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.
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.
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!