|Our First Family Portrait on Wenxin's Original Gotcha Day Back in 2010|
"Hey Mom, do you know about Gotcha Day?"
Thank you very much, Netflix. Somewhere, in Wenxin's daily consumption of Disney sitcoms, he happened on an adoption-themed show. And one of the characters let the cat out of the bag about Gotcha Day.
"It's for adopted kids. It's a day to celebrate the day you adopted me -- kind of like a birthday."
Gotcha Day. Sounds good to Wenxin, but you might want to know that not everyone's a fan.
Well, for one, some people seem to object to the cutesy name. The word, gotcha, conjures up images of childless parents snatching or acquiring children. You know, "Gotcha!" For folks who cringe at the term, Gotcha Day, many simply change the name to Family Day or Adoption Day. Problem solved.
But for others the issue is deeper. Here are some comments from adult adoptees I found by doing a quick search of adoption message boards.
I was adopted as an infant but back in my day (lol) the term "Gotcha Day" hadn't yet evolved (thank God). I do think that "Adoption Day" would be a more respectful term.
I personally felt an added pressure to "perform" because I was a "chosen child". It felt a little bit like I was acquired to fill the space in my family that needed to be filled. I was loved and cherished, but it did not erase that fact. Celebrating "Gotcha Day" would have probably made that feeling even worse. Adoptive parents (even on this forum) seem so eager and desperate to find a child (being honest here) to love. And yes, I can understand that. But coming from the other end of that love, I'd just say be extra careful. Celebrate that child's full heritage, and let him/her acknowledge the truths and reality that they are separated from their biological identity, family, and heritage. Adoption involves loss, and when we enforce a "celebration" around it, I personally believe it tells that child it's not safe or right to feel any feelings other than positive. Then when the child grows up they have to revisit their entire reality. Just my opinion.
From another adult adoptee:
I'm going to be a bit more blunt. I think the idea of celebrating a "Gotcha" day or "Adoption day" is one of the more ridiculous ideas I've yet heard. I don't intend to offend anyone, but as an adoptee, I would have dreaded such a day every year. My thoughts would have been along the lines of -
"You want me to celebrate the fact that someone gave me away?"
Another individual suggests that the age of the adopted child makes a big difference:
When I was really young, I was "proud" to have been adopted and think I really would have enjoyed the formal celebration. I'm certain, however, that I would have wanted no part of it by the time I reached about 11 or 12.
Hmmm. . .That's a lot to think about. Adoption always looks a little different from the eyes of the adopted child.
But while I'd love to say that our lack of celebration surrounding Wenxin's Gotcha Day has been the result of careful thought given to the pros and cons and long-term effects of such celebrations, that would be a tad untrue. While I have definitely been influenced by listening to adult adoptees, the honest truth is that I have four children, and I'm just not sure I can add one more celebration to my already overflowing plate.
I've noticed that, as a mom, there's a rhythm to my year. And every year, from September to the beginning of March, I run a gauntlet. It starts with Julia's birthday and continues on to the Chinese Moon Festival, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Nathan's Birthday, Christmas, Wenxin's Birthday, New Years, Chinese New Year, Valentines, and finally, Katherine's Birthday. The thought of inserting one more holiday to this list is exhausting. Enough special food. Enough presents. Enough gift bags. Enough!
And then, because I have three biological kids and one adopted child, I definitely don't want to make it kind of like another birthday, as Wenxin inferred from the Disney show. I'm pretty happy with each child, bio or adopted, getting celebrated on their one special day each year.
I promise I'm not a lazy mom. I am, however, a fairly tired one.
Recently, Wenxin and I revisited the topic of Gotcha Day. I explained to him why the term, gotcha, made me a little uncomfortable.
"Oh, I see," he said. And then he thought for a moment. "I know what we can call it."
"What?" I asked.
"We could call it GOT YOU Day."
Yeah. . . I'm pretty sure he's just in it for the presents.
So what do you do in your family? Gotcha Day. Yea or Nay? Shared at We Are That Family.
|Coming July 1|