Video of Ya Nan Singing-at 8:30 on video

Our Beautiful Ya Nan

Our Beautiful Ya Nan
From the moment I saw her, I knew she had my heart...

Our Timeline

8-21-12: Saw our Daughter's face for the first time
8-31-12: Decided she is indeed a Johnson
9-17-12: Home Study Visit
9-24-12: Home Study Visit
10-18-12: I800A received
11-5-12: Walk-in Fingerprints
11-28-12: I800A Approval
12-17-12: DTC
12-27-12: LOI
1-17-13: OOT
2-1-13: LOA (China approved 1-29)
2-4-13: I800 received at lockbox
2-15-13: I800 request for evidence
4-26-13: RFE sent
5-1-13: I800 Approved
5-6-13: GUZ #
5-7-13: Cabled
5-9-13: Article 5 Drop Off
6-11-13: Article 5 Approved
6-13-13: Article 5 Pick Up
6-21-13: TA
Leave for China!
Gotcha Day

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Monday, July 1, 2013

Gotcha Day

We left the hotel at 2 Monday afternoon in order to meet Maeli at the Civil Affairs office. What in reality was most likely a 15 minute drive seemed like an eternity. There's so much love, happiness, loss, grief, and excitement that captures your soul during this process. I spent the ride to the Civil Affairs office praying that God would give Maeli strength and protect her heart during the upcoming minutes, weeks, and months.

When we arrived we were told that Maeli was already there. The institute worker, Maeli, and her birthfather were waiting in the parking lot since the building had limited air conditioning and the her birthfather's health is very poor.

As we exited the van, I saw her. She was holding the teddy bear that we sent as well as a small stuffed animal that we had delivered with a care package. As she waited and assisted her father out of the van, emotions flooded my heart as I knew this could be the last time she saw him in a long time if ever considering his heath issues. My heart broke for her. You can see the loving nature of her as she held his arm and lead him toward us.

When she reached me, I immediately embraced her and told her "Hello, I love you." As I hugged Maeli, Ryan approached her father, introduced himself, and thanked him for his selflessness and his willingness to give her a life that will be full of opportunity, family, and love. In a parking lot in Zhengzhou, our hearts were forever changed by a brave girl who is taking a leap of faith to become part of a family.

Maeli and the worker assisted her father up the flight of steps into the Civil Affairs building. Once inside we were able to spend a little time with Maeli and her father. We gave her father a photo album with photos that I had received of Maeli while at the orphanage. We also gave him a letter thanking him for allowing us to be her parents and promising to care for and love her always. This was a very emotional time to listen to our daughter read the letter to her birthfather. We all began to weep and my heart ached to take away the pain and grief they both felt.

The time seemed very short and the paperwork process started. It was very busy and it seemed unorganized. All we wanted to do was to reassure her and help her to feel comfortable. Signatures and forms were required from both of us so it made it somewhat difficult to focus. Between the signatures we were able to talk to Maeli and see her amazing personality start to shine through. Her knowledge of English allowed us to communicate and carry on a basic conversation.

After the paperwork process was complete we said goodbye to her birthfather. This was one of the hardest moments as I watched Maeli walk her father to the van, give him one last hug and walk back to us. Ryan wrapped his arm around her as we got into the van.

She immediately began to talk on the way back and her personality is so neat. She is witty, funny, and used her English very effectively. I am impressed at the level of understanding she already has of the English language. She is very willing to communicate in English and lets us know when she doesn't understand what we are saying.

On our way back to the hotel we stopped at Wal-Mart (yes, in China, lol) and picked up some items that Maeli could eat. She picked out a few things to snack on but was hesitate to put several things in the cart, which is understandable. During the shopping experience, I could tell she had never been anywhere like that and was amazed. Her personality is amazing and she is very considerate of others. She insisted on helping carry the items back to the hotel and definitely has a nurturing nature about her. When we got back to the hotel, we decided to eat dinner at the restaurant there as the jet lag, adjustment to food, and emotions of the day were a little overwhelming. She ate well and we had great conversation. Once we arrived back in the room, it was late for her so we settled in for the night since tomorrow will be another busy and emotional day for her.

We will go to Luoyang to finalize her adoption as well as visit the Luoning CWI where she has lived for over two years. Please pray for her as she prepares to say final goodbyes to her friends and caretakers.

Even today, in the midst of tears, laughter, and silence, I could feel God here and the prayers of family and friends. Thank you praying, they are working and we are blessed and amazed by our new daughter.

Much Love,
- Jessica

- Jessica


  1. Congratulations on your new daughter. I hope for an easy adjustment. Such a beautiful, brave girl.

  2. She is beautiful. Such an emotional day. Can't wait to go back and read your story. We are in the process of adopting a 9 year old girl.

  3. Oh Jessica, I am so excited for you all. I have cried through out reading this post. Will keep her and her father and her new family in my prayers. Can't wait t meet her.
    Teresa P.

  4. Jessica, what a beautiful daughter she is! I will continue to pray for all of you and for her! God is the author of her life and He continues to write her story!

  5. Jessica, I am beside myself with joy and amazement at God's work here!!! What a sweet, selfless, precious story!!! I'm also amazed at the fact that God chose to put two little girls from the same orphanage in such close proximity - you see, our daughter, Gracie is also from Luoyang City!!! We had our Gotcha Day in the same place as you!!! I met you a couple of times although I'm sure you don't remember me. You were one of the first people I talked to when my husband and I first started to listen to God's call to adoption. You and your family are such an inspiration to so many. I truly hope that our daughters can meet one day soon. Maelli might even remember Gracie??? Who knows??? Prayers and blessings for you all.

  6. Amazing, beautiful, story! We continue to lift you all up! To God be the glory. -Lucas Hughes