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Adoption Day question

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 

Do you celebrate your child's adoption day anniversary?


How do you celebrate?



My little one's adoption day (3 year) is coming up in a couple of weeks and I feel like we should commemorate it somehow but it falls within the same week of my birthday, Christmas, and Yule so I'm feeling a little overwhelmed at the prospect of adding another thing to celebrate.  

post #2 of 23

Totally spaced it this year. Our daughter is 3. Her adoption was finalized at National Adoption Day. I'd thought it would be fun to go to that every year, but it hasn't happened yet. 


Somehow, adoption day doesn't feel particularly big to me. Her birthmom never held her. I'm the first mom that ever did. I started nursing her at 6 hours of age. Her birthday is the important date to me. Maybe if we'd gotten her on a different date or things had been different, I would feel differently, but I don't.


When she gets older, we'll probably discuss if she'd like to do anything. In the meantime, everything here is fine.

post #3 of 23

With my kids there are too many dates to really have one to celebrate. For my first placed son, he was placed on Valentine's Day (as a foster child) and i do think (and sometimes say) "Today is the day he came" but its not celebrated per se. I remember the day termination happened as it was my birthday, but that isnt a day i would celebrate, it was kind of sad even if necessary and inevitable. I remember the day the adoption was actually finalized, a couple days before Christmas, but at that point it was just a formality and so close to Christmas a celebration would just get in the way.


With my second placed son, i remember the day he was placed as a foster, but that day was truly traumatic for him (picture sobbing confused child placed in a strangers arms, whose life then was never the same) and while i recognize the actual DATE in my head ("oh today is the day D came to live with us) it certainly wouldnt be anything to have cake over. Termination was pretty awful as well and while that was again necessary and important, it was sad for everyone and not something i'd want to think too much on. The date of finalization i dont even remember, he'd been with me for a couple of years at that point and the process had gotten somewhat nightmarish and i just wanted it over.


With my daughter, we DO recognize the date she was placed in our family (well we've only had one anniversary so far) because there isnt the baggage attached to the date as with the others (although moves of course are always hard.) She wasnt leaving birth family or a beloved long term foster home. She was excited to be here. She was being reunited with her bio brother. We'd had months of visits building up to The Day. Plus she is a kid who has moved just about every year of her life and who LOVES to celebrate anything and everything, so saying "you've been here one month now!" "you've been here SIX months now!" "its been a whole year TODAY!" was important to her. At some point, i suspect it might be less important. In fact, the other day she said "how long have i been here now? a long time huh?" and i said i couldnt even remember, i had to count up the exact months (it will be a year and a half in dec)...spending her second Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas in the same place as last year was something that was new to her.


The recognition we did do for her "adoption date" (which was not even of legal significance as she was just placed as a regular foster placement at that time) was just me taking her to lunch, and i bought her a couple little gifts, candy and such. We dont get much 1:1 time together so that was special.


Personally i would keep it low key and have it more be a celebration of our change as a family rather than focusing too much on the child (i've read where alot of people basically make it like a second birthday for the child with cake/gifts etc, thats just not for us) but thats just me. If my kids want to do more (or less) as they get older, i'll take their lead.

post #4 of 23

This year we celebrated Gotcha Day for DD1. I think since both were placed in January we might do a joint family special dinner to celebrate their Gotcha Days this coming January.


post #5 of 23

My daughter gets really emotional and impulsive if we make a big deal about her adoption day.  Last year we got a cake and let her serve it (she was 6) and that was a big hit : )  But we don't make more of a big deal than that.  And we don't even do the same day every year.  Some year we celebrate the day she came home, and some years the day we finalized.  I guess I would say follow your child's lead!

post #6 of 23

My children's adoption date isn't really that important in the daily life of our family. They both had been here for so long and were family long before I got the calls that their adoptions were final. I'm not even sure of DD's exact finalization date. I know it's in November but I'd have to look up the date. It was only last year but since we didn't finalize in court, it's not something that sticks in my brain.


I do, however, remember when my kids were placed with me. I might say something to the kids like "Wow, today it's been X years since you came to be part of our family" but that's more important to ME than it is to THEM. In addition, we have two open adoptions (to different degrees) and I always keep in mind that while my children's adoptions were happy for ME, it's a very sad thing for their birth parents.

post #7 of 23

I made a post on my blog about it being my dd gotcha day and received a message from a now adult adoptee, who was very negative in her feelings on celebrating this day. We dont celebrate it, it was just a blog post to myself actually. I am curious how others view it.

post #8 of 23


post #9 of 23

I am not a fan of the term gotcha day- at all.

post #10 of 23
Originally Posted by Emilie2 View Post

I am not a fan of the term gotcha day- at all.

