Monday, February 10, 2014

Gotcha Day!

Today was Hannah’s Gotcha Day!  We are tired but going to sleep happy tonight after such a wonderful day.  I want to document the details of today before it all becomes a blur.

We were both up and wide awake by 5:30.  I wish I woke up that alert every morning! We showered and got dressed and organized before going down to breakfast at 8.  Afterwards we skyped the boys before heading to the lobby at 9:30 to meet our group.  I can’t begin to explain how calm and prepared we felt.  It was a peace that could only come from God as we prepared to meet our new daughter.  We were so thankful to be feeling that way and not scared to death or nervous!

The drive to the Civil Affairs office took about 15-20 minutes from our hotel.  One of our 3 guides, Yisha, gave instructions and some tips during our drive there.   Bryan and I were one of the first couples to come into the building off the bus.  We saw that 2 of the 13 children had already arrived! We all rushed to get our cameras ready so we could take pictures and video for the family adopting the 2 children.  

Over the next 2 hours, children arrived one by one.  Their Chinese names were announced and each child was handed to their new parents.  We loved seeing each family receive their new child.  Our group consists of 11 families adopting 13 children.  Two of the families are adopting two children at once.  In total, our travel group grew from 34 people to 47 today!!

Bryan and I continued to wait… and wait… and wait.  Hannah finally showed up- although we couldn’t tell at first.  She was probably the 10th child to arrive.  A nanny came in the door pushing a child completely covered by a blanket in a stroller.  As she uncovered the baby we saw it was a sleepy An Ping — or Hannah Elizabeth Ping Pickett!  Poor Hannah must have been so bewildered.  She went to sleep with her nanny and woke up to a room full of foreigners staring at her and taking pictures.  We slowly said hello to her and I then the nanny handed her to me to hold.  

Hannah’s initial reaction to us could have been anything - especially since she was in a loud, crowded room of unfamiliar people.  We knew she may scream or she may quickly shut down and fall asleep as a way to cope.  In her case, she was fairly withdrawn and bewildered.  She would quickly make eye contact but mostly seemed to be taking things in and uncertain of us — which is totally fair and understandable!  Honestly, when we talked about how we thought she’d react that is exactly what we predicted, without even knowing her.  

We signed some papers, took some official photos and then it was time to go.  We brought Hannah back to our hotel room and quickly let our parents know that we had our girl! We had brief Skype sessions with both of them so they could finally go to bed!  Bryan ordered room service so we could have a quiet, calm lunch in the room.  Before lunch arrived we noticed Hannah was sweating so we took off her warm layers of clothing and put on fresh clothes.  Once the food arrived, Hannah ate noodles, hard boiled egg and congee which is a traditional Chinese rice porridge commonly fed to babies.

After lunch Bryan went to do some paperwork and Hannah and I played in the room! She really impressed me with the dexterity in her hands since they are affected by arthrogryposis.  She could pick up just about any toy, was holding multiple toy bracelets at once and was even able to do a pinscher grasp to pick up a puff.  She has yet to feed herself but we know she’s done it in the past so with opportunity we expect she will start again.  Hannah really enjoyed looking at  books and putting her bracelets into various stacking cups.  She could also take the bracelets off and on by herself.  While we were playing I also had fun putting her first bow on her head and trying on her pink shoes.  She seemed to love the shoes- lifting each foot quickly for me to put them on, looking at them often and admiring the flowers with her hands.  It was too cute to watch! I even caught her later trying to put them back on. 

Trying to put her shoes on!

Bryan made a trip to Walmart with some of our travel group to get water, snacks, diapers and wipes.  When he got back we ordered room service again (we are so fancy!) and ate in the room.  Hannah ate congee, rice, hard boiled egg, bread, and some pizza.  We are having a hard time getting her to drink.  She is definitely not on a bottle anymore, but doesn’t understand a sippy cup, won’t drink water from a regular cup and will only take a small amount from a spoon. Hopefully we will get her to drink more soon!

After dinner we got ready for her bath.  

The file we got the day before her adoption said she loved bath time.  Well, that was a LIE.  She screamed and cried when her feet hit the water.  While this sounds mean to many people, it was great to have her finally cry and show some emotion.  I was so relieved when she let me comfort her.  We abandoned the bath idea and put on pajamas to get ready for bed.  

I could tell she was getting sleepy and began to cradle and rock her back and forth slowly.  At first she seemed uncertain but then settled into my arms and fell asleep.  What a privilege for her to let me comfort her and love her in this way on the first day of being her Mom.  Her courage and strength amaze me.

We Skyped with the boys who were both disappointed that Hannah was sleeping.  After we hung up I put Hannah in the crib and went to get ready for bed myself, only to hear a noise and Bryan saying “OH NO!”.  I came out to find that the bottom of Hannah’s crib had partially broken and collapsed to the ground.  Hannah looked bewildered and awake but did not get upset.  Housekeeping quickly brought us another, more legit crib.  I was able to rock Hannah to help her get cuddly and groggy again, then laid her in the crib where she quickly fell asleep.

Today was just an amazing blessing.  We can hardly believe this dark-eyed beauty is asleep- cozy, warm and loved- in the crib in our room.  While she has been somewhat guarded with us, we have every confidence that in the days to come she will realize she is safe with us and will let her guard down.  

Please continue to pray for us in the days ahead.  Tomorrow (Monday night for you) we will finalize her adoption in the morning and then travel 2.5 hours each way to her birth city (Anyang) to apply for her passport.   We hope to visit the orphanage while we are there but will not know if we can until we get there. Please pray we would be able to go in so we can see where Hannah lived and also check on the other babies being adopted from there.  Please pray for Hannah to feel secure in our arms even if we do take her back inside her orphanage.  Pray for us to have good judgment about how to handle any fears she may have.

Thank you all for being on this incredible journey with us!


  1. Happy Gotcha Day!! It makes my heart so happy to see her in your loving arms. Hannah is one lucky girl. Praying that she continues to adjust well to life with her new family. Can't wait to see more pictures.

  2. YAY! Love the update. I was so teary reading through the whole thing. I love the split pants in the picture ;) Also cracking up that they told you she loved a bath.... Continuing to pray for you all often. Especially praying for your time at the orphanage.

  3. Congratulation, this brings back such wonderful memories of when we went to China to get our precious Fu Lin Que (Grace Xiao-Ling Que) in July 2011.

  4. Sounds like a wonderful day! Congratulations :)

  5. What a wonderful story!! Congrats again...i have been thinking about and praying for you all so much!!

  6. What beautiful moments with your girl! She is a doll!

  7. oh betsy!!!!!!!! the picture of you holding sleeping hannah! sitting at my desk at work with ugly cry face. what an intense and beautiful little girl!!!

  8. Happy Gotcha Day from one Anyang mom to another! Hannah is beautiful....what a precious little treasure. Looking forward to keeping up with your journey.

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