You may all be asking yourself, “what in the world is a gotcha day?” Well a couple months back, some of you may have read my post about my adoption story. “Gotcha day” is a slang reference for the day a child is adopted. I have heard this many times before and it is a popular term used by adoptive families.
Since today is my “gotcha day,” I thought I would share some moments of my parents’ adoption journey. Rewind to February 11, 1993 at about 7:30 PM, the night my parents were having their last home study meeting. A home study is part of the adoption process where prospective adoptive parents go through several interviews to see if they are fit to take on the responsibility of adopting a child.
My mom told me that the adoption facilitator had been rushing their home study meetings, which is something she and my dad found odd, but didn’t question. At the end of the final meeting, my mom and dad were asked by the facilitator, “So, are y’all ready for a baby?” At that moment, my mom remembers thinking… if the biological mother had just found out she was pregnant, she and my dad would have a baby before Christmas…little did they know it would be MUCH sooner than that! My dad then asked, “Well, how soon?” The facilitator responded, “Like, tomorrow!” That’s when my mom said everything went blank!
Elated with excitement, they were so excited to tell each of their parents, my grandparents, the news. Unfortunately, my Paw Mo, my dad’s father, was away on a church retreat in Covington and wouldn’t be arriving home until later for a couple of days, but of course my parents went to my grandma (GeGe’s) house to tell her first because she lived next door.
My GeGe said, “They came down the driveway honking the horn. It kind of scared me a little because it was late. Then they came running inside saying, ‘We are going to have a baby girl!’ I was speechless but overjoyed to meet our new little darling!”
Next they went to my Nana and Paw Don’s house, my mother’s parents, to tell them. My mom and dad walked into their house and my Nana was sitting on her chair watching tv. Confused why my parents were at their house at that time of the night, my Nana asked, “It’s late! What are y’all doing here?”
My mom said, “Mom, (she paused a few seconds) we have a baby! We are picking up a baby girl tomorrow!”
Shocked with disbelief my Nana said, “WHAT!?”
My mom said, “We just had our home study tonight and are getting a baby girl TOMORROW!”
(Best response of all) my Nana says, “Ramona, if you’re lying to me…that’s the meanest thing you’ve ever done!”
My mom continues by saying, “Mom, you have to believe me! We have to hurry and go to Wal-Mart! It’s 8:30 right now and Wal-Mart closes at 9:00 and we have nothing!” (Classic Mom – always needing to be prepared).
Mind you, this was before 24 hour Wal-Mart was a thing. All my parents had were a baby nail clip, pacifier and homemade, unfinished baby bed. Safe to say they were VERY unprepared and had lots of necessities to get.
My Nana, Paw Don, Mom and Dad headed to Wal-Mart to get everything they needed for my arrival. The women began running around the baby supplies so the men took care of the baskets and purses. My Paw Don would later comment that my mom and nana were running around like two chickens with their heads cut off!
My mom and Nana met up with a ton of people while at the store. I can’t tell you the amount of people who have told me throughout my life, “I found out about your arrival while I was at Wal-Mart the night before they picked you up.” This always makes me laugh and my response is always, “No way! You were there too!?”
During the many times we would reminisce about that night, my mom said she didn’t sleep that entire night. She admitted to me that she thought about saying no and not adopting me because all she could think of is how their lives were going to change (she should have ran for the hills) She kept asking herself so many “what if” questions, which I truly can’t blame her for.
So the next day, my parents went to pick me up on a cold February night at 6pm. My Nana, Paw Don, Grandma, both godparents, aunt, uncle and two cousins all came to meet me for the first time. I can’t imagine how unique it was to welcome a new family member this way, and for each of your presence and love, I am most grateful.
Talking to my mom over the years, she has told me how surreal this moment was for she and my dad. My dad was the first one to shed a tear when they met me (and I was crying too..only because I was hungry. Nothing has changed)! He was instantly wrapped around my finger. I’m a Daddy’s girl.
The next few days were filled with sleepless nights and many visitors. We have SO many home movies with family and friends coming to meet me and welcome me into the family. I love that this day and days to follow were captured. I think the best home movie is of my Paw Mo. Remember in the beginning when I said he wasn’t home? When he returned home from the retreat a couple of days later, he and my grandma came over to the house, but he had no idea what he was about to see. Imagine the shock he felt when he saw me and was told that he had a new granddaughter! He too was in disbelief of this news!
I think a baby being born is single handedly the most special thing a family can experience. Though my family came together in a unique way, these strangers quickly became my heart and soul, and to this day, I forget that I am adopted.
My parents were given a gift for me that still hangs on the wall of my room to this day. The gift quote reads, “An Adopted Child is a prayer whispered in the heart, answered in heaven, fulfilled in a wonderful way by God’s eternal love.” This sums up our adoption journey, exactly.