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The First Time We Saw Her Face – “1 Year Anniversary”

Referral Photo Collage

The first photo of Reagan

It is hard to believe that I am writing this post…….

As it feels like it was just yesterday that we received that long awaited phone call.

Exactly one year ago today at 2:16pm, we found out that we had a beautiful baby girl waiting for us at the Chenzhou Children’s Welfare Institute in the Hunan Province of China.

Words cannot describe the range of emotions that were felt that day. We had anticipated and waited for that call for almost 5 years…….. and the moment we saw her face, we fell head over heals in love with our baby girl, Chen Wen Yi.

Close Up of our Happy Girl BLOG

The staff in Chenzhou gave her the name “WenYi” hoping she would grow up to have knowledge and dreams, and would lead a happy life.

BW Collage Referral Photo 1 Year

I have big tears running down my face as I sit here reminiscing about everything that has transpired over the last 10 months for our daughter.

Hiugging her HTS Baby Dolls BLOG

It took a while for her to completely come out of her shell and show us who she really is……..A smart, funny, beautiful, child that has a lot of love for life and her new family!

Reagan With her HTS Baby BLOG

There are still moments that she will flash me a look that will remind me of those first few weeks in China, when she was so scared and withdrawn. They are few and far between, but I can never forget the road we traveled to get her where she is today.

Family, Where We Begin BLOG

Just shy of one year home with us, I would say there is no denying that this little girl is leading a “Happy Life”.

I wish the staff in Chenzhou could see her now……

Reagan has changed our lives in a way that is indescribable and I could not imagine a single day without her.

The journey we took to bring her home has opened our eyes and our hearts in ways that I did not think were possible.

I will forever be grateful to China, the staff in Chenzhou who took such wonderful care of her while she waited for us……. and to her birth mother who had to make the painful decision to give her up. I will never know who she is, but she will always remain in my heart…….and in my daughter.

{It is a busy week for me and I won’t have time to post again, so I am posting B&W Wednesday a litle early}

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  • Sharon - Beautiful , heartwarming post Lisa. Very moving!ReplyCancel

  • redmaryjanes - She is precious. I love her smile. You all are so blessed to have each other.ReplyCancel

  • Cora - What a difference a year makes! I will be writing a similar post in about a month, It’s hard to believe. Happy referral day Reagan!ReplyCancel

  • Michelle R Photography - Happy One Year Referralversary!!! What precious photos of Reagan with her referral photo. Adorable!!

    I hope you are having a good week!!


  • Gail - Happy 1 year referral day Lisa!!!
    What a precious girl and she’s truely blossomed with the love of you, Pat, Nick and Sarah. Dreams really do come true!!

    Love seeing that beautiful smile…


  • Maddy - Has it really been a year already?!! It’s amazing what a little time and love can do :)ReplyCancel

  • Marla - Girl, I simply can’t imagine that it’s been a year since that day. What a whirlwind year and what an amazing transformation from that scared little peanut to the confident, adorable cutie she is today. Happy Referral Day to your precious family!!ReplyCancel

  • Faith, Hope, and Love - Look at the difference 10 months basking in your family’s love has made in little Reagans life. You have helped her bloom into happiness. There is no denying she is loved beyond measure.

    What a sweet, sweet post!

    Love and blessings,

  • Jboo - What a wonderful way to remember that day! Look at your sweet girl — so beautiful! Hope you’re having a fun week!


  • Sara - What beautiful pictures of your precious girl!!! I have goosebumps reading your post – it is indeed an incredible and amazing journey!!!
    Sara :)ReplyCancel

  • Faith Hope Love Photography - What a happy, happy post!! I can just see how much she has blossomed from the pictures and I love it!!ReplyCancel

  • snekcip - …and a wonderful 10mos it has been watching and waiting for this precious flower to bloom before our eyes. Happy Anniversary Reagan. There are so many that have come to adore you near and far! You have a beautiful family and I pray that God has comforted your birth mother’s heart to know that you are loved and cared for so deeply.ReplyCancel

  • Kristy - Beautiful story and beautiful girl!!! :)ReplyCancel

  • Jenny Diedrich - wow, such gorgeous photos of your beautiful girl. hoping to be able to capture my kids’ personalities better after taking your photo class-starting this week! can’t wait. :)ReplyCancel

  • *Jess* - Oh goodness, you have me crying! Reagan is definitely with the family she’s meant to be with :)ReplyCancel

  • Sharon Ankerich - A precious post and I SO remember these days last year. We were all in awe of her as well. What a difference a year has made~ just look at that cute pigtail hair!!! She was chosen for the perfect family and you ALL are SO blessed!!! XOReplyCancel

  • Sean and Mic - Happy 1st Referral Day Anniversary!! She is one gorgeous little girl, and I have loved watching her blossom in your family. So loved. So very loved.ReplyCancel

  • Mei Mei s and Mayhem - Wow!!! Happy Referral Day!! She just makes me smile when I see her picture. Such a happy little girl and so beautiful. Cant believe how much she as changed!ReplyCancel

  • Briana's Mom - Happy Referral Anniversary! It is truly amazing how she has changed and blossomed over the last year. She is beautiful! What a journey this past year has been for you!ReplyCancel

  • elliotts - What a beautiful post! Happy anniversary!! I’m crying my eyes out now too as I reflect on our process and how close we are to bringing Tatum home.


