November 12, 2008
Today is “Gotcha Day.” In adoption parlance, this is the day you actually get to take your child from the baby house. Although I usually dawdle after getting my wake up call, today I didn’t waste a minute. I wanted to be on time for my 8 a.m. pick up, so that I could get Emilia as soon as possible.
It was still dark outside when Vladimir and Aliya arrived at the Pushkin. Despite the small size of Vladimir’s car, we were able to cram all the baby house gifts into his trunk. Then we were off to buy a cake. Aliya and I selected one that looked like a big, smiling sun because it reflected our mood. It was certainly going to be a sunny day for Emilia and me.
Before getting Emilia, I met with the director, who showered Em and me with good wishes and many blessings. Then I went to Group 2, where Em was already dressed and waiting for me. Today I asked the nurses to dress her in a pretty, new outfit from her Aunt Chris. After all, Emilia needed to leave the baby house in style. Heck, she’s got to get ready for New York!
As I have said in the past, the baby house nurses are extraordinary, and I was sorry to say good-bye to them. Yet, it was still a happy farewell, with Emilia receiving dozens of kisses from her first caregivers. I asked the caregivers to write messages in a book for Emilia. Aliya has offered to translate them, so Em can read them when she gets older. Aliya read one of the passages to me, and one of the nurses wrote that I was giving Em a second birth. What a beautiful thing to say. It gave me a lump in my throat.
Since Emilia had been in the baby house almost since birth, she was completely unfamiliar with being in a car. They don’t have car seats for children in Kaz, so she sat on my lap, mesmerized by the passing scenery. I think she liked the movement of the car, though she didn’t fall asleep. There was just so much to see!
Since we arrived at the hotel shortly before Em’s regular feeding, we headed to Atilla’s, where she ate everything I gave her! Yet, I could tell she was getting a bit overwhelmed, so I took her back to our room. Then, we were off again, as we needed to get Emilia’s registration, which is necessary for her passport and visa. We also headed to the travel agent to buy our tickets to Almaty, where we will go at the end of next week.
Poor Emilia was exhausted. She did doze in the car, but since we were starting and stopping frequently, she really didn’t get any rest at all. When we got back to the hotel, she was so overtired that she refused to sleep. It took a long time to get her to sleep, but it finally worked after more than an hour!
Since this was such a big day for Em (and me), I thought it best to stay in our room and spend time together without distractions. It was wonderful to finally spend the whole day with her.
This evening, Em was lying on my bed pooped out, but she wasn’t quite ready for sleep. Since the bed in our room is very low, I sat on the floor and was at eye level with Em. It was a magical moment. I was stroking Em’s cheeks and rubbing her back, and she was “talking” to me. Then she put her hand on mine and closed her eyes. Every now and then she would open them a crack to make sure I was there. I whispered to her, “I’m here, Em. I’ll always be here.” I didn’t move for about ten minutes, as I listened to Emilia’s breathing deepen. I just sat and watched my beautiful daughter in peaceful slumber. She was angelic in her repose, and my heart was at peace.
As I sit typing in the complete darkness of my room (don’t want to wake the little princess), I can’t help but look over my shoulder at my little girl. My official Gotcha Day has come and gone, but I have something that will never go away – my love for my angel baby. I found my forever child, and she now has a forever mother. Clearly, this was a match that could only have been made in heaven.
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