click here to watch: Gotcha Day Video
Saturday, October 11, 2014
One day til Gotcha Day!
Hello everyone! To all my Kansas City peeps- Congratulations on another KC Royals win! World Series here we come! It’s funny, in the US we don’t have cable so we haven’t been able to watch many of the playoff games, but here in China my hubby has been able to watch all the games! We definitely brought our Royals gear to cheer on our hometown team here in China!
Tomorrow is a VERY exciting day! Our adoption agency calls it Gotcha Day. It is the day where you receive your child. The following day is the “official” adoption day when all the final paperwork is signed, but we consider Gotcha Day to be our adoption day. It is the day we become a forever family with our new child. Zheng Xiao Fu will no longer be an orphan, he will become Samuel Xiaofu Allen. Although his past will always be a part of his story, and his abandonment will be something he will work through his entire life, he will always and forever be a wanted, loved, and desired child. In fact he has almost always been our child, we just did not have the opportunity to spend the first 28 months of life with him.
I find that I am grieving the loss of those months even more than I grieved the loss with Anna. I think it is because I did not meet Anna before her adoption. As soon as we submitted our letter of intent to adopt Anna our hearts were inexplicably bonded to her and she was our daughter. We loved her with an intense love even though we had never met her. I cried on her second birthday, experiencing it in photos but not together with her. If you ask her how old she is she will tell you she is four years old, but if you ask her how many birthdays she has had she will tell you two. She clearly remembers her “Elephant” and “Minnie Mouse” birthday parties and they are extremely special to her. She knows that she was celebrated in a special way on those days. Of course it could be that she was just too young to remember her China birthdays, but I think there is more to it than that. Anna knows that she has a family. She talks about it often. She always wants us to be together as a family. Honestly, if we had not brought the whole family to China this time she would have been devastated. She loves her siblings so much and celebrates being together. She is absolutely thrilled to become a big sister and prays for her little brother Xiao Fu every night. She is prepared to comfort him and love him and she has seen an excellent example of how to do that from her older siblings.
But back to grieving. Adoption, while it is beautiful, amazing and love filled it is essentially about loss. Loss of a mother, father, and possibly siblings. Loss of the love and nurture that should have been part of a child’s early development, and in the case of international adoption-loss of a child’s country and culture. Tomorrow, Samuel Xiaofu will experience the loss of everything he has known about life for the past two years. Yes, he knows we are his family and he is excited to meet us, but there is no way that he is prepared for the loss he will feel when these “strangers” scoop him up, take him to a hotel, and take him away from his friends, his caregivers, his routine- Forever. He is going to grieve. He will be scared, he will cry, he will act in ways that show his grief. And I will be grieving with him. I will grieve that I was not there for all of his “firsts.” I will grieve that I was not there to comfort and hold him when he was scared or hurt. I will grieve that he is grieving. In all the joy that the next few weeks will bring, there will be grief.
The term “Gotcha Day” has gotten some flack lately in the adoption community. Some people call it “Forever Family Day” instead. Personally I think either term is fine, but there is something about the term “Gotcha Day” that in some ways captures the essence of what is happening even better than alternative terms. Some people think it sounds like you are capturing or taking a child. For me it symbolizes that finally in this little boy’s life someone is there for him in a way that he has never experienced before. Someone has “Got Him,” and will never, ever let him go. We will learn his nature, his likes, his dislikes, his anger, his pain, his love. We will do everything in our power to communicate to him that no matter what, we will never abandon him. We will ALWAYS be there for him. We will do whatever it takes to connect with him, to value him, to show him that he is deeply truly loved. We will do this not because of what he can do for us, but because he is our son. We have his back, we will fight for him, we will move mountains for him, and we have “Got Him.”
If I haven’t already made you cry with this post, here is a beautiful video that captures the essence of what I have tried to describe with words. Watch if you dare, but beware. It could change you, in the best possible way. http://vimeo.com/97464005