What is Gotcha Day? This is the day we will always celebrate with Kira as her gotcha day because in 2010 on Dec. 21st the Ugandan courts ruled we were her legal guardians. We then got the papers and went to the U.S. Embassy and got her visa to leave the country. Here in America, after having her in our custody for six months we then did a full adoption, which was just in time for us to return with her to Uganda on an American passport to do medical missions with the orphanage Kirabo Seeds supports.
International adoption can be wrought with more twists and turns than intestines so in hindsight, though we were anxious, we can see how perfectly smooth our proceedings went in our case. Indeed it was a day to celebrate, and so is today.
I remember the morning we first walked up the hill to meet Kira for the first time. She was waking up in her crib. I had seen so many photos of her, that when I peered into all the babies’ cribs I caught my breath when I saw her in the flesh. I was looking at my daughter for the first time. I picked her up and held her as her brothers, Aunt Emily, and Daddy tried to relieve me of her. Eventually I shared her.
She didn’t cry when we all swarmed her and passed her around. She did then what she does now, she studied us with a serious face, knowing eyes, and poked her finger into her mouth. She was wearing a heavy orange sweater on a warm day. I remember undressing her right away so I could see her gorgeous skin. She is so beautiful. Eventually she fell asleep on Craig’s shoulder, and there never was a happier daddy.
Today we are going to dress her up and take her to meet Santa for the first time. I think I will regret it if I don’t have that photo of her crying on his lap when she is almost two. All of her brother’s have one, so someday she will ask, “where’s mine?”. And then we’ll take her to the playground for a fun romp. She’ll probably eat a few french fries…her favorite, which I think she’s had three times since coming to America.
Finally I’ll ask her brother’s to give me a photo with her. That’s asking a lot! But I’ll make the begging mama face, and they won’t be able to refuse. Tonight Craig and I will chink glasses as we raise a toast to our daughter joining our family and putting so much fresh and fun energy in our lives. She is delightful.
Adoption is a long bumpy winding road strewn with debris, but when I hear her call “mama”, or see her riding her brother’s shoulders, or watch her greet her daddy at the end of the day, all I can say is, “Thank you God for the gift.”