Thursday, June 10, 2010

GOTCHA Day!

Today was GOTCHA day for Sofia!

When I woke up this morning I was overwhelmed with emotion. My feelings about this whole experience have been all over the map but today especially. I felt so incredibly excited about finally brining Sofia home. We've waited 6 months for this moment but I also felt a huge amount of sadness for the ones left behind. It's so hard to explain. My heart absolutely aches for all of the orphans left waiting for a family. So with a heavy and happy heart, we set off to scoop Sofia up around 10 am.

We arrived to discover it was a very busy day at the orphanage. There were teams of "doctor" types visiting all of the groupas and so the staff were very preoccupied and seemed nervous and on edge. It was almost as if it were examination day and these groups of people all dressed in white coats were examining the children and the staff had to be alert to answer their questions.

When the staff saw us, they knew the reason we were there and so they scrambled to go get Sofia. One of our ABSOLUTE favorite staff members was there today so I was thrilled to be able to say goodbye to her. We brought the groupa some bananas (a rare and expensive treat to the children) and some baby cookies. We also brought diapers and a large box of chocolates for the staff. We also presented them with a brand new little girl's outfit as a trade offering so that we could bring a pair of old orphanage tights home to have something from Sofia's first home.

Out came Sofia with WILD hair and a HUGE grin! It was marvelous! The staff had so much to say to us so we got Marina on the phone to help us translate. Basically they wanted us to know that they love us, they are grateful to us, they wish us well, and wish for us a safe journey home with Sofia.

Sofia was in her usual form cheerful and sunny but she seemed to be especially giddy today. I wonder if somehow she knew deep down what was going on.
When they brought her to us she had nothing on but a diaper so we dressed her in her sweet little outfit and pulled out her hat...we knew we better have a hat or we might get scolded! And of course a few minutes later one of the staff brought me some long socks to put on her. At first I thought, I better listen to her and put them on but since it was about 90 degrees today, I shook my head and said "No thank you!" It was actually a really sweet gesture, she was going to give them to us and again I realized the staff really do care about these children.

We said our goodbyes with Sofia waving and laughing and made our way to Sofia's "baby" groupa down the hall. The staff took one look at little Sofia and burst into cheers and happiness. They wanted to thank us for the couch and they let us walk into the room (such a "no no" here so we were thrilled!) and we got to see the couch and ALL THE BABIES! Oh my goodness, there were shirtless diapered babies EVERYWHERE and they were ADORABLE. I couldn't scan the room fast enough to try and see if I recognized any of them. I think I saw at least one pair those familiar and beautiful almond eyes! But about a minute into our visit, one of the "visiting doctors in a white coat" shouted in the scariest tone something to the staff and we were quickly led out of the room. If the staff had tails, they would have been tucked in tight after that scolding! Regardless, the smiles were bountiful from Sofia's first "mamas" and we were so happy to have at least said goodbye to them.

Then we made our way to the head nurse to say goodbye and of course ran into everyone on the way. I think every staff person was on duty today for whatever special inspection was going on. So of course Sofia was on display and was giving the crowds what they asked for...smiles and "Paka Paka" waves. We waited a minute for the nurse to arrive (and boy did she seem stressed out today!) and we presented her with a box of chocolates and then we were on our way.

We took our last walk from the orphanage to our apartment, this time with Sofia in our arms and it was an emotional moment for sure. On our way back, I tripped on something and almost lost my balance and I had Sofia in my arms. I was able to regain my footing and not lose hold of Sofia but in that moment it was sheer panic for both Hector and me. I almost dropped Sofia on the pavement on our walk home having her not even 10 minutes under my watch. Oh the pipeworks started. The tears and sobs were uncontrollable. I was so shaken by it. She was fine, I was fine but in that moment I realized that I had fallen literally and figuratively for my daughter. I love her and want to protect her for the rest of her life. Hector was so nervous too and I realized then how much he cares for her as well. All was fine and I DIDN'T drop her and we made it home in one piece. Phew!

