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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

One year ago today...

On a clear, brisk day in Taiyuan, China our small family of three entered the Shanxi Province Foreign Adoption Registration Office...

We waited anxiously to meet our second daughter, our Mei Mei... Mary Dang Yun Dan for the very first time in person...
 Hey, I think her van is here!

Mary Dan Dan, you were so beautiful, so tiny, but oh so scared.
It wouldn't be until we got to know you much better over the days, weeks and months that we learned that you only sucked her fingers when you were feeling very anxious or scared.

We spent the next few days slowly trying to win your trust and help you feel comfortable around us. We made sure there was plenty of food, cuddles and toys.
It was a slow process...(note: hands in mouth still, same clothes)
 But after a few days your ever persistent Jie Jie was the first to get you to smile...
 And over the next days and weeks in China, we began to see more of these!
Our first months home together saw you blossom as you continued to grow stronger and began to let your personality shine!

You have undergone three major surgeries this year, and you have handled them with more grace and determination than the adults around you...

You've opened your heart to allow...
and Jie Jie in...
Your laughter and joie de vie lights up the room every time you enter...

And ever so slowly, patiently, carefully...we have come a long way as a family of four over this past year together.

This hasn't been easy for you, to suddenly leave everything, every sound, every smell, and everyone you know and hold dear. There have been some bumps in the road and your heart is still healing, but you are so very strong. Thank you for choosing to trust. Thank you for choosing to love. Thank you for choosing to allow us to love you. We love you Mary Dan Dan!


  1. Happy Forever Family Day! What an amazing journey it has been and you will always hold a dear spot in our hearts as our travel buddies TWICE!

  2. Such a beautiful tribute to your courageous Mary!

  3. Oh my goodness, big tears here. With everything she has come through, not only emotionally, but her health and healing, she's a very special girl to me. I have a soft spot in my heart for her.

    I've felt that through everything she's smiled and been strong, not in a way that she is forced to be, but because she has so much love behind her, holding her up, giving her the strength she needs. And that is all because you are a wonderful family - wonderful parents, a wonderful Jie Jie - it's a credit to you all that Mary smiles through every circumstance.

    She is a wonderful beautiful girl. I adore her.


  4. Sitting here in tears...what a beautiful post Joyanne...thank you for sharing this past years journey with us. Without a doubt you are an incredible shows everytime I am with you...your girls (and hubby) are lucky to have you!! What a blessing Mary is to your family as you are to her...the perfect fit!


  5. What a beautiful Post! I am in tears! Happy Forever Family Day and wishing you many more amazing journeys with your family of four.

  6. We are about to head to China in 10 days to meet our daughter Sienna--she also has bilateral cl/cp. I appreciate all of your posts about what we have to look ahead to-surgeries and resilience! Thank you! Happy Family Day!