Friday, October 14, 2011

I Wish This Were Another Gotcha Day Celebration


On this day two years ago, October 14, 2009, Chrissie officially became our daughter.  This day is known as “Gotcha Day” in the adoption community, the day you officially “got” your child.

Serbia, Oct 14, 15, 16 018
The driver of the Kolevka van (which was normally used to transport sick children to the hospital) picked us up at our hotel at 10AM, October 14, to take us to the town in which Chrissie was born in Serbia for an adoption ceremony.

Serbia, Oct 14, 15, 16 019
Chrissie was so excited.  She sat patiently in the van while we loaded all of our luggage.

Serbia, Oct 14, 15, 16 015
This was a whirlwind day, as we weren’t sure if the adoption ceremony would happen on this day or not.  We were told to be ready for pick up by 7AM, but the head minister in Serbia hadn’t yet signed Chrissie’s adoption paperwork at that time, so we were told it probably wouldn’t happen on that day.

Then we received a phone call at 9:45AM (October 14) from our dear friend (who was Chrissie’s speech therapist at the orphanage), Sandra (pictured below in the van with Chrissie), to let us know that the head minister signed the paperwork and the adoption ceremony would be taking place on that day after all. 

Sandra saved the day when she arranged for our last minute transportation (the Kolevka van), and she even offered to accompany us for the day.  It was PERFECT because Chrissie LOVED Sandra, and Sandra spoke Serbian and English, so she was a HUGE help to all of us.  We had hoped to take Chrissie back by her orphanage (Kolevka) to let her say goodbye to everyone, but we didn’t have time.  That made me sad for Chrissie and all those who loved her so dearly at the orphanage, but we were so grateful to have the ceremony where Chrissie would officially become our forever daughter.

Serbia, Oct 14, 15, 16 020

Believe it or not, I don’t have a single photo of the rest of the day on October 14, 2009!!!  It was such a whirlwind of a day that we completely forgot to take photos. Sad smile

The ceremony was held with officials in the town in which Chrissie was born.  It took about an hour, then she was pronounced our daughter.  There was a challenge with obtaining Chrissie’s birth certificate because apparently we were only the second international adoption in that town, but eventually it all worked out.

We had to get Chrissie’s passport photo taken in that same town, and Chrissie smiled so big for her photo.  Everyone there laughed.  They just adored her, as did we.

After we completed everything with the adoption ceremony, passport photos, and birth certificate documentation, the Kolevka van drove us to Belgrade, Serbia, where Sandra helped us find a place to stay.  We were starving upon our arrival at the hotel (around 7PM) because we hadn’t eaten breakfast, lunch, or dinner!  (See, we didn’t even get to eat, much less take photos!!!) 

The hotel had a restaurant that cooked us a special meal that we were so grateful for.  We were the only people in the restaurant.  I think they were closed, but they had a few staff who were willing to cook us something.  They asked Chrissie (in Serbian) what she wanted to eat, and she told them she wanted bread with butter, rice, and French fries with ketchup.  We let her eat it…all starches, no protein, oh well. Smile

I so wish Chrissie were here today on earth so we could celebrate her 2nd Gotcha Day.  I can’t wait to hug that girl’s neck in heaven one day.  Oh how we miss her.

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