Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy Gotcha Day Drew

One year ago today we became Drew's parents FOREVER. What a glorious day. That day was long and full of lots of raw emotions. The only home he had ever known and the only people he had ever known were suddenly replaced by these crazy people who just wanted to kiss and hold him. I will always wonder what went through his little mind.

The day started with us going to the orphanage to pick up Drew and Layne Nhi (the Perkins' little girl). When we arrived, Layne Nhi came right out with her nanny to meet her mommy and daddy. Charlie and I climbed the staircase to get Drew. Once we were upstairs, we found Drew and his nanny, Thao, in the room beside the little kids bedroom. It was like a storage room for the extra cribs, supplies and such. She was holding him and talking to him and crying....sobbing. Her little heart was breaking. We stepped out onto the balcony for a few minutes to give her a little bit of time alone with him to say good bye. One of the older nannies came in and talked to her. She turned around, kissed Drew one more time and gave him to me. I tried my best to say thank you in Vietnamese. She ran from the room crying. We walked into the bedroom so I could take a picture of his crib. She came in, put him in the crib so I could take the picture. She loved on him a little more and then left the room. It was such a sweet moment. You could tell that she truly loved this child.

This is Thao with Drew shortly after we arrived at the orphanage. As you can see her little eyes are red and puffy.

After we said our good byes upstairs, we headed downstairs to meet with the Director of the orphanage. We had a brief meeting with him, the assistant director and the social worker. Then it was time to head to the actual Giving and Receiving Ceremony. As we packed up the van to leave, Thao ran downstairs with a bottle for Drew.

This picture tears at my heart. You can't see it very well in the picture, but Thao is on the other side of the window and Drew has his little hand pressed against the window. Such a tender moment.

It didn't take long to go to the Justice Center. We arrived, walked upstairs and sat down. Drew fell asleep and slept through the entire ceremony. The officials came in, reviewed the paperwork and we signed some more papers. They they asked Charlie and Andy to make a statement.

The ceremony wasn't boring....just tiresome to a 1 year old. I loved holding my sleeping baby.

Phoung (Dillon Staff) with the orphanage director and the Justice official.

After the ceremony we headed downstairs. During our ceremony, a group of about 12 students came in. They were studying to be social workers. They were there to observe the ceremony.
Our travel buddies, Jill, Andy and Layne Nhi Perkins along with the social work students immediately following our Giving and Receiving Ceremony.
After the photos, it was time to get back in the van and go back to the hotel to check out. We still had a long drive back to Ho Chi Minh ahead of us. But, honestly...that didn't really matter. We finally had Drew. The long was to get him was over.
After we checked out of the hotel, we drove the 7 hours back to Ho Chi Minh. That's a long drive. Layne Nhi did great and so did Drew. He slept quite a bit, played some and was really a trouper. He was so tired by the time we hit a traffic jam just outside of Ho Chi Minh. He cried and cried and cried. Threw up...cried some more.....threw up some more....cried. Finally, he fell back to sleep. When we arrived back at the Rex, we got into our room and I tried desperately not to wake him. I even changed his diaper and clothes while he was lying on his tummy. That was a first for me.
The day finally came. We waited 10 LONG months from the time of our referral to travel. Not as long as Julie and Scarlett waited though. But still a ridiculously long time. We couldn't believe that it had finally happened and that we were almost completely finished. Just a little more paperwork and we would be done. We LOVED Vietnam. Let me say that again. WE LOVED VIETNAM. It's a beautiful country with beautiful people. I'm trying to put a slide show together of our time in Vietnam...hopefully I can get that done soon.
On July 31, 2008....God completed our family when a little boy from a small town in Vietnam became ours forever.


The Labontes said...

I feel priviledged to have followed along on both of your journeys. God created a lovely family. Enjoy Gotcha Day!

Julie & Patrick said...

What tender, hard and wonderful moments you endured to complete your family. The nanny experience must have been excruciating. Thank you for sharing your touching story.

Happy gotcha day, Drew!!

Julie r

jasonliberty said...

What a precious story! Thank you for sharing!! :-)

Julie said...

Happy Gotcha Day!!!!

I remember Drew's nanny. She was such a sweet girl. I know it must be so hard for them.

Have a wonderful day today. All those pictures you took for me helped to get me through.

Big hugs to all of you!!!

NHP said...

Thank you for sharing everything, even the hard parts. What a beautiful story and family God has given you and Charlie.

Anonymous said...

He is so precious! I loved reading your story.So glad you all are together now with each other.

Neil, Amy & The Girls said...

Happy Gotcha Day sweet boy!! What sweet memories!