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Gotcha Day

Posted Jan 31 2013 12:23pm
Today was Gotcha Day. I have to admit that I have been emotionally preparing and praying for this day since we were told that he has been residing in a foster home.

Emotionally, it was every bit of the roller coaster I was expecting. 

We started the visit by dressing him in the clothes that foster mama laid out for him as we weren't positive that we were taking him, today. He was very helpful and compliant with my fumbling. Then, she allowed me to feed him breakfast which was some kind of meat pastry. He didn't seem to be a big fan, but he did eat about half of it before starting to spit it out. 

He seemed tired and kind of "droopy" all morning and the social worker told us later that he got up early, today. We visited sitting on the floor of their small living room for about two hours when the adult daughter, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren arrived. We knew the social workers were due to arrive around 2 p.m. and even though we still weren't sure it was gotcha day, they were clearly there to say goodbye to him.

Finally, the social workers arrived, including the one who speaks some English. She asked if we were comfortable taking him today and we readily agreed. I was fairly certain the foster mama couldn't have handled another day of us hanging out in her house. 

We dressed him in the clothes we brought for him, although they did give us his long-sleeved onesie to leave on him because the crazy Americans weren't dressing him warmly enough. (It was about 50 degrees F.) She also packed some other clothes for him, a bottle of juice, a large bottle of some sort of milk concoction, and his favorite stuffed hippo that he sleeps with and I was overcome by the sweetness of it all.

The family gathered around and took pictures of him, hugged and kissed him, and then handed him over. 

I bawled. 

I asked the social worker to communicate how very grateful we are to them for all they have done for him and then I hugged foster mama and we held each other for a few moments, she jabbering away in Serbian and me jabbering away in English as we attempted to communicate all that was in our hearts. 

We managed.

Foster papa had a very difficult time holding it together and granddaughter (3yo) finally caught wind of what was happening and started sobbing. We took our leave, B riding on my lap of the backseat of the social workers' car, foster mama waving until we were out of sight. 

Back at the hotel, the social worker checked out our room and explained that they will return tomorrow morning to check on us and then we are free to return to Belgrade until the ceremony which could be as early as next Tuesday. That is not normally the routine, but our translator, Zoran, has been telephoning them daily and has explained how much easier it will be for us to care for him in Belgrade due to the apartment and closer proximity to the supermarket.

Then they left and B sat in the room for about three minutes and just started to quietly cry. We could not distract him and decided to go for a walk and get some lunch/dinner. 

I am now laughing that I mentioned how proud I was of us for dragging that umbrella stroller from America. It's pretty obvious he has never ridden in a stroller and he is actually quite terrified of it. I pushed it anyway while Shawn carried him, in case he changed his mind.

He didn't, but at least I had somewhere to put my purse and leftover pizza after we ate!

He took everything in while we were out. He never stopped watching. He interacted with us at the restaurant a little. He thought he was quite funny for having figured out how to kick his slighty-too-large shoes off under the table, but mostly he just quietly watched the other patrons and snuggled into Shawn occasionally. 

When we walked back into the hotel room, he immediately started to cry, again. We gave him a bath by stopping up the shower with a towel and letting it fill the few inches it could without spilling over. He was unimpressed, but we made it quick and now he smells of Johnson & Johnson. :)

He cried for a bit longer until he fell asleep on Daddy where he is sleeping, still.

So many emotions for all of us this day. I am so sad he must go through this, but I know that the harder the short term, the better the long term for him. Because he has these attachments with his foster family, he will be better able to transfer them to us. 

But it's unbelievably painful to watch him grapple with this and bittersweet doesn't even come close to the depths of emotion felt on this day.
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