Gotcha Day: celebrating three years with my daughter

Three-years ago today, my daughter and I landed in Chicago and as soon as the gear was on the ground, she was a citizen of the United States. During the adoption process, we hit a lot of milestones, but the day I like to celebrate most is the day we got her home for good. March 25th. Gotcha day.

I haven’t written too much about my daughter here, out of some, hopefully unwarranted, fear she might get taken away from us if I blogged about how she likes to eat spicy Ramen noodles every day or that for the first three months she lived with us, she insisted on sleeping on the floor. But now that we’ve had our final meeting with the social worker, it feels safe to talk more about Tanya, because the governments of the United States and Russia have apparently decided to let us keep her, in spite of the fact that during the aforementioned social worker's visit the vase Tanya made in honor of Valentine’s Day (pictured here) was displayed proudly on the counter.

Valentine's vase

We chose a Russian adoption because historically, through the Bridge of Hope Program, the whole process should have happened rather quickly. However, as I’ve written here before, when we stepped on board, so did Murphy, and everything that could go wrong, did. Our daughter, eight-years-old when she came to stay with us for a summer was ten when we finally got her home for good.

I mourn those lost two years.

Senseless bureaucracy and what I suspect was a hatred of Americans on the part of a newly installed Russian judge forced us into three trips to Russia (originally it should have taken only one) and a nearly two year wait filled with paperwork that resulted in a stack taller than she was.

Perhaps the reason I like to celebrate gotcha day is because the month I spent in Russia before we finally got her home was such an ordeal. We certainly have other milestones worth commemorating: the day we met her, the court date of her Russian adoption, the end of the ten-day waiting period following the court date when she was “officially” ours, the day we re-adopted her back here. Maybe it’s just my love of all things airport, but I like the day we got home.

So Tanya, my dear sweet daughter whom I love soooo much, I’m afraid your honeymoon period, your relative absence from mention here, is over beginning today, (“About time,” say the brothers.) on Gotcha Day. (No pun intended. Really.) If there were ever a little girl on this planet that was meant to be ours, it was you, with your love of the beach and sushi and having waaay too many housepets. And we'll make up for those two lost years with all the rest we'll have together.

I'll probably never know what the social worker made of the skull on the Valentine’s day vase; I couldn’t really read her expression. But I do know one thing: Tanya’s love of Valentine’s Day? She gets that from me.


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