It just hit me as I was reading about my friend Andrea’s Gotcha day (today!) that our Gotcha Day with Evyn was exactly 6 months ago today!! December 27th, 2009. My oh my, how my baby girl has changed since that day! I remember that day as being chaotic…or at least it felt that way to me. We filled out final paperwork at the hotel then made the famous trek up the dirt road to the rusty red gates of Hannah’s Hope. There was no order to when or how the special mothers were bringing the babies to the court yard at Hannah’s Hope to meet their new families. My “event-planning-self” was taking notes on how they could make that process SO much better for the families and little ones! (I still need to send that list of suggestions to AGCI!). All the parents stood anxiously in the courtyard and one by one the babies were carried out. Almaz, the director, would direct the Special Mother to the family the baby belonged to. Excitedly, the parents would toss their cameras to who ever was standing near by and we would all frantically snap pictures to capture the moment. In retrospect I understand it was just that…a moment. It was the beginning of a new life and a new journey, together. Gotcha Day is just a launching point for all that is to come! It’s actually much like childbirth. Chaos, an out of body experience, lots of people and noise…but as a mama you are tuned in to one thing…”where’s my baby”? That’s all that matters in that moment. You think you are going to care about getting the “right pictures” or keeping your face composed so you don’t have that ugly cry face going on…but standing there and seeing your baby be carried across the courtyard, you couldn’t care less about all those things. You just want to hold your baby.
Evyn didn’t take to us right away. It took several days…and if I’m honest with myself, several weeks and maybe even months. I remember wondering if this screaming baby was ever going to love me as much as I already LOVED her. Oh how she cried those first days in Ethiopia. Those were hard days, but I am forever grateful for that special time with her before we had to come home to the “real world”. Looking back, one of the greatest blessings is that we didn’t have to go through it alone. I loved meeting and watching the other families go through the exact same thing as they met their little ones. The same emotions. The same questions. Similar struggles. Same joy. It is a unique bond we share even if we never meet again. I’m grateful for each and every family who travelled with us. They are forever a part of our story.