A day we will never forget!

Each year on January 19 we will celebrate ‘Family Day’ with Yuan-Yuan, our Stella. Today’s was special because it was our first!

We are asleep by 8:30pm and awake at 3:30am—our internal clocks are so our of whack, which made waiting until 3pm to meet our daughter so difficult. Our guide, David, did a wonderful job helping to prepare us for this time, as well as occupy our minds. We took a trip to Wal-Mart for last minute goodies (for both Stella and us) and then lunch at a tasty, local restaurant for some Chinese food.

The scooter parking lot....topic of a future post! Haha :)

The scooter parking lot….topic of a future post! Haha 🙂

With Stella’s ladybug backpack ready, Paul and I sat down and prayed. Prayer got us to this point and it was the strength that we needed. The unknown was scary, but we knew that we had many prayer warriors supporting us from the U.S. and this quiet time to pray and cry together was what we needed as a couple. We wiped our eyes, blew our noses and left the room as a couple ready to step into parenthood.

Packed bags

On the way to the Civil Affairs building, I asked David what we should expect when we got there. He went through the protocol of what typically happens and let us know there would be a few other families there with us, also getting their children.

civil affairs office

Paul and I walked through the doors together, expecting to be met by other soon-to-be parents. Instead, the most precious sight was in front of us—a little girl dancing around. She was singing and smiling, and so cheerful. Paul and I both giggled at such a wonderful image and then came the words I will never forget, coming out of Paul’s mouth. “That’s her!” Tears flooded my eyes and I could not stop smiling. By this time my Papa was walking in the door and I turned to tell him the exciting realization—that little girl before us was Stella. This moment was totally unexpected. It wasn’t how we expected the event to play out. It wasn’t captured on video or as a picture on a camera. It was, however, a moment that Paul and I experienced first hand and will always be able to play back in our minds. Our hearts were wrecked forever 🙂

The orphanage director and her assistant were sitting, but when we walked through the door, they knew who we were and got up. They gathered Stella and brought her to us. The assistant, while holding Stella, pointed to me and said, “Mama.”

{Thanks to the experience of an adoptive mama that I’ve become friends with online, the training that Paul and I received as part of the adoption process, and months of prayer I was equipped to handle the next moment…} 


Stella looked at me and shook her head “No!” It wasn’t in a mean or hateful manner. It wasn’t with a rude intent. It was how her little heart that has been through so much trauma in her almost 4 years of life felt. It was raw and that was okay.

The assistant pointed to Paul and said, “Baba.” Stella quickly smiled, pointed and repeated that word that Paul loved hearing and melted my heart, “Baba!”




We had a few papers to sign, pictures to take and bonding to begin. We weren’t at the Civil Affairs office long.


When we returned to the hotel we had yet a few more papers to sign and then it was time to go outside and walk……UNTIL……she realized she did not have Yong-Yong with her and that we too had forgotten to bring it. [First-time parent fail….haha! We learned and made sure Yong-Yong accompanied us to dinner.]


We played peek-a-boo, colored, drew pictures, did puzzles and acted silly. It was fabulous!!

drawing with Baba

puzzle with Mama

Before our guide left this afternoon, he asked Stella who she wanted to sleep with tonight. She quickly responded, “Baba!” So, here it is….bedtime, day one captured!

sleep {This girl loves her Baba and that really warms this mama’s heart!}


14 thoughts on “A day we will never forget!

  1. Crying and laughing as we read of this beautiful reunion! Heartffully written and the pictures melted our hearts. So happy for you both and your beautiful daughter and look forward to hearing more and more great news as you continue to bond together. Praise God for this awesome blessing!
    Steve and Susan

  2. (I’m Crying!I!) I am SO happy for you!! She is absolutely precious. Thank you for sharing your special day with us…absolutely wonderful and such a blessing to hear about. LOVE the precious photos!!!! SO EXCITED! And still continuing to pray for y’all 🙂 LOVE YOU!!

  3. Oh Nikole! I am happy, happy, happy for your little family! I understand being a step mama myself, it is a great ride! You two will be a great Mama and Baba to sweet little Stella. Am humbled to be a part of this journey with you! Sending love and prayers!

  4. WOW!!!! What a beautiful picture of God’s love for his children. Paul the last picture of you and Stella is priceless. Eye contact bonding has began. Nikole I knew you took all your training in. Praising God for the preciousness of these first’s with Stella.

    XO XO

  5. An Amazing love story that will last a lifetime. We are so proud for you guys and can’t wait until everyone is home in the U.S. safely. God bless!

  6. Paul, I’m so happy for your sweet family!! This brings me tears of joy! The Brown’s will always hold a special place in my heart. I told mom and dad and they are so excited for you both. We are praying for sweet Stella and for a wonderful transition and a lifetime of happiness! God bless you all!

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