This picture was taken four years ago while we sat in an office in Belgrade, Serbia waiting for a birth certificate to be printed stating that Chad and I were the parents of a little girl named Sofija. It was not a great day. Some people have big elaborate ceremonies or fancy days in court to mark the adoption of their new child. This was not the case for us. We sat in a room at a social worker’s office, signed a piece of paper, hopped in a taxi, and spent the remainder of the day chasing paper and trying to control a little girl that was dang-near feral. We got our butts kicked that day. Strangers on the street got their butts kicked (and ankles bitten) that day. All the butt-kicking aside, she was ours. On April 27, 2010, Sofija became a Calvaresi.
I’ve written a lot about how hard the journey of mothering her has been/still is. I share the hard part, because I think it’s really important for people to know the truth. I also think it’s really important for those involved with orphan care to grasp how crucial it is for a child to be nurtured from the day they are born. Neglect damages children. Period.
In Kaci’s perfect world, there would be no need for orphanages; Every child would have a family (birth, foster, adoptive) to love them and meet their needs from the moment they enter this world. Love is a basic human need and a basic human right. Every human needs love as much as they need food, water, and rest. It breaks me to think about the fact that my child lived without love for so long.
Not. Any. More.
You see that smile? That’s the smile of a little girl who knows the love of a family. That’s the smile of a little girl who knows what it means to have a Mama and a Tata. She is legitimate. She is loved. She is ours. And we wouldn’t trade her for any other dang-near feral girl in the world.
Baby Girl, we gotcha and we will never stop fighting for you to be all that God created you to be.