Today is what we adoptive parents fondly refer to as "Gotcha Day!"  Four years ago today we brought our gorgeous daughter home from Guatemala to be with her forever family!

That day was such a monumental time I can't even begin to describe it!  Going through the adoption process was actually like being pregnant, but without the big belly and morning sickness!

We had to go through training and filled in mountains of paperwork which took from August to October.  In the scheme of things and compared to other folks we completed this part of the process rather quickly!  I was super motivated so I kept at it! (Ryan says I completed it in "Amy Time" which in my mind is how all time should be handled - very quickly!)

On October 31st 2006 I got the call I was waiting for!  The adoption agency called to tell us that we were the only people in line for a baby in Guatemala and there were many babies waiting!  We could choose the region the baby was born in or the baby's gender.  Initially we had said that we would take a boy or a girl - we just wanted a healthy baby.  We had thought that we would get a boy since most people requested a girl and we were happy with that!  When I was told I had a choice I had no idea what to do!

Of course Ryan was not reachable by telephone because he was out of town for business meetings and I was freaking out!  After I called Ryan for the sixth time in 10 minutes our phone rang and it was our pastor!  I have to say that God just works wonders!  She felt the need to call me and say hello and it was exactly what I needed at that point!  We prayed on the phone together and I calmed down enough to not continue to speed dial Ryan!

After Ry and I talked, we decided that we really didn't want to choose a boy or a girl.  We wanted God to make the choice for us.  We called the agency and asked that we have the youngest baby because we knew it could take a long time to get the baby home.  Our baby was 3 weeks old when we received our referral.  I knew her given name, date of birth, place of birth, and the name of her birth mother.  That was it.  I knew she was healthy and I knew she was ours!  I didn't need anything else!  The moment I was told she was mine I felt bonded to her as if I had given birth to her.  I know that is hard to understand as I hadn't even seen a picture of her, but that is how strongly I felt toward her!

It took four long months before we were given the ok to go and meet her in Guatemala.  We had to wait on more paperwork and the DNA test to come back positive between her birth mother and her.  At the end of February we journeyed to the Land of Eternal Spring for the first time to meet our daughter!

We spent a few days touring the country so we could share pictures and experiences about our daughter's birth country with our children.  We loved the country and the people!  On the day we were to meet our daughter for the first time I paced on the balcony of our hotel for hours!  (No one else runs on "Amy Time"!)  We waited with another couple for our daughters to arrive.  We had never seen a picture of her so we had no idea who to be on the look out for!  We expected a tiny little girl with black hair as most people from Guatemala are on the smaller side.

There were a few times that vans arrived and we jumped up flashing picture after picture of strangers only to realize they were guests of the hotel and were not there to bring us our daughter!  Finally the moment arrived and Lorena, our lawyer, took our baby out of the car!  I tear up thinking about it right now.  I just about flew down the stairs to get to them!  She was not the tiny baby we expected, but she was the most beautiful baby we had ever seen!  We sat with the foster mother who cried as she handed us our baby and talked about her habits!

The four days we had Lola in the hotel she was the best baby and so quiet!  She loved her bath and slept with me in my bed so well.  We couldn't leave the hotel with her so we played dress up with her and took lots of pictures of her in different outfits!  There were many other adoptive parents in the hotel as well so we had fun meeting people that didn't live too far away from us in Michigan!

I wasn't prepared for how fast I would fall in love with my daughter.  We came to Guatemala knowing that we would have to leave without her so I thought that it wouldn't be that difficult because I knew what was coming.  I was wrong!  So wrong!  This time I was happy when the lawyer was late to take her back to the foster mom.  I don't remember ever sobbing as hard as I did in front of others as when I turned around and walked away from my sleeping baby!  It was awful!

This time our trip was very short!  We arrived, spent a day at a flea market, got Lola the next day, went to court the third day, picked up documents from court the fourth day, and left on the fifth day!  It was a whirlwind!  The night before we left Guatemala to go home I got very ill!  I must have eaten something that had been washed with tap water because I was singing to the porcelain god all night long and all morning before boarding the plane.  You know you don't feel well when you lay down on the airport floor in Guatemala.  Let's just say I wouldn't set my dog (if I had one) on that floor!  I was so sick I couldn't even hold Lola on my lap on the plane!  We were so blessed to be traveling on the same day as a couple who took their daughter home as well and live very close to us!  They had their mother with them so an extra set of hands was there to help us as well!  I don't know how we could have done it because Lola demanded to be held 24/7 and I was worthless for most of the day!

We arrived in our home airport to a sea of people!  Everyone was so excited to meet our new baby and we were so excited to show her off because frankly she was the most beautiful thing ever!  Jackson couldn't have been more tickled!  He loved her so much and was the only one allowed to feed her her bottle besides Mommy and Daddy!  He took his duty as a big brother very seriously!

Each year on Lola's Gotcha Day we get out her book and go through it and talk about her story.  (we get the book out when she wants to look at it as well, but we always are sure to look at it on her Gotcha Day) She likes to hear how Jackson made her a special teddy bear and how she screamed each time we set her down so Daddy had to take a shower with her.  She likes to look at the pictures we took and smiles big when we tell her about her adventures!  We have had a party for her in the past, but this year we are just going to celebrate with cake and ice cream because that was her request!

Tikal - which we saw on our visit trip

Our sweet baby!  This is the first day we met her!

Look at those cheeks!

Two other families we met in Guatemala who were adopting girls!  They all live near us and one of the girls has the same Gotcha Day as Lola!
I can't express to you how blessed we feel to have such a special daughter in our lives!  She was the most perfect baby picked out for our family!  Adoption is a wonderful thing!


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