One year ago today, our littlest girl became a part of our family. The moments of that day will never escape my memory... it was far from perfect, yet somehow, it was perfect in every way. It was a Saturday morning, our first morning in Beijing. Our travel group was going to tour the Great Wall that morning, while we were off to receive our baby girl, who at the time we thought was the completion of our family. (Ohh how things change in one year!) Our guide, Maggie, came to get us from the hotel at 9am. Drew (he was studying abroad in Beijing at the time) had met us the night before and slept at our hotel, so we were all together and loaded into a van that Maggie had rented for us. We drove down to Philip Hayden, about a 45 minute drive. The emotions were high... I couldn't even sit still. After a few wrong turns, we finally arrived there! We dropped off some donations for all the kids and then Leah took us on a mini-tour of PHF, while we waited for a certain lady to come who was to oversee the gotcha moment. After playing with some of the orphans whom we had grown to love over the past few months, we headed back to a big conference room at the front of the village. Leah told us a bit about Kate, and how she was VERY afraid of strangers. Before we knew it, a nanny was walking in, holding our precious, tiny, 19 month old girl... She was so perfect... The nanny brought her over to Mom, and as Kate shook her head no and started screaming, Mom held her for the first time. Kate screamed and screamed. The sweetest part of the moment came when Mom kneeled down and AnnaClaire came over and gave Kate and M&M. She stopped crying immediately, just chewing her M&M and looking at her big sister.
It wasn't long before she started back on the screaming... After Mom held for awhile, we all got a chance... she was the calmest for me :) Yep... we had a Sissy's girl for those first few weeks in China! Mom took her again, as Kate wailed. Leah told us to maybe let her have a little while with just Mom, so then the rest of us whent to go check out the two houses that Kate had lived in. All the kids were sleeping, so we just got to see the houses and her room. I about cried as I saw that her little crib was one away from Gracie's (the daughter of one of our chatty sisters) crib... is God awesome or what?! After getting a glimpse of where she had lived for the past 15 months, we headed back, to find Kate still screaming. We hugged Leah and thanked her for all she had done in Kate's little life, and then we were off. The minute Mom sat down in the van with Kate, she stopped crying and fell right to sleep. She never really cried the rest of the time in China... yet she had the saddest, most somber face as she grieved all she lost in just a few moments. It pains me to look at pictures from that first day... She looks so scared, so afraid... I look at her today, one year later, and my heart is full. She may not have grown much physically (she has still yet to reach the 20 pound mark)... except for her feet, which have gone from a size 2 to a 6...
In honor of Kate's 1st Forever Family Day, I put together a video all about her... starting with the day she was born. It's kind of long, although considering it's 31 months of her life summed up into 13 minutes of a video, it really is kind of short. I hope you will watch it. It's firsthand the MIRACLE of adoption... The MIRACLE of Kate! (Turn your volume up... there's music and some video clips)
Happy Forever Family Day, Kate! I love you so much! Can't wait to celebrate with a Great Wall of Chocolate at PF Cha*ngs and a little present later... I love you sweet girl and am so thankful that God so perfectly brought our lives together one year ago today... Love FOREVER, Sissy