Mother's Day at our house had one of those neat bonuses that life hands you sometimes.
It was Kara's first "real" Mother's Day, with a kid in the house who gave a card to her (with a lot of help from a certain Dad who shall remain nameless). (It was me. That's not a name. Hush, you.)
But more than that, it was May 11th, a day that will forever be known as "Referral Day" in the Patterson household.
Which is to say, yeah, a year ago on Sunday, we first heard the name Mihret. We got our first picture of the girl who was going to be ours.
It was a strange and wonderful and amazing day.
It was a Friday. Kara and I were both at work. I spent the day calling doctors and having them check her medical information, all the while looking at Mihret and thinking, "This might be my daughter. This is my daughter. This is what all that paperwork was for."
She's three months old in the picture. Her finger is wet, covered in drool, the way it still is now when she's looking for comfort.
She's tiny and perfect in the picture.
I got no work done that day. Kara did better than myself, because she had deadlines to think about, and deal with, and things had to get done.
But me? I got nothing done.
And when all the decisions were made, and we called our social worker back, to say, "Yes, this is our daughter," it was amazing. I emailed Mihret's picture out. I sent her dossier to my parents and Kara's parents.
The moms cried. Maybe the dads did, too, though no one ever told me one way or another.
We printed up pictures of our daughter and gave them away to loved ones. And on Mother's Day last year, we surprised my Grandma by presenting her with a picture of her very first great-grandchild, already in a little frame.
She cried. So did I.
And last Sunday, it was a year later.
Mihret has been home for months, now. She's a real person, not just a picture in a frame. She's gone from tiny (ten pounds, in the picture) to more than double that size. She's a skinny, tall little girl, and not a baby anymore.
She says a ton of words, words that we helped to teach her.
She can walk, and runs most of the time. She can climb, and goes up the stairs with ease (and down the stairs kind of ungracefully, though she'll get good at it one day).
And that's just her. In the same few months, Kara moved into a new position at work. I got a new job entirely.
My grandparents, who have had health problems for years, have continued to get older and more frail. They moved out of their house. My parents moved into their house.
My brother moved into my parents' old house.
He also got a new job.
The world - our world - is different now, a year later. But the first picture we ever got of her, looking tiny and beautiful, is still sitting on my desk at work.
She'll get bigger, and get older, and one day, I might even put a new picture in that frame. But I'll always keep a copy of that picture nearby, as a reminder of the day I gave my heart away to a little girl I had never seen before, on May 11th, 2007.