When you've walked through the many milestones of the adoption process it seems there are many days that hold significance and are worthy of celebration in comparison to our biological kid's birthdays. The day you turned in your paperwork, the day you received your referral, the day you met your child for the first time, the day you passed court and they became officially your child, the day you picked them up and they were with you forever, the day you brought them home and your family was all together for the first time.... It gets a little out of control! So, I've been confused over what day is considered "gotcha day" - a popular celebration in the adoption community. Is it the day you met, the day you passed court, the day you picked them up? I've discovered it's different for everyone. But today I know that, for our family, this is our gotcha day. Meeting Selah for the first time was so special and passing court was so necessary but carrying our baby girl out of that orphanage and driving away with her in our arms was the first time that it really felt she was ours forever. Taking her back to our guest house and bathing her, putting her in clean clothes, feeding her, and laying her down to sleep under our care - for me that was the "gotcha" moment. Duane laughed at me because he knew the very first thing I would do was bathe her and slather her with lotion to get her all snuggly :). I will never forget that first bath and how happy she was.
But I'll also never forget how difficult it was to watch the wonderful women who had been caring for her so well tell her goodbye.
In adoption it's easy to become so excited about "gaining" this child into your family that you forget what an enormous loss they experience in that moment that you drive away with them. Yes, they are gaining a family and that is the most valuable thing we can give them. But they are losing all that is familiar to them and in many ways they are losing a connection to their people and their country. Selah is still so young, but I hope as she grows older we can celebrate Gotcha day in a way that will honor what we all gained that day, but also what she lost that day. Only time will tell what will feel appropriate. Today I will celebrate by hugging and kissing her as much as I did one year ago today - and I might even give her a bath and slather her with an obnoxious amount of lotion.
Adoption is a beautiful thing. Adoption is a hard thing. It's rewarding and it's messy - like so many things God calls us to. One year ago today our lives were forever changed. God gave us our 4th strong willed child! She is spunky and sweet and funny and brilliant and stubborn - a typical Dixon kid!
Happy Gotcha Day to our sweet Selah!