...

Happy 2 year referral anniversary!!! I can hardly believe it has been that long! WOW! Her story is beautiful and how your dossier was sent to China by the deadline and getting the SN info pack is just amazing! Such a God thing!! He had the perfect timing to bring you AnnaClaire and Kate too! :)
~Staci

chicknboy said...

I still remember your mom emailing me about how God had orchestrated every little detail for AnnaClaire's referral. I remember praying so hard for you guys -for y'all to "just know" that she was yours if God meant her to be. :) And now that I've met her, I can't imagine her fitting in with any other family!
Happy Referral Anniversary day!

Ahnna said...

awww....thats awesome. so happy for you all!

Dawn said...

Emily,

You are such a sweet sister. I have enjoyed following your journey first on your website and now your blog. AC is such a babydoll. I love her smiles! And now I can't wait to follow your journey with Kate! We just have started our adoption journey....we are adopting a little girl from Korea. Thanks for sharing your journey!

Dawn

Monica said...

Happy anniversary!

What was AnnaClaire's SN? I didn't even know she was a SN adoption.

Monica

Lexie said...

Awww, what a special special day that was!! I finally know what it feels like to see the one you have loved and prayed over for the first time. It is amazing!

Keri said...

Tears.

Keri

Buckeyes & Eggrolls said...

I'm catching up but I sooo remember this day 2 years ago! It was life changing for all of us actually. :0) Congrats on having your sweet AC's referral for 2 years now. Wow, where has the time gone?

Jeanette said...

Emily, I remember when you guys got your referral for AC in 06 (we were at the beach and when your mom emailed that precious face to me I was so excited for you all!) It seems like yesterday you just posted about "a year a go today" and now look, it's been 2 years and God has blessed your family so much. Before long we'll be reading the year anniversary post for Kate!