Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gotcha Day... 1 year later

My favorite picture, taken on Gotcha Day 2006... first smiles

... and now =]

Gotcha day 12/11/06

One year later 12/11/07

Before I start with this post, I want to copy what I wrote on that day, Gotcha Day, a year ago today… What a day it was…

We got in so late last night that we slept in pretty late this morning. The beds aren't as hard here! YAY! So our morning began around 8. The breakfast was okay. It is so funny because they have all the Christmas decorations all over the hotel! I don't think they even celebrate Christmas! Anyway, the Christmas carols are goofy, and all the decorations look like they are from the 50s! It's hilareous!!! Dad and Will walked about 15 min. to the grocery store and got tons of American snacks! Oreos, Ritz, coke, water, Chips Ahhoy, etc. While they were gone, housekeeping came and brought in the crib!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It feels soooooo real!!! We set up her crib and it looks as cute as it could! There's a McDonalds here! WOOHOO! LOL. Well, Amy is coming in 1 hour (3) and we will leave at 3:30 to go get AnnaClaire! We'll get her whenever they get there. WOOHOO, we are so close! I can't wait!

I added tons of pictures to yesterdays post (it took me ALL morning) so go check them out!!!



and Mom, Dad, and Will (LAST POST WITHOUT SAYING "and AnnaClaire"!)

"Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"

2 Corinthians 9:15


God our Father has blessed us with the most beautiful, sweet, precious, darling, adorable baby in the entire world!!!!!!!!

Amy came to our hotel room around 3. She informed us we would get AnnaClaire at 4. We asked if we could go to the orphanage and Amy said that she would ask. We went over all kinds of stuff and left the hotel around 3:30. We had to go in a taxi. The taxi drivers are CRAZY!!! I was amazed, they are CRAZY! We got to the Civil Affairs about 15 til 4. The Civil Affairs office seemed very run down. We rode an elevator to the 3rd floor. They told us AnnaClaire wasn't here yet. There was a bunch of people in the room who had all just received their babies. We got so excited, we couldn't stand it! Just about 4, I heard a baby SOBBING and it wasn't coming from the room. I thought, oh it's AnnaClaire! Her nanny walked in holding her and we knew it was her. With her was the director (I think), a nanny, and a beautiful older girl. I had actualy been on this family's website and knew it was XinMin. We had to sit there and wait while they were in the back calming our sobber! She has some lungs on her!!! Anyway, we were just dying to get her now that she was here. Meanwhile, Dad was paying the stuff. We had to wait and wait and they told Dad that she was here. He came in and AnnaClaire and the nanny came out. They started handing AnnaClaire to us, but there was another lady who said, "NO! NO! We must check and make sure it's the right baby!" AnnaClaire HuiHui was just screaming. They had to look at our TA and our passports and then they let us have her. She was handed to Mom and just wouldn't let up her crying. Mom tried to give her a bottle. She drank a little but that soon got old. Mom gave her to Dad and after a little crying, she stopped. We have decided she is a daddy's girl! She started sobbing again and Dad walked around to calm her down. Soon there was not a peep coming out of her. She started crying again. By now I was in tears. She was the cutest thing ever. They were happy tears. I was dying to hold her. The whole time, Will is videoing this. Finally, I got to hold her. She stopped crying!!! She is so sweet. We gave her back to Mommy and she sat in Mommy's arms. Mom and Dad held her and we wiped her nose. She is so funny. She says "buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu" Amy said it means no. Whenever we wipe her nose, change her diaper, etc., she goes, "BUUUUUUUUUUU". It is so cute. Her little lips just quiver and she just goes "bu". Finally she was calmed down a bit and Will got his chance to hold her. She liked him a lot. Mom asked the director some questions, but I don't remember LOL. Mom couldn't think of very many, but we are seeing them again and will present them with the list of questions Keara gave me. All the while, HuiHui is just moving her head and looking all around! She is just the cutest thing. Finally we were free to go! We got in the elevator and she sobbed even harder! We got outside and immediatly, she stopped! She snuggled with Mommy and moved her head all around looking at the cars and people. She is so alert! Everyone just stared and smiled. One lady looked at her and was almost in tears! We got in the cab. She was so good in the cab! She didn't cry much at all! She laid her little head on Mommy's shoulder and almost fell asleep. We got to the hotel and she was so good. Mom asked about her gotcha outfit (the red one that was on top of the yellow one), and Amy told us that it was a special occasion outfit! The minute we stepped in the elevator, she started whimpering and crying again, but the minute we stepped off, she was A-Ok! We brought her into the room and held her. Mom and Dad did more paperwork. We fed her cheerios and she wanted more! She started crying again and Will and I took her in the hall (they have a baby area in the hall) and played with her. I put her down and she sat and we played with the xylophone. She banged it and I think she liked it. We bounced the ball and she liked looking at us. We have a little butterfly teethy toy and she played with that too. She started crying again and we brought her back in the hotel. She cried somemore, and Mom changed her diaper. It was really wet! She stopped crying and when she started again, Mom fed her a bottle! She drank the entire thing!!!! Amy called a guy from the lobby and he ordered Pizza Hut for us. We put AnnaClaire HuiHui on her blankie on the floor and gave her some toys. She clutched her ladybug rattle from Liz and Syd. She really liked it! Then Amy left. AnnaClaire HuiHui cried a little and we decided she was tired. Mom thought she felt something in her diaper, so she changed it! This little girl has already gone poop! No prunes for us! LOL. We gave her a first bath. She liked it a lot! She whimpered a tiny bit. We wrapped her in her towel and Mom dried her off. We put her in her jammies and they fit perfectly!!! I brushed her hair and from then she was just a changed baby! She LOVES her hair brush!!! I brushed her hair and whenever I stopped, she'd whimper. She hasn't let go of her hairbrush since! She absolutely LOVES it! She started crying a little tiny bit so Mom gave her another bottle. This one had rice ceral with the formula. She loved that and drank the whole thing. She loves peek-a-boo and steal the toy (hairbrush) We have gotten smiles and laughs out of her, and crying is a thing of the past! She is a new baby! She has the sweetest smile! She has 6 little teeth and whenever she smiles, she squints her eyes. She is an absolute blessing and we love her to death!

