Monday, April 5, 2010

Gotcha Day!

Amy And Tessa

As most of you know, I am most anxious to just have my life back to normal, whatever the new normal is. The only problem is, it can't start being normal until Tessa arrives. So yesterday, after all these years, finally, she arrives. It was pretty surreal and overwhelming and even now I am not sure what to make of it all.

Our coordinator, Catherine, told us to be in the business center at conference room six shortly before 4:00. We arrived to a huge UN style conference room. There was a long shiny wooden table surrounded by huge leather armchairs and big microphones at every seat. Catherine had a lot of paper with her and an assistant, also from FTIA, Helen. We five families chatted nervously and then suddenly the four kids from the Yiyang orphanage were being brought into the room. The four babies were dressed identically in little white and blue outfits that said "love" on the front. They all appeared healthy, clean and very rosy cheeked. Not a single one was crying.

Tessa was the first one to come in, and we were the first to receive our child, and then it was just a flurry of kids and pictures and cameras and crying and cheerios being flung everywhere. I would glance up occasionally to see Clara, Pam's little girl squealing over a stuffed Panda that Pam brought, or a grandparent crying or Catherine running around snapping pictures or a new dad holding a baby. Grayson was taking video with the i-phone. One woman in our group, Rana from Northern Kentucky, was getting little Josie from a different orphanage, and she helped by taking pictures. Suddenly her director walked in with Josie and she was swept up in all the emotion as well.

The babies were all sizes, some bigger and some smaller. Tess was one of the smallest kids and has a lot of hair. She was the only one of the bunch not fostered and has spent all her days at the orphanage. The director of the orphanage was a middle aged woman and she called her Jian-Jian (sounds like gin-gin). Catherine told us to have all our questions ready and she would translate. I, of course, spent a lot of time asking questions about life at the orphanage and why wasn't she fostered like the rest. I wanted to know what the orphanage was like so I could tell Tessa her story someday.
Big brother Grayson and "Tess"

They produced the notes that all the birthmother's wrote and left with their babies. Ours was black ink on red paper and simply had the date of her birth on it.

They brought us formula and a small souvenir for her from the orphanage, a keepsake necklace with an ox on it since she is the year of the ox. Then we went to our rooms for a bit and were told to return in 30 minutes to do paperwork which we did. We managed to get a few group photos in their identical outfits before disbursing again. We tried to have a pizza party but I think everyone was too overwhelmed. We visited with a few of the families and shared a few stories, but eventually retreated to our rooms. The men who are here went out last night to the cigar bar on the 28th floor. Grayson,Tessa and I fell asleep at 9:00 sharp.
Geoff and Tessa

Today is a big day filled with forms and paperwork and that promised trip to Wal-mart.

Left to right: Josie and mom Rana; Kaylee and mom and dad Kevin and Kelly; Clara and mom Pam; Madeline and mom and Dad Julie and Joe; Tessa and Geoff, Grayson and Amy

Xo Amy, Geoff, Grayson and Tessa


  1. I am Pam's cousin Jill and am so excited to see the group shot with Pam in it with Clara! You all look so happy and I am sure you will be happy to finally make it back home.

  2. Congratulations to the new family of FOUR! Tessa is an absolute doll. :)

  3. Amy, Geoff, Grayson, Tessa, family of four!!!!!!! There is nothing to say - it's so powerful reading this, so amazing, I am so absolutely over the moon for you. I love you. Andrea

  4. So happy for you! Tessa is adorable!

  5. It's overwhelming and so moving, even at this distance. Grayson looks so engaged, and you are just glowing, Amy! Wonderful photos--I love it that Pam's family can see her with Clara thanks to Geoff. MKP

  6. I'm so happy for you all! I can't wait to meet little Tessa. She is a beauty.

  7. Congratulations Amy, Geoff, and Grayson! I am so excited for all of you and can't wait to meet Tessa. She is adorable. Love, Mitchell

  8. Crying here as I read this. The pictures of you and Geoff and Grayson with her are so sweet. God she's happy for her. Rebekah brought you all into our circle last Wednesday and we cheered for the warrior princess!!

  9. CONGRATULATIONS to you all...Amy, you inspired me the summer of '90 and continue to do so today. I have been following and sharing your story and so wish I lived closer!

  10. Amy, I am so happy for you. The joy on your face is unmistakable. I shall look forward to meeting princess Tessa when you return!

  11. She is adorable! Congrats to you all! We miss you Grayson! :)

    Meredith Sullivan

  12. I've been enjoying your blog, Amy, and am so happy for you all. Tessa is such a beautiful and precious gift,
    Alice Pearson

  13. What a beautiful family! And to have a mother who can help her tell and understand her story: what a gift.


  14. How incredible and awesome - you got a happy baby!

    She is just beautiful!