Happy 2nd Gotcha Day, Eloise!

Today we are celebrating Eloise’s 2nd Gotcha Day! Eloise’s “Gotcha Day” is the day we brought her home from the orphanage and each year, on October 16th, we celebrate the day that she became a part of our family!! Can’t believe she has been our daughter for TWO years!
I vividly remember October 16th, 2012. We had met Eloise at her orphanage almost a month and a half earlier and, since meeting her, had been finalizing the details in order to bring her home. I remember waking up that morning and thinking that it would be so cool if our baby girl could come home that day. Why? Well just because I’m all sentimental about dates and stuff and October 16th was Isaiah’s due date (he was born three weeks early on September 25th). But still, I thought it would be kind of cool if our baby girl came home on the day our baby boy was scheduled to make his debut. =)
But the day wore on and we hadn’t heard anything from our social worker. I remember that I decided to take a walk with Isaiah and go down to a store that I had seen earlier that sold used baby items to see if I could find anything for Eloise for whenever we did bring her home. It was about 5 o’clock at that point and I was sure that October 16th was {not} going to be the day our sweet baby came home. On our way back home I got a call from Drew with some of the most wonderful words I had ever heard, “Let’s go get our baby girl!” The social worker had called him and said we were good to go! We could go right then and there and pick her up!
One and a half hours later we were at her orphanage and after signing paperwork and saying goodbyes we rode home with 6 month old Eloise Ann, the newest addition to our family. There was much much much more paperwork, hearings, documents, and other hoops to jump through to make her legally our daughter but on October 16th, 2012 Eloise became as much our daughter in our hearts as she would ever be to us.
I remember driving home with her and thinking, “This was crazy!!!!” Thankfully I had her room all set up already (UNLIKE Isaiah who, poor child, had to come home to a nursery with NO crib because it was on back order and he came three weeks earlier than expected!). I had also induced lactation and had been pumping for months so I had a huge supply of breastmilk stocked up for Eloise’s bottles (although I didn’t end up needing most of it because she learned to nurse after just a short time after she came home!). You can read more about how I induced lactation here
That night Eloise took forever to fall asleep. She cried and cried and cried.  For weeks she woke up every 20 minutes during the night. She smiled, but hesitantly. She was scared. You could see the questions in her eyes as they flooded with tears. You could hear the fear and sadness in her cry as she called out for the caretaker she was familiar with in her orphanage.
Eloise had experienced so much pain and loss in her short 6 months of life before us. First she lost a birth mother. Then she lost her caretaker. Now she was in a strange home with a family longing to love her as their own, but she had no idea who we were. Adoption is funny that way. Those months that we had been staring at her picture and falling in love with her were unknown to her. We had been visiting her every week but still she did not feel comfortable with us after just a few hours a day. We had a jump start on loving her but it didn’t take her long to catch up… 
Oh what a turnaround this sweet baby girl has made! Eloise is such a sweet, happy 2 1/2 year old girl, always giggling and laughing. She has such a tender heart, concerned when others are hurting. She is a little snuggle bug and loves to give kisses. She is a beautiful girl inside and out. She has a strong will and knows what she wants… and she gets a fair amount of spankens! =)  Yet she has compassion and understands wrong. She is the most adoring big sister to her little Baby Olive and sweet to Isaiah as well. She brings joy to our household. 
Almost every night, when I put Eloise to bed, I whisper in her ear “Mommy loves you. Daddy loves you. We will never ever leave you. You are OUR girl forever. We will always take care of you, feed you, make sure you have what you need, and love you. We are never ever ever going to let you go.” And then, because she loves it, I sing her a little song (to the tune of a song on Daniel Tiger), “Mommy will come back. Daddy will come back.” You should see her face light up! She just delights in hearing me say that we will never “get rid” of her like others have done in the past. If we leave we will {ALWAYS} come back for her. We do all we can to make sure she knows that she is safe and secure with us and we are never going anywhere.
We know that adoption issues are going to pop up in her future. She has been through a lot and we are not niave to the struggles she may have as she grows in her understanding of how/why she is in our family. But for now we are enjoying our sweet little girl and trying to do all we can to strengthen her trust in us and fill her love tank!
We are so blessed that God chose us to parent this precious little girl! As I wrote here, Eloise is as much my own daughter as any baby girl I have will ever be. Two years ago we brought Eloise home through the miracle of adoption, one year ago we celebrated her First Gotcha Day, and today we celebrate that she has been in our family two great years!
Happy Gotcha Day, Eloise Ann!! We love you!
(Hope you enjoy the pictures I’ve posted below! It was fun taking a trip down memory lane as I looked through our pictures, trying to choose the ones that best represent our two years with Eloise. Remember, you can click on the photos to make them bigger and easier to scroll through!)

Visiting Eloise in the orphanage before we could bring her home. First picture of my two babies together. 
Kisses for baby sister in the orphanage.
Very first evening home. 

Oh the cuteness!

And I can’t resist a picture of Olive in the same outfit. =)

Big Bro and Lil Sis!

7 months old

The day we went to court to obtain legal guardianship of our sweet girl!

And the picture we used to introduce her to the world once we received it!

In America!

12 months old

First Gotcha Day, October 16th, 2013

18 months old

2 years old!

My three loves!
Always a ham. 2 1/2 years old. 

We love you, Eloise! 

Happy Gotcha Day!

October 16th, 2012 was one of the best days of our lives. It’s the day we brought home our precious baby girl, Eloise Ann!! Today she has been home one year and we are rejoicing and celebrating her life!

October 16th is what we call Eloise’s {Gotcha Day}. It’s the day we “got her”, the day she became a part of our family. So, every year on this day we will do something special to celebrate HER! It won’t be a celebration as big as a birthday but it will still be a celebration. Most likely it will be a day when she gets to choose her favorite meal for dinner and open one or two presents. Since this will be her first gotcha day we’re still trying to decide what the tradition will look like. =)

It’s amazing how much Eloise has changed in her year home! She has grown from an unresponsive, cautious, tiny 6 month old to an outgoing, {very opinionated!}, sweet, and extremely loving 18 month old. It’s been so amazing to see the transformation.

She is such a {joy} to our family and we can hardly remember life without her! She is already talking up a storm and says words like all done, more please, apple, Yaya (Isaiah), dog, cat, airplane, movie, backpack, baby, water, milk, bathtub and so many more! I have the feeling I’m going to be getting earfuls once the full sentences start!!

Eloise loves to take her vitamins each day, is already showing an interest in potty training, and is still very much in love with her “papi” (pacifier). She is starting to enjoy watching movies and loves Praise Baby and Miss Pattycake the most! She loves chicken but fruits and veggies keep moving further down on the list of favorite foods (we’re working on it!). She loves to give kisses and will sometimes give you 20 or more in a row. She is a cuddler and a snuggler and I love that to bits about her!

Eloise, we are so glad the Lord blessed us with your life one year ago today. We can’t wait to celebrate the many more years that God gives us with you as our daughter!! Happy gotcha day, sweet baby! We love you!

7 months old
12 months old
18 months