I'm off to play with our little AnnaClaire HuiHui! She is a DOLL! And a HOOT! We love her so much. She is SO smiley! She also LOVES banging her hairbrush and mirror together. She's a little ham! I can't believe this is the same baby we were handed a few hours ago!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh, I am not in many of the pictures because I was the "picture taker".

Love to all,


and Mom, Dad, Will, and AnnaClaire HuiHui!!!!!!!!!

P.S. the reason we are calling her AnnaClaire HuiHui is because she is not used to AnnaClaire yet but we want her to know that that is her name. Her nickname in the orphanage is HuiHui which explains the "HuiHui" part. We love her bunches!!!

P.S.S. she is def. a Hunan spicy girl!!!

We are now playing ball with her. She is so funny and squeals everytime she gives it to you. She can stand with help and for a minute on her own, cannot walk, and can't crawl. She is ADORABLE and we love her to pieces! OH right as I typed that, she took 2 steps and held out her arms to me! AWWWWW! She's a darling!!

I've been working on and off on this post since we got back. I just keep taking brakes and spending time with my sweet mei mei!

Oh I forgot to mention, we get to go to the orphanage!!! We are going on Wednesday! I'm so excited!


God is so good. My heart is so full right now as I type this. I feel like the luckiest, most blessed person in the world. I reflect on the events that occurred a year ago today, and all I can say is, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" 2 Corinthians 9:15. Gotcha Day was the day we had been waiting for. Finally it was here. I remember waking up and I couldn’t believe we had to wait until 4. I honestly didn’t think I could make it that long. Somehow God helped me through those long hours and at 3:30 we left to go to the civil affairs office. Amy had come to our room about 3 and told us AnnaClaire schedule. I’m going to have to say we were a little worried when she said that AnnaClaire went to bed at 9, woke up at 5, and slept an hour for a nap! We got there and AnnaClaire wasn’t there yet. We waited (not so) patiently when all of a sudden we heard a baby downright screaming. We looked around and now one of the babies in the room were the victim of the sobs. Mom and I at the same time said, it’s AnnaClaire. All of a sudden a nanny walked in holding a screaming baby in a red outfit. At once we knew it was AnnaClaire. Mom knew it from the nose, I knew it from the eyes. They took her in another room and calmed her down while Dad had to get some stuff figured out. Finally they brought her to us. She screamed immediately. The lady then took her back saying, “NO NO, we must check to see if right baby!” and looked at our TA. Of course it was the right baby and they once again proceeded with the gotcha moment. AnnaClaire screamed and screamed. She didn’t stop until I held her but before long her screaming began once more. I have never seen her like that since. We sat in the civil affairs office for the longest time just looking at her. I stroked her and calmed her down but when we left, she screamed somemore. When we got outside, her screaming stopped as she looked around at her surroundings. I remember she looked around everywhere, from the minute we got her. Her head just darted from place to place. She also mumbled, “buuuuuuuuu” as she was placed in our arms. Bu is no in Chinese. Of course now she is known as our little Bu, which is what she came to us saying! She was so good on the cab back. When we got in the hotel room she screamed somemore. Will and I took her to play and she calmed a little but not long. We gave her her first bath which she was great for. The real turnaround was when I brushed her hair. She slowly gave out smiles and soon she was cooing, squealing, and giving us the cheesiest smiles. I remember all those smiles. I cry each time I look at that video. She is so perfect for us… has been from day 1. I am so thankful that God brought her to us. He made a perfect match. I just love this little girl so much. I am head over heels in love. I cannot believe it’s been a year. Today I got her up from her nap and she greeted me with the biggest smile. She has always been a smiley little thing. She still has that infamous cheesy smile she had from the night we got her. I love that smile. It melts my heart. After I got her up I played with her a little and then I dressed her in her Chinese outfit and we went for a nice long walk and got some good pictures. She loved going on the walk and we had a fun time. Our neighbors have a big Santa Claus in their yard and she loved seeing it. She also saw quite a few dogs. She was the happiest thing on our walk. When we got home her little friend, Summer was outside and so we went over and said hi and played a little with Summer. AnnaClaire was persistent on “knock knock door”. She loves to knock on the door. Soon after we left and enjoyed an amazing meal at PF Changs. PF Changs is a huge hit for everyone. We topped it off with a Great Wall of Chocolate, of course. It was a great Gotcha meal. When we got home we watched the Gotcha Day movie. I couldn’t believe how much she screamed. I didn’t remember her screaming that much! My favorite part of the video is when her first smile occur. AnnaClaire was so funny watching the video. She pointed everyone and everything out. She was laughing and smiling as she watched “baby AnnaClaire” on TV! After the video, we gave her her gotcha present. If you remember, while in China we collected 18 gifts to give her for each gotcha day. This year we decided to give her the pearl bracelet. It’s a little big, but is a good fit. We got it made in Beijing and actually watched it being made! As her first gotcha day, we thought it should be a really special gift so we gave her that. She ohhed and awed over her pretty bracelet before going to bed, but not after a few poses with the infamous brush! I cannot believe how much she has grown. A year ago she was 20 pounds, 29 inches, size 12 month clothes. Now she is 28 pounds, 34 inches, and a solid 2T! When we got her her feet was about a size 4.5/5. Now it is a 7.5W! She has grown and flourished so much. When we watched the video, I was shocked by how teeny she was! She was a BABY! She was so little. I never remember her being that little! I love how she has the exact same laugh now that she had then. She was also such a tease! She would always tease us by holding out her hairbrush and then take it back and laugh so hard at herself. I love her so much. I am so thankful for everything God has brought us through in the past year. God is SO good!!

