It is utterly baffling to think that Odette has been in our family for one year. Just like everyone says, in some ways it feels like it was yesterday and in others forever ago.
One year ago May 11th we drove down the narrow,crater-filled road to the orphanage where our daughter lived for the last 7 months. As first time parents we were equal parts excited and terrified. We were still in culture shock having only arrived in DRC late the night before. Seeing the city and country-side of Odette’s birth country was overwhelming, but walking through the gates of her orphanage was surreal. We had seen it many times in pictures and others’ videos but being there ourselves to meet Odette was incredible. I had only one thing on my mind and that was to find her!
If you spend 3 minutes with Odette today you would never believe that the child did not smile that entire day. I remember the day like it was yesterday, but even after a year I really do not have the words to explain the thoughts, feelings, and emotions of it all. We wrote about the day here.
With Odette’s birthday being just a week after her Gotcha Day we decided that we would celebrate by being together and doing something fun as a family. We began the day with a little photo shoot of the special girl.
From there we went out to lunch.
We then tried our best to convince Odette that we were going to go home for a quick nap, but she was NOT having it. She remembered that we said that the day was going to be fun, fun, fun. A nap was not included in her definition, even when we suggested it could be a family nap in our bed. We gave in and let her have her fun day. Our next stop was putt putt golf. Odette had never been but always asked to play on the putting green at the sporting goods store.
Be sure to zoom in on those scores to see who the winner was. (Yours truly : ) )
And while it wasn’t really in the plans we decided to give bowling a shot after. We had to go into the bowling alley to pay for putt putt and it caught Odette’s eye. We had time to kill before our dinner reservations so we played a game.
Please note that I bought socks from a vending machine because I was not putting my feet in those shoes without them.
We hadn’t quite had enough fun for the day, so we headed to dinner at Benihana. It is another place that Odette hadn’t been to (us either for that matter), but I thought it would be right up her alley (no pun intended). I was right! She loved it!
Sadly, we were all too stuffed too go get ice cream like we planned.
The day was wonderful. It had been far too long since we spent an entire day not doing any errands, housework, or other stuff that so easily gets in the way. We talked a lot about our time together in Congo and mommy and daddy praying for Odette before we met her. There were many, many I love yous shared and promises of being a family forever.
Happy Gotcha Day, Odette!!