Today is Gotcha Day. It’s the anniversary of the day the kids were officially ours and we were finally “Mom and Dad”.
It was an exciting day. We invited the Social Worker over to get all of the details finalized, and she brought along all the official papers that we had to read and sign.
Once it was all done, it seemed a little strange to me. From the second a paper is signed, the kids are yours to raise. It seems a little strange that a little person should be given in such a formal, sign-on-the-dotted-line kinda way. I think that when a child is what is signed over, there should be a parade or fireworks involved. However, it was just a quiet moment of excitedly signing papers.
We knew in our hearts that we had a long way to go that day. Becoming a parent is way more than signing a paper or giving birth. It is a day to day giving of yourself to another person who depends on you for everything. It is like pulling your heart out and giving it to someone else. It is a connection that can’t be formed by signing a paper. We knew that these kids needed to form an attachment with us that would need a lot of hard work. We were going to have to prove to 3 little ones that we were who we claimed to be.
Once the Social Worker had been thanked and was on her way, we went out on the patio to sit and talk. Moments later, the second “Social Worker” arrived on the patio. This one was eight years old and carrying a file of her own. She announced her arrival, shook our hands, and handed us the file.
This little girl wasn’t much of a speller at the time, but we could make out that we were signing an adoption agreement. Some of the things that the first Social Worker had said were repeated to us, but this one had a few more questions that, in her opinion, had not been adequately asked by her colleague.
“Now,” she said in a very formal voice,”I have some questions for you. Please answer all of them.”
“Certainly,” we responded.
“First, are you going to be mean to the children, or hit them?”
“Good. Are you going to love them always?”
“Are you going to fight and scream at each other?”
“Are you going to stay with them forever?”
“Okay, then. Please sign here and here.” She pointed to the lines where we needed to sign. Then she stuck out her hand to us.
“You may be the parents of these children. Have a good day.”
We shook her hand, signed the papers, and she happily left them with us. Then she trotted off to play with her brothers.
Today, if you were to ask me for the adoption agreement, I would pull two pieces of paper from our filing cabinet. One has perfectly-worded statements and legal jargon. It names us and binds us to legal guardianship of 3 little miracles.
The other has the writing of a responsible little girl who was trusting herself and her little brothers into the hands of strangers.
In our eyes, that’s the official one.