Ten years ago today, this beautiful little bit of a thing is handed to me. The happiest day of my life, the scariest day of hers. I expected her to cry, but she doesn't make a sound. Her entire world turned upside down, she clutches at me so she doesn't go tumbling, too. I love the slight weight of her, the warmth. She digs her head into my chest so she doesn't have to look at me. Less than an hour, and she falls asleep in my arms. Trust? No, between fight or flight, she chooses flight, running away in the only way she can. Shutting down, shutting me out.
Later that evening, she's ready to play, to smile at me -- it's so soon, I'm surprised and delighted. Brave girl! A bravery bred from necessity. So helpless, she adapts. Survival adaptation. Being adorable guarantees that others will take care of you when you can't take care of yourself. And she is adorable. I'll take care of her forever. Love her forever.
Ten years later -- today -- she's giddy with excitement, thrilled to celebrate. She can't stop hugging me. She's back to wanting to call it "Gotcha Day," rejecting calling it "Forever Family Day," because she says it's confusing. She has two forever family, her birth family and us.
Family tradition -- she picks out where we go to dinner; Zoe tradition -- she picks Chinese every year. She's especially excited that some of her bestest friends from China are meeting us for dinner.
This decade -- the decade of Zoe -- starts with loss, fear, grief. But today, she wants to focus on friends and family (both present and absent), on forever love.