National Adoption Month 2019: Karen Gaydosh and daughter reminisce about “Gotcha Day”

“I thank God for your birth mom and for the decision she made to have you because without that decision, we would never have had you as our daughter.”

Grace Gaydosh has watched the video of her “Gotcha Day” about a million times. She knows what the people looked like who escorted her on the flight home. She can describe, in tiny detail, the look on her (much younger) parents’ faces, and Grace can tell you that she was a pretty adorable baby dressed in a white long sleeve top and pink pants without any socks on. 

In honor of National Adoption Month 2019, Lancer Media interviewed local adoptees with family members to share their special stories. Grace Gaydosh chose to interview Karen Gaydosh, her mom. Although Grace doesn’t remember very much (as she was an infant), her mom recorded the night Grace came home on her video camera so that Grace could watch it later.

In this interview, she and her mom talked about how her mom felt during the adoption process and why that day was so meaningful to her. They also discussed possibly finding Grace’s birth mom in the future. 

Grace used the StoryCorps app to record this interview. StoryCorps is an American non-profit organization whose mission is to record, preserve, and share the stories of Americans from all backgrounds.

courtesy of Dave Wilhelm
Grace’s mom embraces Grace for the first time at BWI airport.

Grace: What was your biggest worry when going through the adoption process? Were there any complications?

Karen: “I think my biggest worry was that you would come home in the time frame promised by the adoption agency. Your dad and I were told you would be coming home in October. In September of that same year, there was a possible tsunami headed toward South Korea so we worried about your health and safety.”

Grace: Can you tell me the story of when you first saw me?

Karen: “When we first saw your picture in July, 2002, you were just this tiny little thing. We got statistics on you and any health issues we’d have to consider. We had to agree to the receiving of the adoption before we could see the picture of you. You were born a month premature, and you were only about 4 pounds. We met you for the first time in October.”

Grace: What was I like as a baby? As a child? 

Karen: “As a baby, you were very pleasant and joyful. You loved looking at us, and you particularly loved your interaction with your brother. You used to lay in your crib quite a bit. I could just hear you babbling and playing in your crib, and sometimes I would just have to go in and get you up. You would look at your hands a lot, and I don’t know why you did it. As you got a bit older, you developed temper tantrums. I would have to leave you on the floor kicking and screaming because I couldn’t reason with you.”

Grace: Do you have a favorite memory of me?

Karen: “There’s so many that I could talk about. As a child, you had this very raspy voice. It caught a lot of people off guard.

We have a particular video of you singing a song that you learned in pre-k which was, “I’m in. I’m out. I’m up. I’m down. I’m happy all around.”

My other favorite memory of you growing up was the total joy you would get when you received a gift. Whenever someone got you something, you would rip the paper off as fast as you could and scream with delight.”

Grace: How would you feel if I wanted to find my birth mom when I’m old enough?

Karen: I would definitely encourage and support you if you wanted to locate your birth mom. It would be selfish of me to tell you not to. I am very grateful to her for choosing life for you and making a birth plan. I would not mind meeting her some day myself. She must have been a strong lady to make the decision that she did to have you in a culture that rejected women who had children outside of marriage, so I would 100% support your efforts to find her.”

Grace: Why do you feel that National Adoption Month is so important?

Karen: “It’s so important because there are so many children that are living in foster homes or orphanages that are still waiting for a forever home. Adoption is a beautiful way to grow your family and I would encourage anyone thinking about adoption to foremost, pray about it and then seek out reputable adoption agencies that can assist with starting their search. I would also encourage those individuals to speak with adoptive families about their experiences so they can have open and honest discussions about the adoption process and beyond.”