Pictures of a new daughter bring joy on Father’s Day
There is a belief in China that everyone is born with an invisible red thread attaching him or her to the people who will eventually become part of their lives. It is said that these threads might stretch or twist, but they will never break, and I believe this to be true.I’ve felt, first hand, the tug of these threads in my life. At no time are they more evident to me than during what the international adoption community calls Match Day.On June 8, my family’s most recent Match Day, the red thread that ties my wife Beverly, my daughter Isabell and myself together snapped taunt when we received the first pictures of Gao Jie Gu – soon to be Lydia Gao Jie Gu Gmerek – our new daughter from China.
I guess for those who have never experienced a Match Day, it’s hard to describe the absolute joy, surprise and wonder that accompanies the moment when parents receive the first information and photographs of their new child.I’ve had some people suppose that it’s like the day a couple receives a first ultrasound picture of their baby in the womb, but, I think this description is wrong. To me, it’s much like saying, “It tastes like chicken” when describing a new or amazing food. It just misses the special magic and the shear joy of Match Day. A joy, I might add, that you only experience when you adopt.Which is funny when you think about it, because Match Day isn’t tangibly that big a deal. The file on your new baby usually imparts only basic information like height, weight, age and location of the child.The pictures … well, let’s just say I’ve never seen one with the child smiling. They look more like mug shots or photos of prisoners of war than baby pictures.
And Lydia’s photographs are no exception. Her pictures were taken in February so she’s wearing at least 10 layers of clothes. She’s sporting a confused frown on her chubby, albeit, sweet face and her hair style, I’m sad to say, closely resembles mine before I shaved off all my hair.With big tufts of black locks on each side of her head and none in the middle, she looks more like a friar or Chairman Mao than a little girl.But still, truth be told, she’s about as beautiful as a baby gets in less than a year of life and my being her father has no influence on my opinion.Even with all these quirks, there is nothing, except possibly marrying the woman you love, that is half as exciting as seeing your new baby for the first time. You plan, work, save, hope, dream and fill out forms and more forms and some forms for the forms topped off with a healthy pile of forms, and then one day an adoption agency representative calls and says that the packet of information on your new daughter has finally arrived in the United States. And your world changes forever.
With Father’s Day just two days away, my celebration this year is going to be twice as grand as it was last year. With my daughter Isabell by my side and my daughter Lydia’s picture in my pocket, I’ll experience the kind of joy that can only be described as God’s way of loaning me a small piece of heaven in advance.And when Lydia finally arrives, well, that small piece of heaven will blossom into a fine piece of happiness real estate.Andrew Gmerek writes a Friday column. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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