Nine years ago today, October 20th, my family (consisting of me, my husband, Geoff, our four sons and my mother and father) stood at the top of a set of escalators in the SeaTac Airport, near Seattle, Washington. We were waiting (anxiously) for our new baby daughter (sister and granddaughter) to arrive from Seoul, South Korea. Today is the day, it's GOTCHA Day! If you are an adoptive family, or you know one, then you likely know the emotion that is associated with remembering that day—that moment really—when a child is placed in your arms that you have never met, but in so many ways, have always known. It's hard to describe that first time that you hold this tiny person, the first time that you smell them, the first time that you know for 100% certain the two of you were meant to be. It's no more or less magical than giving birth, but it is a different kind of miracle, because there are so many other people involved in the process of bringing an adopted child to the life she did not choose, but will know for the rest of her life. Today, I'm particularly mindful of Addie's birth mother. I think of her often, but today I felt a strong desire to pray and to ask Heavenly Father to be extra aware of her and to somehow let her know that she is loved and that her daughter is loved and adored. That her daughter is healthy and vibrant and smart and beautiful. I want her to know that the sacrifice she made for Addie's future is recognized every single day by our family and that we are eternally grateful to her. I prayed that she would be wrapped in a warm feeling of peace and comfort. I have no idea where she is or what she is doing. I will never be able in this life to meet her, but I am teaching her daughter, my daughter about the kind of love that is strong enough to let someone go.
In honor of Gotcha Day 2015, here are NINE things that Addie inherited from her first mother ...
1. Beauty. Absolute stunning beauty!
2. Purity. Addie has an innocence about her that shines.
3. LOVE. There is a quality of spontaneous affection that came with this little girl, and it blesses anyone who takes the time to know her heart.
4. Spunk. Enough said.
5. Strength. Addie has this quiet and enduring strength, that often surprises me. She resolutely faces fears and remains still and quiet. There might a breakdown that follows, but she is often serene in the face of something unknown or scary.
6. Charity. This one came with a caring and giving soul. She sees others want and sorrow and seems to automatically reach out.
7. Sparkle. It's in her eyes and it attracts others to her!
8. Determination. Once Addie's mind is made up, it's nigh unto impossible to change it.
9. Warmth. Literally, this little girl that you might assume (because of her slight build) would be frequently cold has an internal heater that is always on. She refuses her coat and kicks off her blankets and is always saying, "I'm too warm!"
So, from adoptive mom to birth mom (if I could) I thank you from the deepest place in my heart for your unselfish decision and for the hope that "she will meet a good permanent family for the better future of the child." (her words, from the adoption packet) I promise to love her and to teach her. I will do my very best to guide your sweet Jeong Ga-eun. I treasure her and I will remind her often of how much you love her.
We love you.