Moment 2 Moment Masterpiece Parenting Blog
Gotcha Trip

The Gotcha Trip

by: Elizabeth Thorndike

I paced the room with butterflies the size of Texas in my stomach! I alternated between nausea and excitement. It was surreal! I was talking incessantly, and every thought known to man about regret verses gladness circled in my brain. I was about to meet our first adopted child, Shiloh. I was about to meet our forever daughter. All the paperwork, waiting, praying, and fundraising, had culminated to this one moment of reality! How do you even comprehend someone knocking on the hotel door and handing over your new daughter. Even as I write this now, my brain once again identifies with the feelings I felt then. Intense, never felt before, feelings on that cold, November day, 5 years ago.

I confided with my travel partner, Nana Dee, who echoed my feelings. This was a big moment, one hard to describe.

Together We Waited

Then the knock came. A knock that would change lives forever. A knock God had planned our entire lives.

I shakily answered the door as I took one last, deep breath. There, on the other side, I was greeted with the tiniest comedian! She entered our room in the crouched position as if she were sneaking up on us. She had her finger at her mouth and whispered “shhhhhhhh.” So, I did what any big kid would do, I followed her in a crouched position, telling the others to “shhhhhhh.”

I loved her already…

International Adoption of Shiloh

God turned this confusing moment into an immediate point of beautiful connection. Shiloh had an incredible sense of humor, and we bonded from the very beginning. Different languages, different cultures, and looking different, mattered not in this one beautiful moment.

What a brave sweet girl to embrace this whole experience with the fortitude of a mighty soldier.

The whirlwind of adoption papers immediately started in our tiny hotel room. Our Chinese guide did not mess around. This was not her first rodeo, and she kept a quick pace about it all. Before I knew it, we were crouched around a coffee table signing paper after paper. I longed to just stop and play with Yuqiao (Shiloh). I wanted to be fully engulfed in this moment, not signing endless papers. But the process is real, and very respected in their culture. You do not want to offend anyone. So, I signed… but she kept close.

My heart was unsure how to love her, but the depths of me knew this was meant to be!

As I continued signing, I felt a little presence at my side. My little Yuqiao was crouched down next to me staring up intently at my face. It must have looked so different to her. She was studying my every feature. Her dark, almond shaped eyes never left my face. I knew nothing about her yet, but I knew she was a gift, and she was ours. What a brave sweet girl to embrace this whole experience with the fortitude of a mighty soldier.

I loved her already…

Gotcha Trip - Adoption of girl from China

One tired mama, one beautiful angel.

The day continued with a whirlwind of events: visa pictures, currency exchanges, more paperwork, and this mama trying to slowly let our new story unfold. We took it one moment at a time. It did not seem real, someone handing me a new precious life that did not come from my tummy. Thoughts swirled around in my head, and emotions filled my heart. It was not lost on me that I would be raising someone else’s daughter. It was weird almost; I knew nothing about her. Her likes and dislikes. What she was afraid of… what made her laugh. However, I did know one thing after this first day. She was so full of courage and spunk! My heart was unsure how to love her, but the depths of me knew this was meant to be!

Shiloh in hotel room

Shiloh in our hotel room

I will never forget the moment I met our sweet Shiloh. She is forever in our family and forever in our hearts!

about us

Meet the Thorndikes - Moment to Moment Family

Hi there! We are the crazy cool parents to 5 amazing and crazy cool kiddos. But, first, we are Dan and Elizabeth Thorndike – married 15 years and living this life one moment at a time. We have a full and blessed life, but we are clumsily tackling a journey we never foresaw ourselves living.

Read our story of how this journey all started in our blog post titled:
“The Beginning. Our Special Needs Journey”


Elizabeth Thorndike

Introverted extrovert – that’s how I describe myself. I absolutely love being a mama but never knew how hard it would be, nor how deeply I could love.



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