Saturday, December 12, 2009

Happy Gotcha Day!

Three years ago (yesterday, actually) my life changed as we sat in a large room in Hunan, China. An elevator door opened and all I heard were heart wrenching screams. Mom and I looked at eachother, saying, "It's her!" All of a sudden, a nanny walked into the room holding the most beautiful baby girl that I had ever seen. OUR sweet AnnaClaire. The nanny tried to calm her down a bit as Dad did some paperwork. (Absolute torture) And finally, she was set (more like foreced) into Mom's arms. She made her way into our family with the loudest screams that I've ever heard. I look back and can not even imagine what she must have been feeling on that day. The fear that must've been going through her 13 month old mind. Her head darted all around the room for the hour we were at the civil affairs office. She was looking for, longing for a familiar face to pick her up and take her back to the only life she had ever known. My heart was full of joy, yet sadness as I watched her grieve over all she had lost. We knew it'd be okay, but how could she know that? Her new life with a forever family was only beginning... we were just a family who looked nothing like her, spoke nothing familiar, had no familiar scent... we were completely new. She must have been terrified. Yet, that night, we were able to witness her personality... Each coo, giggle, and smile that she had that night is etched into my mind as some of my favorite memories. She has never looked back since... she is the must spunky and smiley little thing I have ever met. She has joy in EVERYTHING. That's what I love about her. Three years ago, I never could've imagined all the joy that she would bring me. She still amazes me and I praise God every day for the miracle of adoption... and for the BELSSING of AnnaClaire Chenhui.


Happy gotcha day, even if it is a day late, my sweet AnnaClaire Chenhui! I love you to the sun and back and so much more.


Of course, if you know us, you know that gotcha days are like birthdays... so we carried on the tradition of PF Changs with a Great Wall of Chocolate, a small gift (we got a gift in China for each gotcha day until the girls are 18), and we watched her gotcha video. Dad was out of town until later on her actual day, so we celebrated today with lunch. Drew was able to join that way, too. We had so much fun and AnnaClaire just loved having a day all about HER! Her present this year was a pink parasol! Plus, our waiter treated us to our cake AND brought her a terra cotta warrior that they had! It was a good day just remembering that day three years ago, and praising God for the GIFT of AnnaClaire and all the joy, fun, and SPUNK that she has brought to our family!

And just because... here's some "then" and "now" pictures. A beautiful and afraid baby... a gorgeous and joyful 4 year old... Yep. I am SO blessed.






But this one will always be my favorite... the first smile we ever saw stretch across that sweet baby face...

6 comments:

Catherine said...

Congratulations!! 3 precious years together with your ever-smiling AnnaClaire!! SO happy for you!

Julie said...

Aww! Congrats! I love that yall treat it like a birthday, how special. Happy 3 years!

Anna Grace and Andrew's Jie Jie said...

Happy Gotcha Day Sweet AC!!

Football & Fried Rice said...

Happy Gotcha Day, AnnaClaire! I, too, LOVE seeing that first 'baby smile' out of her - especially after all she had just gone through...

Mmmmm, the Great Wall of Chocolate!

Traci said...

how precious, i wanna cry tears of joy! what a beautiful picture of what can happen and how a life can change in just three years! congratulations!

Kristi said...

Happy three years!