When we got home we put on the fans and let Sofia play and relax on the floor with her toys. She was so curious about her new surroundings but took it all in like a true champ. She's such an easy going child. She happily played and smiled for us but within 10 minutes she was OUT. She just put her head down on the ground and fell asleep. I don't know if it was the heat or the excitement of the morning but guess what? We let her sleep! Sure...it was only 11 AM and she hadn't had her lunch and this wasn't her scheduled nap time...but we were so happy to let her sleep when she felt like it. Can you imagine that feeling? I put a little blanket under her head and she managed to stay there for awhile sleeping.

THREE HOURS LATER, she was still asleep and had managed to get herself in all sort of different sleeping positions. It was adorable to watch but I was SO tempted to wake her up just to be with her more. But soon enough around 2pm she woke up...happy! For the rest of the day, I managed to be her mama. Changed a poopy diaper, fed her some cereal, gave her a bottle, gave her a bath, massaged some lavender lotion on her, brushed her teeth, sang for her, rocked her, played with her. It was a wonderful first day together and after a little dinner she put herself to sleep again for the night. Right now, Hector and Sofia are sleeping soundly and I'm left here pondering all the great fortune in my life. I feel so blessed and happy. Thank you God for opening this adoption door for me and for giving me the courage and the faith to walk through it. I am forever grateful and forever changed.


55 comments:

  1. WOW! What a day! I am so happy for all of you. I love reading your blog! You bring the reader right into your world where you are.

    I look forward to a similar experience with Liam.

    Hugs to you all,
    Hansina

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  2. I am so happy for you guys!!! Beautiful pictures of your beautiful little girl!! You're going to love having a little girl and her brothers are going to be so protective of her! I hope you all have a safe trip home and can't wait to see pics of the boys when they meet their new sister- so exciting!!!

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  3. Hey Guys,
    We would LOVE to see you on Saturday!! Give us a call at 0993764768 when you get in Kiev!! Congratulations!! We LOVE the pictures!! If this number doesn't work- try leaving out the 099 part.

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  4. Oh - the pictures are beautiful! I especially love the one of her on the chair wearing the hat - you should frame that!

    I am just so happy and excited for you!!
    HUGS!

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  5. So thrilled for you and for Sofia. Brave, lucky and blessed. You deserve every happiness!

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  6. Oh I am just crying! I have followed you from the beginning, and have been praying for Sofia since last fall. I love happy endings!!

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  7. Congrats! LOVE the hat! She's simply adorable. :)

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  8. WOOOOOHOOOO! I am so SO happy! I cannot wait to finally meet this beautiful girl. You have a DAUGHTER!! Gah! So exciting!

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  9. As someone else said on your fb page, doing the happy dance here!! What a glorious feeling for her to fall asleep and wake up when her body told her to! I am thrilled for you, for her, for your whole family!! Enjoy the next few days getting to know each other better and bonding even more with your precious Sofia Sanchez from Sacramento! Can't wait to see you!

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  10. Congratulations!!!! She is such a beauty! It brought me to tears when you wrote about tripping and then sobbing and realizing how important she is to you. Wonderful!
    Kerry RR

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  11. I have serious goose bumps happening here!!! I'm so happy for your family!!! I can't wait to hear how her big brothers love her!!

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  12. Jennifer, I am reminded of the emails you and I shared back in December/January about Sofia and our conversations about how if this was to be God would move mountains financially, emotionally, mentally......I am in tears as I type just how gracious our God is and how today.....she is yours. No more guessing if this is the right decision, no more trying to raise money, no more wonders and worries.....just a great big huge beautiful future ahead for ALL of you! xoxoxo

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  13. I can't even put into words how happy I am for you! What a wonderful day you must have had busting her out of there! SOOOO HAPPY!!

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  14. Oh so excited for you guys.

    Just look at that California bound bathing beauty. Love the snaps of her sleeping, simply adorable!

    Can't wait to hear how she enjoys the next few days of getting to know you guys one on one.

