Sunday, February 1, 2009

Gotcha Day! February 1

This is my favorite picture from our Ukraine adoption trip. We weren't even going to take this picture because we were in such a big hurry after court to try to make it to the passport office before closing time on a Friday afternoon. We just kind of grabbed her, waved goodbye to her caretakers, signed a paper, hugged the director, and left! We also were kind of paranoid that the judge was going to change her mind about the 10 day wait as another judge had on a special needs adoption the year before. Anyway, as this picture was being taken, John was telling me to HURRY UP and get her in the taxi before they caught up to us. HA. But I refused to get in the taxi until he took my picture with Ava outside the ony home she ever knew. And so he did. And just so you know, we DID make it to the passport office just in the nick of time. :)


Anyway, I love this picture because it represents so many things to me. Just beyond that green gate was the only life Ava ever knew. This picture represents to me her former life of hopelessness and aloneness, her transition from unwanted to wanted, Ukrainian orphan to MY daughter, our new life together, a symbol of two almost-strangers committed to each other for life. This picture reminds me of so many emotions that I experienced that day. So much rushing around, the fear of saying the wrong thing in court, the anxiety of getting everything done in the right amount of time. And then....when it was all finished, and we were in the taxi on our way to get her passport to come home, John and I just looked at each other, a sleeping child on my lap, and we both started cracking up! I guess it all seemed too weird and overwhelming, everything had happened so fast and we were both just in disbelief that she was really OURS and that we were on our way home with her. I'm sure my Reece's Rainbow friends laughed when I emailed them saying, "OK, she is ours. Now what do I do with her?" I didn't have the first clue how to care for a child with Down Syndrome. I didn't know how to feed her or what to feed her, what appointments to schedule, how to teach her to sit up or roll over or how to communicate her needs. I had no clue what I was going to tell people when they asked how old my "baby" was. She and I have both learned so much this past year (and have so much more to learn). But it has been such a wonderful year and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I love you baby girl! I'm glad we're together for life!

14 comments:

Bethany said...

I totally remember this picture and then the one he took of you with his phone in the taxi. OMG I bawled when I saw that! Yay ... I can't believe it has been a year! Holy smokes!

La Viajera Insaciable said...

I remember this photo, too! I was glued to your blog those days when you were in Ukraine....and I still am! Happy Anniversary to your beautiful family!

AZmomto8 said...

I remember that Charissa, I was so excited to see your gotcha day photo and thrilled they waived the 10 day wait for you! I cannot believe how fast the year flew by.

Rhonda said...

I can't believe it's been a year! I was in the process of adopting my son when you got Ava. I was reading your emotions and feeling almost overwhelmed myself! Just so you know, when I finally got to HK, I experienced many of the same emotions. It was YOUR experience, your love, your hope that got me through the process. THANK YOU! We are so blessed with the greatest son in the world!!
God Bless!!

cheryl said...

I read this post and it brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing it with us. I remember this picture. I remember when you picked up Ava. Hard to believe it was a year ago. You have a beautiful family and I am very thankful you share it with us. May God Bless you and your family always.
Cheryl

Tami and Bobby Sisemore Family said...

Thanks for sharing your heart with us here! YOu are so right :)

Blessings,
Tami
Noah's mama
www.tillGodbringsthemhome.blogspot.com

jennifer... said...

Thanks for pulling us all back a year.  That gives the joy of "Ava" perspective all over again.

jennifer... said...

By the way, I laid in the bed til 1:00 am the other night with a bad case of the sillies.  I didn't want to wake up Greg but I just couldn't stop laughing from all the stupid stuff I was thinking of!  Where were you??

Jeremy and Melanie said...

I remember this! I can't believe it has been a year already and yet she has grown and changed so much!

Shelley said...

It's hard to believe it's been a year already! Ava is such a beauty and she's just blossomed as part of your family. Give her a hug from Xander today. I bet the two of them could get into some major trouble these days with all their new skills....no more laying aroud in a crib for them!

kirsten said...

love your and Ava's story....she'll be glad you took that picture too someday

Tim Rovenstine said...

Yeah, I went back to that first video you posted, it's been an anniversary for us too.

Valerie said...

YAY! Happy Gotcha Day!!! I can't believe it has already been a year!I remember so well, the frail little girl laying in her crib in a dark corner of that room, unaware of the miracle that awaited her. Nothing brings tears to my eyes faster than seeing how far she has come surrounded by your amazing, loving family! God is good!

Susan said...

I, too, remember that picture...that pretty door, but with so much hopelessness behind it. Thank you from bringing Ava through that door, into her new life.

She is beautiful, and a blessing. So are her parents and her family.

Susan in Ky