HERE and HERE (parts 1 and 2). If you haven't read the gotcha day story, you will probably want to or else this post won't make a whole lot of sense.
A year ago today Zoya's life drastically changed. As I'm learning that Zoya is a cautious child who seeks out safety and comfort all the time, I can't help but wonder how in the world she did so well with us taking her from the only home she had ever known. After coming home from our overnight trip, I realized even more how much Zoya appreciates home (as she asked for home and Mya several times over the two days). She is like her mama and prefers to be home where she feels comfortable and safe. (Although she did pretty great on the trip...more to come later). In my gotcha day post I wrote about how I had a feeling that Zoya just knew what was happening. Looking back I totally see that God gave Zoya a peace that surpassed all understanding, just as we had prayed. There is no other way to explain it. Sure there were hard moments (like the super long flights and layovers where I just about cried right along with her), but for the most part Zoya was happy and excited to leave with us. I remember our facilitator telling us that she had never seen a child so bonded to her mother as soon as Zoya was to me. She was stuck like glue and not much has changed :) (well except for those times she wants to assert her independence and would rather not hold my hand...tear...) She knew I would keep her safe and sought me for that safety and comfort from the beginning. Could it be because not one other human ever showed her a fraction of that love and attention? I fear that is part of it. She knew I was her mama, and Shawn her daddy from day 1.
Although my gotcha-day post was very happy and mostly positive, I must admit I have some half-cooked emotions that are less than happy about that day. Yes I was thrilled to finally be starting our life together with our sweet girl, yes I was thrilled to take her away from that place, yes I was more than thrilled to be returning home with her.....but a somewhat somber emotion is also mixed in there. When I look back on that day and see myself, it's almost like seeing a kid waiting for her friends to show up at her birthday party, but nobody ever came. Typing that makes me want to cry. I still cannot believe nobody even cared to say goodbye to her. Yes I can believe it because it happened, but I don't want to believe that not one person there cared enough to come and tell her goodbye. They all knew when she was leaving. I still remember the caretaker bringing Zoya out pretty much carrying her by her armpits, positioning Zoya so that she was faced away from her and about a foot away from her own body. As if she were not even a child. Zoya was only wearing a diaper....all that she owned. We worked so very hard compiling paperwork and jumping through hoops and busting through red tape...trying to prove we were worthy to be parents to a child these people couldn't have cared less about. Am I supposed to tell her that one day if she asks about her first home? Am I supposed to tell her nobody even came to say goodbye to her after almost 2 years of knowing her? I could not tell her those things even if somebody had a gun to my head. I think about the pain it causes me and I could never be responsible for making her feel a fraction of the sadness I feel about it. Maybe I will tell her what I tell myself....and that is...maybe the caretakers did really love her so much that they couldn't bear to say goodbye. Sounds like a crock right? Maybe so, but a piece of my heart is still holding onto that "maybe."
But of course, that is not all I remember, that is just a part of what this day reminds me of. This day is such a happy day because it is the day Zoya physically joined our family. I remember the excitement and butterflies in my stomach like it was yesterday. I remember the calm and peace that came over all three of us as we dressed Zoya to leave the orphanage forever. Never have I been so convicted of anything in my life as I was of becoming Zoya's mama. That day I knew with all my heart that we were made to be Zoya's parents. I was a dancer on stage ready to dance the best performance of my life. I felt no reservations, no fears...only excitement and peace. I don't remember much about the day before we took Zoya out of the orphanage, but I can see ourselves in slow motion from the moment we walked into the orphanage all the way through the moment we walked out the orphanage gate with our precious daughter. Each second is drawn out and there is not one thing I have forgotten about those 20 minutes it took to walk in and walk out and all the emotions that transpired in between. Maybe in time the memories will fade, but today it is as clear as if it happened yesterday. A year later I'm still processing the magnitude of Zoya's story and how the heck we were worthy enough to be a part of it.
April 19, 2010
Today, April 19, 2011 (A year later)
Happy Gotcha Day Zoya girl!!! I love you more than you'll ever know.