Tuesday, March 25, 2008

One Year Ago Today...

It is a long one, so sorry!

The two "alone travelin'" daddies climbing the wall

The Gang

After a weekend of sightseeing and pretty laid back travel (insert laughter, travel is never laid back for poor Rob), Rob and Jim became
Two Men and a Baby.

To this day, in Em's school ,which is also Jim and Gerry's church, others see us and say, "Hey, you are two men and a baby!" Yep, that is true. Without all the prayers of so many loving people and the teamwork of Rob and Jim, receiving Hannah would have been so much more difficult.

I think of Jim so fondly, especially today, because Jim recorded precious first moments with Hannah, for which we will always be grateful. He was a calming factor for not only my dear husband, but for other families receiving their daughters. He rocked babies, grabbed bottles, fished diapers out of diaper bags. In the moments when Rob was too emotional to speak, Jim graciously took the phone and spoke to me calmly about our daughter. He took pictures and paid attention to details. He helped my husband change scared, fragile, sick Hannah on the men's room floor of Wal-Mart after a particularly toxic explosion. Now, friends that is what I call kindness. Jim is now enjoying his grandson as often as he can, and for this we could not be more overjoyed. Thanks, Jim for being such a special part of Hanniversary:)

I also think with great gratitude of Terilyn and Steve (pictured above on Forever Family Day 4/4/07 with Lyla), who handed over their International Cell so that dear Kim and I could hear every bit of our husbands' first minutes with Kate and Hannah.

I am combining two days excerpts from our original website because Hannah was placed in her loving daddy's arms just before 11:00 PM 3/25/07 for us and just before 11:00 AM 3/26/07 for those in China.

From 3/25
Rob said the hotel is beautiful - he has taken video both at the Beijing Hotel and now at the Jingfeng. He indicated that it was pretty surreal walking into the room and being greeted with Hannah's crib. Though he is nervous about the unknown of what comes next, he is excited and surely emotional.

As I write this, I am ultimately aware that in just two and half hours, Hannah Leigh Xiaowei will be united for the first time with her daddy. She will leave the care of nannies that have loved her and taken care of her for nine months. Her world will be different, our world will be different and I can't think of a greater blessing in this life. I will be able to hear the activity via cell phone when Rob receives Hannah and of course, the group will be snapping pictures like crazy as each family becomes a forever family in the Civil Affairs building in a bustling town in China. Patience is everything... and we have made it this far, just a few more days and Emily and I will meet the daughter and sister destined to be ours. We pray for her nannies, for her friends she will be leaving, for Rob and all of the families who share this forever day with us and especially for Hannah as she readies to be part of a family for the first time in her young life.

From 3/26
Thanks to Steve and Terilyn (and their international phone), Rob called me minutes (10:27) before he was handed Hannah! I had the priviledge of hearing the whole thing albeit slightly muffled and much of it in a language I cannot understand), I was with him at that moment (10:39 PM USA). Hannah has a cold and is running a very high fever, but they said she is alert and very content. Her nanny took her to the doctor before bringing her to meet her family. Rob fed her a bottle at 11:02 and he left the phone to do so - I could hear him telling everyone not to hang up on me -- I was anxious for them to get me off the line so they could phone Kim, so she could hear the whole experience, when her husband received Kate Emerson. The energy from that room was overwhelming - it sounded like chaos. Rob said she is dressed all in pink and he had the guide, Vanessa help translate a series of predetermined questions to be answered by Hannah's nannies. One of her three nannies was there and Rob said she kept coming back to get her, the nanny was crying and he felt she was having a hard time releasing her.

Her fingernails and toenails were painted bright red and she had a gold silk scarf around her little neck. She had brand new shoes on and the nanny gave Rob a scrapbook, a pendant for her wedding day (Rob could not even put these things into words, he was crying too much) and all of the items that were sent in her care package. Rob said she was immaculately clean and cared for (Praise God!).

Hannah with Her Nanny, meeting Vanessa (the guide) - Rob is talking to me:)

She is checking out Daddy!

Uh oh, we do not look happy!

Getting better...

First Bath!
This last picture embodies Rob's true spirit. He is a nurturing father. I remember seeing this picture and crying, believing Hannah was truly our daughter. Shortly after this picture was taken, Rob and I talked and he said that it was, as he expected, love at first sight. Sick and needing the cautious care of an over protective Daddy, Rob rose to the occasion. His fear was overpowered by his desire to protect his baby. Thank you Rob and Jim for leaping head first into the biggest adventure we will ever know.

Hannah Leigh, this day will always be special to us. We love you and can't wait to celebrate Forever Family Day on April 4th.


Kate said...

Oh Heather...the picutre of Rob giving Hannah a bath made me cry! THe tenderness and care are so evident. What a speical friend you have to make that journey with your husband. I am sure it was aspecial time for him to...to witness the making of so many happy families.

Thanks for sharing these intensely personal thoughts and photos.

Don and Lisa Osborn said...

Dear Heather,

Just lost a comment that I posted...Will try again!

