In mid August we knew the approval was coming down the pipe and would happen soon. We were hoping to get to China and back before the end of September because due to holidays there would be a shut down of offices in China the first few weeks of October. If we didn't make the last gotcha day in September (the 14th) then we would have to wait until at least October 19 for the next one. Well, our agency emailed us September 3 and informed us if we got approval by Monday, Sept 7, we could still make the 14th gotcha day. If that was the case we should be prepared to leave on the 11th. That is EXACTLY what happened. We received travel approval on Monday Sept 7, and left on a jet plane that Friday, Sept 11. Talk about a whirlwind week! But with the help of family and friends, we made it happen!!
So, we were off on a plane for 24 hours of travel to Fuzhou, China to meet our daughter.
someday I will publish our daily diary I kept while we were there. We arrived on Saturday September 12, and were scheduled to meet our daughter on Sunday the 13th. Time to rest and psych ourselves up for that meeting!
We met Leah in our hotel at 4pm the next day. She was in a conference room with a few people from Civil Affairs and someone I assume was from the orphanage. The whole thing was so surreal. There she sat in a big office type chair, by herself, looking scared to death. I asked if I could pick her up, and was granted permission. She came to me without much fight. You could tell she was scared but was so quiet, and still is today. She is a very quiet little girl, most of the time ;) We signed a few papers promising not to take off with her from the hotel, basically and we were done! She was ours to take. CRAZY!!! We were handed this 16 month old little girl that came along with NO instructions. We had no idea what she wanted to eat, or when she wanted to sleep, nothing. The orphanage person took off so fast we didn't have a chance to ask any questions, we were on our own! Off we went to get to know each other.
|Gotcha Day! 09-13-2015|
|Saying goodbye to Fuzhou, her home city.|
The next ten days were filled with meeting new people, sightseeing, appointments and fun. We were with one other gentleman and his daughter on the first 5 days of our trip. They were there adopting his and his wife's 51th and 16th child! They had 7? bio kids and the rest were adopted with some sort of special need! The girls they were there adopting, one had downs syndrome and the other had Apert syndrome, I believe. Such a great family. They arrived home with Brooke and Jillian in Seattle on Sept 24. On Monday Sept 28, their daughter Brooke, tragically passed away. It was found that she had pneumonia that went straight to her blood stream and the Lord took her home. Please keep this family in your prayers still today as they are dealing with this loss.
The second half of the trip was in Guangzhou, China. We were in a group with 9 other families and were so happy to meet them! In Guangzhou we had a medical appointment, consulate appointment and some more sight seeing, eating dinners with our new friends. Then, on the 23rd of Sept, it was time to come HOME!!!!! I was ready! WE were ready!
|Dinner with the goup|
|Shamian Island (shopping)|
So, this happened exactly one month ago today! We were so excited to see the kids and let them meet their sister for the first time!
Leah is such a gift! It feels like she has always been here! We cannot believe that the Lord chose us to be her parents and her family. Everyday we look at her an are struck by how beautiful she is and how blessed we are to have her. She has changed us, all of us, forever. Her smile will light up a room. Her laugh is contagious. She has really come out of her shell in the past month. She has gone from sleeping in our bed, to sleeping in a pack and play next to our bed and just today, we put her in her crib in her own room for her nap. She loves to cuddle, play, laugh, explore and eat! Eating was interesting to figure out. She started out really bland, but is starting to explore more flavor and textures. We have been out and about lately and she does so well!!! I would say transition and attachment are going beautifully! That all is possible because of all the prayers and support we have gotten from all of you! We cannot begin to thank you enough for the cards, meals, and visits. It means the world!
We are excited to see what the next months and years holds for her. I'm sure we will discover more treasures the is hiding from us! We'll keep you posted.
|1 Month HOME!!!!|