  • Mimi - oh Lisa, what a journey.
    I remember it so clearly, and I’ve tears in my eyes too, at how simply wonderful it has been to share in that journey.
    Thank you, and thank Reagan for all the happoness her beautiful little smile brings every time I see her face on my screen.
    Her little light shines very brightly.ReplyCancel

  • Ewa - Happy anniversary!
    she looks beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Jonni - Happy 1 year referral anniversary Lisa. It seems like Reagan has always been part of the family. ♥


  • Jodee - What a sweet post! Reagan was the perfect addition to your family. She is just precious! You are one blessed mama!ReplyCancel

  • Melissa - I’m so happy for you and your family :)ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - I love it. So very sweet. A year already?ReplyCancel

  • Wanda - Oh….you’ve got me teary here too. What an amazing year for little Reagan and all of you. I can’t imagine you without her. Such a perfect fit.

    Enjoy your Family Day and remembering all this year has brought you.


  • January - very sweet and precious :)ReplyCancel

  • carolinagirl - It is amazing how time flies by once you see that face and once you meet your little one for the first time.

    What a beauty. What a lucky little girl. What a lucky family!!!ReplyCancel

  • Mrs. Claus - I remember when my sister emailed the first pictures of her two daughters, she adopted from China and now seeing them, and how much they have changed. It’s just a miracle every day.

    Merry Christmas!ReplyCancel

  • Serendipity is Sweet - She is gorgeous and so happy! Beautiful photos. I wish you all many, many more blessings on your journey together.ReplyCancel

  • Chic Homeschool Mama - What a wonderful moment to share & such a blessing!!! Loving that sweet shot of her hugging her doll!ReplyCancel

  • Pix-Ology - My goodness, she has changed so much in such a short amount of time! What an angel baby!

  • Formerly known as Frau - What an amazing journey this first year has been….I love the joy and happiness on her face. She is truly loved.ReplyCancel

  • - Jessi - - Wow, 1 year already! That’s crazy. She’s so pretty and I always love your photos. Congrats :)ReplyCancel

  • Melanie - This just makes my heart so so happy for you! She is a gem! 1st time linking up! This is so fun, thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Nicolasa @ {My}Perspective - What a wonderful anniversary to celebrate! Love to your family!ReplyCancel

  • Bridget - Happy Referral Anniversary Day!!! I remember the day you saw her for the first time!!! I was and still am so very happy for you! Enjoy that sweet girl every day!!! I can only imagine the happiness she has brought to you and your family!!! She is just adorable!

    Hugs –


  • KandK - Reagan just warms my heart everytime I see her beautiful smile in all the wonderful photographs her Mommy captures of her.

    You will always remember this very special day and I am certain these precious memories will always bring tears to your eyes for many more years to come.

    God Bless,

  • Anonymous - Just look at how much she has blossomed because of your love and caring of her. She is one lucky little girl.ReplyCancel

  • Kayce - What a great day that was for all of us! I just love to see the changes in her and all the smiles…love this series of shots.ReplyCancel

  • Sue - Beautiful post. I have been following you since the very beginning and remember reading your blog when you got your referral. Can’t believe it has been a year. She is precious!

    Sue : )ReplyCancel

  • Number 6 and no more counting! - wow, what a change in a little girl.


  • Mia's Mommy - Amazing! I can’t believe it’s been a year already. And yet.. it seems like she’s always been a part of your family. Such a funny little contradiction.ReplyCancel

  • Casey - I can’t believe it has been a year!!! Such a little beauty! Then and now….

    Love her triumphant look on the last photo. Love it!ReplyCancel

  • DiJo - I am just catching up!! I love these photos of Reagan!! Happy one year anniversary! I can’t believe it has gone so fast!!!! That means we were doing photo shop training about this time!!! Wow- a lot has happened in a short time!!!

    I love seeing how Reagan is thriving in your loving family!!!!


  • Robin - Happy One Year Referralversary!! It’s amazing what a difference one year can make! I can almost her her giggle and laugh in those pictures … what a little beauty!

    xoxo – RobinReplyCancel

  • Terri - What a happy day! Such a sweet and beautiful girl little MIss Reagan is!!!

    Love the pictures as always!=)ReplyCancel

  • Caroline (Frogmum) - WOW ~ has that been one whole year already?! Un believable! Reagan is definitely thriving and blossoming in your loving family. She is a beautiful gift to you and you to her :-)ReplyCancel

  • Alyson and Ford - She is growing so fast! What a wonderful year it has been for you all! (we will be celebrating our three year forever family day in Sept!). Time flies!

    Alyzabeth’s MommyReplyCancel

  • Barbara - I have just discovered your blog. Your story is wonderful and you photograph your children beautifully.

    And well done on being a cancer survivor.ReplyCancel

  • Jaclynn_kyuss - This makes my heart happy. Thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

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