Stromberg's Adoption Dream

The journey to our little girl in China

Gotcha Day!

We woke up around 7am. I had only slept off and on since 4… To be expected I suppose. We got ready for the day, had a nice breakfast and gathered our belongings. We got on the bus and our CCAI representative shared all the “what to expect” information. It’s normal for the child to be in shock, to cry. It’s normal if the child bonds with one parent over the other for a while. It’s normal for the child to have a glazed-over expression from all the commotion of the day. Whatever might happen, it’s ‘normal’.

This was helpful to hear, again. As she talked, we passed by many tall city buildings, my stomach doing flip-flops, I sat squeezing Lars’ hand. Whispering, ‘this is happening.’ And then all of a sudden it was. One CCAI rep leaned over to tell the other something. And then she announced to the bus, “We just got word that the children from Xinyang have arrived, they are already here.”

They are here?!? No time to think, to take in the room, to imagine the doors opening, and our daughter being brought in. She was there waiting for us. She would be receiving us. It was all backward, and somehow it was perfect. We were barely in the door but three seconds and they said, ‘Lars and Katie Stromberg.’ That was it. Our moment. We threw our cameras at our newfound friends for the journey and we turned to hear her nanny holding her say, ‘DanQing’ and just like that she saw us and reached for me. It’s true, it’s on video. How and why she did that, I don’t understand, except to say I had prayed for weeks that she would accept us and she did. God is so faithful. Her hair smelled of Jasmine, an unfamiliar exotic scent. We stood there amazed at her. We were holding our daughter. This little stranger, stranger no more. It was so much to take-in.

No doubt Lydia was in a fair amount of shock, her expression was rather stoic, but still she seemed peaceful. No tears. No fussing. She looked rather exhausted, which I’m sure she was as she had arrived here after a two hour long train ride. As we walked the room, witnessing other families being formed, she clung to us quietly. She even rested her head on Lars’ shoulder for a bit. Quiet and tender. I was grateful, I did get a chance to ask her nanny some basic questions, like, was she still on formula or regular milk. The answer was both/either. The nanny clearly liked Lydia, she was very smiley and said, “She’s very out-going. She eats well, she sleeps well, very happy, very active.” I said a heartfelt, “Thank you. For caring for DanQing.” And she responded with a sweet smile and said, “You’re welcome, it is my job.”















After about 40minutes, a few signatures and official photos we got back on the bus. Lydia was tired, she was wearing five layers of clothing and she was clearly warm. I couldn’t wait to get her into the room and peal off the layers to let her breath. She fell asleep on the ride back, waking up when we got into the room. We laid her on the bed and began peeling off the layers. One puffy jacket, One pair of overalls, one pair of split-pants, and two long sleeve shirts, socks and shoes. We let her lay there for a few minutes in nothing but a fresh diaper and she seemed warm. She did have a low-grade fever so after a little medication we gave her a bottle. She had to work hard to take it, because of her cleft palate, and even with the nipple cut to make it faster flowing it’s clear it takes work for her to latch-on to the bottle. But, eventually she got it all down.











After her bottle, she was very playful. She liked the little cars we brought, and the finger-puppets and the books. She spent at least 40 minutes carefully moving cheerios between three different bowls. In most every way, she seems a very typical toddler. She likes things with hinges and she liked her bath. She loves to be held. Lydia’s only tears came when we went to put her in her crib. She had slow, raspy sobs and we decided to just lay her on the bed beside me. I laid with her and she calmed. Eventually she stuck her thumb in her mouth and then the best part. She would not let go of my hand. She grasped my fingers and slowly fell to sleep. It was heaven.



We ended our day with dinner a the hotels Italian restaurant. Where Liddy was all over the place. She was happy, but very busy. 🙂 And then we had her first bathtime, which she loved. She did go to bed in the crib, just fine after a nice slow bedtime routine, with bottle and book and singing. It was wonderful. Lars and I keep looking at each other, like, is she real, is this real? And ever so thankfully, it is.






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26 thoughts on “Gotcha Day!

  1. Crying happy tears for Lydia.

  2. Kathy Mayyou on said:

    Just beautiful. Both Lydia and your story. Thanks for sharing these precious moments with us. Love from the mayyous

  3. Heidi Morrow on said:

    Wow! Sitting here with tears in my eyes, sharing your post and pictures with Scott and Christian, and just feeling how special this all is for your family! Thank you, God, for bringing Lydia together with Lars and Katie. What an incredible journey…and now a new one begins! Love to you all.

  4. Bri Hueber on said:

    I have been checking all day for an update! We sat down as a family and read every word and looked at the pictures over and over. The pictures make it look like you have always been a family. The smiles on your faces and Lydia’s comfort are so great to see. Enjoy your next few days getting to know your new daughter! Love from the Huebers…..Grace is soooo excited!

