Friday, December 13, 2013

In Which We Have A Go Away Day

A year ago today, I sat in a metal chair in an airy room north of Bangkok, waiting to see my daughter for the first time.  It doesn't seem possible that it's been a whole year since I met her, but at the same time it seems like it's been forever.  I remember that I was so nervous I had to hide my hands under the table to keep them from shaking.  I remember her being just as terrified.

Some people refer to the anniversary of the first meeting of their child as their "Gotcha" day, but I really don't care for that term.  Eden calls it her "Go Away" day, because she actually told me in Thai that first day that I needed to go away-- she was not happy about me being there.  I think the name, while she was teasing about it when she decided that's what we'll call it, is pretty appropriate.  It was the day she went away-- from her home, her beloved caregivers and friends, towards a life with strangers in another country.

I think a lot of people visualize the kids who wait for adoption as being overjoyed once the day finally comes, running into their new parents' arms and never looking back.  I don't think that actually happens very often, especially with older kids.  And rightfully so-- our daughter was leaving behind everything and everyone she'd ever known; why should she be happy about that?  We knew a lot more about Eden than she knew about us, and it was our choice to adopt her.  She didn't have a full understanding at the time of what adoption would entail, and I think that if she'd realized at the time that it meant moving to a new place she might never have consented.

Obviously things worked out, and she's doing beautifully.  We're so, so glad she's here!   But while we did acknowledge the anniversary today, talked about it and how far we've come, we chose not to have a celebration.  While it was an incredibly exciting day for me, for our daughter it was quite possibly one of the worst, most terrifying days of her life.  We'll probably mark our adoption finalization every year as our "Family Day" instead, as hopefully that will be a far happier memory for her.

Can it really have been a year already, though?  So glad she's here!


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