Thank You, Dad

Thank you for choosing me, Dad.

I get a lot of things from you, Dad…

His hardworking nature, willingness to help others, and inability to maintain a straight face when telling a joke are all traits I inherited from him. Although, I shouldn’t use the word “inherit”- because that means that I am genetically related to my dad, and I’m not.

I was adopted at just 10 months old from Moscow, Russia, and I was completely unaware that my life was about to change… forever.

Thank you for choosing to adopt me and giving me the life I have now.

You got me, but I also got you.

Happy Fathers Day to one incredible man.

On December 23rd, 1994, my parents signed the documents that released me from my birth mother’s custody. Now, every year my family celebrates this day as “Gotcha Day”. According to my birth records, I was gravely premature at the orphanage; I lacked adequate motor skills for my age, and would need therapy for months to come after arriving to my new home in New Jersey. My dad always says he knew that he needed to get me out of there.

My parents always wanted children. When my mom was unable to have children of her own, the search began. A neighbor of my grandmother’s worked at an adoption agency at the time, (convenient, right?) and when she told my parents that there was a baby girl from Moscow, my Dad said to my Mom, “We have to go get our baby girl.” In Moscow, they changed my name from Наталия (Natalia) to Caitlin, and so for my first Christmas, I got a family. 

My dad must have then said, “Lets go get our little boy”, because that’s exactly what they did next. Born exactly a year and a week apart, my younger brother and I are fortunate enough to share the same wonderful experience. We grew up with a special bond that would differ us from the other sibling relationships around us. We would go ice-skating and joke that it was our “Russian blood” that made us good. My brother may be my father’s son, but I always cherish the way my dad says “My Caitie Elena” when he hugs me.

The love that my Dad has shown me throughout my life could easily be described as tough love. When I went off to college, he wrote me a long letter that was separated into paragraphs discussing topics like money, study strategies, and even boys. I’ve read it more times than I can count.

He taught me what true faith and trust in God looks like, and what a husband should be to his wife. Our phone calls are often short, but he never misses a call. When I was in high school, my Dad and I had already finished a cup of coffee by the time my Mom and brother came downstairs. I know he misses me and wants me to know he’s always there. He’s always been there for me and he has never stopped believing in me. All of his emails end with:

“Love, Dad

PS: Do you know how far you can go?”

I’ve always known I was adopted, and it wasn’t something that I was proud of or willing to share to everyone I met when I was growing up. I thought it was strange and made me abnormal- which was understandable when peers would say things like “Your parents didn’t want you”. That was then, today is different. Growing up and realizing how truly blessed I was makes me want to tell my story. So when a new employee of The Archibald Project (and one of my best friends), Kendyle, asked me if I wanted to write this, the answer was simple. As I get older, it becomes more apparent to me that my gratitude for my parent’s choice will always be unmatched. I could thank them a million and one times, and still feel as if it weren’t enough. 

But thank you Dad, for choosing me. 

Happy Fathers Day from your little girl.