Gotcha Day

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WE'VE been a family exactly five years, yesterday being the fifth anniversary of the Daughter's arrival, her - our - Gotcha Day. She'd forgotten it was coming but understood immediately when she discerned streamers and balloons in the early-morning shadows. We knew she knew from her chuckles. ``Guys! Did you decorate my room at midnight?''

Rick and I have no precedents for a Gotcha-Day celebration, so it has been evolving slowly. The first year or two, we were just aware of this most important date, consciously grateful for our good fortune, for this daughter, for our family.

When the Daughter acquired language, we talked about Gotcha Day and retold her arrival story:

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The Kansas City airport at 4:30 a.m.

The escort who handed her to us, saying, ``This one's a keeper.''

The hair that stood straight out all over her head.

The breakfast when I asked for a third arm so I could eat and hold her and feed her, genuinely puzzled as to how people function as mothers with only two arms.

We look at her Korean artifacts: rubber shoes, tassels, purses, her out-grown hanbok dress. We name our friends who also are adopted.

Lately we give the Daughter a gift or two, making Gotcha Day something akin to a birthday celebration. This year her Montana aunt sent a box containing: Gloves, Oranges, a Toothbrush, Crayons, a Hat, and a book by Arlene Alda.

We've decided that having two personal holidays is a bonus of being adopted. The Daughter handles it quite well.

There's vast pleasure in inciting pleasure, which is a powerful boon of parenthood. On Gotcha Day it works both ways: The pleasure compounds.

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