Saturday, July 2, 2011

Four Years

It is so amazing to me. Four years ago today we walked into a hot civil affairs office all the way in Chongqing China. 

I remember that day like it was yesterday. All of the world seemed to stand perfectly still. I lost my breath the moment that sweet man gave her to my Mom. The pure joy in our hearts is indescribable. She was every dream come true we could have ever imagined. 
Anna Grace's gotcha day was so beautiful, perfect, and just plain amazing. God was so there. It was something so magical and perfect that my life is forever changed because of a little 12lb baby girl that lived in China. I had no idea the impact China would have on my life. The moment she was placed in my Mom's arms all of heaven must have rejoiced. I don't think anyone in that room was not crying. We all were.
I love the way my Mom told her Gotcha Day, so here it is..
Our day started at 5 am-we put our bags outside the door and went to breakfast.  we boarded the bus at 6:30 only to find out that there was a problem with check out.  30 minutes later we were on our way to the airport.  I prayed the whole way we would not miss our flight.  The traffic was unusually bad and you could tell the guide and driver were worried.  We literally ran through the airport to gate 40.  We boarded the plane and the doors closed. What a close call.  Our flight lasted 2 hours.  Once we arrived at the Chongqing airport is was so amazing to know that we were closer to Anna Grace than we had ever been.  The airport was much calmer than Beijing.  We boarded our bus and met our guide, Deborah.  We then went to lunch.  Everyone just wanted to go to the hotel.  It was nerve wracking.  We ate our last lunch with Anna Grace with the Apisa and Reece family.  Once we got to the hotel we had just a few minutes before we had to meet on the 4th floor to do paperwork.  We got to see a photo of Anna Grace for her passport.  She looked so different.  They had shaved her head and it was barely grown out.  She looked so grown up.  After almost an hour, we had 15 minutes to run to our room and get our bags.  I was so nervous, I was dizzy.  I really thought I was going to pass out.  Nausea was a real problem.  We got on the bus with 8 other families and drove about 15 minutes to the Civil Affairs Office.  We rode the elevator up to the 14th floor.  When we walked in other families were meeting their babies.  We had to go into a glass enclosed room.  Across the counter we could see the nannies and the babies.  We could not find Anna Grace.  Right away they brought the babies over and started calling families. We were family 8 so I was trying to snap pictures of the other families moments.  In literally 2 minutes they were calling our number.  A male nanny had Anna Grace.  I cannot describe the moment.  He handed her to me and she was saying Da Da Da.  She acted like it was the most natural thing in the world.  Like this is where I belong.  My heart was overflowing with love.  Ashton could not stop crying.  I was amazed at the blessing I had been handed.  She was so sweet.  She let everyone hold her.  The most emotional part was when her nanny approached her saying "Lai Lai." She tenderly held her face and kissed her goodbye.  I was trying to grab the camera.  She was very sad to be telling this precious child goodbye.  My heart broke for her.  You could so see the love each of them had for the babies.  We did get a chance to talk to the nannies.  They said that Lai Lai loved music and dancing.  That she was quite and liked to be tossed in the air to laugh.  They said that she was afraid of the color black.  Glad we were wearing red.  They gave us back the disposable camera that we sent in her care package-PRICELESS. I can't wait to have them developed.  We are so blessed.  We took her back to the room and fed her.  She then got her 1st bath(which took all 6 of us) and daddy clipped her nails.  She was a baby doll.  We are so in love with the beautiful blessing straight from the hands of God. 
We always fall on our knees praising the One who placed this perfect little girl in our arms. 
Because of this little girl I am forever changed. Never will I be the same. My heart is broken for the Orphan. For forever. Because of her. 

Because of this little girl, two more children will know the love of a family. Because of her there will be 147 million orphans minus 3.
Because of this little girl, We all know how to love in ways we never thought possible.
Because of this little girl, I have witnessed what awesome Daddy's my brothers will one day be. They love Anna Grace like there is no tomorrow and will do anything for her.
Because of this little girl, there is so much joy in our lives it is unspeakable.
Because of this little girl, I am who I am today.
Without this little girl, I don't know where I would be today, but I can tell you it would be no where near as happy as I am today with my sweet girl in my lap as we all gather and celebrate her "gotcha day"

Happy Gotcha Day my beautiful girl. You are so loved. So cherished. I cannot imagine not having your laugh, smile, tickle, tiny feet all through the house, and your sweet voice in my daily life. You made me who I am today, Anna Grace. For you, I will be forever grateful.
I love you to the moon and back my little one. Forever, and ever and ever again.
I love you most,
*A post of the last four years in pictures is coming soon, but today I am celebrating my girl. All 24lbs of her. The Cake. The Presents. The Smiles. Oh, and the fact we are chilling at the beach as I speak type. Yep, pretty rockin' Gotcha Day, huh? ;) More to come, promise.


  1. Ashton,

    What a beautiful post, it's the first thing I read this morning and it put some happy tears in my eyes. The beautiful encouraging words you used in your post over your baby sister, priceless! I so can tell she is very loved by you, your brothers and your parents. It makes me want my Emma that much more. Sam, has been waiting for his sister over 5 yrs now and I hope he falls in love with Emma like you did with your Anna Grace!
    God is so good!
    God Bless,

  2. Happy Anniversary! Your sister is so adorable in these photos. Your family is beautiful and amazing! Many blessings to you all, Cindy


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