  5. Sam & Annie on said:

    We are so happy! She is lovely! Thank you for sharing this special day – so much good news! Tell Lydia we love her! (and we love you two as well!). Love from Sam & Annie

  6. Janice Strom on said:

    We’ve been following your every step in this journey, and we are so thrilled that you have your beautiful little girl in your arms.

  7. Bonnie on said:

    This post makes me weep with joy! Congrats on yr new addition. What a blessing!

  8. Deborah Allen on said:

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story and pictures with us. I am so emotional just reading and seeing, I can’t imagine how you must feel…. God is good, He is good all the time. I will continue to pray for the adjustments for all.
    P.S. Love the head bands and bows!

  9. Liddy is BEAUTIFUL! God’s Grace is AMAZING! Tears and love from the McGraths

  10. She reached for her Mama. She rested her head on her Dad’s shoulder. She fell asleep holding your hand. It is perfect. God is so so good. Welcome to your family sweet girl. You are loved by so many! Love you Katie and Lars. We are overcome with joy for you.

  11. Stephanie frees on said:

    Oh Katie and Lars, we are so blessed to be able to share this moment with you. What a gift you have given us all to share these precious pictures. Lydia is one lucky little girl. The love you have for her is evident, even she knows it right away. She is perfectly at home, because she was destined for you. Norm and I are praying for wonderful moments in the days ahead and a speedy, safe home coming!

  12. Carol Peckenpaugh Berchenbriter on said:

    I have been following your posts this week as you arrived in China and to were united with your beautiful little girl! What a blessing to see and hear the joy of a dream that God gave you, fulfilled in this perfect addition to your family! Praying for a safe and peace-filled trip home!!

  13. Maureen on said:

    I can’t stop reading this and looking at these pictures…I love you all so much! (My mom is currently reading this and crying…of course!) Congratulations on your sweet, beautiful little girl! Love you all 🙂

  14. Linda Wright on said:

    Katie and Lars and Liddy —- God is good and your story is one I have enjoyed reading each day. May the days ahead be filled with God’s love as you bind together as a family. Looking forward to the next entry —- Linda Wright

  15. Precious Linda on said:

    I am so happy for all of you! What a blessing! What a precious little girl to join your family! I agree with all the comments before mine… the tears, the joy, the prayers, the blessings, our amazing God, your precious daughter, the beautiful pictures, what you shared… everything! God bless you and enjoy these special days of bonding and then bringing Liddy back home to your forever family!!

  16. Jade and Rob on said:

    Rob and I read this together while smiling, laughing and crying happy tears! I lost it when I read she reached for you, Katie, as it was such an answer to prayer that she would instinctively know you are her mommy. Rob was loving the smile on Lars’ face watching his girls. Praise God!!! Thank you so much for allowing us to share in this special time. So so so happy for your family and feeling so overjoyed for Lydia to be blessed with such wonderful parents. Congratulations!

  17. Katie Zey on said:

    Tears of joy flowing for you and your family. God is so good!

  18. Joy Donley on said:

    I am SO happy for you!!! Thank you for sharing your journey, and your beautiful, intimate photos. I can just sense the emotions that are flowing. Lydia looks like an amazing little girl, and seems to just fit perfectly with you already! Praise God from Whom all blessings, ALL blessings flow!

  19. Sandy Bodin on said:

    Absolutely Amazing! God is GOOD!
    Eddie (my 6 year old) could not believe that your boys have a new sister. He was very excited but then wanted to know whether they had to share a room with her. I said no. He said okay good. hahaha, boys!
    Much love,
    The Bodins

  20. Arlene Cheff on said:

    What a beautiful child Lydia is and what a wonderful bonding experience we’ve been able to witness! God, as always, has provided far beyond expectations. May He bless and keep your newly formed family in His care.

  21. Dee Bauer on said:

    Lars & Katie
    What an amazing blessing! I am crying just reading your post, I cannot imagine the joy living it! She is perfect!
    Katie, don’t you just love the hair accessories after having two boys?? I can’t wait to show Brynn her picture! We look forward to meeting Liddy when you return home!

  22. Chris Shealer on said:

    Rejoicing with you, praising God and SOOOOOOOO looking forward to meeting sweet Lydia someday!!

  23. Wow, you guys! This is so wonderful; our God is so good! Thank you so much for sharing this moving, beautiful story of God’s sovereignty and love. I will be continuing to pray for all five of you, thanking God that there are folks like you for people like Lydia!

  24. Vernadene Tolman on said:

    I heard about these pictures while at the Sr. Luncheon at church from Carol McCormick and could hardly wait to get home to see and share your happiness with both of you. What a beautiful little girl! Like all the other comments, I am so emotional and my tears are joyful for you and your family. Thank you more than I can say for sharing your entire story and journey with all of us here at home. I can hardly wait to meet her and see your entire family together. My prayers are with you both now and for a safe and peaceful trip returning home.

  25. She is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing these special moments. What a amazing day! We can’t wait to meet her this summer. Love and safe travels to you.

  26. So incredibly awesome! Love you guys!

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