One year ago today we took Jadyn Annabelle into our arms, into our hearts and into our family. This is a well known day in the adoption world, affectionately named “Gotcha Day.” What a wonderful ride.

One year ago today, we awoke early in the morning in Beijing. We quickly packed our bags and went downstairs to catch the bus at 7:30 with the other 12 families from our group. We all anxiously rode the bus to the airport to catch our 10am flight to Nanchang in the Jiangxi province, clutching the picture the only picture we had of our daughter. wheelis-baby-1.jpg

We were lucky among the 43 families in our total group. Most families were landing and going straight to pick up their babies, luggage in tow! We were able to go to our hotel and unpack and take a quick breather before going to the China Center for Adoption Affairs office to pick up our daughters! We found a lovely room waiting for us at the hotel, complete with crib for our new arrival! We anxiously ticked off the TWO HOURS we had to wait before boarding the bus again to the building where we would FINALLY meet our daughter.

While waiting for the elevators to take us to the 26th floor, Robert poked me and said…. “Look at those babies!” dsc04784.jpg

Several workers had come in with babies all dressed in yellow coats and black pants. We wondered if these precious ones were our daugthers. Robert found one and poked me again… “I think that could be Jadyn!” I told him I did not think so. My mind was too closed to the idea that I could be this close to her and not able to run over and grab her! We watched as these babies all went with their caregivers onto different elevators. Sigh….
We rode up the elevator with 3 other couples. The tension and nervousness was thick. When the door opened, we could hear babies crying. We entered into a room of complete chaos! There were babies EVERYWHERE! We were all trying to film for each other and get our eyes on our own child. Where could she be? We were family 13 in our group… W’s are always last in line… and we watched in fascination as the 12 other families took hold of their babies, all of them wearing yellow jackets and black pants, many of the screaming! Finally our turn came. It was indeed the precious girl Robert had seen in the lobby of the building! There was Jadyn! I shifted my weight from foot to foot as they checked our passports against the paperwork and her ID tag. Finally, she was in my arms! She looked from Robert to me and back again, as if to say “Who are you people? You look a little strange to me!” But with out a sound she settled into our arms, reaching for her daddy soon after I held her for a moment. A daddy’s girl is born.


The chaos abounded throughout the room, but Jadyn stayed calm and quiet, even briefly showing us a hint of a smile and two bottom teeth poking through! At last…

We celebrated tonight by going out to our favorite Chinese restaurant here in Tirana (we actually have a few Chinese places!) and enjoyed the food, atmosphere and family. We recounted the day one year ago for Austin and Tyler who listened intently while Jadyn ran around tables and generally charmed everyone in the restuarant. They both remember the first time they saw her on Skype video, on Feb 6th. Austin prayed over our meal and thanked God for his beautiful sister and that she is a part of our family. Who could say anything better? AMEN!


9 responses »

  1. Jaiden is adorable. This has been a day for wonderful memories. How blessed we all are. Can you send me your email address – my computer crashed and I lost it. Thanks.

  2. What a beautiful recount of such a wonderful, blessed day!! Jadyn is growing so much! I can’t believe she’s getting so big, and how she’s changing… I can see the little girl in her now. What a gift you all are to each other! I can see that so clearly, and I’m so proud of you! I love you all so much!

  3. It is great to see pictures (old & new) – she’s just so sweet! I hope you all had a wonderful day — I think we all went to Chinese food! (ha!) The Hartzler’s

  4. Jenny…I’m so happy that I’ve discovered your blog! I frequently check “Journey to Albania”, but I will be checking this one now! Hope it’s okay if I link it to my blog…

    Jadyn is absolutely adorable! I love the sweet little grin in both pictures…how did we all get blessed with such beautiful babies?!

    Happy “Gotcha” Day!

  5. It has to have been 10 years since I spoke with you last! I believe it was the year you co-taught at Mustang HS? That was my sophomore year I think. I found your website in the neatest way. Sometimes God places people from my past on my heart totally randomly. Usually, I think it must be because he wants me to pray for them. I have been thinking about you for about 2 weeks now and decided to do a google search. I found you connected to Trae Hiett’s page! He used to be the youth minister at my church. Then, I began reading your blog and realized how wrong I had it. Of course God wanted me to pray for you and your family, but really he was leading me to your site for ME! I have been reading your blogs for about an hour now and have been moved to tears! Congratulations on your beautiful family and successful ministry. I’m so thankful I found your site and have subscribed so that I can keep reading! How amazing! Blessings to you and yours, Carrie (Diehl) Helm – OKC

  6. Jenny –

    Unbelievable. How did I not know about your personal blog? I’m always going to “Journey to Albania,” but praise God for finding this. I’ve been reading old posts and have just been so moved to see you, my sister, sharing how the Lord has been moving!

    I love you guys and celebrate with you the day all of our prayers were answered a year ago with our precious little girl!

    Can’t wait to see you again!

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