AnnaClaire, it’s hard to believe it’s been a full year since you were placed in our arms. How is that so? Where has the time gone? You have grown so much. You were so scared, afraid, timid, small. Now you are so happy, outgoing, and so much bigger. God is so amazing how He works. I cannot believe all the year has brought. You are the most amazing thing that could ever happen to me. I am so thankful that you are in my life. I love you more than you would ever know. Everything about you, I am just in love with. Your cheesy smiles, silly laughs, hugs, loves, kisses. Everything about you makes me so happy. I just love you so much. You mean the world to me. I love how tonight I asked you to say happy gotcha day for the camera, and you said, “Happy Gotcha Day, camera!” It made me laugh. Everything about you makes me laugh. I love how everything is Anna… I just love you. Never forget that. Thank you for a year of joy and love. Thank you for being my mei mei. Thank you for being sweet. I thank God for every minute and day he has given me to be with you. I love you precious girl. I cannot wait to watch you grow more and more each year. I’ll end with this, the fortune from your fortune cookie… “A lifetime of happiness lies ahead of you.” May that be true, may you always be happy and know you are so loved. You are the best thing that ever happened to me. I love you so much!

Love, Sissy

If you haven't yet watched this, here is AnnaClaire's Story. It's a long (31 min) video. I made it back in February. So if you haven't seen it yet, here it is.


2 China 4 Addison said...

Happy One Year Gotcha Day AnnaClaire! We love you and are so thankful for you and your special family.
Becki and Addie :)

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

HAPPY ONE YEAR GOTCHA DAY ANNACLAIRE!!! How is it possible that it has now, officially, been one whole year with our mei mei's? This past year has definitely been the best!!! Celebrating 12 months with our mei mei's!! YAY!!! =D

Brittany said...

Ohh my Gosh
A year i bet it just seems like yeaterday since you got your little AnnaClaire
It is also hard to belive we have had Lauren almost two months
Merry Chirstmas

Anonymous said...

As I said before... I would LOVE to watch your videos. (Especially Annaclaire's story!) I just can't figure out how to turn the music off. There is no box on your page to t urn off and the song plays over and over again so I can't wait for it to stop playing. Help! I want to watch your videos!!!!

Jenn said...

Horner Family,
It has been wonderful following Anna Claire this year. I cry everytime I see her video, which has been quite a few times. She is such a sweer and happy little girl. Happy forever family day to you all!
<>< Jenn

AC's gotcha day is Abby's b-day. I can hardly wait until it is our gotcha day, still praying for Feb or March.

Allison said...

Oh my goodness, I can't believe how much she has changed. She was such a baby when on Gotcha day! Happy 1 year anniversary to all of you!

Holly said...

Awwww that was the sweetest post! AnnaClaire is such a blessing and I know you just love her to pieces. It is amazing how much they change in just a year. I cannot get over how different Gracie is now than last January. Time goes by so fast!

Jana said...

HAPPY GOTCHA DAY!! And congratulations to you and your family as your prepare to journey for your new little sister. Blessings and happy holidays!