Most adoptive families celebrate what has come to be known as Gotcha Day. For some reason, early on in life, as in most things, Aleksandra had a strong opinion about this. She insisted that she wants it to be called Adoption Day. And we try to make Adoption Day special, while stressing that it's not a big material celebration. No gifts, just usually some special family time. She usually picks dinner, and there is often ice cream involved. Bowling is a popular Adoption Day pastime.
Adoption Day always brings with it a mix of emotions like gratitude and grief. It reminds us of the joy of the day we left a Russian courthouse and headed straight to the orphanage to bathe and dress a precious little baby girl. And it also reminds us that there is a family of origin in Russia who is missing a member. And we're sad for them, but so thankful for us. It always makes me a little more emotional than I expect.
Even though adoption is becoming more accepted in U.S. culture, people are still very curious and ask a lot of questions. Here is the main thing I've learned and want to share about adoption. Having a biological child first, and then unable to have more, my deepest darkest fear was: what if it's not the same? What if the love feels different? I carried that worry around for about about nine months, ironically. But then I held a little girl in my arms and I felt that same love. Our second adoption was further confirmation of this fact. There are three parts of my heart out there walking around in the world. And they are equal parts. I think any parent can attest to the fact that even though you may love and relate to your children differently, there's no more or less love.
Adoption certainly isn't for everyone. It's not something to go into lightly or without being fully committed. But there's so much love to gain. Aleksandra is an amazing young woman. And being adopted is part of her acolescent search for identity. Those are tricky waters for anyone, but we are navigating them together little by little, question by question. So we'll celebrate today the growth of our family 11 years ago on the real, true, legal Adoption Day.