Saturday, June 28, 2008

4 years ago today

Four years ago today our lives were changed forever. Jetty was placed in our arms at the Lottery Hotel in Nanning, Guangxi, China. It was amazing... she looked right into our eyes and it was like we knew each other forever. She always wakes up happy in the morning, loves telling jokes and acting very silly. We are celebrating tonight by watching her video, reading her toddler lifebook, eating at a Chinese restaurant and giving her a gift that we bought for her in China. Last night I pulled out all the gifts and Doug and I decided which would be best to give her this year. We decided on a children's porcelain Chinese tea set in a pretty brocade box.

I found this letter I wrote on our 1 year family day or gotcha day...

One year ago today……
One year ago today our lives changed forever. Our sweet daughter that we had dreamed and prayed for was placed into our arms.
We began the day finishing up paperwork before being united with the babies in the afternoon. It seemed so surreal that the baby we had longed for was finally going to be placed into our arms. As we walked through the lobby of the Majesty Hotel in Nanning to board our bus it was full of other adoptive families with their babies. What a beautiful site to see all of those forever families together. We boarded the bus with the eight other families to journey to the Lottery Hotel to pick up the babies. I think the ride was about fifteen minutes to the hotel but it seemed like an eternity. I felt like I could have jumped out of my skin.
When we reached the hotel and we were boarding the elevator there were other families leaving the floor with their new babies. There was lots of crying, both of babies and new parents. We were told to sit in the seats against the wall as a government official spoke to us from a podium. I never heard a word she said because I was looking at the doorways trying to get a glimpse of the nannies and babies in the hallway.
Finally, the babies were brought in by the nannies and we had to wait for our names to be called. There she was, our little Jin Jie Li. We knew her right away. I had stared at that photo for eight weeks and knew her face by heart. As she was held in her nanny’s arms she was mesmerized by the lights on the ceiling and kept sticking out her little tongue. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and she was our daughter! When our name was called and she was handed to us I felt a sudden calm that I never expected. Our journey was finally coming to an end. Jetty never cried but just looked at us as if to say, “ What took you so long?”. We had our daughter and it felt so perfect.
On the ride back on the bus Jetty Jie Li fell asleep. We just stared at her and I fought the incredible urge to wake her up. At the hotel we placed her in the little metal crib that we had been preparing for her in the room. We all sat around watching her sleep. She woke up a short time later and we all laid on the ground playing with her. Grandma was the first to get a good belly laugh from her that night and Grandpa took lots of pictures.
Now I can’t imagine our life without that laugh and smile. Jetty fills our heart with laughter and we are better people because of her. Each time I walk out in the backyard and find seashells in her familiar hiding places or crayons in the dishwasher I think of her and smile. She has us laughing and smiling more then I ever could have imagined and it feels so good. Jetty Jie Li has turned into a loving, adventurous, curious and joyful toddler. There is no doubt that God chose Jetty to be our daughter and we are so blessed.

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