I have checked over and over today waiting for what I knew would be a loving and heartfelt post about your special friend, Jim, your faithful and BRAVE husband, and your darling new daughter. You did not disappoint...

Today I celebrate that God stationed such loving caregivers around Hannah and that He chose her JUST FOR YOU! I love how you get to see more and more of who she is and who she's becoming each day.

Give Hannah Leigh love from her Auntie Lisa and Lindy Li.

Love you,

mommy24treasures said...

oh what precious lifetime memories, Heather! I knew I shared the experience of being home while Daddy met Caitlyn with Kim from 3 Peanuts; but did not realize I shared it with you as well.
How touching to know your daughter was so loved and cherished before coming to you. Thank you for sharing today. Happy 1 yr. I know your heart is full today.

Dawn said...

What a wonderful day...I guess I did't know your husband traveled alone...what a wonderful man. The picutre of him bathing Hannah is just priceless.

Kristy said...

That is just beautiful and one day this account of that day will just be priceless to Hannah. I truly pray to God that this really happens for us one day soon.

Love and blessings ,Kristy

Sharon Sloan said...

Oh, Heather...what a beautiful blog site! I just love it! I have tears in my eyes reading about your Hanniversary! We rejoice with you for your beautiful girls!

We love Jim Bonner...what a great brother in Christ!

Love you! Gabrielle sends her hugs to Emily! :)

Linette said...

I love reading about all these memories! Especially since we hadn't met in blogland yet. I'm so thankful God chose your family for sweet Hannah Leigh. Thank you so much for sharing! Now off to find my Kleenexes. ;)

Kimber said...


You have expressed all of the emotions of that day so beautifully. I am glad that the guys had each other and that we did too. Please pass our thank on to Jim as well. He ought to come to the reunion!!!

I remember talking to you on Skype that week. Hannah looks so sweet in the tub. Happy HAnnahversary. this has been such a blessed year! Cannot wait to see you all in a few weeks.


Stefanie said...

Goosebumps!! How precious and touching... nothing like daddies and daughters :) What a blessing your sweet Hannah is!

Leslie said...

Heather this is such a precious recollection of that special day. There is nothing like Gotcha Day. She is so beautiful! I had followed Kim and Dave's journey to Kate and I knew that there was another Daddy who took a friend. I have known for a while that you were that family, it is fun to see your memories of that day as well. What a special Daddy and "uncle" Jim to make the trip to bring Hannah home. What a story they can tell Hannah when she gets older.
Thank you also for the sweet comments on both of my blogs, we must chat about the one issue! Sounds like we have lots in common ;).
Enjoy these special days with your family!

Sheri said...

How incredible that even though you were back home, you were able to be so much a part of Hannah Day through a cell phone and other modern technology! What an amazing hubby you have. The pictures of him with Hannah are just precious. God truly blessed you all with Jim. What an awesome support he was to your husband, and well as to the other families. How fun to see pictures of Dave and Will, too. I didn't realize until recently that your two families had this connection. That is truly an awesome thing. As with our family and Leslie's, it is a life-long bond that has been formed and will bring such blessing to you. I'm thoroughly enjoying your trip down memory lane!

The Byrd Family said...

Thanks for coming to my blog. I will take some time this evening to read through yours. I will say I LOVE that you have a prayer list on the side of your blog! I have never seen that nor thought of it!! I may have to steal that idea too! (Not a bad thing to steal!)

The day God handed these precious children to us was truly a day of Great Praise!

MacMui Mom said...

I remember being teary eyed last year as I shared the journey to Hannah through your blog. What a blessing it has been to continue to follow your sweet story and see your beautiful daughters blossom and grow. Thanks for being such a great friend!


Jodee Leader said...

Thanks for sharing Gotcha Day with us. I loved all of the pictures. I agree with Stefanie -- there is nothing sweeter than daddys with their daugthers!

Kelley said...

What a beautiful, beautiful post! I just love your story!

prechrswife said...

Happy 1 year! What precious memories for all of you!

Denise C said...

OH Heather...what a precious friend you have in this kind man! These are moments you will forever treasure! How blessed you are dear friend! Thank you for sharing this very special time of your lives with us !
Sweet Blessings to you sweet friend!

ADELE said...

I have loved reading this post. What a great friend you all have that would travel with your husband to bring your daughter home. I am sure he will never forget it either. Enjoy celebrating this very special occasion.
I have to ask, where did you get the owl pj's in a previous post? I MUST have a pair for Mallory. :)


it is priceless and i never tire of reliving my Gotcha Days ... both were so different, but each so precious and I am thankful to the Lord for what he taught me in both of them ... I am better mother, wife, friend, and person for them ...

Leslie said...

Hi Heather,

I also didn't know you didn't travel with your DH. I just found this out as well with Kim at 3 Peanuts blog. Both of you DH's are just that Darling. I just love your post and your family.

Lori said...

Wow Heather, thanks for sharing the details of the special day to Hannah. I love hearing the details and imagining the experience. :)
I was cracking up at the pic of Hannah in the tub~ she looks so tiny!!


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