Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hannah Joy, Finally Free

As I'm writing this, Hannah is just 5 feet away from me, curled up in a pink kitty cat play pen, a blue fleece blanket covering her up, face to toes. She literally dove into bed, head first in a clumsy summersault when we came back to the room after an emotional breakfast. It's been a busy first few days, and her little brain just needs to shut down for a while. Underneath the blanket she is playing quietly with a rattle and her new sunglasses, and sucking away on her tongue. It's hard, emotional work learning to be part of a family.

The newest tiny Tegtmeier has been a very brave girl. On Monday we walked out of the orphanage and said goodbye to the only home she's known for 15 years.

She was overwhelmed upon our arrival, shaking her head furiously back and forth, walking this way and that, avoiding eye contact and averting our attempts to touch.

But within moments she was ready to leave.

We grabbed onto her hands, one for mom and one for dad, and walked to the car, no looking back.

She had little need to say goodbye. There was no pomp or circumstance. No tears on either side. Hannah probably having no idea she would not return, and for the staff, this being just another day at the office. Her baba was the only exception. She handed me a red paper gift bag holding a small wooden memento of Hannah's birth country and a tiny bottle of rose oil, tears welling in her eyes the same way they had when we met her 4 months ago.

I can only imagine that for Hannah, everything since Monday's events has been a whirlwind. She's been a champion traveler, which is a relief as we look forward to traveling all the way home in just a couple short days. Even riding from Pleven to our hotel in Sofia, a two hour drive, she was content, seemingly soaking in the experience.

By necessity, we've been out and about a fair bit.

Yesterday we made our way to a clinic for her medical exam including blood work, a vaccination (per U.S. requirement), an uncomfortable test for venereal diseases (also thanks to our dear country), as well as a quick once over by both a general practitioner and an ENT (by our request). After desperate prayers for her comfort beforehand, we were all relieved to see our prayers answered with a yes.

We've also had outings to multiple drug stores, a pharmacy, a grocery story and even an H&M for some undershirts. Here's Hannah after our stop in one of the drug stores with a few new treasures.

We're thankful she loves her sunglasses, as her eyes seem to be quite sensitive to light. Her new toys are both rattles. Of all the toys she's met, rattles are the only things that seem to spark an interest. She liked these two rattle even better before I took them out of the boxes. Sorry about that, Hannah Joy!

As to be expected, Hannah's first night in the hotel was difficult. Because Hannah is taller than either Sam or Tony was at pickup, we had decided to try letting her sleep in a small pullout bed next to ours.

Here's how that worked out.

Poor baby girl has never slept in anything other than a crib. Near midnight on that first evening we ended up calling down to reception for a play pen. This is her safe place right now. We're so thankful the hotel was able to accommodate Hannah's needs in this way (and truly also in so many others).

Hannah has been doing some extremely hard emotional work when it comes to eating.

We know she is hungry and thirsty. It's written all over her face. She wants to eat! But its so so hard for her to allow herself to eat. Or drink. We're taking things slow and thankfully are getting enough food in her stomach to sustain her, but we would sure appreciate your prayers for her in this area.

We are completely smitten with our newest little angel. She is a delight. A seriously special, one of kind, more-than-we-deserve kind of girl. Gentle, brave, sweet beyond belief, sensitive, and just beautiful inside and out. She already feels ours and we know she'll fit in just right with the rest of our crazy crew.


  1. God's blessings upon your family! Congratulations! Love, Tanna Felcher

  2. Grace, what a strong and courageous girl. Prayers for a swift transition. What a beautiful family
    you have! - Allison Letheby Dahl

  3. She is so beautiful... And that smile?? Absolutely priceless!! Congratulations!

  4. I'm so glad Hannah is with you now! There are so many reasons to rejoice. So many. My heart overflows for you, dear friend. Continued prayers for wisdom, patience, love and strength in the days and weeks ahead, as you settle into life as a family of five!

  5. Oh goodness I thought she had been home all this time and you were all cocooning! It is difficult for me to imagine just how hard - sorry it is the only word I can think of - things will be for a while. And although I know you aren't growing your family to be admired, I'm in awe of ALL of you. Sending all the prayers and extra angels especially for this first phase of your new life together. God bless you!

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  7. Praying for you! We'll be headed over there in a few weeks, Lord willing!