    Teri

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  15. Amazing! I think I cried through the entire post, and still have goosebumps! God is such an amazing God! Congratulations!

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  16. Oh my gosh, I am poretty much bawling my head off. I am so happy for you all...oxoxox

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  17. Oh Jen...I dont even know what to say...
    Im just SO happy for all of you. You're amazing...
    xoxoxo

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  18. Jen, I'm crying here. And it's not just my hormones, trust me! LOL! She is gorgeous, you are so blessed as is Sofia. Can't wait to see her. I love her sunny disposition -- so fitting for the wonderful family she is a part of now. Big hugs from our little corner of the world to yours. Now we both have babies to celebrate!!

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  19. I'm a sobbing mess!!! I'm trying to keep it in check because Lily freaks when mommy cries. I'm so unbelievable happy for you...and especially for Sofia. She's with her mommy and daddy...FOREVER!!!! Thank you, sweet Jesus!!

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  20. Been folowing your story since the beginning when I picked up Kidaround at Byers Gym during my daughter's classtime (never read that mag, but glad I picked it up that day!) Since then, I have followed along (on the edge of my seat) and as a result, a whole new perspective on things has opened up to me. So, thank you. And having said that, I will now say... Congratulations!!! I am so happy for your family. Sofia looks just like a Californian with her sunsuit and sunhat!! Precious photos of her sleeping like a rock on the floor. (And how lucky are you??? She actually puts HERSELF to sleep??? Wow!) God Bless You All...

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  21. So beautiful and perfect in every way! Thanks for sharing! She's gorgeous. God bless you all!

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  22. Jen, I am so happy for all of you!!!! She is at peace and knows she is safe. You and your family have given her that. Congratulations and God bless you all on your journey home!!!

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  23. Wow! I'm crying now reading just SOME of your story. What an amazing journey. Congratulations on finding your little girl!
    I often check Reece's Rainbow site and it breaks my heart into a million pieces every singel time. I have 3 beautiful girls. My eldest is 8 now and she has Down syndrome and is the light of our lives. She brings all those who know her so much love and joy, she is such a blessing.
    Here in Australia they don't allow international adoption, which is so so sad because there are so many children out there who are waiting and waiting for forever families. And most never find one and are orphans all their lives. My heart bleeds for these precious innocent souls.

    You've done a beautiful thing. You and your family are Angels, there is no doubt about that.
    Enjoy your little girl, she will bring you so much joy every single day.
    xx

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  24. Congrats Jennifer and Hector! She is such a doll. Safe travels home and I look forward to seeing the updates and pictures when she meets her 3 brothers....priceless.
    Kim Baumann

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  25. Katie's friend LauraJune 10, 2010 at 4:45 PM

    Just had to chime in to say CONGRATULATIONS on this incredibly special day. I've been following your blog (sobbing every time..) and am so thrilled to know Sophia is finally, finally with her Forever Parents. Can't wait to read about the first time she meets her brothers. Congratulations & best wishes to you and yours! Laura

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  26. WOW! That is quite a "gotcha day"!!! love the pictures! so happy she is officially yours now and i am glad you were able to say goodbye to so many important people at her groupa and orphanage! hope all goes well for you with your travels home!!!!!!!! thinking of you and can't wait to know you are all home safely and TOGETHER with your boys - can't wait to see pics of them meeting her :)

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  27. Congratulations!! :-D

    A beautiful day for you- and Sofia!

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  28. woot, woot, woot! I can't believe you almost fell open your way home. That's something I would've done. The pictures you took of your daughter are just beautiful! You are so lucky to have found each other.

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  29. Such an adorable little beauty!! So happy for your family!

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  30. I am crying like a baby reading this post. I am sooooooo happy for all of you and I can't wait to meet her!

    What an emotion, yet beautiful experience you have all been through. I am sure the boys are anxious to meet their new sister and be a family of 6. :)

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  31. Well you really got me going today! I am surprised my keyboard is still working :) Huge congratulations and best wishes for your journey home.

