My description of Gotcha Day itself will be brief. It took more time to drive to the orphanage than it did to walk in and come out with her.
We had no idea what to expect from Gotcha Day. We'd heard descriptions from other adoptive parents of send-offs which ranged from very small, quiet and almost somber goodbyes to full blown parties including both celebration and ceremony.
Playing it safe, we figured our experience would be somewhere in between. So we brought items to give along with our sincere thanks, and planned to spend as much time as we were allotted to express our gratitude to the caregivers and say goodbye to the other children and the only life Alina had ever known.
We brought a large bag filled with gifts, our camera and a small bag with Alina's outfit, coat and a few toys for the ride back to the hotel.
It was a pretty day, with big blue skies and lots of sunshine. Chris took a couple of short videos with his Blackberry before we entered the room:
It was an exciting and emotional day. And it all hit us at once last night. We have saved a life. This precious little ruby, this innocent child, has been hidden away since birth. What if we had not come for her? Our hearts are so full and grateful for her and for this journey. At the same time they are aching for the life she has missed out on for three long years, and for all of the other little ones we had to leave behind yesterday--especially the ones with no families coming for them.
At this point, it is all too fresh to write about clearly. We are honestly moved beyond words...