Neither am i.

post #11 of 23

We just finalized our adoption on Nov. 5th and our baby was 7 months old.  I think we will do a simple cake or ice cream and pull out pictures to remember the cermony.  It was a special day but he had been our son since the day he was born when we met him.

post #12 of 23

We celebrate Gotcha Day in our house.  It's not a huge celebration as in a party that's festive, but it's a tradition that we mark with a giant cookie and a favourite meal of the kids' at the time (my world famous mac n' cheese) over dinner.  For us it's important to recognize the day that we became a family.  Gotcha Day isn't the date of our adoption (I can't remember when we were finalized) but the day that marked them moving from their foster home to their adoptive home.  It will always be a day of mixed emotions as it was a day of endings and new beginnings for the kids. It's a subdued day. Since our kids were older at the time of adoption (9 and 11) and got a say in picking their forever family and they've articulated that this day is important to them.


I don't have a problem with calling it Gotcha Day, but I think that may be in the context of our own adoption experience.  For those of you who don't like it, I'm thinking I know why, but I'd like to hear why to make sure I'm not making assumptions.

post #13 of 23

We say "gotcha" and follow it up with "Family Day" for our day of celebration. For us it's a jumping off point for discussion of all the relevant dates. The kids can fully understand the day of arrival in our home  which is why we say "family day". It's more concrete than the adoption date. This also allows our dfd to have one as well. I've read about the negative connotations behind "gotcha", but really it's what the kids respond to. They know it's a day we spend together with a restaurant stop included.  

post #14 of 23

Not sure if I was clear in my last message. I meant to say that we recognize that many use Gotcha Day and refer to the same day using both that and Family Day. We know many families formed through adoption and want to be sure that we use vocabulary others might recognize. That said, we think "Family Day" will be more neutral as they grow older and have a better feel for language nuance.

post #15 of 23

I don't like the term "Gotcha Day" because in many cases, it's also a "Lostcha Day." DS and DD don't remember coming to live here (DS was two and DD was nine months.) And by the time their adoptions were final, they were here so long that it was anti-climatic. They don't remember anything else.

post #16 of 23

Part of why i dont prefer "Gotcha Day" is because i find the word "Gotcha" to be kind of an ugly word (in terms of just how it sounds to MY ears)...we dont really use that word much in our normal lives in my family so it sounds kind of foreign to me even though i totally get what it means and why its used. I've read articles where adoptees have explained why they dont like it (along the lines of what polliwog said, its not just a gotcha day but a lost ya day for many) and they say the focus seems to be on the adoptive parents "this is the day WE got you"...and even "GOT you" kind of reduces the process of waiting and adopting to this acquisition, we got a puppy, we got a new car, ...we got a child.


That being said, i can see how someone might think that all is overthinking the term, that its just a fun name to celebrate a child coming home. And one person pointed out that her daughter says "This is the day i got YOU"...meaning the focus was on what she got, not just on what her parents got.

post #17 of 23

I kind of understand the term gotcha not sounding good. I think I do prefer "Family Day". Last year we just had a special family dinner with a family that supported us through the adoption process. So really it was all about celebrating us as a family. I see continuing this in January again as both DDs came in January, one 2010 and one 2011.

post #18 of 23

This is why we use Family Day as our primary term- to bring into discussion the idea of family and how all the players lead up to where we are now. Yes, it means there is sadness as well. Having a day to mark all of this is helpful for permanency in our home and this entails recognizing family members who've played a role in who they are today. We did "get them", I'll never say that's not so. With our children who were older at adoption, this idea of them coming to our home after we've waited and hoped for them is of extreme importance to their bonding. However, I also see Polliwog's and Queen Janes points. Words have many meanings and uses. Gotcha' is used by me in child rhymes and games, so I'd not say it's foreign to my vocabulary. Is it dignified? No. Am I beating a dead horse in this response? Probably!

post #19 of 23

I see your points, Queen Jane and Polliwog. We use Family Day as a way to bring together the many emotions that may be involved. My kids came to us at 3.5, so there is no way we could ever erase th other people who played a part in their creation. We did "get them", I'll never deny that. As an important piece to our bonding,  we talk of how we hoped and waited for them. I also give space for  talking about the roles others have played in bringing us all together. I don't ever want my children to feel responsible for the hurt and pain their birth parents experienced in their losses, so I"m very careful about how I present the information by talking about the barriers they faced. At this point it's all simple language given their ages and level of interest (minimal). I use gotcha' in childhood rhymes and games, so it is not foreign to my vocabulary. Words have many meanings and uses, so I'm not adverse to throwing it in for the reasons I've already listed. Is it dignified? No. Am I beating a dead horse with my response? Probably!

post #20 of 23

Uh-oh, I didn't realize my first response posted! 

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