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  32. OMG...I am sooooo happy for you!!! It's people like you that we ALL should aspire to be. You have given "life" to that precious little girl, and the rewards for doing so will be boundless!! I wish you all of the joy and happiness that one could ever possibly have!! LUV THAT BABY!! Congratulations to you and your beautiful new addition!! ;)

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  33. So exciting for you all.....now her new life starts.....sending love and hugs from New Zealand to you all

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  34. First of all I would like to say congrats! Your daughter is beautiful!!!! We are also in the process of adopting and are expected to travel within the next three or four months! We are looking for a child to commit to right now. Girls between the age of 1-4 are preferable :) Any help would be appreciated. We have an adoption agency obviously so we would have to be able to tell the agency of this child. THANKS IN ADVANCE. Give us one just like yours....hehe

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  35. Congratulations! I'm so happy for you!

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  36. oh my word. You have me all choked up. she is so beautiful and so sweet i cant imagine her NOT having a family. she knows you are her mama and daddy and she just looks so at peace and HAPPY :):)
    soooooo HAPPY for you all !!

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  37. I'd say Sofia "fell" into the Lucky Pit, but really its the entire Sanchez Family that has been blessed. Hurry up and bring that new American girl home. Safe journeys.
    -Todd Ferrara

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  38. Yay, I am so happy for all of you! Praying for safe and uneventful travels home.

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  39. Oh I am so glad to hear that little Sophia is finally with you! It must be an amazing feeling! She sounds likes a beautiful little girl - and fiesty too! I think she'll need that with three brothers ;)
    Hope your journey back home is safe and uneventful!

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  40. Congratulations Jen and Hector! You are both truly blessed to have Sofia in your family! I'm so glad your first "official" day as her Mama went so well!

    Love, Kristin

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  41. "Ethereal" is the only word I can use to describe what our angels look like when they are sleeping. ;)) Even at 8, Reece still exudes peace like that when he sleeps ;)

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  42. Wooohooo!! Happy Gotcha Day!!!!
    Sunnie in NC

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  43. Without a doubt, this is my favorite post and favorite pics, especially the one of you holding her in the air near the gate. She is yours and you are hers FOREVER! And, now you can show her the WORLD! What a blessing for you both! :)

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  44. I love this post! Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. Your family is amazing and now you have a sweet little girl in it! I can't wait to meet her! Have a safe trip home.

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  45. Congratulations!!!
    What a Happy Day!

    Wishing you all Gods best for your life with Sofia!

    Adriana

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  46. Hooray!! Gotcha Day! So happy for you and Sofia. Thank-you for sharing the sweet pictures of her. She is such a doll and is adorable sleeping in these pictures. Rejoicing with you over this wonderful day!

    Blessings and Hugs,
    Barbara

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  47. Wooohoooooo friend, what a beautiful day!!!! I LOVE IT! She is finally outta there. Oh happy day. The pictures are priceless, so amazing.

    Totally rejoicing here in VA.

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  48. CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR BEAUTIFUL GIRL!!!!!!!!! im do happy for you all! she is GORGEOUS!

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  49. Just found your blog...Sophia is beautiful and you are both very lucky parents.

    I look forward to following your journey with this little angel

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  50. congratulations!!! i am so happy for you and your family! :)

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  51. SarahandCo just mentioned your blog on Baby Center, and I'm so glad she did. What a wonderful story to read first thing in the morning! I'm so happy for your family, and am so glad Sofia's first day went so beautifully. Congratulations on your little girl!

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  52. Congratulations to you!! I love all of the pictures of Sofia in her new little outfit. I remember the first time we had put Aviana in one of the outfits we had picked out for her. You know, the outfit that was perfectly picked and had been waiting for her to occupy it ;o)

    That was such an exciting moment.

    I can't wait to read more! Continue to have a safe trip

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  53. Congratulations to your entire family of six! Your story has certainly stirred something in my heart and most likely in the hearts of other families. Thank you for openly and honestly sharing your story of "saving Sofia."

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