22 January 2008

Five Years and Two Days

I never liked the term Gotcha Day to mark the anniversary of adoption--it's too informal, too grasping, too cut-and-dried to make sense of the complications of adoption and family. We call it Family Day, although we've never been sure how to celebrate it. The first year, think we made a point of watching some video we'd shot on the first day we met Curious Girl (but then I left it in the VCR and something recorded over part of it, which caused me great trauma, although we eventually found another copy that is whole). We made a dinner with food from CG's homeland (which she didn't eat, having a feeding tube at the time). Another year, we had a friend over. We've never really settled on a ritual. I've read that some families have very particular celebrations (like presenting the child with a gift from their homeland every year), but we've never come up with much of anything.

This year, we didn't do much of anything. Politica is away--although we had talked about the fact that she would miss family day at home--and somehow, I think we lost track of what the date is. Maybe that's OK: I'm still not sure exactly what we're celebrating. There's so much loss wrapped up in her early months, and I'm very aware of that as I think back on our time with her in her orphanage.

I love December and January, though. They remind me of that most magical period in 2002-2003, when we learned about Curious Girl, started making travel plans, and met her. When we went to court, when we held her, when we dressed her. Every day, I marvel at her: her language, her self-awareness, her joy. I treasure the unfolding relationship we have, the steps she takes toward independence, the snuggles she wants in the morning and at night, the sling she still wants to ride in when she's sad or scared, the books she shares with me, the art and letters she makes. I love the way she can talk about adoption, heartbreaking as it sometimes can be. In December, when her class put on a play, she asked "Will [my birthparents] be there?" I explained that no, they wouldn't, which led to a series of questions and comments about whether they had our phone number and if they could come to visit. The other day, she was trying to explain that she knew more things than a younger friend did. I pointed out that younger friend could do a lot, knew a lot. "But he doesn't know about orphanages," she said. Not that she remembers hers directly, but I did allow as he didn't know much about orphanages, having been born to his mother.

Judges made Politica and me mothers, legally. But Curious Girl makes us mothers over, and over, every day. And for five years and two days, it's been an honor and a privilege--I wake up every morning wanting more.

21 comments:

Dawn said...

What a beautiful post, Susan! Happy family day! (I also wanted to take the chance to click through my feed reader and let you know that even though I rarely comment, I read you every time you update and I'm glad you're blogging. :)

~profgrrrrl~ said...

I think Family Day is a lovely day to celebrate, no matter how it is celebrated. Many happy wishes to your family :)

Billie said...

How beautiful! Happy Family Day to you all.

Rev Dr Mom said...

Happy Family Day. I'm glad you all have each other.

chichimama said...

Happy, Happy Family Day.

Magpie said...

Happy Day to all of you.

peripateticpolarbear said...

such a beautiful post.

Phantom Scribbler said...

Yes. Beautiful.

Arwen said...

Aaah. It's "posts to make me cry" morning. Beautiful family - hugs to you all.

liz said...

Happy Family Day!!!
And now I'm all sniffily.

S. said...

Adoption is so complicated. Thank you for writing about it with such clear eyes.

comebacknikki said...

Very sweet! Happy Family Day! :)

S. said...

Sorry, slow brain--I also meant to say I've heard it called "Coming Home Day," which of course doesn't work for us, with our second-parent adoption, but is a nicer image than "Gotcha," I think.

Jody said...

Happy Family Day. What a great post.

Songbird said...

Happy Family Day!
And thanks for that last paragraph, especially.

abebech said...

Curious Girl makes us mothers over, and over, every day.

This is really lovely.
Congratulations!

Mamacita said...

Nice post. We call it Adoption Day. We started a candle lighting ceremony with a nice dinner this past year and I really like it. I want to keep that going. Before we had a party, but I think its better to have just the three of us. We also give her a gift from China. Very special times!

jo(e) said...

What a beautiful post. And a beautiful family.

Bardiac said...

I'm woefully late, but happy family day. I love the idea of a family day!

landismom said...

Happy Family Day to you all!

What Now? said...

What a lovely post. Happy Family Day!